Thursday, July 24, 2014
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The First Test

Still smiling.

We went backpacking during this past Fourth of July weekend with our friend Matt to test our gear and our overall attitude about setting out in March. Our destination was Spirit Lake, an alpine lake tucked into the Pecos Wilderness and between five and six miles from the trail head at the base of Santa Fe Ski. (In truth, the destination was to be Lake Katherine, but it is about two more miles in and we decided Spirit Lake was as good as any. It turned out that Lake Katherine was crowded so we were blessed with a good excuse to not go as far as we originally had planned.) We had exceptional weather even though Santa Fe County was under a flash flood watch the night we were out. We had no clue and were treated like rock stars by the people Read more [...] Read More »

Peeping Tom on the trail, Pennsylvania blues, and a change of plans.


I had a creepy incident last night that is causing me to rethink my whole hike.  I hiked into Palmerton at around 9:00pm.  A shuttle driver named Brenda picked me up at 9:20 and brought me to the Jailhouse Hostel.  The Jailhouse Hostel is located in the basement of the borough hall, a town building.  There is a table, benches and about 10 bunk beds.  Upstairs is a gymnasium and a locker room type area with a shower room.  When I arrived I saw 9 other hikers hanging out.  Among them was Eyes Adjust.  He's a socially awkward hiker in his 30's I think.  He is a skinny white guy with grey dreadlocks and wears glasses.  I was nice to him for a while because I felt bad for him and because I'm nice to everyone unless I have a reason not to Read more [...] Read More »

Just hangin out…

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So here we go, right? The first words in the first post in the first blog of my life. Where are we? Well, where am I, really? I'm sitting here awash in lists and gear and plans and questions - more questions than anything else. Lots more questions. But it's better than it was six months ago, when every question generated more confusion and seven new questions. Now, as they say, I'm confused on a much higher level, and I'll take that, thankyouverymuch. Almost nine months ago, I was in the hospital. For the second time. In a week. I'd just finished getting the second of two cardiac catheterizations, three stents, yada yada yada. Following all that was a program of "cardiac rehab" and a period of wondering if I was going to fall down dead at Read more [...] Read More »

Episode #37 – Ice Cold Returns


Finally back from vacation! Ice Cold is here to teach us all how NOT to behave in a hostel. Pox finally tells the story of how he was kicked out of North Adams. Puss washes her hair in the sink of every hut in the Whites. And we set a record for how long we can NOT talk about the Appalachian Trail on an Appalachian Trail podcast. Do you like to watch? We hope you do. Read More »

Thru-Hike Relationship Survival Kit


Preparing to hit the Trail with the ol’ boyfriend I’ve heard the two-person tent referred to as a Divorce Shack. From on-trail breakups to adorkable videos of Katahdin proposals, it seems like anything is possible when you thru-hike with your significant other. Relationships can be pretty easy in the real world, once you've got the basics down. Rocky and I live together, prepare for bowhunting season together, and go on shakedown hikes together. He’s slowly converting from wearing cotton and riding a dirt bike to flaunting synthetic materials and carrying an Osprey pack. It’s a promising sign, considering two months ago I told him that canvas Carhartt pants probably weren’t the most packable option. Since I was a 12-year-old Read more [...] Read More »

Wild ponies, cold oatmeal, Alexa Stardust, and lots and lots of trail magic


General update:  I'm not going to lie, I've brushed my teeth with a lot of animals this week.  I think I finally have my trail legs and I've upped my daily mileage.  I left my bubble in Damascus to hike out with my dad and I haven't seen them in over a week.  BUT I've caught up to some old friends, and I've made new friends too.  Wild ponies are out of control.  I night hiked.  I got really annoyed with a boy on the trail who tried to small talk me to death while I was on a mission.  I got hit with a whirlwind of wonderful trail magic that makes my life complete.  I ran out of fuel when I only had oatmeal left to eat.  And then I ran out of oatmeal.  My sister, Alexa aka Alexa Stardust, came to visit.  I miss her.  I'm currently Read ... Read More »

Post trail days to…Damascus again


5/19/14 Total trip miles: 394.7 Finally made it back to the trail after trail days! We woke at Solitude's friend Matt's house. He's starting the trail in Maine as a Southbound hiker in I think July. Boone was awesome. Matt was so cool and nice for letting all ten of us stay at his place for so long. Trail days was great too, but I was so ready to be back on the trail. Good to be home. We went to play at Compression Falls near Boone before heading back to the trail. There was a really steep incline to get back to the car and I thought I was going to throw up. I was sweating and winded, and cramping up, and I don't think I had more than a glass of water in the 5 days off trail. When I was 9 I did my first triathlon. I ... Read More »

Top Instagram Pictures from The #AppalachianTrail Week 11


I continue to look at and review all of the pictures from Instagram under the hashtag #AppalachianTrail and selecting a few of the best each week. After a week missed due to life happening, we are back at it with Week 11 of some great pictures! If you would like your picture to be included, be sure to use the hash tag #AppalachianTrail (and tag me and Appalachian Trials for extra bonus points). Here is this week's best pictures from the #AppalachianTrail (winner of the week is at the bottom): @alexharndt with a great picture of Laurel Falls @cody_moe enjoying a beer from some trail angels. @peakedcuriosity enjoying the views of McAfee Knob. @chrisbianchisays enjoying Read more [...] Read More »

Top-Five Hiking Festival Essentials

As It Happens TV's latest digital short captures an epic road trip to the 2014 Pacific Crest Trail Kickoff, and premiere of the film As It Happens: Pacific Crest Trail . Check it out and then take a look at the top five hiking festival essentials. 1. Thermos Whether keeping your coffee hot or microbrew cold, a thermos is a must when scoping and enjoying a hiking festival. Plus,  you’ll have a place to put all the stickers from gear companies. 2. Business Cards This sounds a little strange, but a lot of connections come from hiker festivals. Whether professional or personal, it’s  smart to have your contact info handy. That way you can be BFF's even after the festival! 3. Photo gallery on your iPhone What better way Read more [...] Read More »

14 Things I Wish I Knew Before Hiking the AT


Looking back on my Thru-hike, there are very few things I would change.  That being said, this is a list of the things I wish someone had told me before I left.  They aren't the normal warnings.  I had plenty of people warn me about certain death, bugs, lunatics, and your standard everyday dysentery, but there were a few warnings I would have liked to have heard more or simply listened to better.  If you're planning an AT hike and want some unsolicited advice that you might actually be able to use, try this list. 1.     Sunscreen.  Bring it. It doesn’t matter if you bronze up like a shiny leather lion at the first sign of sun rays.  Even if you are such a rich ebony that you fail to trigger motion detectors in the dark, Read more [...] Read More »