Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bryson a Community Read Book

Pittsfield, Massachusetts is launching a 'one book, one community' project with the reading of Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods, according to an article by Jen Thomas on the web site posted on 28 December 2007. The article, titled "Pittsfield To Launch Community Reading Project," says that the Pittsfield READS! project was organized by the Taconic High School's librarian Meredith Cochran.

A.T. as Context for Other Trails

The Oneonta (NY) Daily Star's Rick Brockway has a weekly outdoors column in that paper and the 28 December 2007 one is titled "Major trail is in the works." Mostly, he's describing the North Country Trail and the opposition thereto at the eastern end of the Trail. But he begins by setting the context with this description of the A.T.:
"The Appalachian Trail is 2,144 miles, running from Springer Mountain, Ga., to Maine's highest peak, Mt. Katahdin. It crosses 14 states. The trail is used by an estimated 4 million people a year, but only about 175 hikers complete the five- to seven-month journey annually."

Swatara Iron Bridge Mentioned

The Swatara Creek iron bridge in mid-Pennsylvania is mentioned in an article in the Harrisburg (PA) Patriot-News of 27 December 2007 titled "State seeks owners, new life for old bridges." The writer, Al Winn, describes the state's efforts to sell off now-closed bridges, including one across the Swatara where a replacement is being planned.
"State and county officials are talking about what to do with the old one.

"For ideas they would need look no farther than a mile upstream from Inwood where PennDOT and the then Department of Environmental Resources moved a bridge from Waterville, Lycoming County, and rebuilt it here in 1986. The bridge is now part of the Appalachian Trail."
That bridge is also one of the few parts of the Trail in Pennsylvania which is not covered with sharp rocks.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hiker Lost Weight Before His Hike

The story in the 25 December 2007 Bainbridge, GA Post-Searchlight, written by Rod McDowell and titled "Little Things to a Life Change," is mostly about McDowell's recent major weight loss. It wasn't magic, of course, just diet and exercise, diet and exercise.

But what was interesting to me was the 'reward' he gave himself at the end of a 'Team Lean contest' wherein groups of overweight people compete with each other to lose the most unhealthy weight. McDowell writes:
"Toward the end of Team Lean, I decided I would reward myself with a hike on the Appalachian Trail. I was in great shape, having gone from 288 to 225, and I felt I was ready to join the legions that trek the nation's longest footpath.

"I think it is very important to have a vision for your newfound fitness once the bulk of your weight loss work is done. So often, people relax, get back to their old ways and let their bodies down after making them healthier. By keeping yourself motivated, you can maintain the vigor with which you strove to lose weight; whatever that motivation may have been.

"As I began to prepare for my hiking venture, I continued my strict diet and workout regimen, spending more and more time at the YMCA, constantly feeling like I was running for that light at the end of the tunnel."
Which is how he ended up on Cheoah Bald at the end of a two week plus hike waiting for his two buddies to catch up with him.

Hiker Now Nature Center Director

Michael Sandy, director of The Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary in Kansas City -- and former Appalachian Trail hiker -- is profiled in the 25 December 2007 Kansas City Star by Jason Noble under the headline "Nature sanctuary’s interim director takes on permanent role."

In the midst of the interview/article Sandy relates that after getting another Kansas City nature center up and running
"I decided I wanted to do some things for myself — like hiking on the Appalachian Trail and spending some time with my family. I couldn’t see taking a leave of absence for that long, so I worked for myself and hiked the trail."
And he went right from hiking to his current position.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Rohrbacher Finishes His A.T. Hike

The Delphos Herald from Delphos, OH has a 24 December 2007 article by Mary Grothause that records the completed section hike this summer by Charles Rohrbacher, a business teacher at St. John’s High School. It is titled "Rohrbacher’s boots made for walkin’."

He started hiking for several weeks during his summer break back in 1998, and followed with hikes in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007. He finally summited Katahdin on 14 July 2007.

Oh, yes, he says he's willing to do it again. You go, guy!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Cross Country Hiker Training on the A.T.

The Evening Sun ("serving the greater Hanover and Gettysburg [PA] areas") has a Steve Marroni article that was published on 23 December 2007 and titled "Man to hug a million 'for humanity'."

The article describes how area resident Josh Howell intends to hug a million people as he hikes across the country and back on the American Discovery Trail during a 9 month hike starting in Delaware on 1 March. It's to raise money for the Alzheimer's Association, and the article tells how is mother was stricken with an early onset of the disease.

Anyway, we also read here how Howell has been physically fit and active. And that
"Getting ready to for his cross-country hike is a full-time job. He hikes as much as he can, hitting local areas of the Appalachian Trail with a 40-pound pack. He calls ahead, setting up Hug-a-Thons and events for his stops along the way."
So if a hiker in southern Pennsylvania wants to hug you in the next couple months, it could be for a good cause.

Jazz Tunes Named for the Trail

The "All About Jazz" website has a review of a recent CD by pianist Yoko Miwa titled 'A Canopy of Stars.' The review is by Dan McClenaghan and was published on 22 December 2007.

In the midst of the review, we read:
"Miwas's more abstract side is displayed on “Appalachian Trail (North),” with a churning, Brad Mehldau flavor, and its sister tune, “Appalachian Trail (South),” that feels a bit more propulsive."
And I confess to not having the slightest idea what that means.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

2006 Section Hiker Headed for Romania

The 'Twin Cities Daily Planet' news site for Minnesotans has a piece titled "Complete Freedom" by Michele St. Martin posted on 16 December 2007. It profiles 63-year-old Ann Richards who is heading off for a 2 year stint in the Peace Corps, assigned to Romania. She is, apparently, an independent-minded woman.
"That independent streak served Richards well last summer, when she spent eight weeks by herself, hiking 587 miles of the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail. 'It was incredibly physically taxing, but my body was up to it,' she said. 'I carried a journal and had a lot of time to read and think,' Richards said. 'I had made the decision to enter the Peace Corps, but I wanted to really think it through.'

"Richards described her Appalachian Trail trek as a 'wonderful experience … I’ve had big blocks of solitude. That precious time when you reflect, resolve, and then completely empty your mind and just flow with the current. I’ve met the nicest bunch of hikers of all ages and backgrounds.' One disappointment, Richards said, was 'there were so few women my age hiking.'"

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Trail as Model's Misdirection

A website called Buddy TV has an article dated 17 December 2007 titled "More from Jenah after America's Next Top Model". It describes some of the story of a woman named Jenah Doucette who appears on the television show 'America's Next Top Model'.
"It turns out she didn't even tell her own sisters that she was joining America's Next Top Model, saying instead when she left shortly before her graduation that she was going to hike the Appalachian Trail."
Ah well, now that the show is over and Ms. Doucette did not "win" maybe she can actually hike the Trail. Or part of it.

Did her sisters actually believe she was going to hike the Trail? Was there a bogus backpack, a pseudo sleeping bag, a fake food bag?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Brady and Stachurski Thru-hike

The Walton Tribune (from Monroe, GA) dated 16 December 2007 has an article by Stephen Milligan recording the completed Appalachian Trail thru-hike by local resident Clay Brady. It's titled "Local man hits Appalachian Trail."

Brady and "college roommate Jason Stachurski, decided to walk the trail while still enrolled at LaGrange College". They graduated in May 2006, and started hiking on 4 March 2007. They completed their hike in October of this year, having spent "almost eight months" getting from Georgia to Maine.
"Toward the end of the trip, Brady and Stachurski had joined into sort of a loose group of nine hikers. 'We called it the Maine train,' Brady said."
And now, according to the article, Brady is thinking of hiking it again.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Skurka Keeps Hiking After 2002 A.T.

The Providence (RI) Journal of 16 December 2007 has an article by Meaghan Wims titled "A walk in the West" that describes a recent long distance hike by Andrew Skurka. He spent seven months hiking 6,875 miles on "The Great Western Loop" from the Grand Canyon north to Oregon and back south again, crossing through 12 national parks.
"Andrew Skurka wasn’t always an accomplished hiker. Though he was a standout long-distance runner at Seekonk High School, Skurka never seriously hiked until he completed the Appalachian Trail in 2002 in 95 days, with a 49-pound pack and not a clue what he was doing."
And now he's covered a lot more miles, including "the never-before-accomplished 7,800-mile Sea-to-Sea Route, from Montreal to the Pacific Ocean, [He] decided he’d be the first to tackle it once he graduated from college [and] finished the route in 2005, in 11 months."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Food Editor Misunderstands Hikers

An Associated Press story by AP Food Editor J.M. Hirsch and that appears on the WRAL television news site under the headline "Powdered Peanut Butter" on 14 December 2007 begins with the line "Powdered peanut butter sounds like something only a person hiking the Appalachian Trail could love."

Well, maybe. But let's read further:
"PB2 is an ultrafine powder made by roasting and pressing peanuts, a process that removes much of the fat found in traditional peanut butter."
And that pretty much removes the attraction peanut butter has for A.T. hikers, doesn't it?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Jeff Alt's Book Reviewed

A web site called variously "M&C" or "Monsters and Critics" reprints a book review of Jeff Alt's A Walk for Sunshine on 14 December 2007. The positive review, by Jessica Schneider, is said to have originally appeared at a web site called The Moderate Voice. Here, it's called "Featured Book Review: A Walk for Sunshine by Jeff Alt."

The reviewer says nice things like: "...despite his love for nature and the outdoors, he does not sneer down on people who don’t share the same goals as he..."; and "Another good aspect of the book is that Alt doesn’t preach too much in regards to religion."; and "A Walk for Sunshine is a refreshing read, one that I enjoyed more than I thought. And while the narrative is not larded with poetic turns of phrasing like Loren Eiseley, the writing is better than some other outdoor adventure books I’ve read"; and "What Alt describes is more of a “realistic” version of what would happen to a prepared, healthy person if trying to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, is it?"

