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Tuesday, September 14, 2010


First off...CONGRATULATIONS to Duchess for the completion of your thru-hike!!
Her and I were close apart, and I actually summited on Saturday September 11. It was a beautiful day and I am truely blessed for having a gorgeous day with a nice summit and a great group of people to summit with.With champagne and cigars in hand Klarity, Playboy, Chopsticks, Rocky & I celebrate on top of Mt. Kathadin--Our finish line!

The hike was amazing and the stories will be remembered forever. And thanks to everyone that kept up on our posts and kept in touch.


I have learned through this hike not only about myself, but the true good of people as well. I will be sure to say that I am not a purist but yet an adventure hiker and have seen more and done more the last 6 months that I could imagine myself doing in a lifetime. I have not only grown physically but mentally as well. I am stronger now than I have ever been, and I feel like I am ready to take on the world. I have realized now that no thru-hiker is lost, but we are on the same trail with the same intentions: to have an adventure.

"Not all those who wander are lost."


Sunday, September 12, 2010


As my flight descended to the runway at the Indianapolis airport, I could pick out from my window familiar high school football fields, the Pepsi Coliseum, the intersection of 38th and Meridian and even the red roof and front lawn of home. The whole family met me at the arrival gate--Dad, Sally, Grace and Grant! Wasting no time, we piled into Dad's new Lincoln and drove straight to Judy's, a family favorite and the best place in town to get the Hoosier classic: a breaded tenderloin. (They don't even know what these are on the east coast!)

It's great to be home and even better to be able to say I've hiked the AT (*in past tense :) I can't begin to describe accurately what an experience like this has meant but its been one of the coolest things that I've ever been a part of. I've met countless wonderful and unique individuals; friends that will last a lifetime. I've seen beautiful parts of the country that I'd never considered visiting. I've found appreciation for some of everyday-life's smallest conveniences; fresh-brewed coffee, toilet paper, a text message from a friend 1000 miles away.

This was the view from the top of Katahdin--the final climb.

It's not the highest peak on the AT, but its the biggest elevation change we've seen and definitely one of the more rugged climbs on the trail. It was partly cloudy and 60 degrees on the ground (elev. 1200) that morning, dense fog and 50 mph sustained winds on top (elev. 5200). For the last mile leading up to the summit, we were walking the ridgeline, they call it "Tableland." With visibility at ~25 feet, the sign marking the summit just appears in front of you without warning. It's breathtaking. It's what you've been hiking towards for the last 6 months. One by one, a small crowd of hikers form at the top and we gather around it like its some sacred icon that marks the end of a religious pilgrimage. For many, it kind of is I guess. Pigpen and I took our pictures and drank a celebratory 16oz Budweiser, then decided to head back down so we could get the blood circulating again in our frozen fingers.

The fog faded as quickly as it had appeared, as we descended below treeline and out of the dream.

It was a pretty perfect ending to a pretty incredible trip.
More of a denouement than a climax, Katahdin was as breathtaking and satisfying as i could have hoped for.

I need to extend an especial thank you to my good friend and hiking buddy "Pigpen," and his family, for their generosity and accommodation in the last month or so of this hike. Couldn't have done it without you. Literally.

I also want to congratulate Malorie aka 'NotBad' on the completion of her thru-hike! She summited successfully on Saturday. Its a very impressive feat, something to be very proud of. I'm very proud of you :)

I can't begin to thank everyone who is reading this. You're interest alone has been a major driving force in finishing this thing off.

I'm not sure the best way to end this final entry, but i found this quote that surmises part of what i think I've learned & a lesson that i consider worth passing on:

"Long distance hiking is not a vacation, it’s too long for that. It’s not recreation, too much toil and pain involved. It is, we decide, a way of life, a very simplified Spartan way of living … life on the move … heavy packs, sweating brow; they make you appreciate warm sunshine, companionship, cool water. The best way to appreciate these things that are precious and important in life it is take them away." – CINDY ROSS, Journey on the Crest, 1997

w/ love, Jess

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Final Stretch for Not Bad

Greetings from Rangelely, Maine! I am sitting here at the public library waiting for TRACIE to arrive so that she can come out and hike with me for a few days. We are jumping up trail just a little bit though so that we can do a little easier of a section, and then when we part ways I'll only have 150 miles left to go!! But before all that excitement, I'll update y'all on what's been going on the last few weeks!

I am still hiking with Klarity, and her and I plan to summit the last mountain together. Since my last blog post I have made it through not only Vermont but also New Hampshire!! In New Hampshire I defeated the White Mountains and had some great hut experiences!
(Here's a shot of me on top of Mt. Moosilauke...first big peak in the White Mountains!)

