Your HostYour Host
Big Gee in Action
Visitor Map YouTube Channel Home Backpacking Caving Climbing Travel Mountaineering Rappelling email Me       
Links Disclaimer Credits
Index   [Appalachian Trail]   AZT   Ciudad Perdida   CdS   CP   CT - GCL   Inca Trail   JMT   LT   MST   Other Trips   Gear
Intro   High Quality Map   [Journal]   Photos
Jan   Feb   Mar   Apr   [May]   Jun   Jul

Backpacking the Appalachian Trail in May

Appalachian Trail Georgia to Maine

Date: 01 May 2000
AT milepoint: ?
About nineteen miles today but I don't know for sure since I did not stop at a known mileage point again tonight. I do know that earlier today when I crossed state route 645 there were less than one thousand trail miles between me and Baxter Peak on Mount Katahdin in Maine. Now I'm looking at how many miles remain rather than how many I have come. That is a significant difference. Slowly my trip is coming to an end. That end is still far enough away that I'm not totally bummed out though.

Tonight I'm testing the tent out in the rain. It's just a sprinkle right now. Hopefully it will be finished by morning. I am able to fit my backpack under the vestibule so that in it its pack cover should stay dry.

I'm out of light . . .

Transcribed on:    05-May-2000 14:39:50 EDT

Date: 02 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1,201.6
I weathered last night's rain storm. The rain did stop in the early morning and by 7:30 the clouds were breaking up. Condensation was a bit of a problem inside the tent. I'm quite satisfied with though and will give it a good review for the outfitter.

I started hiking quickly with a couple granola bars. When I lay down for an early lunch a couple hours later I discovered a tick attached to my leg. The little nasty thing was pretty thin so I am guessing that I picked it up in the early morning rather than yesterday. Removal was easy and it died horribly in the blue flame of my stove.

I made it without further incident to Port Clinton where I had a little trouble finding the P.O. Eventually I got inside only to discover that my boots were not there. My regular maildrop came in that morning which is way to close for comfort but at least it was present. I want to call my maildrop coordinator but there are no working pay phones in town. Delaware Water Gap is my next drop and at my current pace is only about four days away. I really, really want all my packages to be there. That is where I am having my boots forwarded as well. I need my boots bad. I have been watching my current pair slowly come apart over the last couple hundred miles. My feet are paying a price too.

On a good note, I got my bear picture today. As I was nearing the shelter, I saw three bears in the woods to my right and got a fairly good photo. I hope they are shy because that was less than .2 miles from the shelter.

Transcribed on:    05-May-2000 14:28:30 EDT

Date: 03 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1218.4
The miles came hard today and my feet are sore. This is the first day that I have found the so called "Pennsylvania Rocks" to be tough. I still believe them to be greatly exaggerated but there seemed to a lot of miles of trail with big rocks to hop.

I had two excellent stops today. The first was Pulpit rock which had some good views and shared the summit with an excellent amateur astronomy facility. Lehigh Amateur Astronomers had three domed observatories, one shed with a roll off roof, and another shed with a concrete observing area. Very impressive. The other spot was the Pinnacle. I shot one picture shy of a whole roll of film there. Probably a half dozen ospreys were flying around very close. The rocks were fractured with lots of climbing opportunities. In fact there was a deep shaft that led to a cave which I climbed down. Once inside I followed a passage to where I could see light and discovered that it opened up further down the jumbled cliff-face. Very cool. Very fun. I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures. It reminded me of some of the caving that I have enjoyed. That shaft was a bit unnerving though.

Transcribed on:    05-May-2000 14:35:51 EDT

Date: 04 May 2000
AT milepoint: ?
There was an awesome rock scramble coming up from the Lehigh River. It was steep and required me to use my hands. Naturally, I have a bunch of probably mediocre pictures of the event.

Neither Mr. D or I got as far as we hoped. We fell a few miles shy of our goal of 24. We're pushing to get into Delaware Water Gap before the post office closes Saturday at 11:30. Tomorrow we are going to have to do around 26 to arrive at the last shelter outside of town. Then it is only 6.7 miles into the gap. I really don't like this because I dread the thought of going into that P.O. after pushing hard only to find that my mail is not there. With some good fortune that won't happen and I'll find my Harpers Ferry drop, my Port Clinton boots, and my DWG maildrop. If not I'm giving the P.O. a forwarding address of my parents and giving up. I'll have to head to the outfitters though and buy some new gear and break in new boots on the trail. I really don't want to do that.

The boots I have are really a mess. The Vibran sole is peeling away from the toe of the boot. On the left boot the part that comes up over the front of the toe is half missing. The next layer where the sole attaches is also coming away from the toe of the boot. Also the right boot has deep cracks and gouges in the leather. The inside heels are worn enough that my socks have holes and my heel blisters are not going away. Such is life on the trail though.

