Sunday, July 31, 2011

Journal Entry # 125

Sunday, July 31 - Day 129 - Mile 1524.9 - Mt  Wilcox South Shelter

After a nice breakfast at the hotel we were picked up right on time for our taxi ride back to the trailhead.  Our NERO in Great Barrington was very pleasant and we're reenergized.

The day was nice and sunny, not too hot but still a bit humid. The rocks were dry, so no slipping.
We started with a level mile and then climbed 1,000 feet initially followed by several more ups in the 500 foot range. The trail was fairly nice compared to the last couple of days. No dramatic rock slide ups or downs.

Tonight Guardian & me are using the shelter, first time in a long while, since it's so nice. There are bunks, a picnic table, skylights, and it's relatively new. Buffalo Bobby elected to tent by the old shelter.   There's a nest of birds in the shelter and the mother is in and out feeding the babies. We don't seem to be bothering her.

We're ready for sleep  It feels good to rest after the hike today.  This is the first night in a couple of weeks that we were able to actually dry out on the trail.

July comes to a close!
Trolley Stop

Journal Entry #124

Saturday, July 30 - Day 128 - Mile 1513.2 - Great Barrington - NERO.

We did get some heavy rain last night so woke to wet tents and slippery rocks this morning.
The 8 mile hike to Great Barrington was quite the challenge.  Despite reports of a pine needle pristine path into town, as reported by two delusional south bounders last evening, we instead had some more rock climbs and descents that rivaled anything we've seen so far. (Don't believe anything a hiker tells you).

Virtually every piece of clothing was so dirty I saw no point in stopping. A couple of more days wouldn't have seen us any worse for wear, but I was out voted two to one to stop since our food supplies were also pretty low.   (Now I'm very glad we did. We'll be clean and neat, which feels so good,  at least until 20 minutes into our hike tomorrow).

We arrived at the road into town just before noon and snagged a hitch first crack out of the barrel. Our trail angel drove us to a Days Inn where they were asking $200 for a room that anywhere in the south would be 39.95.   Not only that but they could not provide a cot so one of us would have to sleep on the floor.  After our trail angel drove us all over town looking for a better deal we wound up back at the Days Inn.

Everything worked out great. As it turned out everything we needed was within walking distance.  We were able to dry all our wet stuff on a back lawn, get to a laundry, have a great lunch, get food supplies, a good dinner and finally ice cream to end the day.

Great Barrington is a boutique town very much like Harpers Ferry. There's and "outfitter" store in town where I hoped to find some resupply stuff.  Guardian correctly predicted it might be a good place to go for a Coach handbag if we needed one.  Undeterred  Buffalo Bobby and me went in.  Sure enough when I asked where the camping equipment was we got a blank stare.  It's Likely good we didn't get arrested as vagrants.

We've arranged for a taxi to take us back to the trail in the morning after breakfast.  So all has ended well.

Time to sleep!
Trolley Stop

We met up with our friends Ricky and Laugh Track join us in Great Barrington

The L.E.G. in Great Barrington

Journal Entry #123

Friday, July 29 - Day 127 - Mile 1505.2 - The Hemlocks Shelter (Camping at Guilder Pond Picnic Area)

Today begins my week 18. (I think I'm committed...or maybe should be) We also crossed over into Massachusetts and passed the 1,500 mile mark!

Tonight we're camping on the trail just before the shelter. A trail angel, Dottie, left coolers of ice water for hikers. When she saw we were going to camp here she went home and brought back a cooler filled with Gateraid and a bag for our trash. Two southbound hikers decided to stop here too given the perfect camping conditions. (We did find out no camping is allowed in this particular spot but Dottie assured us the inspectors wouldn't be around tonight. She couldn't give us any guarantee on the bears though.

Rocky & Laugh Track showed up tonight too. Haven't seen them since before  Duncannon.
Lots if elevation gain today.  We had three steep climbs the toughest of which was just after we entered MA - Mount Everett.  We also climbed Lions Head and Bear Mountain earlier which is the highest point in CT.  CT saved some of the best rocks for last.

We spent the day soaked from the humidity. Tomorrow we may try to stop in Great Barrington for a clean up.

Looks like we'll have some rain tonight. It's always nice to listen to it hit the tent, but then we do have wet tents to pack in the morning. Can't have it all.

Great day all around. Looking forward to a week in MA.

Trolley Stop

Journal Entry # 122

Thursday, July 28 - Day 126 - Mile 1489.0 - Campsite north of Limestone Spring Shelter
Very restful night last night.

Today we did a pretty long day mostly due to a couple of things. First we became aware of a restaurant near the trail in Canaan  CT but instructions in the AT Guide were not very clear as to how to get there. We likely walked at least an extra mile or so in our search, but we did find it and it was terrific. The second thing that lengthened our day was finding our destination shelter. We found the 1/2 mile trail to the shelter but found it went down several hundred feet. The water source didn't look to promising either. So off we went for another mile or so, found water and a place to camp right on the trail. a good end to a long day.

The day itself was beautiful. Lots of sunshine & relatively cool weather. We had lots of climbing and a couple of rock scrambles. CT proved to be as challenging as all other States but overall somewhat less rocks.

We continue to meet more & more south bounders. Today we met South Paw who filled us in on his hike so far as we were taking a break.

Tomorrow we'll finish CT and begin MA. Only 4 more States to go:  Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.  We're also under 700 miles.

Just before turning in tonight we heard a tree fall somewhere in the forest nearby. It made a tremendous noise. So we can vouch for "If a tree falls in the forest...."

Goodnight all,
Trolley Stop

Journal Entry #121

Wednesday, July 27 - Day 125 - 1472.0 - Caesar Brook Campsite

 We'll (really) we're back on our own again after a enjoying the hospitality of Terri & Jon for the past three days.

Terri made us a wonderful breakfast casserole and armed us with a lot of food and snacks to take with us. We were so full from all the good food and drink these last three days that we didn't think we could possibly eat another thing but everything was gone by lunchtime and now were back to trail food.

Despite having to work today, Terri also drove us back to the trailhead in Kent and we were off and hiking before 8:00 AM.

We can't thank Terri & Jon, or anyone who's help us for that matter, enough. The second day of slake packing really gave us a boost.

It was a bit of a challenge getting used to a full pack today even though it was only two days. The good news is we did some big ups and a couple of unbelievable downs and still made it to camp with enough energy to pitch our tents, get water and make dinner.

This campsite is perfect. Nice level tent sites and a beautiful water source only a few yards away
One of the downs was a rock waterfall called St John's Ledges. It was virtually straight down 520 feet  Reportedly there were steps, but you could have fooled us.

It's now 6:30 and we're all in our tents. The past couple of nights we enjoyed staying up until dark, but now were back in the woods and will be hiking by 6:00 AM.

