Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Movin' Right Along

So, I was told today by Baltimore Jack to plan on 37+ days from when I leave Hanover, NH to get to Katahdin. If that is the case, then I have a long way to go or I have some heavy miles to do! Anyway, we will see what happens. Baltimore Jack has hiked the trail multiple times, so maybe he knows something I do not know! I am looking at meeting Mike in Gorham, NH as that seems to be the best place based on road access. Anyway,...

The past few miles have been fun. Massachusetts ended with an unexpected trip to Boston, which was great. I spent the day sleeping. Every time Spice Rack attempted to talk to me, I was either on the phone, using the restroom, or sleeping. It was a much needed break and I got to meet his friends and family. So, I have met everyone in his life. Once back on the trail from Boston, we decided to take it easy and visit Bennington, VT for a hiker feed. We try not to pass up free food and beer. It was nice as we got to meet some South Bound(SOBOs) Hikers. The mix was pretty even for SOBOs & NOBOs. There is definitely a difference between the 2 groups. We have 1600miles under our belts and they have only 500. They are still in the excited to be doing this trip, whereas most of the NOBOs are ready for it to be done! We went to bed around 9pm and the SOBOs were still hanging out having fun! It is interesting to see the difference.

From Bennington, we did some long crazy miles to make it to our next meeting, which was Eben in Vermont. Eben is Mike's friend and we had him pick us up at the VT11. We had dinner with him and then he and his girlfriend, Sunny, took Spice Rack and I home with them to their place about an hour from the trail. We had a great time hanging out. Spice Rack talked to his girlfriend, while Eben showed me great videos of he and Mike when they were younger. It was exactly what I needed to keep me going. As he dropped us off at the trail the next day, he played "Sweet Honey Pie" by the Beetles as per Mike's request. It was sweet and just what I needed as I had called Mike from Bennington asking for a pep talk! I hiked the next day with a new outlook on the trail. I felt great. Of course it also helped knowing at the end of the day I was meeting my favorite aunts on the Soles side, Karen & Brenda.

So, I went from Eben's house, to the trail, to staying with my Aunts that night. Spice Rack tagged along with me and had a great time. We got a hotel room in Rutland, VT the first night. My aunts met me on the trail with a wonderful canoe trip call to which I of course had to answer back...Yip Yip Yip Yip Yahoo Yahoo! What a sound coming through the forest! :) We avoided not 1thunderstorm, but 2. The next day, they returned us to the trail with only food and water in our packs. We were going to slack pack 32miles, but got a late start as we realized it was the weekend and needed to pick up our mail drops or we would miss them. So, we opted for hanging out with the awesome aunts versus killing ourselves and did only 20miles instead of 32. That evening, we hung out in the pub for dinner and some music. It was alot of fun. I got up and got embarassed by not being able to sing. Then Spice Rack rescued me on a Beetles' song. I ditched him to sing his own song and relaxed with some more beer. It was a great night full of much needed fun. We met people working at a Farm for Dual Diagnosis people nearby and danced with them as well as chit chatted. I hope my aunts had fun because I know Spice Rack and I had a blast.
The next day was a rough one, but we saw some great sights. We climbed Killington Peak with our mostly empty packs and then left the Long Trail behind as we made our way to the VT 100 and hitched back to the Inn at the Long Trail to pick up our stuff and continue another 7miles. The last 7miles of the day were done in the dark and it was a straight up and down. We are heading back into the mountains. Luckily, when we reached the shelter there was nobody there and we made ourselves quite at home. The fun times were now behind us and we were hiking with a new bounce in our step, but very tiredly!
So, there has been trail life in a nutshell. I am currently in Hanover, NH. Just passed into New Hampshire today! What a feeling. Plan on spending a night in a hotel tonight and then back on the trail for a long couple of days before heading into North Woodstock on the 30th. From there, the plans go whacky, but should be fun. My plan is to meet up with my husband in less than 2weeks in Gorham, NH. Things are moving along and the anxiety is mounting for the end of the trip. I came to the relization yesterday I am ready to get back to work and my life in Colorado even though I heard they are having crazy heat issues. Yuck! Maybe I will go to Canada instead! Just kidding Mikey my love! I am looking forward to going back home with my husband. I told him I wasn't going to leave his side for about a week. He told me he could use some help at work! So, we will see what Colorado life holds in store for me. All I know is that I am ready for this to be done and looking forward to the White Mountains of New Hampshire!
Thank you everyone for your support and know that you are in my thoughts always. Take care and my love goes out to each and every one of you!

