Monthly Archives: August 2014

A Change of Pace

Howdy!!

From now until the finish, I will be posting a variety of things in addition to my regular blog to make things more interesting for you guys. Reading my day to day activities can be monotonous and boring, so this change of pace should do the trick! This was inspired by my lovely parents.

Subjects of blogs:
Trail names
What I learned on the trail
What I would do differently
What not to do on the trail
Favorite things about the trail
Least fav things about the trail
Gear review
What I eat on a daily basis
Gear list
Trail terms

I will be starting with my gear list and gear reviews.

Also, I will shortly be writing a philosophical nature blog about my experience thus far. I found out these past couple of years that I have a natural gift with outdoor writing. Enjoy the reads! Cheers.

Fish

Day 91: zero day

Hey!

Had a lovely day relaxing with more family and got to eat lots of food. I think I’ve finally reached 140 pounds for the first time in my life. Stoked to be able to chill with my cousin, because I will not get to see him again until Christmas. Tomorrow is Labor Day and I’m doing only five miles! God I love vacation days!

Fish

Day 90: Harpers Ferry, West Virginia to Snickers Gap, VA 7 and 679

Hey everyone,

Met up with family once again on the trail! My uncle and aunt that picked me up live in Stafford, VA and I’m staying with them for tonight and tomorrow night. Also, I crossed into Virginia today. As of now, I have a little less than 1000 miles to go!!! I feel very proud and excited to share this news with everyone! Phase 2: the mid Atlantic states, is now over. Phase 3: Virginia, is about to begin. It is the longest state on the trail with over 500 miles. I can’t wait to hike on skyline drive that overlooks the blue ridge parkway. I’ll probably see bears as well!!! May want to consider not sleeping with my food for the next week or so.

Fish

Day 89: pine knob shelter to Harpers Ferry, Vest Virginia

Hey everyone!

Today I did my longest day of 23.5 miles into West Virginia. Harpers Ferry is probably one of the coolest towns I’ve seen along the trail. Lots of historic churches and history. It was nice walking along the Potomac River on a bike path. The path the past couple of days has been surprisingly rocky. This is by no means a complaint. Forgive me for not elaborating on this blog. I’m simply too tired to write any more.

Fish

Day 88: pa rt 16 to pine knob shelter

Hey everyone!

After spending the night with family in Waynesboro, I felt refreshed and full of food once again. Because I was only three miles from the border, I felt like It was only a matter of time before I entered Virginia. Even though I was not doing the four state challenge, I still wanted to do a lot of miles through Maryland and West Virginia.

This hike into Maryland was a good start with 21 miles. The tenting area around the shelter was good. The only downside was that I heard cars zooming past on I-70 all night long. Anyway, I felt accomplished after a good day. Can’t wait for tomorrow.

Fish

Day 87: rocky mt shelter to pa route 16

Howdy!!

Before leaving pa, I made one last stop that involved visiting with family members in blue ridge summit and waynesboro pa. I ate a meal with both families and I especially enjoyed dinner which was pork, vegetables, potatoes, salad, and peach cobbler for dessert!! I am so thankful for the hospitality! So far, pa is my favorite state. It felt great to be home and spend time with everyone! It’s hard to believe I will be done the trail in just two months!

Fish

P.s. I will be in Maryland tomorrow!!!

Day 86: pine grove furnace state park to Rocky Mountain shelter

Howdy!

Today I did 22 miles and made it to he hallway point on the trail!!! At that moment in time, I have walked 1093 miles and have 1093 miles to go! At the shelter I’m at now, I have 1075 miles left!!! Thank you so much for all of he support!

I passed some pretty cool things today such as the halfway point sign, quarry gap shelter which looked like a homestead, Caledonia state park, and passed through a rhododendron tunnel! Tomorrow I’m spending some time with cousins in blue ridge summit and in laws in waynesboro before heading into Maryland!!! Its bittersweet leaving pa but I’m one state closer to completing the finish so I can return to my family and party it up!!

Fish

P.s. Lee Child is an amazing book writer. Can’t put down my new book!

Day 85: boiling springs pa to Pine Grove Furnace State Park

Howdy!

Today I did 20 miles and I was planning on staying at the hiker hostel at the park but wouldn’t you know it, a college had rented the place out for the evening. Also, I couldn’t do the ice cream challenge because the general store closed at 5. After being slightly ticked off, I headed up the hill and pitched my tent at a campsite above some private cabins.

