Thursday, April 30, 2015

Class of 2015 - Hiking Your Own Hike

Here is one more update before I hit my own trail for a week long Thru Hike of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail (aka the L - Double H - T).

Today we will see how each hike evolves and morphs into a unique hike for each individual.  It has also been interesting to see how each hiker that I am following is updating their journey in cyber space and adjusting their hike to fit their circumstances. 

They are each finding out how challenging it can be to keep adding a regularly updated status.  When you are walking all day and the time comes to stop for the night, you have chores to do.  Shelter, water, food...  Rest...  Writing out a coherent and thoughtful journal entry become a burden that causes it to fall down on your to do list.  

So here is where I find each of our six hikers on the last day of April.

Where they all are on my AT map
Clifford:  On Clifford's Facebook Like Page, which is updated by his Mother, Deb.  The last entry mentioned that he was 1/4 of the way done.  Since then Deb has messaged me that he entered Pearisburg, VA about six days ago.  He should be getting close to McAfee Knob by now.  

Only 1641 to go.
Sling Shot: Sling Shot was still moving along nicely at his last update.  He appeared to be right behind Clifford as he left Pearisburg two days ago.  Hannah has posted her own version of a Hiking update on her blog.  Check it out.  

Sling Shot has found the challenge of updating the Trail Journals site hard, but it is a lesson we all learn as we dedicate the day to walking and there isn't much time for writing.  And most times there is no signal to transmit.  And updating TJ from the trail is a bitch.  

One important thing I want to point out is his realization that the hike isn't just a long continuous dog walk.  He has been pushing hard and The Hairy Missile has been moving along with him as any dog will do with its master, but as SS has pushed the days long, the dog is giving his clues that he needs to take the time to still have fun.  He is getting bored with the constant walking.  Rests and play times are important.  That is the ultimate challenge of hiking with a dog.  You have to hike the dogs hike, not your own.  Until dogs can talk, you have to see the clues and indications they give you as to their health and happiness.  

It looks like SS has figured this out and will slow down some to enjoy the trail and not concentrate so much on making the big miles.  

Treehugger:  Treehugger is heading to the Flip-Flop Kick Off this weekend and I will be seeing her there.  She now has a nice brace on her knee and figures that she might get a new trail name of The Bionic Woman.  I can tell she is ready to get back on the trail.  Once that things gets into your blood, there is no way to get it out, except to get on trail.  Most people don't realize that this is a terminal condition.  

Scoops and Iceberg:  Sometimes life in the "real world" pulls you off the trail temporarily. That is what happened to Scoops and Iceberg.  They are selling their house and it was time to get back, get their new place ready and close on the old place.  After 21 days of hiking, they left the trail at the NOC and headed back to Delaware to take care of business.  They will head back to the trail when things are taken care of and meet up with their hiker friends from their bubble who have continued on.  Once they reach the Big K, they will come back down and finish the section they skipped.  They are hiking their own hike.  

It is good to see that they left the trail for "bizness" and not injury or defeat.  They will be back and you can tell that the trail has taken hold and won't let them off that easily.

Iceberg has updated her Facebook Like page with a bunch of entries and you can read them here.

Scoops and Iceberg on Wesser Bald
Justin:  Justin, still waiting for that July start date is still doing his thing at home.  He has started spreading the word of these updates, so once he gets going and I can see where he is, his updates will be a little more fun.  Until then... He prepares...


Monday, April 20, 2015

AT Class of 2015 - Quick Update

From my latest gleaning of Facebook and Trail Journals, here is an update on the Super Six.

Clifford:  Left Damascus April 15th and hiked for a few days with George Jones,one of the Scout Masters who went to Philmont with Clifford.  

Entering VA
Sling Shot:  Made it to Damascus on April 18th.  Only about three days behind Clifford for now.  

Watauga Lake
Treehugger:  Temporarily off the trail with a knee issue.  Diagnosed as patellofemoral pain syndrome.  Resting and PT'ing the knee and still plans on being in Harpers Ferry for the Flip Flop Kick Off on May 2nd.  Hopefully back on the trail fully after that.  

Crabtree Falls Campground
Scoops and Iceberg:  Exited Georgia a couple days ago after 11 days of hiking.  Doing good with spirits high.  

Leaving Georgia
Justin:  Most likely chomping at the bit in anticipation.  Here is his April 11th Facebook entry.  "3 months from now I will be either in or about to enter the 100 Mile wilderness in Maine!  July 7 or 8th when I summit Katahdin can not come soon enough!  That's just the beginning..."


Keep on Hiking, Hikers!


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

AT Class of 2015 - Flip Flopper and A Couple

It is time for another update on the six Thru Hikers I met at the NoRuck this winter.  As of this writing, three of the hikers are on the trail making their way north.  Two more will be starting their Journey today and are en route to Springer right now.  The last of our intrepid six will be a southbounder and won't hit the trail until summer is in full bloom.

