Saturday, May 31, 2008

AT Hike 2008 Slide Show part 2: Hot Springs to Pearisburg

Hello all,


video

Here is part 2 of my 3 part series of photos that I took on my half finished trip on the AT. I hope you enjoy! More to come soon!

Shepherd

Friday, May 30, 2008

AT Hike 2008 Slide Show part 1: Springer to Hot Springs, NC

Hello all,

Today as I continue to recoup, I decided to work on my pictures that I took on the trail. So far I have only been able to touch up from Springer to Hot Springs, so here is the slide show for this section of the trail!



video




It sure does bring back some great memories as I put this slide show together, especially CJ at CJ's diner. That video of him trying to flip the pancakes...classic! lol.

I sure hope CJ is doing well, as well as: Dynamite, Cowboy Killer, Yeti, Toddy Bear, Burpples & Toots, and Popeye. All of them have made it atleast to Harpers Ferry...congrats to them!

I hope you enjoy...more to come soon!

Shepherd

Monday, May 26, 2008

Turkey Run State Park Hike - Memorial Day '08

Well today I went with a few friends from church to Turkey Run State Park for a little bit of hiking! We only hiked about 4 miles today, but I was able to see how well I have recovered in the 3 weeks I have been off the AT. I would say I am about 60% healed.

It was different hiking as a day hiker, but actually it was nice! I got to come back home afterwords...plus I didn't have to carry a 30# pack. It was a nice day to hike though and had some great company!

Since I am still in the spirit of the AT, I made sure all that hiked with me had trail names. So,
Jennifer was "LJ",
Abby was "A&W",
Lance was "Sweet Action"
Matt B. was "Shutter"
Eric was "Mere Cat"




Shepherd in the cave

Looking at the suspension bridge


Learning about the history of covered bridges


Shutter taking a break near the covered bridge



Some of the more challenging part of trail #3!



The guys leading the way!



"LJ" & A&W" on our way to Turkey Run!
































Monday, May 19, 2008

And the WINNER is.....

Well it still looks like some people are still wondering if I am getting back on the trail or maybe they are the people who don't know that I had gotten off the trail yet. But anyway, there are still some people looking at this blog!

So in that case, I will post who won the "Biggest Loser" game that I set up before I left. It was a game to guess how much weight I would lose on the trail with a tie breaker question of how many poptarts I would eat!

Well I ended up loosing 17 lbs! I weighed in at 150 lbs...down from 167 at the beginning! I hope to keep it off as long as possible! So...the winner is!

With a guess of 152.5 lbs, which was the closest without going over...is Liz Ayres!!! Yeah!

So her winning gift has to deal with FOOD, which is what I dreamed about all the time on the trail! She is getting a $30 gift card to my favorite pizza joint....PAPA JOHNS, and a $30 gift card to my favorite ice cream location....COLD STONE CREAMRY!!!! She has 4 kids, so both should come in handy!!

Shepherd!

p.s. Stay tuned cause I am healing well, and getting the hiking bug again! Lord willing, I will be back on the trail at the end of July or beginning of August! I need to work a bit to save up some more money in the meantime!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Good-bye Virginia & Welcome Home!


Amee, made me this sign to say good-bye to Virginia, cause I was hoping to be rid of it by the time she came to see me. But in the end, I did say good-bye to Virginia & hello to Indiana!



Kimbra & Jed made up this AWESOME welcome home sign that they put on my garage, so I could see it when I got home! They even put a picture of my favorite place...McAfee Knob...how cool was that! Plus they got many of my co-workers from the hospital to sign it for me! What a great gift! Thanks Kimbra & Jed and all that signed! You guys ROCK!
It is nice to be home!
Shepherd.


Monday, May 5, 2008

The Farewell Post: A Hiliarious Video of "The Hiker" song!

Here is a hilarious version of the "Hiker" song sung by Lee & Matt. Two great friends from church! I couldnt stop laughing! Hope you enjoy! Great job, but dont quite you day job!


video

Well, it is time to say good-bye for now. Who knows, this blog maybe up and running quicker than one may think. We will see what God has in store! Again, special thanks to Pastor Scott, who went well out of his way to get me some much needed and useful gear while on the trail! Thank you, PS! Hike on, and keep fighting! You will be in my prayers!