Friday, July 15, 2005


Well, I am easily out of Connecticut and on my way out of Massachusetts. There is not much to say about Connecticut. It was short and sweet. A couple of great climbs on my way out of the state left me glad to be in a hotel in Great Barrington, MA. It was a Comfort Inn and they had a hot tub. So, after a wonderful dinner at the nearby Mexican Restaurant, Spice Rack and I headed to the hot tub. Three Cats offerred to do our laundry and we got done at the pool and hot tub in time to put our wet clothes in with our laundry! It felt great to sit and relax. A huge THANK YOU goes out to Spice Rack's father who sprung for the rooms. He is a great trail angel as is Spice Rack for inviting the rest of us along on his visit with his father!
The altitude is getting back up there. The mosquitos and the humidity are reminding me why I live in Colorado! Pretty much every day I am dripping sweat from my chin and elbows due to the climbs and the humidity. It is pleasant. I have made a few more town stops as they are near the trail and being able to eat real food is a necessity these days.
Currently, I am sitting in Dalton, MA taking a much needed day off. To anyone reading this and thinking of doing the trail, be sure to schedule plenty of rest days towards the end. Many people are ready to be done with the trail as am I. It leads to injury as people push themselves harder than they have in the past just to get done. There is a huge mental game to be played after having walked, ambled, and stumbled along for 1500miles. The last 600 are physically challenging as well as mentally. Four months of the same old thing day after day needs to be broken up with days to just sit on a bench and stare at the cars and people. Thank goodness there are great people in Dalton, MA who make relaxing possible.
Yesterday, I slack packed from Dalton, where I had lunch after 10miles, to Cheshire, MA. A wonderful man named Rob Bird, who runs a "secret" hiker hostel in Dalton, picked me up from Cheshire and brought me back to his house. Once there, I had a wonderful shower and drank beer while conversing with Rob and another hiker, Bluey. Rob did my laundry before heading out to do his own thing leaving Bluey and I to do our own thing. We basically had his house for the evening. He returned around 10pm and we watched the end of the yankees/red soxs game on TV. It was a very relaxed evening. This morning, I woke up as Bluey was packing to head out on the trail and chatted with him trying to convince him to stay...No Luck! So, I sat and watched TV this morning and thought of my husband while watching The Princess Bride. I sure do miss my honey! After the movie, I wandered down to the General Store and bought a toothbrush (I recently noticed mine was growing mold) and a card. Returned to the house and proceeded to write to my husband while watching more TV. Rob came home briefly and we chatted a bit before he headed off to work again. What a relaxed little place. He offerred his place to my friend and I for tonight as well, which is a wonderful treat. Rob has been a great person who has come into my trail life at the right time.
Somehow, it seems when I am down on the trail and wanting to leave, the right people come along and renew my energy. Yesterday, sitting outside of the sub shop while my hiking companions were inside soaking up the AC, a woman approached me and talked to me about my hike. Thru-hikers are pretty noticeable, especially in a town where the trail goes through it. She told me she often hosts hikers and would be willing to take me to her place for the evening. I told her of my plans to hike over to Cheshire and then take today off in Dalton and trying to figure out all of the logistics. She mentioned she had a retreat this weekend and we realized it would not work out, but I thanked her for her generosity. After buying her lunch at the sub shop, she came out and slipped me a $10bill. I protested, but she insisted and said it was trail magic. She was already to her car, and so I slipped the $10 into my wallet. Then, I headed to the post office to get my packages. As I was headed there, a gentleman starts walking towards me from the Shell Station. He introduces himself to me as Rob. I had heard of him back in NY/NJ area from a guy who hiked last year. So, I talked to him about my plans and he offerred to pick me up from Cheshire. He got me settled at his place and then I headed back to meet the guys to head to Cheshire. It was nice hiking without my pack for 9miles. The view from the Cobbles was beautiful. I wished I could have hung up there longer, but had told Rob to pick me up in Cheshire at 5:30pm. For those of you who know me, I hate making people wait as I do not like having to wait for people. So, I made sure I was down there by 5:15pm. As I was walking toward the post office, he was coming down the street. It was perfect timing.
Anyway, between the lady on the street and Rob, I have a renewed energy to keep going up the trail. Tonight, Rob and his band are playing in a nearby town and he has offerred to take my friend, Tricia, and I with him if we want. I am looking forward to hearing some good music, but am not sure what Tricia will be up for doing. It will be nice to be in a relaxed place again for the evening and to be back on the trail tomorrow. Dalton, MA is a magical town full of many nice people. I have not met all of them, so I cannot say if they are all nice or not! So far, I have been very impressed and recommend making a stop here to anyone coming through the area or hiking the trail. It has been my fountain of youth! Thank you Dalton, MA.
My love and thoughts continue to go out to my husband. I also want to thank everyone who has been supportive of me along the trail. My aunt Carol, cousin Erin, and Jaime sent me a great package of food filled with love! It was great and I am still bouncing things forward. Thank you Holly for the little bit of love you put in my package. Those will come in handy to numb the pains that come along the trail these days! I miss everyone lots and think of many of you (at least the people I know) often on the trail. There isn't much else to do when walking miles a day through the woods and across mountains. Thank you for your support and I look forward to the next 600miles of adventure.

