Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Appalachian Trail - Update 15 - The Whites

Appalachian Trail - Update 15 - The Whites
Well...I'm at the doorstep to the whites. I made it to Glencliff and climb my first beast tomorrow. Mt Moosilauke. I can't wait.

I will fill you all in from Gorham when I make it out in about a week...


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Appalachian Trail - Update 14 - Vermont

First off let me say that Murphy has his law in full effect today. Let me explain....

From the moment I stepped into Vermont it has rained continuously. Basically 5 straight days. The entire 105 miles from the border to Killington has been mud. The trail should be renamed the "AMT" for the Appalachian Mud Trail. Of course today...I hit Killington at 11 AM and am taking my usual Post Office half day........and its beautiful, sunny and 72 degrees. DOH!

Vermont has been slightly more difficult hiking than Massachusetts, but still not too bad. I have made the turn at Maine Junction here at Killington and am officially heading towards my end goal 484 miles away (at mile 1690). It was nice though sharing those miles with the famous "Long Trail" of Vermont. Killington Mountain was the first 4000+ ft mountain since The Priest Mtn in Virginia. Come to think of it, it's kind of crazy to think that I have less miles left than were in the entire state of Virginia....hmmm.

Anyway....I made the mistake of looking ahead at the elevation profiles for the White Mountains and I am terrified. I have 80 miles to Glencliff NH which is where the whites officially start. As soon as I leave the town, I head from 1000 ft up to 4800 ft in one shot up Mt Moosilauke. Nothing like a smooth transition.

On a side note, in the past few days I've passed 4 South Bound thru-hikers. It's kind of interesting hearing their side of the story. They all have the smirk as if to say "nah nah, I have the hardest part already completed". I just smirk back and think "yeah but I only have 480 miles left and you have 1700". I also think "I get to finish at Katahdin...and you get to finish on the completely uninspiring and underwhelming Springer Mtn." Seriuosly though, I have received a lot of good wisdom from the south bounders about the Whites and Maine. I can't wait to be hiking above treeline. I am getting tired of the "long green tunnel".

In two days I get to hike right through the campus of Dartmouth College in Hanover. That should be intersting. It will be tough trying to fit in with the students...and look "Ivy league" with almost 90 days of facial hair. Oh well.

Guess that's it for an update. I honestly don't know when/if I'll be able to update again. The lodging and internet access is real sketchy from here on out. I'll try but if I can't...just remember I'll be in the Whites from around the 26th to the 31st. If there's ever a time you feel like rooting for me, or cheering me on...that's when I'll need it the most. Say a few prayers to the weather Gods while you're at it too. There would be nothing worse than going through the entire Whites in rainy crappy weather and never seeing any of the amazing views. I am going to try and stay in the famous White Mountain Huts by doing a Thru-Hiker "work-for-stay" program they offer, so I'll at least hopefully get some good meals and warm places to stay. I'm shooting for Katahdin somewhere between the 14 and the 16th of August. I've been getting real tired lately so I may slow down a bit and hit on the 17th or 18th. It will all depend on how I feel in Gorham, NH (end of the Whites).

I've got LOTS of pics and videos from the 2nd half. Can't wait to upload them.

be well everyone, and I'll be back soon.

-a very tired, yet excited, john

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Appalachian Trail - Update 13

I am writing this from Cheshire Massachusetts (roughly mile 1560...or 614 to go). Today marks a pretty important day on the trail. It marks the last "easy" day I will probably have. I hiked a short day today and am purposely sucking the proverbial marrow out of this near-zero day. I have stuff to get at the post office so I had to stop for the day and wait until tomorrow morning. I got here about noon and am staying at a small B & B. Tomorrow I head out and up Mount Greylock....MA's highest peak. From there I head into Vermont and into tougher mountains again. After 100 miles in VT, I turn east and head into NH and finally get to tackle the White Mountains......arguably the toughest part of the entire trail. So like I said, today is my last day to enjoy taking it easy. Believe it or not, a lot of people quit the trail at this point because they see the elevation profiles for VT, NH, and ME...and lose hope. Again I will say that I have come too damn far to quit now (as tempting as it is....and oh man is it tempting). I know if I quit now, I would be sitting on my couch roughly one month from now saying to myself, "had I not quit, I'd be summiting Katahdin right now...DOH!" I have spent too many nights dreaming about what it will be like to summit Mt. Katahdin to give up.


