Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hiking. Georgia to Maine (a Song)

Well hello again. You can definetly tell my off days...extra posts!

Here is a song I came up with while hiking on the AT for the past couple of days. It is to be sung to the tune of "Wanted. Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi.

It's all the same,
only the scenery has changed.
Everyday,
It seems we're hiking to stay
at another trail shelter,
where the privy seats are so cold.
I've hiked all day
just to get to Katahdin.

I'm a thru-hiker.
In a pair of boots I hike.
I'm hiking. Georgia to Maine.
Hiking. Georgia to Maine.

Sometimes I shower,
Sometimes it's not for days.
And the people I meet,
Have some crazy made-up names.
Sometimes you tell the day,
by the odor on your clothes.
Sometimes when you're alone,
All you do is think (about food).

I'm a thru-hiker.
In a pair of boots I hike.
I'm hiking, hiking. Georgia to Maine.
Hiking, hiking. Georgia to Maine.

Oh, I hike!

I'm a thru-hiker.
In a pair of boots I hike.
I'm hiking. Georgia to Maine.

Well, I hike the AT
With a loaded Jam 2 on my back.
I hike for keeps
Cause there's no turning back.
I've been headed north,
And I'm still standing tall.
I've seen a thousand white blazes,
And I've hiked them all!

Cause I'm a thru-hiker.
I've got the trail angels on my side.
I'm hiking, hiking. Georgia to Maine.
I still hike, I still hike.
Georgia to Maine.
Georgia to Maine.

The end.

Hope you enjoyed!

Shepherd.

Sonic ordering.jpg


Sonic ordering.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.
Here is CJ and Dynamite ordering from the sonic drive up. It is like Dog N Suds in Lafayette, but way better.
CJ ordered about $15 worth of food, but Dynamite and I only ordered about $9.50 worth. Doesnt Dynamite look like Napolian Dynamite (that is where his trail name came from!)
I got the #6 - Chicken Club Toaster with onion rings and rootbeer. Also I got their famous breakfast burrito! Yummy! Well as a thruhiker, pretty much anything tastes great!
Also Lakewood: Gave Uncle Johnny your message for you! God bless.
Shepherd!

My Sonic Experience.jpg


My Sonic Experience.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.
First things first, please try to forward this posting to Trey Gardner at FBC!
Well I first learned about Sonic from Trey, himself, who is an avid lover of Sonic. He is SUPER excited that a Sonic is coming to Lafayette, IN this summer! He told me that they had the best onion rings ever, and that I should definelty eat there when an opportunity presented itself.
Well today, I experienced my first Sonic. We realized that Erwin had a Sonic about 2 days back, and it has been the topic of discussion ever since. CJ and Sam raved about it, especially their breakfast burritos. Dynamite and I had never eaten there, so we didnt know what all the hype was about. We do now!
Well thanks Trey for letting me know about this hidden treasure!
Shepherd aka Jeremiah Redden

Uncle Johnny's

Day 26: Easy 6.3 miles into Erwin, TN where we are staying at Uncle Johnny's hostel, which is the nicest hostel to date! Super friendly, warm showers, warm bunkhouse with TV and plenty of movies to choose from! Cant beat that for 15 bucks! Bill: Stay here when you hike! Thanks Scott for the upcoming warning on the trail over Roan! I have heard it called Groan Mnt! Lois: This is the section in the "Then the Hail Came" called Hump and Groan...I wish I had a copy to read while I travel it!

So far it is CJ, Dynamite, Sam & I for the night. We already showered and headed into town for the all you can eat Chinese buffet at the China Kitchen! Yummy! I had 3 and half plates, so I am doing better with the AYCE!

Then we went to the Food Lion to resupply for the next 4 days, and of course I got a pint of Ben & Jerry's to eat while watching March Madness! Finally, I get to see my first 2 games! Hoping Davidson pulls off the upset!

Tonight for dinner it will be Sonic, which will have it's own post in tribute to Trey....an avid Sonic fan...so stay tuned! Then it is a sermon by Pastor Broggi and probably National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation for a night cap movie!

God bless,
Shepherd!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Overlooking the clouds.jpg


Overlooking the clouds.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Day 25: Rainy start to the morning, but finally cleared up around 10:30. Foggy & overcast the rest of the day. Got some cool pics in the fog on Big Bald.

Officially we hiked 20.7 miles, which leaves us 6.6 miles in to Erwin, TN. Will be staying at Uncle Johnny's hostel. We are 333.5 miles from Springer & 1842.7 miles from Katahdin.

Did see my first deer on the trail today (Doe), and my first chipmunk...or as Amee use to call them...Pinies.

The climb over Big Bald wasnt all that bad. The downhills were what was hurting my calf. Any tips on hiking down steep hills would be greatly appreciated!

The picture is of an overlook as we were climbing Big Bald and you could see the clouds below, actually it is what you typically see in the Smokies.

Hope everyone had fun at the lifeline program. Thx for the hello! God bless.

Shepherd.

Friday, March 28, 2008

More Gravestones.jpg


More Gravestones.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Day 24: Tough day today, but thankfully no rain! Officially 21.5 miles today, my longest to date. My body felt it all today, been fighting a slightly pulled left calf muscle. Taking my Vitamin I, which helps.

Today we past the 300 mile mark! We are officially 312.8 miles from Springer & 1863.4 miles from Katahdin.