Also, thanks for the encouragement & prayers during my 2 months from all who were...as Mac would call it..."arm chair hiking". I love it! lol. It has been a blast. Now it is time to get back to Indiana for some recouperation!

In Christ,

Shepherd

Sunday, May 4, 2008

AT Trip in Review: It is not the destination, it is the journey.

Day 62: 5/4.

Well today is my last day of my 2nd month out on the trail. I was hoping to write this post atleast 2 more months from now, but God has different plans for me. I truely believe everything does happen for a reason, and that God is in total control of what happens in my life. He could of easily prevented me from having this injury, but He allowed it in my life at this point on the trail. What a wonderful chapter in my life to reflect on and Lord willing tell my kids about someday!

This trip has been 8 years in the making, atleast that is how long I have wanted to do it. I feel blessed that God allowed it to happen this year, even though I didnt finish...it is more about the journey than the destination. I have gotten to know many great people that I wouldn't of... if not for this trip, such as Pastor Scott, Mac, Russel, Lakewood, Just John & all the 2008 thru-hikers that I met on this trip!

I had a wonderful time enjoying God's creation, getting back into reading God's word, meeting new people and getting to experience many cool AT traditions! Plus eating a bunch of junk food and still loosing weight!

It is difficult to really recap 2 months worth of the trail, with only having about 24 hours to reflect on it. So I will do my best & start by putting up some stats on my trip.

Food: ( ) = number of item eaten total on trip
Poptarts (124); Snickers (49); Paydays (17); Milkyways (18); Reeses (4); M&M's (7); Skittles (2); Rolo's (4); Cookies (20); Nabs (21); Ice Cream pints (5); DQ Blizzards (3); Tuna (62 oz); Tortillas (40); AYCE buffets (6); Sweet Teas (11); Eggs (14); Pancakes (6); Pizza Slices (34); Clif Bars (16); Spam singles (12); PB&J (9); Bags of chips (5); Burgers (6); Fries (6)

Spending the Night:
Shelters - 40
Hotels - 11
Tarp -3
Hostels - 5
House - 3

My favorite Places on the Trail: (#1 = most favorite)
#1 - McAfee Knob
#2 - Little Hump & Big Hump Balds
#3 - Unaka Mnt Pine Forest
#4 - Grayson Highlands
#5 - Smoky Mnt National Park
#6 - Tinker Cliffs
#7 - Max Patch
#8 - Roan Highlands
#9 - Wesser Bald Tower
#10 - Tray Mnt shelter overlook

The people I will miss most on the trail! (I met 111 thru-hikers on the trail!)
#1 - California Joe (of course!)
#2 - Pastor Scott, Ralph & Bob (The 3 Amigo's)
#3 - Burpples
#4 - Toots
#5 - Team Deustchmark (Bad Hummus, Yeti, Stovie & Toddy Bear)
#6 - Ruby Tuesday
#7 - Popeye
#8 - Dynamite
#9 - Cowboy Killer
#10 - Captain Jack

Mileage breakdown: 957.6 miles traveled in 62 days which averages 15.4 miles/day
Zero's days - 5
1-5 mile days - 1
6 - 10 mile days - 11
11 - 15 mile days - 11
16 - 20 mile days - 14
21 - 25 mile days - 13
26 - 30 mile days - 5
31 + mile days - 1

I am glad I was able to share my faith, give my testimony & talk openly about God on the trail and in my blog.

The thing that would actually bring me the most joy would be to hear that someone reading my blog or that I met on the trail, would have realized that they are a sinner, & realize their need for a Savior (to save them from their sins). And, that that person would of admitted their sin and placed their trust of salvation in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross!

If anyone has questions or concerns about their eternal destination feel free to email me, call me or even visit me if you want...our door is always open. I am sure Pastor Scott, wouldn't mind it if you contacted him as well...see the link to his blog!

"Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired
His understanding is inscrutable.
He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary. "

Isaiah 40: 28-31

Shepherd.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Emergency Trip in Front Royal.jpg

Day 60: 5/3.