Friday, July 08, 2005

New York

Here it is another State down! I am soooo excited to be out of New York! Although, fireworks were great on the 4th of July weekend! Here is how the state went for me and many others.
We entered New York on a ridge where there is a box on a tree with a register. Not long after that, we had rocks and lots of ups and downs. New York as I am told, is very proud of their High Points and thus like to take you to the top of each and everyone of them. I have missed this kind of workout as the past few states have been pretty gentle! In Harriman State Park, I got to experience Rock Climbing with my pack on. Ok, I actually took my pack off and hoisted up onto the rocks rather than seeing if it would pull me backwards to my death! Gotta play it safe this late in the game! We passed through many State Parks and were overwhelmed by the number of people out grilling and celebrating the 4th of July. At one of the lakes inside Harriman State Park, Spice Rack, Morel, Swifty, and I just sat and stared at all the people. We were in the minority at that lake, which was kind of fun but yet overwhelming as well. I think there was a language barrier to yogi-ing for food. Yes, Thru-hikers become similar to beggars while on the trail. We just try our luck at being more discrete. There is a saying on the trail: The only difference between a beggar and a thru-hiker are the trekking poles! It sure felt like it at the lake when we found a perfectly good watermelon in the garbage can and rescued it for our own feeding. I felt like I had sunk to an all time low that day! It was tasty though and we sure laughed about it.
For the 4th of July Weekend, we had the most amazing seats for a variety of fireworks shows. On the 3rd, we (1/4 of the way, Spice Rack, Handyman, Morel, Swifty, Naked Sun, and Slow Barbara) sat atop Black Mtn, where we could see maybe 10-15different shows. We also could see the night skyline of NYC. It was beautiful and the area was perfect. As we were setting up camp, the sun was setting so we had that beauty to cook our dinner. The next morning, I woke up to watch the sunrise. I sat ontop of the mountain, naked in my sleeping bag, watching the sunrise. It was surreal! How often does one get to do that? For the 4th, we headed to Graymoor Friary for the night. First, we had to pass through Bear Mtn Park. That again was overwhelming with the people. Spice Rack's friend, Laurie, picked us up for lunch and by the time she brought us back, the park was closed due to being full. She dropped us on the side of the road and off we went. At Bear Mtn Park, there is a zoo which the trail passes through. We headed for that and found a line. Luckily the line was for the swimming pool rather than the zoo. Thru the zoo, then crossed the Bear Mtn Bridge to head up another mountain and onto Graymoor in time for dinner at 5pm. Graymoor was not what I was expecting, but it was nice all the same. They had a beautiful rock area where we were able to hang out with the alcohol and drug rehab guys while watching the fireworks! Again, we could see NYC. Some of the best displays were in Peekskill which was the closest city to us! The friars fed us a beautiful meal of chicken and vegetables, then took us on a tour of the friary. It was neat, but still not what I was expecting. Oh well. Seems like the friary is on its last leg. Someone said this was the last month they would be doing the meals for thru-hikers. Glad I got in on that tradition before it vanishes! What a way to celebrate the 4th. It was wonderful and fun with great company, although I did wish very strongly that my husband was there with me!
After the 4th, things were back to the same old bump and grind. New York was horrible with their trail conditions and blazing of the trail. Even in the state parks, we would find ourselves lost! It was crazy. Then, at road crossings, they had signs warning about lye disease from ticks, but yet we had to walk through high grasses and overgrown weeds covering the trail. Definitely planning on a visit to the doctor when I get home to make sure I have not become good friends with Lyme Disease. I have pulled my fair share of ticks off my legs in the past week.
It is nice to be in a new state and getting ready to leave the state of CT in about another 2-3 days. Many people to see and visit as I finish up the trail. Spice Rack is meeting friends and family through Massachusettes as am I. Vermont is where I get to see more family and friends. I look forward to the support from everyone I see. Physically, the hike is relatively easy at this point. Mentally, it is taking its toll on many people.
Found myself really needing a day off and thus took it here in Kent, CT despite the cost of things. I could have tented in the churchyard, but was having one of those desires to be human and pampered. So, I got a room with Three Cats & AJ. Since I was in town before them, I was able to pick up some epsom salts and baking soda to take a long luke warm bath. It felt great to just soak. My body was in much need of relaxation.
Getting some heavy rain today due to hurricanes, but that is what makes it so nice to be off the trail. Perfect sleeping weather, which is what I am planning on doing here in a few minutes. I like raining lazy days!
Well, I am 2/3 of the way done and moving along fine. I look forward to the distractions through the next few states. It will be good for the psyche. Still planning a day off in Cheshire, MA despite our current day off. With any hope, I will still be finishing the trail on August 21.
Less than a month until my husband joins me and I am already getting excited for his companionship. I called him the other day and started crying when he asked how I was doing because it was just so good to hear his voice. When I told him I was fine until I called him, he asked me why I called him, then. The silly guy. He knows I miss him and just need to hear his voice every so often. The journey is taking its toll on me, but I have not lost my sense of adventure or my love of the excursion. Well,...ok, I did lose it the other day, which helped me realize I needed a day off. When you look at the slightest incline on the trail and just cry about having to go up, you know it is time for a break. My body is thanking me for that as well, even though my pocketbook may not be thanking me!
I hope all is well on the home front. I need to give a good shout out to my sis as she called and left me a signing telegram! Hehehehe! Thanks! I like those sort of odd voicemails. Thank you everyone still for all your support. I love you all and look forward to seeing my aunts in Vermont as well as Tricia in MA. Take care and know everyone is on my mind constantly.