(This is a shot atop South Kinsman...serious hand over feet climbing!! The Whites were tough!)
(And here's the Big One Folks!! Mt. Washington!! The second highest peak on the Appalachian Trail!! The morning was windy and foggy and the afternoon cleared up beautifully!!)

After clearing through the Whites, Klarity and I took a small road trip with some friends who have cars out on the AT...we spent the evening with a shower and a hotel room and celebrated the end of the Whites. It was a hard week, but we did it and we are on route to make it to the big mama: Katahdin!!

After New Hampshire, and all the rest of the 13 states, is the last and final one: MAINE...we are excited to be here and am really excited to see new and old friends while bumping up ahead.

(Here's the money shot!! Finally made it to our last state line!!)

So only a little ways to go and I'm so excited!! If ANYONE wants to send chocolate, nuts, candy, cards, etc. to me before I get off trail, here's a great address to do it at!!
Hold for AT Thru-Hiker
Malorie Irvin
Monson, ME PO 04464
ETA: Sept. 7, 2010


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Final Stretch

Greetings from Gorham, New Hampshire. Less than 300 miles to go...
For the last week or so, I've been hiking with PigPen. We both have a strong desire to get to the finish line, plus we're both avid football fans, so we've made it our goal to summit by September 8th. This way, we'll be back at PigPen's house in New Hampshire to catch the NFL season opener between the Saints and the Vikings on the 9th and I'll be back to Indiana on the 10th.

Gotta run, becuase it costs me a dollar to use this computer for 30 minutes! Next update? The Victory Update!


It's Nearing the End, and I'm Sad for it to be Over

Hello All!!

Since hitting Vermont I have completely fallen in love with this state, and contemplating moving here next summer and into the fall...Don't worry Mom &'s just a thought!! Anyway, I have been hiking with a pretty cool crew the last week or so, and have been enjoying my time and taking it slow on what we call the "leisure tour". I hiked quickly to catch my friend Klarity in Manchester Center, VT & she and I have been having a great time since.
(This is a picture of Klarity and I on top of Bromley Mountain...beautiful mountain top with a huge ski lift & a shelter at the top of the mountain! We got to see the meteor shower from here and it was a clear & beautiful night)

The hike has been great since meeting up with her, and I have also been running into a lot of people that I had not seen in a while. After Bromley Mountain, we pushed on and spent the week in the woods swimming, watching beautiful sunsets and enjoying the 3 days of a meteor shower with clear skies atop the mountains. It had been a while since we got to enjoy the views because we have been below tree line for so long. Once we got to Vermont, the weather has been beautiful and the land has been amazing!!
(This is a picture on top of White Rocks Cliff, the sunset was beautiful, but so was the night sky...if you can see the moon, look a little to the right & that is can see everything from these mountains!!)

Along with the beautiful skies, the landscape has been so beautiful too!! The trees are huge & the cedar smells delicious, and yes I have enjoyed some REAL maple syrup.
(Here's a picture I took while enjoying some of these delicious blackberries...fresh blackberries and blueberries have been all over the trail all season!)

Another exciting day was when we were getting ready to hike down from Killington Peak, (the second highest peak in Vermont), and decided that we didn't really feel like hiking down. So, we did the first SKY BLAZE of the season, taking the Gondola down the mountain into the town of Killington.
(Here's a photo of Klarity and I at the bottom of our gondola ride...we got a hitch from here by a guy named Mad Dog...he hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2000, and has the record for finishing the ENTIRE trail in only 5 WEEKS!!...needless to say, he was almost bed-ridding for 2 months afterward)

We are now in Woodstock, VT visiting a friend of a couple of the guys I am hiking with. She is the soul-owner of the local coffee shop so we have been enjoying her yummy coffee & this cute little touristy town. Like I said earlier, Vermont is beautiful, and I have been enjoying this state so much!!

We start New Hampshire in just a few days, which means we will hiking the intimidating WHITE MOUNTAINS....after that, it's just a few more weeks until we hit Baxter State Park and the beautiful Mount Katahdin. If anyone is curious, I plan to book a ticket from New York to Indianapolis on the 22nd of September. Well, with that being said I hope all is well with everyone and I miss and love you all!!