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Pennsylvania House Passes Protection Bill

The 13 December 2007 issue of the Pocono Record has an article titled "Bill to protect Appalachian Trail in Pa. approved in House" in it. I know, I know ... you thought the Trail actually was already protected. But,
"'State law enacted in 1978 requires municipalities that border the trail to protect it as a state scenic, historic and esthetic treasure, but municipalities were not required to enact ordinances to do so,' said [Bob] Freeman, D-Northampton. 'My legislation would make sure the Appalachian Trail is appropriately protected from development that could detract from the trail’s natural beauty.'"
I'm not sure what the difference is between requiring protection on the one hand and requiring an ordinance to protect. Especially since the article doesn't say that the municipalities are going to be required to enforce their ordinances. Maybe that will be in the law passed in another 30 years.

Pennsylvania, you'll remember, is home of Eldred Township where the Alpine Rose race track wants to add auto racing noise and fumes to your hiking experience.

"The legislation (H.B. 1281) now heads to the Senate for consideration." Write your state senator!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Ornament Honors A.T.

Hagerstown Maryland's Herald-Mail of 11 December 2007 has an article titled "Jefferson County artist's trail ornament on White House tree" and written by Dave McMillion. The "trail" in the title is the Appalachian Trail. The artist is Sheila Brannan, a stained-glass artist from Shepherdstown, WV.

According to the article, "In celebration of 100 years of the National Park Service, national park superintendents were asked by first lady Laura Bush to select an artist to decorate an ornament representing their park." And the AT's superintendent chose Brannan.

The ornament is to hang on the White House Christmas tree with ones representing each of the other National Park Service properties.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

James "Sudoku" Sharpe Completes His Hike

Janene Holzberg writes in the Baltimore Sun on 7 December 2007 under the headline "Hiking trail is 'about living on your own'" about the just completed thru-hike by Ellicott City, MD resident James Sharpe.

Sharpe had the trail name "Sudoku". The article doesn't give his start and end dates, except to say "between April and October," and the Katahdin photo with the article shows blue sky and snow on the rocks. The reporter includes mention of post office drops, hostels, weight changes (Sharpe gained 10 pounds), 'hike your own hike,' and the social aspects of hiking.

Sharpe's father, Steve, is section hiking.

Kinsman Pond Shelter Replaced

In a short, un-signed piece titled "Give 'em shelter" in the 7 December 2007 "Union Leader" from Manchester, NH, we read about the replacement of the Kinsman Pond Shelter.
"The new shelter was built with weather-resistant materials and is expected to last even longer than the original structure, built in 1966, according to Hawk Metheny, backcountry management specialist for the Appalachian Mountain Club and a member of the board of directors of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy."

A.T. to the White House

Writing in the "Journal" of Martinsburg, WV, Quinn Daly tells the story of Shepherdstown, WV artist Sheila Brannan having been selected to create a Christmas tree ornament for use in the White House. Her ornament depicts the Appalachian Trail.

The article, titled "Artist celebrates park service; Ornament commemorating agency to adorn White House tree," is in the 7 December 2007 issue and includes a photo of Brannan holding her ornament that has "an image of the famous hiking trail that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Adkins Crew Finishes its 2007 Hike

Leonard Adkins writes that
"The longer I hike and the more I learn about the Appalachian Trail, the more convinced I become that its greatest importance—much more than the recreational opportunities it provides—is its preservation of the natural world from the encroachments and destructions of the modern world (such as the Wintergreen Resort which displaced the trail before it became federally protected in the Blue Ridge Mountains)."
This is in the final installment of his series of articles on this year's thru-hike that appeared in the web site supported by various newspapers in southwestern Virginia. The article, titled "At trail's end: The value of the AT is it insures a 2,000-mile strip of land will be left in its wild and natural state," summarizes the end of the hike and contains more philosophizing by Adkins. It doesn't seem to be dated, but appeared around 4 December 2007.

Trail Protection in Pennsylvania

An Associated Press article on the website of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News relays information that the Pennsylvania
"House neared a final vote on a bill that would provide additional protection to the section of the Maine-to-Georgia Appalachian Trail that runs across eastern Pennsylvania. It would require municipalities to adopt land use policies to preserve the trail. Critics say the bill may be unnecessary because of adequate existing laws, requires protection of subjective scenic or aesthetic qualities and does not properly define the corridor to be protected. (House Bill 1281)"
The article is headlined "News from the Pennsylvania General Assembly" and appeared on 4 December 2007. Passage of the bill might forestall further problems like the Alpine Rose racetrack.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Fugate in Missouri

Former A.T. thru-hiker Steve Fugate, currently on a cross-country walk "to share his love of life with whomever he meets along the way" in the wakes of the deaths of his two children, is in Columbia, Missouri, according to an article by Stephanie Callahan in the 3 December 2007 issue of the Columbia Missourian titled "Man walking across the U.S. moves through Columbia".

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Adkins Hike Finished

Leonard Adkins has written the capstone article in his Charleston Daily Mail series about this year's Appalachian Trail hike. It's titled "Appalachian Trail thru-hike reaches its end" and came out on 26 November 2007.

Adkins, his wife, and their dog intentionally took a long time to complete this year's hike (28 February 2007 to 8 November 2007), and did some flip-flopping in order to follow the seasons the way they wanted to.

He writes well. And reflectively. For example,
"The longer I hike and the more I learn about the Appalachian Trail, the more convinced I become that its greatest importance — much more than the recreational opportunities it provides — is its preservation of the natural world from the encroachments and destructions of the modern world (such as the Wintergreen Resort, which displaced the trail before it became federally protected in the Blue Ridge Mountains)."
His web site at gives more detail and can hook you up with his multi-media presentation.

It Will Be a REALLY Long Side Trail

The Glens Falls, NY Post Star of 27 November 2007 has an article by Charles Fiegl titled "DEC releases plan for National Scenic Trail" which relates news about the North Country National Scenic Trail. Among other things it says
"The longest continuous hiking trail in the United States has been in the works for 25 years. Now, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has released a draft plan to extend the trail through the Adirondack Park."
And down towards the end of this article, we read
"There are eight National Scenic Trails. The North Country trail was originally planned to link the Lewis and Clark Trail to the Appalachian Trail in Vermont. Congress passed an act approving the trail in March 1980. The trail winds its way through North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. Less than half of the trail is complete, but the Appalachian Trail took about 80 years to finish."
I can't figure out the arithmetic to get 80 years to finish the AT.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A.T. Books "Worn Out"

A former National Park Service Ranger has hiked the Blue Ridge Parkway and written a book about it titled "The Blue Ridge Parkway by Foot -- a Park Ranger's Memoir." The book was published in October by McFarland and Company press of North Carolina. "It is part travelogue, part autobiography, part parkway history," according to an article in the Roanoke Times of 23 November 2007 by Kevin Kittredge titled "The road less hiked;
Former park ranger and natural-born storyteller Tim Pegram walked the Blue Ridge Parkway and shares the joy of discovery in his new memoir."

The article says that Pegram would next like to hike the Appalachian Trail but that "he doesn't plan to write about it. 'It's a worn-out theme,' he said."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Dan Aitchison Speaks About Hiking

The Putnam County News and Recorder of 21 November 2007 has an announcement headlined "Putnam County Land Trust Program: Hiking the Appalachian Trail" which brings news of the 25 November talk "by Dan Aitchison of Shenorock, whose hilarious and powerful experiences trekking from Georgia to Maine will inspire and delight fireside adventurers, amateur naturalists and experienced hikers."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Stachurski and Brady Make it to Katahdin

The Greenwood (SC) Index-Journal of 17 November 2007 has an article by Chris Trainor titled "Greenwood man back from hike." The article documents the completed 7 month thru-hike by Jason Stachurski. He hiked 4 March to 9 October with friend Clay Brady.

Stachurski went by the trail name "Stone Age" and Brady went by "Triple Deuce". The writer points out that
"Finishing the Appalachian Trail is not a common achievement. In fact, Stachurski said 16 people started the hike in Georgia at essentially the same time he and Brady did. Only eight of those finished."
Which is way better than the usual odds one reads.

No Moons Allowed

UPI reports on 16 November 2007 that federal authorities are riding the Mt Washington cog railroad and charging hikers with a federal offense for mooning rail riders from the Appalachian Trail. The report, headlined "Feds say bad moon rising on a mountainside," doesn't specify the law broken.

Friday, November 16, 2007

AMC Annual Meeting Upcoming

On 16 November 2007 the website published a press release advertising the upcoming annual meeting of the Appalachian Mountain Club. They titled it "Appalachian Mountain Club to hold “Annual Gathering” in Wallingford". The meeting will be on 1 December 2007 in Wallingford, CT.

Who Will Be Number 10,000?

The Winston-Salem Journal dated 16 November 2007 carries the New York Times article about the approach of the 10,000th person to hike all 2,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Their headline is "HIKERS: Appalachian's 2,000-milers near 10,000." We should get there some time in the year 2008.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sweeney and McClain Finish Thru-Hikes

The Pine Journal published in Cloquet, MN ('Carlton County's Newspaper') has a 15 November 2007 article headlined "Our Neighbors... Jessica Sweeney" which records Sweeney's completed thru-hike.

She hiked for 193 days, starting 23 March and finishing on 1 October ("at 11:45 a.m."). She hiked with "her close friend Andy McClain". And they went by the trail names "Torpedo" and "Nice Enuff" respectively. They "clipped small white picket fences onto their packs representing their dream."