I was talking to another hiker here about just how much faster the 2nd half seems to be going. We both agreed its because there's no Virginia. No state of 500 + miles. I remember hiking in Maryland right after my break and it seems like only a week ago. Yet North Carolina seems like last year. NJ, NY, CT, and MA have all gone by so fast.

I can't wait to be writing an update from Caratunk Maine, my last PO stop before Katahdin.

Thank you everyone for all your words of encouragement the last few weeks...it has certainly helped.

....next major stop will be Killington, VT. Right at the Maine Junction. (where the Long Trail and A.T. Split)

till then,

-a tired and sore, john.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Appalachian Trail - Update 12

I am just leaving the small town of Salisbury CT (1485 miles // 689 miles to go) this morning and heading up Bear Mountain (CT's highest peak). By the end of the day, I'll be in Southern Mass. Less than 700 miles to go now...and honestly I'm very glad. I am starting to get the "hiking blues" as they are called. Just kind of want to sit on a couch for a few days and do a whole lot of nothing....But I know I've come way too far for that. I didn't hike 1500 miles to quit now. Besides New Hampshire and Maine are still to come...the best two states on the trail.

Don't know when I'll be able the write again. I hope everyone is doing well, and I'm looking forward to starting the new chapter of my life this fall at Penn State.

If everything goes according to plan, I should summit Mt. Katahdin on or around August 12-14.....so basically, I have one month left.


Monday, July 9, 2007

Appalachian Trail - Update 11

Well, it has been a long time since I've had access to a computer. I'm writing this from Kent Connecticut. (mile 1452 - 722 left). Since my last update, I have completed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. The hiking through these mid-atlantic states has been pretty average...nothing too exciting to write home about. I should be in MA later this week, and VT by next week.

Overall I'm doing ok, but I can honestly say that I am starting to get a little bit tired of hiking. I did pass the 2/3 mile mark this morning so I am on the last leg of the trail, but I still can't help feeling that I want it to be over soon. I should be done in about 1 more month. I know once I'm in the White Mountains of NH and up in Maine I'll feel a lot better.

Hope everyone back home is doing great and I'll try to write again from Cornwall Bridge tonight.


Monday, July 2, 2007

Appalachian Trail - Update 10

Greetings from Joisey! Well...almost. I am actually on the PA/NJ border in the town of Delaware Water Gap (but techinally still in PA). Mile 1288 I think?...I don't have my book in front of me.


Even though PA was 230 miles, it actually went by fairly quickly. Also, the "horrible, terrible, dreaded rocks" everyone kept warning me about really weren't that bad. Only the last 10-15 miles of PA were really bad.

I'm really excited to be hitting NJ tomorrow because I will have 4 states in a row now with less than 100 miles. I should knock all 4 out in less than 2 weeks.

Also, I'm supposed to be meeting my buddy Aaron for a day at my next P.O. stop in Fort Montgomery NY.

I started a trailjournals journal as well, because apparently thats were all the hikers post their blogs (not here on myspace). www.trailjournals.com

That's pretty much it I guess. Pennsylvania was a very nice state to hike through (except the last 15miles of course). There was even a 1 mile long intense boulder scramble by lehigh gap that required me doing some ol hand over hand rock climbing.....it was actually pretty fun.

I broke my distance record again....34.9 now. Before I'm done, I will hit a 40 miler at least once.

Finally.....Katahdin is now less than 900 away. I believe its around 896 or something.

well, I do miss all my family and friends....I'll be back soon.