Tuesday, October 4, 2011

To Be Continued

It's been over two weeks since I left Gorham, NH and the AT.  I came home to give my staph infection a chance to heal.  The infection has shown marked improvement, but it's still lingering.  The doctor advised me to stay off the trail until that toe looked as healthy as the other toes.  I decided to give it until October 1st to make a final decision.  I knew I needed at least 3 weeks to finish and also good weather in Maine. It's past October 1st and I've decided to wait until next spring to finish my last 298 miles. 

I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to complete the hike at one time, but my family told me my health is more important than my goal.  I was very thin when I arrived home and have put on some weight, and feel and look much healthier.

Thanks to all my family, friends and AT blog followers for your support through these 6+ months.  Look for a new posting the first week of May 2012.  If any of you want to take a "walk in the woods" with me then, just let me know.  I'd love to have company!

The gratification comes in the doing, not in the results.
James Dean

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Home to Heal

Decided yesterday to head home for a while to help this staph infection heal and gain some weight.  Yesterday morning I woke up and decided I was tired of hanging around the hostel.  So I took a bus from Gorham, NH to Boston-Logan Airport.  I booked a flight to Baltimore on Jet Blue and landed around 4 PM. Brian picked me up and we were home shortly after that.

I'm getting an appointment with my family doctor to see if there's anything more I can do to speed up the healing process. If I'm healthy by October 1st, I'll fly back to Bangor, get a bus to Millinocket, a ride to Baxter State Park and get an early start up to Mt. Katahdin.  Then I'll head south to Gorham to finish the trail that way.  We'll see what happens...

Thanks for all your well-wishes.  I'm still as determined as ever and hope everything works out.  It will be great to see family and friends for a few days.  Until then, hasta la vista!

I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade... And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party.
-Ron White

Monday, September 12, 2011

Still in NH

Spending a couple days here in Gorham, NH. (Mile 1881)  I'm 297 miles from Katahdin. I developed a staph infection in my toe and went to have it treated at an ER today. They drained it and gave me some antibiotics, but suggested I stay off it for a few days until the lab report comes back.  So I'm at the Mt. Madison Inn for a few days, eating lots of food and getting rested up. The people here have been very nice, but I need to get moving and get finished! I also had some intestinal problems this past week which I think might have been caused by taking too many ibuprofen.  Or maybe it was the chili dogs at the Mt. Washington snack bar.

Yesterday morning I was hiking and came upon some young hikers. They asked if I had seen the flags and I didn't know what they were talking about.  They told me that every Sept. 11th. since 2001 volunteers go to all the peaks of the White Mountains in NH that are over 4000 feet and hold flags from 12-2 P.M.  There are 48 peaks over 4000 feet in the state.  It is an honor to be one of the flag holders.  Unfortunately, I didn't see any, but can you imagine being there and seeing that?

On Saturday I hiked to Carter Notch Hut.  The huts are places with small snack bars that cater mostly to day and section hikers.  I had a cup of soup and talked with some very nice people.  It was a very nice day, cold and windy but I found a spot behind a huge rock to camp at night which protected me from the wind.  Once I got in my tent and in my sleeping bag it was warm and toasty.

I didn't make very good mileage last week.  Only 5.6 one day, 4.5 another.  On Thursday I was hiking Mt. Madison (Elevation 5,366 ft.).  It was very steep and rocky with big boulders.  I was trying to reach Pinkham Notch, but couldn't make it there before dark.  Going down it was worse than PA.  I was sliding down on my behind!  It was very slippery too!

Last Tuesday we started off at Crawford Notch (a notch is like a gap in the South) and hiked Mt. Webster, Mt. Jackson and Mt. Pierce.  We stopped at Mizpah Spring Hut for lunch.  It was foggy, but not raining.  There was a beautiful sunset at Lakes of the Clouds Hut.  Between Crawford Notch and Pinkham Notch is 25 miles of ridge-walking mostly above treeline (4,400 feet).  This is the area called the Presidential Range, the highest part of the AT in New Hampshire. We "worked for pay" and got bunkrooms ready for mostly day hikers.  For that we got to sleep on the floor in the dining hall!

Wednesday we hiked to Mt. Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast and 2nd highest on the AT. It was windy and rainy.  I missed the side trail and had to hike back a few miles.  So I only hiked 5.6 miles that day. There was a snack bar and gift shop so I had lunch there.

All in all, the past week to 10 days have been a "wash-out."  Between the hurricanes and my other dilemmas I've only made a little over 100 miles.  Gotta get moving to finish!

“Is it time to go home yet? I keep clicking these damn shoes, but nothing happens."
-Robin Hecht

Monday, September 5, 2011

Photo Update!

Here are some of my photos from the last two months on the trail.  Less than 400 miles to go!  
I think I can, I think I can...

 Copperhead Snake at Clarks Ferry Shelter (7-6-11)

 Pennsylvania Countryside from Fisher Look-out

 The trail in Eastern PA is very rocky!  (7-8-11)
 More of the rocky trail

 St. Peter's Church Youth Group on the trail

 Rough hiking in Eastern PA

 Boy, was I glad to get out of PA!

 My buddy, Jim M., came to visit in Port Clinton, PA

 Torch and the PA countryside

 Beautiful views of PA!

 Eckville Shelter in PA

 Pick-Wick at Eckville Shelter

 More of the PA trail

 Rocky climb in PA

 Tricky hiking in PA

 Just when you've thought you've see enough rocks, there are more!

 Timber Rattler in PA

 There he goes!  Thank goodness!

 Amy and I hit the trail for the weekend

 Amy on the AT

 Taking a break...

 Amy and the AT

 Torch on the AT

 Monument on the mountain top in New Jersey

 No, that's not me climbing that tree...it's a black bear in NJ!

 Jim Murray's property near the AT

 VFW in Vernon, NJ

 New Jersey/New York line

Muldoon at the NJ/NY line

 The Lemon Squeeze Rock Formation in NY

 More of the Lemon Squeeze Rock formation

 Muldoon at Lemon Squeeze Rock

 Direction and mileage sign on the AT in NY

 View from Bear Mountain, NY

 View of the NYC skyline (you can just barely see it!)

 Muldoon and I at the Bear Mountain Zoo

 Bear Mountain Zoo

 Bears in the Bear Mountain Zoo (Glad they are in a cage!)

 Wiley Shelter

 Wiley Shelter

 Rock formation in CT

 Strange rock formation in CT

 CT countryside


 Torch in CT

 Torch and Muldoon at Goose Pond, MA

 Shelter at Upper Goose Pond

Mt. Greylock

 Quote by Thoreau

 Torch and Thoreau

 Crossing into VT

 Moose on the AT
 There he goes...

 Muldoon and I on top of Mt. Kittering

 Mt. Kittering
 Trail Magic at the 500 mile marker (500 miles left to go!)

 Iced cold drinks!  Almost heaven!

 Torch in VT

 Views in VT

 More views of VT

 Inn at Long Trail

 Campsite at Long Trail Inn

Inn at Long Trail