Posted by: cdayger | July 16, 2011

Duncannon to Hamburg PA

Duncannon to Hamburg PA

7/12:  Up and out for 18 miles to lame shelter.  Fairly easy day.  We hung out with Little Bird who helped us walk really quickly up the only hill of the day.  Little Bird walked on, but we decided to camp by a nearby stream instead with Whistler and Walking Home and a nice fire:D  Lavendyr came in late after us.

7:13:  Up late at creed.  Walking Home and Whistler were gone by the time we got up.  17.5 miles to 501 shelter by 501 road.  Cool enclosed shelter with big skylight and bunks.  Solar shower (too cold!) and running water.  Ordered a big pizza for each of us with Walking Home and Whistler and had it delivered to the shelter!  Met Veggie and Squared (or V^2 in shorthand).  Also saw Dust, Keystone, Flyfeet, Slowpoke and more.  Lavendyr joined us late.  Long day planned tomorrow, 24 miles so going to get up early.

7/14:  Up at 5:30a and out by 6.  Leaving Lavendyr because she’s gotta keep going past Hamburg and can’t take off two days like we plan to with Scot’s Uncle Mike.  Will very much miss herL  No breakfast until morning break.  SoF walked with Keystone and talked about the Camino de Santiago in Europe a bunch.  Quick break with pizza!  Veggie gave us some honey to put on the crusts YUM!  Then 6 more miles til quick snack and foot break.  Long haul today.  Finished our 24 miles by 5, almost an hour early!  Uncle Mike found us in Port Clinton after kindly picking up our PO boxes in Hamburg.  He drove Walking Home and Whistler to the Walmart in Hamburg and then we were off to Emmaus PA where he lives.  Arrived around 6 and his wife Linda had a great feast of Beef Stew with mashed potatoes, a fresh-from-their-garden spinach salad and toasty bread.  Big feast then early to bed.

7/15:  Up late at 9:30/10 for breakfast, then off for some errands with Mike and to see the town.  Drove into Emmaus to met some of the borough council ppl (Mike is on the Borough Council in Emmaus) including the borough manager.  To center of town triangle (like a town square…but a triangle) to imagine what Emmaus would have looked like as a one track-and-fields kind of place.  On to the Rememberance Garden that Mike helped to create.  Rose garden where you can have a brick made to commemorate things you want to remember.  Eagle Scout walk, Veterans, Families, Businesses etc all have an area of the garden with bricks.  Found Scot’s Grampa, Rebecca, Mike and Elain (Scot’s mom and aunt and uncle) bricks and kids and grandkids bricks and retirement ones too.  Saw Knauss homestead-old family home and barn from long-ago in Emmaus, now a historical society gives tours.  Signed up Mike’s grandkid Louie for daycare-he’s just turned 4 and coming in from Spain for a visit next week.  Other grandkid Adam just turns 1 next week too!  To grocery store and home for BLT Yum lunch and a nap.  Blogging and journals then lasagna and salad dinner-yum again!  Eating so much-it’s all so good!  Talked to Toothfairy-she’s headed for the PCT for a few days and then will visit us around Killington VT!  She’s sending us another box too, too fun!  Early to bed for me.  Scot is going to run a 5K in the AM…Crazy!

7/16:  Up early to get Scot to race at community 5K.  After starting up front, he didn’t do as well as he expected but he had fun and supported a good cause.  Scot is re-vamping our intinerary to make the White Mountains (known to be tough!) lower mileage days and to see where we could maybe go into NY for a day.  Blogging almost done!  Talked to some cool Scouting neighbors of Uncle Mike’s-they were very interested in our gear and the trail.  Fun to talk to them about it.  Linda made ANOTHER great lunch of grilled chicken (grilled by Mike!), corn on the cob, cucumber salad, grilled zucchini, and baked potatoes for lunch!  Mike and Linda also sent us to Dorneypark, a local amusement park since Scot found out I’ve never ridden a real roller coaster (only goofy wooden ones).

Jaws and So Far know how to recreate! Thanks Mike and Linda!

Talon was terrifying!

Dorney Park by night

We rode Hydra: the Revenge (loopty upside-downy rolley coaster-terrifying), and Talon (ditto, more terrifying) and Scot rode a bunch of water slides (and I sat very still for a bit) and then we did some little cars with lawn mower engines (whee!) and then we rode Thunderhawk (a wooden coaster-rattly and scary!) and then we rode the carousel.  We got the Starlight price which is after 5pm…the way to go!  Many fewer people and less hot.  We also had a good time people watching for all sorts of terrible swim suits.  Dorneypark is the place to see and be seen!  Linda plans a big breakfast for us tomorrow and then 15 miles to a neat shelter.  Will miss it here when we leave.  Will also miss Irwin (Mike and Linda’s sweet yellow Lab)-he’s so sweet!

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Posted by: cdayger | July 16, 2011

Pine Grove Furnace to Duncannon PA

Pine Grove Furnace to Duncannon PA

7/8:  Going to hike the last 8 miles from where Scot got picked up to Pine Grove Furnace State Park (the half-way point of the trail!) and do the ½ gallon challenge (eat a whole ½ gallon of ice cream).  Made blueberry-banana pancakes for everyone:D  Yum!  Slacked the miles in the pouring down rain but it was pretty warm and so no big deal.  Stopped raining and dried out:D  Got a ride from a nice lady with 3 dogs to the store.  So Far did the ½ gallon challenge (cookies n cream).  I failed at vanilla and Lav failed at Moose Tracks (but found a teammate to complete the challenge with her).  Then home to shower and have beer (Yuengling beer is the oldest brewery in the US and is local…so we enjoyed!) and pretzels with Doris and Scot’s Great Aunt Betty and her children.  Then to bed.

