The Halfway on the AT – Not the Winter Trip We Expected

January 19, 2020 § Leave a comment

You may recall from my previous post, that there was a plan and except for a little damage to Andy’s wife’s Infinity and a little bit of rain, everything was so far going to plan. We all arrived safely, ate huge breakfasts at The Elkhorn in Bendersville, and we pared everything down to all the food, beer and booze we needed to enjoy all ourselves for the weekend. We set out from our parked vehicles, and we headed South on the AT, which at the start was nothing more than getting out of the parking lot, and walking along the road until the trail turned right and started climbing past some local hunting cabins. The grade was a pretty easy grade, and there really wasn’t anything in this day that was expecting to be any real challenge.

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The Halfway on the AT – Getting There

January 16, 2020 § Leave a comment

This is a very misleading title, because I am no where near halfway covered in AT mileage. Let’s be clear. I have only done the following:

  • NJ 72
  • NY 81
  • CT 51
  • Most of Vermont 100+
  • 16 miles in PA
  • 10 miles in MD
  • 20-30 miles in VA

That is it. I haven’t even walked a quarter of the AT, even if I note that I have done Jersey twice! So, when I title this “The Halfway” it is simply because our band of knuckleheads got together again for a weekend of fun in the woods, and we targeted Michaux State Forest, and more specifically Pine Grove Furnace which is where the AT Museum is located, and also the official halfway marker on the AT.

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Christmas AT Backpacking Trip – MA to NY via CT – It is A Wrap

January 14, 2020 § Leave a comment

The sixth time I felt my bladder had to be emptied, was around 5:10 in the am. I had slept on and off, however 5 times I had to get up at night, and one of those times, I needed to go around my tarp and move the rocks to tighten up the tautness in the tarp. I even extended the tent poles a little more to give me a wee bit more clearance. Anyway, here it was 5:10 in the am, and I knew I needed to get up. The question I presented to myself was this: “Why not simply get up, eat, and get going? Why pull into the destination shelter near the end of light? Why not simply, get there early? I contemplated these thoughts within the warm confines of my bag for another ten minutes, and then decided to follow through and this time, rather than simply dressing to pee, I dressed for the day.

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Christmas AT Backpacking Trip – Ma to NY via CT – A Change of Plans

January 5, 2020 § Leave a comment

You may recall from an earlier post, the preparation and the plans I made for this grand winter adventure. As is usual I fall into a capabilities trap. I reason (wrongly) that if I can cover 6 miles in Hartshorne Woods in 90 minutes, then surely I can cover 21.6 miles in 7.5 hours of daylight. The math says 18 miles in 4.5 hours, which leaves 3 hours to spare for the final 3.6 and some stopping here and there, and that is where my fatal flaw lies. An unburdened jaunt through Hartshorne, is not the same as a burdened, though lightly burdened I was, jaunt through the Taconic Mountain range through which most of the Connecticut AT traverses. You just can’t do it. Let me re-phrase. A 60 year old in decent shape such as myself coot still can’t do that. Hell, the same flaw led us to a 21 mile hike in June along the AT where we still didn’t cover our goal, and we had a much longer day for that.

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Christmas AT Backpacking Trip – MA to NY via CT Day 1

January 5, 2020 § 2 Comments

I stayed in the city Christmas Eve with Susan, filling our belly’s with Tenho ramen, and getting to bed long before midnight. My plan was to arrive at Grand Central with plenty of time to find my platform, and possibly find an open food establishment. Susan packed me a nice breakfast of granola, yogurt, and some Clementines, but with a long hike ahead, I thought some coffee, and a pastry of some sort would supplement well.

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Christmas AT Backpacking Trip – The Preparation

January 4, 2020 § 2 Comments

After returning from a three day weekend backpacking trip in Pennsylvania Furnace State Park, also known as Michaux State Forest where the Appalachian Trail halfway point between Springer Mountain Georgia, and Mt Katahdin Maine lies, I had all my gear still out and ready to put away when I thought “What if I took some time before the end of the year and tried to knock out the AT in Connecticut?” Though not the shortest sections of the trail in any state, it is pretty low. Maybe even number 2 to West Virginia, but maybe even number 3 to Maryland. I knew that the total length in CT was just over 50 miles, and I was already familiar with the Southern terminus; I just didn’t know much about the Northern end.