Alex is a little bit ahead of us. We did not see her but she left a shelter register entry just on the south side of the Lehigh river about seeing a bear run across the trail 30 feet in front of her around 10:00 today. She was pretty excited about encountering her first bear.

This was a day of tick encounters for me. I found three on me total but only one had attached and it had just attached. Mr. D is still tickless but he wears running paints with gaitors[?]. I have low gaitors[?] and bare legs.

Dark is approaching. time to put the journal away and fall asleep to the patter of rain on my tent. i wonder how Mr. D will fare under his tarp.

Transcribed on:    05-May-2000 14:49:49 EDT

Date: 05 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1265.4
Whew. I'm glad to make it to the shelter tonight. Mr. D and I arrived almost at the same time and we have been comparing foot pain. His is blisters and a general sort of pain on the bottom and his toes. He has lost one toenail. I have lost two and my condition is more a deep ache but also a numbness on the surface. My heels are sore too with some dead skin and partially healed blisters.

The walk was long and grueling. It was about 80 degrees and sunny except for some short rain showers. We drank a lot of water and took and hour and a half for lunch. Water is something that has been in short supply the last few days. We've had to carry a lot more than usual. I was doing plenty of sweating and now my body is gritty with salt and dust that stuck to me when I was wet.

Halfway through the rainstorm and with 9+ miles remaining out of about 24-25, I was down at the trailhead parking in Wind Gap. A lady pulled into the parking lot under the pretense of turning around her car but I know she just wanted a better look at HARDCORE.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 21:57:10 EDT

Date: 06 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1271.8
I started my day at 04:45 which is a bit later than Mr. D. We got an early start and arrived in Delaware Water Gap, PA as the PO opened. Mr. D. got two packages while I had nothing. That sucked.

The two of us did the usual: shower, laundry, eat, and shop. This town does not have a laundromat or grocery store so we had to get a shuttle into Stroudsburg. We also got our e-mail done there.

I did walk out of the sporting goods store with a new pair of Merrell boots. Neither the outfitter or the sporting goods store had a decent sleeping bag so I'll just order one from the outfitter in Harpers Ferry and have it shipped ahead.

While I was on a street side pay phone this evening, Alex[andria] walked on by and waved. I had thought her ahead of me but she stayed a night at Wind Gap and Mr. D and I passed her. The three of us a spending the night at a church hostel before moving on tomorrow. I don't think anyone is sure of their mileage for Sunday yet. I know I still have lots to do.

The three of us are catching up on our journals and/or postcards. To see us walk around you would never guess that we can easily backpack 20+ miles in a day. We each hobble around after sitting and walk funny for a long time before assuming a normal gait. Mr. D discovered that one of his toes does not bend anymore too. It's also bigger than it used to be.

Oh, I almost forgot. For a ling time today, I did not have a clean and dry pair of shorts to wear around town so out came my trusty pair of striped boxer briefs that the casual observer might assume to be legitimate outerwear. Do you know those nightmares where you realize you're walking in public in only your underwear? Well that was reality today -- at the library, grocery store, outfitter, etc.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 22:10:46 EDT

Date: 07 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1285.7
I finished up my town chores and ordered my new sleeping bag and packfly. They will be waiting for me in Bear Mtn., NY. I should be there within a week. Whoo hoo.

Alex left before Mr. D and I. We did not leave the hostel until after noon but before we did two more long distance hikers arrived, one southbound section hiker and Mini Fires. I first met Mini Fires Wednesday when came into the Allentown Hiking Club Shelter after me. He is a bricklayer and extremely animated. The guy really keeps us laughing. He is also the most buff hiker I have seen out here. He works out a lot and is in excellent shape especially for being in his forties. Anyway he plodded into the church basement and when he saw Mr. D and I all he could talk about was how amazed he is at the miles the two of us were able to put in over the past couple of days. To say that he simply praised us is an understatement. He even called Mr. D his hero. Mini Fires is not a slacker himself either. I was sorry to be leaving him so soon. We left him the remaining pieces of the strawberry rhubarb pie that Alex bought for us last night and he made that disappear quickly. I hope to see him again. My mileage is higher but it looks like I'm meeting a friend in a week for the day so I will not be going far then.

We also got to meet the pastor and she gave us our, new for 2000, Church of the Mountain patches. Nice idea.

It turns out that Alex, Mr. D, and I are all camping out together this night. We beat a thunderstorm too. Alex left much earlier but we caught her because she spent a long time at the popular Sunfish pond. She did the right thing while Mr. D and I sweated in the heat. I'm glad for the low miles because I'm breaking in new boots too. Alex and I have tents but hers is freestanding so setup was easier on this rocky ground. Tent stakes won't really work here so I'm using rocks to hold my tent up. Mr. D. uses a tarp and groundcloth. It was getting dark and the storm was fast approaching so we hastily erected our shelters as best we could given the wind. I can't believe Mr. D's flimsy shelter held up. The storm was quickly over but the three of us slapped everything together so fast in the twilight I am surprised we weathered the storm so well. Alex and I bear-bagged our food in a nearby tree so hopefully that works out okay for us. Mr. D. decided to keep his food with him. Given our close proximity we all will know at the same time if a bear decides to explore his little tarp structure.

