10 more miles down
I got back out on the Trail this weekend. Finished up about 10 miles, although only about 6 were on the AT. There was a 2 mile side trail that we had to take to get up to the AT. Rocky doesn't even begin to describe it. I don't think my feet hit solid ground more than 3 or 4 times. The rest of the time it was either small rocks, sharp rocks, boulder sized rocks, or rocks in the 8 stream crossings we had to do.
But what a beautiful day for a hike. It was about 25 degrees, clear, and sunny. The side trail is clearly well used. We saw 2 backpackers; 2 hunters; 2 hikers; and 2 clearly-unprepared-thought-this-would-be-a-nice-walk-in-the-woods-with-sneakers.
What did y'all do this weekend?
We were going to hike but the trails were just muddy messes so we went for a drive instead.
Originally Posted by Phillygirl
There is a lovely confluence of a really sharp wicked rocky trail section of the AT with a TON of people who fall into the clearly-unprepared-thought-this-would-be-a-nice-walk-in-the-woods-with-sneakers. category at Newfound Gap between Cherokee and Gatlinburg in the Great Smokies National Park.
Boots are needed on the trail,(I've done it in sneakers) but I have seen people in flip-flops on this trail. The rock is just brutal because it was once horizontal way down in the earth and now it's vertical at the top of a mountain so it is sharp and unfriendly to ankles.
Do you have stated goals like going from Georga To Mt Katahdin ?
Originally Posted by Phillygirl
For now my goal is simply to do the PA portion of the AT. We started at the border in Maryland and are now more than halfway through (we're a bit northeast of Harrisburg right now, in the Pottsville area).
Originally Posted by megimoo
While I would love to do a thru-hike of the whole trail, I don't see me having 3 months to take off in order to do it yet.
For now, the dayhiking through PA has been a lot of fun. I've seen lots of Pennsylvania that I've never seen before, both in terms of the mountainous trails as well as the abundance small towns that we stay in. I seriously want to write a book about it. I wish I'd had a book telling me where to stay, where to grab a good beer, and a good dinner. That has been a lot of the fun of it. We always go for beers after the hike and have found some absolutely amazing restaurants in little podunk towns that you'd never expect it.
Yesterday we had some beers at the hotel afterwards (always a bad idea to rehydrate with alcohol...but such is the downfall of the after hike pub stop). 8 beers and one basket of fries later...and the bill was 12.95. Seriously, how do you beat that? And Yuengling is awesome. We're only about 10 miles from the brewery, but no Saturday hours during the winter. If we're still fairly close by in April I want to take one of the brewery tours after a hike.
:) yes. :) Yes it is. :)
Originally Posted by Phillygirl
It's funny to see the people that have no real concept of what the trail is like. I tend to pack very light, but I always know my friend is prepared. He brings the Leatherman, the first aid kit and a few other essentials in case we get caught out there. I bring the food. We both bring water.
Originally Posted by Bubba Dawg
The only hiccup in yesterday's hike was I lost my cigarettes some place on the trail. When we stopped at the turn around point, and I was looking forward to the smoke, I realized they were gone. I thought for sure we'd spot them on the way back, but no luck. Someone must have picked them up. So I had a good 2 hour wait.
I'll have to find my story of running across a family on the trail that was clearly unprepared. I felt sorry for them. I doubt they'll ever go back.
I wonder how sneaker lady fared yesterday. Her husband had on a giant bright yellow coat (not a bad idea with the hunters around, except for the heat factor). He commented to us "pretty rugged trail, huh?. While it was rugged, especially since the access trail was nothing but a river of rocks and stream crossings, I doubt they were able to enjoy the relative calm of the actual AT. It was highly unlikely that they were going to gut out the 2 miles on rocks to get to it.
You can also tell by the time that they seem to be getting started. I think we ran into them around 12:00. We were an hour away from finishing up...they were only an hour into their start.
Are you out of your mind??? If you decide to come to the Lancaster County areas when it is warm enough for normal people to be hiking, give me a holler and I will join you.
This is just too cold right now.
Originally Posted by Jumpy
It's brisk. Bracing.
I love cold weather hiking.
I will definitely holler for you. Kelly's Run is a great hike. And believe it or not, it really is better to hike in the winter. I wear long pants, a long sleeve shirt, and a very light barely even fleece jacket. As long as you start off with hat and gloves, it's fine. (Usually by midway the hat and gloves come off).
Originally Posted by Jumpy
I actually have started to like it much better than summer hiking.