7/9:  Dropped Scot off at Pine Grove to walk 20 miles to Boiling Springs.  My parents will meet us in Duncannon but they’ll stop by Gramma Doris’ first to pick up our stuff so we can all slackpack:D  Lavendyr and I want to hike 10-15 miles into Duncannon but we went to 2 different roads that the AT crosses and couldn’t find the trailL  Finally got dropped off in Duncannon instead.

Hiker hangout: the Doyle Hotel

Hung out at the Doyle Hotel, then got a ride to a park where there is a Billville hiker feed.  Billville is a bunch of hikers and trail angels who get together to “Paint the town and trail red since 20??”.  They throw a good party.

Squatch, Little Bird and So Far converse

Saw Squatch, Buscemi, Wren and hubby Chris and more.  Walked down to town to meet Mom and Dad:D  Then to pick up Scot in Boiling Springs and to Subway for dinner, then hotel for shower.  Veg’d then to park to visit at hiker feed with Daddo.  Then to bed.


Me n Daddy!

Dropped Scot at Boiling Springs to hike to Duncannon, then got Lavendyr and Mom for breakfast.  To grocery store for resupply, more vegging, and then went into Harrisburg for a movie-Beginners. Was good…but not an upper.  Met Scot at Doyle for bevs then to Ranch House Restaurant for dinner, then bed.  Mom and Dad leave in the amL

Hiking is serious business.

7/11:  To breakfast, then PO.  Mom and Dad left, then hung out at the Doyle for a while, then hiked out 11 miles with Lavendyr to Peter’s Mountain Shelter.  2 levels!  We chose top (as always).

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Posted by: cdayger | July 16, 2011

Our Nation’s Capital-a side trip!

Our Nation’s Capital-a side trip

7/6:  Waffle breakfast, then catching train to DC at 7am.  Two and a half hour ride to Union Station.

Fountain outside of Union Station

Cab to hostel to leave packs.  Walked (short) Strider back to Union Station, got some snacks.  Sent Slider off home, then heard from Lavendyr’s friend Charles and he met us at Union Station for lunch, then offered to put us up at his place, even though it’s under a sea of boxes as he’s moving imminently.  Off to the Mall, etc for some sightseeing!

The Capital Building from the Mall

Lavendyr is going to see the Dalai Lhama who is in town for his birthday celebration and to perform a Kalachakra (a two week ceremony for World Peace).  Went to the Mall to the West Art and saw some Impressionist masterpieces and some other (??) pretty stuff.  To the Smithsonian to get Smithson’s biography and see some stuff…giant spidey!  Walked over to meet Lavendyr and went to the Newseum-too expensive to go in but read the front pages of a paper from every state out front.  Casey Anthony verdict was on almost every one.  Then over to the National Archives and waited in line.  Only place on the Mall with x-ray-ers for bags and metal detectors.  NO photography allowed, it’s bad for the documents.  I guess the people who run the National Archives might have also seen National Treasure…  Saw an exhibit on how the Gov’t changed the way we eat from FDA to food pyramid to fortified food to war-time rationing.  We were there too late to see the Declaration of Independence (or anything else in the rotunda).

DC does it right...

Then walked around with Charles after he was done with work and went to Fro Yo, then to hotel he got us (he had a voucher?) for a quick shower, then drive to a Thai/Sushi dinner.  On to a night tour of DC-so cool!  If you ever get a chance to see DC by night, and see all the monuments lit up, do it.  It’s the best way to see everything, no crowds, not so hot!

Lincoln Memorial by night

Tomorrow we’re off to the Greyhound station to go to Harrisburg and meet Scot’s Gramma Doris, then pick up Scot.

7/7:  Cab to Greyhound Station, quick breakfast on way.  Got there at 10:30, waited, bus to leave at 11.  No bus, no line and no announcement.  Finally found out we’d missed it!

We missed the bus...

Went to lunch (to cool off and not flip out) and came back to catch the 3pm bus.  Got to Harrisburg at 6p.  Met Doris but her car wouldn’t start right away.  Finally got it going and then drove around Harrisburg and LeMoyne to see some sights.  Saw Doris’ and Scot’s Mom Rebecca’s grade/middle school.  Then to Pine Grove Furnace State Park to pick up Scot…he’s moving slowly and we’ll be picking him up at an early road.  Went to the wrong road (who knew there were two Shippensburg Roads?) but finally found him.  Got to Doris’ around 11 then to bed.


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Posted by: cdayger | July 16, 2011

Bears Den Hostel to Harpers Ferry

Bears Den Hostel to Harpers Ferry

7/2:  (Still at Bears Den)

Stoney walked in.  Wren slack packed in to Harpers Ferry about 20 miles away.  Magic Mix and Birch came through, then got picked up by friends for a reunion in Maryland.  Talked to Lavendyr about maybe going to DC for a day while SoF does his long day.  SoF walked in around 12:30, said the rollercoaster was rough and I wouldn’t have like it.  I’ve watched LOTS of movies!  The Guardian, Thirteen Days, Fever Pitch, Bringin’ Down the House, started Seabiscuit but it wouldn’t play all the way through, started Rudy but then we had to leave.  Just hiking to Blackburn Trail center today, about 7 miles (they have free spaghetti feed!).  We walked with Stoney.  Nice screened in porch at Blackburn to sleep on.  Started raining after we got in…buckets!  Holy Cow and Pony Boy walked in drenched.  Then Lavendyr and Almost Lost came in too.  Spaghetti dinner with brocco!

7/3:  Missed a day somewhere…we walked into Harpers on the 4th…did Blackburn on the 3rd.

