Monday, November 17, 2014

"Crofton man finds answers hiking 2,185 miles on the Appalachian Trail"

That headline is from a neat article about a recent thru-hike completion. Includes photos of a snowy Katahdin summit, with newly-minted thru-hiker Jason Feild wearing a pin stripe suit. Good accomplishment over 6 months, a week, and 6 days. Now he's got a great accomplishment to talk about in job interviews. The article by Tim Prudente was published on 13 November 2014 in the Capital Gazette from Annapolis, Maryland.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Hikers Hurt During Trail Days Parade at Damascus

Many news sources, including the Knoxville News, have the story tonight as "Up to 60 injured after car drives into Va. parade." The lead sentence in the Associated Press story reads:

An elderly driver plowed into dozens of hikers marching in a Saturday parade in a small Virginia mountain town and investigators were looking into whether he suffered a medical emergency before the accident.

Further down the police chief is quoted to the effect that the driver "was participating in the parade and he had traversed the Appalachian Trail in the past. Multiple witnesses described him as an elderly man."

As of the time this is blog post is being posted, the web site of The Damascus Times did not have anything on the story. (They did have a picture of "Miss Bethany Quesenberry, a 7th grader at Damascus Middle School, [who] was crowned 2013 Miss Appalachian Trail Days...." though, that had gone up earlier, before the accident during the parade.)


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fictional Rescue on Baldpate

Paul Doiron writes on the Independent (UK) website under the title "Five-Minute Memoir: A steep learning curve on the Appalachian Trail" in what I believe is an excerpt from his crime novel "The Poacher's Son." It's an account of the narrator's very near miss in a lightning strike.

Their "plan was to climb the AT and then trek to a remote clearing." So they hiked a mile up from the road. There the 3 hikers stealth camped on Baldpate and one nearly dies from the lightning. The narrator keeps him alive while the 3rd member of their party hikes back down the mountain for help. A very long rescue it was. It took 5 hours for the one guy to get down the mountain and back "with a paramedic, a park ranger, and two game wardens." Then it took them another 4 hours to carry their buddy down in a litter, and 20 minutes to drive to a hospital. It could happen, I guess. And does.

Thru-hiker Barbara Allen's Talk

From the KnoxNews web page from the Knoxville (TN) News Sentinel dated 7 February 2013:
HIKER TALK Appalachian Trail thru-hiker and Knoxville native Barbara Allen will give a free talk about her recent adventure at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 12, at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, 2931 Kingston Pike. Last year, at age 71, Allen hiked all 2,180 miles of the A.T. from Georgia to Maine. The trek took her six months. Along the way she forged deep friendships with her fellow thru-hikers, and by the time she reached the trail's northern terminus atop Mount Katahdin, she had lost 35 pounds. Allen's presentation is hosted by the Harvey Broome Group of the Sierra Club. The event is free and open to the public.
Thru-hiking at age 71! That's all that needs saying.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

75-year-old Completes His Section Hike!

Applause for John Lyon, whose section hike of the AT is reported by Aileen Streng on the InsideNoVa.com web site under the title "Four Seasons man, 75, hikes length of Appalachian Trail."

He lives in a community called "Four Seasons" (I don't think that was his Trail Name).

By coincidence, Lyon's birthday is the trail's birthday: 14 August 1937. And he finished his 2,000 on Katahdin just days before his -- and the Trail's -- 75th birthday.

The article also records the finished section hike by David Brickley who, by chance, lived near Lyon in Northern Virginia, but only met each other in a shelter in Maine last year.

Inspirational!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Jennifer Pharr Davis Spoke in Chapel Hill

Speed hiker Jennifer Pharr Davis spoke recently at Fleet Feet Carrboro in North Carolina. A story about her appearance by Randy Young titled "Pharr Davis relates memories from the Appalachian Trail" appeared on the Chapel Hill News & Advocate web site on 16 January 2013.

Pharr Davis, author of "Becoming Odyssa" and "46 Days," spoke about hiking the AT in general and about her 46 day hike in particular. Article has several good quotes giving a good sense of what she talked about.

Hiking Chaplain Heads Out in April

Many of our national parks have chaplains each summer (I was one on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and then at Mammoth Cave) to serve the spiritual needs of staff and visitors through a group called "A Christian Ministry in the National Parks."

Now our Appalachian Trail will have one, too, but with a different sponsor. As reported on the SWVA.com web site in a story by Wayne Quesenberry titled "Wythe man is on an Appalachian Trail mission," 26-year-old Josh Lindamood has completed a chaplaincy training with the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Lindamood intends to "be a spiritual presence on the trail," and not a proselytizer. His work is the result of the work and prayers of Pastor Alan Ashworth of New Hope Union, Green Valley and Pine Grove, Bland County, Virginia.

Help the ATC at Boiling Springs

"The Appalachian Trail Conservancy needs volunteers to staff its visitor center at Children's Lake in Boiling Springs, Cumberland County. ... The ATC trains the volunteers and then expects them to work three-hour shifts on weekends and holidays, when staff generally is not in the center, which is also a regional office of the ATC." This all according to the Marcus Schneck article titled "Appalachian Trail Conservancy seeking volunteers for Boiling Springs center" appearing on the Patriot-News web site on 18 January 2013. Go sign up. It'll be fun.