The article focuses on the friends they made during the hike.

Zimmerman Completes Thru-Hike

The 15 November 2007 issue of the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle has an article titled "Fairporter hikes 2,174 miles." It's the report of the completed 7 month and 7 day thru-hike by local resident Kathryn Zimmerman. She started at Springer 11 March, and finished on 17 October.
"She met about five locals along the way. Mike Martone of Greece, a Kodak retiree who began his thru-hike on March 15, finished ahead of her on Sept. 13."
Her trail name was "The Bag Lady" and according to the article
"one day in June in Virginia, Zimmerman quit. But after a few days in a B&B, she got her mojo back."
You sure don't want to hike without mojo. Her journal is at

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

John and Irene Bryant Search Now Homicide Investigation

The search for Appalachian Trail Conservancy members John and Irene Bryant, avid hikers in their 80's, has, according to Andre A. Rodriguez's article in the 14 November 2007 issue of the Asheville Citizen-Times, become a homicide investigation. The article is headlined "Search for couple turns into homicide investigation after woman’s body ID’d".
"Transylvania County Sheriff David Mahoney said a bank card belonging to 79-year-old John Bryant and his wife, 84-year-old Irene Bryant, was used to withdraw $300 from an ATM on Oct. 22 in Ducktown, Tenn."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Hampshire Resident Anctil Summits

The Nashua (NH) Telegraph of 12 November 2007 carries Peter Jennings' article titled "Nashua man experiences hike of a lifetime on Appalachian Trail."

It records the completed thru-hike by Robert "Bowleg" Anctil and his dog Bono. Forty-two year old Anctil, and 3-year-old Bono, started from Springer on 16 March. When he got to Katahdin,
"Anctil had braved a 6-month hike, and in doing so, he raised $2,000 for a granite bench memorial for his recently deceased friend, Chris Messier.

"Anctil now has an Achilles problem and a martial arts business that lost 30 percent of its customers in his absence, but he believes it was worth it to prove to himself what he could accomplish."
His online journal is at

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Alt No Bryson

The online e-journal (aren't all e-journals de facto online ones?) 'Blogcritics Magazine' has a "Book Review: A Walk for Sunshine - A 2,160-mile Expedition for Charity on the Appalachian Trail by Jeff Alt" posted therein on 11 November 2007 by 'Friend Mouse.'

The reviewer calls Alt's 2nd edition "a quick read" and opines that
"Alt isn’t a particularly eloquent storyteller – he’s no Bill Bryson, but then again, Bryson didn’t come close to finishing the Appalachian Trail – but his words do bring you out into the woods with him, bug bites, blisters and all."
Of additional interest, at least to me, is that she [the reviewer] was interested in reading the book because she wanted
"to see how Alt’s experience matched up with that of my parents (my mom, “Periwinkle,” also walked the AT in 1998 but had to come off for a couple hundred miles because of an injury; she rejoined my dad in New Hampshire for the last push)."

Two Upstate New Yorkers Thru-Hike

Dan Howley's article in the Albany (NY) Times Union on 11 November 2007 is a longer feature article documenting the completed thru-hike this summer by Paul Sypek and Matt Stannard of Glenmont, NY. It is titled "An alternate track; Two Glenmont men take a journey on the Appalachian Trail."

The college students started at Springer on 17 March, and finished at Katahdin on 4 October. The article describes some of their experiences with animals, and conveys the hikers' growth and their relationships with other hikers and non-hikers. It's a good all around piece on this thru-hike. The author says that
"theirs is not a story best measured in distances, peaks climbed, valleys walked, rivers crossed. It's a story about two young men coming of age in the wilderness where they filled their backpacks with memories for a lifetime and brought home a newfound sense of confidence."

Friday, November 09, 2007

Knowing When to Stop

It's not about hiking, but uses the A.T. as an illustration. That's the article by Jennifer Vogelsong in the 9 November 2007 issue of the York Daily Record / Sunday News which is titled "How to . . . quit something; It's OK, at times, to pull the plug." After detailing the story of a psychologist who quit her practice to stay at home with her kids, the writer makes this transition:
"So you decide - after spending hundreds of dollars on gear and countless hours in planning - that trekking the Appalachian Trail just isn't for you.

"You hang up the hiking boots and head home."
That's how you do it. It's better than slogging along just because someone else kept on hiking. Remember: hike your own hike. Maybe your hike is shorter.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Book About PCT Also Not Bryson

The book review of Barbara Egbert's "Zero Days" in the San Jose Mercury News of 8 November 2007 is written by Tom Mangan and titled "A family trek of 2,650 miles; Book follows 10-year-old girl on her adventure."

"Zero Days" describes the 2004 PCT thru-hike by Egbert, her husband Gary Chambers, and their daughter, Mary, that put Mary in the record books as the youngest PCT thru-hiker. Along the way in the positive review, Mangan writes that
"Egbert's first-person prose is plain-spoken and unpretentious. It's not the equal of, say, Bill Bryson's, whose "A Walk in the Woods" is a classic, antic tale of failing to through-hike the Appalachian Trail. But Egbert, a Mercury News copy editor, has success on her side, having hiked all but a couple hundred miles of the PCT (medical issues forced her off the trail for a few weeks) and finishing the trek in Canada with husband and child."
Check it out: Zero Days: The Real-Life Adventure of Captain Bligh, Nellie Bly and 10-year-old Scrambler on the Pacific Crest Trail By Barbara Egbert (Wilderness Press, 288 pp., $15.95)

Elderly Hikers Missing in North Carolina

John Harbinand and Mark Schulman write in the Hendersonville, NC Times-News of 8 November 2007 under the headline "Search for Bryants pushes on." And with a beginning like that, you know the ending could be bad.

The Bryants are John and Irene Bryant, 80 and 84 year old members of the Appalachian Trail Conference, who have been missing from their home in North Carolina. By the time neighbors called in search and rescue they had been missing more than two weeks. Their car was located in Pisgah National Forest and they're presumed to have headed up one of the hiking trails in the area. Rescuers and search dogs are trying to locate them.

Connecticut Hiker Retiring

The University of Hartford Informer has an 8 November 2007 article by Darren Duncan entitled "Carlson to Retire" which details the upcoming retirement plans of the University's Director of Public Safety, Judy Carlson. And it does not say that her plans are now to hike the Appalachian Trail.

What it says is that she started working at the University in January 1974 and that
"Carlson is an adventurous person and after working here for a year, she decided to go hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Carlson explained, 'It was my intent to work for a year and then leave to hike the Appalachian Trail which is what I did. However, after four months on the trail I was tired of hiking and eating trail food so I came back to Connecticut and was fortunate enough to be able to resume my employment at the University. I've been here ever since.'"
So she's already had her long distance hike. Maybe she will now do more of it.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A.T. Next on His List

Scott McMillon writes under the headline "Livingston man hikes Continental Divide Trail" in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle of 5 November 2007 about Jim Horan having just finished hiking the Continental Divide Trail. It ends with the note that
"In 1998, he and [hiking companion Mark] Dixon completed the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail, tracing a different route from the Mexican border to Canada. And he's got his eye on the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail, which would make him one of only a few dozen people to complete the “Triple Crown” of distance hiking."

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Island Girls on Mt. Washington

Nine Nantucket girls participating in the Strong Wings Adventure School experienced a much higher elevation than their island home affords them during a recent hike on Mount Washington, according to the article in the Nantucket Island Inquirer of 4 November 2007 by Margaret Carroll-Bergman titled "All-girls Strong Wings excursion tackles Mount Washington."

They trained as best they could on the island whose highest elevation is 111 feet above sea level. Their first night of hiking found them at the Zealand Falls hut.
"The huts sleep about 50 people, both men and women, and according to Oberg, the Nantucket group shared one room with two other people. 'The girls got to meet many people who have literally been hiking the Appalachian Trail since April,' she said. 'This was a hard concept for most of the girls to grasp, to hike a rocky, mountainous trail for months on end.'"
It's a hard concept for a lot of people to grasp.

He Cobbled Together a Section Hike

The Hanover [and Gettysburg, PA area] Evening Sun of 4 November 2007 has an article by Steve Marroni titled "Cobbler hikes length of AT" all about local cobbler Doug Livelsberger finishing up a 15 year long section hike of the Appalachian Trail.
"Livelsberger owns Beanie's Shoe Repair in Gettysburg and Hanover. He has been a cobbler for about 35 years, and has put more than 1,000 miles on the pair of hiking shoes he still wears."
It's a good story about hiking and things learned on the Trail, one you don't often read when section hikers finish their 2,000 miles.

An abbreviated version of this article also showed up in the York Daily Record, titled there "Shoemaker Ends 15-year Journey on Trail" on 11 November 2007.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Teacher to Be Hiker

A PATC Leave No Trace workshop has inspired a Maryland science teacher, Brook Green, to design and carry out an outdoor education lesson for the 234 7th graders at Thurmont Middle School. That's according to a Jeremy Hauck article titled "Teacher slowly turns her students into tree stewards" and published on 1 November 2007 in the Gaithersburg, MD Gazette.

The article ends on this hopeful note:
"Green is set to retire in the spring after 34 years of teaching, and the first thing she and her husband plan to do is hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, more than 2,000 miles, she said.

"'We’ve put it off all this time,' she said, adding that she hopes her students will be more likely to discover hiking in the future as a result of the school project."
Good luck!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Walkin' Jim also Talkin' and Singin' in Virginia

The Roanoke (VA) Times of 26 October 2007 carries an article titled "Walkin' Jim strolls into the New River Valley; As increased attention is given to climate change, the well-known hiker continues to talk about the importance of reconnecting with nature" by Tim Thornton. It describes the appearance locally of Jim "Walkin' Jim" Stoltz with his multi-media show at Virginia Tech’s Squires Student Center, Colonial Hall, as "part of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy's 'A Trail to Every Classroom' project."

