Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Appalachian Trail - Update 6

Well, I made it to Pearisburg...mile 622. I got in this morning around 9:30. So far Virginia has been getting slightly easier...but I'm also in better shape so the climbs don't seem as bad. It was a long 7 days from Damascus to here, but it finally came. My toe hasn't really been getting any better with the antibiotics, so I might actually go to the Clinic here in town today. I am about to head up and get my post office stuff and do my laundry, but the motel I'm staying at had a public internet terminal...so I figured I'd do a quick update.

I have finally run into the big crowds of hikers that all left in mid-april. Every shelter I get to at night has consistantly been full with other hikers. I kind of miss the smaller crowds.

I honestly don't know if I'm going to be able to update very much between now and Harper's Ferry. My next three stops are real small towns that probably won't have internet terminals, so you may not hear from me again until my break around the middle of June. (Or sooner if my toe doesn't get any better).

Hope all is well with everyone. I can honestly say that doing this hike has allowed my to clear my head of a lot of things that have been gnawing away at me. I hope that whenever it is that I stop, I will have a clean head, and a positive attitude that I can take to grad school. I certainly needed this time away.

take care everyone and I will try to update again. Pics and vids will be posted during my break.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Appalachian Trail - Update 5

Greetings from Damascus Virginia...Mile 459. It was a long, brutal hike into Damascus, but well worth it. I busted butt the past few days so that I would only have 10 miles to hike into town today. I got here about 10:00 am and already found a b & b to stay at. They do my laundry, have free snacks, internet, and give me free beer. Like I said though, I earned it. I did 29.5 miles yesterday, and 34.5 the day before that (a personal record). From everything I have seen, it looks as though there's about 100 more miles in Virginia of tough mountains before things even out. So I guess I'm not to the easy stuff just yet. I had a set back with my antibiotics. The place they were sent to were closed the day I got there, so I couldn't pick them up. My toe hasn't really gotten any worse, but not any better either. I asked the place I sent them to, to forward them to the Damascus PO. Hopefully they are here. I'll know in about 30 minutes.

I am very glad to be done with North Carolina and Tennessee. Now I have Virginia to deal with for a long 550 miles. I will say the few mountains I climbed after Roan Mountain were probably the most amazing yet (Specifically Hump Mountain).

I hope all is well with everyone back in C-town and Rochester. I miss everyone. I am still planning on taking at least 5 days off in mid june when I get to Harper's Ferry (the half way point). I have taken a lot of pictures and short videos with my camera and will upload them to my johnfegy site as soon as I'm on my break (roughly June 18th or so)

I still can't believe I've walked almost 459 miles straight. It occurred to me that I've basically walked from Cleveland to New York City. 459 down, 1715 to go.

I'll write again soon...but at worst, in Pearisburg 7 days from now.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Appalachian Trail - Update 4

Erwin, TN...Mile 338

Well, overall I think the zero day was a good thing. I got to spend a whole day in Hot Springs with some really good people. It was tough to say goodbye to them all....but I must move on. I made it to Erwin this afternoon and decided to stay at a Hostel (Uncle Johnny's) for $15.00. Great little place. Every hostel on the trail has the same type of feel. Very welcoming. Extremely friendly people.

My toe is not really getting any better, but I have antibiotics coming tomorrow. Hopefully, it will finally clear up with the help of a little amoxicillan.

I am really looking forward to Damascus, VA. Both Georgia and North Carolina have been roller coasters. They are loaded with what hikers call "PUDS"...pointless ups and downs. (and MUDS...mindless ups and downs)From what everyone tells me, VA gets a little bit easier...especially Shenendoah. Seriously, for the past few weeks, I've climbed 3000 feet...then descended 3000 feet....then climbed 3000 feet...all day, everyday. I've lost about 10 pounds already and I eat everything in sight when I'm in town. Its great to be able to eat anything and not worry about gaining weight. Average thru-hikers burn 5000-6000 calories a day. I'm doing 25+ miles a day, so for me its more like 6000 calories. Every try to eat 6000 calories? It's like 2 pizzas...a day! Anyway....I found out that the A.T. has more elevation gain than both the Contintental Divide and Pacific Crest trail combined. Amazing. If you hike the entire A.T....its like hiking from sea level to the top of Mt. Everest and down, 16 times. That's right 16!

In two days I will summit Roan Mountain...the last 6000 + ft mountain until Mt. Washington up in New Hampshire.

That's it for now. I'm gonna go make some phone calls. My cell phone actually has a signal here in Erwin.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Appalachian Trail - Update 3

Well, I made it to Hot Springs (Mile 270). Not much to this town. When I asked a local hiker how big the town was they said, "If you threw a dead cat from downtown, it would land outside of town". That pretty much sums it up.

I got a small motel room...not nearly as nice as in Fontana, but anything is better than sleeping on the ground. Its amazing how much we take for granted. I am simply amazed that there's a thing that you can turn, and water comes out of it..I'm just so used to filtering from streams.

As far as an injury update: I am pretty sore all over. The good news is that my right ankle has gotten better...that bad news is that both my knees are really sore from all the recent down hills, and that I have an infection brewing in my big toe (due to bad cutting of toenail).

As much as I want to stay on schedule, I am seriously considering taking a "zero day". This is what the AT hikers call taking an entire day off from hiking. In all honesty, I think the body needs it once in a while just to heal up a bit. Otherwise, you risk running yourself into the ground.

I'll have my cell phone tomorrow, so I can finally call some of you. I decided it was just easier to carry it. This way I can call towns ahead of time to book rooms too.

take care everyone!

-john "lakewood"

Friday, May 11, 2007

Appalachian Trail - Update 2

Hi everyone!

I am staying in a Hostel tonight called "Standing Bear Farm". It is a quaint little place right on the trail. I was supposed to camp tonight, but this place was within a mile of my campsite. I am writing this from the owner's personal computer (on a 24.4 modem no less - yikes). I am 3 miles north of the Great Smoky Mountains and 2 days from Hot Springs. I was able to blow through the Smoky Mountains in 3 days. I took a video with my camera from the observation tower on the top of Clingman's Dome. (The highest peak on the entire 2174 Mile A.T.). I'll write a more detailed message from Hot Springs. Hope all is well with everyone. I miss all of you!

-john a.ka. "lakewood"

by the way, I have officially been given the trail name of "lakewood". Every hiker on the trail has one and that is what you introduce yourself as to other hikers. Mine came from a combination of a town by where I live...and the brand of acoustic guitar that I play.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Appalachian Trail - Update 1

Well, I'm sitting at a computer terminal at the general store in Fontana Village NC. It sits right outside the Smoky Mountains (southern side) at A.T. mile marker 160. So far I'm on schedule but my body is definitely paying for it. I have many sore joints, ligaments and muscles. Tomorrow I will head into the smokys and will try to update again in about 6 days from Hot Springs, NC. So far I've met some of the most amazing people in the past 8 days. Young and old, people of all ages have so many reasons for doing this trail. There's definitely been a lot of trail magic too. Every single hiker I've met, has been extremely nice.

Take care everyone, and I will write again soon!