7/4:  Walked 12 miles in to Harpers Ferry.  Got in around 3:30p.  Long bridge walk with freeway ick!

the freeway walk into Harpers Ferry

Went to Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC…they organize the clubs who maintain the whole trail and the shelters) to get our pics taken and get some goodies for Mom and Dad.  Looked up Belcher and Freefall in the past years books.  Got a hotel room with Pony Boy, (tall) Strider, Holy Cow and Stoney.  Met up with Scot’s pal Calicoe and her friend Lawton for lunch and catching up.  She brought us fresh fruits and veggies from the farm she works on!

So Far, Jaws, Calicoe and Lawton do the funny face outside of the ATC

Can you say cantaloupe?  No fireworks in Harpers, they were on Sat!  Lame!  The boys stayed up watching It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia till late.

7/5:  Zero day!  Packed up slowly.  Big continental breakfast at the hotel with waffles etc.  SoFar is planning a huge 80 mile day including the 4-state challenge (from VA to WV, MD and PA-about 46 miles) tomorrow starting tonight.  Mailed PO box just as PO closed, then to dinner with Bill/Almost Lost, Pony Boy, Lavendyr.  While So Far is doing his big day, I’m going into DC with Lavendyr to see the sights:D  Finally got SoF off around 7, walked him to the turnoff.  He’s going back to the VA border and then will walk all the way to Pine Grove State Park in PA (the half-way point and close to his gramma in Mechanicsburg).  Lavendyr and I fussed around and finally ended up staying at the new hostel in town:  Teahorse hostel.  Teahorse was very nice and clean with all new everything.  Laurel, the owner even picked us up downtown and dropped us off at the train station in the am!.

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Posted by: cdayger | July 7, 2011

Byoona Vista to Bears Den Hostel

Byoona Vista to Bears Den Hostel

6/22:  10 miles to Byoona Vista (I’m spelling it like that because even though it’s spelled Buena, or Bwayna phonetically, it’s pronounced Byoona) today.  Moving slow but looking forward to town and a break.  Feeling worn down and can’t keep up so I’m going to take a break and shuttle/yellow blaze up to Waynesboro while So Far neros BV and walks to Waynesboro.  Got to the road around noon and Moses, Duct tape, etc where at trailhead with an old lady “Genie” offered to drive us and Engineer to town.  Picked up our bounce box then walked very far to campground for free showers.  So Far has a funky rash on his thigh.  Had a Pina Colada milkshake and a giant vanilla cone.  Veg’d for a bit then secured a ride to Waynesboro from the people who own the wine shop “Uncorked” in town:  Mike and Pat.  Bought a bottle of wine and some local beer for Waynesboro celebration.  So Far hitched out and I rode up to WB.  Checked in at Grace Lutheran church hostel (they use their basement for a hostel with cots in the hiker season) then went to dinner with Pat and Mike to Outback (yum!).  Guino came in too and El Toro, Sky High and Toto were already there.

6/23:  Hostel closes during day but you can leave your stuff and take a day pack so I went exploring.  Going to try for a movie today.  Walked around library, learned about 50 cent bus, went to Kroger (grocery) for snacks.  Took bus to movie theatre but missed stop so got off at hospital and waited for the return journey.  Saw Pirates of the Caribbean 4-lots of swashbuckling!  Back to Walmart, got some Nido (dry whole milk).  Back to library on bus, then hostel.  Ate some snakcs, watched a movie in the hiker lounge and blogged/posted pics (the movie was scary and I don’t like scary movies…almost the only movies I won’t watch).  To bed, better sleep than last night…less snoring.

6/24:  So Far should be in today.  Left hostel with day pack again.  Bummed around at library and then at Stone Soup Bookstore and Café (go there immediately, it’s my fave restaurant on trail thus far).  Met So Far around 5 downtown (he got a shuttle in from the mayor!).  Picked up stuff at the hostel, then to free camping and showers at the YMCA.  Shaman and some other folks where there!  Turns out he got sorta burned out and slowed down some.  Glad to see him!  He’s aqua-blazing in the am.  Drank some wine and made guac then crashed.

6/25:  Shaman and co, left this am for an aqua blaze (canoe around Shenandoah Nat’l Park).  Magic Mix, Birch, (Tall…there is also a shorter) Strider, Lavendyr, Stoney, Buscemi, Pony Boy rolled up late morning!.  Stoney’s mom got a couple rooms at the Residence Inn by Marriot (she works for Marriot) out by the Walmart so we all shuttled up there and met Short Strider and his girlfriend Liz.  Some brief drama about how many people we could fit in a room (hotel says 3, we say 6).  Some went to movie, we went to outfitter (got a new hiking shirt…now I’ll have one clean and one dirty!) then watched TV and to bed.  Hiking out tomorrow while everyone but Walking Home and Pony Boy are aqua blazing in the am. 

6/26:  Caught bus to PO.  The aquablazers are canoeing from Waynesboro to Luray (just before Front Royal and the end of the Shenandoahs).  Walking Home Jr, Pony Boy and us are hiking out!  PO stop then walked towards edge of town to get a hitch.  Older lady saw our packed, honked and offered to drive us up to the trail-no thumbs needed!.  I’ve decided I won’t consider skipping until we finish the Shenandoahs!  Nice trail to 20 miles to shelter.  Shelters are oddly spaced so we have the option of about 15 miles or 30 miles, nowhere else to sleep in between in our guide.  Slept at Black Rock Hut.

6/27:  Still nice trail and nice weather.  Very gradual ups and downs, not rocky, lots of road crossings on Skyline drive.  Did most of the day with Walking Home (Pony Boy had stuff to do in town and left later).  End of day, 2 miles to go, we got a great big thunderstorm, but we were only wet for a little while before getting to High Top hut about 21 miles in.  Nice long dinner with some section hikers who were leaving early and gave us some food.  Also offered to take out our trash!