Here's how Stoltz got involved in hiking and talking about the environment:
"It was 1973. Stoltz had dropped out of college and was casting about for what to do with his life. On a day hike in Shenandoah National Park, he met a hiker who was traveling the entire Appalachian Trail. That was pretty rare then. Only 37 people covered the entire AT during the 1960s -- and not all of them did it in one trip.

"Stoltz and the hiker talked for half an hour. Stoltz decided he wanted to walk the AT. The next summer, he did it.

"Then he took an 18-month, 5,000-mile walk from Maine to Washington. That's when people started calling him Walkin' Jim."
So now with his music, photography, and stories, Walkin' Jim Stoltz is spreading the message about the need to preserve wild places.

Group Hike in New York

The Warwick (NY) Advertiser of 26 October 2007 carries a notice of an upcoming group day hike on the Appalachian Trail. Under the headline "Appalachian Trail hike" the note says that
"Warwick Valley High School science teacher and naturalist Edward Sattler will lead the hike. Sattler will point out and explain local geology, glaciation , micro-climates and micro-habitats. The hike will last approximately one hour in each direction and is of moderate difficulty with several short, steep sections."
The hike is slated for Saturday 3 November 2007, starting at the Trail crossing on Route 94 at 1:00 p.m. Phone the Albert Wisner Public Library at 845-986-1047, extension 3 for details and reservations.

Seniors Hiking Across Florida

Susan Latham Carr writes under the headline "The Walk of Their Lives; Hikers over age 80 plan a 2-week trip across Florida" in The Ocala Star-Banner of 26 October 2007. The story centers on a cross-Florida hike organized by Kenneth Smith to celebrate his 80th birthday. In pulling together the half dozen hikers going along, Smith advertised in the Florida Trail Association that hikers need be 80 or older.

One of the hikers is 83-year-old Loretta Copeland of Ocala, FL. She relates how she has hiked all but 280 miles of the Appalachian Trail, having only started when she was 68.
"It broke her heart, she said, when she had to give up the trail last year because she can no longer climb the rocky areas."
There's a 90 year old hiker in the group going from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico on the 2 week, 132 mile backpacking trip. He hiked 116 miles of the A.T. back in February. Sounds great!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mike Martone Thru-hikes to Katahdin

The Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle of 25 October 2007 has a Kevin Oklobzija article titled "Nonhiker from Greece takes on 2,174-mile trek." That's "Greece" as in "Greece, New York."

The successful thru-hiker under discussion is retiree Mike Martone. The article tells how he was inspired to take on the Appalachian Trail by reading the online hiking notes of a fellow Eastman Kodak employee who was given a leave of absence to thru-hike. Martone apparently inspired other people along the way:
"Turns out Martone was the voice of inspiration for a lot of folks on the trail. A fellow hiker, 'Uncle Tom' as he called himself in his Web journal, described Martone as, 'the ultimate AT champion.'"
Lots of good description in the article about animals and life on the Trail.

Coming Up Next: A Korean 'Appalachian Trail'

Some New Zealanders who are hiking the Baekdu-daeganin mountain ridge South Korea are
"planning on coming up with an English guidebook to help future hikers. There are also plans for a coffee table book featuring the photos of the trail taken by Douch and Shepherd, along with cultural information written by Mason.

"With this project, they hope that one day, the Baekdu-daegan can become an internationally known long distance trail like the Appalachian Trail, Sierra Crest Trail, Inca Trail and the Great Wall of China.

"You can track the progress of the 2007 Baekdu-daegan Expedition Team on their blog"
Their experiences are also profiled in a Korea Times article by Cathy Rose A. Garcia dated 25 October 2007 under the headline "Rediscovering Korea's 'Spine'."

Scouts' "Appalachian Trail District"

The Boy Scouts of America have an "Appalachian Trail District" serving the southern half of Frederick County, MD in their National Capital Area Council. A camporee by the luckily-named district is the focus of a story by Katherine Mullen at "Maryland Community Newspapers Online". The 25 October 2007 article is titled "Downpour doesn’t dampen Scouts’ spirit".

Virginia Trail Protection Passes House

There is a Sierra Club press release posted online at under the headline "House Passes the Virginia Ridge and Valley Act; Creates Six New Wilderness Areas and Two National Scenic Areas Step on the Path to Protecting What's Left of America's Wild Places" under the date 25 October 2007.

The proposed wilderness locations that mention the Appalachian Trail are described as follows:
"* Garden Mountain, 3,291 acres that extend along the rugged south face of Garden Mountain, bordered by the Appalachian Trail.

* Hunting Camp Creek, 8,470 acres of remote country crossed by the Appalachian Trail.

* Lynn Camp Creek, a 3,226-acre tract of forest that includes the northern slope of Brushy Mountain and tranquil Lynn Camp Creek, as well as parts of the Appalachian Trail."
As with most any legislation, though, there is a long process involved. This is HR 1011, the Virginia Ridge and Valley Act, sponsored by Representative Rick Boucher (D-Va.) and bears monitoring to see that it survives through to the end point and is funded.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Juliet "Bonafide" Araujo Thru-hikes

Jonathan Foerster trumpets the completed thru-hike by Juliet Araujo in the 24 October 2007 Naples (FL) Daily News under the headline "A walk in the woods; A month after she finished hiking the Appalachian Trail, Juliet Araujo revisits accomplishing her life’s goal."

Araujo and her dog, Boneca, hiked from mid-March to mid-September, fulfilling the vision which the 45-year-old Araujo had held since she was 16. Life had gotten in the way during those in between years. The article includes journal excerpts and is accompanied by 6 photos.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mount Rogers Description

There's a description of Mt. Rogers, Virginia in the article by Bill Lohmann titled "Mount Rogers is the highest point in Va." that appears in today's 22 October 2007 Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Among other things, he writes that the mountain isn't well known in Virginia and that
"Part of the problem is its location; Mount Rogers is deep in Southwest Virginia, within sight of North Carolina and Tennessee but more than a five-hour drive from Richmond. You also can't drive particularly close to the mountain, which is in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. ( You have a round-trip hike of at least 9 miles, no matter where you start.

"One more thing: There's no view from the summit."
Still, he relates that the hike is worth it. He and his family usually start at Grayson Highlands and take the Appalachian Trail from there to Mt. Rogers.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Good Scouts on the A.T.

A story on Philadelphia's Action News ABC channel 6 web site titled "Boy Scouts Celebrated as Heroes" by Denise James relates how Scouts from Troop 226 from Rockledge, Montgomery County, PA performed an evacuation of a 41-year old hiker who had fallen 5 feet from a cliff and gashed her head open. One of the troop leaders is a cop and another is a paramedic; when they determined that the hiker shouldn't hike the 6 miles out to the trailhead, the Scouts put made up a stretcher and carried her out to the medivac helicopter.

All that stuff you learn in first aid class sometimes actually gets used!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sommerville Speaks About A.T. in N.C.

There is going to be a presentation about the A.T. in Arden, NC, according to the notice in the 20 October 2007 issue of the Hendersonville, NC Times-News Online. The notice is titled "Appalachian Trail the topic of presentation."

Speaker is ATC's Morgan Sommerville, a 2,000 miler. The presentation is sponsored by Diamond Brand Outdoors of Arden and will be on Tuesday 23 October.

For more information, call 684-6262 or visit

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bear Naked on Bear Mountain

Bear Mountain (NY) trail work is briefly mentioned in an article by Chris Bosak in the Wilton Villager of 19 October 2007 titled "Chamber members mingle at annual meeting."

The article is about companies promoting a "green" image and refers to the Bear Naked folks from Norwalk, CT who "spent a day cleaning and restoring trails at Bear Mountain, which is part of the Appalachian Trail."

Nuclear Lake, New York Mentioned

"Today's Fall Excursion: Nuclear Lake offers hikes, connects to Appalachian Trail" is the title of the brief article in the 19 October 2007 issue of the Poughkeepsie Journal. And that about says it all. It's simply a short description of how to get to Nuclear Lake and how long it takes to hike around it (2 hours for the 4 miles).

It does add that one could extend the hike almost indefinitely "given that it's connected to the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine."

While it explains that the clean-up issues from the plutonium processing at the lake have been taken care of long ago, it doesn't add anything about the hiker comments about glowing in the dark after passing by the lake.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

North Carolina Land Preserved

The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy has recently purchased a 430 acre tract in the Roan Highlands in Avery County, NC that is "near the Appalachian Trail and the Pisgah National Forest and includes a high altitude ridge more than 5,000 feet in elevation," according to an article by Paul Clark in the 18 October 2007 Asheville Citizen-Times titled "Conservation partnership protects part of Highlands of Roan."

The "pristine" Powdermill tract had been threatened with development.

Dry Hiking the Smokies

The drought in the American South is, of course, also affecting the Appalachian Trail. The Asheville Citizen-Times of 18 October 2007 has an article titled "Drought shakes up daily life, business" by Jon Ostendorff that attests to that fact.

Down in the middle of the article these sentences relate to the Trail conditions:
"In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, hikers on the Appalachian Trail won’t find a running spring for 35 miles — something that’s unheard of in at least 25 years.

"And the long-term forecast looks bleak. The federal Climate Prediction Center has warned dry conditions will persist at least through December from the Maryland-Delaware area south into portions of Georgia and Alabama.