The end of another perfect day.

Love, peace, joy & hope,
Trolley Stop

Evidently CT has the same budgetary issues a couple of other states have. Where are the Hand Towels!

journal entry # 120

Tuesday, July 26 - Day 124 - Mile 1458.4 - Kent CT  (2nd slake pack provided by Terri & Jon)

Bulletin...Jon & Terri didn't throw us out on the trail with our full packs this morning. Instead they gave us another day of slake packing.  Jon drove us to Kent, CT so we could slake pack back to the Appalachian Trail railroad station. So our two day total slake pack was over 33 miles.  We didn't get word from Jon that he wanted to do this until after I sent the blog update out last night.

The morning started with Terri preparing breakfast for us which included pancakes & eggs as well as several kinds of juice among other things. Jon went put to get fresh bagels for us to bring on our hike. We ate well all day.

The hike itself was pretty strenuous despite having light packs. Virtually the entire stretch was up and down steep hills including one 1,000 foot climb.

We met several of our hiker friends hiking north and enjoyed visiting with them. Of course they were very envious of our ability to slake pack.

The day was beautiful but rain moved in just as we finished and were waiting for Jon to pick us up. We had the obligatory ice cream on the way home thanks to Buffalo Bobby.

Terri cooked us a wonderful dinner while Jon made drinks for all. Dinner and desert was fabulous.
The wash is once again done and folded and I think just about every ounce of energy used up. Need to get some sleep and recharge for tomorrow.

PS:  I neglected to mention that Jon did his newspaper trick especially for the League. It was flawless and as always amazing. Since Jon only prepares this trick for huge crowds it was particularly special to have him do this for us.

I'll update the SPOT tomorrow evening.
Goodnight to all,
Trolley Stop

Guardian enjoys the view from Pine Knob

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Journal Entry # 119

Monday, July 25 - Day 123 - Mile 1440.1 - Appalachian Trail RR station. (Slake pack provided by Terri & Jon)

 Terri & Jon gave us the gift of a slack pack hike today.  Terri drove us back to where we were picked up yesterday and we headed off with about 25 or 30 pounds less than a normal day. It felt great and we did 15 miles in 6 hours. Jon picked us up at the Appalachian Trail train station with cold water, bananas and treated us to ice cream on way home.  What a guy!

The hike was very enjoyable even though it rained most of the day.  We were able to climb with no hesitation with our light loads.  Of course we got soaked but it felt great to be cool after this past week of record breaking high temperatures & humidity.

So, tomorrow we'll pack up and Jon will have us back on the trail by 7:00 AM.

A wonderful day all around.
Trolley Stop

PS:  Since we were based at Terri & Jon's I did not set out my SPOT. That should be updated tomorrow night.

Second Pair of Boots Bites the dust

Our Hosts, Terri and Jon

Ronnie, Mark, and the L.E.G.

Ronnie, Mark, Terri, and the L.E.G.

Trolley Stop with the largets Oak on the Trail (Dover Oak)

Guardian & Buffalo Bobby at the largest Oak.

Journal Entry # 118

Sunday, July 24 - Day 122 - Mile 1425.3 - Stormville, NY - NERO at Terri & Jon's

The first thing I want to do tonight is thank Jane for hanging in with such great support. Tonight ends 4 months since the start of this adventure...all time that she had to handle the myriad things that go on at home and around a large family like ours on her own.  It's wonderful that we've been able to get together a couple of times, but I know even those trips have been full of handling endless details.  Thanks Kid!

Today's short hike to meet Terri was one of the most humid we've experienced. Thankfully we did some extra miles yesterday to make this mornings hike short.  Even so it was mostly uphill so it took us quite a bit of time with breaks. Fortunately there was trail magic in the form of cokes and fruit, at one point, which helped with our hydration.

Then the real trail magic began...

Terri met us at the trail head with cold water, bananas and even ice cream. We were soaked with sweat so you can imagine what a treat that was for us.

Terri & Jon's daughter Ronnie and her husband Mark were visiting from Portland for the weekend. It was wonderful to be able to spend some time with them both. Terri & Jon also had a host of other family overnight Friday night as they stopped for a break on their way to Vermont.  All and all quite a busy weekend weekend for them!

Despite all that Jon offered to slack pack us tomorrow which is a treat beyond describing to those who haven't hiked great distances with a full pack.

From the time we arrived there was a continuous parade of food starting with a complete breakfast, endless snacks, ribs specially prepared by Mark and finally a steak dinner with all the trimmings.

We all needed haircuts and Terri volunteered to give them to us.  The results were nothing short of professional.

Jon took us around to several stores to resupply and included a stop at McDonalds for shakes.  I'm sure even a 15 mile hike tomorrow won't burn off today's calorie count. Thanks so much Terri & Jon.
By Tuesday we should be done with NY and into CT.  The States are passing by quickly as of late.

Keep those notes and prayers coming in.

Trolley Stop

Mark, Ronnie, and Jon

Trolley stop is the first member of the L.E.G. to get his haircut by Terri

Journal Entry # 117

Saturday, July 23 - Day 121 - Mile 1418.9 - Shenandoah Tenting Area

Wow!  What a great day. Despite reported temperatures around 100 in NYC we were much cooler in the woods, most of the day, thanks to cloud cover. We felt so good we hiked an extra 6 miles to get us closer to our pick-up tomorrow by my Sister-in-Law and Brother-in-Law, Terri & Jon for a NERO.

With the humidity, we won't have been in dry clothes since we began our climb up Bear Mountain so getting dry & clean, even for a few hours, feels so good. We look forward to cooler weather in a few weeks as we finish Vermont and head onto New Hampshire. Tonight we can only imagine.  At one point today it did climb to 91 in the woods. The humidity must be about 110%.

Spoke to Jane's Brother Jerry and Sister-in-Law Jan tonight. They would like to join us old guys for a short hike in MA, VT or NH. That will be a lot of fun. (So many folks have said they would like to hike with us but for some reason never show up).

We had a restful night last night at the Graymoor Spiritual Center. We were up early with the bells sounding from the Monastery at 5 AM and on the trail by 6:00.

Only a couple of miles into our hike today, on a mountain top, we ran into our first trail magic of the day.  A huge cooler filled with ice cold drinks of all types. We couldn't figure out how it was delivered since there were no roads even remotely close.  We had our first break, of many today, and enjoyed our drinks. Nice way to start.  Later on in the day, once we were committed to hike an extra 6 miles, we found the terrain to be much more challenging then the profiles in the guide led us to believe. We were pretty beat at the end of 17+miles but were rewarded with a beautiful spot to camp on a old orchard with water available. We're the only ones here so it will be a very quiet night.

