I’m hot!

Thursday August 17, 2017

Pinefield Hut 19.8 miles

Total mileage 1294

I packed up in dark and headed out just after 6 am. It seemed lighter out this morning. Maybe because today was supposed to be a nicer day. Whatever the reason I’ll take it. I didn’t need to use my flashlight. I was soon a sweaty mess. It was hot today with temperatures close to 90.

I had mostly dirty path today and not to many exciting views. The views I did have were a little hazy. I didn’t see any deer today. It was my first day since flipping back down south that I didn’t see a deer. I still haven’t seen a bear since flipping south. I saw 7 in my northern section.

I finish almost 20 miles by 3:30pm and arrive and immediately get off my feet. I eat a snack and read the shelter log book. I see that CHOCOHOLIC signed in 12 days earlier and left me a message.

I see that there are notes about there being copperheads near the Hut so I decide to camp even though it is supposed to rain.

Today I am thankful that I didn’t see any copperheads while I was reading the shelter log book!

Clean again!

Wednesday 16, 2017

Lewis Campground 23.2 miles

Total mileage 1274.2

I was the only one to sleep in the shelter last night. So I was up at 5:30am packing up and didn’t have to worry about shining my light in someone’s eyes or being quiet. So I was out of there in a half hour and on that trail at 6 in the dark. It was a pretty foggy start. Some of the views of the valley below were fog filled. I kinda like weather like this.

The trail wasn’t as easy as the last two days. There were more rocks today but I still made really good time. I was pretty much hustling today. First to get to Skyland resort for breakfast which was 6.5 miles away. Then to the campground this afternoon before the store closed so I could take a shower and do laundry. I made it to camp at 4 pm. I averaged about 3 miles an hour. Food and showers can really motivate a hiker. This is the best that I have ever averaged. This is also the most mileage I have ever done.

I got my shower. Five minutes for one dollar. I spent two. Laundry was one dollar to wash and a quarter for 15 minutes of dry time which is perfect for fast drying hiker clothes.

I passed 4 more deer today. This area is like a petting zoo. These deer just stand beside the trail and watch you go by. They may pause while they are eating and look at you then they just go right back to eating.

Today I am so thankful for my wonderful shower. My plan was to stop a mile before the campground and stay at a hut but a NOBO told me the water was making hikers sick at that hut so I decided not to stay there and I am so glad for the chance to shower and do laundry.

More Rain!

Tuesday August 15, 2017

Byrds Nest #3 Hut 17.5

Total mileage 1251

I woke up early but it was still dark, very dark. I laid around and replied to an email from CHOCOHOLIC. It almost sounds like it is raining out. I start to pack up in the dark and as I finish up it is light enough out to hike without a light. I hike out at 6:30.

It looks very overcast and foggy. I decided to check weather on my GPS. It says 80% chance of rain. It starts to rain soon after I start. It was a light rain and the trees block most of it. So I don’t need any rain gear. It rains off and on most of the morning but nothing intense.

I stop at a wayside for breakfast. I have 2 eggs with ham, hash browns and toast. I also indulge and have a cinnamon roll. It wasn’t that good, but it filled the belly.

I have bigger climbs today than I did yesterday, but the trail is still pretty nice. I did have some rocky trail but it is still better than up north.

When I stopped for breakfast I noticed an area on my left calf looks red and is a little sore. Then when I stop for lunch I notice the area is really sore and it is also swollen. I did notice I got bit by a horse fly looking thing on my other leg and that area is a little sore also. So maybe that is what it is. I put some antibiotic cream on both areas and will take a look at it again in the morning.

The sun did come out for a very short while today but was overcast for most of it. And the views from the mountain tops were total whiteouts. I didn’t see any deer this morning until the rain stopped and then I see four. I decided today that if I saw some deer I would try to get some pictures of them.

Today I am thankful for the good food that I am able to eat while at home. I sure do miss that fresh stuff on the trail.

