Thursday, February 28, 2008

Food Bag

6 Days Remaining.

My food bag is finalized and packed for the trail! It includes 5 days worth of food....

5 Snickers
5 Paydays
5 Cheese and Peanut Butter Crackers
5 Single servings of trail mix
3 Blueberry poptarts with frosting
2 Strawberry poptarts with frosting
1 pound of buffalo summer saugage
1 bag of Carribean Trail Mix
1 small tub of Peanut Butter
1 container of Chicken in a Biskit crackers
1 can of Chedder Cheese spray
3 - 7 oz. foil packages of white chicken in water
3 bags of Cranberry & Chicken Rice mix
2 bags of Red Beans & Rice mix
2 - 7 oz. foil packages of white tuna in sunflower oil
10 individual mayo packets

I will also grab the day before I hit the trail a package of bagels to take with me to have some more carbs!

Hope this doesnt make MKate (a nutrionist) cringe to much! ;O)

Monday, February 25, 2008

A BIRD Sighting.jpg

A BIRD Sighting.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Who would of imagined that at a Pacers game, we would see a BIRD sighting! Trying to keep with the nature theme! We were literally 30 feet from him! For all you non-sports fans out there, this is Larry Bird, who played basketball for ISU, the Celtics, and even coached the Pacers at one time! He is a future Hall of Famer, and Amee was able to get his autograph for me! What a wonderful wife.

update: My basketball trivia wasnt up to date when I blogged this post. Note that Larry Bird has been inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1998.

Also special thanks goes out to Greg and Christine Wilson for making this night possible! Thanks so much!

The Biggest Loser Game!

Howdy all.

Just under 9 days to go!

As many may or may not know about hiking the AT Trail, you burn A LOT of calories each day. They say roughly 4000-6000 per day! Obviously, you cannot carry enough food on you to replenish the calorie deficit hikers run into. That is why they gorge themselves with just about anything they want in town! My data book lists every AYCE (All You Can Eat) restruants in all the towns along the trail, and I will hit as many as I can find!

So for fun, I am giving a prize to the person who can guess the closest:

What my weight will be at the end of my hike.

Currently, I weighed in at 167 pounds this morning, so that will be about the weight I will begin at. So just post your guess in the comments.

Tie Breaker question:

How many individual pop-tarts will I consume along the trail?

Remember I will be hiking for 4-5 months! Please post that answer with your guess. :O)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Indiana mountain.jpg

Indiana mountain.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Since Indiana has no mountains, this is what I have had to use to train for my hike! I don't know if it has been enough, but what can a man do with nothing but corn and bean fields all around him! I have about 20 pounds of books in my backpack to somewhat simulate the weight of my pack while climbing! Thanks to Newtone for a great place to work out!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Trail humor!

A backpacking comic strip! (from a 1983 register)

The Return of the Backpacker With No Name... by George Steffanos (1983)

They lived hard, loved hard, and seldom got enough roughage. They were the backpackers. They would limp into town, worn by the rigors and the loneliness of long-distance hiking. They would clean up, party up, and bravely set forth to face new challenges. They were young. They were daring. They were as hungry as heck. They were the backpackers.

One day, a backpacker, different from the rest, strode into town. He hitched up his hiking shorts, set down his backpack, and stretched his tired muscles. He struck a match and proceeded to light the short, bedraggled stump of a cigar. Pulling his worn serape around his shoulders, he walked into a motel.

"Give me a room with a bath," he told the dirty, weasel-faced motel owner.

The man glared defiantly back at him. "I suppose that you're here to use up all our hot water and eat all our food," he snapped.

"No," the backpacker calmly replied. "I'm here to eat all you food and then use up all your hot water. First things first."

I noticed that the owner's lips didn't exactly move in sync with his voice as he barked, "You're a filthy, disgusting pig! I don't rent rooms to backpackers! Get out!"

The backpacker's glare was cold steel. "Give me a room," he repeated.

"No! Get out!"

The backpacker moved like lightning. In a split second, the motel owner was dangling by his drawers in the most vicious wedgie I have ever seen. He picked up the register and held it out.

"Sign here, please," he squeaked.

Needless to say, hot water and Pop-Tarts were in short supply for some time. As the backpacker strode out of town, he warned all of the motel owners that he would be back, so they had better be nice to other hikers. I ran up to him.

"Who are you, stranger?" I asked.

He smiled, flipped me a package of instant oatmeal, and headed up the next ridge.

***story was edited from original content***

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Coming soon! A Walk in the Woods - Movie!