I don't know why we keep believing the terrain profiles in the AT guide. They never indicate steep sheer rock walls or roller coster sections. We know they didn't appear after publication. At least a dozen times a day someone comments "Who put this here and why?", as we huff & puff.

With that I'll say goodnight with visions of a hot shower dancing in my head.

Love, peace, joy & hope,
Trolley Stop

Journal Entry # 116

Friday, July 22 - Day 120 - Mile 1401.4 - Graymoor Spiritual Life Center.  (102 degrees at Bear Mountain).

Big day today!  We broke 1,400 miles and I started my 17th week.

Loretta drove us back to the trailhead where she had picked us up on Wednesday.  We were on the trail climbing Bear Mountain by 6:45.

She also packed a cooler full of ice, water and energy drinks to leave at the trailhead as trail magic.  With the temperature hitting 102 and the heat index 115 those drinks will be lifesavers for anyone hiking past there today. We heard from a couple of hikers we met today and they were both very glad to find the drinks. One hiker was totally dry.

Thanks to everyone that made our ZERO so great. Yesterday was a very good day not to hike.
The climb up and down Bear Mountain today was wonderful.  Hundreds of stone steps were cut into the hillside and level sections of the path were beautifully graded and covered in crushed stone. After my fade out on Wednesday I was concerned about the first climb, but all went well. We celebrated with a break at the top and took some photos.

We then hiked down to the Bear Mountain Zoo but were too early to get our free entry as a thru hiker. So on we went over the Bear Mountain Bridge and up a typical AT climb straight up for a couple of hours.

After lots of breaks we finally came out on Route 9 right across from a connivence store. We stopped and hydrated and then hiked another mile to Graymoor.

It's very nice here. They let hikers set up their tents by the soccer fields and provide tables a shower (cold) and water.  It's currently 97 degrees in the shade but a light breeze is blowing so it doesn't feel too hot. Certainly a lot cooler than when we walked in.

Once again dinner is done and we're ready for a good nights rest after today's efforts.
Love to all,
Trolley Stop

Trolley Stop has become a shadow of himself

Perkins Monument at the top of Bear Mountain

Trolley Stop reenergized at the top of Bear Mountain

Guardian and Buffalo Bobby at the top of Bear Montain

Buffalo Bobby at the top of Bear Mountain

Journal Entry # 115

Thursday, July 21 - Day 119 - Mile 1390.0 - No change - ZERO at MaryEllen's

Actually got to sleep in this morning!  Very comfortable nights sleep and leisurely morning filled with good food. Lots of coffee, juice, sausage, bacon, eggs, pastries, rolls, fruit and French toast.

Rita & Loretta never stopped plying us with food.  I didn't think I was that hungry, but every time we sat down I appeared to be.

Right after breakfast Loretta took us on our resupply trip to Wal-Mart and REI. (Quite an adventure). After being in the woods so long a trip around a busy area like this is a bit intimidating.

Then it was back for lunch, time to make phone calls and rest before dinner.

We had a wonderful dinner taken care of by my little Sister Eileen who couldn't be here because of being away in Maine.  A wonderful ending to a great, much needed, ZERO (by me especially) day. Thanks Eileen.
Thanks also to MaryEllen who turned her home over to us even though she was in Paris. Another impressive stop in our search for the perfect hostel.

I enjoyed every minute of this opportunity to catch up with family.

Now it time to get some sleep and get ready for tomorrow's hike. With very hot and humid weather we will go slow and be sure to stay hydrated as we wend out way to our next opportunity to spend some time off the trail with family in a few days.

A really great day!
Trolley Stop

Rita and Trolley Stop

Guardian, Rita, Buffalo Bobby, and Loretta

Rita, Trolley stop, and Loretta

Dinner at the Tap House

Tom, Rich, Ozan, and Rita at the Tap House

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Journal Entry #114

Wednesday, July 20 - Day 118 - Mile 1390.0 - seven Lakes Drive

Today's hike started off well but the heat and humidity after yesterdays similar day finally got to me. After about 3 hours, for the first time, I felt like every once of energy was sucked out of me. Fortunately my hiking partners were not similarly impacted and were able to not only make sure I wasn't left behind, but did everything they could to make sure I was taken care of. Guardian stayed with me as I slowly, with many stops, made it up some steep climbs.  He also provided me with Goos for energy while Buffalo Bobby made me an energy drink with the small amount of water he had left.  The water sources are virtually non existent in NY.

Also very fortunate was we were meeting my niece Loretta, for a pick up at Bear Mountain for resupply. After a couple of calls we decided the better part of valor was to ask Loretta to pick us up at an earlier road crossing.  She arrived with a cooler full of water & soda and all was once again right with the world. Likely  dehydration and not enough food (can you believe it?) combined to stop me in my tracks.

I began to feel much better as we drove home in an air conditioned car with plenty of liquids. What perfect timing for a break!

As soon as we arrived at MaryEllen's house (Loretta's Sister for those trying to figure family connections) we cleaned up and were served a terrific lunch which included too much to talk about but suffice it to say we didn't go hungry. We spent the rest of the afternoon doing wash and relaxing.

My Nephew Rich and his partner Tom came over to visit and we had a lot of fun hearing stories from all as well as sharing tales of our adventure.

We enjoyed some ice cream & snacks BEFORE dinner and then enjoyed each others company over dinner.
It's now bedtime so with my body comfortably fed and hydrated I'm looking forward to another day tomorrow to visit with family before tackling Bear Mountain on Friday with more careful hydration and fuel for energy.

All & all it was a wonderful day despite my brief setback. I'm so fortunate to be able to hike with such wonderful partners. I'm also fortunate to have so many people praying for us. Here I am 118 days into this hike and the trail magic continues to pour out.

Peace, love, joy & hope,
Trolley Stop

NOTE FROM BETH - I love you Dad, don't go turning into a mummy on us on the trail!

Journal Entry # 113

Tuesday, July 19 - Day 117 - Mile 1381.1 - Arden Valley Road - Harriman Park.

Thunderstorms last night so we woke up to wet tents and high humidly. The combination of endless climbs, rock climbs, steep downgrades and the high humidity all added up to likely the toughest day physically on the trail so far.

We went through the "Lemon Squeezer" today. Guardian & Buffalo Bobby both made it through with their packs on. I had to take mine off and carry it through. (Must still have too much stuff).

Water was a real challenge today. Even though we had two occasions of water trail magic I still ran out right near the end of our hike. Guardian, ever vigilant, discovered there was a lake only 1.4 miles form our shelter destination today that had showers, sodas, etc., so that's where we went. Guardian even swam in the lake.
After a nice break there, we hiked about another 1/2 hour to the campsite we're in tonight...right on the trail. Scribbles joined us tonight.