Shenandoah National Park

Monday August 14, 2017

Gravel Spring Hut 13.4 miles

Total mileage 1233.5

I had a very nice stay at Mountain Home Cabbin last night. It was a supper cute place and the owners, Scott and Lisa were amazingly nice. They did my laundry for me and it came back smelling amazing. I don’t know what they washed it in but it smelt super. They also mailed out my packages and a card for me. Although it took me a long time to fall asleep. I was stressed about all I wanted to get done while I was there.

I planned out how much food I would carry through the Shenandoah National Park. There are waysides and campstores that sell food throughout the park so I wouldn’t have to carry as much food as I planned. I then packed up a supply box to send to the next place I would stay at in Waynesboro as well as one to send home.

I sent home my camp shoes, stove and arm warmers as well some extra food. I may miss all of those items but it is less weight to carry. When I started this morning it think my pack weighed under 20 pounds and it was a pretty comfortable carry.

I entered Shenandoah National Park this morning and got my permit for camping in the park. I saw 7 deer today. Three of them appeared to be running around playing and chasing each other. Some of them are so tame. They just watch you walk by. There were some awesome flat areas of trail and some view points but it was pretty yucky when I got to those areas so the pictures aren’t that great.

I also had a friend come and pick me up for lunch. SITSU was a hiker I met on Long Trail. He is a member of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and maintains a section of the AT. He is also an AT thru hiker. He is the one who encouraged me to do a flip flop hike and to go to the Flip Flop festival in Harper’s Ferry. The hiking community is full of amazing people and you build some amazing friendships out here. I always kind of laughed it off as hikers wrote about it in their blogs. But now that I have been out here and seen what it is like I can appreciate those friendships. Thanks again, SITSU for lunch!

Did you know that if costs $25 to drive on Skyline Drive? I was shocked!!!

When I looked at weather this morning it looked like I would have good weather all week, but it started to rain this afternoon and I have heard that I can expect afternoon showers all week. Bummer! 🙁

Today I am thankful for the trail community, an amazing group of people.

A hiking trail.

Sunday August 13, 2017

White Mountain Cabbin, Front Royal, VA 10.4 miles

Total mileage 1219.8

I slept good last night. I put my ear plugs in and was able to keep the in the whole night. I think my ear canals are starting to stretch out and it doesn’t hurt so bad anymore.

I’m up at 5:45 and start to pack up. I try to be quiet. There is one other guy and his dog camping in the shelter with me. The morning is cooler than it had been the last couple of days. I head out at 6:25 and there is enough light to see. The trail had been nice the last couple of days. There is dirt path to walk on. I feel like I’m hiking! I see three more deer this morning.

I meet a father and his daughter out for a 5 day stretch. They are both newbes. She has a can of bear spray strapped to her hip. She wants to do the trail solo. I encourage her that she should. The father asks me a lot of questions about hiking alone. He would like her to carry a gun if she hikes alone. I tell them both that the hiking community really looks out for each other and most women don’t carry a weapon and I have never felt unsafe or threatened by anyone. Most people on the trail are just so friendly.

I met IDAHO BONES today. I’ve been seeing his name in the shelter logs for a long while. He is a flip flopper also. I also saw LUNA and SPICE signed in at the last shelter about 10 days ago. They both started the same day as me. They are both more than 20 years younger than me and apparently moving faster.

Some of the trail was a hikers dream! Smooth dirt, free of rocks and roots, and flat. This is so nice in between those mountainous climbs. Plus today’s low milage is great for the feet and knees.

1200 MILES!

Saturday 12, 2017

Manassas Gap Shelter 16.1 miles

Total mileage 1209.4

WOW! Did it rain last night for hours and hours. I was hoping it would quit so I could cook dinner, but it never stopped! I ate a couple of bars then ran out of my tent in my underwear and rain coat to pee and hang my bear bag. I was the only one in the campsite.

I woke up to a muddy tent. I wiped it down and tried to dry it off the best I could since I would have to carry all that mud and water. I was out of camp at 6:40 with enough light to see without having to use my light.

I finished up the rollercoaster with two climbs this morning. It was super humid and warm. I was soon a very sweaty mess. I was feeling pretty good this morning, but towards the end of the day I was ready to be done. I saw two more deer today. One just watched me walk by, ten yards from the trail.