It's after 10:00 now and the tree frogs are out in force. Crickets are playing also. I hear an owl or two along with some other strange animal calls. The thunder and lightning are gone and the temperature has cooled down nicely. Even the wind is gone now. My first day in New Jersey is ending on a pleasant note.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 22:36:01 EDT

Date: 08 May 2000
AT milepoint: ?
Another hot and humid day. The ticks are terrible. Before I left the tent this morning I found two on the tent wall. While hiking Mr. D picked 13 off his pants. Alex has been lucky with no tick problems. I caught three or four.

There are some nice views in New Jersey. The trail is still a bit rocky but not too bad. The biting flies/gnats are a problem but we use DEET. Mr D forged ahead early. I hiked on and off with Alex and the two of us stopped at Worthington's Bakery which the AT passes in Culvers Gap but it was closed. There we rested and soon Mr. D appeared after having finished his dinner at a bar. Also present was Mike a section hiker waiting for his ride. He had spent some time with Mini Fires and knew about us already.

Here I lay in my tent. I accidentally passed up the shelter I wanted to stay at. I'm not sure whether Mr. D and Alex went ahead to the next shelter or not. I suppose I'll see them tomorrow. I did not want to any anymore miles in my new boots.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 22:55:48 EDT

Date: 09 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1316.3
I never did see Mr. D or Alex. They must have pushed on last night. Actually I know Mr. D did because he signed the register at the next shelter. I may not be seeing either of them for some time as I'm doing lower miles now while my feet and new boots get used to one another. I may have only done ten miles today. On the good side this puts me at Bear Mountain on Sunday to meet my friend and transcriber, Brian. I have to call him and confirm but we should be good to go.

The only bad thing is that I won't be able to pick up my maildrop on Sunday so I'll have to wait.

I saw saw two more bears today. I think one was prowling around the vicinity of my tent last night too. That brings my bear sightings up to six now. This pair was not very close and I only spotted them because of all the noise they were making galloping away. I guess I look pretty tough.

This was another hot and humid day. I was told it was in the upper 80s. I've had to hike shirtless since DWG and have quite the backpackers tan. My pack has some horrendous salt stains.

I'm staying at High Point Monument shelter tonight. This is located in High Point Park which contains New Jersey's highest point. I did not take the side trail so the summit and the monument. I have my food bag and cooking pot in the bear box provided. The water source is good here -- two small streams run by the shelter.

I need to make a grocery list for tomorrow.


Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 12:24:11 EDT

Date: 10 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1328.6
Big thunderstorm late last night. I got one look at it and moved further back into the shelter. I was alone so I had the space. I stopped early today to give my feet and boots a rest and now another huge storm has hit. Just a little bit ago the overhead clouds darkened and the thunder is long and booming. The shelter is shaking from the noise. It has the look of an all night storm. At least it isn't so hot.

I made a resupply in in Unionville, NY. The AT is still in New Jersey but it is close to the New York state line and the hike into town was less than a half-mile. It was a small store and did'nt have sunscreen or bagbalm. Bagbalm is something MiniFires recommends to sooth the feet. However, the store did have a deli with an excellent roast beef sub. It had all the food I needed too.

Tonight I tried instant hash browns for the first time. They worked out pretty well. They didn't need much water and cooked fast. Desert is Nestlé Crunch bars and two Snickers later tonight.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 12:34:22 EDT

Date: 11 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1341.4
Last nights storm did not last much past midnight. It gave me plenty of entertainment from within Pochuck Mountain shelter until I fell asleep. Mr. D stayed at Pochuck last night. I don't know about Alex.

I'm making breakfast now and looking out at the overcast sky. My right heel blister has gone down and I have short miles planned again today -- about thirteen. It think I'll be ready to increase my mileage soon. Maybe tomorrow, definitely the day after. Brian is driving and meeting me at the Bear Mtn., NY post office at 10:00 Sunday so I can't go too fast even if I wanted.

At the NJ 94 crossing, 7.4 miles from here, there is the Heaven Hill Farm where I am planning lunch and buying another couple food items. I don't need very much. The farm is only a tenth of a mile from the trail crossing to it is an easy decision to stop there.

--Later, at the Wawayanda Mountain shelter--

Heaven Hill Farm did not have the food selection that I hoped but I was able to pick up dinner and breakfast. The clouds disappeared and I ate some ice cream and relaxed out in the sun before I left. I tried to make a few phone calls but the store no longer has a pay phone inside.

