Thursday, March 30, 2017

Big Day - March 30

After a 12 mile day yesterday, dinner and motel with Mackenzie and a sausage and egg breakfast we set out to hike 14.3 miles today. Kind of a weird section of trail though. 12 of the 14.3 were in a valley because the trail traverses from one ridge to another. Pappy 12 and Best Wife will take 14.3 on any terrain we can get. And on top of that, we kicked our first 100 mile hurdle right in the keister. Feels very good.

Hiking today was also weird because we crossed the PA turnpike and I-81. More cars and trucks than deer and wild turkey today.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Surprise Hoagie

What a great treat we had today when our daughter Mackenzie met us on the trail and escorted us to her car in Boiling Springs The surprise of all surprises was when she produced ham hoagies for us. WOW. Hoagies never tasted so good.

To get straight on what we have done so far take a look at this:

March 13 - 10.6 miles from Harpers Ferry, WV to Gathland SP, MD
March 20 - After snowstorm, 5.4 miles to Rocky Run Shelter
March 21 - 10.7 miles to Pogo Camp
March 22 - 9.9 to Raven Rock Shelter
March 23 - 9.6 to Dear Lick Shelter
March 24 - 13.2 miles to PA route 30. Go to town for food resupply, shower and laundry
March 26 - 2.6 to Quarry Gap Shelter
March 27 - 13.6 to Tom's Run Shelter
March 28 - 10.9 to James Fry Shelter
March 29 - 12 to Boiling Springs, PA

Total so far is 98.5 miles. Big day tomorrow when we break the 100 mile mark.

Met a hiker today (Lumberjack) who started in GA on Jan 14. He says you need to stretch out wet boots before you go to bed so you will be able to get frozen boots on feet the next morning. Go for it, Lumberjack.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

And I Thought Best Wife Was Just a Name - march 27

Great day for hiking. Finished up a 13.7 mile day at Toms Run Shelter, PA. Started out in a misty foggy light rain. Took the ponchos off when a little sun came out but put them back on 10 minutes later when the rain returned. It's all good though. Rain was never even hard enough to get our boots wet.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Trail Angels

The caretaker for the Quarry Gap Shelter is amazing. Pictures below show Jim Stauch and Best Wife in front of his work. Jim designed and built it in 1996. Beautiful setting with Rhododendrons all around.

Also lucked into a great couple, Sam and Nancy Kennedy, who took us to church this morning and then to the trail after that. I learned all about coon hunting. Dogs chasing coons up trees just like "Where the Red Fern Grows". Fascinating.

Lastly, shout out to Meghan and Tucker who picked us up hitchhiking. Lifesavers.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Big Freeze

As long as it has been since Pappy 12 and Best Wife have posted you probably either forgot about us or figured we froze to death. Truth is my dated phone is less of a cold weather camper than I am. The thing crapped out on me every time the temps were less than balmy.

We did learn we can survive 20 degree nights fairly comfortably. I'm amazed at how warm I am in a 5 degree sleeping bag.

Since last time:

A 55 year old long distance hiker offered us weed at 8 a.m. on the 20 degree morning. First time for each of us (I mean being offered it, not smoking it).

Had two stream crossings that were deep enough from snow melt that Best Wife took off her hiking shoes and did the best she could. Pappy 12 handled her backpack.

After a 13 mile day, made it to PA Route 30 late Friday and hitched a ride to town for food resupply, wash clothes, and shower. Surprised it took 15 minutes on a fairly busy road to get a lift. Not like it was back in the day.

Honk for Hikers

Pappy 12 and Best Wife made 10,7 miles today from Rocky Run Shelter to Pogo Campground. Awesome weather for hiking. 40 degrees this morning.

Just north of MD Route 40 alt (old 40) we saw hundreds of ash trees that have patches of pale yellow bark. The Emerald Ash Borer has been working overtime here eating the inner bark of Ash trees. Just a matter of time until they are all gone.

Off Like a Herd of Turtles

We did it. We are on the trail. Pappy 12 and Best Wife are sitting in front of fire letting the mac n cheese with tuna settle in. 

We left Gathland State Park around noon on March 20. Hiked 5.5 miles north to Rocky Run Shelter. 

Just cruising. 

Mackenzie dropped us off, went for a six mile trail run, then bid us farewell. 

