Friday, September 16, 2011

And here it ends...

So after seeing the doctor earlier in the week, I have a hard cast on my foot until October 3rd. I will then have a boot for about 3 weeks after that. My trail days are over for this year. But never fear! I will be back next year to finish it! I beat the mental game, but I lost the physical one. Thank you all for reading and following me on this journey!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Heading home

I'm headed back to Ohio later today. Monday, I am going to see a specialist about my foot. There is little to no chance that I will make it back on the trail this year. I'll just have to spread my thru-hike over 2 years, I suppose.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bad news from the trail

My foot started hurting during Monday afternoon during the rains from the tropical storm. It hurt progressively worse until I got into Pearisburg yesterday afternoon. I spent the evening icing it, but by this morning, I couldn't walk with my right foot flat on the ground. I knew something wasn't right, and after consulting my parents, I found a ride to the hospital. After some x-rays, the doctor diagnosed me with a subtle stress fracture of the metatarsal. It may heal in two weeks or it may take much longer. I am hoping for the best; with only a little of 600 miles to go, I'd hate to have to get off early. Until then, it's crutches for me.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ive heard it said no rain no maine. But ive already hiked to maine and rain doesnt rhyme with georgia. So why has the rain been pouring on us?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Celebrating over 4 months on the trail! And now about to get poured on by a tropical storm. What fun! The sky looks menacing. Must keep walking!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Daniel has been sick and luckily we found the Four Pines Hostel on Route 624 to stay at tonight. Tomorrow hopefully we will tackle dragons tooth and move south!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Easy day out of Blacksburg today. I cant believe it but I have less than 700 miles left and will be done it 45 days! Wow!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Pictures

New pictures posted under August!

A Good Week

This past week has been a good hiking week. My younger brother David joined us last week for about 7 days, and I tried to make sure he got the full experience! We tented, stayed in shelters, drank water out of "questionable" sources, cooked pasta and rice sides, climbed mountains, and enjoyed views. We felt an earthquake, hiked through a thunderstorm, and slept through the hurricane winds. All in all, a good time. Then, after spending an afternoon in Daleville, I found the perfect camping spot up on a ridge overlooking the Roanoke Resevoir and the mountains. Despite the rainclouds that rolled in, I had great views and a peaceful evening! Yesterday was yet another beautiful day. Tinker Cliffs and McAfee Knob were amazing views, and I enjoyed talking to a college group from Washington Lee at the Catawba Shelter. (They gave me apples and oranges!) And finally, after hiking 1500 miles, I saw my first bear yesterday evening. He was just walking up the trail, and I mistakenly took him at first for a dog. But he was no dog, and I'm glad to have finally seen a real live bear!

Last night, my friend Amanda picked Daniel and I up and brought us into Blacksburg for a few nights of rest. Now I remember why it's best to keep mileage under feet are swollen and my knees ache. I am looking forward to my day off! It's hard to believe that in 45 days, I will be done with this extraordinary adventure! I've got a Reunion Tour planned to visit my college friends in Indiana and Pennsylvania, and I have to find a job and become a real person. But that's a worry for another time and place. Today, I just have to relax!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

For the first time in 1500 miles i saw a bear! He was just meandering up the trail minding his own business without a care in the world...until i showed up!

Monday, August 29, 2011

A quick stop in Daleville for lunch gave me a needed reprieve from the heat. Tomorrow on to visit my friend Amanda and take a zero day at her house!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

David got off the trail today after a week with us. Now its Daniel and I headed south. I never thought that I would ask for rain but the water sources are dry!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The hurricane missed us but it is cloudy and very windy. David leaves tomorrow. It has been fun having him here. Then its onward and southward!

Friday, August 26, 2011

After experiencing an earthquake earlier this week we were concerned about the hurricane too. But thankfully it will miss us. Unthankfully it stormed last night

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Back to the trail today with my younger brother in tow. Recently a half buried decomposed body was found where we are hiking tomorrow. Should be interesting!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Back from vacation

I am rested up and ready to take on my last 815 miles! I head back to Virginia Sunday, and my younger brother is going to hike with me for a week. I can't wait to share some trail experiences with him! I also updated my August pictures so take a look!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I thought id try a run to keep in hiking shape over vacation but it turns out my knees werent quite ready for it. I undid 4 days of sitting in 30 minutes

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Wow. Today was incredible. After successfully completing the half-gallon ice cream challenge two nights ago, Budha's dad and Butter's parents met us at the Birches, and we started our hike around 6:45 this morning. The weather was cloudy, but at times throughout the day, we saw several great views and blue sky. The climb up Katahdin was difficult but very amazing. I mean seriously amazing. I couldn't have asked for a better experience to finish up Maine. Now I have a week off for family vacation and a wedding. Then its back to Virginia. Now I'm pumped to finish the rest of my hike!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

T-2 days!