I was able to call my Niece, Loretta, and confirm our pick up tomorrow to resupply and take a ZERO to get some rest. I'm also going to have a chance to visit with my big Sister, Rita, who still can't understand why anyone, much less me, would want to hike for 2,181 miles. Guess you have to be here.

We'll I'm about as spent as I've ever been on this adventure so sleep is in order.

Love, Peace, Joy & Hope,
Trolley Stop

Journal Entry # 112

Monday, July 18 - Day 116 - Mile 1365.7 - Wildcat Shelter Area - Tenting

Had a wonderful day yesterday at the hostel, but sleeping was a bit rough. The room we were in wasn't air conditioned and the night was very hot. Doors were left open to try to get some air, but that also meant Mosquito's.  Their biting & buzzing made for a somewhat uncomfortable night.

We were up early and had a nice breakfast at a nearby restaurant.

We then needed to try to get a hitch back to the trailhead which was 3  1/2 miles away and well over an hours walk.

We had heard folks in town would pick up hikers (hitchhiking is illegal in NJ) and Guardian said the best plan was to stay put and not begin to walk because whoever would stop and pick us up midway would pick us up on town. He also advised us on the proper stance to be successful  It worked perfectly. After about 10 minutes a fellow in a pick up truck stopped and we all hopped in the back for a quick ride to the trailhead.
Reminded me of the old Gorey adage:  "Don't run if you can walk, don't walk if you can stand still, don't stand still if you can sit and don't sit if you can lay down".

The weather for today was a 50% chance of violent thunderstorms, but we had a mostly sunny and humid day.

The climb out of Vernon was a steep one as promised, but then the trail leveled out pretty good until we hit NY. I take back any bad things I may have mentioned about PA & NJ rocks. So far NY has them both beat. What an introduction to the NY trail!  Bolder upon bolder all as big as box cars as far as the eye can see. We scrambled over them for hours. At one point someone had put a ladder in place to help us get up. Hiking poles were just a nuisance  most of the time. Tonight we're all kind of beat from the rocks but tomorrow we'll be ready for more.

We did a 17 mile day today, but I know you're wondering...what about ice cream?  Well at about mile 15 low and behold there was a home made  ice cream shop just 2 tenths of a mile off the trail.  They made the best shakes and provided water for hikers. Perfect timing because we were all out of water. The water sources in NY up to that point were not to appealing.

Rain came just as we finished our ice cream and we thought we were going to really get heavy showers. We had a few brief downpours, but by the time we were at the shelter for ten minutes the sun came back out.
Tonight's spot is a shelter area in a low somewhat damp mosquito infested area. We've set up our tents and will be comfortable for the night, but it will be good to be able to hike on in the morning.  We've been somewhat spoiled by all the nice tent sites recently.

Were beginning to hear reports of more south bounders. It will be fun to chat with them.

There still seems to be a large number of thru hikers out here. I think 2011 is a bumper year. Perhaps the economy has contributed to the numbers.

That's about it for today.
A goodnight to all,
Trolley Stop

The Boarder!

Yinz & Mr. Black were also at the boarder!

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen hit NY!

Journal Entry # 111

Sunday, July 17 - Day 115 - Mile 1348.6 - Vernon, NJ - St Thomas Hiker Hostel (Episcopalian)

Up very early today and out before 6:00 AM. Buffalo Bobby discovered a small place a couple of miles up the trail that served breakfast. Guardian preferred to hike on as he doesn't care to have a large breakfast so he was about an hour ahead of us most of the day.

The breakfast was perfect...egg, cheese & sausage on a Keizer roll, lots of good coffee, apple juice, boston cream donut and a small ice cream (just in case this was my last chance today) and some snacks for later.
During our hike we met our first southbound thru hiker, Newt, who started in May. I asked about the bugs, starting in Maine so early, and she showed us her legs and arms which were covered with healing bites. It was pretty exciting meeting our first southbound thru hiker.  Wish I had taken a photo.

We experienced a nice long walk, about a mile, on a boardwalk through the bogs. Quite a construction project.

The hike, of course, included lots of rocks, steep climbs and open fields with lots of sun. As we walked we crossed numerous stone walls that must have been built by farmers many many years ago to clear the land.  Of course they're now in dense woods. The labor to build these had to be incredible.

As Buffalo Bobby and me came out at the trailhead, where we would need to hitch to the hostel, there was Guardian waiting for us with John a true trail angel.

John had offered Guardian a ride to the hostel. Buffalo Bobby, never one to be shy, asked John if he would take us for ice cream first.  I was then able to get my second ice cream of the day!  A rare event.  Thanks John for being so patient.

At the Farmers Market, where we bought ice cream, we met several of our fellow hikers:  Scribbles, Milo, El Flaco, Buttons and others.

The hostel is great. Nice shower, cold drinks, etc. All we needed to recharge.

Dinner is done and we're winding up another great day on this Appalachian Trail adventure with visions of entering New York tomorrow.

The rumor is that we have a steep climb out of town in the morning which means we'll be drenched in sweat after 15 minutes, but it's nice to be clean even if it's only overnight. Hopefully we're only a few days away from our next stop to resupply.

Time for lights out.
Peace, Love, Joy  & Hope,
Trolley Stop

St Thomas HIker Hostel - interesting fact, I (Beth) was actually in St Thomas (USVI) when dad got to this hostel :)

Journal Entry # 110

Saturday, July 16 - Day 114 - Mile 1335.0 - Jim Murray Farm Property

Another beautiful night last night. Guardian left his tent fly off the last two nights and regaled us with reports of how beautiful the full moon was. Buffalo Bobby and I were concerned about a surprise rain during the night which never came. Since we're usually asleep before dark we would have missed it anyway.

We had a good 18+ mile day with perfect weather. It's getting warmer but still pleasant. NJ rocks are still a challenge but soon they'll be NY rocks.

Tonight we're camping on a private farm. The owner let's hikers camp here for free. It's a beautiful spot on an equally beautiful day.

There's a small out building that even ha electric to allow us to recharge electronics so I was, once again, able to call home. Lots happening as usual.

We all had dinner on the porch and retired to our tents for a good rest after today's hike.
Tomorrow we hope to make it to a hostel to clean up and resupply. May be a relatively short day.

Next week we have two opportunities to stop with family and resupply. First in NY at Bear Mountain and then in Connecticut a couple of days later.  That may be the last until mid August in Vermont.

Wonder how the Pioneers did it.
Life is good!
Trolley Stop

Jim Murray Farm

can you believe this place has electricity?

Trolley Stop on the trail in NJ, half way through!

Journal Entry # 109

Friday, July 15 - Day 113 - Mile 1316.7 - Glenn Anderson Shelter

Beginning of week 16

Today we broke the 60% mark of our trip. The rumor is that when north bounders reach 60% we have only expended 40% of the effort.  I hope that's not the case. Can't believe much of what hikers tell you.
Wonderful campsite last night. It was just the three if us and very quiet. The temperature went down to 58 degrees. Perfect for sleeping.