Beautiful view from just after Skyland Resort

6/28:  Dry in AM, beautiful weather…cool and sunny with a breeze.  Planning 23 miles.  Stopped at Skyland Resort for breakfast, had two breakfasts each.  Even though nice weather and trail, feeling down today.  When Scot was planning he thought we had one more day than we do so he planned 20, 21, 23, 15, 23, 8 miles per day.  The 15 is because of the oddly spaced huts and would give us some leeway to fudge around if we got behind.  We’re going to end up having to go much farther to stay on schedule.  One thing is we both think I hike better when it’s early in the day (duh) so the more miles we do early in the day, the better.  I’m out here to have fun, I care less about walking every mile.  Got to 23 mile shelter.  Walking Home is there too but heading farther on tonight.  Other nice section hikers.  Good nights sleep.

Our Intrepid Adventurer

Another Intrepid Adventurer

6/29:  No shelter where we want it to be.  Got in to Elkwallow Wayside (sort of a convenience store/gas station) for a cheeseburger just a few minutes before they closed.  Could also skip Front Royal and resupply here but there’s no fuel…so it’d have to be all cold snacks.  Decided just to get snacks and go into FR as planned.  Going to camp around here in the woods sneaky-like.  Set up tent, took all our smell-ables (food, toiletries etc) down to the Wayside for 2nd dinner.  When we headed back to camp, saw a bear headed for our tent.  Scared him off but So Far and I wouldn’t have been able to sleep much for listening for bears.  So we packed up in dark and headed for campground 3 miles away for $14 and no services (lame).  Then I remembered that we had seen a pit toilet about a half mile back…one of those nice Forest Service ones…so we slept in there.  It hardly smelled and we slept soundly.

6/30:  Up and out by 7:30, heading about 17 miles to Front Royal Hostel for a shuttle into town for PO box before it closes.  Got to hostel around 3:30 and visited with Toto and Firebeard.  Decided to stay the night, $17, maybe a shuttle or slack pack tomorrow.  Firebeard got us all pizza!  Scot chatted with Mike Evans, the owner, about Scouts.  Mike was a DE and a compiler of scout histories.  Mike has a book of all the patches since long ago.

7/1:  Bad nights sleep for me…really loud snorer from Seattle.  Got a pint of Ben and Jerry’s for breakfast on the way out though (decided no slack pack/shuttle).  Maple Blondie, yum!  Then tummy ache. (duh).  Met Johnny Walker who was out looking for his friends by checking registers.  He offered to take me to Bears Den Hostel about 30 miles away cuz he was headed there himself.

Johnny Walker and I

So Far will get there late today or in the AM and that will make it a couple very easy days into Harpers Ferry on the Fourth.  Rode up to Bears Den and settled in.  Big stone castle building with bunks, internet, lounge, kitchen, TV and DVD (movies!).  Showered and watched movies all afternoon.   Wren came in to stay-maybe she had heat stroke?  She’d been doing really big miles and the famous Virginia Roller Coaster was right before Bears Den (a 13.5 mile stretch of trail with tons of small-ish ups and downs that’s really rocky and gross).  Lavendyr and Bill/Almost Lost and (short) Strider just came in late.  Scott and Maria are the caretakers and Amy is their helper.  Hung out and vegged all afternoon.  SoF called to say he’d be in in the AM because he met some cool folks.  Walking Home came through for a visit (didn’t stay).  His boots died so he’s hiking in Crocs and socks.  He ran out of batteries for his headlamp so he’s going to night hike by the light of his cell phone!  He’s headed about 40 miles (about half done by Bears Den) today.  To bed.

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Posted by: scothikin | June 26, 2011

Life outside of the self- musings on a shared hike

There hopefully is a time in everyone’s life in which you can have unbridled selfishness.  Have you ever heard of a child under the age of 12 who asks for nothing for Christmas, since their parents may be able to instead save their money for themselves?  Under proper parenting we learn limits of this selfishness that are expressed in social norms.  It’s almost always a long, tiresome process.  In the United States we have the fortune (however often taken for granted) that our children go to school for 14 years for free.  At the end of this, according to law and also to custom, each of us is responsible for ourselves.  For about half of us in the country, this is “college age.”

Our struggle for independence burst forth in a precipitous freefall to whatever depths of debauchery we intend to enjoy.  For some, this is where our well-practiced freedom just reaches its official stamp of approval as our parents are no longer responsible.  For others, such as myself, we look fondly on our parents but still wish to see if rebellion will keep true to its original allure.  While most turned to sweet intoxicating nectar among other things to alter their perception and challenge the law.  I drank from a different cup.  When I was 21 years and 25 days old, I began the Pacific Crest Trail and it was arguably the most formative thing I have ever yet done.

That was for me.  There’s no doubt that the PCT was all about me.  I even got called out about how brash I was.  That was a time in which I was trying to discover my social limits.  I found them.  I was myself, possibly for the first time.  The next summer I was asked to work a job where I took some high school kids backpacking in Northern California.  I had trouble adjusting to this idea that I was hiking with other people who were not only not autonomous themselves, but were dependent on me for guidance.  It was a brief trip, but I found quickly that as experienced as I was, I was not ready to be responsible.

Later that same summer, I got to go buck wild with myself.  I went to Europe and did the obligatory post-college Western Europe trip.  I was glad I went, but I discovered new depths of loneliness.  It was a different trip.  There was nothing to strive for, and nobody to share it with.  That’s where I decided that the most amazing things in the world are still just that. . .things.  Being alone can be wonderful for the quiet moments and the introspection, but to adventure is best with a community.  For me, at least, Europe would have been much better if I had had at least someone to share it with.