Saw some more gravestones on the trail today. Thats about it, besides a lot of hills!

CJ & I are at the Hogback Ridge Shelter. We had to say goodbye to Jens today at 3 pm. His spring break is over and is headed back there. Good luck Jens.

Here at the shelter is Catfish, Sam, Dynamite, & UsetoCould. Also a boy scout troop showed up, but they are tenting.

Russel: Got to watching your youtube program. Very cool! Keep it up. I hope to see more in the future. Thanks for the plug in for my blog! God bless.

Cowboy Camping.jpg


Cowboy Camping.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Good morning. First time cowboy camping went great. No rain! Slept well!

Now a word from our sponsers. Here are the totals for the first 21 days.

Poptarts - 40
Snickers - 19
Paydays - 7
Ben & Jerry pint - 1
Sweet tea - 4
Chocolate chip cookies - 8
AYCE - 2
Milkyways - 2

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hercules and Fal.jpg


Hercules and Fal.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Day 23: Hiked 19.6 miles to Little Laurel Shelter. officially 291.3 mikes from Springer & 1884.9 miles to Katahdin. Planning on Cowboy camping tonight...aka sleeping under the stars.

Had some trail magic again today. Spent 1 hour & 45 mins. at Hercules & Fal's house. They fed me red beans & rice and peach cobbler ala mode. Plus root beer in a frosted mug & sweet tea! Also, they are both believers in Christ, and they shared their faith and offered books for thru-hikers about Christ. I took Mere Christianity by CS Lewis. Thanks again! Please pray for their ministry, since they are located 300 yards from the AT trail.
They had a picture at Max Patch with horizontal icycles (sp?) on the white blazed posts. It was amazing!

Tomorrow we will do another 20 plus day and Jens leaves us to go back to school. He has been with us for the past 4 days on Spring Break.

God bless,
Shepherd.

Hot Tub.jpg


Hot Tub.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

This is the hot tub at the Hot Springs Suites. It uses the mineral spring waters that make this town famous. It was very nice. I totally recommend this place if you dont mind spending a little extra money. If not Elmers is the place to stay in this town. I would shy away from the Creekside Inn.

Well said my farewell to Amee, but we will see each other in 3 weeks in Pearisburg.

Of course my pack is too heavy. To much food and out of towns it is always up! Trying for 19.6 today.

PS: Thx bro...will be checking the PO in Damascus! The peppermint oil didnt work at Walnut Mnt shelter cause had a mouse run over my face while sleeping! Though it was an old shelter with brave mice.

Kimbra: thanks for the encouragement. Keep Amee out of trouble at work!

Shepherd.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pearls & Jing-Jang


This is Pearls and Jing-Jang. Pearls got her name due to her beautiful smile, and I am not sure how Jing-Jang got his name. For the longest time, he was just Alex.

They are married and live in Danville, VA, which is just on the border of Virginia and North Carolina. They said they hang out in Ashville, NC a lot. I had to wait to upload their picture because I didnt have them on my cell phone, only my camera.

They are a few days behind me due to Pearls having really big blisters. She was also the one who had hypothermia early in the hike! She is doing well, and I hope they are still on the trail!

Biltmore Mansion.jpg


Biltmore Mansion.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Day 22: My first zero day and I got to spend it with Amee! We slept in and then went to visit the Biltmore Mansion in nearby Ashville, NC.

I think we will model our next house after this one! lol. Our favorite place was the indoor heated swimming pool with under water lighting. How cool! The expansive gardens were awesome too. It was definetly a sight to behold, and imagine what a believer's place will be like in heaven! To God be the glory.

Well back to hiking tomorrow. Atleast my feet feel better.

answer to fungi that mule ate: lichens (sp?)

Shepherd

Laundry Sign.jpg


Laundry Sign.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well I found Amee at 1:00 pm today in Hot Springs. Yeah! Will post more later about this town, but am doing laundry with Poncho.

I had to post this sign Amee & I found in the laundry place that could only be found in a hiker town! Hope you enjoy, thankfully Amee brought me some spare clothes!

Shepherd.

Gravestones.jpg


Gravestones.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well nothing exciting to see in the 13.1 miles into Hot Springs, except off the side of the trail about 3.2 miles from Hot Springs were these gravestones. Very weird.

They were for George & Eva Groggs. Both were born around 1880's and one died in 1940 & the other 1966. Hmmm.

Shepherd.

The Smoky Mnt. Trail

video

Here is another video taken along a ridgeline in the Smokies. Hope you enjoy. You may have to press play a couple of times to view. God bless.

Note: although I didnt fall here in this video. A mile section coming down from Clingman's Dome was like a solid river of ice, and I did fall on my bum once then. Thankfully some of my pack broke my fall too! All that was hurt was my pride! lol.

Shepherd.

CJ's Diner

video

Here is a short video made at Standing Bear Farm Hostel. I hope to get more short videos up as I can. Enjoy. Just press play even though the screen is black. God bless.

Shepherd.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hot Springs

Hello all,

Arrived in Hot Springs around 1 pm about the same time Amee arrived! Perfect timing! We checked out Creekside Inn, but it wasnt open yet so we chilled out in the outfitter and then went for lunch at the Roadside Diner. It was pretty good. Had a cheeseburger and fries. Amee a taco salad. She didn't really care for it.

