Click on picture to read Chaco's poems

Friday, May 29, 2009

On the ROAD in the Morning!!!!!

No pics today...we are leaving in the morning after dropping Toesocks car at my brother Dan's. We are headed first to Birmingham, Alabama to visit her sister there. We may camp at Cheaha State Park and climb Mt Cheaha which is the highest point in Alabama. Here is a short video of the park:
From there we plan to visit Mountain Crossing Outfitter in Georgia and see if Toesocks sandals from last years hike are hanging from the ceiling with the hundreds of other hiker's boots on display. It is also the only place on the entire 2175 mile AT where the official trail goes right through a building!
After this stop we are on our way to visit Sunny and Share who we met on the AT last year and are now into an internship on an organic farm call Waterpenny Farm in Sperryville, Virginia:
Then we plan to drop in on the ATC( )
and do some trail magic/volunteer work in Harpers Ferry before heading to my sister Sue' in Trumbell Conn. where we will leave the car and get back on the trail to Katahdin! We will try and keep our Blog updated as we pass thru trail towns and include many pictures of the places and people we encounter along the way!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Last few Items go into Storage

Well the storage is about 100% done now, we got spiffy new haircuts, the car got an oil change, my daughter Jacki has a new bank account, I go to the dentist tomorrow for a cleaning, Sheila's car goes out to my brother Dan's Friday, we have to be out of our apartment this it looks like we are all set for another adventure! I just hope this one does not involve broken bones and a rental car back to Texas!!! Its is Katahdin or Bust!!!!

Cookout at Brother Dan's

Today is Wednesday but on Monday we went out to my brother's for a cookout and to visit again before we leave for the AT. Dan and Yolanda cooked hamburgers, sausage, beans, and corn on the cob. It was nice to get out of the city and spend some time at their place out in the "country". He has six dogs, FOUR of which are friendly! Three stay inside and three outside where they have about an acre or so to run. I took a picture of the border collie " Homer Simson" because it is the only one that likes to play and will fetch a tennis ball until you cannot throw it anymore. Dan is also going to store Sheila's car at his place till we return from our hike.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Toesocks get her Revenge!

Last night after we had a cookout at my brother Dan's house Toesocks gave me AT haircut number 2!!!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Today is 7 days till we leave Texas for the AT! Toesocks got an AT haircut and promises revenge on me when I least expect it! Our apartment is all but empty and our few possessions now fit in a 3x5 storage unit. I still have to do some work on the car and program the GPS for visiting Toesocks sister Nancy in Alabama, Mountain Crossings at Neel’s Gap, Sunny and Share in Sperryville, Virginia and my sister Sue in Trumball, Connecticut. We are looking forward to doing some trail magic on our way up to New York along the AT corridor and give back to the trail a little bit of the magic and kindness we experienced while we were hiking last year. We plan to tent out along the way and hopefully be on the trail hiking about the second week of June. So far it looks like we are on track. Monday is Memorial Day and we plan to visit my brother in Alvarado, Texas and just hang out and cook some burgers and have a few cold ones! Dan is going to keep Toesocks prized Mazda Speed Miata at his house while we are gone and she had a custom car cover made to keep the Texas summer sun from ruining the convertible top and that bright red paint job. It may be tucked in better at night than we are, sleeping under just a tarp on the AT! Anyways it nice to know she won’t have to worry about it and we thank Dan for offering to keep it for her. Right now we are trying to get in as much walking as we can but admit that as we wrap up last minute things we have been slacking off in that department. Our plan still is to hike the AT from Bellevale, New York where Toesocks broke her leg last year and where Vermont Long Trail splits off the AT, we will hike the LT all the way to the Canadian border. Then we plan to hitch or catch a bus or ride back to where the AT and LT split and continue on the AT all the way to Mount Katahdin in Maine. We figure the hike will be about 983 miles total and when done we will have the 2175 mile AT and the 274 mile Long Trail completed!! Not bad for a couple of near senior citizens! Last year I started the AT at 189 pounds and when we had to end our hike I was 159 pounds. Toesocks also lost about half that much weight and we were not overweight to begin with. It just goes to show that when you burn between 5000 and 9000 calories every day that you just cannot carry enough food to keep your weight on. We tried to make up for it when we hit a trail town and have been know to eat TWO “AYCE”s (all you can eats) in the same day! We plan like last year to start out hiking only about 10 miles per day to start and slowly get back up to our 18-20 miles per day. We saw many people start out too hard and too fast and get feet and knee problems early on in their hikes. We are also going a little bit lighter than last year and our loaded packs with about 3 days of food and a liter of water will weigh in about 8-10 pounds for Toesocks and 12-15 pounds for me. I usually carry most of the food for both of us to keep her pack lighter. We will camp at shelters along the way and tent out depending on the conditions and the other hikers we share the trail with. We can’ wait to see the Green Mountains in Vermont and the Whites in New Hampshire! This year we are still going to hike in our Chaco sandals but are going with the new Pro model soles that are stickier but will not last as long. We will see how they work out. Toesocks wore just one pair of Chaco Z-1’s last year and got all 1360 miles out of them! I went through two pairs, the first I had to replace in the Smokies when we hitched into Gatlinburg as they were already about two years old and the main straps were starting to go. The second pair made it all the way to New York but the soles were broken down by all the rocks in Pennsylvania and we both had new pairs waiting for us at Bear Mountain, New York. Toesocks broke her leg 30 miles from that post office drop! We hope we have better luck this time out.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Trail Work at the Cedar Ridge Preserve