"Parched conditions are not what most hikers would expect when they start on the Appalachian Trail through the Smokies.

"In the summer, the green valleys visible on the route between Fontana Lake and Clingmans Dome are often shrouded in early morning fog.

"Springs usually poke through the mountain in many spots. Even in the normally dry fall, soaking rain isn’t uncommon.

"But not this year.

"'The Appalachian Trail is the worst,' said park spokesman Ranger Bob Miller. 'At all the shelters along that route, all the springs are dry.'

"The park has been warning hikers of the potentially dangerous lack of water with trailhead signs and when they get their permits, which are required for the AT in the park.

"Farther north, toward Davenport Gap, the situation is not much better for backcountry water. The springs aren’t totally dry, but they are slow. Some take five minutes to fill a quart-sized water bottle, Miller said. 'Our backcountry management specialist has been here 25 years and never seen all these springs dry at once,' he said."
Kind of makes life harder for those southbounders still on the Trail. And means a simple jug of water may be the most welcome trail magic these days.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A.T. Has Steeper Climbs than PCT

A completed Pacific Crest Trail hike for Pennsylvanians Scott and Sandy McMillan is reported in the Derrick of 17 October 2007 in an article by Karen Clark titled "Kennerdell couple hike length of venerable Pacific Coast Trail."

"Despite their still-aching feet, the McMillans have already begun to entertain ideas about the next adventure.

"'We may do the Appalachian Trail in a year or two. It is a little over 2,000 miles and is physically harder, but logistically easier with steeper climbs,' Scott said."

Tillie Wood, Hostel Hostess

The Roanoke Times of 17 October 2007 carries Amanda Codispoti's memorial piece -- obituary, really -- for Tillie Wood, the late proprietor of Wood's Hole Hostel in Giles County. She had been welcoming hikers there for 20 years. Wood died on Sunday 14 October 2007 in Roswell, Ga. She was 89. Her granddaughter Neville Harris plans to continue the hostel come next Spring. The 100 acres of land on which the hostel sits was protected last year by an easement with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation.

The article is titled "Hostel owner ran a quiet oasis for AT hikers; Several hiking message boards and blogs included stories of memorable stays at Tillie Wood's accommodations."

Monday, October 15, 2007

Former Soldier, Future Hiker

"Picture him hiking the Appalachian Trail, or learning to drive again -- dreams he has every intention of fulfilling." That's how Mary Haupt winds up her profile of Rick Yarosh in the (Binghamton, NY) Press & Sun-Bulletin of 15 October 2007 titled "Inspired by Rick Yarosh's strength of spirit".

The deal is that Yarosh had just returned home from an Army hospital whence he had gone after "an improvised explosive device blew up outside Baghdad, taking his right leg below the knee and leaving him burned over 60 percent of his body." From what Haupt writes, it sounds like Yarosh has the grit and positive outlook needed to get well enough to hike.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

White Mountain Hut System Described

The Boston Globe's Tim Wacker writes a long, lush article about the AMC huts in the White Mountains in their 14 October 2007 issue. It's titled "Hut, two, three ... and more; Appalachian Trail shelters in New Hampshire's mountains free you from carrying your room and board."

Which is all true, of course, but one has to be sure to read the article's sidebar to get to the cost of being freed.

Nice description, though.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Appalachian Trail Hike in Watercolor

Trenton, New Jersey's newspaper The Times has a notice (titled "There and back again") in its 11 October 2007 issue that announces a watercolor show by artist Norma Jean DeVico at Greene and Greene gallery in Lambertville. "Paintings DeVico completed while hiking the Appalachian Trail and local scenes will be included in the show." For information, call (609) 397-7774.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A.T. Thru-hike in 90 Seconds

Here's speed hiking for you ... sort of. A YouTube video that shows someone's recent thru-hike. I found it posted on a video blog of the Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune on 9 October 2007.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Midnight, the Four-Footed Hiker

The Saratogian has an article in its 8 October 2007 issue by Kathryn Caggianelli titled "Midnight, the mountain-conquering canine" in which she profiles the 9-year-old dog that hikes with Mike and Gerilyn O'Reilly.

In the article, Mike O'Reilly tells the story of when they "unexpectedly hiked into moose territory" a week ago on the Appalachian Trail and came across a 1,000 pound bull moose. After a few moments of uncertainty, the moose went his way, unconcerned with the unleashed labrador retriever or his hiking companion.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Jeff Alt Talks Up His New Book

The Chicago Sun-Times has this note in its 3 October 2007 issue in Dale Bowman's outdoors column under the headline "Pink on brink of record" (which refers to a large salmon someone recently caught):
"Take a hike. Hiking the southern end of the Appalachian Trail after college defined my outdoor life. (I recommend it to any high school or college kid considering it.) Jeff Alt nicely captured the AT experience in ''A Walk for Sunshine.'' Now, he comes to the public library in New Lenox (hometown of his wife Beth) for a free presentation of ''Life Lessons from the Trail,'' his new epilogue, at 1 p.m. Saturday. Call (815) 485-2605."

Leslie Mass Book Touted

A recent press release on the Mass Media Distribution Newswire titled "True story of one woman's hike inspires readers" describes Appalachian Trail thru-hiker Leslie Mass's book In Beauty May She Walk: Hiking the Appalachian Trail at 60 (416 pgs, hardcover, $21.95). It is published by Rock Spring Press. Her hike began in 2001, went until September 11th interrupted, and was finished the following year.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Adkins Clan Closing in on Another Finish

The Charleston (WV) Daily Mail has another article by Leonard Adkins, documenting his umpteenth thru-hike with his with Laurie Adkins and their dog (McAfee of Knob, the Amazing Appalachian Bouncing Dog). In this installment, he describes the wonders of New Jersey and the rocks of eastern Pennsylvania. This one is headlined "Visit shows why New Jersey is often called The Garden State" and it's dated 2 October 2007.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Jeff Alt Speaks on Appalachian Trail

Chicago Sun-Times reporter Dale Bowman includes this note in his 30 September 2007 "Outdoor Notes" column of announcements:
"Saturday: Jeff Alt, author of Life Lessons from the Trail, book-signing and multimedia presentation on his Appalachian Trail experiences, New Lenox Public Library, 1 p.m., (815) 485-2605."

Mt. Rogers Hike Described

Brenda Cummings writes under the headline "Ponies, balds and thunderstorms are all part of a Mount Rogers hike" in the 30 September 2007 Huntsville (AL) Times about "a two-day, two-night backpack on Virginia's Mount Rogers" with some friends from northern Alabama. She offers a nice description of the area, its ponies, blueberries, and vistas. As a sad sign of the times, she found a couple ways to refer to the severe drought clutching the South these days.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Maine Caretaker Profiled

Travis Barrett has a really nice article titled "Office space" in the 29 September 2007 Kennebec Morning Sentinel. It's all about this summer's caretaker at Horns Pond in the Bigelow Preserve, Maine: Dave Collinson. Everything you always wanted to know (well, almost) about the Appalachian Trail caretakers. He started on 19 May and will work to the middle of October.

There's also a little bit of information about a thru-hiker (who must have happened by while the reporter was on site) named "Stroker" which
"is the trail name of Seth Dietrich, who, in a former life, managed a Miller Brewing Company warehouse near his hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Seeking something more than the smell of stale suds and concrete floors, he sought the solitary existence the Appalachian Trail promises."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Jeff Alt Quick Profile

Andrea Reeves writes in the 27 September 2007 Cincinnati Enquirer's Community Press & Recorder under the headline "Trail brings success to Glendale author" about thru-hiker Jeff Alt, whose book about his hike "A Walk for Sunshine" is coming out in a second edition.
"Sunshine, [is] a home in Toledo where his brother with cerebral palsy lives.... [The hike] was a trek that changed the lives of Sunshine residents by inspiring a 5K walk every year that has raised more than $125,000 so far."

Monday, September 24, 2007

Lowland A.T.

Newark, New Jersey's Star-Ledger newspaper calls the East Coast Greenway "a 2950-mile lowland Appalachian Trail" in an article titled "A two-wheel path down the coast" published on or about 24 September 2007.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Newspaper in Favor of Black Nubble

An editorial in the Maine Sunday Telegram on 23 September 2007 titled "Now is the time, this is the place for wind; State regulators should consider the broader benefits of the Black Nubble proposal" speaks in favor of the Black Nubble wind farm, noting that
"A previous plan, which included turbines on the top of Redington Mountain as well as Black Nubble, was defeated by a 6-1 vote, in large part because of the visual impact that the wind farm would have on a pristine section of the Appalachian Trail.

"This proposed wind farm would also be visible from the trail and has many of the same opponents, including Maine Audubon and the Maine Appalachian Trail Club."
Seems to me that one thing clearly isn't going to happen: that power produced here will reduce any fossil fuel produced power. What will happen is that we will just end up consuming more power. It will be all the fossil fuel produced power PLUS wind produced power.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Underhill Under Fire

Kenneth Barbalace, editor of the blog, writes under the headline "National Park Service Superintendent states 'Global Warming Irrelevant' in opposing wind farm" on 21 September 2007. He is referring to a statement apparently made by Pam Underhill in testimony before Maine's Land Use Regulation Commission about the wind farm proposal on Black Nubble Mountain.

Underhill, understandably, holds the protection of the Appalachian Trail as her first concern. It's her job to do so, after all. But Barbalace writes that "First I see this as an issue of someone from a distant state forcing her view of the way things should be on another state...."

The comments that follow up on this blog post seem to degenerate pretty quickly into ad hominem remarks. Ah, well.

