5/4/2009 – 8:45 PM Peters Mountain Shelter – 11.3 miles today – 1148.6 mi total
Got up at 7 today and started organizing my stuff. Went through my food drop and put half of it in my bag and sent the other half to Port Clinton, PA. That will save me a lot of weight over the next 4 days. Had breakfast and hung out with Harley. Had to wait until 11 for the bar to open so that I could get on the computer. Packed my bag and checked out of the room. Meet the owners of the Doyle Hotel Pat and Vicky. Updated the blog and uploaded some pics and videos. Had a big lunch (same as last night) and decided to head off into the rain. It had been raining all morning, so I was debating a zero, so the weather is going to be crappy for a while so I wouldn’t gain anything from sitting around. It was one of those days where you had to look yourself in the mirror and say I’m not a snowman, I won’t melt in the rain. Harley wanted to go as well. Said goodbye to Pat and Vicky and hit the trail at 2:30. Got batteries at the hardware store on the way out so my SPOT won’t breakdown again. Plotted along in the rain over the Juniata River and Susquehanna River. Climbed from there to the ridgeline. Must have been a major accident on one of the roads because I heard sirens all afternoon. Got some good views back of Duncannan. Very rocky at times. I past Clarks Ferry Shelter at 4:30 and pushed onto Peters Mountain Shelter. Rain stopped at 5:30. Arrived at Peters Mountain at 7 PM. Promptly fell on my butt while going down the steps to the privy, going to have a nice bruise. Water was way down the hill. We are with Itchy and One Shoe tonight. A bit chilly, glad I get to snuggle with Harley, hope the rain isn’t too bad tomorrow.
5/5/2009 – 6:15 PM Rausch Gap Shelter – 17.5 mi today – 1166.1 mi total
Woke up at 6:30 and got breakfast ready. Hung with Harley for a while as I knew it would be a short day. Itchy and One Shoe left as I started to pack my bag. Decided to half my lunch before I left and I knew there were no shelters before Rausch Gap. Finally got on the trail at 9:45. Pretty easy walking all day and the rain held off for the most part. Met a ’08 thru hiker at Clarks Valley. He was asking about all of his favorite hostels along the way. Only one climb today and it was pretty long and easy. Had a couple of jets fly overhead but couldn’t see them. Must have been above the clouds. Felt a bit homesick. Smelled a Lilac yesterday and it brought back so many summertime memories of Rochester. Hope to see the lilacs when I take my week off. Funny how a smell can trigger memories and emotions so quickly. Got to the shelter at 4:30 and meet Swamp Fox, Skiman, and Catchup. Itchy and One Shoe were also there. Cool shelter with the spring literally 10 yards away and a nice table around a tree. Cooked dinner and got ready for bed. Everyone else is already in sleeping bags and we still have 2 hours of light. Dog is making the most of it and is asleep already. Looking forward to Pizza tomorrow.
5/6/2009 – 7:20 pm 501 shelter –17.4 mi today –1183.5 miles total
Woke up at 6 and made breakfast. Harley had breakfast in bed. Skiman and Catchup and Swam Fox were out early. I hit the trail at 7:45. It rained overnight but stopped by 5 am. Overcast and a bit foggy all day, but no rain. Pretty easy day. Got to one stream crossing and the water was flowing over the stepping-stones. I didn’t want to risk it, so I found another way across via a road just east of the trail. Glad I did that because those who crossed the stream there said it was dangerous. Crossed under I-81 for the last time. From here I go northeast to New Jersey. Had lunch at William Penn Shelter where I met Santa’s Helper. He is 65 years old and resuming a 2007 thru hike after suffering a heart attack last year. There was a nasty slippery rock field just before William Penn shelter. Hope it dries out soon because it is no fun to slip on the rocks. Easy walk to 501 shelter. Here with Rocky, Swamp Fox, Itchy, One Shoe, Skiman, Catchup, and Santa’s Helper. We ordered food from an Italian place in Pinegrove PA. I got a mushroom Pizza yum. This shelter is fully enclosed but it has a nice large skylight in the middle. Now it is raining and starting to get dark. Hoping for Port Clinton tomorrow but it is supposed to be rocky North of here. Hope the rain stops by morning. Itchy drew a picture of me. I also passed the 1000 mi to go mark today. WOO HOO!
5/7/2009 9:30 pm – Port Clinton, PA – 23.7 mi today – 1207.2 mi total
Got up at 6 today and was on the trail by 7. Leftover pizza was yummy. Rain had stopped by morning but it was still wet all around. It has rained a lot recently, so the literally became a stream for a 2 mile stretch. I had to trudge through 6 inches for over an hour. I found out that my right boot is not water proof. By the end of that stretch both of my feet were soaking, water had come over the top. I had to ring out my socks to avoid getting trench foot. Stopped at Eagle Nest Shelter for lunch after 15 miles and the sun finally came out. Afternoon was nice and sunny, though the PA rocks have begun. My feet got a beat down today. Glad that I am getting my superfeet insoles tomorrow. Got into Port Clinton at 6 o’clock and the outfitter let me in just before he closed up shop. Bought denatured alcohol, a new camelback mouthpiece, and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. Set up camp at the pavilion, ate my ice cream and them went back to town for dinner. Got a mushroom Swiss burger at the Port Clinton hotel with onion rings. Yummy Yummy Yummy in my tummy. Met Itchy and One Shoe there. Went back to camp and called home, now I am going to bed. Glad the weather has gotten better. Really tired.
