Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Last Hike of 2013...

 
First a shout out to the most important person in my life, Cute Husband!  Today is my guy's birthday and although I will not spill his age here on BC AT Blog, I will tell you the man hikes like a 25 year old.  
My hiking buddy and I set off at the end of September for a quick 3 day 38+ mile hike in SW Virginia.  Almost to the ponies in the Grayson Highlands, but not quite.
 
Photo: This is the waterfall at Comers Creek in far southwestern Virginia. Lisa and I spent Sept 29-Oct 1 doing our last Appalachian Trail hike of the year, and lucked out with wonderful weather.

Total AT miles hiked in 2013: 175
Total AT miles hiked 2003-2013: 1,175.3
AT miles left to go: 1,010.6
Percentage of the AT we've hiked:  53.8 percent

Data from www.atdist.com
This is Comer's Creek which greeted us on our first day.  Waterfall after Waterfall.   On September 29, we stopped for a bit on top of a mountain and sent love to my Dad, who passed away in 2009.  A Barred Owl started calling and I knew he was hearing us.

 
We spent our first night all alone in the Trimpi Shelter.  One of the best stone shelters on the trail which includes a fireplace.  Cute Husband set us a nice fire and we enjoyed the candles someone had left.  Please ignore the person in the flannel sleepy pants and focus on the snake skin in the foreground.  We never saw the owner of the skin, but believe he must have moved on because the shelter was ripe with mice pattering throughout the night on the wooden bunk inside. 
 
We crossed some amazing trail magic provided by a local youth group.  Everything from snacks to first aid to walky-talkies could be found in this treasure chest in the middle of the woods.  
 
 
For our last night on the trail for 2013....
 
 
the famous Partnership Shelter!   A double decker shelter with a shower!  Warren and I had the entire loft to ourselves.  We even took advantage of the pizza delivery service and gorged.  And, if we hadn't walked enough for the day, Warren suggested a walk around two ponds, which was a romantic way to end the day.  We feel asleep with the sun at 7ish and woke well rested, but sad to finish the last hike of the year. 
 
When we walked to the Mount Rogers Visitor Center, the gates were closed and we learned that the government shut down would impact the employees up on the mountain as well as in DC. 
 
 
To my Love, thank you for a challenging and impressive hiking year!  We broke our yearly record, completing 175 miles total in 2013.   We've hiked over 1,175 miles on the entire trail!   No way I could have done it without you.  Happy Birthday, Warren!
 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

BC Hits Vermont...AND HALF OF THE TRAIL COMPLETE!

 
Well, before we hit the Long Trail, which is just over the Vermont border, Cute Husband and I had to climb a little mountain called Mount Greylock in MA.   The Cute One planned an excellent 98 mile hike (our longest to date!) with a planned slack pack over the big mountain.    The top of Greylock has a monument, a parking lot and some amazing hamburgers, which made for the best lunch in preparation for days of peanut butter and dried food.
After a lovely night in a lovely Howard Johnson, we started our hike into a new state!  Vermont!  And, a new trail, as the Long Trail and the AT are one for a large section of VT.

Please overlook the awful cell phone pictures. I packed a camera (and carried its weight for 98 miles) but forgot to charge it.  Duh! 
We crossed many a bog and searched in vain for Moose.  We quickly learned the hiker nickname for Vermont... Vermud. 
I'd be hopelessly lost without my best friend to always know North from South....

We just happened to be hiking during a rare heat wave in Vermont. I'm still happy! 



Still no moose... mosquitoes, but no moose... 

 

 
We hiked for several days and never crossed a road or a town!  Remote parts of the U.S. still exist!

I'm good. My boots were bad, though.  Walking through mud for days eventually killed them for good.

 
And, here is where we hit 1,100 miles on the trail. 9 years of hiking bliss...

with the most handsome, fun hiking partner...

Hard to believe that we celebrated each 100 mile mark and now we would be 1/2 complete our section hiking of the AT!

Vermont has some beautiful lakes or pools for bathing, which made for perfect recreation after not bathing for days.  Plus, it was a great spot to hang out with other hikers and hear their trail stories. 





I do love hiking!  And, Cute Husband coffee!






 
We got off trail to restock and get a real shower and stayed at the Green Mountain Hostel.  I hitchhiked for the first time!   Jeff, the owner of the hostel is fabulous - highly recommend this as an off trail treat!   Warren managed to eat most of a rather large pizza plus most of a pint of ice cream to recoup. 
 
The best is hanging out with North bound thru hikers and hearing their tales of the trail. 
 
This is Chuckles.  Warren traded his hiking poles for Chuckles broken ones so that Chuckles wouldn't have to get off trail.  Trail Magic... passing it on.  Cute Husband felt inspired walking the remainder of the way with thru hiker poles.  And, we can't wait to see Chuckles' summit pictures!
Ok, look away, if easily grossed out. My feet became like hamburger from my worn out boots.  Chuckles wrapped them in duct tape, but they were a bloody sore mess when we finished.  But, what is a little pain when walking in such majestic woods? 
 
In fact, I may have thought this rock display was some sort of vision.  In the middle of a quiet pine forest.... people or perhaps spirits have created the most beautiful array of rock sculpture. 



What a way to end the most physically demanding hike of our lives!   We go back to Virginia for one last hike in the fall!   Can not wait!

Friday, April 19, 2013

April can be dicey in Virginia...

But we couldn't wait any longer... so with a chilly spring we set off for a 39 miler in SW VA.

 Our first Tiger Swallow Tail of the Year!
 A blow down never holds up hiking Cute Husband... Plus he is all light weight with his new back pack which meant I was always 50 yards behind...
 This was  a lovely grove with a lovely spring where we decided to make a meal out of peanut butter and jelly while we filtered water.
 No leaves yet on the trees, but the walk through farmlands is always a treat.
 

 Yes....
 I am most crazy for you. We shared the first night with a thru hiker and her dog. We managed to fall asleep before her and wake up after her.
 Pre- spring in the mountains. 

 This was the lovely climb to Chestnut Knob Shelter.   This was the lovely climb where I got so sunburned I could barely sleep.  Note to self:    Sunscreen is never too heavy to carry.
 Cute Husband checks the time.... should we do our first stealth camp or enjoy the pleasures of  Chestnut Knob Shelter?

 Well.. both!
 We spent some time relaxing at the beautiful enclosed shelter on the top of the mountain.

 Sometime during the hike, a rock jumped out of the ground and tripped me.   Sometimes roots do the same thing to me.  The pain was so intense I choose to not take off my sock for 2 days.


 Nasty?  Yes. 

But, there really was no need to view the horrific mangled black appendage that my toe had become until absolutely necessary.

 We left the shelter in the dust and decided to hike on until we found the perfect spot to lay down the traveling LoveNest for the evening.  We walked on until darkness fell and then found a spot under some bushes, dug out a spot and laid our new uber light weight tent down for the night. Unfortuntely, it rained like hell during the night and I got no more pictures of the end of the hike.
 But, we graduated to something big!   We spent the night in our own little corner of the mountain, rather than on some pre-determined spot near a shelter.  We are BACKPACKERS!

Warren, my love, was still celebrating when we went to Panama!