Out of the hundred mile wilderness and into Millinocket for the night. Budha's dad was great enough to pick us (Butter, Budha, Rock Monkey, and I) up and bring us into town for the night before we hike into Baxter State Park tomorrow morning. We will stay at the Birches campground tomorrow night, and by Thursday at this time, I will have climbed the mighty Katahdin! Tonight I undertake the traditional half gallon challenge, which most thru-hikers participate in when they reach the halfway point in Pennsylvania. Since my halfway point (which I reached several weeks ago) was a bit untraditional, I am taking on the challenge tonight. Pictures and updates to follow!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

15 easy miles today to the White House Landing. Got stung by a bee and my ankle swelled up...then found out how hard it is to hike on benedryl.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Had our first view of Katahdin yesterday! Wow it looks huge. I cant wait to summit on Thursday, then i have a week off till i start back in Virginia

Friday, August 5, 2011

So the 100 mile wilderness is neither 100 miles nor a true wilderness. A better description is the 100 mile vertical rock swamp in someones back yard.
So the 100 mile wilderness is neither 100 miles nor a true wilderness. A better description is the 100 mile vertical rock swamp in someones back yard.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

We entered the one hundred mile wilderness today! I forded Big Wilson Stream and fell in. I lost one camp shoe downstream. Oops

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Zero in Monson!

We woke up at 3 a.m. yesterday morning to hike an exhausting 31 miles into Monson in order to take a wonderful zero day. Which worked out well for us since it is currently storming. 114 or so miles until Katahdin! Give it a week and we will be there. I updated and added pictures so check out June and July!

Monday, August 1, 2011

I hiked my first and last 30 mile day today. 16 hours of walking. Thats a whole lot. But we got in to Monson and have a zero day tomorrow!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Beautiful days in Maine

Now that southern Maine is over, the terrain has eased up a bit and hiking has actually become fun again! Hurray! We hike past ponds and lakes every day now, and nothing is better than soaking your feet in cold water during the hot afternoon hours. Blueberries are becoming ripe all along the trail, and we stop often to pick a handful or two. I have now seen 4 moose, but I'm still waiting to see a bull (with horns). Katahdin is less than 200 miles away, and the 100 mile wilderness starts soon. I am summiting on August 11th with my friends Butter and Budha. My brother and I have been hiking our own paces for several days now, and we will meet up with each other and our family for vacation in a few weeks. The past few days have been relaxing and near perfect, thereby redeeming many of the parts of southern Maine that my legs and arms now boast bruises from. Also, I have realized what a klutz I am as I fall on a regular basis. Yesterday, I bruised my shin fairly badly and I landed face down on a boardwalk with my feet off the board in the mud. Today I slid down a rock and landed on my butt. It's quite entertaining for those hiking behind me! We ate breakfast at the Harrison Pierce Pond Camp (delicious pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice, and coffee). Now we are in Caratunk where I enjoyed two huge chili dogs and fries. I think I'm loaded on carbs for a while! The next weeks look bright, and after vacation, I'm looking forward to hiking the last 815 miles or so!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Slack packed 24 miles yesterday over Saddleback Mtn. Perhaps ill hike today but my feet are telling me no. Must keep moving!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rangeley, Maine

Our first days in Maine were really tough. We were hiking minimal miles and were exhausted at the end of every day. It was hot and super humid, which drained our energy even more. But thankfully, the terrain has become less of a boulder field and more of an actual trail and the temperatures have become much more manageable. We woke up this morning by Sabbath Day Pond to rain, and lots of it! Our resupply in Rangeley then turned into an overnight stay sharing a hotel room with several other hikers. It's one of our last town stops between here and Katahdin (we will stop in Stratton briefly and the Monson before hitting the 100 mile wilderness). It's hard to believe that in 17 days we will be done with the northern part of our journey! I look at a map and I can't believe the distances we have walked. Maine has been beautiful thus far, with mountains and many many lakes and ponds. I'm looking forward to the rest of the state!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Good day today! We hiked 18 miles which was our longest day since we entered the Whites two weeks ago. We actually hiked on a dirt was amazing!
We hit our 1090.5 mile mark yesterday. Know what that means? Whoa oh we're halfway there Whoa oh living on a prayer. Thats right! Over halfway!

Friday, July 22, 2011

We successfully mounted Mt Success in New Ham and worked our way through Mahoosuc Notch in Maine. Making progress! And boy are we sore from all the rocks!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Saw Harry Potter in town last night then hit the trail this morning in some really hot weather. It just sucks the energy right out of you. 5 miles till Maine!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Out of the Whites!