The hike today was once again over rocks with a few interesting climbs thrown in. We're now 30 miles into Jersey with no sign of the rocks letting up. They're not quite as bad as PA, but they're a close second.
The views were panoramic and clear all day. New Jersey is a beautiful state.  Buffalo Bobby swears he's seen little people in these enchanted forests.

The rumor is that you can hike from deli to deli in NJ. So far it's worked out pretty well. We had deli sandwiches yesterday at the Mohican Outdoor Center and today at a little hole-in-the-wall place just off the trail. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Tonight we again have very nice campsites but with lots of company. Met a hiker here, Brother of the Wind, who was able to bring us up to date on many of those we've left behind. He was a wealth of information. He had to skip ahead a couple of weeks to fit a schedule he has. His plan is to go back and hike the second half of Pennsylvania after he finishes. (Better him than me).

The weather was again perfect for hiking. We continue to have such good fortune lately in that department.
Better bundle up for a good night sleep. Jane brought me my Kindle when we met in Harpers Ferry but I haven't been able to stay awake long enough to get through more than a couple of pages.  Can't figure out why we're so tired in the evening.

Trolley Stop

Journal Entry # 108

Thursday, July 14 - Day 112 - Mile 1301.8 - campsite

Looks like our current good weather will last a bit longer. Today was cooler with lower humidity. Perfect for hiking.

Buffalo Bobby headed off to breakfast this morning but I couldn't eat any more after the day & 1/2 in town. I'm sure I'll be hungry by our first pack break.

Today Hobo once will join us for the hike out of the Delaware Water Gap. We hadn't seen him since Harpers Ferry where he left us in the dust and got 3 or 4 days ahead. His ankle is bothering him so he took some time off. He's not to sure about today but just can't sit around any longer.

We had a big crowd at the hostel last night and tonight there's a big hiker feast put on by the parishioners which we'll miss.

Just found out Hobo can't hike and is going home to find out what's wrong with his foot. He thinks he may have a broken bone. Sorry to hear this. Hopefully he'll be back. There were a lot of hikers laid up with foot problems at the hostel.

Our hike today was fun. Lots more rocks, but beautiful views of the NJ countryside. We stopped at the Mohican Outdoor Center for lunch and were treated to a sighting of a very angry rattle snake. Shortly after leaving there Buffalo Bobby and I finally caught a glimpse of a bear as he sprinted out of sight in front of us.
Tonight we have a great tent site on top of a mountain with a fabulous view.

It's 6:30 PM and actually getting a bit chilly. The proverbial cold day in July!

We're planning our days to hopefully make it to Bear Mountain by a week from today so we can take an opportunity to resupply and stuff with some of the New York clan that may be home.

Great to be in New Jersey!  Even with more rocks. We also broke 1,300 miles today.
Love, Peace, Joy & Hope,
Trolley Stop

Mohican Outdoor Center

A Rattle Snake came to visit at the Mohican Center

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Here is a link to an article that Dad sent me just yesterday.

"Hi Liz:  This is an article on the AT that includes many of the hikers I know including Hopeful. This was done just after I finished my ice cream challenge."

Hiking the AT: 2,180 miles of hope, pain and ice cream

Journal Entry # 107

Wednesday, July 13 - Day 111 - Mile 1285.3 (No change - ZERO at the Delaware Water Gap - Presbyterian Church of the Mountain Hostel)

This is our first ZERO since Harpers Ferry. It's a perfect stop as we transition from PA to NJ. My Sister-in-Law, Marion, reminded us there are more rocks to come in New England. (I'll try not to tell Guardian) I do believe New Englanders could learn something from Pennsylvania about how to dispose of their surplus rocks on the trail. In the last 3 or 4 days I don't believe our feet touched soil more than a few times.  There has to be an opportunity for new boot sales in the Delaware Water Gap area.

Today I thought we'd slept in, which would be really novel for us, but Buffalo Bobby was up at 5:30 anyway.  He headed for breakfast at 6:00 with Scribbles. I followed a bit later and joined a full table of hikers for a fabulous breakfast. One of the hikers, Glenn, ordered a second breakfast and was looking around for something to eat back here at the hostel.

This has been another wonderful hostel. Very comfortable.

It's now 7:30 AM and we're relaxing at the hostel before beginning our resupply/laundry/etc efforts.
Bulletin:   Guardian just informed me that our rock climb out of Palmerton and others were mild compared to what lies ahead in New England so the secrets out. No's all good.

Andy, Buffalo Bobby's Son, drove into the Water Gap today to spend some time with his Dad and he shuttled us to get clothes washed, lunch and resupplied.  Andy is the owner of an electrical business in NJ so he had to balance an active work day with taking care of 3 retired hikers in no particular hurry.  Thanks Andy for taking such good care of us.

Well, it's now 7:30 and out last dinner in town is done, last dish of ice cream consumed, 2nd shower in as many days taken so it's time to get some sleep to ready ourselves for the hike out of the Gap and into NJ in the morning.

Wonderful day off but we're itching to try out out repaired hiking poles on the wilds of New Jersey.
Good night,
Trolley Stop

The Water Gap went all out to welcome Trolley Stop!

Home for two nights

Andy, Buffalo Bobby's son.

Relax time at the Hostel

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Journal Entry # 106

Tuesday, July 12 - Day 110 - 1285.3 - Delaware Water Gap

20 mile day. We decided to come into the Delaware Water Gap today since we arrived at our shelter too early to stop. Quite a day over the last of the PA rocks but we're glad to be here and not have to face the last 6.1 miles of PA tomorrow morning.

It's great to be moving on into NJ. Tomorrow we're going to take a ZERO so Buffalo Bobby can spend some time with his family and we can clean up and resupply.

There's no doubt that the north part of the trail in PA has been consistently the toughest. Our boots have taken a beating but we all came away happy that we did it.

The combination of a long day for us and the hard trail have combined to make us ready for sleep and glad we'll have some time off tomorrow. The first order of business will be to line up at the outfitters and have our hiking poles fixed. So many of us have broken or bent poles from the rocks. Hope they don't run out of repair parts.

The three of us are all cleaned up and finished with a good dinner. Now it's off to bed.
Love to all,
Trolley Stop

The League of Extrordinary Gentlemen celebrating leaving PA

Journal Entry # 105

Monday, July 11 - Day 109 - Mile 1265.1 - Leroy A. Smith Shelter

The day started with Sebby preparing us breakfast and both Sebby & Deb driving us back to the trailhead just after 8:00AM and giving us a perfect send off.   We had a wonderful NERO!

