Sunday, September 27, 2009


So Maryland. This state was right around a turning point for me. Heading into Shenandoah a week earlier things started changing. You could see the end of Virginia and I was getting over the Virginia blues and felt like I was making progress again. It was at that time I made the 20 miles a day limit. I didn't want to rush through this trip. MD is only about 40 miles total. In fact many people do the '4 state challenge' of getting from VA to PA in 24 hours. I think its about 57 miles total. I on the other hand slowed my roll and took 4 days to get through MD. I wasn't going to run the trail and be miserable like all the people I saw passing me. I was actually having fun why would I want this trip to end any sooner? Plus just hanging out and hiking half days is awesome. Alarm clocks and schedules defeat the purpose.

Civil War era War Correspondents Memorial.

The first completed Washington Monument. I was pretty excited because I didn't realize this was on the trail. I also didn't realize that I was so close to Antiedem. I've always wanted to visit the battle field, but couldn't, then I was talking to the curator of the Washington Monument that you could see the battle field and sunken road from the top. He told me what to look for. It was a pretty cool surprise.

Blondie up on Annapolis Rocks. We stopped early here and I'm glad we did. It had THE best spring on the trail and some pretty sweet views. You have to stop and enjoy stuff like this. And you have to be willing to hike the .5 miles off the trail otherwise you miss all the good stuff.

Caught a pretty good sunset off Annapolis Rocks.

The Pink Lady Slippers started popping up around here. One day in PA I was hiking along an old road in the middle of what used to be a mining village and was exploring off the trail. I was about 200 yards or so off the trail and walked behind a pile of rocks and saw a whole hillside full of Pink Lady Slippers. It was pretty amazing.

There was a road going right up to this spot. So of course everything was covered with spray paint. I'm kinda torn. On one hand roads and observation decks are ugly and attract people that vandalize and leave trash and cause problems, but on the other hand easily accessible views like this help people learn to love the outdoors and respect it more.

These tracks mark the MD/PA border and the Mason-Dixon line and also the changes the Appa-latchin trail to the Appa-layshun trail.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

more PA

So here are the rest of the good PA pictures. I don't have much to say.

One of the most rewarding things to me about hiking is every now and then you find the most amazing campsite. Usually you have to look for them pretty far off the trail hidden away. I had to cross a creek to snag this find.

The neat thing about PA is you're hiking along through the woods then all of a sudden you're in the middle of a farmer's field and can't see any mountains ahead of you. You drop of the Blue Ridge and have to hike 15 or 20 miles through the flats (with no camping and very little water) to get back up on the next ridge.

Chances are you've heard stories about the Doyle. I'm not going to retell them online. This is the view of Duncannon from the window of our room at the Doyle.

Next up MD

Sunday, September 20, 2009

PA part one

PA lots of loves and hates for this state. Don't ever order country fried steak in PA. Everyone whines about the rocks in PA, but for the most part its not any worse than VA, and MD. The big boulder fields are fun terrain anyway. The only killer is the last 50 miles or so. Nothing real bad. Section hikers just tend to whine a lot.

These guys were everywhere and an incredible pain in the ass to walk through them hanging from branches all day long.

PA is where the Mountain Laurel started coming in, even though it really wasn't in full bloom until NY.

I don't know why, but turkey vultures are some of my favorite birds. I cam across a bunch near bear rocks, but most flew off when I wasn't so sneaky trying to get a picture.

I camped right in the woods next to this power line. I caught a sunset, and had the biggest fire of the whole trip. I was all alone. It was pretty sweet.

I had my first real bad day this day. I was super pissed about a poorly marked side trail and was out of food, then I ran into Blondie, Topo, Outloud, Mosey and Stink and all was well. This is the day I met Stink and here he is on the old AT near Lehigh Gap.

This is the old AT the trail has been relocated down below the tree line a bit. This is actually a government Super Fund site because an old Plant in the valley put out so much pollution it destroyed all the vegetation on the top of the mountain. Of course they agreed to help clean it up decades ago and nobody has done anything about it.
It was pretty amazing and unreal. Like walking in a desert on the moon.

Dude, Soares, Blondie, Hungry, Myself, Stunned Mullet (being rather sick) Nexus, Spammy, Paradise, Walrus, The Boss and Santa's Helper. (left to right)

A big part of the crew hanging out in Delaware Water Gap. Which one was of the best towns on the trail. This is outside the shelter in the back of the church which also had a hostel in the basement. We watched a movie on a big screen in the outfitter's back yard next to a brook. The bakery in town rules and has an "All American" special of a hot dog and a slice of apple pie for $1.25. I had their strawberry shortcake sundae for breakfast one day and it ruled.

More PA pictures in a few days.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

NJ and NY

New Jersey was one state where I had good weather for the most part. I'm pretty sure I just hung out most nights I spent in NJ. We came into to NJ in high spirits after we left Delaware Water Gap and my first day in Jersey I saw 7 black bear (including 4 cubs) so I knew it was going to be a good state.
First night in Jersey was pretty much a party and we ended up getting a bunch of free salad, bread, lasagna and even some vegetarian lasagna. Just a bunch of friends hanging out. Even some canoeing.

Jersey is a lot prettier than you'd expect.

For some reason I just couldn't get enough of the Mountain Laurel

Paradise and Walrus checking Wild Bill for ticks.

Nexus cookin up some dinner.

I hope I never forget NJ/NY. Friendships made, lessons learned and paying it forward.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

NY part 1

When I think of NY I think of rain, Mountain Laurel, Harriman State Park, brown water, and rock scrambles in the cold rain. But whenever the seemingly endless rain was getting you down the trail would provide you with a warm dry place to sleep, with hot food and friends. Or maybe just a few hours of sun in the afternoon to lift your spirits when they're most down.
I set out on this hike because I like the outdoors. I was totally unprepared for what it became. Making amazing friends, getting into adventure, meeting new kind people everyday. I never even thought that people would invite you into their homes for hot showers, hot food and maybe some baseball on tv.
I live in east TN so I can go outside in the mountains pretty much whenever I can, but what I miss is the people.

Crossing the Hudson near Bear Mtn NY. This is the lowest elevation of the entire trail.

Playtime. Blondie and Hatchet going bowling with Soares. We played so many games at the friary. Such a awesome night with great people. Playing is the best.

The trail comes out on Stormville MT Rd/Old Stormville mt rd. Then turn left on Stormville mt rd and go to the intersection of Stormville mt rd and Stormville mt road/Old Stormville mt rd and turn right. Its really quite simple.

Swimming in Nuclear Lake. We still don't have any superpowers. Well, maybe Stink does. I did a belly flop and it was marvelous.

Thats a big oak, guy.


Next entry soon. Full of Mtn Laurel, flowers and beautiful NJ.