As beautiful as they were, I'm glad to be out of the Whites. We slowed down significantly due to the climbs and the rocks; but our bodies were even more sore than usual. The weather was great and the views amazing. Surreal. We rewarded ourselves with a stay at the White Mountain Hostel and a nero today. Tomorrow we will hopefully cross into Maine! We have less than 300 miles left till Katahdin! Wow, have we walked a long way.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Good bye White Mtns! You were beautiful and we enjoyed our experience. We hiked up Wildcat today and it was a beast. Gorham day after tomorrow!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Great hike up Mt Washington today. Absolutely beautiful! The weather was perfect and the view amazing. The climbs were tough but it was worth it!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Beautiful day! We climbed Mt Webster and Mt Jackson and did work for stay at Mizpah Hut. Tomorrow we climb Mt Washington! Hope for good weather!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wow! We hit one thousand miles today! And hiked over Mt Lafayette and Mt Garfield in cloud cover and wind. Amazingly difficult day in the Whites!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The climb up Kinsman Mtns today was particularly rough! We have slowed our pace down to accomodate these mountains and give our legs time to adjust!
The climb up Kinsman Mtns today was particularly rough! We have slowed our pace down to accomodate these mountains and give our legs time to adjust!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The mighty Moosilauke did not win! We conquered our biggest climb yet and are finally in the Whites. Its beautiful but definitely hard!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

On the brink of entering the Whites

We are sitting at The Hiker's Welcome Hostel at the bottom of Mt Moosilauke. We are resupplying and heading up to a shelter tonight, and tomorrow we will enter the White Mountains. I can't believe we are hiking through New Hampshire right now! It's beautiful and really tough. And about to get a lot tougher! I'm not sure how cell phone service will hold up through these mountains, so updates may be sporadic for a while. But I'll try to keep you informed as to where we are and how we're doing!
Rough day up Smarts Mtn yesterday. I wanted to quit. Stop and take my pack off. Go home and take a shower. But I made it to the top and even further.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Big thanks to Sally for letting us stay in her condo last night! Hanover treated us well and we even saw Super 8. Great movie. Countdown to the Whites!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Good-Bye Vermont, Hello New Hampshire


You were a beautiful state. We had our ups and downs (literally and figuratively), but the experience was, in general, positive. The kindness of people stood out more than the trudging through mud. The beautiful views outweighed the difficultness of the trail. We camped at some wonderful locations and enjoyed the company of trail friends and trail angels alike. We even saw our first moose! I'm sad to go on, but go on we must, for the trail leads north!

New Hampshire,

I was welcomed into your state by trail magic and an unexpected road walk. The trail ahead looks difficult, but for tonight, at least, we will enjoy a movie (Super 8) and the home of another kind trail angel (which is doubly beneficial since it is currently pouring down rain). Please let the weather treat us well, and may our shoes hold up through the rock climbs and White Mountains. I'm nervous and excited about what lies ahead!

Tean Bean

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hard hard day today. But camping in a beautiful pine forest is worth it! There are many many things i love about hiking. Camping in the forest is one of them!
We left Kent Pond yesterday and are heading toward Hanover! The terrain has been really rough but at least most of the mud is gone!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

We are taking a nero today into Kent Pond, near Killington, where we are hanging out at a lodge and camping for the night. The mountains in Vermont are steadily getting larger, and we face at least one big incline every day (often, though, it is more). We can't pull big miles days nearly as well, so we are sticking in th 16-18 mile range. This pace should put us in Hanover New Hampshire in just a few days! We summitted Killington Peak yesterday, and we had majestic views of Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York. It was beautiful. And today, after our "grueling" 4 mile hike, we ate lunch on a dock by the pond. I felt so at peace, and thought when else in my life can I say that I hiked almost 900 miles to sit by this pond? I'm loving the simplicity of this life.

We had tremendous 4th of July trail magic last night, and I want to give a big thanks to the Johnson family for their hospitality and opening their home to us smelly hikers. They gave us showers, laundry, food, and a place to stay, and on the way back to the trail this morning, even took us shopping! It's people like this that make our journey all the more memorable. Thanks again!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Wow. Tremendous trail magic tonight. We are staying with a family near Killington after a 2200 foot climb this afternoon. Log cabin house and great food!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Good sunny day today! And lots of good hiking company. The Whistle Stop provided a delicious meal right before the shelter!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The trail through Vermont so far has been one giant mud obstacle course. I have 3 falls today to prove it. Hopefully the terrain and the weather improve.
Happy days cause we made cheesecake for dinner! Yep. At camp. With a stream acting as refrigeration and powdered milk, Jello instant cheesecake was a hit!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Into Vermont!