Trail Protection Money in Virginia

Money has been appropriated for a number of projects in Virginia, according to the article in the Kingsport Times-News titled "Clinch Ranger District lassoes $520,000 for horse riding trail" on 22 September 2007. The projects include the following:
"•Green County, Appalachian Trail, $433,202 for High Top Mountain land acquisition."
With the explanation that
"Federal funds for the projects were provided to Virginia via the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act, A Legacy for Users passed by Congress and signed by President Bush in 2005."

Friday, September 21, 2007

Land Protection in Maine

The Portland Press Herald staff report that the "Grafton Notch Project protects land" in the 21 September 2007 issue. The land under discussion here is 3,688 acres of land that "includes four miles of the 42-mile Grafton Loop Trail and a popular snowmobile trail, and is part of a larger initiative in the Mahoosucs region" and is "a stone’s throw* from the Mahoosuc Mile, one of the wildest stretches of the Appalachian Trail."

(*Probably a smaller stone than the ones actually in the Notch.)

AT in CT

Tim Jones writes in the Concord (NH) Monitor under the headline "The anonymous AT; Connecticut worth a visit" in the 21 September 2007 issue. He describes some dayhiking he did on the Connecticut portion of the Appalachian Trail, remarking on just how different it is from New Hampshire portions, and just how attractive it is. As he concludes,
"What I saw was just enough to get me fired up and planning to get back and really explore this beautiful countryside. Most people seem to forget that Connecticut is more than casinos and Interstate 95, and pass through on their way to somewhere else. They don't know what they are missing."

Windmill Discussions Continue

A story and a letter to the editor (in the Kennebec Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal -- both on 21 September 2007 by Valerie Tucker, and Brian T. Hanson Sr., respectively -- about the windmill farm proposal in the Maine woods. I like this sentence from Hanson's letter:
"Maybe all of you "air huggers" would rather stand along the Appalachian Trail and look out over the tall stacks of coal-fired power plants "belching" a beautiful dark cloud into the sky or, maybe the "ominous glow" of a shiny new nuclear power plant is more to your liking."
There is, of course, the solution of reducing our power consumption altogether, but it doesn't come up too pften in these discussions.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A.T. Hiker Couldn't Get Enough of Pennsylvania

Lori Van Ingen writes in the 18 September 2007 Lancaster (PA) Intelligencer Journal about an Appalachian Trail hiker who just kept on walking.
"Jeffrey C. Brethauer of Lancaster is one of two Pennsylvania residents who have earned the State Forest Trails Award from the Keystone Trails Association and the Bureau of Forestry, a division of the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

"To earn the award, a person must hike all 780 trail miles in Pennsylvania's 18 forests."
Take that, all you hikers who thought Pennsylvania was too rocky!

The article also says that Brethauer completed the Appalachian Trail in 1998.

Opposition to Maine Wind Farm Continues

An Associated Press article in the 18 September 2007 Boston Herald notes that "Wind project foes want regulatory official to step down." Among the opponents to this Black Nubble Wind Farm in Maine are "Maine Audubon, the Appalachian Mountain Club, the Maine Appalachian Trail Club and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy."

Hiking New England Encouraged

Wayne Hooper writes under the headline "Now's the time to go take a hike" in the Seacoast Online news website from New Hampshire that fall is a good time to hike in New England.
"Utilize the Appalachian Trail as it offers shelter, food, companionship and information. The trail runs from Maine to Georgia, so there is plenty to go around for all of us Maine and New Hampshire folk. The scenery along the trail in the Northeast is some of the best in the world as you can hike through the White Mountains and all the way to majestic Mount Katahdin at Baxter State Park."
He doesn't mention needing to wear orange vests. Don't they have a fall hunting season in New Hampshire?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Chris "Mowgli" Martin Thru-Hikes

The Tufts Daily newspaper has an article in its 17 September 2007 issue by Marissa Carberry titled "In Our Midst | Alone in the woods: A junior's 2,175-mile journey up the Appalachian Trail." As she explains it,
"Taking cues from his father, who hiked the Appalachian Trail while he was in college, Tufts junior Chris Martin braved bears, hunger, heat exhaustion and "foot rot" this summer to hike America's famous, 2,175 mile-long trail."
I wonder how many second generation thru-hikers there are.

Hiking under the trail name "Mowgli" he started 15 May and finished on 19 August. He went through New Hampshire with the guys ("Bandana Ben" and "Warpzilla") carrying their friend's ashes on a thru-hike.

The Business of Hiking

Lauren Ober of the Burlington (VT) Free Press writes on 17 September 2007 under the headline "Hikeu forms: Trail-guide company helps people achieve hiking goals" about the start of a trail guiding company in the Green Mountain State.

The company, named Hikeu (which rhymes with haiku), is the brainchild of two thru-hikers in the class of 2001: Brenda Kerr and Reid Hardin, along with Jonathan Ormsby (who may also be an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, though the article isn't crystal clear on that point). All three did the Pacific Crest Trail together.
"As guides, they will take customers on any hike from a quick day exploration around Stowe to a three-week through-hike on the Long Trail."
One percent of their proceeds will be donated to the Green Mountain Club.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

British Newspaper Touts A.T. Holiday

The British are coming! Well, they might be, anyway. Listed as option #6 on a list of "25 great ideas for autumn getaways" in the 16 September 2007 issue of the Guardian Unlimited (right between #5 "an autumnal forest retreat at a Center Parcs village" and #7 "this year's Oktoberfest") is the following:
"Get up close to New England's autumn foliage with an eight-day trekking holiday with Footloose (0870 444 8735; You'll go on guided walks along mountain trails, including the famous Appalachian trail, Green Mountains, White Mountains, Acadia national park and Boston. You can also go biking, swimming and take a sunset cruise. Trips depart 22 September and 6 October and cost from £793pp, excluding flights, but including ground transport, accommodation, a tour guide, and entrance to national parks."
Sounds like a lot of traveling.

Eradicating Invasive Plants

"The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is taking part in the 14th annual National Public Lands Day on Sept. 29, the largest hands-on day for volunteers working to preserve and protect America’s lands." That's how the article headlined "Trail volunteers to join efforts to weed out invasive species" by Dale Neal in the 15 September 2007 Asheville Citizen Times begins. It describes training given to volunteers who will then be able to do something to ameliorate
"the changes wrought by invasive exotic species of plants, such as habitat destruction, global diversity loss and economic devastation."
A lot of the plants we see out along the Trail -- especially where there has been some human disturbance of the natural system -- are exotic invasives. Sometimes they're so familiar to us, we don't realize that they don't belong and have already crowded out the native plants.

The workday described in the article is in Hot Springs.

Doug "Twofer" Gibson Summits Katahdin

From the Newton (IA) Daily News of 14 September 2007 comes notice in an article by Jessica Lowe titled "Gibson returns home after completing a six-month trek across the Appalachian Trail" that, well, Doug Gibson has finished his thru-hike.
"Gibson began on Feb. 25 at Spring Mountain, Ga., and walked 2,174 miles through 14 states over six months to reach Mount Katahdin, Maine, on Aug. 22."
His trail name was "Twofer." He explains the origin of the name this way:
"'My brother asked me who are the most common people who attempt the trail. They are kids who just graduated from college and people over 50 who have retired,' Gibson said. 'My brother pointed out that I was in both groups so that’s how it came about.'"

Thursday, September 13, 2007

"The 3,380-kilometre Appalachian Trail"

Paul Smaglik writes in an article titled "Hiking the ups and downs of the science trail" and published online in on 12 September 2007 (with the doi:10.1038/nj7159-253a) that
"Long-distance hiking is a lot like doing science. After leaving my post as editor of Naturejobs this spring, it took me about 1,200 kilometres, 20 thunderstorms and 12 rattlesnakes to really understand the similarities. While walking a portion of the 3,380-kilometre Appalachian Trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine, it seemed that there was always farther to go, with no promise of an immediate payback. Days could go by without even the reward of a scenic vista. Some days, the walking felt akin to the daily slog of accumulating data without the guarantee of a publication or a grant."
He continues in that vein. I don't think I've ever thought of the Trail in quite that same way.
"The experience gave my wife and I insights that will serve us off the trail — and that scientists may well appreciate. Both on the trail and in the lab, there are so many things that can go wrong every day that there's no point in blaming anyone: just accept the situation and get on with it."
And counting kilometers instead of miles sounds pretty impressive, too.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Thru-Hiker Evacuated in Maine

The Kingfield (ME) Irregular of 12 September 2007 has an article titled "Cooperative effort yields another successful backcountry rescue" which was written by David Hart. It describes the rescue of
"A through-hiker in his 40s who started the trail in March was hiking with his wife and a friend when he experienced severe abdominal pain around 3 a.m."
One of the hiker's companions started hiking out for help, met an orientation group from Colby College, one of whom phoned for help. A couple rescue teams, an ambulance, and a helicopter got the un-named hiker out to a hospital.

The Appalachian Trail rescue took place in Carrying Place Township, 20 to 25 minutes off the Long Falls Dam Road. Rescue units from NorthStar Backcountry Team and Franklin Search & Rescue, the Colby students, and others, combined in the effort.

Maine Wind Farm Proposal Status

The Kingfield (ME) Irregular has a 12 September 2007 article by staffer David Hart titled "Wind developers visit, announce public hearing date." It describes the latest news on the Maine windmill farm plans.