Time marched on after Europe, and I made a stab at being a responsibly adult, living aside from adventure.  I tried, I really did.  There was no escaping who was.  Who I still am.  One 20-minute phone call and I could feel the tie around my neck start to disintegrate into dust, covering my shoulders and blowing away in the wind above.  I practically grew fangs on the Continental Divide Trail.  I was part of a wild bunch, with a colorful cast of old friends and new and mysterious characters.  I made a comeback.  It was dangerous.  It was challenging.  It was totally wild.  I was in a different place when I finished that trail, I felt like I was back where I belonged.  The momentum was staggering.  I couldn’t imagine a summer of normal work.  2011 was going to be another year of hiking.

Hikers spend a lot of time futzing.  We don’t have a lot of things in total volume, but usually there’s lots of little bits and pieces that make up our systems.  The problem is something we address whenever possible.  It’s like a puzzle that we never get sick of solving.  How do we fit all of these thingies into our pack, onto our back, along the trail, day in and day out.  Our prized possessions become sprawled across hotel rooms, in our shelters, in the homes of our friends if we’re lucky.  I’ve done it as much as anyone, although some would argue that I should maybe have spent a little more time considering my decisions on occasion.

Enter a new factor to the equation. . .her.  Oh, how I love her.  She has done so much less than I have on the actual fields of combat.  I have more miles under my feet than the worlds’ most experienced Scoutmaster.  But yet, I am beholden to her, for in a way, her life is in my hands, and in yet another twisted sort of way, my life is in hers.  In real life, we’re inseparable.  We have been told more than once that this will test us.  Oh, the tests.  I knew even before any discussions that we were going to be cooking.  The first thing we really had to sort out was the role of Listerine in our lives.  The bottles take up a lot of precious space in our bounce box*.   I’d just never used it before in all my miles and all my time out there.  I see it.  It’s handy.  You don’t need a water source.  You don’t need a toothbrush.  You don’t need nothing.  Ok, it’s in the bounce box. . .but only a SMALL bottle.

But everything, EVERYTHING is better with a partner.  Even when we’re apart it’s better, because she’s there at the end to appreciate what you’ve been doing.  In turn, it’s nice to wonder and behold the things that they do when we return to them.  “I saw a tiny turtle”  “I walked 24 miles” “I finally caught Lunchbox.”  When you have no one to share your experiences with, sometimes it’s as though, as Berkeley would say about a falling tree, it never really happened as it wasn’t perceived by another.  Not to say that I haven’t valued a few of my times alone, and no person can honestly say that every moment with another is absolutely perfect because they were with that person, but overall the experience has been enriched and enhanced by hiking with Catherine.

Striking a balance is key.  I’ve always said that no relationship can exist in a vacuum.  I’ve seen couples who come out on trail, and it’s very hard to find their place among the sea of single people on trail.  For one thing; the trail community is largely dudes.  For another, it’s typically very difficult for couples to develop trail names and thusly any significant trail identities simply because I’ve always called my sweetheart “sweetheart,” and not “Jaws.”  It then becomes difficult for others to call them by their trail names, and a barrier is seemingly built.  I’ve seen this dynamic many times.  I am very intentional about building our relationship as a couple, while also making sure that we are both well established as individuals with “our own” hikes.  We both very much want to get to know the people around us.

Of late it has become apparent that Jaws may be physically able to do all of these miles, but she may cease to enjoy doing them altogether if we are too strict in sticking to our original (very aggressive, but totally necessary within our time constraints) schedule.  From there, we may not be able so share all of our experiences.  She may enjoy more time in town whilst I grind away at my preferred vocation- the challenge of the hills.  As I insist when we decide on the logistics of a respite “we’re on vacation.”


Posted by: cdayger | June 24, 2011

Woods Hole Hostel to just before Byoona Vista

6/12:  Quick 6 miles on easy ground to get to Trent’s Grocery for cereal breakfast.  Met SuperBubba and Sherlock on a cool footbridge.  Ate too many Frosty Flakes and felt icky afterwards.  Easy walk to Woods Hole Hostel (after a wrong turn on an unmarked forest road meaning about 1.5 bonus miles).  Really cool log cabin and bunk house.

Woods Hole Hostel. Go there. Immediately.

Just in time for burrito and salad and homemade bread dinner.   SOOOO good.  Caught up with Birch, new folks-Josiah and Lauren, Chuck Wagon and Chowhound (a pastry chef for King Arthur flour in Wisconsin).  Melanie got the name Starry Eyes from the proprietor Neville.  Met Old Spice, Magic Mix, Holy Cow, Neard, all there too.  Where’s Indy and Snags?  Great night sleep in bunkhouse.

6/13:  Outhouse is closed:( Solar shower is HOT!  Breakfast was extra yummy!  Sweet rice with yogurt and jam, frittata and bread and jam.  Folks slack packed in 11mi to Pearisburg and I rode with a few people and Neville into town.  Got hotel room to share, went to PO-nice box from Breeze, Hot Mess, Freefall and the Belchigators with food, town gown and a little Disney backpack for So Far to ultralight with;)  Chinese buffet (ick) then TV.  Fire Tower made it to town!  He brought news of Caver leaving the trail!!  We’re all shocked and bummed to hear thatL  Fire Tower wants to aqua blaze through Shenandoah National Park on a river in a canoe…trying to get people to join him.  I’m tempted.  So Far will walk either way.  Quick stop at grocery, then bed.

6/14:  Up early then out for 23 mile day.  So Far stayed behind to mail at PO and catch up with me today.  Now it’s the end of the day, I’m 19miles from Pearisburg with Ponyboy, Francois Dillenger and Cliff but no So FarL

So Far finally rolled in at 7p…he got held up in town and then the way to the trail was confusing (I had the trail guide) and he got lostL  We’re staying here tonight.  Going to make for a long day tomorrow.

6/15:  Up at 6, out by 7.  Planning a lonnnngggg day:  31 miles.  Probably won’t happen as we’re moving sorta slow.  Probably get in after dark.  Hard day-low morale.  Feeling tired and worn out.  Finally made it to just before Sarver’s Gap, 25.5 miles in at 10pm on a crummy rocky tentsite.