Our first moose!
As we are staying at yet another house with a kind couple, I have internet access once again. We crossed into Vermont today, and we were greeted with a huge mud pit. Nearly the entire trail was mud, mud puddles, and streams. I am sore just from balancing trying to cross the trail without soaking myself. My shoes are no longer their original color...they are simply brown. On a more positive note, we saw a moose just a few hours into Vermont!! She was blocking the trail and we couldn't get past her. Since I have this luxury, I thought I would post a few pictures for you to enjoy!

Snickers-the staple hiker food
Sunfish Glacier Pond

Dover Oak!

New shoes vs old shoes

My 22nd birthday!

Rob gave Daniel a mohawk

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A perfect zero day! Lots of food, minimal walking, a foot soaking salt bath, and the Lion King! After a full nights sleep we will be on the trail again!

Zero in Dalton!

Wow. What a couple of great days we have had. Things were looking bleak on Wednesday when we hiked an 18 miler in the pouring rain. It didn't stop all day, and we rolled into the shelter soaked and chilled. The next morning, we neroed (a term that refers to hiking near zero miles) into Dalton. Now there are hostels that are advertised in the guidebooks, and then there are people who host hikers but don't advertise. These are called "word-of-mouth" hostels. We and the 3 guys we were hiking with were blessed to have the contact information for a word-of-mouth hostel called the Birdcage. Our trail angel, Rob, took us to his home. We took showers and did laundry, and Rob drove us to an all-you-can-eat buffet (AYCE) where we stuffed ourselves to the point of being sick. We then headed to Walmart where I stood amazed by the selection and low prices. After resupplying, we spent the evening with some other hikers and got to know some new faces. Yesterday, Rob did us a huge favored and allowed us to slackpack 23 miles back to his house. This means that we left our packs and gear with him hiked from north to south 23 miles with only day packs containing food and water. When we got back to Dalton, we had showers, laundry, and delicious food at Jacobs (best clam chowder ever!). After watching the weather report and hearing of an 80% chance of thunderstorms, we decided to take a full zero (hike absolutely no miles) and stay in Dalton one more night with Rob. Tomorrow, we will hiked north and cross into Vermont! Hurray! And thanks to Rob, we have contact information for another secret hostel in Bennington Vermont where we will spend another night indoors. We are being spoiled for sure, but the experience is amazing and the people have been great! Currently, we have hiked 770 miles and have 596 to go before we hit Katahdin in Maine. We then have 819 miles to go from Virginia to Georgia before our thru-hike is complete. It's crazy to look at a map and see how far my feet have carried me!

So what's in store for the rest of our zero? Probably pizza and a movie marathon coupled with an Epsom salt bath for our feet (which do not hold up well in wet weather). I will never take dry socks and shoes forgranted again!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Staying at the Birdcage in Dalton! Great all you can eat buffet, resupply at Walmart, and 23 mile slackpack tomorrow! Thank you trail angel Rob!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Spent the night at Upper Goose Pond cabin last night and had pancakes for breakfast. Hiked all day in the rain and will nero tomorrow in dalton.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Massachusetts has been a tough state thus far. They say the further north you go the harder it gets. I believe them! And my feet do too!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The sun came out for my birthday and Salisbury provided delicious food to celebrate! We made it in to Massachusetts this evening and are trekking along!
We are being reintroduced to some steep inclines after relatively flat ground for a while. The firefly show last night was amazing!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rain, rain. Why do you have to make everything so difficult? You make my shoes wet, the trail muddy, and the rocks extra slippery. Sun please come out again.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Today was an easy day into kent to pick up mail and new shoes, do laundry, and fix gear. And we carried out chinese for dinner. Hurray for no cooking!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Many exciting adventures today-a nuclear lake, a giant oak tree, and our last new york deli. Just at sunset we crossed into connecticut! The fireflies are out!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Trail Magic still happens!

Before Daniel and Kristina started their hike I read books about the Appalachian Trail and I read stories about "trail magic" and "trail angels."  I assumed they were just that - stories, or at least events of the past, another time.  I assumed that things like that would be rare if at all these days.I have been pleasantly surprised, and even overwhelmed to find out that trail magic still happens in 2011 and that trail angels abound.  Early on Teen Bean started telling stories about finding cans of soda left in streams to stay cold for thirsty hikers and coolers of cold gatorade left by the trail that were little bits of heaven on a hot day. Then there was a group that camped by the trail for a week and fed passing hikers with hot dogs and baked beans and fruit.  There was the trail angel that hiked up to their shelter one morning to pass out fresh fruit, then went on his way to the next shelter to cook them breakfast.  Another angel even hiked up to their shelter with ice cream sandwiches!  The most amazing event took place last Sunday.  After a grueling 26 mile day in the rain and fog, over rough terrain, with several tumbles, bumps and bruises and getting to the shelter in the rain and finding it mostly full,  the next day 5 worn out and dirty hikers were invited home by an "angel" family they met on the trail.  They received food, not just any food but a steak dinner, a soft dry place to sleep, showers and much needed encouragement.  To that family, whoever you are, thank you so much for the kindness you have shown my 2 kids and their friends.  Thank you God that trail magic still happens in 2011!