I am soooo excited to hear about this book becoming a motion picture movie! Even if you dont like to hike, Bill Bryson's humerous protrayal of life on the AT is worth the read! It is hilarious, and a quick read! Wouldn't it be cool if this was the year they started filming for it! I could be in the movie!

Here is the news story:

Los Angeles - Hollywood legend Robert Redford is to direct the movie adaptation of the best-selling book A Walk in the Woods.

The 1998 book by Bill Bryson is a hilarious meditation on the author's adventure hiking the Appalachian mountain trail. Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes--and to Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.

Redford has been trying to make the film since 2005. He will produce the film and star as Bryson.

p.s. If you have read it, please let me know what you thought about it!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Amee - The Greatest Wife in the World!

Since I had to work all day on Valentine's day, I am writing this post on the day after.

I just want to say publically that my wife, Amee, is the greatest wife in the world! I love her so much!

There are not many wives out there that would mind it if their husbands went "walking in the woods" for 4-5 months! I am a very blessed guy. Amee has been loving, gracious and very supportive to me during this whole planning process! Even, when I have been buying my gear (which isnt the cheapest...but something sparkley and expensive is in the works when I get back...just for her!) She is awesome and very godly!

We have planned that she will come out and visit me every three weeks until my brother's graduation at the end of May. That means...Hot Springs, NC; Pearisburg, VA; Harper's Ferry, WV and wherever I am right before my brother's graduation. After that, I won't see her till I finish at Mount Katahdin.

Here is the schedule. Each location is a day's drive from Lafayette, so she will drive out to the town on day one and find me that night..probably by my stench! The next day we will spend the whole day together (after taking numerous showers and washing my clothes!!) and do what ever tickles our fancy...just NO hiking! This is a ZERO day for me! Then finally Amee will head home early the next morning back to Lafayette, which will be the hardest since she knows that it will be another 3 weeks before she sees me again. And, I will begin hiking again anxiously awaiting our next rendezvous.

I think missing Amee will be the hardest part of the whole trip! I think so far in our marriage we have only been apart for one week, and here I am leaving for 5 months!! Yikes! I have a friend from work, and that is the reason she got off the trail after 1000 miles...cause she missed her husband so much. So it is a very big motivator and stubbling block.

But, I am thankful for such great friends in the career class, who I know will continue to love on her and be there for her as well! She may not even miss me after hanging out with all the ladies from the class! ;O) Plus, she received many gift cards from her whole family to pamper herself while I am away.

Well, anyway. Kudos to my wonderful wife, Amee, who I love with all my heart! She is the greatest! Love ya babe!

p.s. Amee's turning 31 in 3 more days!!! Oops...was I not suppose to tell how old she was turning! lol :O)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Flickr Test!

0212082050a.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

This is a test, and it worked! I took this picture on my couch. I then sent it to my Flickr email account via my phone, and they automatically posted it on my blog without me doing a thing on the computer!! I can even text a message along with it! How awesome! So I will try to send some pictures while on the trail! Isnt technology great!

Unfortuntely my camera phone is VGA quality...which is the worst pixel quality you can get! I am trying to decide whether to get a new phone or not. I cant get an upgrade, so I would have to pay full price...very expensive! Anyone out there have an old cell phone with 1.3 megapixel or higher quality ... that they wouldnt mind selling??? Doesnt hurt to ask, I guess.

Also any comments about whether you can see the picture ok with the current background would be greatly appreciated. I have noticed if i scroll it up out of the is more clearer. Is that annoying though for my readers?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Twitter & Flickr!

While hiking these 2175 miles, a lot of things can happen to a thru-hiker. But thankfully to today's technology, I can keep my family and friends aware of my health and safety as I transverse the wilderness of the Appalachian mountains! Granted it is dependent on a lot of factors such as:

battery life of my cell, reception coverage, ability to use my hands, weather, ect..

So as I hike the trail, I will be texting messages throught the day using Twitter! It is on the right hand side of the page, and will updated each time I send something. The update will be 140 characters or less. I have some practice messages up currently. If it is too hard to read let me know and I can attempt to change my background to help ease the eyes a bit. Hey, I care about the health of my readers!

So, even if I cant get to a computer to post a "real" can still see what is going on to me on the trail! How cool! So once I leave...keep checking even if I dont post a new blog entry...cause I just dont know how often I will get to a computer! I am suppose to be ROUGHING it!