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Number 59

November 29, 2018 § 3 Comments

I started this post, probably on my birthday when I turned 59. If not then, it was soon after, but I never developed much beyond the title. I am not even sure what I thought might be the content, but I suppose that with 60 looming only 365 days in the future, perhaps I thought there would be some insight into what 59 would be, and how I thought the lead-in to 60 would play out.

Today, it is late November, and well, 59 as played out a lot like all the years before it. Ha! I may have started 2018 healing from a fall late November 2017, and fairly inactive, which translates to lots of in calories, and not many out calories, but by the end of January I was at least doing spin class again. By the time my birthday rolled around, I finished a 10 class power spin training block of classes, and I spent 10 days in Thailand which included over 400 miles cycling. I don’t usually put that much mileage on the bike in New Jersey over the same time frame. That was special.

I moved from the power spin training to Mega Cycle spin training, and soon found myself on the roads of NJ again. I was still trying to shed weight, but I felt like an anchor, and that maybe, this year would be the year in which I would not be able to keep up with the weekday SFAC rides once they started. Those guys are all 6-10 years younger than me, and how much longer can I reasonably expect to keep hammering on Tuesdays and Thursdays? 

In addition to the SFAC group, there was an even younger group I associated with that was 20 years or more my junior. Some pretty strong youth, that I could hold wheels with, but put me out in front, and it wouldn’t be long before I was longing for the tail of pace line.

Tony was the first SFAC rider to meet me. Tom was busy with work and improving a newly acquired “downsized” in his living arrangements. Mike decided to start running more, and the Mayor wasn’t yet ready for the road, so it was me and the Wolf, and while I expected to be put on the rivet, I found I could hold, and lead. I began a series of Strava posts in which I may have “overly” praised Tony on our rides. They were fun.

I picked up an extra week of vacation this year, and using the tools of working either 10 hour days, or working 80 hours over 8 or 9 days, and taking a few Fridays off, I managed to get in some really nice early season long mileage, high elevation gain rides. I really lucked out on some of these rides as the weather looked dismal most of the week only to clear enough, or simply clear where I was, to make for a great day on the bike. I got to push some routes that I wanted others to do, as well as explore new options to existing routes. For example, I checked out an option to by-pass West Point. West Point is a great site to ride through, but getting there on Rt 9 isn’t my favorite. Another example is merging in roads from the NY Gran Fondo that allow us to get back into Harriman via an alternate route that doesn’t have us simply riding over the same route we have always ridden. That’s a win. On another ride we rode up the Jersey side of the Delaware out of the Water Gap, and returned on the Pennsylvania side. That was a completely awesome route, and I can’t wait to do it again.

Throughout most of the Summer the SFAC crowd was never at full steam. We were lucky enough to pick up a new guy in Adam Jones, a Welshman who lived in Rumson and worked at Goldman. A youngster, but not as young as he looks. I only rode once with Mike B all year, and Tom was out for a handful of rides. As said, he has a house project to go along with business travel, daughter tennis team, and his wife was suffering acute back issues. So it was mostly Tony and I and whoever else we could get to come out.

I made it out for some Saturday or Sunday Pronto rides, more than the previous year, but not as many as I had wished. On the home front I needed to support my own wife as she was diagnosed, yet again, with cancer. Treatment has been administered, and she is another wait and see mode.

In September I took my backpacking buddies on our fourth week long adventure in the wilderness known as The Eagle Cap Wilderness in NE Oregon. The Wallowa Mountains were a real eye opener to majestic beauty. Personally, I felt great the entire trip, though it did take a couple of days to get the legs acclimated, but after that, I could walk and walk. The cycling really shows itself when it comes to lung capacity and the ability to simply keep marching. My only physical issue was dry cracked feet, which I remedied using duct tape. It really is the wonder tape.

As I write this, I have been reasonably idle for some time. Not riding as much; haven’t been hiking in more than a month, and have been occupied with house chores. I did get a weekend backpacking trip in early this month in West Virginia, but that wasn’t enough to get me motivated to get back out there in the wee hours just yet.

As of this writing, I am still 59, and closing in on the last quarter of that cycle. Eventually I will get back on the bike, either riding the rollers, or I will get back to spin class. One way or the other, I plan on putting some miles in for another cycle around the sun.