Fish

P.s. Tomorrow I will be at the halfway point!!

Day 83-84: zero days in Tipton pa

Hey guys!

After the surprise, I was glad to be back in central pa. It was as if I’d never left. I love spending time with my grandparents. Lucky for me, I was only a half hour away in state college for the past two years and even closer for the two years before that when I lived Altoona. Anyway, these two days were fun because I got to go fishing with my grandfather (We caught a total of 8!), hang out with my relatives from Virginia in Altoona, go to my cousins birthday at the park, see my other relatives new cat, watch the movie Lone Soldier (the most intense and inspiring movie I have ever seen in my life!) and do the ice bucket challenge at Delgrossos Amusement Park!!! Even after that, I got interviewed about my journey through the trail by WTAJ 10 news! These two days flew by but it was a good refresher and I can’t wait until Thanksgiving dinner, which is always held in Tipton!

Fish

P.s. I also got to attend a Boy Scout court of honor where my brother received his life scout rank! So proud of him and his accomplishments!!!

Day 82: Darlington shelter to boiling springs pa

Hey guys!

I did 14.3 miles today in under 4 hours. The terrain was very easy and the elevation change was nonexistent. I got to walk through miles of cornfields and lowlands, parallel a large stream, and walk over three major highways! Southern pa is absolutely beautiful and I’m glad I live in York so I can experience it all! The country is where my heart is!

The best part of the day was surprising my family in Tipton. It was my brothers birthday party and I hid upstairs while everyone arrived. Hen I called my mom on the phone to make everyone think I was on the trail. Then I showed up in the kitchen and everyone was shocked! Mom and I really got em! The best part of the surprise was seeing my grandfathers face. He actually got a little emotional. All was well with the world and I’m glad I get to spend more time with family the next couple of days. I’m planning on fishing with my grandfather early in the morning.

Fish

Day 81: peters mountain shelter to Darlington Shelter

Hey guys!

After starting off my day, I became very excited because from here to boiling springs is my favorite section in pa. Also, Duncannon is where I was introduced to the trail by my father more than three short years ago! Since then, my life has never been the same.

Anyway, when I crossed the Susquehanna River, I detoured to Sheetz and ate two chicken snack wraps, fries, and an Oreo pie. I washed it down with a large tea. I’ve been waiting to eat here for ages and it was totally worth the extra walking.

Containing onward, I walked on the some of the rockiest trail I’ve been on but encountered a beautiful view of the river and the surrounding areas which made up for it. I especially like walking through the farm fields across pa 850 and up to the shelter. The shelter sat up on the ridge and had a great water source. Tomorrow will be a short and easy day. Also, it is in my opinion the easiest section of the whole trail.

Fish

Day 80: Rausch Gap shelter to peters mountain shelter

Hey guys!

Today was a shorter day of 18 miles. The shelter I’m staying at tonight is probably the best shelter on the entire trail. Complete with a loft and picnic table, this shelter can hold at least 15 people comfortably! The best part about tonight was that I got to chat with a couple of northbounders about the southern part of the trail. On to Duncannon tomorrow which is where it all began. I’ll explain in the next blog.

Fish

P.s. I’m eating at Sheetz tomorrow for lunch!!!

Day 79: campsite to Rausch Gap shelter

Hey guys!

Did 21 miles today! It was an easy day. It’s amazing how easy the trail gets when you do it a second time. You see, I hiked all of Pennsylvania the last couple of years so I’m very familiar with the trail and what it has to offer. The whole day was pretty much set on top of the ridge lines which are flat in this state. I did enjoy dipping down into Swatara gap though! A change of scenery is nice every few miles.

Fish

Day 78: hamburg pa to campsite

Hey guys!

After spending three days with family, I was ready to get back on the trail for another five days. I am surprising my extended family in Tipton on August 22. It’s amazing how much I love hiking. Each white blaze I see is a couple of steps closer to the finish! And the trail never gets boring because there is always something to see whether it be a new plant, animal, or person you’ve never met before. The trail is always full of surprises!

Anyway, today I did roughly 21 miles. Also, I got to meet speed goat who is on track to break the supported record for the fastest time to complete the whole trail. It’s amazing to see that kind of speed. I got to hike behind him for three miles. This guy is built tough! Just to give you an idea, speed goat will complete the trail is 45 odd days and it will take me roughly 160 days to complete the trail. Enough said.