It is still cloudless and sunny with a little wind. I don't know how long this will hold. It wasn't too hot either. The mosquitos are starting to come out now. Checking my mileage shows 39.8 trail to the town of Bear Mountain, NY where I'm meeting Brian on Sunday at 10:00. My boots are feeling good so that will be some easy miles to do in the time given.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 13:07:57 EDT

Date: 12 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1355.2
I left the shelter early this morning and headed down a side trail to the Waayanda State Park Ranger Office where I could get water. I found another tick on my shirt before I got far. The office was still closed so I sat under the eaves when the rain started. forty-five minutes later I was inside checking out the exhibits and drinking my lemonade.

The three quarts I got there took me all the way to Fitzgerald Falls where I am tenting in the rain. I should have stayed at the last shelter back with friendly Ray and Steve from New Jersey and New York. I only pushed on an additional 1.8 miles before the thunder and rain changed my mind about going further. I had to make it at leas this far to get some decent water. The water lately just doesn't look healthy.

I crossed into New York today. New Jersey was about 70 miles and this state is about 90. I shouldn't be here very long. My boots are feeling great and my feet too. My mileage can go back up after today.

I took a wrong turn today and did some extra hiking after leaving the ranger station. I was not paying attention and when the AT crossed some other trails I took one of them. I walked a good twenty minutes before realizing my mistake and coming back. The terrain was fairly easy so it wasn't a hard lesson.

I had a great walk though. The trees have all their leaves here but the leaves are young and provides a bright light green glow under the forest canopy when the sun shines above. There were three great ridgetop, rocky sections too. The ridge around Prospect Rock in NJ and NY had excellent views of Greenwood lake to the east. Next, East Pinnacles provided a short but exciting scramble followed by more exposed ridge walking. Again this provided lake views. Lastly, Cat Rocks was a neat shattered ridgetop with steep dropoffs. It was a good day.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 15:08:21 EDT

Date: 13 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1373
I got a good start today. I was hiking by 7:15. It's not my earliest start but it gives me plenty of time. It turns out that I needed the time too. I just wasn't making good mileage. There are lots of small ups and downs here punctuated with steep rocky slopes. It is fun but tiring.

Coming down the rocky Arden Mountain I was rewarded with a good view of NY 17 and the NY state Thruway. It was midday and traffic was fairly heavy on the thruway which the AT crosses over on a vehicle bridge. When I crossed over I could not help but pause to watch the multitude of presumably New York city bound cars and trucks rushing below. Then I bent over with my pants around my ankles and mooned the whole lot of them. Moments passed then I issued myself a rigorous and thorough, double-handed spanking for being so bad. It was only then that the jaded New Yorkers responded to my act with their horns. Thusly satisfied I ceased the staccato of palm-on-cheek and replaced it with insane giggles as I hurried away. Mr. D, not a shy man either, would be proud.

After that episode, I was back to hiking as usual. Harriman State Park is beautiful. The trail winds around and over hills and mountains and long lakes. There is always an interesting rock formation erupting out from beneath the green forest floor. It was today that I negotiated the "Lemon Squeeze". This is a narrow crack through which the trail passes some twenty feet. With my backpack tight against both walls I managed to scrape through the whole distance. Just past the Squeeze is a ten foot rock wall to climb over which I also did with my pack on. At that the time I was talking and hiking with a dayhiker who was good enough to photograph my twin triumphs.

I took a long break at Lake Tiorati. It is a short distance from the trail but offers, potable, water and a picnic area. So I made dinner early, drank more fluids and dried out my tent from last nights rain. The outside dried nicely laying on the table but the condensation on the interior is still there. While packing up I met and talked to a father and son pair enjoying the park. Now Mark has my website address and will be added to the e-mail list. The two even hiked up to the AT to check it out. Mark mentioned always wanting to do something like thruhiking so maybe meeting me will push him over the edge so to speak.

The thunderstorm the two warned me about has just arrived. I'm secure in the Stone William Brien Memorial Shelter though. Hopefully it will stop it's full payload before I start hiking in the morning.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 19:41:40 EDT

Date: 14 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1381.2
The hike up Bear Mountain was a bit of a surprise. I did not know what to expect but found much of the elevation gain happened on a paved road up to the tower on top. There really was no option due to some of the bare, high angle rock on the slope. The sections near the forested summit were beautiful though. The summit being accessible by vehicle had many tourists milling around but only one real man. The view of the Hudson River was very good but the day was hazy. I could not linger long because Brian was meeting me at the PO in a half hour.

It did not take long to get down and Brian and I arrived at the PO driveway simultaneously, 15 minutes late. To make a long story short, I got my laundry done and ate a calzone but could not find a place open that sell white gas fuel for my stove. Brian drove all over too--West Point, Peekskill, Fort Montgomery, etc. And this fine fellow also brought me two books to read and some cookies to munch. We even did some hiking around the lake and partway up Bear Mountain on the AT.

Most importantly my ATM card is nonfunctional and my cash very low so I swapped him a check for the money in his wallet. Kudos to Brian. Alas Brian had to make the 3 and 1/2 hour trip back home and I returned to the Bear Mountain Inn to spend several of my new dollars at the bar before making some phone calls.