It's a long-ish article and mentions the Appalachian Trail a couple times. Interestingly, the walking tours of the wind mill site began "at the Appalachian Trail parking lot along Route 2." The guides pointed out that the wind turbines will really "not be seen by motorists or residents of any town." [unless they're out hiking, I suppose]
"Literature states that the closest turbine to the Appalachian Trail is 15.5 miles away, eight miles from Eustis/Stratton population center and the closest resident is 1.2 miles away. ... Under the current proposal, the above ground transmission line will be lowered and go underground about 100 yards north of the Appalachian Trail parking lot."
The company TransCanada is purchasing land for environmental buffers and doing other things to ease their way through the rest of the approval process.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A.T. Hiker John Illig Now Coaching at Middlebury

A 10 September 2007 press release from Middlebury College titled "Illig Named Head Coach Of Men's & Women's Varsity Squash" records the fact that coach John Illig
"is an avid outdoorsman, hiking the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and the Long Trail."

Schuylkill River Trail Intersects Appalachian Trail

In the Pottsville (PA) Republican & Herald newspaper of 11 September 2007, there is an article by Maria Herne titled "New path follows scenic river." It highlights the ribbon-cutting on another section of the new Schuylkill River Trail which will eventually connect Philadelphia and Pottsville as a 130 mile path.

Right now, however, it might be of interest that
"According to Laura Catalano, spokeswoman for the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area, the new trail consists of two segments, with the largest stretch beginning in Hamburg at the Kernsville Dam trail head parking lot and extending to the old railroad bridge in Auburn.

"This segment of the trail intersects with the Appalachian Trail in Port Clinton."

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Two Thru-Hikers in Minnesota

In an article by Chris Welsch in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune on 9 September 2007, and headlined "Travel: A Superior walk," you can read about Welsch's hike on the 'Superior Hiking Trail.' That would be pretty removed from the focus of this blog except that he mentions meeting
"two Minnesota gentlemen of retirement age going by their trail names -- Loon (Mike Freed) and T-squared (Mike Shepard)."
These two are identified as former Appalachian Trail thru-hikers, and PCT section hikers. And
"although they enjoyed their time on those more-famous routes, they said they were savoring the better-built, better-maintained Superior Hiking Trail."

Jeff Alt Announces New Edition

A press release published on and titled "This Man Knows What a Long Walk in the Woods Can Teach" describes the upcoming new 10th anniversary edition of Jeff Alt's book 'A Walk for Sunshine.' The release is datelined Cincinnati on 6 September 2007. It promises "edge-of-your-seat tales involving bears, bugs, blisters, skunk bedmates, mice, and hilarious food cravings" in the book.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Thru-Hiker Deane Jones Passes On

The Kennebec Journal reports on the funeral of Maine Rep. Deane Jones under the headline "Hundreds honor life of Rep. Deane Jones" and the byline of Susan M. Cover on 9 September 2007. The 69-year-old Jones had a brief battle with lung cancer and is the third sitting member of Maine's legislature to die this year. As a matter of fact, he was only "elected in June to fill the House District 83 seat left vacant by the death of Rep. Abigail Holman."

Down in the middle of the tribute one reads that
"One of the highlights of his life, according to family and friends, was his hike from Georgia to Maine on the Appalachian Trail. Jones was 62, recently retired from J.S. McCarthy Printers, and eager to throw himself into the adventure.

"'Before retiring, in 2000, he made the announcement he was going to hike the Appalachian Trail in its entirety,' his son, Michael Jones, said. 'He became fixated on this idea.'

"During a funny and touching eulogy, Michael described the difficulties his dad encountered, including a long separation from Pat, his wife of 42 years.

"After he finished the trip, his family joined him in Baxter State Park.

"'He was almost explosive with enthusiasm,' his son said.

"When Michael asked him what he had learned on the trip, his father answered with his trademark sense of humor.

"'Mike, you don't have to heat oatmeal in order to eat it,' he said."
Sounds like quite a guy.

Thru-hiker Church Hearon Leads Group Hike

"Chuck Hearon, who did a solo hike along the entire length of the Appalachian Trail and is well-known speaker and photographer in the Tryon area, will lead the first hike of the season. He will be leading hikers through FENCE and adjacent trails along a portion of River Road up to Rondo Ridge."
That's according to an announcement of the Saturday hike series published under the headline "Tryon nature group to lead hike" in the Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times on 8 September 2007.

The "FENCE" mentioned is, by the way, the "Foothills Equestrian Nature Center" although this isn't explained in the article.

Mike "Gatorgump" Osmond Summits Katahdin

The WCSH channel 6 television station from Portland, ME reports on the completed thru-hike by Mike "Gatorgump" Osmond from Florida. He was hiking against doctor's orders after a heart attack 2 years ago. He lost 45 pounds, and I'm betting his cholesterol is pretty low at the moment. His son accompanied him to the top of Katahdin, and his wife is driving them back to Florida. The story, reported by Jackie Couture, is titled "Florida Man Hikes Appalachian Trail Against Doctors Orders."

Possible Alternative to Thru-hiking

Cancer survivor Rick Hammersley
"loved the outdoors and had the luminous idea of walking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.

"Then Hammersley saw a documentary about the trip. And all the hills. And the bugs. He decided it wouldn't be worth it.

"The Appalachian Trail is 2,175 miles long. It winds through the Blue Ridge Mountains, has roughly 260 trail shelters and each campsite is about a day's walking distance from its neighbors."
So, instead of hiking the Trail, he's walking across the continent from Bodega Bay, California to Coney Island, New York. Go figure. It's got to do with the usually walkable grades and the fact that his wife can drive the RV for him to spend the night in.

It's all reported in an article by Annie Johnson in the Roanoke Times titled "More than a leisurely stroll; Rick Hammersley plans to walk across America to help fight cancer and diabetes," dated 7 September 2007.

His web site for the hike is:

A.T. Azaleas Inspire Gardener in South Carolina

The Anderson (SC) Independent-Mail News has a 7 September 2007 article by Patricia J. Phillips, who is "a freelance author who derives pleasure from the pursuit of wildflowers, wild edibles and wild vistas." This one is titled "Native azaleas bring beauty to the garden and joy to the heart" and describes a long-held passion for growing native azaleas that was born in her on the Appalachian Trail back in 1974. "What began for me as a weeklong trek from Clingman’s Dome to Fontana Dam stretched into a lifelong journey."

Friday, September 07, 2007

Shelter Bibles and 9/11

Kate Luce Angell is a freelance writer who has a piece titled "Building hope from tragedy: 'Five Bells' brings 9/11 story to Bethel Park" in the 6 September 2007 Pittsburgh Post gazette. The article describes a play written by Rich Swingle about three firefighters killed in the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York City. It starts and ends with an Appalachian Trail connection.
"Take Bruce Van Hine's Bibles. The New York City fireman always dreamed of leaving Bibles in the shelters on the Appalachian Trail, and when his wife, Anne, received a large box of New Testaments as a donation, he went on day hikes to parts of the trail in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, placing several books each time.

"Bruce would put them in gallon Ziploc bags, so they wouldn't get wet," Mrs. Van Hine remembered. "And just a week before 9/11 happened, he got back from his latest trip and said, 'I'm all out. I'm going to have to get some more.' "

"Mr. Van Hine was one of thousands to die in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001."
And at the end of the article it mentions that Swingle was performing this one-man show one night when one of the audience members gasped at the mention of the Bibles because he had been thinking about doing that himself. And "realized that now he had to do it."

Thursday, September 06, 2007

'Gran-Ma Soule' Passes On

The Jackson (MI) Citizen Patriot of 6 September 2007 brings news by Brad Flory under the headline "Woman hiked Appalachian Trail" that thru-hiker "Verna Soule, 82, a Michigan Center woman known to serious trail hikers as Gran-Ma Soule, died Wednesday at her home."

The obituary says that
"after her first long hike on the Appalachian Trail in 1979, she returned in all but one of the next 21 years. She hiked the entire trail, called a thru-hike, in 1987 at age 62."
Then, in 2000 at age 75,
"Soule hiked more than 1,600 rugged miles from Georgia to Vermont between March and August, but was forced to quit because she became sick with Lyme disease."
Had she finished that year, she would have been the oldest woman to thru-hike.

Family Group Hikes Up Mt. Washington

Mark Patinkin writes about a Mount Washington hike in the Providence Journal of 6 September 2007. It's titled "Unbeatable Mount Washington climb." He went with his teenage sons and their cousins. Three trail days, two hut stays, chilly weather, all the usual. An entertaining read.

Of note was his observation when the group summited Mt. Washington after dropping their gear at Lake of the Clouds:
"We emerged from the wilderness to find a crowded tourist center that hundreds had accessed by the Cog Railway and Mount Washington Road on the other side. Inside, it occurred to me I hadn’t seen a single overweight person in the last two days, and now they were everywhere."
He also mentions meeting a thru-hiker identified only as "a 50-something mechanical engineer."

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Stricken Hiker Phones for Rescue

The Knoxville (TN) News Sentinel has printed an Associated Press story headlined "Rescuers bringing ill hiker down from Appalachian Trail" and dated 5 September 2007. According to the story, "Carter County dispatchers said they received a cell phone call about 11 p.m. Tuesday from a pair of hikers on the trail in steep terrain near Watauga Lake." They hiked in and were trying to bring the ill hiker out, but no other details were available at the time.

Also reported at

The Adkins Are in Maine

Leonard Adkins has written a hike update for himself and his wife Laurie in the 4 September 2007 Charleston Daily Mail. This one is headlined "Maine greets trail hikers with a rough welcome mat." In it he describes the southern portion of the Appalachian Trail in Maine, Mahoosuc to Monson.