Well today I saw off Team Deustchmark at 11 am as they continued their trip up north on the AT after checking out of the Quality Inn. I then went to test out my leg with a very short walk to the visitor center. I continued to have very sharp pain in my leg and continued to have numbness in my right foot, which worried me the most. This even after icing my leg pretty much all day yesterday and this morning, and taking my regular doses of Vit I.

So, I came back to the hotel and checked in for the night. I thought about maybe staying at a hostel, but when I called, the lady wasnt to thrilled with a hiker staying for 2 days. Totally understandable.

So, I was chilling out in the hotel resting my leg, when Amee called during her lunch break. I gave her the update, and we decided that I should check to see if I have a stress fracture or compartment syndrome going on. So, I called my family doctor oncall (Dr. Cooper). She also was very worried, and recommended me to go the ER and get it checked out.

So, I got a cab and took my first ER visit in as long as I can remember. I was quickly processed and triaged. The doctor quickly saw me and ordered up the x-rays. Then the came back and said that he saw no obvious stress fractures, but said my right ankle was significantly swollen, which is causing the numbness in my foot. So, his recommendations were obviously not what I wanted to hear, but I knew it was coming. To get off the trail and rest my leg for 6-8 weeks. I asked about maybe 5 days of rest, and he said that it may feel a bit better but you would just continue to be plagued by these shin splints and probably do more damage to your leg in the future. Especially hiking the AT! I was in the ER for 1.5 hours (amazing!)

Lakewood: I hope I dont have the insurance problems that you had to go through in your 2007 thruhike! I am sure I will, because you know how insurance companies are! lol.

So, what does that mean for me. Well, I took a cab back to the hotel and waited for Amee to get off work to talk about it.

Painfully and through many tears, I have decided to get off the trail at mile 957.6 at Front Royal, VA. Virginia finally got the best of me, but I am totally fine with it, and am at peace. All day, I have been reflecting on the amazing gift God gave me to do this trip, see all that I have seen, and met some amazing people! I am so thankful. I pray you aren't to dissapointed with me. I know that is stupid to think, but I have enjoyed getting to know all of you that have been following me on my journy!

So, Amee is coming to get me on monday and then we are headed back to Lafayette on Tuesday. She is excited to have me coming back home. I plan to write 2 more posts over the next 2 days (a trip in review & a farewell post), so stay tuned!

I am a statistic though...80-90% of all people who start this trail, DONT make it to Katahdin. So, my hats off to Bill Tilt (Yossarian) and John Fegy (Lakewood) who have done the whole AT in one season! It is by far the TOUGHEST thing I have ever done in my life!

Again, thank you all for the support and encouragement that you have provided, but more on this in my farewell post! To God be the glory! We serve an amazing God!

Shepherd

GA-->Front Royal 08

Friday, May 2, 2008

Update: Change of Plans

Day 59: 5/2.

Well after talking to my wonderful and brilliant wife that God has blessed me with, I have decided to take the next 5 days off from hiking to rest my shin splints that have plagued me the past 3 days. What great wisdom, eh! So instead of Amee meeting me on Monday at Harper's Ferry, she will be coming to Front Royal, which is actually a nice, big town with full services. The prices in Harper's Ferry are outragious. So that means, I will be chilling here in town and taking advantage of creature comforts, such as running water, showers, flushable toilets, and soft beds! Wow.

Then after she visits on monday, tuesday and wednesday, I will be resuming my AT hike heading north to Katahdin, and Lord willing leaving the dreaded state of Virginia starting Thursday! But, Virginia they say is for lovers! lol.

Again, thank you for all your encouragements and texts. I really appreciate it! I do miss you all! I am almost half way! Yeah!

I will continue to blog about my experiences in this wonderful town of Front Royal, and will probably become a Civil War buff by the time I leave. I guess the battle of Front Royal was here, so it should be interesting.

Hiking on, with a short break!

Shepherd!

Front Royal - Nero

Day 59: 5/2. Officially hiked 2.9 miles to US 522 this morning, to procure a ride into Front Royal with Team Deustchmark. It was a warm night last night with the temps hovering in the low 60's, which caused me to sweat quite a bit in my 15 degree sleeping bag. Definelty shedded some layers during the night!