I spent enough time on the phone that it was dark outside and I did not feel much like climbing back up the mountain so I decided to sleep out somewhere around the small lake in the park. With the recent nightly rainstorms I decided to stay near if not in a covered shelter of some sort. About halfway around the lake I met a homeless man sleeping on a park bench that I had talked to in the bar earlier. We talked some more and he recommended a particular picnic shelter a little further along as my best bet for a spot where I wouldn't be bothered by the police. So tonight I am sleeping on a picnic table at the Horseshoe a former stable converted to picnic pavilion. As you might guess it is shaped like a horseshoe.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 19:34:07 EDT

Date: 15 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1388.4
The night passed uneventfully and I stayed snug in my bag past daybreak because the post office did not open until 7:30. After a while I left my bag and started preparing my last packet of instant potatoes. The guy who recommended this pavilion to me showed up on his way to get some coffee. It never did rain over the night so we both remained dry. He soon left and I shortly finished breakfast and walked to the post office.

I had three boxes awaiting me. Me new gear from the outfitter arrived and I was able to send home my big bulky sleeping bag, jacket, and pack cover. Whoo Hoo! I also received my regularly scheduled maildrop as well as my missing boots which I don't need anymore so I sent them home with my other stuff. There was no food in the maildrop so I have to do a resupply in Fort Montgomery.

After a very long time getting organized I headed back out to the AT and as I was passing Bear Mountain Inn I heard someone shouting "Hardcore!" behind me. Surprised it wasn't the sweet voice of a devoted female fan, I turned and discovered Mini Fires greeting me. He just hiked off the mountain and was thinking of getting a room somewhere but he decided to hike into and out of town with me. I needed enough supplies for only three days and he really just wanted some chow for lunch. So we walked less than a mile to a small deli that had a very poor selection of food. Another hiker was repacking some food outside. His name is Clodhopper. He also started in Georgia in the beginning of February although he has to leave the trail soon due to his wife's advancing pregnancy.

One item the deli did have was a half gallon of Hershey's chocolate chip ice cream. I never did eat that half gallon after passing the halfway point back in Pennsylvania so this was my chance to do it with two witnesses and get a photo to prove to Mr. D that I did so. He had also missed out on the Half Gallon Club back at Pine Grove Furnace State Park because the store was closed but soon after ate it with Alex as a witness.

The rest of my food supply was extremely unhikerlike. I have 12 cru[?]llers, 1 chocolate donuts, a big crumb cake, two long loaves of Italian bread, a half pound of sliced American cheese, and a pound of sliced hard salami. Mini Fires and Clodhopper got a good laugh and the retold some of the stories they heard about my legendary foodbag.

One more thing, this store actually had some donated white gas fuel from other hikers that bought more than they could carry. Cool, I got about 10 oz. for free.

Lunch and the resupply took awhile and the three of us did not regain the AT and cross the Hudson until well after two o'clock. We opted to stay at a pavilion about seven miles away at the Graymoor Friary's ballfield. The Franciscan Friars let backpackers stay here with a privy and running water near the pavilion. We got here with plenty of sun and took a stroll through the grounds and talked with some of the friars. It is an interesting and fairly large place on a hilltop setting.

We'll be heading out early tomorrow so I'll turn off my light and drift to sleep now.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 18:26:59 EDT

Date: 16 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1407.2
This was a good day for walking. The sun stayed fairly clear, the temps fairly cool, the bugs did not bother us, and the miles passed quickly. Hopefully tomorrow will be just as nice.

I'm here with Mini Fires who I hiked with for about half the day. I finished a half of salami and cheese sub for dinner and saved the other half for lunch tomorrow. The RPH shelter is nice and appears to be right on a rural road sandwiched between two homes in a partially wooded lot. It feels like I'm sitting in a back yard.

Clodhopper pushed on for a few more miles but Mini Fires and I are planning a bigger day tomorrow and catch him before night.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 18:30:56 EDT

Date: 17 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1424.0
That bigger day never happened but such is trail life.

First let me say that I have my trail companion's name wrong. I'm just a Yankee who doesn't understand Souther. All along I thought his name was Mini Fires but really it is Many Fires. It is his Indian name because he runs a sweat lodge in West Virginia. I like hiking and staying with him. He is an interesting and funny guy. The two of us may hang around for awhile.

He and I are just about done with New York. We have enjoyed our stay. Lately the weather has been really pleasant and the bugs not very bad. The trail has passed through lots of pretty country - rolling hills and mountains and several lakes and ponds. The swampy areas can get a bit buggy though. I'm still coming upon deer although I have yet to photograph one. Today Many Fires saw a coyote right near us while I was reading some stupid AT sign. It was only about 30 feet away but took off quick and I did not get to see it. No more bears since the trail passed through a small zoo at Bear Mountain park. I don't count those two. I can add a garter snake to my list though. I did see another snake a few days ago that I could not identify also. No more ticks for me that I am aware of.