Hier's Body at Tricorner Knob Shelter Identified

"Park rangers ID hiker's body found in Appalachian Trail shelter"" is the title of a story on the WATE.COM channel 6 television station web site. Posted on 18 January 2013, the story reports the identification of the hiker as Mr. Richard Lemarr, age 50, of Knoxville, Tenn. His body had been found in the Tricorner Knob Shelter on Wednesday, 16 January. Lemarr had left Newfound Gap on the previous Saturday morning intending on hiking the 30 miles to Davenport Gap in North Carolina. Rest in peace.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Buzz Trexler's Hike in the Smokies

A series of entertaining, interesting stories about preparing for and then hiking though the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Appalachian Trail. Somewhat inspired by Bill Bryson's book, Buzz Trexler -- the managing editor at The Maryville (TN) Daily Times -- tells us how he and a few buddies fared out there on a very crowded section of Trail.

I found these stories, the preliminaries and those from the actual trip itself, all good reads. You will, too. If Trexler ever writes a hiking memoir, I think it'll be very well received.

So, then, here are links to the stories:

Pre-WalkColumns:
"A Walk in the Smokies" columns:

Triple Crown for Hough and Hunsicker

The title "Idaho couple hikes 3 major National Scenic Trails amid romance" kind of tells it all for the article by Rich Landers of the Spokesman-Review which appears in the 17 May 2012 Tri-City Herald from Kennewick, WA.

Phil Hough and Deb Hunsicker hiked the AT in 1997, the PCT a couple years later, and the CDT in 3 sections during 2008, 2009 and 2010. Best part: they still like each other. About the AT,
"The AT is by far the most sociable trail," Hough said. "It has more people and more of a trail culture. It's been around longer and has hostels and businesses geared to hikers. It's a good place to cut your teeth on long-distance hiking because the infrastructure makes it more forgiving."

Mountains might be bigger in the West, but the trails are steeper on the AT. "They didn't know how to make switchbacks when the AT was built," he said. "It wasn't designed to accommodate stock animals. You find more ruts, roots and mud. It takes as much time to hike 2,100 miles on the AT as it does for 2,700 miles on the PCT.

"One of the most noticeable differences is the signage. You don't even need a map to find your way on the AT.

Hunt Trail to Katahdin Stream Falls on TV

Okay. I've been away from here for a while. There's actually no dearth of AT news. It there were, it would be easier to keep up with.

Anyway, today I came across a news report on WABI-TV channel 5 ("The Spirit of Maine") which consists of video and sound of a hike from Katahdin Stream Campground up to Katahdin Stream Falls. Reporter Rob Lydick is accompanied by ranger Andy Vitze. Nice shots of the Trail, of the terrain, of the stream and the Falls. If you've been there it'll bring back (probably good) memories; if you haven't, it should whet your appetite.

The story transcript on the tv station's website is titled "Roaming Rob: Katahdin Stream Falls". It was posted on 18 May 2012 in the evening.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Park Service on Smoky Issues

The Maryville Daily Times from Maryville, TN carries "Park spokesman responds to hikers' questions, concerns about backcountry management" based on Buzz Trexler's conversations with Bob Miller, management assistant and spokesman for Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The questions posed are:
  1. Why can through-hikers camp outside when the shelters are full, but not section-hikers? Does it really matter who is being put out to tent?
  2. Why are horses allowed, but not someone’s Brittany spaniel? If it’s because horses are a means of transport, then how can you stop off-road vehicles?
  3. If you can not enforce what shelter policies you currently employ, how will you be able to enforce the pending pay-for-use shelter policy? It seems there are too few rangers.
  4. Some even suggested that perhaps the Park is actually trying to deter backcountry and through-hikers. How do you respond?
See related articles in the paper about a weeklong hike that Trexler and two buddies took toward the end of April aimed at finding out what Bill Bryson and Katz missed when they skipped some of the Smokies.

National Trails Day at ATC Headquarters

An 18 May 2012 ATC press release available on pr.com is titled "African-American History Hike to Celebrate National Trails Day" and outlines the activities connected with National Trails Day at and around the ATC headquarters on 2 June 2012 10:00-2:00.

The "moderate one mile guided hike will begin with a tour of the ATC’s Visitor Center and end by following the Appalachian Trail downhill past numerous scenic spots and historic structures. At each historic site, a Harpers Ferry Park ranger will give an interpretive presentation about its significance." (They don't mention the uphill portion to get back to the starting point!)

Kweli Kitwana, A.T. Ambassador to Bolivar and Harpers Ferry, will lead the hike, along with longtime Harpers Ferry Park rangers and historians David Fox and Guinevere Roper.

At the end of the hike, participants will be have the opportunity to hear a presentation from Marcia Fairweather about her 15-year section-hike of the A.T. Ms. Fairweather is also a board member of the ATC, the first African-American to serve in this role.
Sounds like a good time.