Well, hitching into town is always an experience especially with a group of 5 smelly hikers. So Bad Hummus was up for the challenge at getting us a ride. His family is from India, so he looks kind of threating especially with his big beard. So we timed him. Almost immediately a cop actually turned around in the road and came back to where he was trying to hitch a ride. We were like...oh no...he is in trouble, but the officer just wanted to make sure no one was injured. Which was nice, but he didnt offer us a ride! So then 10 minutes into the event, he was able to get a guy in a truck to pull over and give us a ride into town! Yes! He even showed us where the all you can eat buffet was! How nice!

So then we just chilled out at the visitor center and outfitter, since it was still to early for lunch. Then at 11:00, we hit the AYCE buffet at Victoria's, which was a pretty good one...if I must say. I have become quite the critic on AYCE's since being on the trail! Yeti won top honors by putting down 5 FULL plates of food. Then we waddled over to the post office for maildrop pickups and then went to the Quality Inn for the day.

Parents are wonderful! Toddy Bear's parents were in town and met us. They graciously bought us lunch and paid for our night in the hotel room! Such kindness, and I am not even in Team Deustchmark. I am blown away by there generousity. Again, thank you.

So right now, I have been resting my leg, putting ice on it and taking the routine doses of Vit I throughout the day. Although, I have like no appetite for some reason. I had to force myself to eat lunch today, and will have to for dinner as well. My stomach has just been doing flip flops on and off during the day. Took some Pepto Bismol as well, which usually helps. It might be the ice cream I had at lunch, or just the shock of real food for a change. This is pretty usual in towns that I visit. My body must not be as young as it once was. Plan on getting some Papa Johns for dinner, and that I will not turn down!

So the next 4 days are LOW mileage days. Day 1 -15, Day 2 - 15.3, Day 3- 14, Day 4 - 9.4 into Harpers Ferry. So my right shin should do ok. I cant wait to see Amee and have a couple of zero days!

Andrew: GORP = Good Old Raisens & Peanuts! A hikers must. Never have a day without it! And nope...havent had to use the Flagyl yet! It is my most valued possesion I carry with me!

Well, it is getting dinner time! God bless. Thanks for all the prayers with the shin splints.

Shepherd.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Floyd Wayside Shelter.jpg


Floyd Wayside Shelter.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Day 58: 5/1. It's official, I am crazy. By the grace of God, I made it the 23.6 miles to Floyd Wayside Shelter, plus the fact that I know I overdosed on Vit I (Ibuprofen). My right leg shin splint bothered me all day & my foot still feels like it is broke in two. But I am planning to take a nero day tomorrow into Front Royal (only 2.9 miles away). I was trying to make it into Harpers Ferry a day early so Amee & I could have 2.5 days together. I just dont know what happened. Guess Pastor Scott was right about the too fast too soon quote awhile back.

I am officially 954.7 miles from Springer & 1221.5 miles from Katahdin. I officially said good bye to the Shenandoah National park today. It was actually a very nice hike for the most part..except for my shin splints. I didnt see any bear, but did get my cheeseburger and fries today. The blackberry milkshake machine was down though. Bummer.

Full shelter tonight with Team Deutchmark, Squire & a SOBO named Micheal.

Shepherd

Bad Hummus eyeing his land in SNP.jpg

Day 57: 4/30. Officially hiked 26.8 miles today to Pass Mnt Hut. We are officially 931.1 miles from Springer & 1245.1 miles from Katahdin.

I got to eat at Big Meadows Wayside today for a second breakfast. We were 30 mins to early for lunch. It was still good. Will try to hit lunch tomorrow at the next wayside.

I had some major shin splints on my right leg & the rocks after Mary's rocks made my right foot feel like it broke in two. I am taking Vit. I, which helps. I only have one more 20 plus day tomorrow then low mileage days till Harpers, in which I will take 2-3 zeros. Please pray for my shin splints. Thanks.

Saw 7 more deer, which brings my totals to 32. No bears.

Shepherd.

Funny AT sign in SNP.jpg


Funny AT sign in SNP.jpg, originally uploaded by Hikingfool.

Day 57: 4/30. Saw this sign and thought it was pretty funny. I have been enjoying all 57 short day hikes on mt AT adventure. lol.

Shepherd