I was thinking about the time remaining before I have to go back to work and I would really have to push it to complete it. And I was ready to give it a shot, but this afternoon when I was ready to be off my feet I was thinking that I would just go as far as I could get then do the rest next year before my 365 days are up. That way I could still call it a thru hike. Or maybe I could get a little more time off from work. I will see how it goes, but I don’t think I want to kill myself with big miles. Cuz, this old girl is… well Old! 😜

My shelter buddy.

It was supposed to rain tonight so I am sleeping in a shelter, but it doesn’t look like it is going to rain. Bummer I could be sleeping in my tent. I love being in my tent and sleeping bag. Shelters are dirty and usually rodent infested.

Rain!

Friday August 11, 2017

Stealth Camping @ 1193.3 17.9 miles

Total mileage 1193.3

I woke up at 4 this morning and knew that it would get light until 6. I had to use the bathroom so I got up at 4:30 to go to the privy and I got my food bag on the way back. My food bag was hung on a bear pole. On my way back some other tenters were packing up. It doesn’t usually take me long to pack up so I just laid back down for a little bit, but couldn’t get back to sleep so I decided to pack up. I was out of camp at 5:50 am in the dark using a flash light to see.

I was having a tough time today. My pack was really making my hips ache. About 1 pm I got to a shelter and took almost everything out of my pack and repacked it differently. I had Jim send me my water bladder when I flipped back down south because I figured I would need to drink a lot more water. So I haven’t learned how to get everything in a proper place for comfort, but after I rearranged things it was much better.

I saw three more deer early this morning. Two of them just stood there and watched me walk by.

I also started what is called the rollercoaster! It is 13 miles of PUDS (pointless ups and downs).

I didn’t make it to my intended destination for the day. I was pretty worn out from being so uncomfortable this morning plus it started to thunder so I quickly found a stealth spot to camp. Now I am just laying in my tent all dry and cozy. While it is raining outside. BUT… I have to pee and I want to eat dinner and I don’t want to do either in my tent. 😕 I hope it stops soon.

Part Two!

Thursday August 10, 2017

David Lesser Shelter 9.6 miles

Total mileage 1175.7

I realized that I only have about ten weeks left to complete the trail before I have to return to work. That’s over 1000 miles in ten weeks. Can I do that? That’s 100 miles a week. The time had gone by so fast.

I’ve had the last three days off waiting for my flight out of Bangor back to Harpers Ferry. I’m rested and ready to hit the trail again.

I board the plane and I am in FIRST CLASS! Man oh man, this is nice. Thank you, Babydoll.

My legs are fully stretched out in front of me and my feet are propped up and all tucked in under a fleece blanket. The attendant asks if I would like something to drink, oh yes please. I get my plain tomato juice before departure. No alcohol for me at 6am. After the flight is in the air the attendant brings me a basket of snacks to choose from, I grab an organic fruit and nut bar. No pretzels for this hiker trash girl! Wait what!?!? I get another beverage and it is severed in a glass, glass! Oh my! I’m forever ruined!

I have a more difficult time with the metro this go around. I got on the wrong color metro but it was an easy fix. I just had a couple of extra stops because of it. My metro ride was about 45 minutes with all the spots it made. My shuttle driver, Sandi arrives just after I get off the metro. Perfect timing.

I arrive at the post office I Harper’s Ferry, pick up my supply box and package up some winter gear to send home.

Then I stop by the ATC and get my picture taken again for the record books. I am flip flopper number 91.

One more stop at the local outfitters for fuel since I can’t have that on the plane, another spoon because I lost mine again, and a stuff sack for my tent. Mine blew away and I couldn’t find it. So far on this trip I have lost 2 spoons, one bottle cap, and one stuff sack.

I head out of Harper’s Ferry at 1 pm and get to the shelter at 4:30. The terrian was easier and I made good time. I saw seven deer on the trail today! I left behind West Virginia and am in Virginia now. Virginia consists of over 500 miles! I sure hope I don’t get the Virginia blues!