Although I'm still not crazy about backpacking in the winter. Ever since I almost lost a foot...
The 2000 mile plus East Coast trail is a hiker cult favorite
Hiking the entire AT all in one year can play havoc with your sanity. Hiking with fellow mangy hikers for thousands of miles can cause you to reach psychotic stress levels. You are forced to learn things about each other you never really wanted to know.
"Don't follow me you idiot!" The Shaman called back when I tried to hike around him. He led me off the marked path again! I just figured anyone named Shaman would know which way to go. We were now 30 miles into the trail's last section of wilderness, in central Maine. Some Wilderness! You can't swing a dead moose without hitting a logging truck!
We came to the East Branch of the Pleasant River later that day. I put my Tevas on and forged the ankle deep water. As I crossed I was overcome with day hikers crossing the opposite direction. Shaman crossed after me, all the while undressing several female day-hikers with his eyes — just another obstacle to overcome on the "Abstinence Trail", as many a randy thru-hiker has proclaimed it.
Finally hobbling into our shelter for the night, "Globetrotter, can I borrow your pack towel?" Shaman asks as he sees me cleaning up near the stream in front of the shelter. "Gee, two hikers sweaty stench soaked into my towel? Sure why not!" Shaman is good at soaking fellow hikers for things. There is rarely any fair swap with him. "Here try this", as he shoves over a hot Nalgene filled with a combination of Cocoa and Blackberry Jell-O, a Shaman favorite. Not even close to the peanut butter cheesecake I shared with him, and another thru-hiker named Stuck-Teva, the night before. However no thru-hiker is ever stupid enough to refuse free calories, especially when you don't have to carry them in. My straining 35lb. food bag will attest to that.
Making it to Wadleigh Stream lean-to, I thought I was hallucinating — 25-mile days with 60lb packs can do that. But, I did smell a fire and something cooking. "You guys want some trout?" was the question from one of the craziest characters on the trail this year! Mr. Clean, a self-professed extremist was treating us to dinner. He had ten small trout that I wouldn't doubt he swam the length of the lake to catch. Mr. Clean has, during his thru-hike, sewn up his feet with dental floss. He drinks water from a Ziploc bag and carries all his stuff in a seven pound stuff sack wrapped around his head with a compression strap. Now after hiking 2,160 miles north, he's Yo-Yoing and heading south!
It's the next day and Shaman's statement does little to quell my pain as he has led me off trail again. He says, "You can't blame me you dumb ass!" This time the detour is over a large downed tree I didn't have to cross, but did so while in the midst of an unplanned somersault. I jammed the middle finger of my right hand and had no problem extending it to show Shaman, as it was now three sizes larger and purple.
We made a short stop at the Hurd Shelter to check one of the last registers on the trail, in which everyone was leaving flowery goodbye messages. Weezelsep, a crazy German, made a remark that everyone leaving "I love everyone" entries had forgotten all the bad times in the 100 degree heat.
"A day hiker broke the silence with a question all thru-hikers love to hear, 'do you guys want a beer?'"
Ahead we now could hear the familiar sound of logging trucks as we crossed Abol Bridge, and enjoyed a fabulous view of our goal — Mt Katahdin shining in the rosy sunset. We made it through the 100-mile wilderness in five days! The biggest accomplishment being that Shaman didn't succeed in killing me. We celebrated that night with a six pack of Katahdin Lager, before climbing its namesake the next day.
We left in the frigid morning, not yet conscious of how precious this last day was. A little over five miles, and two-and-a-half hours later, after some trick rock climbing, we took the last steps together — moving very slowly and trying to remember every step. At the same time, Shaman and I hugged the sign that marks the northern terminus of the Trail. I was a little choked up. A day hiker broke the silence with a question all thru-hikers love to hear, "do you guys want a beer?"
The last thing I thought as I turned to head back down was if I ever do this again I'm taking more time — six months is still not enough to capture it all. I will never forget my friends on the trail, many of whom I never knew by their real names but only by those given them during the hike — Stuck-Teva, No Stove, Mommas Boots, and Hungry Mother. My best friends were Summer's Breeze, Shaman, Hook and Ladder, Ramble-on, Blu-bud, Finder, Stuck-Teva, Wildflower, Truckee, One Hit, Skeeter, Just Ben, Red, and Coyote.
I have talked to many of my trail friends since we finished, and we all have shared the same reluctance to re-enter modern society after six months in the woods. We feel a little alienated; however, we will always return, in our minds, to our green little world in the Appalachian and we will remember it the rest of our lives.