How to survive the first 5 days on the trail… 

Trail of Hope Hostel Fayetteville, PA 9.6 miles

Total mileage 58.7

The key to surviving the first few days on the trail is to choose a hiking partner that loves CHOCOLATE!!! Ruth,  the woman who I have been hiking with was trail named “Chocohalic”  by other hikers! She has her pockets full of chocolate as she hikes. I even caught her eating chocolate one morning right after breakfast. She had chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate covered raisins, chocolate bars, chocolate drinks and chocolate chocolate chocolate! Unfortunately today I had to say “see you on down the trail” . I was getting off the trail in Fayetteville to pick up a mail drop, shower and do laundry and she was continuing on. She is only out for a week for an equipment shake down. She plans to start her flip flop hike the end of July or beginning of August from Harper’s Ferry and head south so we may see each other again. 

I was moving this morning and got to the hostel by 11am. It was great to get a shower and put on clean clothes. I am currently wearing loaner clothes and went to Walmart dressed like this. While shopping a women even told me she liked my sweatshirt. 

I was lucky enough to get in before these guys and get the best pick of the loaner clothes! 

For those of you curious about how many AT hikers actually finish the trail I found this in a magazine in the hostel. 

I received a gift today from Carol,  one of the caretakers at the hostel. She has a heart of gold and is supper friendly. She loves to cook and decided to cook for us tonight. The menu is steak, baked potato, coleslaw and french bread. 

I have the best husband not only is he allowing me to do this hike, he is also sending me my resupply boxes with special notes. I love you, Babydoll! 💖

One state down

Tumbling Run Shelter 13.1 miles 

Total mileage 48.7


When I woke up this morning I was surrounded by goose down feathers. Luckily they were not from my sleeping bag. They were from the girl who was sleeping next to me. She thinks that a mouse chewed a whole in her bag. I noticed this afternoon that I had a couple of holes in my bandana so I didn’t escape the mouse after all. Mice are a real problem in and around the shelters. 

It was a foggy start this morning but really turned out to be a beautiful day. 

I’ve completed one state. Maryland is done and I have moved into Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is over 200 miles so I will be here for a while. Plus when I hit the dreaded rocks it will slow me down and I will be here even longer. 😯


The shelter area that I am staying at tonight is really nice. Shortly after I arrived the care taker walked up and introduced himself. He looked to be in his late 60’s or early 70’s. He told me that the piped spring, the water source for the shelter did not have to be treated. They had it tested and it is free of contamination. I still filtered it as I do with all the water I drink. 

This shelter area has two shelters one for those who snore and one for those who don’t. It also had two clotheslines for hikers to dry their wet gear on, a covered picnic area and an uncovered one, and two fire pits. I wish they were all this nice, but it takes great caretakers to keep them this nice. Unfortunately there are some hikers that just leave trash everywhere. 

I forgot to mention in yesterday’s blog that I met a women hiking to Maine. Her name is  Soul-flower and she is 70 years old. She started in Harper’s Ferry just as I did. That will be an 1100 mile trip for her! So far  I have seen more people in their 60’s than any other age group out here.  It is truly an inspiration to me! 

I was brave enough to set up my tent tonight since there is not a change of rain. It is a one person tent that only weights about a pound. It is really lightweight and easy to set up. The woman I have been hiking with is pictured in the background with her tarp tent setup. She is quite the seamstress.  She made her tarp set up and her backpack!!! I’m not sure how much her tarp tent weighted in at but her backpack was only 10oz. Which is super light. 

Day 3

Raven Rock Shelter 13.1 miles

Total mileage 35.6

I woke up this morning and it wasn’t raining so I left the shelter early to see if I could get to the next shelter. Jim gave me a weather report of some light rain between 10-3. Things were pretty good until 1pm. It was a light rain and it really wasn’t to bad to hike in so I continued on. I got to the next shelter about 4pm. I usually only stay in the shelters if there is a chance of rain and because it was raining the shelter got crowded with hikers. I have heard that it is no fun to set up your tent or take it down in the rain. I’m sure the day will come when I have to do this, but for now I was able to avoid it. 

Julie the next tale is for you. It reminded me of our time on Long Trail when you lost an item and it turned up days later.  