posted by Mom
Another rainy day on the trail. But we are loving the deli to deli walk that New York offers! We have a cold night ahead and a 20 miler tomorrow!

Monday, June 13, 2011

We crossed the hudson river this morning, and New York redeemed herself. Our hike sure was pretty, and the mountain laurel is in full bloom!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

We took an easy day today, and while hiking on bear mtn, a couple invited us and 3 other hikers to stay in their home tonight. Food, showers, and a roof!
We hike a marathon yesterday. Yes, 26 miles from 8 a.m. to nearly 11 p.m. New York welcomed us with rain, fog, and slippery rock faces. Easy day planned today.

Friday, June 10, 2011

We braved the swarms of mosquitos. We crossed the long boardwalk over marshlands. We feasted on delicious ice cream. And tomorrow-bring on new york!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Staying at a secret shelter tonight after a hot hot day. We have officially hiked over a 500 miles...almost a quarter of the way done!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The mosquitos were bad today and so was my fall down the rocks. Jersey has not been my favorite, but we did see a porcupine this morning!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Last night a trail angel visited and brought us ice cream bars! Today we crossed into our fifth state...New Jersey! And the bugs are out in full force!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Apparently 3 days was just enough for my feet to get soft. Walking on dreadful rocks toughened them up a bit. Last night in Pennsylvania!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Dad dropped us of at Little Gap, PA today and we are back in the woods! We are rested and ready to hike some miles! Also, thank you for your prayers!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Back to the trail

It's been good to be home with family and friends in Ohio. We attended our brother's graduation last night and ate lots of delicious food at his graduation party tonight. It felt rather luxurious to sleep in a warm bed and take a hot shower, but we are ready to get back on the trail tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon. Our food bags are somewhat overstocked with goodies, and our clothes are clean (at least for now). It has felt like a dream to be here these past 3 days; I didn't realize how accustomed I've become to being outdoors all the time. Time with family, however, is precious, and these memories will be cherished as we move forward in our journey! The month of June holds several new states, new hiking shoes, new hiker's faces, and even my birthday celebration (maybe we will walk 22 miles, one for each year I've been alive!). Well, with our feet well rested and our sights set on Maine, we head back to the trail!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Zero Days

I woke up this morning, and it took a moment to realize where I was. There were no birds chirping. There was no dirt covering me. I didn't have to walk down the blue-blaze trail to get water from the spring. I didn't eat pop-tarts for breakfast. There was no lingering smell from yesterday's hike. And I didn't walk anywhere.

We are home for a 3-day break for our younger brother's graduation. We've covered 439.4 miles in the past 29 days. We are 20% done with our journey. We've hiked from Central Virginia to Northern Pennsylvania. We've encountered so much in the past month that it's hard to think what's still coming up. Some of my favorite memories so far are the unexpected encounters with scenery and people. We will be home until Sunday when we will drive back to where we left the trail and will continue our trek to Maine.

Some people have asked me what trail magic is. Let me explain. Trail magic is an unexpected surprise left by someone for the benefit of hikers. The people that leave trail magic are referrred to as trail angels. Trail magic comes in many different forms such as food, drinks, rides, and/or places to stay. Last week, we encountered a cooler full of cold gatorade at a road crossing. Tuesday, four guys drove up from South Carolina and parked their trailer. They were spending the whole week feeding hikers hot dogs and baked beans. Other people have asked about shelters. A shelter is a 3-sided wooden structure designed for hikers to sleep under (on the floor). They offer protection from the elements, but often house creatures such as mice, snakes, spiders, and other insects. A zero day refers to a day in which a hiker does not hike while a nero refers to a day in which a hiker only hikes a few miles (usually into or out of a town).

I finally have access to a computer which allows me to upload pictures, so I am adding a photo page! Hopefully these pictures will give you a better idea of what we have been up to the past month!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A couple more hours and we go home for 3 zero days and our brothers graduation. Back on the trail on sunday!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Walked on rocks all day and climbed knifes edge. Know what that does to you feet? I wish i could show you...its not good. Hiker feed for dogs!