I checked the weather for tomorrow and there is a good chance of rain. I also noticed that it doesn’t start to get light until 5:50 am. Up north is was getting light an hour earlier!😕 Guess I will be sleeping in some or starting to pack up in the dark.

Katahdin, I did it!

Sunday August 6, 2017

Katahdin Summit Northern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail 5.2 miles

Total mileage 1166.1

Last night was an Appalachian Adventure! We had a severe thunder and lightening storm with very heavy rain and I’m sleeping in a tent! It started about 10:30 pm and stopped about midnight. Thankfully I stayed mostly dry. I got a lot of back splash from the rain coming through the screen of my tent so I need to make sure I don’t stake out my doors/vents when there is possible rain. This should prevent me from getting the back splash. I put up anything I could find in my tent around the screening to prevent the water from coming in. I had my umbrella opened and covering the end and one side of my sleeping bag. My backpack was against the screen in another area, my sit pad in another, my food bag in another and the list goes on. All in an effort to keep my sleeping bag dry so I could sleep. SHORTCUT didn’t make out so well. She was using her sleeping pad like a raft in the middle of her tent surrounded by water. She was getting a lot of water in her tent. Plus after getting caught in the rain storm from a couple of nights ago she was so ready to be done with this trail. SOULFLOWER also had some water in her tent, but her tent is pretty worn out. She used it on the PCT and this whole trail so she had some random small pinholes in it that allowed her sleeping bag to get wet.
We were up early and got packed up. I had a very muddy and dirty tent to pack up. I knew I would be going into town after this so I would worry about cleaning it up later. My one pound tent now feels like it is four pounds with all the water/dirt weight. Luckily we are leaving our gear at the ranger station and hiking up Katahdin with minimal weight.

We started our climb at 6:45 am with a very overcast sky, but it was supposed to clear up.
We only made it about 2.5 miles before we had to put our trekking poles away and start pulling ourselves up rocks. Sometimes I was pulling SOULFLOWER up and SHORTCUT was pushing her from behind trying to help her up the huge climbs. SOULFLOWER is only 5’3″. It wasn’t long after that that we had other guys pulling all of us up areas. Things were really getting scary for me. I had to just keep my head down and just following others feet. I was now above treeline and very scared. Luckily we were really fogged in and in the clouds that I couldn’t see a whole lot, but I could see enough to be super scared. In some areas I was begging people for help. Asking them how they got up and over a boulder or having them coach me through a climb. A lot of the mountain I just crawled up on all fours. Sometimes crying and hyperventilating! I just wanted to be done with this mountain. The higher we got the worse the weather got. By time we reached the top we had ice crystals starting to form on our clothes. It was super windy and I was freezing. I would guess the wind speed around 40 mph.

As soon as I got to the top I just wanted to get my picture take by the sign and get the hell out of there.

We took the Hunt trail up which is the official AT trail which took us about 4.5 hours to go 5.2 miles. On the way down we took an easier trail, but still very difficult and scary, the Abol trail. It took us about 3 hours to go the 4.4 miles down, but this trail deposited us in a campsite about 2 miles from where we needed to be. SHORTCUT was able to get us a ride back to where we needed to go to pick up our gear. Then we still needed to get another ride into town that was 45 minutes away. SHORTCUT came through for us again. She managed to get us a ride all the way to our hostel. Thank you SHORTCUT!!!

I am so thankful to be done with the northern half of the trail and injury free. Although I did leave blood on Katahdin it was minor .

100 Mile Wilderness

Day 1

Sunday July 30, 2017

Stealth Camping, ME @2089.5 14.3 miles

Total mileage 1066

I took a zero day at Shaw’s Hostel yesterday. It was a good relaxing day. Since I was in Maine, I treated myself to a lobster roll. It was delicious! It was the first one that I have ever had. Did you know that in Maine you can get lobster rolls at McDonald’s?!?!

SOULFLOWER is now sporting a black eye! She fell out of bed while at Shaw’s. She hit her eye on a night table and her knee. The mattress was old and worn out from people sitting on the edge and when she rolled near the edge it just collapsed. It was not funny when it happened, we were both worried about a possible injury. But after ascessing things and realizing she would be OK she just started laughing. Laughing so hard at herself she was crying!