Yesterday when I laid down to take a nap I used my buff to cover my eyes to block out the light so I could get a good nap in. When I woke up I remembered pushing the buff off my head but that night I could not find it anywhere and I searched all my gear. I know it had to be in my stuff somewhere. Anyway,  I found it tonight. It was stuck in the hoodie of the top I had wore all day today and never noticed it until I took the top off. I had even worn the hood off and on throughout the day and didn’t realize that there was something stuck inside of it. I’m just happy I found it. 

This is a stream that I had to cross and because of the rain the rocks to hop across on were almost underwater.

Day 2

Pine Knob Shelter 7.5 miles 

Total miles 22.5

I was pretty nervous about the rain that was moving in so I decided to stop early today even though it was only 12:30. I knew  I couldn’t make it to the next shelter because of the distance and I did not want to tent in the rain. 

I managed to get in a nice long nap this afternoon. After all the travel and excitement I was pretty beat. I laid down from 2-5pm. When I woke up some of the guys from Teahorse hostel were here. They were tenting and managed to get their tents set up before the rain started. Once the rain started the wind really started to gust and the temperature dropped significantly. I was happy to be under a roof. 

I did see two deer this morning. They weren’t to far from the trail and I got a pretty good look at them before they took off. 

Rules were meant to be broken! 

Sunday April 23, 2017

ATC Harper’s Ferry to Rocky Run Shelter 16 miles


I managed to break the number 1 rule for hiker newbies on day 1…

  1. Keep your mileage low

Most hikers get injured early in their hikes because of doing to much to soon, so they are advised to take it easy in the beginning and keep their mileage low. Well, rules were made to be broken, right?!?!

It was just such a beautiful day today and the terrian was so easy. It was hard not to take  advantage of it. What the hell, you only live once. The next two days are forecasted with yucky weather and I figured I would lose some mileage because of the rain. My logic is that it will all work out. 

I was up early and out of the Teahouse Hostel by 7:15. Ben, the hostel owner shuttled us to a local church for a free/donation breakfast. It was a pancake breakfast and since I am gluten free I just had fresh fruit and turkey bacon with a glass of OJ.  

Then I went over to the Appalachian Trail Consevatory (ATC) to have my picture taken. Most thru hikers check in at the ATC to have their picture taken and get numbered. You get a number when you start the trail, at the halfway point and when you finish. I am flip flopper #91. Which means that I am the 91st registered flip flop hiker to leave from Harper’s Ferry. Most hikers start in GA and hike north. The number of north bound hikers is close to 2000.

I started the trail at 9am with one of the women that I met at the Hostel, Ruth. We are pretty evenly matched as far as place goes and have a lot of the same eating habits. We are both gluten free and like to eat a healthy diet. 

I managed to get falling out of the way on day 1. I have to say it was a graceful fall and I didn’t get hurt. Some how I tripped over my feet or some rocks and my knees just buckled underneath me. Ruth said she didn’t see me fall, but when she just happened to look up,  I was kneeling in the middle of the trail. She thought I was saying prayers already!  

We both are staying in a shelter tonight and so far we are the only ones here. It is nice to be able to spread out your gear and be not stuffed in like sardines with a bunch of other smelly hikers. 

The journey to my journey 

Friday April 21, 2017

7am

I am on the plane ready for take off after a very teary-eyed see you later to Jim.

As I was preparing for this trip I was wondering how it was going to go without seeing Berkley for so long, because he is my little snuggle bunny and I would have to depend on others to take care of him. But when it came time to kiss him goodbye, I was able to do so without getting teary-eyed.

I thought I would be OK kissing Jim goodbye, because I knew he would be able to take care of himself and be fine without me.

BUT…

That just wasn’t the case. I had a very had time with it. I just couldn’t let him go. I just kept hanging on to him and hanging on. I didn’t want to let go. Then I got this feeling in my chest that I don’t think I have ever felt before. It took me a while to realize it was anxiety/fear. I tried to hold it together the best that I could, but after I headed around the corner to security I knew I couldn’t hold the tears back. So I go through security like a lost women without her soul mate with tears streaming down my face. Luckily the sweet women who checked my ticket had a few tissues for me.

After I found my gate and got seated, I called Jim and not long after our conversation started he had a smile on my face. I’m one lucky woman to have someone as awesome as him. Thank you, Babydoll! I love you.


4pm

I made it through my first big city metro experience.  It was pretty nerve racking for this small town girl. I somehow managed to  board the metro headed in the right direction and made all the  right connections. I was counting my blessings. Thank you Kara!


OMG the leg room on a train is amazing! This is the way to travel. Oh… and the seats with 6 inches of blissful cushion. I feel like a queen.