Well finally after lunch, the Creekside Inn was open, but the rooms were freezing cold, no tv and very small. So, we decided to splurge abit and get a suite at the Hot Springs Spa Resort. This has a heart shaped hot tub, tv and very spacious! Good choice!

I quickly jumped into the hot tub to wash off the 2 days worth of trail funk that had accumulated on me! Amee was surprised to see so much facial hair on my baby cheeks. It is finally growing on her.

After the hot tub experience, it was time to wash my clothes which havent seen the washer for 9 days. Poncho and CJ were doing their laundry as well. There was an intersting sign in the place that I will post later once I figure why my phone wont send my pictures....so stay tuned.

After laundry we just hung around and chilled until time for American Idol. Grabbed a pizza at the local diner and are now watching American Idol! I am afraid I will get to comfortable hanging out here in Hot Springs! Loving the time with Amee though!

God bless,
Shepherd

Monday, March 24, 2008

Walnut Mnt Shelter.jpg


Walnut Mnt Shelter.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Day 20: Well we are lean mean hiking machines now. We left the hostel around 9:30, when it started snowing and it hasnt let up yet. Officially we hiked 20.3 miles. I wanted to call it quits at 15.4 miles but CJ and Jens talked me into another 4.9 miles. I am thankful they did, because that leaves us with only 13.1 miles to Hot Springs. That means we might get there for lunch! Yeah baby!

Well we are officially 258.8 miles from Springer & 1917.6 miles from Katahdin.

Well it was snowing when we went over Snowbird mnt, so no views. But God allowed the weather to break when we went over Max Patch. It was even more spectacular than I had imagined. Scott & Lakewood thanks for the heads up. It was still chilly...temp 30 degrees with 15-20 mph winds, so I didnt get to stay up there long. Did enjoy a Snickers up there though. Great pictures.

So far it has snowed about 1.5 inches. They are calling for 1-3 inches. Glad I am not in the Smokies!

Get to see Amee tomorrow! Yeah!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Standing Bear Farm Hostel

Howdy All! Happy Easter! He is RISEN!

I am reminded of the chorus of "Alive Forever, Amen"

"He's Alive, Alive, Alive Hallelujah. Praise and Glory to the Lamb!
Alive, Alive Alive Hallelujah. Forever, Amen!"

Great song!

Well my battery died on me after sending out the Tribute to California Joe. He was bummed that I didnt get a more flattering picture of him! We see him eating his "Nabs" or what we northerns call...cheese and crackers, and did you see his white legs! You were probably blinded I know! That is why I am wearing pants all the time! Right on! lol.

No he is actually a fire fighter for the Northern California Forest Service! Great guy and a professing believer. I actually got to give my testimony to him as well as our dating testimony too! lol. Heck we have only been hiking for the past 7 days together. We are like bros now! Also ladies...he is single and 25 years old! hehe :O)

Well ok...back to the AT!

Day 18. We did 20.4 miles to get us to Cosby Knob Shelter. We delibertly did this to our bodies so we could get to Standing Bear farm earlier in the day on day 19. It was definetly tough but the views were AMAZING! It was all ridgeline hiking, with great weather! Couldnt have asked for a better day. I truely loved the Smokies! We met Steady On at the shelter as well, another thru-hiker that started in late Feb.

Day 19. Today we did only 11.4 miles to the Standing Bear Farm Hostel! Actually we got our directions messed up so we actually did 13.4 miles...2 unofficial. We werent happy, but we made it still by 12:30. We are officially 239.3 miles from Springer and out of the Smoky Mnt National Park. We just have a short 32.3 miles left to Hot Springs, so 2 fairly easy days ahead.

When we got to the hostel, was able to take my 3rd shower in 19 days!!!! Oh it felt sooo good! I also was able to eat an entire Digorno Supreme Pizza as well, and will have my first pint of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream for dinner tonight! I think it is Chocolate Fudge Browny! Yum! Here at the hostel is CJ and his friend who will hike the next 5 days with us, Poncho, The General, Steady On, and Lady and the Tramp.

I just also want to give a review of the Hostel for any future hikers...4 stars! Great place. Very nice. Plenty of food to eat, hot showers, internet access. Highly recommending staying the night if you are able!

Well anyway. Thanks for all the encouraging comments and prayers!

PS: Yeh, I might be needing a refresher on the peppermint oil. How about sending one to Damascus, VA. I am about 13 days away from there. Just address it to Jeremiah Redden...Hold for Thru-hiker. If it isnt much trouble! So far it has worked wonders! Thanks a million!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

California Joe.jpg


California Joe.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

A Tribute To California Joe:

One fine morning, CJ & I were hiking the AT in the Smokies just outside Ice water Shelter. We were walking a ridge line at about 6000 ft, when I was suddenly startled by a huge Kodiac bear, which must of escaped from the Gatlinburg Zoo. Well as I was reaching for my camera, I slipped on the icy trail and fell off the ridgeline. I soon found myself dangling 6000 ft up grasping only to a young pine sampling that was struggling to stay attached to the cliff.

After California Joe bravely fought off the Kodiac bear with his Leki poles & dashing good looks, he noticed the dire peril I was in. With no regards to his own life, he quickly thrust out his Leki pole to my outstretched hand. I grasped it just as the sappling gave way, and he pulled me to safety. Then we continued our journey on the AT. California Joe - they should name a shelter after him!