At the end of the day, all is well.

Fish

Day 75-77: three zero days in York

Hey everyone,

It feels so good to be home! After two and a half months, I finally arrived at 20 walden ct. I have to say that I haven’t missed home this much since freshman year of college. I was looking forward to the home cooked meals that my beautiful mother prepares for us children. If you can still call me a child that is! At the age of 23, I have learned to appreciate where you come from a lot more than before I started the trail. Anyway, these next three days were packed with fun events such as:

-my first date with Rebecca Moats (the beautiful young woman I’m currently seeing)
-attending one of my best friend’s graduation at Penn State (I miss that place)
Family reunion (I haven’t seen some of my dad’s side of the family in five years!)

In addition to these things, I got to hang out with friends. Visiting Green Valley Swimming Pool and Greg and Jelissa’s house (my good friends) were one of many places to name a few.

One thing that has been on my mind since day one was fishing. While I was at home, I got to fish Yellow Breeches Creek in Boiling Springs and Spruce Creek near State College and I landed three fish at each stream! It felt good to break in the new fly rod and reel. Orvis definitely makes good quality fishing equipment.

One downside to my stay at home was that I found out that my grandfather was in the hospital, so after I attended the graduation, I headed down to Altoona. He seemed like his normal self, only tired. I’m just glad he was able to still tell stories and crack jokes like usual! The day before I left to go back on the trail, he got released. I thank God that he is okay.

All in all, these days really were a blast. I needed a small break and I got one. I love being able to spend time with family and friends!

Fish

P.s. I’m 972.2 miles in. Just shy of 1000 miles!!!

Day 73: George w Outerbridge shelter to Allentown hiking club shelter

Howdy folks!!

Today, my dad, brother, and dog got picked up by my mother down the hill and I continued on to the next shelter. I have to make it to Hamburg by Thursday night. I’m meeting one of my best friends there for a bite to eat and some beer. Also, a visit to Cabelas is in order.

If I get to town, which it will, it will be a new personal best for me. Currently, the most I’ve walked in PA in one day is 21 miles. I want to beat that tomorrow. There are a couple of rocky sections but a fair amount of good solid trail too. I will be getting picked up by mom and dad later tomorrow night to go home for three days. It will be nice to have true relaxation. By tomorrow, I will have walked 972 miles on the trail. I’m so close to 1000 miles!!! It feels amazing to be able to do this at this point in my life. I am blessed.

Fish

Day 72: Leroy a smith shelter to George w. Outerbridge shelter

Howdy!

Today was the last day of hiking with family. We had a long day today of 17 miles. All I can say was everyone was pretty tired and progress was slow. I wanted to make this day a final challenge to everyone. They pulled through with flying colors. I was very proud of my family for making it down the unusually steep scramble just above the Lehigh River.

My favorite part today was walking along the Superfund site that overlooked the town of Palmerton. The original trail is closed for the time being due to remediation of a zinc mining operation that fell through years back. Despite this detour, there were plenty of raspberries to be picked and we took our good old time through this section.

When we got to the shelter, everyone was relieved. They have just completed one of the most rockiest sections of the trail in my opinion. They passed the test!

Fish

Day 71: Kirkridge shelter to Leroy a smith shelter

Hey guys!

Today we did 14 miles. This is my second day of hiking with my family. The rocks in this section were more prevalent than the last section. At Wolf Rocks, Abbey got her pack stuck so we had to take it off of her so she could complete the section. I could see she was starting to get a little sore.

Let’s talk about water for a a second. The water situation in August is a little sketchy because most of the springs are dried up. With this being said, we had to walk 10 miles until we could fill up. There wasn’t even a stream along the road where we filled up. A kind lady let us use her spigot. I was a little worried about Abbey getting dehydrated, but after she drank lots of water, I felt better.

After we had lunch, we went up the mountain from wind gap and set up camp near the shelter. It was a nice grassy area with a few rocks and a fire pit. We did our usual ritual of cigars and marshmallows. Abbey was so tired that when it came time for her to be fed, she could only crawl to her food. I had to take a picture.

Fish

P.s. Tomorrow is the last day of hiking with family.

