He's back at it!

People who know me know that I belong on the Trail. I've thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail (twice),the Pacific Crest Trail and the mighty Continental Divide Trail. I've hiked many of the long trails here in Michigan including being the first to hike both the Ironwood Trail and the Great Lake To Lake Trail. My next big adventure will be the Israel National Trail starting in February 2017.

The purpose of this blog is to keep anyone who is interested informed of my progress and to encourage those who are able to support me in this endeavor.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Closing Credits


As I've said in the past, no one completes a 2,600 mile trail without a ton of love and support. The purpose of this post is to try to give props to all those who made it possible for me to hike the PCT. The list will be incomplete - there were actually hundreds of people who helped me. Some may have just given me a ride or a piece of fresh fruit or just some advice about the trail ahead of me but all of them deserve my thanks. Please forgive me for an incomplete list.

Camp Champaign: Martha Rogers was my Re-Supply Coordinator, my Research Technician, my Social Media Director and the backbone of the entire project. Had she known what a huge undertaking it was, had she known how much time and money it would cost her, had she known what a huge pain in the ass I could be, there is NO WAY she would have agreed to help me.  Lucky for me, she was there from the very inception of the idea. You think she would have learned her lesson after helping me with the AT! Sandy Lowe keeps us both grounded. Not only does she keep us sane but she came through for me when I really needed her. I love them both.

The Sisters: Patti has been helping me since I first started on the AT. She's done everything from filling and mailing re-supply boxes to dehydrating food. Now her charity, Sox For Soles, is a major sponsor of mine. Carol buys me tons of food, knits and sews custom gear for me and helps me think through some of the challenges of long distance hiking. Pat helps me all the way from Massachusetts and Mary generously contributes from Nebraska. Couldn't do it without you, ladies.

Trail Angels: Almost every hiker I know has a story about how Donna Saulfly saved their ass or the great time they had at the Anderson's. The Braatens, Piper's Mom, Shrek, the Dinsmores, and Kellie OnlyaTest Morrel, who brought maps to me out of White Pass! - it floors me to think about how many thousands of hikers these folks have helped. Every one of us drank water that Mary Barrow puts out every day. And those are just the big names. There are countless others who gave me a ride or let me stay at their place for a night . Heaven holds a special place for all of them.

My Friends: Susie, Drew and Marlyss - I love you guys. John, Susie and Amelia Cassidy, Dave and Nicole, Beaker and Dragonfly, Kristo and his family, Scallywag and his family, Hee Haw and Emily, Typo and his mom, Astro and the Gosselins, my nephew Brian, my nieces Dana, Chelsea and Laura. Plus Rambo, Schrody, Noelle Mercado, Traci Rink and her daughter Katie ... Thank you for all the love and support.

I'd also like to thank Moosejaw - especially Tom, Lola and Perry. Randy and Miranda at Ripcord, Sox For Soles and Granite Gear.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Scott Williamson's Socks



What follows is absolutely a true story. The main characters in this story are myself, my buddy Astro and PCT Legend, Scott Williamson. Me, you don't need to know much about except that I thru-hiked the PCT this year and that I have an unhealthy man-crush on Scott Williamson. As a kid, I wanted to throw a baseball like Mark Fidrych of the Detroit Tigers. As a teen, I wanted to play guitar like Eddie Van Halen but as an adult, I want to hike like Scott Williamson. I read everything I can find about the guy. I got my hopes up that I might actually meet him on the trail this year but he abandoned his SOBO hike, I understand, because of all the fires. And I'm not the only one obsessed with all-things Scott Williamson. When I confessed that I took a picture of his re-supply box at Big Lake Youth Camp, my buddy Hee Haw admitted that he did the same thing. 
You need to know about Astro. The kid was two semesters into a physics degree at Berkley when life tapped him on the shoulder and said "Congratulations. You have stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma." Astro bravely underwent a stem cell transplant but the cancer persisted. When his oncologist wanted to go with more chemotherapy, Astro declined and started looking into alternative therapies. In order to make his mind and his body more receptive to healing, he decided to hike the PCT. The kid's out here fighting cancer and I'm bitching about blisters. He puts things into perspective and it was my honor to hike with him. Learn more about Astro here.
Astro, it turns out, also stayed at the Big Lake Youth Camp. As he picked out his re-supply box off the shelf, he also saw Scott Williamson's abandoned box and he noticed the ETA written on it was 8/21/12. This was mid-September. Scott was definitely off the trail. That was a shame because Astro, too, is a big fan.  Astro opened his own re-supply box and was shocked to see too little food. A miscommunication had lead to this box having only a couple days of food in it when Astro's next stop was more like five to seven days away.
You also need to know that, at this point in his life, Astro believes in signs. He believes that sometimes things are the way they are for a reason. Sometimes things are where they are for a reason. Like Scott Williamson's box, full of food, sitting on the shelf when Scott himself was clearly off the trail. Astro badly needed food - there was the food of our hero! Astro opened Scott Williamson's box! I assure you that as Astro was telling me this I yelled "You what!?" Followed immediately by "What was in it?!" Astro gave me a detailed account of all that was in the box. I listened closely, amazed and fascinated. Astro did indeed help himself to Scott Williamson's food as well as something else that was in the box... A pair of Scott Williamson's socks. They seemed to be just regular men's nylon dress socks but when Astro wore them he hiked the most miles he's ever hiked in a day: 29.6.
Astro ate Scott's food, wore his socks and even tried to mix up and drink some kind of green powder that was in the box. Ended up making him really sick. I think Astro took these things half out of necessity and half out of hero worship.  We all wanted to look inside the box but Astro was the only one with enough guts to do it.  He also had the guts to write Scott a letter explaining who he is and why he took the food. He put the letter in the box and re-sealed it, hoping it would make its way back to the world record holder.
I'd like to think that if Scott was there and he knew who Astro was and what he was dealing with out here, he would offer up anything in that box and more. Scott Williamson is a hero of mine and so is Astro. Now, if I can just get him to loan me those socks!