The day was beautiful and pretty clear as we headed up one of the most challenging rock scrambles to date. This wasn't quite as challenging as the "Knife Edge" but much longer and on the terrifying scale the needle was pretty close. We survived the first hour of this epic climb, enjoyed spectacular views of Palmerton, and then continued to climb for 3 more hours. There were a few nice flat ridge walks with wonderful views but many, many more rock  climbs and rocky trails.  We didn't get into camp until 5:30 PM.  I think this was, by far, one of our toughest days. We didn't set any time records over these rocks.

We experienced the largest number of thru hikers and day hikers on the trail than any other day including our good friends Circuit Rider, Sherlock, PC, Glenn, Larb, DVD and many others.  Most days we see very few if any.

Water is at a premium but we had two occasions of trail magic with ice water and one with snacks which really saved the day.

Tonight we again had another hike to get water but we have plenty for our hike out tomorrow. We're still set to hit the Delaware Water Gap on Wednesday.

Having trouble keeping my eyes open so I better sign off and get some sleep.
Trolley Stop

Buffalo Bobby on the trail, just before seeing a rattlesnake!

Typical View from the Ridge

Monday, July 11, 2011

Coming Home - guest entry by Deb (Gorey) Plifka. Trolley Stop's Neice

One June morning in 1967 when I was in the second grade, my father walked into the bedroom my sister Susie and I shared with a commanding presence.  We stopped dressing for school and gave him our full attention as he said, “You’re not going to school today:  your Uncle Roger is coming home from the war.”  A master storyteller, Dad let the weight of notable moments come through in such pronouncements. 

We convened at our grandparents’ house with other relatives and soon, Uncle Roger Haggerty the elder’s brown Rambler pulled into the driveway and young Uncle Roger, aged 23, walked through the front door into the arms of our grateful family.  I stood back in the living room as he made his way through a flurry of embraces, and I have a particular memory of a private moment I beheld him as he exchanged hearty greetings with his siblings.  I had a clear view of him through the crowd and I don’t remember what my expectations were of a returning soldier, but I was very struck by how tan he was.  He stood with a military bearing and I remember especially that his blue eyes looked electric against his dark skin, and he was so handsome in his uniform.  It was a breathtaking moment I’ll never forget.

The house was filled with pride as we all felt a share in the honor that he had served our country.  Years later, after his third child was born and he lived just a block from us, our mother died suddenly and Aunt Eileen moved in to take care of us.  Uncle Roger gave up months of Saturdays to finish our basement so Aunt Eileen could have a space of her own.  This not only cut into his precious leisure time as he established his fledgling career at Chase, it took him away from his young family which was certainly his priority.  Years later, Uncle Rog again set aside his life to transform a small home in Floral Park into a dollhouse for our aging grandparents.  He’s also given generously to his community through Habitat for Humanity and other outreach programs.

Uncle Roger’s life is a beautiful model of selflessness that begins with his unique sensitivity and compassion.  Through knowing him I’ve learned it is more important to listen than talk, that solutions, not judgments, should be the goal, and that giving is its own reward.  From the moment he stepped over our family threshold following his tour in Vietnam, he has made his life count in the most important ways.  He inspires us through actions not words, leading by example as he always thoughtfully considers the world outside himself.  Once, when I listened to Louis Armstrong’s song “Wonderful World,” I realized it is not only a pleasant contemplation of the world, it’s a philosophy that demonstrates a way of looking at the world.  Uncle Roger sees the world this way:  by what’s right with it, and all his goodness emanates from that perspective.

And somehow, even as he built a successful career and raised five children, he has managed to continually challenge himself toward new frontiers of personal growth, particularly through trials of physical fitness and now realizing his dream of thru-hiking the 2,181-mile Appalachian Trail.  That moment I looked into the eyes of our family hero in 1967 has never diminished for me.  Uncle Roger has kept that honor alive and it continues to grow and inspire us as we who love and admire him once again look forward to his coming home.

Deb and Trolley Stop at Rita (Gorey) Lunning's Retirement Party in 2004.  Rita is Trolley's older sister with whom he shares a birthday.

Journal Entry # 104

Sunday, July 10 - Day 108 - Mile 1249.3 - Palmerton, PA - NERO - Guests of Sebby & Deb Amico

Up early once more and on the trail by 6:00 AM. Buffalo Bobby took over the lead shortly into the hike and took off at breakneck speed over rock scrambles, up hills and down steep inclines. Guardian was right on his heels. I tried to keep up but figured...what's the point?  We're only hiking 7.7 miles. No need to hurry. Eventually things slowed down and I was able to catch up and try to find out what they were running from.

Guardian said it was Buffalo Bobby's dream of a real breakfast that was his true motivation. He didn't explain why he was right on Buffalo Bobby's heels. I suspect the same reason. I knew that they would wait for me at the trailhead so no worries.

The rocks continued to challenge us even on this short hike. Rumor has it that the rocks will continue well into NJ. Our current schedule has us at the Delaware Water Gap on Wednesday. Loved Pennsylvania but ready to put it in our rear view mirror.

Sebby picked us up at the trailhead at about 9:30 and we were off for a day of R&R. Sebby & Deb live minutes from the trailhead.

We dropped our packs at their home and set off immediately for a wonderful Sunday breakfast at a silver diner. What a treat!  We did not leave hungry.

We then returned to Sebby & Debs home and proceeded to be treated like the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen that we are.  Their home was turned over to us and we showered, had our clothes cleaned, enjoyed lively conversation about the trail (both are hikers...Deb serious and Sebby a somewhat reluctant participant.  I think we may have a potential thru hiker in Deb but first she has to try a less death defying diving.

Sebby (short for Sebastian) took us to resupply and then we spent the rest of the afternoon resorting & cleaning stuff between delicious snacks and just relaxing and chatting on the back deck.

We finished tonight with generous sandwiches at a local Italian restaurant.

It's once again well past hikers midnight, our hosts have coffee and other breakfast items ready for the morning so I'll say goodnight and thanks for another perfect NERO.

PS:  The scale here shows I've gained 8 pounds!  Go figure.
Love, Peace, Joy & Hope,
Trolley Stop
Tomorrow's Challenge. Doesn't look to imposing, but it is!

Deb & Sebby Amico - Trail Magic is alive & well!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Journal Entry # 103

Saturday, July 9 - Day 107 - Mile 1241.6 - Bake Oven Knob Shelter

A beautiful day.  The rain cleared out and we had great if challenging hike. Lots of climbing and rock scrambles. This afternoon we went over the "Knife Edge". This, for me, was the most challenging of the trip so far. Hiking poles were useless.

Guardian noticed in his guide that there was a restaurant about 11 miles into today's hike just west of a road crossing that served lunch. So...guess what...we stopped.  We had a wonderful lunch and a hiker we met last evening, Scribbles, came in a short time after we arrived and joined us. A very unexpected pleasant time.
The woods are full of day hikers with the weekend here and we had dinner with a few tonight who live in the area.