Today was relatively flat, but there were lots of roots and rocks to slow you down as well as a couple of areas of talus rock to scramble across. There was also a Ford that required us to change out of our hiking shoes if we wanted to keep them dry.

I ended the day by soaking my feet in a stream that we were camped near. This always feels so good, but sometimes the water is so cold you can’t leave your feet in for very long.

Today I am grateful for still being able to do this hike. Some have had to go home for some reason or another.

Day 2

Monday July 31, 2017

Stealth camping @ 2105.5 ME 16 miles

Total mileage 1082

Today is day 100 of me being on the trail!

Today was long and difficult for me. I crossed over 5 mountain summits or peaks in the 100 mile wilderness. I hammered out the last 7 miles of the day because I like to be done early and off my feet. I was done at 5 pm. I normally like to by done about 4 pm which is about 10 hours of hiking for me. Usually by then I am really ready to be off my feet. I noticed as I was hustling today that my knees didn’t bother me as much when I was going downhill at a faster pace. It is more painful for me to go slow.

I didn’t make it to my intended destination for the day. I wanted to make it across a ford so I wouldn’t have to do it first thing in the morning, but the sky was getting dark and I could hear thunder. I know there were tent sites on this side if the ford, but didn’t know if there were any on the other side. The rain actually started just as I was passing the campsites in the south side of the river so I just grabbed one and began setting up my tent in the rain. This allowed me to avoid the majority of the rain and stay mostly dry. I would just have to do the ford in the morning. I don’t want to think about how cold that water will be.

Today I am grateful for not getting caught in a terrible rain storm.

Day 3

Tuesday August 1, 2017

Logan Brook Lean To 12.9 miles

Total mileage 1094.9

Jim had surgery today for his rotator cuff tear. The surgery went well. Now he has four plus months of recovery before he can go back to work. I just hope the healing goes well and he gets full use of his shoulder again.

It was a beautiful day. The temperature was warm but when I got up in elevation there was a very cool plesent breeze. There were 3 mountains to summit plus one peak. The terrian was challenging but no scrambling so that was good. I did have some butt chafing which I haven’t experienced in quite some time.

I got my first view of Katahdin today. She’s BIG! And only 72 miles away! I’m getting closer.

I am grateful that Jim’s surgery went well and he is doing well.

Day 4

Wednesday August 2, 2017

Cooper Brook Falls Lean To 11.7 miles

Total mileage 1106.6

Today was an easy day, low miles and easy terrain. I made it to camp by 12 pm and went for a swim in the water just below the falls. The water was cold but not unbearable. There are leaches in the water but they say if you keep moving they most likely won’t attach to you. I could see some attached to the rocks close to shore, but they were pretty small. I just made sure to keep moving and I was fine. I also washed some of my clothes.

Last night another group of 12 girls came into camp and set up practically on top of us. They really didn’t have much choice. There was limited tenting and there was also a group of boys there at the shelter too. So options were very limited. I laid down last night at 5:30 while the girls were eating dinner. Hikers are quiet while eating. I stuck my ear plugs in and didn’t think I would fall asleep but I did. I didn’t wake up until about 8:30 pm. I went pee and could hear the girls whispering and giggling in their tents so I put my ear plugs back in and went back to sleep.

I have seen a few groups out hiking. I think this had been the busiest state I have been in so far. There are SOBO’s who are just starting the trail, a lot of youth groups, section hikers and day hikers. This is the first day that I didn’t see a day hiker in the 100 mile wilderness.