Well this last weekend while all our trail buddies were away having the time of their lives in Damascus Virginia at Trail Days, Toesocks and I were doing volunteer work in the rain at the Cedar Ridge Preserve! It was fun to get out of the almost empty apartment (not that we had any furniture to begin with!) and do some volunteer work where we practice getting in shape for the AT. At least the rain kept it cool as the day before it had been in the 90's!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My ZPack comes in and Apartment gets packed up

Well my custom ZPack finally arrived and I had a Cuben hip belt and pockets added and a top strap to close the pack or carry more gear on top of pack. Once I get past the baby blue color (there is no color choice with cuben fiber) I think I will like it. Toesocks and I went on another shakedown hike Saturday at the Cedar Ridge Preserve and found we are in no shape for hills as there are no hills around Dallas to practice on. When we got off the trail they were having a picnic for all the volunteers at the CRP and we were treated to cake and had our pictures taken. We have done several volunteer weekends there and it was nice "trail magic" to have some treats after our practice hike!

We also started packing up our apartment and putting some stuff in storage for when we are gone. We finally sold our 2 kayaks to people in Oklahoma of all places! The person who bought my kayak was adventurer, former Army Special Forces Green Beret and writer Charles Sasser. He has written many military history and bio books and is a really neat guy who has done many unique adventures including flying an ultralight parachute plane across the country! He has never kayaked and is going to paddle Alaska's Inside Passage in it. He promises to send me some pictures of "Ah-Notta-Hey", (my old kayak) in Alaska! Thats about it for now...all that's left is to hit the road to the Appalachian Trail!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Final Countdown

Well it is now only 22 days till we are officially homeless and head to New York to pick up our AT hike from last year after Toesocks fell and broke her leg after 1360 miles of hiking. Our plan is to drive to Bellvale New York, the location where Toesocks hiked out 5 miles on a broken leg that ended our 2008 AT Thru-hike. We hope to do some trail magic along the AT on the way up there and help out this years hikers headed to Maine. We had so much help from Trail Angels last year that it will be nice to give back to the trail. We will stop by Mountains Crossing at Neal's Gap Georgia to see if Toesocks sandals from last year are on display with the hundreds of hiking boots suspended from the ceiling in the outfitters. Then we plan to have a short visit with "Sunny and Share" (2008 AT Thru-hikers), in Virginia who are on an internship at Waterpenny Farms in Sperryville. We hope to get on the trail about the second week of June after leaving our car at my sister's in Conn. I hope to see some of my family there to see us off. We plan to hike the AT from New York to Vermont where it runs for 104 miles with Vermont's Long Trail then continue on the Long Trail to the Canadian border. Then we will hitch back to the place where the AT and Long Trail separate and hike the AT all the way to Mt. Katahdin Maine! That will give us a hike of about 983 miles before we reach Katahdin. If all goes as planned and we do not have any unforseen mishaps we should finish up around the end of August or early September. All our gear has been selected and we are going even lighter than last year with pack weights before food and water ,"base weights" of around 6 pounds. This includes sleeping bags, sleeping pads, tent (really just a tarp with bug screen), packs, warm jackets, raingear, long johns, balaclavas, umbrellas, sunhats, spare socks, bear bag rope, food bag, first aid & misc. kit, pack liners and maps and data books! Its amazing that modern gear can be this light. A "traditional" pack with this much gear can easily weigh 30-40 pounds. Some people think that we are just "dayhikers" with our small packs. At our ages this is not an hike at these distances over hundreds of mountains, going lightweight is mandatory. Is is also more fun and liberating to not have a 40 pound load making every step of the hike seem like a military forced march! We have frequently covered 10 miles by 10AM and 26 miles total on several days. That does not sound too difficult until you carry it up and down mountains, over and over and over! We will try and keep this blog updated as we visit trail towns along the way and include some pictures and hopefully some interesting events from the trail. Stay tuned!