So here is an update:

Clifford - I'm not exactly sure where Clifford is, but he exited the Smoky Mountains on March 23rd.  He should be past Erwin by now and still seems to be having fun.  This picture sums it up perfectly. Clifford's 2015 AT Thru Hike (on Facebook)

Clifford - Living the life of the Hiker Trash
Sling Shot - Sling Shot is hiking with his Doberman Aramis, aka The Hairy Missile.  Since dogs are not allowed in the Smoky Mountains, Hannah, Sling Shot's girlfriend came and took HM while SS hiked the Smokys.  Sling Shot's problem was that he is just hiking very fast, which messes with the real world schedules that others must follow.  This had him taking a few zeros at Fontana and some after the Smokys too.  Sling Shot got through the 71 miles of the Smokys in four days.  He did his first multiple 20 + days during that time.  SS had to take a couple more zeros to fight off a flu, but is now back on the trail with his best friend.  He should be speeding up the trail again, making big miles and having fun.  
Double A and the Hairy Missile (Trail Journals)

Sling Shot and the Hairy Missile back on the trail
Treehugger - Treehugger is our Flip Flopper and she started further up the trail on April 4th.  TH is starting around Lynchburg, VA and is heading north.  Her plan is to hike up to Harpers Ferry for the Flip Flop Kick Off (FFKO) on May 2nd.  She will then give a talk on what the first month has been like being a Flip Flop Thru Hiker.  

Here is her first on trail Trail Journals Entry:
Leaving the Pedlar River Bridge was bitter sweet as I walked away from my daughter Sammy and husband John. The feeling was mixed with sadness pride elation and a bit of trepidation. As I went on I felt better. The day was cool clear and windy. The walk along the Lynchburg Reservoir was nice. The view of the lake a rarity on the AT in these parts. As I walked I thought of the people and things I am leaving behind. I will be ok knowing they support me and will be there when i am done. The Brown Mtn. Creek shelter was gorgeous. I loved hiking along streams. Several great swimming holes too! I camped near the shelter right on the creek. Slept great. Hiking with Grey Dog, a section hiker from SE Virginia, and Yin and Yang, a husband wife team of avid AT hikers. I gave them their trail names, wonder if they'll stick. Beautiful day to hike today. Chillin with two 'ole country farm dogs while I write this. Time to move on.

Scoops and Iceberg - I saw this morning that Patti aka Iceberg and Joel aka Scoops were on their way via plane to Atlanta with further transportation to Springer Mountain.  I can easily imagine the excitement they are feeling as they get closer to the trail and their adventure.  The couple will be updating (as they can) on Trail Journals and Facebook.  Follow along with them and lend your support as the hit the trail.  

Iceberg and Scoops

Justin, our Southbounder, is the only one sitting around :)

I'm sure his anticipation is just driving him crazy as he sees everyone else on the trail, but his adventure will start soon enough.

Keep on Hiking, Hikers!


Tracker map in the command center

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Opening Day at the Museum

As I headed up the highway, then the secondary road, then the PA Country road, the flakes swirled past my windshield in their quest to find a resting place. March 28th, Spring has sprung. Opening day at the AT Museum and snow was still in the air.

My temperature gauge said 26 degrees as I pulled into the parking spot at the Museum. I grabbed my gear and quickly went inside. The first order of business was to conduct an orientation session for some of the returning Docents. We had 13 experienced greeters huddling around the electric heaters as I went through the processes of greeting our visitors, pointed out some new functions and gave some training on our Credit Card program.

Before long it was time to open and our first visitor entered the Museum just after noon. She was a Hiker from 2000 by the name of Princess and we awarded her a Halfway patch for being our first "official" visitor of the season. As the day went by, we had more and more visitors who came into the museum to get out of the biting wind, including a large group of Boy Scout Section Hikers and our first Thru Hiker of the season. Close to 40 people came through the museum on our opening day. Not too bad, considering the weather.

Normitz/Dragons Breath (the Thru Hiker) actually hiked by the day before and backtracked to come to the opening day. He brought an artifact to donate. To some, it would just look like a rusted diamond shaped piece of metal with bullet holes in it, but to us, at the museum, it is one of the original blazes that were used to mark the trail. He had found it barely hanging on a tree along the trail in Virginia and had thought to bring it to us.

As our first day finished, the temperature still was below freezing, but it had been a good day to be at the museum.

Tomorrow, would be another day.

Photo credit:Carol Bungay

Reviewing the alarm system
This is how we do it
Docents occupy the Hiker's Lounge during the orientation
Keeping "warm" by the heater
Organized Boy Scout troop