I’ll give you a rundown on how my body is doing. I have been doing pretty well. My feet are sore at the end of the day and I am ready to be off of them. My knees bother me going down hill and when I squat all the way down, but just walking on level ground they are fine. The back of my knees and upper calf area are tired at the end of the day and I wish I had some compression socks to put on before going to bed. My leg muscles are strong! I am not taking any ibuprofen for pain. I did gain two pounds when I was at John and Patti’s (Patti’s a great cook and fed me well). The last time I weighted I was still carrying the two extra pounds. All the wounds I had from falls are scraps have healed. I do have some bug bites. I do have one swollen lymph node behind my right ear, which I haven’t had for many years. I get strange swellings with my Lupus. This is the fifth day the swelling has been there which is the longest I have ever had it. I don’t have any numb toes but occasionally get tingly fingers if my pack is heavier on one side. My back is usually fine unless I am carrying a lot of food.

I am grateful for all the treats Jim puts in my resupply boxes. I’ve had swiss rolls, dried pineapple and cherries, mini muffins, gouda puffs, popcorn and of course chocolate! Thank you, Babydoll!

Day 5

Thursday August 3, 2017

White House Landing 15 miles

Total mileage 1121.6

I am at a lodge tonight and so happy to be inside out of the weather. We have had some very heavy rain with hail, thunder and lightening this evening. I was watching it rain from inside a dry cabin and thinking how thankful I am.

Today was a good day. Easy terrian. I picked up a food drop at a road from Shaw’s Hostel this morning and they were a half hour early. Which was excellent since I was there at 7:45am for a 9am pickup. SOULFLOWER and I didn’t want to carry 9 days of food through the 100 mile wilderness so we arranged a food drop. Which worked out great for us.

This place also has cell reception! A bonus! I finely got to talk to Jim this evening as well as touch base with Mom. I’ve had limited reception up here in Maine so it has been hard not being able to communicate with anyone.

The lodge is across the lake from the trail so you have to call them and they come and pick you up by boat. I am showered and feeling clean again! I hadn’t washed my hair since last Friday, 6 days ago!

Last night was pretty warm so it was hard to fall asleep. I can’t imagine what it will be like when I flip back down south. Just hiking the last two days it was warm/hot and I was dripping with sweat.

I am getting close to the end of this first half and really excited to be so close. I had Jim book my return flight back to Harper’s Ferry.

When I got to my room at the lodge there was another couple there. A mother/daughter team from Texas that were trying to finish up the trail, but the daughter twisted her ankle and they were leaving the trail, just 45 miles from the end. It was sad to see them go. Since they were leaving they shared their food with me. My hiker hunger is kicking in. I ate two packages of peanut butter crackes at 400 calories then ate half a ziplock sandwich bag of trail mix, which I would guess to be around 600 calories. All of this was an hour before dinner. Then I ate 3 pieces of pizza for dinner!

I am thankful for a full belly!

Day 6

Friday August 4, 2017

Rainbow Campsite 19.5 miles

Total mileage 1141.1

Today was an extremely tiring day. There were so many roots and rocks throughout the entire trail with a few mud bogs thrown in for fun. You had to watch every foot fall very carefully.

My lower legs were totally fatigued by the time I finished for the day. I just wanted to finish everything and lay down so I could rest my legs.

Today was such a long day because it looked like Sunday’s weather would be the best to climb Katahdin. So we were trying to make it into Baxter State Park tomorrow.

I saw some more “day hikers” today in the 100 mile wilderness. For an area that is supposed to be so remote there sure seem to be a lot of access to the trail.

We add another member to our group today. Her name is SHORTCUT and she is finishing up the trail. She is so ready to be done. She got caught in yesterday’s storm! She is from Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Today I am grateful for our new friend, SHORTCUT!

Day 7

Saturday August 5, 2017

Katahdin Stream Campground Baxter State Park 21.1 miles

Total mileage 1162.6

We were up and out early, 5:45 am. We were hoping to get into Baxter State Park so we could climb Katahdin tomorrow. The state park only allows 12 hikers to camp in the park each day so we were moving trying to get there before it filled up and we made it. We will be climbing Katahdin tomorrow! I’m really NOT looking forward to it. It is very open and exposed and dangerous! Plus it is supposed to rain all night so things will be wet in the morning. Hopefully I survive this.

I get to the camp ground around 4 pm. I stop at the ranger station to pay for our campsite and get my permit to climb Katahdin the following day.

Today I am grateful for my strength to get me this far!