Learned last night that PITA, a hiker I mentioned earlier, who had to leave the trail in June, is back and only a few miles ahead of us.

Hoping to catch up with him one of these days. We actually only missed each other by 20 minutes in Fort Clinton July 7th

Tonight we're tenting at this shelter area. We set a new long distance record for getting water tonight. The water source was about a mile down a steep trail and through dense woods. Very good cold water was our reward for the journey.

Tomorrow we're taking a NERO in Palmerton. A couple Buffalo Bobby is in contact with will pick us up in the morning and return us to the trail on Monday.

The magic continues.
Trolley Stop

Journal Entry # 102

Friday, July 8 - Day 106 - Mile 1224.2 - Hawk Mountain Road - Eckville Shelter

Beginning of week 15.

A nice breakfast at the hotel and a bit of a struggle getting back to the trailhead due to lack of shuttle service. Finally got a taxi and we were on our way and started hiking at 9:10, which is quite late for us.

The climb out of Port Clinton was a pretty good one and then it continued up over rock scrambles to Pulpit Rock. We met Circuit Rider and Sherlock on this stretch and enjoyed a few minutes with them when we all took a break at Pulpit Rock. The view here was terrific even though the weather was somewhat overcast. Thunderstorms were predicted all day.

We then continued on over more rocks for about an hour and suddenly the trail turned into a beautiful level and wide path for at least 3 miles. A very pleasant surprise. During this stretch it finally started to rain, but a gentle rain that cooled us down and drove the bugs away. Finally the trail went back into the woods and continued it's ups and downs over rocks & roots until we came out on the road to the shelter. The rain got a bit heavier and we arrived at the shelter pretty wet.

The shelter is just a shed with bunks for 6 hikers. We're full now with wet stuff hanging all over. We've all had a cold shower (solar shower  but there's no sun),  something to eat and now there's not much else to do but read and rest. Looks like rain for the rest of the afternoon, so no dry clothes in the morning.  Not unusual.

The weekend promises to be sunny, so no complaints.   It's all good.

Trolley Stop

Circuit Rider & Buffalo Bobby at Pulpit Rock

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Journal Entry #101

Thursday, July 7 - Day 105 - Mile 1209.7 - Hamburg, PA - NERO at the Microtel

Took a short 10 mile hike into Port Clinton where Buffalo Booby took the lead and got us to a great breakfast place.  I won't boar you with what we had, but suffice it to say they had to close early today because, I think, they ran out of food.   We then were able to get a shuttle (God forbid we walk the 1.7 miles off the AT) to Hamburg for a stay at the Microtel and a visit to Carbelas and Wal-Mart to resupply.

The hike today was over some pretty rocky terrain and finished with a very steep downhill into Port Clinton.   We were at breakfast by 10:30AM after leaving camp at 6:00. We're doing great time over these rocks!

Guardian planned logistics to get us onto Palmerton on Sunday, while we had breakfast, so we're set for the next few days.  We should be at the PA/NJ border in less than a week.

Carbelas store, their largest, is a hikers paradise. Had to hold myself back. Don't need to add any pack weight.  Unfortunately the one thing I did of one of my hiking the one thing they don't provide. Need to find an REI.

The hotel is great and within walking distance of many restaurants and other hiker necessities like ice cream shops.

Tonight, after a stop at McDonalds for a shake we'll go to the AYCE (All You Can Eat) dinner at Carbelas.
Had a chance, and the phone service, to check in and find out how the family is getting along without me and the report was...just fine.  Everyone has been so supportive this whole time. There hasn't been a thing I needed that hasn't been taken care of.

Well it's now well past hiker midnight. As it turns out we did quite a bit of walking around Hamburg since the shopping area is not walker friendly. Walking did have the advantage of keeping our trail legs in shape and allow us to consume a bit more calories.

Turned out, once again, to be a great day to be out on this adventure.

Thanks for looking in.
Love to all,
Trolley Stop

This is as close as Trolley Stop has gotten to a bear, and lets hope it stays that way!

Journal Entry #100

Wednesday, July 6 - Day 104 - Mile 1200.4 - Eagles Nest Shelter

The pizza we ordered last night was very good.  The shelter was very near a highway so all I had to do was hike 1/10th of a mile to a shoulder and wait for the delivery. He was right on time and the pizza still hot.  There was plenty to feed 4 of us with a piece left over for a hiker who came in later.  (Boy, with all this food and talk of food you'd think that food is a priority!). We seem to be holding our own with slowing down the weight loss so we must be doing something right.

We had another good hike today with no shortage of PA rocks which slow us down a bit. The trail guide does say PA has a wee bit of rocks, which has to be the biggest understatement in the guide.

We have another trip to town tomorrow for clean up and resupply. We also hope to meet friends of Buffalo Bobby for an overnight this weekend. We're going to get spoiled if this keeps up.

The weather, although a bit hot and humid, has been very cooperative.  This evening has been beautiful.  Once again we're at a great tenting area, near water and away from the shelter.  For a brief moment today I thought I had left my tent poles back at the 501 Shelter.  I didn't, but knew for a moment how it must feel to be homeless.  I had just packed them behind my air mattress, which I've never done. I really love my tent and the thoughts of  having to use the shelter tonight was not appealing.

Guardian says it's his night for the fan.  Since the electrical service in my tent is not to dependable I'll let him have it. I really prefer A/C anyway. At least we're assured of cooling off as soon as the sun goes down. We understand temperatures remain high at home.

So...all continues to go well out here in the wilderness. What a great adventure.
Trolley Stop

Journal Entry # 99

Tuesday, July 5 - Day 103 - Mile 1185.3 - Pa 501 - 501 Shelter - Pine Grove, PA

Nice breakfast at the hotel.  We called our shuttle to pick us up early and he was right on time.  We were back on the trail by 9:00AM.

A steep climb out of town greeted us  as usual but then we had some nice level walking before the rocks appeared again. Some spectacular views greeted us toward the end of today's hike

This shelter is enclosed with a solar shower and running water nearby.  There's also an opportunity to order pizza & soda here as there was back at the Partnership Shelter some weeks back.  Of course we did.
The weather has been holding out well for us this week although it's been humid. There seems to always be a bit of a breeze in the woods.

Tonight we broke into the final 1,000 miles. Seems like just yesterday we passed the sign for the first 1,000. Time is moving along quickly!

Hope all are doing well,
Trolley Stop

501 Shelter

Journal Entry # 98

Monday, July 4 - Day 102 - Mile 1172.5 - Pa 443 - Greenpoint, PA

Happy 4th of July.
Wonderful camp site last night. Up and out early today...6:00AM. Gotta get these guys to sleep in a bit!