Day 70: PA border to Kirkridge Shelter

Hey everyone!

After seeing my father, brother, and dog for the first time since June 1, I was very excited to have company for the next three days. Our plan was to hike from the Delaware River to PA 873 near Palmerton, PA. The total mileage is around 40 miles. I was very much looking forward to taking it easy and changing my usual pace from three miles an hour to under two miles an hour.

The first part of the hike involved climbing Mt. Minsi which wasn’t so bad. The trail was beautiful because it was like walking through a tunnel of rhododendron. It’s hard to believe that I walked this part of the trail back in February of 2013 to finish the PA section of the Appalachian Trail. The second part of the hike involved a gorgeous view of the river and a relaxing lunch brake ( haven’t had one of those in a while). To finish off the hike, we walked the ridge line for a couple of miles and ended up at the shelter where we set up camp.

Hanging out with family around the campfire is one of my favorite things to do outdoors. My dad and I smoked a cigar while roasting marshmallows. Michael was so tired that he took a nap. Abbey held up pretty well with being just a house dog. Even though we only did 7 or so miles today, it was one of the most enjoyable days on the trail. And the rocks weren’t even that bad! Looking forward to tomorrow’s hike!

Fish

Day 69: campsite to pa border

Howdy folks,

Well I did it! I walked from Mt katahdin Maine to The Pennsylvania border!!! I’m just shy of 900 miles. I’ve been incredibly blessed with my good fortune on the trail. I can’t believe I have been on the trail for over two months straight! As I walked on the bridge that crossed over the Delaware River, a wave of memories flooded my mind as the culmination of the past four years of my life flashed right before my eyes. I’ve done some incredible things in my life but his one takes the cake!

I can’t wait to meet up with family tomorrow and just mosey on down the trail instead of doing three miles an hour with my head down. Anyway, going to head to bed so I can wake up and hike through my home state; the part of the trail that is responsible for my undertaking of this huge adventure. Take care.

Fish

Day 67: Vernon, NJ to High Point Shelter

Hello folks!

Did a 19 mile day on some of the easiest terrain I’ve ever done on the trail. Since I got a late start out of town, I was worried about time but because of the easy trail, I got to the shelter around 4:30. It felt good to relax and ponder.

Today held some great highlights because I got to see a giant field full of beautiful purple loosestrife (albeit an invasive plant), walk through a national wildlife refugee which contained many egrets, blue herons, and Canadian geese, and meander through fields that contained an abundance of ripe raspberries!

My campsite is just below the highest point in New Jersey. I think I’m going to get an early start tomorrow so I can go up the lookout tower and take some pictures. The trail to the tower is .3 miles off the main trail and I already have to do 22 miles to the next campsite! Tomorrow, I will be walking the ridge line that will take me into Delaware Water Gap where I will be reunited with my father, brother, and dog, Abbey. I’m beyond excited since I haven’t seen them in over two months! Here’s to a motivational push to the pa border. Cheers!

Fish

P.s. There are three places in NJ that are named after rattlesnakes (mountain, spring, and swamp) and there is also a sanctuary near Mohican Outdoor Center where rattlesnakes are protected.

Day 66: stealth campsite to Vernon, New Jersey

Hey everyone!

Did around 15 miles to the town of Vernon, New Jersey. I was so excited when I crossed the border! One more state to go until I reach my home state of Pennsylvania. Right before I crossed the border, I was at the highest point in New York which was 1433 feet in elevation complete with an American flag!! Anyway, Gilligan and I have parted ways for now. He is carrying on to the next shelter. I’m ready to walk alone again. I enjoy the peace and quiet.

I have a couple more days of pushing hard to get me to PA
8/7: 18.9 miles
8/8: 22.2 miles
8/9: 21.9 miles

I can’t wait to see family and loved ones.

Fish

P.s. I need a shower.

Day 65: William Brien Memorial Shelter to Stealth campsite

Howdy you Pennsylvanians!

Did 22 miles today which is the most I’ve ever done on the trial thus far. I feel very much in shape! Hiking with Gilligan is a good change of pace. No doing three miles on hour all the time. I’ve gotten to enjoy the scenery much more! At the end of the day, we ate at a creamery and we both got banana splits that were well worth the cost. The view was amazing as well! I could tell that I was close to PA!

Fish

p.s. I will be in New Jersey tomorrow!!!