Monday, May 30, 2011

2 significant accomplishments today. A 7:15 departure this morning and a 24 mile day. And now i am beat. And we resupplied at a candy shop!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Great night and pizza last night at the 501 shelter! And a cooler of trail magic at the road crossing! Good and easy day.

Friday, May 27, 2011

18 miles today and nearly all ridge walking! I have never seen so many trees and branches blown over the trail before!
Bad storms last night...the sky turned green and the trees were bent over. Thankfully we were safe in the shelter!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Great breakfast today. Then we hiked a steep uphill in 90 degree weather with a fully resupplied pack. I have never sweat that much in my life.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Taking a breather

We hiked an easier 11 miles today into Duncannon where we are spending the night at the old Doyle Hotel. Showers. Burgers. Laundry. Bed. What more could you ask for? Actually, this hotel is somewhat historic, and while it's not a five-star hotel, it's a great hiker stop! We've managed to stay out of the rain so far this week, but the heat is catching up to us. We've been pulling some longer days through Boiling Springs and across the countryside. We literally walked through fields, across roads, and over highways yesterday. Due to the rain last week, mud has overtaken the trail. My shoes are a completely different color (and smell) than when we started. And I'm beginning to see that the trail tears shoes apart. Thankfully, my feet are adjusting well and no longer hurt to the touch. That is a huge blessing! After our break tonight, we will head out tomorrow to what we hear are the dreaded rocks of PA. One more week on the trail then home for our younger brother's graduation. Then he will come and hike with us for a week before sending us on our way further up to Maine. I can't believe we've already been out here three weeks and have covered over 300 miles. We are finally into a routine and after learning the ropes, are feeling capable of our abilities out here. And we've met some super nice (and even crazy) people. With names like Heavy Metal, Bike Rider, Mousetrap, Smurf, and Mango, what would you expect? I'm wondering what the trail will throw at us next?

Teen Bean

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Todays terrain was the easiest since the towpath out of harpers ferry. The humidity on the other hand wasnt so nice. Ah well. We will take it!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Making miles in PA! We got some practice on some rocks and boulders in preparation for the dreaded rock mines north of Duncannon. Here we come!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Stayed at a first class shelter last night. Potted plants, privy reading material, and a crystal clear spring. Thanks quarry gap innkeeper!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pennsylvania welcomed us today with blue skies! First dry night in a week! Hard to believe!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rain for the past week. My feet socks and shoes say its time for the sun to come back out!

Monday, May 16, 2011

After sleeping in and watching seinfeld we finished the rollarcoaster and moved on to easier terrain!

Onward we go!

After a very restful stay at the Bear's Den, we are moving on. We took the morning off to rest and relax (we have yet to take a zero day, but we take a morning or afternoon off every now and then). We are dry, our clothes are dry, and our gear is, well, mostly dry. Someone donated Panera bagels to the hostel, so we enjoyed a semi-normal and very delicious breakfast! After a quick stop in Harper's Ferry tomorrow, we will continue the trek north. Here's to hoping the rain holds off!

Teen Bean

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I'm wearing clothes...and they're not mine

Strange title, right? Let me recap our day. We woke up at 7:00 this morning in a 4-person shelter filled with 6 people. A little crowded. By 7:45, we were on the trail and on a mission. It has been raining for the past 3 days, so we decided to make an 18-mile dash to the Bear's Den Hostel to spend the night. As we hiked through a meadow, the sun broke through the fog, and for the first time in days, we saw the blue sky. Our spirits were high as we entered the norther virginia rollarcoaster. The rollarcoaster is a 13.5 mile stretch with 10 ascents and descents (a ton of up and down!). Still going strong, a thunderstorm hit us just after lunch (peanut butter on tortilla shells, if you were wondering). The trail turned into a muddy stream, and we were hiking uphill as the water poured down. Green Mile felt invigorated by the rain and hiked faster. I (Teen Bean) was more cautious and sang to myself as I hiked up and down the mountains in the rain. I came to a creek, an overflowing creek. Thankfully, my brother was waiting there to help me across-yes, I admit it. I needed help across. 3 more miles and we were at the hostel! A warm shower, a hot pizza, and a cold pint of Ben and Jerry's were waiting for us. And the clothes I'm wearing are from a dresser while mine are in the wash! Warm and clean clothes for tomorrow. Hurray!!! Thanks all for your thoughts and prayers. Pictures and more updates to follow soon! Harper's Ferry day after tomorrow, Maryland right after that!