6/16:  Up at 4am, out by 4:30.  Felt awful in the am.  Tired and demoralized.  Scot convinced me that breakfast and a nap would help…it did.  Scot put all his stuff in my pack and carried it ALL DAY LONG cuz he’s the sweetest.  Walked a little farther to a road and had our first real trail magic-a nice lady named Smoky Scout with donuts, coke, chips, yogurt.  2 donuts, a yogurt, chips, and a Mountain Dew later I felt good.  A little while later we met another older couple who gave us fruit and Cokes, and took our picture.  That helped too.  We hiked over Dragon’s Tooth…a rocky mountain that was more rock climbing than hiking…so hard and took forever!  I don’t know how Scot did it with that huge pack (we call it Voltron when we put our packs together).  Finally made it 23 miles to an early road and hitched in to the Homeplace Restaurant for BBQ all you can eat (AYCE).  It was OK, not great but a guy came and talked to us about the trail, then paid for dinner!  He even drove me back to the trail with Voltron so I could walk a mile in to the 1st shelter.  Scot went back to the road we hitched out at and hiked the 7 miles to the shelter and got in around 11:15p.  On my way to the shelter I saw my first bear.  It ran away.  Talked to Mel who claims the bear ran cuz I’m so intimidating…musta known my name is Jaws and I eat bears for breakfast.

6/17:  Felt awful in the morning.  Flu-like sick.  Finally got up and out at 10:30a.  Made it 1 mile to the next shelter for breakfast and found Ponyboy!  Decided on a very short day to Lamberts Meadow-9miles.  Met a girl on the trail who had lost her brother and mom while hiking and was scared.  We sat with her until her brother caught up and all was well.  Nice chance to sit and eat candy too.

Our intrepid voyageurs on McAffee Knob

Walked up to McAffee Knob and met El Perro Noche (Perro for short).  Went to bed at 7:30p.

6/18:  Felt much better in the am.  No more flu symptoms, just vaguely tired.  Hiked 9 miles into Daleville for some mediocre BBQ at Three Little Pigs and a resupply at the Kroger with Perro.  Met Magic Mix and Birch on the way out of town.  They probably won’t aquablaze because of Sir (the kitty) but they say a bunch of people are planning on it.  Perro is probably in for it too.  Hiked out at 3:30, 3.7 miles to the 1st shelter out of town.  Started raining right away with big thunder.  Got in around 6 and then it stopped raining and was sunny.  Good dinner and chat then bed.  Moses, Perro, Lando, Greenlight and Spice Boy here too.

6/19:  6am up, 7a out.  Really digging the dry milk and cereal I got in Daleville for breakfast.  Trying not to eat toooo many bran flakes.  Felt pretty good today moving well in am.  SoF and Perro are walking with me and that’s helpful.  Also got NPR on the radio! (Thanks Patch for the MP3 player…it’s been a lifesaver!).  23 miles in to Jennings Creek and a swimming hole.  I didn’t swim but soaked my feet and washed all of our gross socks.  Not doing laundry or taking a shower in Daleville makes us stinky now.  Wishing I had a clean shirt to switch out.  Dinner and chat with Perro.  Lando and Greenlight made it down here too-Late-9ish.  20ish miles tomorrow of lots of climbing-but some south bounders (SoBoers) said it was nice trail and switchbacks so fingers crossed that we can make up the rest of the 6 miles we missed yesterday because of the rain.

Amazing what you find kicking around in the woods.

6/20:  Really bad rainstorm last night.  Tent held up pretty well until huge deluge.  Woke up a lot to check seams-all fine.  Gets a little saggy when wet.  Up and out around 8a with Perro.  20 miles-felt okay but tired.  Met a hiker named AYCE and Cobbler Gobbler.  Stopped at shelter to dry out tent etc and Perro went on ahead with AYCE and Cobbler.  Stayed at Marble Hill Campsite.  Natty Bird Dog caught us at dusk but decided to keep going a little farther.

6/21:  Happy Hike Naked Day! 19 miles to just past Punchbowl shelter.  Met Lost at road who knows Toaster and Goodfoot (from Portland, we went to a housewarming at their house a while ago).  Lost is heading home with a bum legL  Natty passed us nekkid and Scot decided to run a mile in the nudey.  I chose to abstain from the nekkid.  Really hot today with lots of climbing.  Hot lunch was nice.

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Posted by: cdayger | June 24, 2011

Damascus VA to just before Woods Hole Hostel

6/4:  Sat am.  9am breakfast with Scout and her man Rob, blueberry mediocre pancakes at convenience sotre counterL  Then I went to MoJos coffeeshop for some tea, reading and internet while Scot took Lenny to the library for Internet and lounging.  Stopped by SunDog Outfitters and got on-sale shorts, fleecy pillow stuff sack, natural Lemon Eucalyptus bug spray.  Stopped by thrift store for a shirt.  Trooped off to do laundry and have a milkshake with Scot.  Found vitamin supplements at the Laundromat.  Subway for dinner.  Moved to double room for more comfy.  Bonfire after dinner with LOL and Swayze at nice locals house:  Dante and Samantha.  Met Guino, a PCT hiker who knows Nadine and Pacha!

6/5:  Birch, Snags, Fire Tower, Neard, Bubbles, Indy all hiked out today.  Holy Cow (formerly Chad), Caver Melanie, Guino said they were leaving but then stuck around.  Moved to “The Place”, a church run, donation-funded hostel were everyone else was staying.