Snow was beautiful, what little there was. 

One of my favorite trees. Name certainly must be "7 Trunks". 

Might be a long time before we come across a spring as clean and prolific as this one. Water right out of the rocky ground. No purification needed. 

Rocky Run Hilton. 

Sent from my iPad

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Let's Get Going

Although we got a lot done this week, we have got to get out of here and get this hiking show on the road. We have decided to restart our hike on Monday, March 20. Having hiked 11 miles north from Harper's Ferry last Monday, we will resume our hike at Gathland State Park.

While we have a little down time I've included some info about what will be on my back for the next 6 months. 

Bottom row, left to right, toilet paper/hand sanitizer 5oz, headlamp 3oz, pillow 3oz, duct tape, compass/thermometer, spoon/knife, AT guidebook 10oz, toiletries 10oz, camp shoes 11oz, water purification tablets 5oz, matches/candle/stove 7oz, fuel 13oz, cooking pot/bowl 10oz, gloves 2oz, iPad 12oz.

Second row, left to right, food bag, bear bag rope 3oz, all food for 6 days weighs 13lbs. Breakfasts are oatmeal with raisins and cashews. Lunches are PB with Nutella on bagel, beef stick and cheddar cheese on wheat thins. Dinners are mac n cheese with tuna, chili with instant mashed potatoes, or a freeze dried packaged meal.  Snacks are crackers, beef jerky, cookies, sun chips, almonds, string cheese.

Third row, left to right, clothes bag with one additional tee shirt, two additional pairs of wool socks and sock liners, two additional pairs of underwire 1lb 6oz, air mattress 1lb 9oz, Packa (rain cover/pack cover with sleeves and zip up front) 13oz, wide brimmed hat 3oz, Big Agnes Triangle Mtn 3 person tent/poles/pegs 3lb 7oz, five degree down Big Agnes sleeping bag 3lbs 4oz, EMS hooded down jacket 15oz, Osprey Atmos 65L backpack 4lb 6oz, 20oz water bottle on shoulder strap, 36oz water bottle in lower side pocket and 3L water bladder in backpack. 

Whether my math adds up or not, the whole shabang (including 2L water) weighs 41lbs, way too much. I need my daughter and son-in-law (2012 AT thru hikers) to tell me what to pitch.

If I don't pitch some things now I'll be shedding stuff along the way. Better to shed now.

Either way, we will hike Monday and not look back. Can't wait to go. 

Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Started hiking? Well..... sort of

In anticipation of the start of Pappy 12 and Shauna's (she will settle on a nick name sooner or later) Appalachian Trail thru hike we have been watching the weather forecast since the middle of February. We about died last week when the string of decent weather we've had this winter changed to the forecast of snow. Although we didn't get the 12" that was predicted, enough accumulated on the trail north of Harper's Ferry that we won't start any serious hiking for a few more days. 

However, we did drive to HF Monday and hiked 11 miles from the ATC office north to Gathland State Park in Maryland. As little melting as I think we'll get Wednesday and Thursday I doubt we will resume our hike until Friday at the earliest. Even though it doesn't feel like we have started our hike, I suppose we have. 

We were a mile into our hike and walking through the town of Harper's Ferry (the AT goes right through the lower end of the town) when a guy asked Shauna how far we have hiked. She responded, only a mile. He asked how far we are going. He looked like he thought she was a whacko when she said 2189 miles. 

It felt so good to be in the woods. If we didn't see anything all day Monday but trees, including weird ones

and awesome rock outcroppings, the day would have been all we had expected. The sun shone nicely, wind was brisk, temps cold but very comfortable under hooded down jackets. 

I wonder from time to time what the four legged critters do all night long in the woods while most two legged folks are elsewhere. This deer leg complete with shoulder blade setting in the middle of the trail is a pretty good clue. Most critters are either eating other critters or being eaten.

We will use these few extra days to experiment with a few more trail food options (like a beef bullion cube in instant mashers or peanut butter and Nutella on bagel) to increase the menu variety for the next six months. We also will have time for one more trip to the temple and several more trips to REI. 

It was so strange all day thinking that we have actually started a 2190 mile journey. Today was only one day, and we even slept in our regular bed at the end of it. But we started. Can't wait for the snow to clear enough to get back in the woods. 

Sent from my iPad