Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Week on the Trail

Amy and Brian met me last Sunday in Boonsboro, MD at the Old South Mountain Inn for a Father's Day brunch.  They brought me some goodies and we got some other supplies after brunch. It was so great to spend time with them.  They took me back to the trail and I headed off to Pine Knob Shelter (Mile 1.037) for the night.

On Monday I hiked with Rick from Stroudsburg, PA.  I met Jan, Kate and little Sam and had a little Trail Magic at a parking area on Wolfsville Road in Smithsburg, MD.  They had put a sign on the trail and we ended up spending time with Jessica from Baltimore, Clean Shave from Rhode Island (thru hikers) and 3 young high school graduates from Louisianna who were doing a section hike through VA, WV, MD and in to PA before heading to Falling Water in Pennsylvania.  They brought food and drinks and we had a good time taking a break and talking to the hikers.  Later they took me to get some fuel for my stove and a bite to eat.  Then I hiked to the Ravens Rock Shelter by sunset.

On Tuesday we hiked about 13.2 miles and stopped at the Tumbling Run Shelter that night. On Wednesday we hiked about 12.2 miles.  We stopped for lunch early and then shortly after that we came upon some Trail Angels cooking burgers and the works.  I shouldn't have been hungry, but it surely tasted good.  Thanks to them for the great Trail Magic.

Thursday I hiked about 13.6 miles again with Rick.  We stayed at Toms Run Shelter that night.  I've been mostly sleeping in my tent instead of the shelter.  I seem to sleep better that way.

Friday was the big day of the Half Gallon Challenge.  We had breakfast at the camp store at Pine Grove Furnace State Park and I decided to attempt to eat a half gallon of ice cream to become a member of the Half Gallon Club.  So I waited for a while and watched some other people do the challenge, then it was time.  I chose a half gallon of Cherries Jubilee which was probably a mistake.  Instead of just eating creamy ice cream I also had to eat the cherries.  Well....I did it in a time of 1 hour and 16 minutes and received my little wooden spoon as a remembrance.  I felt like I was going to lose it, but never did.  We spent the night at the James Fry Shelter (Mile 1100.9).

Yesterday we hiked about 14 miles to Boiling Springs, PA and spent the night at the Allenberry Resort Inn.  They have a dinner theater there.  It was great to sleep in a bed and have a big spaghetti dinner with my hiking friends.  Rick and I were joined by a young fellow from Wisconsin whom we gave the trail name Titan. They had a great breakfast this morning for $6.  We hiked about 14 miles today and are spending the night at the the Darlington Shelter (Mile 1127.2).  It's been an 80-90 mile week. Some of the hiking in PA this week has been very rocky, tough for a short-legged old guy.

Getting picked up in Duncannon, PA tomorrow and I will be home for about a week. Hoping to put on a little weight, visit with family and friends, and enjoy the 4th of July celebrations at home.  Thanks so much for all your posts and emails.  I'll be back on the trail very soon....headed to Katahdin!

And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

~Lee Greenwood

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Virginia-West Virginia-Maryland

Spent the night at a hostel in Bolivar, West Virginia.  Arrived in Harpers Ferry, WVA (Mile 1,014) yesterday.  I crossed over the Shenandoah River Bridge and made my way to the ATC (Appalachian Trail Conservancy) headquarters and Visitor Center and they let me store my pack and get a cold drink there.  Then I went to a little BBQ place and had a sandwich and couple of cold beers! MMM!

This is probably the nicest hostel I've been in for a while.  For $3 extra  they took us to a Super Walmart in Charlestown, WVA and I got some food and other things. Today I will head back to the ATC where they have a 10 foot relief map of the Appalachian Trail which is really neat. I will also sign the register and have my picture taken to be included in the class of 2011 hikers.

I'm over the 1,000 mile marker!  I will head over Jefferson Rock, the viewpoint of the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. Then it's in to MD across the Goodloe Byron Memorial Footbridge and on the C & O Canal Towpath for about 3 miles or so.  The next 50 miles or so will be familiar because this is the area I hiked last summer (North to South) when I was starting to train.

Expecting a visit from Amy & Brian tomorrow for Father's Day. It will be good to see them since our last visit was when Sam was born over a month ago.

I forgot to tell you about my day in Front Royal, VA last Sunday.  I had spent the night in a motel there and was headed to get something to eat.  I saw an SUV pulling out of a parking lot and heard someone say, "Excuse me, sir!"  I looked up and it was Hugh John and Rebecca, two friends from HCSO in Maryland.  They were on a short trip and had stopped for a break.  It was so great to see familiar faces!  We visited for about 30 minutes or so and caught up on news from home.  They gave me all kinds of snacks when they left which I consumed within the next day or so.  Small world....

I also picked up a package the next day that my friends the Davis' sent to Linden, VA.  So I was definitely resupplied for this past week.  Thanks to all of you for your kindness.

I also had a short visit from Kate and Sam on Monday (see pictures).  He is officially one month old, just gave his Dad a first smile and is almost 10 pounds!  I'm taking a little break over the 4th of July to attend some family get-togethers and can't wait to see everyone. 