The people in the story are real, however the events were fictious purely for your entertainment.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Clingmans Dome.jpg


Clingmans Dome.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Day 17. California Joe & I surfaced to civilization today at Newfound Gap. It is full of tourists here, and we even got our picture taken by a very astonished couple from Chicago. They could believe we have been hiking for 17 days straight.

Today we summitted Clingmans Dome. The highest point on the AT at 6643 ft. It was a great day to view!

Also at lunch we crossed the 200 mile mark on the trail! We are staying at Ice Water Spring shelter tonight, which is 207.6 miles from Springer.

We have about 2 more days of the Smokies, and are on schedule to get to Hot Springs on Tuesday. God Bless. Hope the Passion Play is going well. To God be the glory.

Shepherd.

Winter Wonderland in the Smokies.jpg

Day 16. Hiked 16.4 miles to Double Spring Shelter. Everything was beautifully white as seen in the picture. We are 193.8 miles officially from Springer & 1982.4 from Katahdin. We are up in the 5000 foot ranges today, with beautiful ridge line views. Tomorrow we will summit Clingman's Dome at 6643 ft and be up over 6000 ft for most of the day.

We are with Pocket Change & Chris, who are thruhikers as well. They plan to go into Gatlinburg tomorrow to resupply and watch a movie. Not CJ & I's plan! Got another fire going tonight. Miss everybody, but amazing what 3 days will do for you.

I didnt think I would like the Smokies, but so far I am loving it here! To God be the glory!

Entering the Great Smoky Mnts.jpg

Day 15. California Joe & I braved the upcoming storm that called for all day rains, sustained winds of 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 60 miles & possibility of snow in the mnts. We are crazy! Well the rains came and we got soaked.

We stayed in the Russel Field Shelter with Starbucks & Tom and his 2 kids, Cooper & Chandler. We did get a fire a going which allowed us to get all of our stuff dry! Praise God.

We also passed the 2000 mile mark We are officially 1998.8 miles away from Katahdin. Yeah.

Peppermint oil worked again Scott! Unreal.

In the morning everything was white with snow and freezing fog! Very cool.

Fontana Dam.jpg


Fontana Dam.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well I am still alive. Have not had cell coverage since Fontana Dam. Here is an update of CJ & I's adventures.

This is me on day 14. California Joe & I hike into Fontana Village to resupply before heading into the Smokies. Things are going well. Much better spirits thanks to CJ and a pint of ice cream! Not Ben & Jerry's though, actually Mayfield's. Blueberry Cream Pie! Yum.

We stayed at the Fontana Hilton with Chief Daddy, Tarzan, Strides, Jesse, Tom, Bill & CJ. We had a huge bonfire thanks to Chief Daddy. He is quite the character. Strides, CJ & I are the only ones heading out into the smokies tomorrow due to a huge storm system coming in, everyone else is taking a zero.

Shepherd.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Popeye.jpg


Popeye.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Good Morning. Day 14. Thanks for all the encouraging comments! It is amazing what a restful night in the shelter & some company will do for your spirits. Also today is only 12.8 miles. I think every thruhiker gets some doubts in the first week or two, it is just a matter of pushing through. This trek is something you cant prepare for at home, you just have to experience it. Plus I know that God wont give me any more than I can handle.

Well I also want you to meet Popeye, who is about a day behind me, so hopefully he'll catch up. He is from NJ, and is retired. He thruhiked it in 2001, then attempted it again last year. But, he had a heart attack on the trail 11 miles outside of Erwin. So he hiked the remaining 11 miles & hitched a ride to the hospital which confirmed the heart attack. So, now he is back again this year with proper heart meds, and a hiking buddy, Captain Jack. More on him tomorrow. Both are really good guys.

Shepherd

Monday, March 17, 2008

Welcome Mat.jpg


Welcome Mat.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

I just had to post about this. Jesse is quite the character. He is carrying a welcome mat with him, in which he puts his shoes on each night. To funny!

Scott: Have you done the Smokies? I hope they arent as bad as today.

Brown Fork Shelter.jpg


Brown Fork Shelter.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well as a tribute to the Red Couch, my favorite blog, I will post 10 things I learned today.

1. God is good even during the toughest days.
2. I am 16 miles farther than I was yesterday. this was my toughest day!
3. I am 150.9 miles from Springer & 2025.3 miles from Katadin.
4. I hate web walking, which means your the first one on the trail clearing all the cobwebs that were formed last night.
5. I hate getting out of my sleeping bag in the morning.
6. But I like hiiking in the coolness of the morning.
7. Loving Pastor Broggi's sermons on the book of Hebrews.
8. Having my first doubts on being able to complete the trail.
9. Been chewing the same piece of gum for the past 13 days. I will easily make 2 weeks.
10. And the greatest of them all...I get to see Amee in less than 8 days! I miss her sooo much!

So far it is just me in the shelter & the mice! Will have the oil out tonight.

Cheoah Bald was beautiful once you got to the top! Thanks Bob.

Shepherd

Mule.jpg


Mule.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Good morning & happy St. Patricks day. Well about to start off the day after eating a hearty breakfast at Rivers End. Scott mentioned that this morning will be tough...going up about 3500 ft in about 6-8 miles! Yeah baby. But I keep telling myself it is all down hill after that!
Well you maybe wondering what the picture is about. Any guesses to what type of fungus it is. I picked it because there is an interesting story to go with it, plus it is green for st. patty's day. I will give the answer tomorrow. Ok now the rest of the story.