Teen Bean

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The rain had to come

It's good the rain didn't come the first week or it might have been enough to do them in!  Now they are tough and can take it in stride. Each day brings new lessons.  They are learning how to adjust and make things a little easier for themselves.  Enjoy the pizza and Ben and Jerrys tomorow night!
Rain yesterday and today...and really thick fog. But the shelters are providing cover and there is a hostel ahead tomorrow!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Good bye shenandoah! You have been great and given us our trail legs...and a rattlesnake. Harpers ferry here we come!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Macaroni salad and snickers ice cream bar for lunch. 4 hot dogs and a bag of cheetos for dinner. Healthy right?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Second Wind

After a shower, clean laundry, groceries and a little rest Teen Bean and Green Mile both sound better and more energetic then they have since they started. I think they are starting to feel more positive and less overwhelmed, like this is actually a goal they can accomplish. Fortunately there has been little rain and they are starting to build stamina and find their pace.  I guess Green Mile is a strange attraction for centipedes - in his tent, sleeping bag, back pack down his shirt and even in his shoes!  Ha!  better him than Teen Bean!  There more campgrounds and facilities up ahead so the next few days look good.  I think the first week has been a monumental accomplishment!
Showers laundry and food today plus an afternoon off. Hurray! My feet are rejoicing!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Nearly halfway through shenandoah national park! We have met some neat people and seen some great sights. Posted a pic of our campsite tonight!

Good hiking so far! We are resupplying tomorrow at a campground. Daniels trailname has been changed to green mile. From the mountains we can see forever!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

We quickly realized that we have to hike each day as it comes...maine seems impossible if we think too far ahead. So one day at a time!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Kristinas trail name is teen bean and daniels is puddleglum!

Good news! We have had good weather and made about 40 miles so far. We are just about to enter shenendoah national park!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day 1

The hike oficially started today near Montebello, Va with great weather, good spirits and high hopes for completing a through hike.   
posted by Mom

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Here we are. We made it safely to Lexington Virginia where we are spending the night before our start. The drive down was beautiful through southern Ohio and most of West Virginia. It rained nearly all day. We will, however, start near Montebello tomorrow-rain or shine. It's forecasted to get down into the 30s tomorrow night. Might as well start off cold and look forward to it warming up as summer draws nearer! We ate a big meal of steak, ribs, and fries at Applebees on the way down. Now, a good night's sleep for the start of our hike!

Monday, May 2, 2011


 We ran the errands-haircut, bank, Wal-Mart, the grocery store, Kohls. We gathered the supplies. And then, we (and by we I mean I) packed. I packed my food, I packed my clothes, I packed my tent and sleeping bag. Stove-check. Shoes-check. Trekking poles-check. Rain gear-check. Beef jerkey-check. We're ready to hit the road. We're ready to hit the trail. It's almost time!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Finally, I am a graduated senior! I've attended the ceremony and recieved my diploma (cover). Hurray!
And now, it's just two short days until the hike. One day of errands and packing, one day of driving, then five months of hiking!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mount Katahdin-Baxter State Park

Here is a picture of Mount Katahdin, the final mountain we will climb in Maine. This picture is current through a webcam from the following website: I sure hope it's not snow covered when we get there in August! But boy is it beautiful!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

2 weeks people!

I finished my last day of classes ever yesterday, and rewarded myself by watching a National Geographic documentary of the Appalachian Trail. And then it hit me. 2 weeks. 2 weeks left to sleep on a mattress. 14 showers left. 14 options for clothing outfits. 2 weeks worth of food on a plate at a table. This is serious. This is so darn exciting!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

3 weeks till we hit the trail!

It's seems so close yet so far away! So much to do, but in the long run-not that much at all. 
Here are some of the things I am looking forward to:  

I'm ready to live out of my pack

I'm ready to follow the white blazes for 2200 miles!

I'm ready to live in my "spacious" tent

I'm ready to spend quality time with my brother!

Monday, April 11, 2011

and so we go

"keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble upon something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. i never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down."
(Charles F. Kettering)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Nearing the one-month mark

Get this: In 28 days, I graduate college. In 31 days, we drive to Virginia. In 32 days, we start our flip-flop thru hike. Wow. Is that crazy or what? I fall asleep dreaming about the trail. I wake up and shower, thinking that soon, my showers will be in a creek. I eat each meal knowing that I will soon survive on pasta and rice. It's all coming so so soon!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Good news! We can now update our blog through my phone! We can update even when we dont have the internet

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New camera!