Another wonderful day hiking, but the dirt, grime and sweat had us looking for a place to clean up late in the day  After many calls we had a great guy, Ken, offered to pick us up at the trail head and shuttle us to a hotel.

We're at a brand new Day's Inn and they've given us the business suite. Very nice accommodation for the three of us.

Lunch/Dinner at the camp store across the street was substantial and delicious.  Of course we finished with the hiker cream.

Looking forward to a great nights sleep, early breakfast and our shuttle back to the trail head.
Love, Peace, Joy & Hope,
Trolley Stop

Journal Entry # 97

Sunday, July 3 - Day 101 - Mile 1156.2 - Spring & Camping area

Violent thunderstorms overnight but once again we were safe and sound in the decaying opulence of the Doyle Hotel Hikers Hostel

Up early for breakfast and on the trail by 6:45.

We hiked out of Duncannon and across the Susquehanna River and then into the woods for a long rock climb.  The day started out overcast and misty but quickly turned onto another sunny day. At the first shelter we heard the harrowing stories of those who tented during last nights thunderstorms.

We took several breaks today including a long lunch break but still got in over 17 miles. There was a big gap between shelters and we knew we needed to find a camping area and more importantly water.  About 4:30PM Guardian found both and we we're set for the night.

We can't believe all the rocks!!!
Once again dinner is done and we're ready for a nice long rest.
Trolley Stop

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Journal Entry # 96

Saturday. July 2 - Day 100 - Mile 1138.6 - Duncannon, PA - The Doyle Hotel (a trail legend)

Note:  there's a very nice article on the AT in a old National Geographic dated February 1987 (VOL 171, NO.2) titled "Appalachian Trail, Tunnel Through Time - page 216. If you can gain access to it, I think you would enjoy it. The piece is timeless.

Our tent site last night was perfect. We all had a good sleep and headed early into Duncannon. We're just beginning to get an idea of what lies ahead in the way of Pennsylvania rocks. With over 140 miles to go, this should be interesting.

We arrived at the Doyle Hotel about noon and checked in. This is a very old, not to well maintained facility with some decaying charm.

After a shower, lunch and a laundry visit I spent some time in the local library where I found the article above while the other guys napped. About 4:00 PM we were offered a shuttle to a grocery store where we were able to get a Ben & Jerry fix.

We're now relaxing before dinner on the Hotel's balcony. Very laid back day. It looks like it will be a fairly long stretch before we get to clean up and resupply again so we're enjoying this time.

There's a big hikers 4th of July happening here but we'll be long gone. We've met many young hikers along the trail who have been timing their hikes to be here for the celebration.

Dinner's done and we're off to bed to rest for tomorrow's climb out of town and attack on the rocks.

Goodnight all,
Trolley Stop

The Doyle Hotel - a must stop on the trail

Journal Entry # 95

Friday, July 1 - Day 99 - Mile 1127.2 - Darlington Shelter Area.

Wonderful sleep and up early to a great breakfast & coffee prepared by Paul and enjoyed on the deck on a cool sunny morning. Can this really be July?

After breakfast we finished packing and readied ourselves to leave the land of hot food, cold drinks, soft beds and clean people for the land where wild things are. (Thanks John for giving up your room so the three of us could have our own rooms).

After a pleasant drive through the countryside with Anne & Paul we arrived back at the ATC office in Boiling Springs where we picked up where we left off yesterday. Thanks again Anne & Paul for taking such good care of us.

The day was perfect and the hike pretty easy, much of it through big open wheat and corn fields.  At times we passed long hand laid stone walls, old building foundations and even a graveyard all buried in the woods.
At lunch time we stopped at an ATC maintenance facility called Scott Farm. There was a picnic table, water and a port-a-John...all the comforts of home. Shortly Circuit Rider and Sherlock hiked in. We hadn't seen them in quite a while.  If you remember, they both are ministering to AT hikers. Unfortunately they had to leave the trail for some time to assist the families of 4 young people who died suddenly.  Now they're back on the trail and hiking some long days.

We arrived at our destination for today about 3:00PM. Guardian confirmed there was some water still flowing at the water source so we pitched our tents and started to settle in.

For a bit it was only the three of us here, but as happens every day hikers come out of the woodwork late in the day. We now have a full shelter and tents everywhere.

A Trail Runner, Jessica, arrived and let us know that (a) there's a black bear about and (b) water is at a premium for the rest of Pennsylvania, so we should get water wherever it turns up. Some stretches are as long as 18 miles without water.

I had a great conversation with Jessica about her thru hike last year. She basically said the best is yet to come but first we have to get over the rocks in Pennsylvania and  New Jersey.  Her comments really energized me for the rest of this hike.

In addition to being the 1st of July, today begins my 14th week on the trail. Time seems to be flying by.

Trolley Stop

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - cleaned, pressed, and ready to get back on the trail

Anne and Paul prepare to bring the League back to the trail

Circuit Rider & Sherlock at Scott Farm

Friday, July 1, 2011

Journal Entry # 94

Thursday, June 30 - Day 98 - Mile 1113 - Boiling Springs, PA  - NERO at Anne & Paul Reeve's home

Even though we had a short hike into Boiling Springs, Buffalo Bobby was up and at it at 5:30 AM.

We had a pleasant hike in on another perfect day and just before hitting town we met a couple of ladies who recommended a breakfast place that turned out to be fantastic.

Pleasantly full we called Anne and Paul and Paul picked us up at the ATC office in Boiling Springs.

Boiling Springs is a very pretty small town situated on a renowned fly fishing lake. There's an outfitter in town, but he has no equipment related to hiking the AT even though the trail goes right through town. It's all about fly fishing.

After a delightful ride through scenic Pennsylvania countryside, getting acquainted a bit with Paul, our first stop was Wal-Mart to re-supply then on to their home where we were able to dry out and repair tents, air out sleeping bags on their lawn and sort & repack supplies.  We also had showers, clothes washed, electronics recharged and a wonderful dinner grilled outside with home made potato salad, peach cobbler & ice cream which left us wondering if we had over supplied. It will likely be some time before hiker hunger will kick in again.

Anne, Paul and their Son John could not have treated us more royally. John, who's 11, even gave me an overview of his extensive Lego collection.  Those who know me know my love of Legos. They were all separated in multiple draws by type...a man of my own heart.

We enjoyed sharing stories and spending a very relaxing day together.  Thanks Anne & Paul for opening up your home to us and giving us the gift of this day.

Guardian picked up new boots this morning that Lee sent him so there's Likely no stopping him now.

I know this is getting repetitive...but another perfect day!
Love, Peace, Joy and Hope
Trolley Stop
Trolley Stop in Boiling Springs

Anne, Paul, and John Reeve - Our hosts for a very special day in Pennsylvania