Time to put a bigger dent in one of the books that Brian bought for me while the sunlight lasts.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 18:42:18 EDT

Date: 18 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1445.4
Wet, wet day. Many Fires and I started hiking in very humid air. Within a few miles the rain started. It was a heavy downpour and we got soaked. Actually I faired a bit better because my new pack cover has a hood and that made a big difference. Our shoes definitely squished. Many Fires soon out-paced me and I did not see him again until tonight.

After the morning shower it returned to being humid. The temperature was only around 60 but it was still a sweaty walk. After 10.2 wet miles I crossed into Connecticut where I was greeted by a short 500 foot ascent up Ten Mile Hill on the other side of which I crossed the Ten Mile River and walked a short distance on the banks of the roaring Housatonic River. No picture opportunities but it was great scenery. I soon found myself back in New York as I make a long 1,000 foot ascent up Schaghticoke Mountain. The trail and I did not remain there for long though. After summitting, the trail took me through a small piece of the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation Reservation and back into Connecticut. No more New York.

Before getting into the shelter I got slammed by a hailstorm complete with thunder and lightning. I have not been in hail since Max Patch Mountain. This was the big stuff though and plenty of cold water drenched me again.

Now I'm comfortably writing in the shelter with Many Fires, Trail Max, and Breakaway. They all thought I would have sought shelter from the storm but I kept hiking through it. I'm experiencing it all.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 18:52:57 EDT

Date: 19 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1462.7
Another long day. I left a little before Many Fires this morning for my resupply in Kent, CT. The work from Trail Mix is that the outfitters was hit by lightning but is still open. That is good for me since I need a stove repair. My stove pump is not functioning properly.

Davis IGA had the deli I hoped for, and I have plenty of meat and cheese for subs and bagel sandwiches. I'll be eating fine. My stop at Backcountry Outfitters was a very good one. My stove was fixed for 50 cents and fuel was 10 cents an ounce. I picked up a salt and pepper shaker that does not leak too. Because it was cold and rainy they even invited me inside to eat some of my food on a bench in their shoe department.

Thank you Backcountry Outfitters.

I left the store late and was surprised to not have run into Many Fires. He needed to resupply with food and visit the outfitter too. I spent too long in the library with e-mail and working on my server. Maybe we crossed paths while I was inside.

I had a punishing day in the cold rain. The trail was all up and down to Pine Swamp Brook shelter which I arrived at well after dark. To my surprise nobody else was there. Having walked 18 miles in a pruned feet for the second day, I'm in some pain. I'm only 8 miles from my maildrop at Falls Village though.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 19:11:32 EDT

Date: 20 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1471.0
AAAAAArgh! I forgot it is Saturday. I humped another eight miles in a 40 degree rain and am pulling on a locked post office door before it occurs to me. I'm screwed. I have to blow a day and a half here. Many Fires is going to assume I am way ahead of here. This throws off my schedule big time. Well I really don't have a schedule but I had figured out when I would be climbing Mt. Greylock in Massachusetts and staying at Bascom Lodge on it's summit.

I really lucked out with lodging tonight. There is a place with the word Inn comprising part of it's name. I asked about rooms and got lucky. Falls Village Inn & Pizza has not had rooms available before but is finishing some for this hiking season. I'm getting one of those. I did not want to tent in this weather. They also have good food, a full bar, and pool tables. Tomorrow is supposed to be foggy so I think I'll walk up to the cemetery for some eerie photos. This may end up being a pretty cool town stop.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 19:18:54 EDT

Date: 21 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1471.0
There was fog this morning but not at the cemetery so I did not get the photos I hoped. There were graves dating back to the 1700s there.

I'll spend the rest of today going through my gear and making phone calls. I'll try to leave early in the morning.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 19:21:23 EDT

Date: 22 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1483.7
I'm where I should have been two nights ago had I not missed the PO closing. Too bad for the lost time but my feet did get to dry out and my boots as well. My feet needed the rest anyway.

My maildrop and my replacement ATM card were waiting at the PO. Whew, that is a relief. Before leaving the PO I sent some old maps and a spare water bottle I found home. That stuff weighed almost a pound. My now full food bag more than compensates though. I'm back to eating regular hiker fair -- pasta.

Two noteworthy sights on the hike up. The first was just upriver from Falls Village. The Great Falls were actually pretty great. Good enough for a picture anyway. Second a rocky formation known as Lions Head gave nice views from the mountaintop this afternoon.