Caver and LOL went to the Baptist Church and heard about a church picnic, they invited us to go along too!  Bummed around town, packed a resupply for Atkins (only a truck stop really) to send off on Monday.  Painted fingers and toes bright pink-called Tease!  And then we soaked our feet in tea again cuz it feels nice and toughens them up.  Church picnic got spread around to too many people so we all decided to bail and let Caver and LOL go as they are they ones who actually went to church.  Tailfeather, Guino, Waldo, Alki, Chad, Melanie, SkyHigh and us sat around on the lawn and played “wobbly broomstick”.  You put a broom or mop on your nose, straight up.  While looking at the end, you spin around 20 times and then throw the broom down and jump over it (or try to…).  I only did 3 turns and fell over.  Others did much better.  Took lots of video of people falling over.  Then we all wandered over to Quincey’s pizza to see the Mavs/Heat game…but mostly it wasn’t on until the bar was closing.  We saw about a quarter and a half of the game.

When we got back to “The Place”, we found Pickwick!  He went off to Subway for dinner and then Caver and LOL returned from the picnic with hot dogs, hamburgers and cake!  A feast!  Tried to chase Pickwick down, but he came back in time for hot doggies anyway.  Then bed.

6/6:  Breakfast with Pickwick and Sky High, saw Caver walk out of town on way to breakfast but then found ‘em at the coffeeshop where we had breakfast.  Chad and Guino walked in right after.  Nice breakfast. Send 3 boxes (1 home, 1 to Atkins for resupply, and 1 to Pearisburg as a bounce box), then packed up to hitch out.

Sunny days make for smiling faces!

Got a ride in a tiny pickup with a woman and baby Elijah in jump seat.  She’d hiked the AT before and started with 20 lbs of potatoes to eat!

On trail by 11:24a.  Slow climb up to balds (name??).  Very pretty.  Met a boy scout troop headed for our shelter so we decided to press on.  Saw a herd of (wild?) ponoes so we went over to take pics.  They let us walk right up to them and pet ‘em!  So not really wild huh.  3 babies that look just like Misty and Stormy, 4 mommas/last years babies and a tiny roan stallion.

Un-wild ponies in the Grayson Highlands

Entered Grayson Highlands and saw more ponies!  A pony was at Tomas Knob shelter licking the salt (?) off the floor.  Rocky trail to Wise shelter and found Snags, Indy, Neard, Bubbles, Lazarus and some section hikers.  Tenting, cous cous and up early for 20ish miles tomorrow!  Listerine spilled in my bag and now my hat is minty…

6/7:  Up at 6, let SoF sleep in while I went to get water and make breakfast.  Really easy to pack up my pack with my new sleeping pad (my old inflatable one sprung a leak, so I replaced it with a foamy one that CAN’T leak).  Hiked out at 7:23.  Saw some new ponies, baby ponies and long-horn mama cows.  Lame rocks the whole morning, tough on my feet.  At every shelter we met Snags, Bubbles, Neard and Indy for long breaks.  Stopped at horse camp to hit the porta potties and wash our feet in the stream.  Hiked on to 4 miles before Trimpi shelter at Dickey Gap and met a section hiker named Tim who offered us a beer and a seat.  I took ‘em up on it!  In the shelter exactly at Indy’s guess of when we’d get in:  6:05p.  Mind was 6:07 and Scot’s was 6:11p.  Indy, Snags, Neard and Bubbles all at shelter.  Met Dr. Gadget again too (also met him in Damascus).  After dinner, Guino rolled in around 7:45p.  He’d done 27.5 miles today!  Holy Cow and Caver are behind him but may not make it all the way here to the shelter tonight.  Neard saw a bear but it ran off.  Really love being able to put on my comfy socks and comfy not-Crocs (they’re called Holey Soles) for comfy feet.  20 miles to Trimpi shelter today.

6/8:  To Chatfield shelter  total of 18 for the day.  Started with 8 miles to Partnership shelter with SHOWER!  Met Lunchbox there and Four Eyes.  We all showered and washed our clothes in the sink.  Then we sat around trying to decide if we should order pizza (they can deliver it to the shelter) or take the 50 cent shuttle into town.  We decided town!  Longtrail walked in just as we were about to leave so she showered and washed clothes quick and joined us.  Padma wasn’t allowed on the shuttle so she stayed with Tim and Charlie (Tim gave me a beer.  He’s section hiking and his dad Charlie meets him at the road with his supplies…so we saw Tim and Charlie several times in the last few days).  Bernice was the shuttle driver and knew all about the places to eat and took us to a Chinese AYCE buffet.  I tried to stick to non-fried and veggies things but was only partially successful as they had sugar donuts and 6 flavors of ice cream including b-day cake!  Stopped by the grocery store afterwards for some Sparkle Fun (my most fave flavor!) toothpaste and some yogurt.  Back to Partnership on the Bernice shuttle.

Post-chinese buffet coma

Hung around digesting and finally hiked on 7 miles to Chatfield shelter.  Thundered, but no actual rain!  Snags and Longtrail came in just after dark.

6/9:  Up at 6 but didn’t set alarm.  18.4 miles planned to Knot Maul Branch shelter.  Had to walk into Atkins, so got up early to get to PO right when it opened.  Couldn’t get a hitch until finally Tim and Charlie took us to town (they were staying at the motel in Atkins).  SoF got a new down bag to try out from Feathered Friends-bright blue!  Then back to “The Barn” right at the AT for b-fast with Longtrail and Snags.  Lazed around a LONG time when more people showed up-Caver, Indy, Bubbles, Neard, Lunchbox (he was in town), Holy Cow (formerly Chad), Melanie.  Finally walked out of town around noon for about 14 miles to next shelter.  On to Woods Hole Hostel as our next stop!  Big crummy pouring rainstorm just before shelter.  Hid under Kiwanis Pavillion with Bubbles and Indy for a few minutes (but you can’t camp there), then up last hill-really miserable.  Got in, couldn’t find the spring-So Far found it though.  Quick hot meal-Thanks Micah for the Mtn House meals!!) then bed.

