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.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Speed on the AT

If you call the Appalachian Trail Conservacy and ask them what the northbound speed record is for the trail, they will tell you that they do not keep such records. That 'racing' from one end of the nearly 2,200 mile to the other isn't in the 'spirit of the trail'. Indeed, when Benton MacKaye designed the trail in 1921, he never intended it to be hiked all at once (thru-hiked). But ever since Earl Shaffer became the first to do so in 1948, people have compared how long it took them to hike it. Naturally competitive Americans started doing it faster and faster and now use websites like Fastest Known Time to keep those records. 

I was thrilled to meet Scott Jurek near the Maine/New Hampshire border as he set the record for the fastest supported northbound thru-hike at 46 days.  Currently, the woman I consider to be the greatest long distance hiker in the world, Heather 'Anish' Anderson is out here trying to set the southbound unsupported speed record. 

Even I might attempt the Four State Challenge. This is an informal challenge  to hike across four states (44 trail miles) in 24 hours. While not nearly the feat that Jurek and Anderson are up to, it's still an example of a competition or a race on the trail. For me, a southbounder, I would start in Pennsylvania, just above the border with Maryland (which also happens to be the Mason-Dixon Line). I would hike across Maryland, through West Virginia and into Virginia within 24 hours. Why would I do this? I'm a competitive American, of course!

Is all this competition good for the trail? Not everyone thinks so. The management at Baxter State Park, home of Katahdin - the northern terminus of the trail, don't want to see their park commercialized or otherwise exploited. They made that clear when the issued three big fines to Scott Jurek for stretching the rules when he reached  the summit of Katahdin. There's talk that they don't even want the AT running through Baxter State Park at all. Someday, the trail may have to be rerouted. 

I'm curious what people think about speed records on the Appalachian Trail and about me taking a shot at the Four State Challenge. I'm hoping to attempt it at the end of September. If anyone wants to join me - to hike all or part of the 44 miles with me - or just to cheer me on and maybe slack pack me - just leave a comment below. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Just Plants


I'm not a botanist. I don't know much about plants. Still, I see a stunning variety of them out here and I think they're beautiful. 

These were in front a house in Yarmouth, ME. Azaleas, right?

No idea what these are. 


Some kind of mushroom. 


Also a mushroom. Looks like a flower buy it's not. I think. 

Mushroom as big as my hand on the side of a tree. 

No idea. 

Still no idea. 

Lots of these. 

This isn't a plant. It's a slug. 


Pitcher Plant? I think? Found them in a swamp. 

Same thing. Pitcher Plant?

I'm sure that was boring. 

If you leave a comment, you're a total nerd. 












Monday, August 10, 2015

Pics from the AT 2015

Me in peaceful, idyllic Yarmouth, ME three days before I started the hike. 

The Royal River in Yarmouth. So charming. A nice, easy walk to stretch out my legs after two days on the Greyhound. 

This is the school where my buddy Hee Haw teaches music (guitar and mandolin). That's him jumping in on the upright bass during an impromptu jam session on the porch. 

Well? Do ya?!

This is Hee Haw (on guitar) with his band, the Jerks of Grass. I got to watch them whip the crowd into a frenzy in a really cool bar in Portland, ME. 

And drink really good beer. 

Finally! The day is here. Hee Haw and I stayed a night with his dad and drove to climb Katahdin early in the morning. 

That day was so great. Hee Haw has been up there so many times before that I literally got a guided tour of Katahdin. We did a 16 mile loop and had perfect weather for every step. 

Hee Haw and I at the summit. Last time I stood here was July 20th, 2011. 

Katahdin from a distance. They don't call it Mt. Katahdin because 'Katahdin' means 'greatest mountain'. It would be redundant. 

The next morning, Hee Haw sent me on my way. In the rain. In the cold, pouring rain. Felt like I was home again. 

So I hiked south through the 100 Miles Wilderness. Took me nine days. 

Had to ford a ton of rivers. See that tiny white blaze on the tree across the river?

See?

I finally made it to Monson, ME and was rewarded with a plate of fries from the owner of the Lakeshore House. She remembered me from 2011. 

From there, Hee Haw's dad, Donald, and his delightful girlfriend, Debbie, picked me up and took me home with them. They fed me, let me wash up and get a good night's sleep before taking me back to the trail the next day. I really enjoyed my stay with them. 

This seems a good place to stop. Still working on posting from my phone so we'll see if this works. If you like the pics, leave me a comment below and I'll post more.