Well I met this guy back on day 5. He started the trail caarrying a 65 lb pack! That is twice the weight of mine! Way to heavy for a thruhiker, hence he was quickly named Mule! When I met him, he had it down to 57 lb. Well the other interesting and odd thing about him was that he was on a 500 dollar budget for his thruhike! So in order to save money, he had beeen collecting the fungi in the picture & eating them with his food!

Happy Bday Eric! Hike on!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

NOC.jpg


NOC.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well day 12 is in the books. Officially hiked 16.5 miles (my longest so far). I am at the NOC, which is 134.9 miles Springer & 2041.3 miles to Katahdin. The NOC is the Nantahala Outdoor Center, which would be a nice place for a retreat. lol. Tomorrow I plan to do 16 miles to Brown Fork Gap Shelter, then to Fontana Dam the next day.

Thanks everyone for all the encouraging comments. They really help.

Russell: Great to meet ya. I hope to check out your program on YouTube when I get the chance! Lord willing I will have many opportunities to share my testimony, even if I can't I hope by my actions I stand out for God! Since I am His ambassador on this trek! I would be happy to hike with anyone out here.
Bill Bolander: When you get to this area when you start your hike. The 6.5 miles from Wesser tower to NOC is tough! Lots of steep up & downs. Not many switchbacks. Rivers end has great food. Wesser General store has limited food.
DaisyGirl: Yeh, glad my trail name isnt Cookie Monster!

Wesser Bald Observation Tower.jpg

This is the view from Wesser Bald. Since yesterday wasnt a good day for viewing the scenery from Wayah Bald, God allowed me to see it today! And what a site it was. You could see for miles 360 degrees...mountains everywhere! This is the view toward Fontana Dam and the Smokies, which I will come to real soon.

The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets.
Psalm 50:1

Apple.jpg


Apple.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well this is the trail angel...Apple. I dont know how well the picture turned out, since the lighting in the tent wasnt the best.

He is from Texas and has had the tent up for the past 10 days and will have it up for 4 more days. He has sectioned hiked from Springer to Hot Springs in the past.

The tent was very spacious. He had a large wood burning stove in the middle, and about 10-12 chairs strung out. He had coffee or hot chocolate to drinks and chips ahoy cookies to snack on! I had hot chocolate of course and 4 chewy cookies! Very nice snack in the morning!

well thanks again Apple! God bless.

Shepherd

First Trail Angel.jpg


First Trail Angel.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

1030: Is this a mirage or the real thing? A huge tent in the middle of the woods, with food! Here is the full story.

Last night at the shelter, Jesse got a call from his friend who missed the shelter. Well he told him about this trail angel with a big tent and wood stove and hotdogs about 3.5 miles from the shelter. At this point it was pouring buckets still, and they werent sure if he was giving them the run around.

Well Jesse, Steve & CJ. decided to leave the comfort of the shelter to see if it was true, and brave the pouring rain.

Well I, being in warm dry clothes wasnt attempting the trek. So to my amazement this morning when I got to Burningtown Gap...here was the tent!

How cool. My first experience with trail magic & a trail angel. To God be te glory!

Wayah Shelter.jpg


Wayah Shelter.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Good morning everyone. Made it through the night once again. Cold, but warm in my sleeping bag. Only hailed aout 5 times yesterday - pea size. Each time I was in shelter! Sunny day forecasted today. Trying to make NOC today...16.5 miles away. Some clothes still wet.

Wendy: Happy Birthday! A day late. Wanted to post it yesterday, but because of the surprise party I couldnt.

Jason: Bon voyage! Will miss ya. Hope you enjoy Louisville. Atleast it isnt to far to visit!

Matthew: Have fun on your spring break. Qto bad you couldnt come hiking with me!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Drenched Thruhiker.jpg


Drenched Thruhiker.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Praise God! I am alive and safe at Wayah Bald shelter. God is awesome, gracious & merciful. Here is the time line of my day.

0935: Dropped off at Winding stair gap by Ron Haven. Sun was out & beautiful morning, but I knew what was coming.
0940: Started hiking
1044: Made it to Siler Bald shelter. Literally running at times. No rain yet.
1100: Made it to top of Siler Bald
1120: Down in Walah Gap. First rumbles of thunder heard
1125: Sprinkeling now. 5.1 miles to go!
1140: Steady rain. Wayah bald is a killer! Umbrella out.
1150: Umbrella back in. Lots of lightening & thunder. rain heavier.
1250: Made it to Wayah Bald. Pouring buckets, with lighting and thunder. Trail a river of water & mud. Everything is soaked.
1310: Finally made it to shelter. Still raining. 4 other guys here.
1500: warming up as possible. Pea sized hail.

Lois: It was like George running for shelter in his trail journal. Although I didnt fall down!

Thank you for all your prayers!

Shepherd.

Breakfast Club.jpg


Breakfast Club.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Day 11. Good morning all. Spent the night at the Sapphire Inn. For all you future thru-hikers, Ron Haven treats you right. He is awesome. For 35 bucks for a room with free shuttle to and from trail. Also they have shuttle services around town for free. So if you need to go into Franklin..check out Haven Budget Inn. 4 stars!

We are at Wilson's Diner for breakfast. Plan to finally eat something other than poptarts. Eggs and biscuits!

Well heavy rain is in the forecast with baseball size hail. Will only do 11 miles today to get to wayah shelter.

