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!