Mr. D is half a day ahead of me due to a wedding and three days off. I may catch him before Vermont.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 19:27:54 EDT

Date: 23 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1503.4
Good and bad news this day. First the good, I crossed into Massachusetts this morning as i descended into Sages Ravine. The AT travelled down the ravine next to a rushing stream. Plenty of great scenery here. There was lots of cascading water and a few small waterfalls. I was sorry to leave it after less than 1 mile. The bad news is that I got a late start and did not do the distance I wanted to get to the Tom Leonard Leanto. I planned on pushing on for about an hour after dark, but I wimped out. It looks and feels like it is about to start raining and the extra 3.5 miles aren't worth wet boots. I have a good tent site on a soft bed of pine needles and the pegs sunk down easily. I'll just have to add the 3.5 onto tomorrow's mileage.
Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 22:26:21 EDT

Date: 24 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1514.0
There was heavy rain last night. I was caught in a thundershower during my hike. Now that I'm in a shelter, another thundershower just finished. I'm told by a section hiker to expect big storms and hail tonight. That is part of the reason I stopped early. My tent needed drying and I wanted to stay at a shelter tonight. The other part is that I was plain tired throughout the day. I hope to fix that with extra food, vitamins, and sleep.

P.S. Mosquitos suck

P.P.S. I'm running out of paper for my journal so I have to make my entries smaller. My transcriber should be pleased.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 22:30:09 EDT

Date: 25 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1536.8
More rain last night and this morning while I hiked. the sky cleared some, then later this afternoon I got sprinkled on again. It is bad enough that the trail goes through and around some marsh land but with all this rain everything is muddy. in some places I could not tell whether I was following a trail or a stream. Only the blazes gave me a clue.

I have my hiking legs back. I think I just needed some more sleep. I'll be turning in soon tonight too. Maybe I'll hear coyotes tonight. I slept through their howling last night, I'm told.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 22:33:53 EDT

Date: 26 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1553.3
Today was a nice surprise. First, the weather changed. It was a partly cloudy day with no rain! I think my last rain-free day was somewhere in New York. Next, I did not have as many miles to do today as I thought. My math was bad last night, I suppose. And the AT passed through the town of Dalton. I was not planning on doing anything other than walking through but I changed my mind and visited the ATM, library for e-mail, and bought a half gallon of ice cream.

In other news I believe I got my first view and picture of MT. Greylock from Warner Hill. Whatever it was in the distance it certainly was the biggest mountain I have seen in some time. I'll be climbing it tomorrow. I forgot this is Memorial Day weekend I had hoped to stay at Bascom Lodge on the summit but it will probably be full.

There are two couples sharing the Crystal Mountain campsite. One other tent is nearby too. The couples are pretty nice and they built a nice fire.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 09:39:01 EDT

Date: 27 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1565.6
Very exciting day. After breaking camp and saying goodbye to the weekenders I headed down the trail. The Cobbles are a marble outcropping overlooking the Hoosic River and providing excellent views of the mountains including Saddleball and Greylock, Massachussetts' second and first highest peaks respectively. Since the sky was more sun than clouds the view was fantastic and the picture I took using my mini-tripod and timer delay should be awesome since I am in it. Unfortunately it was exposure 25 on a roll of 24 pictures so I'm not completely sure it will get developed.

After descending from the Cobbles, passing though Cheshire and crossing the Hoosic, I began a four hour uphill hike to Greylock's summit. The trail snaked up Saddleball and then on up to Greylock which is topped with a lodge and and war monument. My plan was to pick up my maildrop at the lodge and stay the night. I was able to do one of these. Can you guess which one? Those of you who guessed that there would not be space for me on this busy holiday weekend are wrong. Being a thruhiker, they let me sleep on the patio and allowed me to work for dinner and breakfast. It was my maildrop that was not there. 'Nuff said.

While at the lodge I was a minor celebrity. I helped with dinner and was introduced to the dinner guests as a thruhiker. From then on, each table wanted to talk with me. It actually got me out of working hard. Even late into the night as I was figuring out my coming mileage and next resupply, I was answering questions and talking about my hike. Actually this started earlier in the day when I first arrived on the tourist-crowded, car-accessible summit area. A middle-aged biker couple was reading a plaque about the Appalachian Trail, thruhikers, and how they were standing on a piece of the famous trail. I came up behind and was reading the same plaque and overhearing their exclamations. I burst in with, "Who would ever want to do something crazy like that?" They turned and and looked at me and agreed. Then with smiles they asked if I started all the way at the bottom of MT. Greylock. "Bottom? I started in Georgia!" I told them. They were shocked and we really had a fun conversation and the lady (of course) wanted a picture of me. I did not even charge her for it.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 10:37:40 EDT

Date: 28 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1571.9
A whopping 6.3 miles today. Look out here I come, Maine! I did make it to Vermont but not via the AT.

I left the lodge late after fielding more guest questions and speaking with a 60 something couple that thruhiked in 1994 with the name the Pink Panthers and have also done lots of mountain climbing in Colorado and all over the world. I also talked more with Jill and her friend, members of the staff, and who are planning their thruhike for next year. Jill is 17 and really psyched to start a southbound hike. I wish her and her friend all the luck )sorry I can't recall your name if you are reading this). I bought a few items, quickly wrote a few postcards, repacked, made a call, said my goodbyes, and started northbound. At Mass. 2 in North Adams I turned right and headed to Price Chopper for eight days of food. A laundry was conveniently positioned next door and this is where things got a little weird.