5/8/2009 8:30 PM – Allentown hiking club Shelter – 22.6 mi today – 1229.8 mi total
Got up at 6 and made breakfast. No rush as the post office didn’t open til 7:30. Got my food and superfeet in the mail. Just in time for the worst of the rocks. Left Port Clinton at 8:15. As much as people talk about PA being very rocky, there are many stretches of no rocks at all. Today had a lot of short intense rocky sections, separated by long flat easy sections. Had an early lunch at Windsor Springs Shelter. I think I pampered my stomach by eating 2 nice dinners in a row. It was hungry by 10 am. Got some since Views from Pulpit Rock and the Pinnacle. There was a school group there that liked Harley and gave him lots of attention. A little while later I passed a couple out for a day hike. They had reached a large puddle and didn’t know how to get around it without getting their feet dirty. Harley and I plowed right through the middle of it. Stopped at Eckville Shelter to use the solar shower. It was freeeeezing but I definitely needed the shower. The bugs were really bad this afternoon. I broke out the bug spray but it didn’t do much. I hate when they fly around my ears. It makes some of the rock fields even more dangerous because instead of planting my poles I am swatting at flies. Got to Allentown Shelter at 6 and met The Brothers Grimm, two brother’s section hiking year by year. They gave me some of their food as their hike ends tomorrow. Found 4 ticks on Harley. Hope neither of us gets lime disease. Shooting for Lehigh Gap tomorrow, which is supposed to be the worst of the PA rocks. Elevation profile looks nasty there but the rest is flat. Glad to have a campfire tonight because it drove away the bugs. Warm night.
5/9/2009 8:50 pm – Little Gap – 22.8 mi today – 1252.6 mi total
Got up at 6 and had breakfast. Nice thundershower overnight. Said farewell to The Brothers Grimm and hit the trail at 7:15. Easy walk to start but it didn’t stay that way. Almost fell over twice along the Knife Edge. Not fun. Got to Bake Oven Knob Shelter at 11 and found a beer. I was really excited for the trail magic, and then I tasted it…YUCK! Never going to have Jaguar beer again. In true thru hiker fashion I finished it anyways. Waste Not Want Not. Stumbled from there to Outer bridge Shelter. It was getting hot so I doused Harley at the spring. He hates it when I do that. He also has decided that he doesn’t like Milkbones. When I give them to him, he half chews it and then spits it out. He doesn’t know how good he has it. Climb out of Lehigh gap was intense but fun. It is 1000 ft elevation climb slash rock scramble. Had to help Harley over a couple of rocks. Luckily there was a nice breeze to cool us off. Easy walk after that next to the EPA superfund site with views of Palmerton. Found a campsite just North of Little Gap for the night. Pulled at least 100 ticks off of Harley. Warm night so no sleeping bag. Pretty flat walk tomorrow, I am exhausted!
5/10/2009 9 PM – Kirk Ridge Shelter – 24.6 mi today – 1277.2 mi total
Woke up at 6 as usual. Rolled over and drifted back to sleep. Got up at 6:45 and had breakfast. Hit the trail at 8. Rocks all day long. They ranged in size from golf balls to boulders. Most are solid but some move when you step on them. All of them are hard and give your feet a beat down. Flat walk to Leroy Smith Shelter. Got there at noon for lunch. Met 2 locals on a day hike. They were self-proclaimed amateur ghost hunters – whatever that means. Pumped some water and hit the trail again. Beautiful weather all day long. Partly cloudy cool and breezy. Passed through wind gap and hand a boring 6 mile ridge walk with no views or landmarks. Finally ended at Wolf Rocks with a bit of a view. This is apparently the southern boarder of the glaciers in the last ice age. Got to Kirk Ridge Shelter at 7. There is a spigot here as well as a portable radio. I listened to it over dinner and heard some really good music. It was awesome! I really appreciate music now. I usually just have one song stuck in my head all day, so variety is always nice. Pulled a bunch of ticks off of Harley and got ready for bed. 2 section hikers arrived and one had a guitar. I am being spoiled tonight with all of this music. Tomorrow I will drop into Delaware Water Gap and probably spend the night. Then it is on to NJ!! (never thought I would be excited to go to NJ).
5/11/2009 9 PM- Delaware Water Gap - 6.6 mi today – 1283.8 mi total
Got up at 6 to make breakfast. Hit the trail at 7:15 before my shelter mates woke up. Easy walk into Delaware Water Gap. Had some nice views of Delaware River and NJ. Got into town at 9:30. Staying at the church hostel tonight. They offer hikers a shower and a bunk for free. Friendly people. After I dropped off my stuff I went to the bakery and pigged out. I ate 2 hotdogs, a cheeseburger, a grilled cheese, 2 pieces of pie, 3 cookies and a milkshake. It was great. Picked up my mail drop and picked up my mail drop and did my laundry by hand in a bucket as there is no laundry in town. Called home and planned out my next stretch until I meet mom on Sunday. Hoping to crank out the miles this week. Staying with 2 other guys tonight No Sense and Easy Going. Both very friendly. After dinner (bakery again) Easy Going offered me his tent as he was planning to send it home tomorrow. It is significantly lighter than mine and he showed me how to set it up on the front lawn. So excited! Guess I’ll be sending my tent home tomorrow. Glad I took it easy today.
Welcome to my trail blog for my 2009 Appalachian Trail Hike! Here you can find all of my journal entries of my 2178.3 mile journey from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in Maine. You can see my picture slideshow to the right, as well as a recap of my hike mile by mile and gear list. Download the ebook about my hike on iTunes. I hope you find my quest inspiring. Thanks for visiting and Happy Trails!