Here at breakfast is popeye, california joe, greg, macky, lil mak, chair, limestone, cahoda, krt, & silas.

Shepherd.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Mountain Feast.jpg


Mountain Feast.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.



Well, we made it into Franklin, NC at about 4:45 pm, without Captain Jack. We are unsure where he is. He shouldn't of been too far behind us, but he never showed up. Popeye is getting nervous about him, and will probably have to take a zero day tomorrow because of this.

Today was a day of firsts. Funny thing was this morning I didn't think that there would be anything exciting to talk about, but that wasn't the case.

First of all, I passed the 100 mile mark today! We did 15.9 miles (the most in one day!) We are officially 107.6 miles from Springer and 1068.6 miles to Katahdin. Wooo hooo! Popeye said after the first 100 miles the miles really start adding up...I sure hope so!

The other first was that I went the wrong way for the first time! It happened about 3 miles after I left the shelter this morning. I apparently took a blue blaze trail, and about 5 mins later I realized I was going the wrong way! Thankfully it wasn't like 1 hour until I noticed my goof. Popeye told me on his thruhike in 2001, he went 5 miles before realizing he was going on the wrong trail! So he went 21 miles for the day and only 11 of them counted for the AT!

Well after Mooney gap, the rain clouds started to form. So I pretty much ran up Albert Mnt, and once we got to Big Spring Shelter it started to rain! Then of course it continued to rain the rest of the day! I am so thankful I am in town tonight! Although tomorrow's forecast calls for even more rain and possibly hail in the higher elevations! So any prayers would be greatly appreciated for the storm to hit tonight or wait till tomorrow night! I do plan to stay in a shelter tomorrow!

Well Popeye and I are staying at the Sapphire Inn and right across the street is a restraunt called Mountain Feast...and feast we did! They had an AYCE buffet with fried chicken, beef sirloin & fried catfish! Oh, the fried catfish was sooo good! I did better this time on the AYCE...able to eat 2 plates full! That was because all I had today was poptarts, snickers, milky way, PB and cheese crackers and a handful of GORP.

Tomorrow I will get some denatured alcohol and head back to the trail around 9-9:30 in the morning. I plan on doing 15.8 miles tomorrow to Cold Spring Shelter.

Note: Captain Jack finally arrived at the motel at 6 pm. Popeye will be greatly relieved! Hopefully he won't have to take a zero day tomorrow and will continue to hike with me! Love their company!

Also, thanks Russel for checking out my blog and following me as I head to Maine! Appreciate the encouragement!

Lee: I never smell! I always smell like a fresh mountain spring! lol. Yeh, if I could only bottle it up and send it to you! ;O)

Scott: Thanks for spreading the word about my blog. You can tell anyone you want about it. I hope to get the people who do Trail Journals to check it out...that way they can allow people to update their journals right on the trail like me. Instead of having to do it later when they find a computer. I don't know anyone else who has tried this type of journal for the AT...hopefully it will catch on!

Macgyver and Lemur.jpg


Macgyver and Lemur.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

We had a MacGyver sighting on the trail. No it wasn't Richard Dean Anderson, but it was a couple from Delaware doing a thru-hike. I love the show, and even have the first 3 seasons at home!

I have seen his name in the registers for a while, but he was always 1-2 days ahead. They started on March 1st. Glad I got to finally meet them. I am sure there will be people trying to catch up with me as well. It is kind of funny how this works. You read their entries & really get to know them, so when you finally met them...their like family.

Mooney Gap.jpg


Mooney Gap.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Passed through Mooney Gap, which is know to be the wettest places in the eastern US. It has an annual precipitation of 93.5 inches per year.

Guess what? No rain today! Yeah. Albert mnt looms in the near future.

Limestone and Juno.jpg


Limestone and Juno.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Day 10. Good morning.

We all slept well in the shelter...no mice to speak of. I had my peppermint oil out as well! Chilly & windy.

Also I wanted you to meet Limestone & Juno. They are originally from Washinton, but have moved around for Limestone's job in the forrest service. They also lived in Juno, Alaska...where they came up with their names.

Scott...havent seen any Balds yet. I think our first one is tomorrow. Wayah Bald.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Carter Gap Shelter.jpg


Carter Gap Shelter.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Wooo Hooo! I did my first 15 plus mile day of my young AT hike. Officially 15.3 miles, which puts me 91.7 miles from Springer & 2084.5 miles to the end. I am averaging 10.2 miles per day so far.

So far Limestone & Juno made it here and are spending the night. Popeye & Captain Jack should be along soon.

I am still debating onto going into Franklin tomorrow. Popeye has offered to let me share a room with them, which will cut down the cost. The reason is I need more alcohol for my stove...plus it is suppose to rain tomorrow night.

Well I am starving, so I think I will cook up my Beef Lo Mein meal tonight. Yum. For lunch I had Peanut butter & cheese crackers topped with Spam spread. First time for that combo, but it actually wasnt to bad! Getting real close to the Smokies!

Standing Indian Mnt View.jpg


Standing Indian Mnt View.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well I made it to the summit at 1:50. Temp 64.5 degrees & a pressure of 856.4 mb, which is the lowest reading yet. I am at 5,498 ft up and sitting on a rock ledge over looking the mnts I have just been through. I can even see Hiawassee. Words or pictures of course cant say or show the coolness of the view. 6.1 more miles to the shelter. God is good, and His creation is amazing...even with the fall.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Live Oak.jpg


Live Oak.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Isn't this the coolest live oak tree you have ever seen! It is right on the trail after you cross into NC. I am sure it has been around for quite awhile.

