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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Eagle Cap – Mike Smith

September 28, 2018 § Leave a comment

I am not sure of the date, but it must have been while I was still an under grad at Penn State. The trimester was coming to an end, finals were almost over, and my friend Chris was already spending the summer in Northern Virginia at Larry‘s house. We talked on the phone about me coming to visit before I went home myself, and how I would get there when Chris mentioned that Melanie, Larry’s girlfriend at the time had a brother at Penn State, Mike Smith, who had a care, and I could hitch a ride with Mike. I remember calling Mike that evening, and a low low low voice answered the phone and we went on to make plans to travel. Mike was an engineering major, Nuclear I believe which could only mean one thing. Two socially awkward human beings would be in that car going home.

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