Also, I am trying to figure out how to send pictures from my cell phone right to my blog. So stay tuned. I believe it is possible, just need to figure it out! Any tips will be greatly appreciated! I have set up a Flickr account, and have linked it to my blog. So I have managed to get this far! Less than 23 more days! YIKES!


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Trial Run

Well it is official. I actually spent the night out in the woods for the whole night! Well most of it anyway.

On my birthday (the day of the never ending rainstorm), I decided to do a run through with my gear, since I didn't work the next day. So, I was able to set up my tarp in the woods behind my house in the afternoon, while it was pouring down buckets! I did take me longer than I was hoping, but I managed to get it erected. Well then I spent the rest of the day with Amee, while it continued to rain and rain some more.

By the time I decided to call it a night, it was around 11:30. Had to check out Mike Prangly's weather forecast to find out how much rain to expect during the night and to see how cold it would get. I attempted to sleep out in my tarp one previous night, but in my 40 degree sleeping bag. Well, to make a long story short...I didnt make it more than 3 hours before i was a frozen popcicle...that was even with every piece of clothing on that I was planning on taking with me!

The weather forecast looked favorable, so I broke out my 15 degree sleeping bag and pad and ground sheet and headed out to the woods in the rain. A surprise was waiting for me when I arrived. Due to the heavy rains and saturated ground, a large puddle had formed on the back right side of my tarp. This wasnt there earlier! This was not good.

So, I read in a book that the best thing to do is try to dig a trench around your tarp with a stick to help channel the water away from the sleeping area. Well on paper this seemed pretty easy while sitting in my house, but at 11:45 pm in the middle of the night in a pouring rain...lets just say it didnt go as planned. I was really trying to use only the stuff I would have on my trek, since my garage would be a few hundred miles away.

So, I started with a stick I found on the ground, and tried to dig a trench around my tarp. Well, while trying to hold my mini flashlight in my mouth, all i was doing was throwing mud all over the bottom of my gym pants and shoes. I was like AAAGGGGGHHH! These are what I had planned to sleep in...I can't have mud all over them and get into my sleeping bag!

So, then being the manly mountain man...i gave up the idea of using only stuff on the trail! I went and grabbed my shovel and started digging a large trench around my tarp. Even with the shovel, it was extremely difficult to channel that water away...and I was still getting more and more mud on my pants and shoes! And to top it all flashlight went dead! So, I had to get out my large Maglite flashlight in order to see!

Finally, I channeled the water away from my sleeping area, and washed as much of the mud off my pants and shoes as possible. I headed back to get my sleeping area set up, and I ended up finally crawling into my bag well after 12:30 in the morning!

After much tossing and turning throughout the night, i managed to sleep till 7 AM. So, all in all, the night went very well. My tarp DIDNT LEAK and my sleeping bag remained dry! YEAH!!!

I am so ready for this trip! Bring it on! ;O)

Monday, February 4, 2008

AT Shelters

Well here are some pictures of 2 different shelters along the Appalachian Trail. These are spaced throughout the trail to where they avg about one every 9 miles. They are basically 3 sided structures ... either made of stone or wood, depending on which state you are in. They usually have a tin roof, which you hope doesnt leak! Some of the more upscale ones have 2 stories, picnic tables and even a fireplace!
The only bad thing about shelters are that the animals have learned... where there are humans....there usually is food! Which means, shelter usually have mice infestations. Then that leads to snakes coming in to dine on the mice...which is good thing because the mice tend to chew through your pack and destroy your gear. Some hikers have reported mice running over their head while sleeping! Now that is a way to be jostled out of a restful sleep!

Also you have spiders to deal with (which Amee hates with a vengence...even thought Amee is a million times larger than they are!). Then if you are real lucky...usually in the smokey could get a BEAR to visit you and your food sack (which you really need to hang in a tree!). I really want to see a bear and a moose!

Usually the shelter has a water source near by whether it be a mountain spring or running brook. Also they usually have a privy (basically an outhouse!) to do your business...and if your really lucky...they will have TP in them! This definetly beats digging a hole out in the woods! The funny thing is that there is a privy that i read about in a journal that doesnt have any walls....because the 360 degree views are too breathtaking not to see! I am anxious to see that one...hopefully not having to use it!

These shelters are just another option to stay in for the night if the weather is too severe to sleep in my tarp, and they usually house anywhere from 4 to 20 hikers at a time. The thing is that not only do thru-hikers use them but also overnight hikers, boy scouts, and the occasional drunken teenager get togethers! So they can be very noisy and busy!