After leaving Bly Gap tomorrow, I enter the Nantahala National Forest with 4000 foot gaps & 5000 foot peaks! Nantahala is Cherokee for "land of the noonday sun", according to my guidebook. After that I enter the Smokies.

Well 3 more people came and went onto the next shelter, but the last guy said something about a few people trying for this campsite. So we will see.

NC GA Border.jpg


NC GA Border.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well time to close the chapter for Georgia, the home of the peach and great sweet tea...which I forgot to mention I had with supper! The last 3.1 miles of Georgia were pretty much an uphill climb...very tough.

So now into North Carolina. I am officially at Bly Gap, which is 76.4 miles from Springer & 2099.8 miles from Katahdin. I just set up my tarp at the campsite. It looks much more sturdier this time around. I am the only one here but am holding out hope that the gals or Pearls/Alex will come along. Not use to being all by myself yet. It is only 3:30...still early.

I also want to list for any future thruhiker the places to stay in Hiawassee from the best to the least from talking to other hikers.

1. Blueberry Patch!
2. Cloud 9
3. Hiawassee Inn
4. Holiday Inn Express.

Shepherd.

A Word From Our Sponsers.jpg


A Word From Our Sponsers.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

I defintely think that Snickers & Poptarts should be official sponsers of the AT, with Paydays close behind.

Since it has been a week now on the trail, I thought I would post some running totals on my favorite items to eat!

1. Poptarts - 12 (individuals)
2. Snickers - 5
3. Paydays - 3
4. DQ Blizzards - 1
5. AYCE - 1
6. Pint of Ben & Jerry Ice Cream - 0

Daniels Steakhouse.jpg


Daniels Steakhouse.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well slept well at the Inn, but anxious to get back on the trail. The breakfast here wasnt the greatest, so I gave them 3 out of 4 stars.

I ran into the girls last night & they said the Blueberry Patch rocked. They.got pampered, plus they get blueberry pancakes and eggs. Downside is that it is hard to get in and out of town.

The steakhouse buffet was excellent. I couldnt eat alot yet. My waitress said that some hikers stay and eat for 3-4 hours. Not me. They had a nice salad bar, fried chicken, bbq pork, mashed potatoes, ect... Finished the meal with more ice cream.

Oh..the answer to the plant quiz...which was hard due to the quality of the pic is:

1. Rhododendron
2. Mountain Laurel

I think Abby & Mike got one of the two right!

Sunny and warm foecasted for the next 2 days! Next post will be in NC. Yeah!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Hiawasee Inn.jpg


The Hiawasee Inn.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Just wanted to give free advertisement for the Hiawasee Inn. It isnt much to look at but they have treated me well, and even did my laundry for me...and folded it too! It is definetly better than a shelter.

I will post a reviews about Blueberry Patch & Cloud 9 when I see hikers who stayed there...for any future thruhikers out there.

Ruby Tuesday.jpg


Ruby Tuesday.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well I am finished doing my grocery shopping, and my laundry just finished! Perfect timing, eh. Still to early to eat just yet, so I thought I would show you who gave me my trail name!

Ruby Tuesday! He is a great guy out of Gainsville, Florida. He worked in an outfitter store, and he was very knowledgeable about hiking gear. He also plays harmonica and guitar in a band back home, and he actually brought his harmonica with him. He is pretty good! Hope you come up with a band name.

Thanks for signing my guest book Ruby. I hope your blisters are doing better. His blisters were the size of his thumbs! I hope your are still on the trail. Lord willing, we will see each other again. Godspeed!

Welcome to Hiawasee!

Hello everyone!

It is 4:30 pm and I am at the public library checking out the wonderful comments you guys have left me! Thank you so much for all the encouraging words! Been having a blast so far! So far God has thrown about everything at us...snow, freezing wind and tempatures and rain...and I am still alive! Praise God!

Well today I am staying a dive called Hiawassee Inn, but it has a hot shower, warm bed and they are even doing my laundry! Plus they picked me up from the trail and will take me back tomorrow! Yeah!

After the library it is time to grocery shop and then later I am going to an "All you can eat" buffet as a steakhouse in town. I am not ravenous yet because I only bought a medium DQ blizzard this afternoon! You will know if I am really hungry when I am eating the large...but it was soooo good!

Well I only have 10 mins remaining on the computer, but I want to tell a couple of stories about 2 events that have transpired over the last few days.

The first one is about "Pearls". On saturday, the day it turn to snow in the early morning (Scott...your weather forecasting was right on!), we were just leaving the shelter when "Pearls" and her husband Alex were getting out of their tent. Well we didnt know the whole story till yesterday. They had left all their clothes out to dry over night due to the all day rain on friday. Well they didnt dry...they froze! So she had to put on those clothes and hike in the snow and freezing wind. Well I guess she got hypothermia and passed out a couple of times. Thankfully a couple weekend hikers had some emergency firewood with them and they started a fire for her to dry out! So when we saw her at Neels Gap, she actually looked good and was about to take a shower. Scary! But she is doing fine now and is staying in town tonight!