Friday, July 01, 2005

New Jersey

So, start looking for me to tick off states now! I left Delaware Water Gap and moved into New Jersey! Everyone said PA was bad with their rocks, well Jersey is bad with their trails. There have been bushes covering the trail to the point of wondering if you are going the right way. "Morel", "Spice Rack", and I actually did get semi-lost one day. Luckily, I turned things around by telling them it did not look right, and they listened! Anyway...
Spice Rack and I left Delaware Water Gap, PA around noon on the 28 June 2005. Yes, we are no good at getting an early start out of towns! So, we had to climb up onto a ridge, but luckily it was an easy, well graded trail. We made it up to Sunfish Pond where we decided to set down our packs for an afternoon break. Little did we know we were on the other side of the bushes from "Morel". We talked with him a bit and all three of us decided the pond looked too nice not to get in as the day was hot and humid! A nice swim led to sunning ourselves on the rocks and reading a passage from Travels with Charley by Steinbeck. It was a beautiful day. Around 3:30pm, the three of us decided to travel on to the YMCA camp for the night! The camp was a little difficult to find, but once there it was a nice rickety cabin by the lake/pond. We listened to the frogs croaking throughout the evening. That was probably the best night of sleep I have had on the trail! There were beds in the cabin.
The next morning, we were all slow moving to get out of the camp. Luckily, "Spice Rack" and I were only going a short distance of about 4miles. We convinced "Morel" to join us in our slacking off. It has been nice hanging with him again! A pass through Cluvers Gap allowed me beer and grilled cheese to power me into camp. It rained mostly all day! My Patagonia sports bra is not very good at wicking away moisture and I will look to my husband to send me the tank top I asked for! Camp was nice and we had a full shelter.
From the Gren Anderson Shelter, we had another short day to the "secret Shelter" on the Murray property. It was a beautiful farm land area where we had a little cabin to stay in with a shower and a sink. It was a beautiful area and we saw skunk, woodchuck, racoon, and mating mules. The cabin was warm and my fellow hikers left me alone in there to pitch their tents outside. So, I pitched my tent inside the shelter, opened the windows, and slept soundly! It was great! I had to laugh.
Today was a glorious hike into Vernon, NJ. Not much up and I ran into "Iron Foot" again. We hiked together for a bit and talked about our 2nd or 3rd day sitting the south side of Blood Mtn trying to decide whether to go over it or go around it. It is always great running into "Iron Foot" as he and I started together and hopefully will finish aroudn the same time. Just as I came to the road, there was a farmers market to the left. I found Bubble Gum ice cream, Chocolate Milk, peaches, and plums. It was wonderful. I indulged! Spice Rack arrived and we caught a hitch into town. The guy who picked us up knew exactly where to take us and drove like a bat out of... The town seems nice and the St.Thomas Church is a great hostel place with all the hiker ammenities: shower, laundry, internet, and sodas. What more could a person ask for? Maybe my bed from home.
So, anyway, things are going well still on the trail. The humidity is a bear, but I have not seen the bears people say are everywhere in Jersey. Maybe they will come lick my toes in New York or futher North! Looking to possibly do a mountain top for the 4th or hang with the monks! We will see where the trail takes us!
I continue to look forward to seeing my husband and am counting down the days! He is on my mind constantly and always in my heart. This trip has made me realize just how wonderful he is and what an impact he has on my life. I love you my darling with all my heart!