6/10:  Clothes mostly dry but pretty tired.  Not raining in the am though.  Long slog to a shelter…

(I stopped writing mid-sentence and never finished.  Suffice to say it was a long day with trees and stuff).

6/11:  Now on 23.8 miles to a shelter where the spring (and all springs along the way) had dried up.  Met Magic Mix and his cat Sir (tiny black kitten!).  MM got him in Damascus at Trail Days (maybe?) and Sir is tiny and black and adorable.  Also met Ponyboy and Meatloaf and No Sides and Walking Home again when we got to the shelter.  There was a tiny trickle of water funneled by a rhododendron leaf that we got enough water for dinner with.  Scraped up my back getting down to the water sourceL  First night in our tent in a while…it was buggy and not raining so tent looked attractive.  Snags, Indy, Melanie, Holy Cow rolled in after us with no water and by that time the tiny spring had all but stopped producing.

We're 1/4 of the way done with the Appalachian Trail!

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Posted by: cdayger | June 22, 2011

Not Dead!

News flash…we’re not dead. Just been pushing hard to stay on schedule and haven’t had much internet time. I’ll be in town for a few days and will spend some time updating the blog and posting some great pictures. Miss you all…we’re having a great time!!!

Posted by: cdayger | June 5, 2011

Kincora to Damascus VA…Solo Daze

5/31:  16 miles into Kincora, then got a ride into town from Almost Lost (Bill) for Pizza Plus and real bathrooms.  Then got picked up by Jackie and Oscar Blackwell (Valley Girl’s parents…So Far hiked with Valley Girl on the CDT in 2008 and met the Blackwell’s  at the end of New Mexico).  Jackie and Oscar whisked us off to their vacation home just off the Blue Ridge Parkway outside of Roan Mountain TN. Hot showers, laundry and incredible Lexington-style barbeque dinner followed!  Along with some blogging:D

6/1: After we farted around packing up our boxes and packs, the Blackwell’s drove us to the PO for box drop and then back to Kincora for the night to get the Kincora hiker experience.  Found Snags, Neard, Whiskers, Indy, Birch and Tanx, Longtrail and Padma, Lunchbox all had slackpacked from Watauga Lake back to Kincora and were heading out that night.  We secured the tree-house at Kincora for the night.

The treehouse at Kincora

While exciting…it wasn’t exactly bug-proof , so there was a trade-off between being really hot under the covers (and protected from mosquitoes) or cooler with no covers (and at the mercy of mosquitoes).  In the end, we were both hot and chewed up:(

My bf…he is bananas.  He likes to hike very far, in one day.  Ergo, he planned a 75 mile day for his Dad’s 75th birthday.  Whoa.

6/2:  Scot up by 4:45 am (intended to be up by 4am, but I goofed on the alarm) and out of Kincora by about 5am to hike the long long day.  I was up by 6am and walked out of Kincora by 6:30am and was on trail by 6:45.

solo day beauty

I’ll let Scot tell his tale of 66 miles in 21 hours, and I’ll tell my tale of my first solo days.  I planned 17 miles to Vandeventer shelter with the possibility of hiking on to Iron Mountain shelter at 24.2 miles if I felt good.

Watauga Lake in the morning

Since I got up so early, and after the first big Pond Mountain was done the trail was pretty easy, I got to Vandeventer at about 3:30p.  Found Longtrail and Padma and Lunchbox there taking a mid-day nap and decided to press on to Iron Mountain.  What that meant was that the next day I could either go 14 miles (kinda short…) or 25.8 miles all the way into Damascus (a day early…and the longest day I’d attempted).  So Far had written in the Vandeventer register at 10am and in the Iron Mountain register at 12:22pm.  Whoa.  Pretty good spirits, but sore feet.  Met Amon, Longtrail and Padma and Lunchbox at Iron Mtn and resolved together to do the 25.8 miles into Damascus the next day.  We decided to all get up at 5am (before dawn) and haul ass down the mountain into Damascus.  Was lucky enough to get cell reception to call home a few times during the day.  Went to bed right away after dinner.

6/3:  Up at 5am…legs and feet hurt.  Packed up and woke everyone up.  Out of shelter by 5:22am.  First dark hiking I’ve done…kinda fun.  Watched the sunrise.  AquaMira water purifier drops are leaking and not much left…will have to beg or boil water today.  Stopped for quick first breakfast when light out.  Second breakfast at first stream to boil water and make cream of wheat.  Amon pumped me some water (yay!).  To first shelter, 8 miles in, by 9am.  Longtrail and Padma, Lunchbox and Amon all beat me there but Longtrail gave me some filtered water (yay!).  Onward!

To next shelter, about 15 miles in by 12:15p.  Long, steap downhill walk to water for boiling for lunch.  Left shelter, with full grits belly by 12:45p.  Tired-ish.  10 more miles to go to Damascus.  The terrain looks all gradually downhill…can be deceptive.

Feet really hurting but getting close!  Finally saw TN-VA state line at 3.5 miles to Damascus sign about 3p!

3.5 to go!!!

So happy to see it!!!  All downhill from here!  I’ll get in BEFORE 5pm!  SoF will be so surprised!  Almost there!

Finally hit pavement at 4:24pm…with the long walk off trail to get water (0.2mi each way) I officially walked 26.2 miles, a marathon in 11.5 hours today.  Woof.  Found Scot at Dave’s Place hostel.  He was asleep and very surprised to see me.  Feet hurt, but I made it.  And solo too!!!!

Everyone is in Damascus!  Snags, Indy, Neard, Whiskers, Fire Tower, Holy Cow (formerly Chad), Guino, Caver, Melanie, and more!  Everyone out to dinner at Quincy’s Pizza in downtown Damascus for beers and real food!

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The gang relaxes in Damascus

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