The other story happened Saturday night into Sunday morning. We left Neels gap that saturday and tarped, but they had a huge party with all you can eat food and alcohol for FREE! Why we didnt stay...who knows! But one guy named "freight train" got a little to drunk and in the morning woke up and thought he was outside...then he started to relieve himself right there in the bunkhouse! Everyone was shouting at him to get outside...and that made things worst cause he kept moving around! Finally they got him outside...but his new trail name is "Pee Train" now! Too funny. That is why you should stay away from alcohol!

Well my time is up! will update later! God bless!

Shepherd!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tray Mnt overlook.jpg


Tray Mnt overlook.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well it is 5 pm and we are just chilling on this amazing overlook from Tray mnt. It is a great place for the sunset. We did 7.8 miles today. I dont have my data book handy to give official mileage. Tomorrow we are headed to the Blueberry Patch hostel in Hiawasee, where I will have my 1st shower in 7 days. Will also do laundry. Their breakfast is legendary. The view here is amazing and I doubt the picture does it justice. I will also resupply my food bag as well. 2 more days and I will be in NC saying goodbye to GA. Yeah!

Plant quiz.jpg


Plant quiz.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

I have been learning a lot fom the gals...especially about plants. So I wanted to test your knowledge as well. Can anyone identify the 2 types of plants found in this picture. My money is on Abby, Matt & Eric!. Leave your guesses in the comments and I will post the answer tomorrow. Good luck!

hint...both keep their leaves all year round.

Good Morning.jpg


Good Morning.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well good morning ya all. I know that this picture isnt the greastest but it is our first sunrise we could see from our sleeping bags. Actually slept 11 restful hours tonight. Temp 35 degrees. suppose to be sunny & 60's today.

Scott...if you are still reading this, the peppermint oil worked again. No mice. If possible leave your email address and I will email the results of it. Thx.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Toots and Burpples.jpg


Toots and Burpples.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Finally we have decided on trail name for my hiking companions for the past 4 days, so I can finally show them to you.

On the left we have Toots (Mel), who finally let me name her today. She didnt care for my previous name...Muddy Legs.

On the right we have Burpples (Jenna), who has finally decided on a trail name today. She first called herself Jade, then switched to Snickers at Neels gap. Then later on she introduced herself as not having a trail name at lunch today. So, I spent the rest of the day thinking of one for her. I came up with Belch, due to her constant burping. But she decided on a more feminine name of Burpples.

Burpples even showed me how to hang a bear bag last night!

Blue Mountain Shelter.jpg


Blue Mountain Shelter.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Howdy from Blue Mnt shelter. we officially hiked our biggest mileage today, and my feet are sore! We hiked 13.8 miles and are now 48.7 miles from Springer & 2127.5 miles from Katahdin. After lunch we hiked through 4 named gaps, so we must of hiked 4 mnts as well. Blue Mnt was the worst. Very rocky. We have an awesome view right out the front. There are a few thruhikers here & a lot of college students out on spring break. I know that isnt my wifes idea of a spring break. lol. Planning a short day tomorrow to rest our feet, but there are some tough climbs in store. Oh, no wind! Yeah. It is a beautiful night. I am getting my appetite back, and I hear an all you can eat Chinese buffet calling my name in Hiawasee! Yummy! God bless.

Shephard

Low Gap shelter.jpg


Low Gap shelter.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Left campsite at 9 am and arrived at shelter @ noon for lunch. Sunny and warmer. Low 40's. Attempting to make it to Blue Mnt shelter tonight.

Frozen thruhiker.jpg


Frozen thruhiker.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Well it is 7:45 and I made it thru the night alive. It only got down to 7 degrees last night. stayed warm for the most part with every piece of clothing on. Wind was howling all night & still is. Temp is up to 26 degrees in my tarp. There is ice on the inside of my tarp from my breathing thru the night. Will probably wait awhile till the winds die down to pack up camp. Sorry..i meant to say spring foreward with ur clocks in my last post. Going to see if the gals made it ok. Dont worry about me mom...doing ok. lol.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Our first campsite.jpg


Our first campsite.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

We left Neels Gap at 2:30 and hiked 4.2 more miles to Baggs Creek Gap. Here we are tarping for the first time. It is Snickers & Mel in their tarp and me in mine. The sun actually came out and we got to see some views for the first time in a day and a half. We are 34.9 miles from Springer & 2141.3 miles from Katahdin. Well I hope my tarp holds, because it is very windy & it is suppose to get down to 20 degrees tonight. Time for dinner before dark. Dont forget to turn ur clocks back tonight. Also sorry for the spelling errors..sometimes it is hard to text with frozen thumbs. Goodnight.

Neels Gap.jpg


Neels Gap.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Made it to Neels gap at 1030 this morning. Trail goes right through the store. Talk about bringing your customers right to you! Bought a new food sack..some snickers and poptarts. and some new insoles for my feet. The girls are doing laundry and showering..I am waiting till Hiawasee. I want the funk to be strong..although I really dont smell the other hikers..just me. Will try to tarp tonight somewhere down the road.

Blood Mountain.jpg


Blood Mountain.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Hiked up Bloood mnt in the snow. Actually it was a very easy climb compared to the last few days. Maybe I am actually getting in shape. Hiking up it reminded me of the LOTR scene where Gandof was leading the group through the mnt pass. Matt..the pressure was 874 millibars on top of the mnt...and 26 degrees not including the wind chill. Lowest pressure so far.