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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.

Monday, July 26, 2010

About 700 Miles to Go!!

NotBad here stopping in to say hello to everyone. Duchess is on her own adventure to Boston right now visiting a friend, and I'm in Upper Westchester in New York staying with a fellow thru-hiker; Olive Oil. She is letting some of us stay at her place and we got to shower and do our laundry here as well.

After getting off the trail for about a week, Mom and Dad came to visit, and then I took a trip to New York to see some friends and go to a music festival. I've had a great time thus far, and I'm glad to be back on the trail. It was so much fun seeing everyone, but I'm happy to be back.
Dad, me, Mom & Lucy saying our goodbyes after a great visit at the Delaware Water Gap. As sad as it was to see her go, they took Lucy with her to head home while I finish the trail. She did around 700 miles and did a great job!! I miss her and mom & dad sooo much. Thanks for everything!!

After I got back from New York, it was down to business. I have been hiking with a few different people along the way and meeting a lot of great friends. But after about a week back on the trail, Olive Oil came to pick a group of us up to head to the Jersey Shore for a night of Old Crow Medicine Show..(really great bluegrass band of our time that was playing close to the trail so we decided to hit it up!!)

Above is the crew I went with to see Old Crow ...Griz, me, Studmuffin, Olive Oil and Rabbit Foot. We took this picture after taking a walk along the Jersey Shore. Too cold to go swimming, but it was the first time I had seen the ocean in over 4 years! Good times with great friends.

It has been such a great overall experience thus far, and I am looking forward to New England and the rest of my hike. We only have a little over 700 miles to go, and each day I wake up I get a little sad thinking about leaving the woods and all the amazing people I have met along the way.
After crossing over the state line, I had a hard hike because New York is full of rocks and rock cliffs. Been doing a lot of climbing up the rocks and it has been quite hot. I am loving life and going to be crossing into Connecticut soon! After crossing the state line I bolted down the mountain to the Bellvale Creamery and had a hot fudge sundae and orange soda. It was a hot day and the ice cream was perfect. I met up with Rabbit Foot after that where we watched the sun set and slept on top of the ridge line.

Duchess and I will be meeting up again very soon, and I am excited to see Katherine (Duchess' mom, who is going to come out and hike for a little bit)...Also excited to see Tracie, (my sister), who is also going to come out hopefully around New Hampshire and tackle the White Mountains with me..which is supposedly some of the most beautiful hiking along the AT.

Well, I hope that is an update for all you readers and hopefully the next blog Duchess and I will be able to share more of our experiences together!! Miss and love you all.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

I want to begin by wishing my Dad a Happy 52nd Birthday! Hope you have a wonderful day Dad!

Mary Rachel and Patty are out here on the trail right now. We stayed last night at "the Mayor's House" hostel in Unionville, NY---where you get dinner, breakfast, laundry, shower and a bed/floorspace and as many cokes as you can drink for a $10 donation. Plus the first beer is free and every beer after is 50 cents. Can't beat that.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sooooo Much Going On!!!

Since Duchess and I have been seperated for the last few weeks, we are doing seperate blogs! It's kind of fun to know what is coming, because she is about 100 miles ahead of me. I seperated from them a few weeks ago, because I decided to go to a Phish show with a group of about 8. We had a blast and then I slowed down for everyone to catch me. (Everyone being about 10-12 people that I have been hiking with that are just too damn cool to leave behind.)

After the Phish show I continued hiking with some really great people and just been hiking our little hearts out. I hiked pretty slowly so that everyone behind me could catch up, and I had a great few days to myself and enjoyed the some quiet time.

(Here's a pic of the crew that I got halfway done with!!)

Pennsylvania has been alright to me, although I believe Duchess has been having a better time with everything....I can definately tell that the southern hospitality is no more, and that I am definately missing that. We DID get to the half way point, and I am happy to say we had a great 4th of July at the Lake and we got to "Yogi" some burgers and hot dogs from a very gracious family.

Sorry not much, but more to come....this computer is tooooo slow for much updating. Hope all is well!!! Love you all.

Not Bad

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

HYOH, Brah

"Hike Your Own Hike" is a saying that's thrown around a lot out here on the AT. It's basically a reminder that there are no rules, there is no schedule, you're out here to enjoy yourself, so hike to Maine the way you want to hike to Maine. For NotBad and I, "hiking our own hikes" has taken us in different directions---for the time being. Don't worry, we're in touch almost daily and we plan to reunite soon, but in the meantime, here's the scoop from the last couple weeks of my hike (NotBad's update to follow..)

The trip to D.C. was great. I spent an extra day there and caught the USA-Algeria game at a bar that happened to have quite a few Algerian fans. What an exciting game! We've made it a point, since World Cup started to catch all the USA games, even if it meant hiking a few hours in the morning, catching a ride into town just for the game, and then getting back on trail.

It took us about 2.5 days to do the 42 miles through Maryland, and as soon as we crossed the Mason-Dixon line, into Pennsylvania, we would pass through a park selling $2.00 Hamburgers everyday around lunchtime. Gotta love the North.

We crossed the "true" halfway point (mile 1089.5) just before Pine Grove Furnace State Park, last Tuesday, where we were met by a past thru hiker (LowGear and friend Curt) with trail magic: Buffalo Chicken Salad Sandwiches and Twinkies. Absolutely delicious, but the timing couldn't have been worse, as we were just yards away from the Pine Grove Furnace campstore which features the "Half Gallon Challenge." Open to all thru-hikers, if you can finish a half-gallon of ice cream in one sittng, then you are admitted into the club and recieve the coveted half-gallon club members spoon (pictured below). You better believe I finished, in an hour and 15 minutes. And I'll never do it again.

Arrived in Duncannon, Pennsylvania on July 1st, with the help of "DirtyGirl", a guy who thru hiked in '08. In lieu of hiking the 15 miles into Duncannon, we got a lift and detoured past a Khol's where i was able to replace my dear tennis shoes that had carried me almost 1000 miles cross country. We celebrated (again) at "The Doyle," a hotel built over 100 yrs ago by Anheuser-Busch; now, a must-stop thru-hiker spot where a 22 0z beer costs you 3 bucks.

Found a great vista to catch some fireworks on the night of the 4th. We could see 2 or 3 different towns setting off their displays in the distance.

It's nice to be in Pennsylvania, blueberry and blackberry bushes line the trail, the trees provide a full canopy of shade 99% of the time, there's hardly any elevation change. It is very rocky though---like walking in a creekbed, which isn't so kind to your feet. But you know what they say, "when life gives you rocks... make rock chairs" :

Missing everybody at home! Looking forward to seeing Mary Rachel, Patty and Brian in the next couple weeks(and a tour New York and Boston!) And NotBad, I'll see you soon!!