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.
Posted by Steve Chase at 3:43 PM