I'm catching up on my journal and notice a lady laughing at me. She is asking me whether I hadn't come in wearing more clothes. I'm in a fleece jacket and long johns because my other stuff is in the washer. Anyway we get to talking then we and the clerk order some Chinese food from next door. Well, Sharon needs some help moving some items in her van into her new apartment and I have the time so I agree. By the time my laundry and shopping are done though it is a bit late and she needs to pick up a package from her friend's house/farm in Vermont.So we go there first and while I'm repacking my food in her passenger seat she calls me from the house and says we are invited to dinner. Well, how can I pass this up? I'm even clean. Jill and Steve welcomed me inside for a huge family dinner. I have never ever had ham that good before. The pig, named Sir Edward for some reason, came from the farm. The meal was fabulous, the house is big and beautiful, and I got a tour of the farm and met the animals. To make a long story short since I'm running out of paper, it got late and I'm staying here at the farm for the night. Sharon is coming by in the morning to take me back out to the trail. I did get Sharon's stuff moved into her place but it is an efficiency and they thought I would be more comfortable here.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 12:25:19 EDT

Date: 29 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1519.9
Finally I am in Vermont. the terrain has been getting more rugged and the mountains higher. These are the Green mountains and the AT follows the same path as the Long Trail for over 100 miles. The Long Trail spans the state from the Massachusetts border to the Canadian border. I even met my first Long Trail hikers today. They are a young couple out on the second day of their trip, I think. They are building up their legs and feet so their mileage is around 8 per day. Wow, I remember those days.

Harmon Hill, scarred from an earlier fire, offered a semi-open summit. The cloud cover has been steadily increasing and I snapped a good unobstructed picture of dark mountain [?] with an orangeish sky and massive rolling cloud formations. I hope the picture captures the scene.

Tonight is my second full shelter this trip so I am tenting.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 12:31:43 EDT

Date: 30 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1609.1
Deeper into Vermont I go. Deep enough in fact that I spotted two moose just downhill in the pond near my shelter tonight. I did not get a picture but I did get a good look as they walked away into the woods.

Fantastic views today especially in front of Goddard Shelter where I took a break and just north of it on an old firetower on the summit of Glastenbury Mountain. Both spots had excellent viewing of MT. Greylock in Massachusetts. The firetower allowed a perfect 360 degree view and the sky was mostly clear. The Green Mountains were revealed to my eyes today. They look fun.

Two more Long Trail thruhikers have arrived. This is a day four of their trip. We have escaped the biting flies with a small but very smoky fire I built earlier. These flies are ferocious. My insect repellant doesn't help much.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 12:37:38 EDT

Date: 31 May 2000
AT milepoint: 1627.7
Stratton mountain was today's hard ascent. I think the vertical gain was over 2,000 feet. The hike to the top went easily enough - I've done it enough in the past. The summit was crowned with a fire tower like Glastenbury Mountain so I got more pictures and was able to have a bird's eye view of where I came and where I am going. The two LT hikers arrived as I was snacking. Their plan is to meet me at the shelter tonight because their stove broke last night.

They have a field guide to New England and identified our common foe. The biting fly that has been plaguing me since New Jersey us the Black Fly. I heard these can be bad but I thought they were smaller. Insect repellant really does not help very much but they don't bother you as much while you are moving. This means any rest breaks are only a couple minutes long unless there is a breeze blowing.

Spruce Peak Shelter is great. It is one of the few fully enclosed shelters. It actually is a cabin and tonight it is home for five LT thruhikers, two AT section hikers, and myself. The two hikers from this morning (I really have to get their names) did make it and cooked food over a borrowed stove. They and everyone else are hitchhiking into Manchester tomorrow for resupply and/or repairs. The two AT hikers are Alex and Jen doing Bear Mtn., NY to Katahdin, Maine. I've been reading their register entries.

Nobody has seen or heard of Many Fires so I guess he is behind me. Mr. D. is ahead by two days. Mile Slave is ahead by about 15 days. Alex must be off the trail taking that gross anatomy class. I'm not sure how far behind me Albatross is.

Transcribed on:    ??-Jun-2000 16:21:57 EDT

generated ??-Jun-2000 16:22:55 EDT

Jan   Feb   Mar   Apr   [May]   Jun   Jul
Intro   High Quality Map   [Journal]   Photos
Index   [Appalachian Trail]   AZT   Ciudad Perdida   CdS   CP   CT - GCL   Inca Trail   JMT   LT   MST   Other Trips   Gear

Activities discussed on this site are often dangerous and ill advised.
You can do everything right and still die or be seriously injured. Such is the nature of adventurous pastimes.
The people affiliated with this site make no claims regarding the safety or veracity of information.
Caveat lector. Think for yourself and make your own decisions.

journal200005.php last modified on 25 January 2017 12:19:53 UTC