We just purchased a new camera today in order to better document our hiking experience! I have a digital camera already, but it uses rechargeable batteries. I don't want the extra worry/concern of wondering when or where I'm going to be able to charge the batteries. This Canon uses two AA batteries, which will be readily available nearly wherever we stop. Much easier!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Good-bye Summer Apparel

I came to a sudden realization today-and sudden and kind of sad realization. You see, I'm in Florida with my friends on spring break. The weather has been beautiful and I've pulled out all my summer clothes. It's been wonderful. And that's where the realization comes into play: this is one of the only times I will get to wear truly cute summer clothing until next summer. That's right-next summer. I'll be wearing shorts this summer, yes, but they will be running shorts and althletic tops. And they will smell of and look like the trail. Hmmm...Guess I'll appreciate these clothes this week and then hope they still fit in a year!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A nice surprise

I went to my mailbox this morning, and to my surprise, I found a package from my aunt! It was an Appalachian Trail calendar filled with pictures of beautiful scenes along the trail. It is the perfect inspiration in these last months leading up to our thru-hike! I'll only get to enjoy the first few months, however, since we'll be hiking for many of the months. I think I'll leave the calendar home with my family with the map that's currently hanging up in my room so that they can follow our progress on the hike!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

It's a Family Thing

I get excited just thinking about it. This hike is not just about my brother and me; we're not going to be alone. My parents are taking us to our start point, and my mom even mentioned walking half of the first day with us. How exciting is that!
And my younger brother is going to join us for a week (or two) after he graduates high school in June.
My dad is going to be doing quite a bit of dropping off and picking up.
My whole family is getting involved. And there's something about doing things together that makes it so much better!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bought some new equipment!

Last night, I purchased two items to add to my gear (the last two big things I need!)

First, a Marmot Precip Rain Jacket and Second, Leki Trail Trekking Poles.
My other gear consists of the following: An Osprey Aura 65 pack, an Henry Shires Tarptent-the Moment, a Marmot Helium 15 degree Down sleeping bag, and a Jetboil stove. Oh yeah, and my Patagonia trail running shoes! In my book, the big stuff is taken care of!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Reflections [2]

I found more 3/5 cards from another 5 day trip that my dad, brother, and I took last August from about 50 miles north of Damascus Virginia to Damascus. Here are some of my thoughts I recorded about things I learned:
1. Go the extra miles now, and you won't have to do it tomorrow.
2. When you fall down, don't stay there.
3. If you don't want the trail to go there, it probably will.
4. Getting wet is inevitable.
5. If you don't like the scenery, hike a mile and it will change.
6. Downhill seems great at the time, but at some point, you have to go back up.
7. Bathing in a freezing cold stream can be refreshing-or just cold.
8. Hiking to the top of a mountain is beautiful-always.
9. A water source in the guidebook doesn't always mean running water; it may mean brown, stagnant, algea covered water.
10. It will all seem like a dream when you're done. Don't worry. It wasn't.

A reflection

I was looking back on some 3/5 cards from a hiking trip on the Florida Trail last March. My friends and I hiked approximately 75 miles in 5 days. It was my first backpacking trip, and it ignited a passion and desire in me to keep going, to do something bigger. Here's a quote I found:

"The night is quiet, a little on the cold side. The thoughts of the next weeks and months keep vying for my attention-attention that I don't want to give them out here. This place is for hopes and dreams-for the future-for plans and passions. This is a place of restul quiet, of inside jokes, of meditation. This is life. Just saw a mouse..."

And I remember why I love to hike. Why I love to challenge myself. Why I love to share the experience with others. And again, I can't wait for this new adventure to begin.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hike...then run

My brother and I are tossing around the idea of running a marathon once we get done with our hike in October. When else in our lives will we be in such good shape? A couple weeks of running and we'll see what happens. Surely we can at least finish the race. Who knows, maybe even a P.R.? It's an experiment, but it should be fun to see how it plays out!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Oh the mountains!

I just returned this evening from visiting a friend in Virginia. The drive was long, but beautiful. I love driving in the mountains! And even more, I love hiking in the mountains. As I drove, I daydreamed-of the months ahead, the months that will be spent in the woods. The ridges that we will climb over, the valleys we will enjoy (and I even lingered for a moment on the pain that will be endured). What I drove through just today will take weeks to accomplish on foot. But that's the beauty of it, I think. And I can't wait!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Exactly 4 Months!


In 4 months from today, Daniel and I will be heading down the trail.

I will have graduated from college.

Daniel will have left his job.

We will have said good-bye to friends and family.


It seems so far away, but really, it's just around the corner.

I can't wait!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Adjustment to the Plan

After consulting more with our family and in planning for a family vacation, we are no longer taking a full week off in june. we will come home for our younger bro's graduation and then head directly back out on the trail.

instead, we look to start about a hundred miles north of buchanan virginia and finish the top portion in early august. we will then take a vaca in north carolina, i will go to my friend's wedding, and we will both head south to finish the souther portion on august 21. essentially the same plan and mileage with a few adjustments!