With Love,
Malorie "NotBad"

Monday, August 9, 2010

3 States to GO!!!!

Hey there Everyone!!
Little update from NotBad here. Got into Bennington, VA last night and got a place to stay with a nice couple wanting to help me out. I am headed back on the trail today with the plans to be in Maine the first weekend of September-then hoping to be done around September 17 (that would be exactly 6 months for me). Duchess has jumped up the trail and her finish date is around September 9...unfortunately we will not be summiting together, but we are hiking our own hike and have plenty of stories to tell to one another when we get back home to good 'ol Indiana.

So what's new with me? Well, last week I was hiking and ran into some great rock climbers from Rhode Island...they invited me to climb and of course I took the offer!!
(This picture is of me starting my was a hard one but I had a great leader belaying me up the rockface!!)

After that I called up some friends and they were invited to some trail angel's house for ice cream, showers, laundry & they even gave them the car to come and pick me up!! After staying the night my buddy Ice's father picked 3 of us thru-hikers up to spend the weekend with his family in Old Lyme, Connecticut. We were there from Friday 'til Tuesday and had a great time with his friends and family.
(Silly picture of me, Griz & Ice at the Old Lyme firework show that his family brought us to while visiting.)

After getting back on the trail Tuesday, Brendan (one of Ice's friends from his home town), came out and hiked with me for the day. We started hiking and talking about a music festival in Ghent, NY that we could work and get in for free. After only a few hours of hiking we headed out of the woods to pick up Ice and Griz and head to Ghent, NY. We spent the weekend dancing and having a good time and meeting a lot of great people behind the scenes of the festival. It was an electronica and jamband festival and we all had a tiring, but great weekend.
(This is a picture of the band RAQ...they played a double set and rocked it for almost 3-4 hours!!)

So I'm leaving Bennington this afternoon and plan to head up to connect onto the Long Trail. (The Long Trail was the original part of the AT and we stay on this trail for most of Vermont.) Although there will still be white blazes, we will be Long Trailing it for a couple of weeks. I look forward to hooking up with old friends and perhaps meeting some new people as well.

Hope all is well at home & elsewhere and I miss you all!!

With Love,

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Duchess Update

Hello Family and Friends. What a exciting last 2 weeks it has been. Only about 25% took place on the Appalachian trail proper, but then isn't that part of the experience? :)

Last I updated, Mary and Patty were out for the weekend. Had a wonderful time with them; its always good to see good people and to be able to show them what this nonsense is really all about. Spent a couple nights on trail and a couple of nights at the oh-so-generous Mayor's house. Sent Patty home with not 1 but 2 black eyes and Mary Rachel to Houston with 1 tiny blister. I love you guys, thanks for making the trip out!

Returned to NYC with Mary & Patty and hung out with friend-from-grade-school: John Reynolds, for a couple days. He introduced me to authentic Ramen noodles. :) Got to hang out with old roomate Andy for an afternoon; he showed me around town, took me to the restuarant he works at and bought me some expensive NYC cocktails.
Brian flew in for a long weekend and we walked around the city trying desperately not to look like tourists. I think we did allright :). Ate a lot of good food, drank a lot of good beer. Saw a free concert, saw some Picasso's at the MET, Lady Liberty, TimesSquare, the movie INCEPTION (if you see one movie this year, make sure its this one!). Thank you for a great weekend :)

Took the ChinaTown bus to Boston and stayed with Rebecca for a couple days. Walked the Freedom trail, saw Paul Revere's house, ate authentic Canoli, visited the Sam Adams and Harpoon breweries (back to back) and hit up the beach. Hung out with Clayton and Phillip in the meantime.

I love big cities, so much to see and do and eat and drink and it was so good to catch up with great friends (Thank you John, Tess, Andy, Rebecca, Clayton, & Phillip for your hospitality, generousity and tourguidesmanship?)

Back to work though: caught the PeterPan busline up the trail, got dropped off in Dalton, Mass. putting me ~600 miles and ~6 weeks from Mt. Katahdin. It's the final stretch! The weather in New England is beautiful as are the trail towns. The elevation is getting higher, and the climbs a little more impressive. This is what I've been hiking for 4 months for! Looking forward to a visit from Mom in a couple days and to reuniting with trail family soon.

Lastly, If you is interested in donating money to a great cause, I'm fundraising for the Cneter of Hope, an orphanage in Haiti. You can visit the site and donate directly at:
If you are unable to donate at this time, but know of someone who would be interested, feel free to pass the word on. Thanks for everyone who has already contributed!

Allright, gotta run, crossing into Vermont today!

PS: Here's to the Williamstown Public Library, for having a whopping 2-hr. internet time limit and being so accomodating. Best trail town library yet.