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover."
-Mark Twain

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Out of Shenandoah National Park & Skyline Drive

Just hiked out of Shenandoah National Park and the Skyline Drive area today.  It was a beautiful area, but just outside of it there was a big rock drop which was pretty treacherous.  Trying to decide whether to head into Front Royal, VA today which would be another 3+ miles of hiking the trail and then a hitchhike to town.  Right now I'm at the Tom Floyd Wayside Shelter (Mile 958). Some of the other hikers decided to head down there but then it started raining so I will decide soon what to do.  No matter what, I will be in Front Royal tomorrow for the day.

Had a great visit with Jan, her sister Barb and brother-in-law Jerry on Friday.  They met me around the 32 mile marker of Skyline Drive and then we drove to Luray.  We had a great lunch at a little restaurant there.  I ate my sandwich and part of Jan's and had a beer with Jerry.  Then we walked through the town a little while and found a little outfitter store.  I found the bug repellent that I've been looking for so that should help.  They got to see how buggy it is! It was great to see everyone.  They took me back to the trail, brought me some food, drinks and supplies, and dropped me back off at the white blaze to get back to hiking.  Barb had made carrot cake so I had two pieces of that in seconds flat! Jan thought I looked thin, but a little bit healthier than when I was home 4 weeks ago. 

I will have hiked about 100 miles this week which is really good for me.  I think I will be in Harpers Ferry, WVA (Mile 1014) within the week if all goes well.

Just met up with a guy from Kensington, MD who happens to live in Kate & Kurt's neighborhood.  Once again, it's a small world....

Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. 
~Joseph Addison

Photo Update

Here are some pictures of my visit with little Sam!

On the trail with my grandson, Sam

At lunch in Crozet, Virginia

Keith, Kate's brother-in-law, and Sam at lunch

Kate's sister-in-law, Molly, holding Sam, and her son, Jack, at lunch

Visiting before heading back onto the trail

A little "Trail Magic"

Back to the trail

And he's off...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bears on the Trail and Visit with Family

Saw my first bear on Sunday afternoon.  I had left Late Start in Waynesboro and decided I wanted to get some more miles in before the end of the day.  So I was hiking by myself.  All of a sudden I heard this loud grunting noise.  I think I scared him off before he really scared me.  I looked up and saw this massive animal going back up a hill and heard him grunting and making all kinds of noises.  I had talked to a ranger earlier in the day and he said that lots of bears had been seen by other hikers.  I turns out that Frizzle and his dad had seen a bear and had to hike around it.  It wasn't moving.  Also someone else saw a mama bear and 3 cubs.  The cubs had all climbed up a tree and mama was at the bottom checking on them.

Monday I had a visit from Kate and little Sam.  They had driven down for the day.  Kate picked me up at Mile Marker 92 on Skyline Drive.  We then drove and met Kate's brother-in-law Keith and his wife Molly with their two little guys Jack and Will.  We had lunch at Anna's, an Italian eatery in Crozet, VA.  It was so great to see familiar faces and visit with all of them, and also have a great lunch.

I was anxious to get back on the trail so Kate and Sam took me back.  We got some great pictures and shared some cookies, oranges and drinks with some of the other hikers.  The little guy has really changed since I saw him almost 4 weeks ago.

The bugs and heat have been terrible.  Kate brought me a net to wear over my face.  It's been very hot, but I actually have been sleeping pretty well at night.  My mattress has another leak so Kate brought me a waffle mat that I'll use until I get it replaced again. She also brought me some food and supplies.

Hoping to see Jan and Barb and Jerry from Ohio on Friday if they decide to make the trek to Skyline Drive.  By the way,  I've been doing some hiking with three hikers from Tiffin, Ohio which happens to be where Jan grew up and where Barb and Jerry live now.  Small world....isn't it?  I've also hiked with some section hikers from the Pittsburgh area.  Go Steelers!

Hoping this hot weather breaks a little.  Cell phone service has been very sporadic this week.  I think I'll take a break in a hostel or motel in Front Royal.  I will probably be there on Sunday or Monday. It's been a while since I had a shower....

“In every conceivable manner, the family is the link to our past, bridge to our future.”

-Alex Haley

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Waynesboro, VA

I talked with Dave this morning.  He and his hiking buddy Late Start from Chicago were walking through downtown Waynesboro, VA (Mile854) this morning.  It is a hiker-friendly town with lots of services. They had already hiked about 5 miles, eaten a good breakfast and were headed to the Dollar store to get a few things.  He said there are all kind of places along Skyline Drive where they can get a sandwich or something decent to eat. It sounds like their weather has been similar to Maryland, with hot days early in the week.  It seems to have cooled off these past few days.

Late Start is getting a room in Waynesboro for the night, but Dave decided he wants to try to get in another 8 miles yet today.  He is expecting a visit from Little Sam and his mom tomorrow for a few hours.  Hopefully a good lunch and time to catch up with the little guy. They are also taking along a little "Trail Magic" for the hikers and some needed supplies.

He said his cell service wasn't good this past week, but hopefully it will be better now that they are on Skyline Drive. He is getting much closer to home, so we should be able to visit him a little more often.

Thanks again for all the calls and well-wishes for the Torch!  (posted by Jan)

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life.
Richard Bach