Most of the hiker narratives and journals I've read seem to skip over Maine. There have to be various reasons, of course, almost as many as there are hikers, but Adkins pinpoints one: the emotions.
"Some hikers can hardly wait for the hike to be over and are increasing their daily mileages. Others, realizing the journey is coming to an end, are slowing down as much as possible so as to enjoy each moment left to them. I met a woman who said she has begun to inexplicably cry and can't tell if these are tears of joy or sadness from almost having reached her goal. Although still enjoying the trip, some people find their bodies are exhausted and are becoming frustrated with Maine's steep and rugged terrain."
In the last published thru-hike narrative I read, the narrator's knees were going out so she got off the Trail immediately after Mahoosuc Notch and didn't get back on to finish Maine for a couple years.

Governor on the Mountain

According to a brief note posted on the "Canadian Press" website 5 September 2007 and headlined "New Brunswick and Maine leaders agree to mountain climbing challenge," Governor Baldacci of Maine was the first governor of Maine "in more than 40 years" to climb Katahdin. He did it this summer, and now he and the premier of New Brunswick "have agreed to climb the highest mountain peaks in Maine and New Brunswick, together, next summer." Keep an eye out for them, eh; they'll be the hikers with security guards.

Monday, September 03, 2007

New Yorkers Finish Thru-hike

There's an article in the Bath, NY Courier ("Steuben County's Largest Free Community Newspaper") by Rob Price on 2 September 2007 that's titled "Haverling grads complete 2,100-mile hike of Appalachian Trail." The article chronicles the completion of a thru-hike by "Dan Fiedler and Brett Argentieri, both 2002 Haverling graduates, [who] summitted Mount Katahdin on Aug. 13. Their friend and cohiker, Garret Lang, class of 2003," finished in July. Along the way the trio met up with "Ryan Metcalf of Marion, NY, who had met Fiedler and Argentieri while a student at SUNY Brockport." Metcalf summited with the August pair.

Their online journal at records their trail name as "Riders of the Storm."

Invite to Stay in the White Mountains

The Chicago Daily Herald printed an Associated Press article by Jerry Harkavy titled "Hiking in the Northeast" on 1 September 2007. It highlights the AMC hut system in the White Mountains, and invites readers to go "for a back-to-nature experience among spectacular scenery" by stopping in for a night at the huts.
"But those who prefer a more primitive experience, or are on a tighter budget, can stay at the club's network of backcountry camping areas equipped with three-sided lean-to shelters, tent platforms or both. The campsites, most along the Appalachian Trail near a spring, stream or pond, concentrate overnight use in designated areas, helping to protect the backcountry environment."
Nice description of the whole AMC routine.

Miles Upon Miles for Kentuckians

The University of Louisville (KY) is walking along with their staff member Brian Buford as he works his way through an Appalachian Trail thru-hike. It's an interesting variation on the connection back home. According to the article in the Louisville Courier-Journal by Linda Stahl -- dated 30 August 2007, and titled "An inspiring trail; Brian Buford and U of L colleagues step up to the challenge" -- Buford's colleagues back in Kentucky have formed up into teams to try to walk the same distance that he's putting in during the hike ... or further.

As a health and exercise regimen, the groups total up their daily walking mileage in friendly competition with Buford and each other. There are 63 teams representing 648 staff and faculty members. That's a lot of miles and a lot of cardio work.

Buford's blog tells the story from his point of view. He's made it up into Vermont at this point.

Harrington Tribute Hike Completed

"Trail hikers make goal" is the headline on the article by Ruth Sheehan in the 30 August 2007 issue of the Raleigh News & Observer newspaper from North Carolina that records the completion of the memorial thru-hike by Spencer McKay and Ben Burchardi, in honor of their friend, the late Stephen Harrington of Raleigh. After carrying a tiny Nalgene bottle with some of Harrington's ashes the entire distance from Springer, they sprinkled the ashes at Katahdin in the presence of family members.

Now it's back to school for the Warpzilla and Bandanna Ben. Their hiking blog is at See also the earlier post in this blog about their hike.

Yaniglos Completes Thru-Hike

The Ravenna (OH) Record-Courier of 27 August 2007 records the completion of Dan Yaniglos's thru-hike in an article by Matt Fredmonsky headlined "Appalachian adventure Kentite hikes entire 2,175-mile trail in 6 months". He started in February.
"But it was neither the scenery nor the self reflection that attracted Yaniglos to the trail. He started backpacking as a kid with his parents and spent more time hiking in Boy Scouts. He was a member of the Expedition Academy in high school and spent a few weekends a year exploring nature."
The article also notes that his dad spends two weeks a year on the Trail.

Another Thru-hiker Noted

Just came across this mention of another thru-hiker. It's in the August 2007 issue of "The Lutheran" (the official publication of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA]), on page 47, way down at the end of the "Churchscan" section. Here's what it says:
"Wayne Vrioni, a member of St. Olaf Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, is hiking the 2,174-mile Appalachian Trail to support the congregaiton's inner-city youth ministry program. He began the six-month hike in April."
I looked Vrioni up on the internet and found his hiking web site at where you can see that he's hiking under the nom-de-Trail "Leader of the Pack". He started at Harpers Ferry on Sunday, 15 April and started hiking north. Just about now he should be closing in on the 100 mile wilderness, judging from his last online entry.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Long Trail Festival Wrap-up

The Rutland (VT) Herald has a 29 August 2007 letter to the editor from the Rutland Long Trail Festival organizers Katleen and Wayne Krevetski. It is headlined "Great support for Trail Fest," and offers their thanks by name to many of the individuals and companies that supported this first (of many?) festival. They summarize the festival's activities as follows:
"The hiking community came from as far as New Zealand and Ontario, as well as California and Florida to share their adventures with Trail Fest participants. We had over 100 registered campers and almost 1,000 participants for this first-time event. Over 21 people volunteered (most were first timers) to help the Green Mountain Club with the Appalachian Trail Thundering Brook Falls relocation project in Killington which was a phenomenal first-year effort in helping to finish the first handicapped-accessible Appalachian Trail section in New England."

Appalachian Trail at Appalachian State

The student newspaper from Appalachian State University, "The Appalachian," dated 27 August 2007 has an article by Nick Ianniello reporting the many opportunities for outdoor recreation in the Boone, NC area: "Boone Recognized for Outdoor Opportunities." It's all no news to students there, of course, but he writes that
"Hikers can enjoy the Appalachian Trail as well as the many other hikes that stem from the Blue Ridge Parkway and surrounding areas."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Strip Mining and Hiking

Jeff Biggers has a 'commentary' piece on the website of American Public Media's "Marketplace" dated 27 August 2007.

In the piece, which is a reaction to the Bush administration's plan to remove West Virginia mountaintops to look for more coal to burn, he writes:
"In the summer of 1983, I first hiked along the famed Appalachian Trail and worked on mountain farms. Then, I was taken into the West Virginia coal fields and saw something else.

"In one depressed coal-mining community after another, strip mining had devastated the ridges. Twenty-five years later, the most extreme form of strip mining, mountaintop removal, has become an economic boondoggle for Appalachia."
And yet, the current Republican administration in Washington wants to expand that sort of resource extraction.
"The dull haze of coal pollution has slashed visibility along the Appalachian Trail, and as far as the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina. ... Strip mining has left behind a new Appalachian Trail of destruction. If mountaintop removal becomes the poster image of tourism, Appalachia's economy and its ridges will one day look like the dusty prairies of Crawford, Texas."
Ahh, maybe that's the idea.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Former AT Hiker at Northern End of PCT

"One man's challenge" is the title of the Roy Gault article in the 23 August 2007 issue of the Salem (OR) Statesman Journal. It's about a Pacific Crest Trail hiker named Dave Mueller who
"has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail during summers past and is en route from the Oregon-California border to High Bridge, Wash., just short of the United States-Canada line."
It doesn't say just when Mueller hiked the Appalachian Trail. But it does have a number of his comparisons of the AT to the PCT. For example,
"It's like pretty women. They're all different, but they're all pretty for their own reasons."
Mueller, from Florida, doesn't carry a stove while backpacking. He says he's been known to subsist on snacks for 10 days at a time, while traveling between towns. He's leading the pack of this year's northbound PCT hikers.

Thru-Hikers and Festival in Vermnot

"Willem Lange is a writer, storyteller and retired contractor who lives in East Montpelier. His column appears each week in the Living section of the Sunday Rutland Herald and Times Argus." This week's column came out on 26 August 2007 and was titled "Yankee Notebook: True north."

Among the other things that Lange writes, he says
"August is the month that the Appalachian Trail thru-hikers pass through this part of New England, and meeting them and learning their trail names is always a pleasant experience. Vermont's 270-mile Long Trail was celebrated this week at a festival on the Vermont State Fairgrounds in Rutland. A section of the lawn beside the grandstand bloomed with bright-colored domed mountain tents, bluegrass music floated everywhere, and soft-spoken men and women in shorts and boots sat and swapped stories of life on the trail."
Gotta love those soft-spoken hikers.

Trail Hike Changed Jeff Alt

"Appalachian walk changed Alt; 2,160-mile journey cemented his commitment to Walk for Sunshine" is the headline over Steve Pollick's column in the 26 August 2007 Toledo (OH) Blade.

Ten years ago, Jeff Alt of Toledo, completed a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail raising money to support
"the programs of Sunshine, Inc., of Northwest Ohio, in Monclova Township. That is where his brother, Aaron, 34, who has cerebral palsy, has resided for 15 years.

"Since completing the rugged, challenging Georgia-to-Maine trail, Alt has joined an annual Walk for Sunshine to raise additional funds for the home's programs. In nine years the walks and the hike have raised more than $125,000 to benefit persons with disabilities served by Sunshine."
And this year's Walk with Sunshine is coming up on 8 September.

Alt has also revised and expended his published account of his hike, A Walk for Sunshine.