Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Rocket Trip On The Appalachian Trail

Since finishing the AT, I've had some time to put together a video of my thru-hike. I could never capture the true experience of my trip in a video but I hope I've come close. Thanks for following!

A Rocket Trip On The Appalachian Trail


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mount Katahdin, ME

Just in time for sunrise

On Saturday, September 5th, we woke up at 2 30 am in Baxter State Park to a clear, starry sky and a full moon. We packed up our gear and were headed up the trail by 3 15 am. A sign at the trail head said to plan for at least 7 - 10 hour round trip to the summit and back. We had 5.2 miles standing between us and completing the 2178.3 mile journey. The first couple of miles were below treeline and relatively easy. After an hour of hiking we were exposed, above treeline. The moon was like a spotlight reflecting against the mountain and the hundreds of lakes below. We turned off our headlamps and began the steep, hand over hand climb up to the 'gateway', the edge of the mountaintop plateau.

Finished the Appalachian Trail

After 30 minutes of reaching the timberline we were at The Gateway. Two more miles to go and less than an hour before sunrise. We rushed across the rocky plateau and up to the final ridge then we saw it, the infamous Katahdin summit sign silhouetted by a bright red sky. It was now 5 45 am, 12 minutes until sunrise, and we had reached the summit. The moon was sinking behind us into a shadowed valley. Cameras were out and beers in hand.

The magnitude of this trip and the fact that the trip is over has not sunk in. Maybe it never will but that's not important. What is important is that I finished the Trail and the experience will stay with me forever.


Appalachian Treadway 5

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Monson, ME

I'm on the southern edge of the 100 mile wilderness, the final stretch before Mount Katahdin. I've hiked over 2000 miles and have only 115 miles to go - it feels great! Daddy Long Legs caught up to me in Stratton, ME a few days ago and we've been hiking together, along with Feed Bag, ever since (no news from Bonesey). We expect to summit on September 5 or 6, depending on weather. Yesterday, the three of us hiked over 35 miles to get to Monson, ME before heavy rains hit the area. We got into town at 11 30 pm and claimed floor and couch space at Shaw's Lodging. We awoke to an all you can eat breakfast and copious amounts of coffee. Its cold, windy and rainy but we are nice and dry at the Lake Shore House. We'll head out tomorrow and probably won't speak to anyone back home for the next week due to the remoteness of this last section. If all goes to plan, Nicole will arrive at Baxter State Park, at the base of Mount Katahdin, on Saturday and whisk me away. I should be in Maryland by next Monday night. As happy as I am to be nearing the end, the reality of not hiking is slowing setting in and its a little sad/scary. Well, before I get ahead of myself, we have a few more miles to go so wish us luck and I'll talk to everyone soon!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Andover, ME

Hi everyone,
I made it through New Hampshire and the White Mountains. The Whites were absolutely amazing and I had great weather the entire time. There was a lot of alpine hiking (above tree line) and I had great views from Mount Washington. I was able to stay in huts most of the time where they allow hikers to do 'work for stay' in exchange for lodging and leftovers. A moose visited our campsite one night at 4 30 am and was only 10 feet away from where we were cowboy camping. I crossed into Maine yesterday and so far the terrain has been very difficult. With only 257 miles to go, I hope to be to Mount Katahdin by Labor Day. This means averaging 18 miles a day from here on out which isn't impossible but may be difficult. Its hard to believe I'm so close to finishing this trip. Its been amazing so far and I'm hoping Maine will live up to its reputation. I'm exhausted and have a big day tomorrow so I'm off to bed. Talk to everyone soon.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Manchester, VT

I left off in CT and two weeks later I've made it through MA and am part way through VT. Last weekend I met up with some past hiking partners, Bonesey, Daddy Long Legs and Wheeler. After taking a few unplanned zero days at Bonesey's house in CT, we decided to rent an Enterprise cargo van, fill it with 15 thru hikers and drive 3 hours to a hiker bash (put on by Rainman and Ahab) in VT for 3 days. It was great! Tons of food, cliff jumping in the quarry and ALOT (63) of stinky hikers all in Rainman's parents home.

We finally got out of VT and back to CT to continue hiking and made decent time, despite the relentless rain and diminishing trail conditions. I try not to complain while I'm out here but this is my blog so I'm going to rant for a minute about the rain. The past week has been full of torrential down pours which have flooded the trail and made walking a nightmare. The trail is literally a flowing stream in many sections of MA and VT (and probably NH and ME) and when its not raining the trail is a mud bog. Waterproofing does nothing for rain of this magnitude. The water seeps through your pack and soaks most of your gear. We've done a pretty good job drying our gear out but lately everything is either soaking wet or damp. The good news is that we're managing to keep high spirits. I think most people realize that they are out here by choice and with several great hostels in the northeast its not hard to get out of the weather. Currently I'm at one of those great hostels, The Green Mountain House, and it is by far my favorite so far on the trail. Imagine a fully stocked home with all the amenities and a bunch of hikers and that's The Green Mountain House Hostel. We'll be back on trail tomorrow and plan to be in Rutland, VT by Wednesday and then Hanover, NH by next Monday. Only 538 miles to go! Pray for nice weather in the NE! Take it easy.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Kent, CT

Hello from CT! Yesterday was a landmark day for several reasons. I made it through NY state and crossed the two thirds mark, only 722.4 miles to go! I have decided to slow down a bit so that I can meet up with Bonesey at his parents place in CT in a few days. Bonesey and I hiked together from the Shenandoah's to Harper's Ferry, WV. It will be nice to have a hiking partner again, hopefully for the rest of the way to Mt. Katahdin. Yesterday I did my first 'slackpack', which means you arrange for someone such as an outfitter to pick up your backpack and take it to your destination. All I carried yesterday was food and water and it made all the difference. It felt like I was on a leisurely walk in the woods. Do I feel guilty? Not really. It felt great to mix things up a bit especially since I was mentally drained after hiking through NY state. I'm taking a zero day today in Kent, CT with Kiwi, Couscous, Stud the Dud and August Rush. I hope everyone is doing well. Rocket

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bear Mountain, NY

I'm part way through NY and not much has changed since my last post. Nicole has come for a short visit and we are just lounging around. Here are a few photos from Harper's Ferry, WV to Bear Mtn, NY. Take it easy everyone.