Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Thru Hiker Leonard Adkins Writes

In the Charleston Daily Mail of 27 February 2007 columnist Leonard Adkins writes about this year's trip. The column is headlined "This trip, we emphasize quality over quantity."

He writes a good introduction. Says he'll be writing more every 2 or 3 weeks.

If you've read some of his other writing, you know it'll be good.

Retiree Hiker Heading Out on 19 March

The Greensboro (NC) News-Record reports in its 27 February 2007 "Inside Scoop: The Print Version" column that Guilford County, NC's retiring social services director, John Shore, 59, is planning to set out on a thru-hike of the AT on 19 March.

"Shore's hike serves another purpose: raising money for foster children. To contribute, visit"

And his trail name is Griz07. "'There are three explainations (sic) of the name,' Shore writes, '1) my rather rotund shape looks like a bear; 2) at night my snoring sounds like a bear; or, 3) after a week on the trail I smell like a bear.'"

Thanks for the warning about the snoring.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Awareness Raising Hike Starts in March

The Akron (OH) Beacon Journal contains on 26 February 2007, in an article by Cheryl Powell headlined "Hiker is on the march for prescription help; Appalachian Trail trip to benefit Stark group".

The gist of the article is that Josh Wengerd, 23, from Hartville, TN, is "starting next month" on a planned Appalachian Trail thru-hike "raise awareness about a Stark County group that helps people who can't afford their prescription medicines."

As he hikes, "supporters of the Stark Prescription Assistance Network (SPAN) will use Wengerd's journey to raise money and educate the public about the group's efforts." The article goes on to describe the group's hope to raise $50,000 through the thru-hike, while educating people about their mission.

"Wengerd got the idea to take the journey of a lifetime after spending three weeks hiking a portion of the Appalachian Trail last spring with friends."

When Hiking the AT Isn't Enough

According to an article in the Commercial Appeal (a Scripps newspaper from the Memphis, TN area) by Robert Hirsch, dated 25 February 2007, Hirsch writes that "When I graduated from college, I decided to do things a little differently. I walked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. I walked the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. I volunteered with the United States Forest Service in North Carolina, Wyoming and Utah. I joined the Peace Corps in the Pacific island country of Vanuatu. And then, I began doing what I am doing now: riding my bike around our planet."

So there!

Article headline is "Germantown man travels around world on two wheels."

Older Couple Headed Off in March

The Charlotte Sun from Port Charlotte, FL reports on 26 February 2007, in an article by Susan E. Hoffman, assistant editor, and headlined "North Porters plan to trek Appalachian Trail; Wife will help guide blind husband" just what the headline says.

The couple in question are George and Carol Whitham of North Port, Florida. George has a number of medical issues that give his adopted trail name a real ring of truth: Borrowed Time. He's also 75 years old. Carol, somewhat understandably, is going by the trail name Guide Dog.

The report says they plan to start from Springer "in late March."

Follow their progress at

Hats off to you two!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Another 'Gold Standard' Reference

In a Tim Rowland piece in the 25 February 2007 issues of the Hagerstown, MD Herald-Mail.Com titled "Delegation deserves credit for promoting towpath-repair funding," Mr. Rowland writes about the needed repairs to the C & O Canal towpath. And then how the towpath connects with the "Allegheny Passage" rail trail:

"The Great Allegheny Passage is likely to become a major feather in the cap of the American bicycling fraternity. Just as all bikers want to ride "the Holy Grail of Rail Trails," - a lengthy former jetty extending far into the waters of Lake Champlain near Burlington, Vt. - all serious cyclists will want to ride the Great Allegheny Passage.

"On a smaller scale, it will be something of an Appalachian Trail for bicyclists."

In other words, if you want to describe an outdoor adventure as grand, compare it to the AT.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Former Maine Officials on Redington

The 19 Feb 2007 issue of The Portland (ME) Press-Herald on MaineToday.Com has a commentary by Beth Nagusky and Cheryl Harrington, both recently in state government, published under the headline "Turbines on mountains a better choice."

They make the case for wind power to overcome fossil fuel dependence and to do something about climate change. This despite admitting that "
It is true the Redington wind project would alter views from segments of the Appalachian Trail." They continue immediately by saying, "But every energy project, including renewable ones, faces sincere objection from some individuals or groups."

I don't read the piece as necessarily wanting the windmills on that site, but as something that is really, really necessary somewhere.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Fontana Village Hiker Festival Planned

Fontana's folks are planning a hiker/kayaker festival for April, according to the Union Sentinel from Blairsville, GA dated 22 February 2007. The headline is about another event ("Saturday night is Western Night at Peacock Playhouse"), but the end of the column mentions the new festival.

Here's what the piece says:

"Hi-Yak: Another Dam Festival on April 12 - 17 to be held at Fontana Village Resort, Fontana Dam, NC

"This will be Fontana Village Resort's first festival for hikers and kayakers. April is the busiest season for north bound thru hiker of the Appalachian Trail, and that same weekend is the release of the Cheoah River. There will be plenty to do and see! We will have trail maintenance days with the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club and Benton MacKaye Trail Association shuttles to and from the village to the river, bands, outdoor companies, speakers, camping, and much more."

Well, there you go.

Two New Yorkers Hitting the Trail

Teenaged hikers Daniel Morrell and Dean Valentini are starting their hoped-for thru-hikes on Saturday 24 February according to a story by Anne Miller, staff writer of the Albany (NY) Times-Union on 23 February that is headlined "Teens are looking forward to a 6-month hike."

One of them is quoted as saying that this is going to be "kind of a last hurrah before college and life." A "last hurrah" and he's only 17! Oy!!

The writer focuses on their Ramen and huge jars of peanut butter. Also says the pair were "inspired" by Bill Bryson's book. And that they conceived the trip as freshmen, then planned their schedules so they could graduate a semester early and hit the Trail. (They didn't used to let kids do that when I was that age, did they?)

The hikers will, of course, be posting to a web site or blog, but the URL is not mentioned.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Trail Story Illustrates Economics Point

D.R. Barton Jr. has an article headlined "Four signs we're close to a market top" in the 21 February 2007 issue of the online Money Week.

His opening attention grabber comes from an AT hike:

"It's one of the most disturbing sounds I've ever heard...

"I was hiking on the Appalachian Trail in my native state of Virginia and heard a rapid rattle in the leaves. It was the unmistakable raspy sound of a rattlesnake's tail.

"My friend and I froze. I slowly looked in the direction of the sound and saw the brown diamond pattern. A rattlesnake usually signals this way when it fears an attack and is warning that it will take action to protect itself. So while it didn't definitely mean we were going to get hurt, it did mean that we needed to be on heightened alert before proceeding. But knowing we were a safe distance from snake, we gave it a wide berth and continued along the trail."

The AT comes to the rescue again when a writer is searching for a life illustration.

Former AT Hiker Pegram on New Hike

The "Online Edition" of the Northwest Observer comes out of northwest Guilford County, NC. On 22 February 2007, under the headline "Walking to Cold Mountain," it carries a short piece that starts: "Oak Ridge resident Tim Pegram is no stranger to hiking. As a former park ranger, Pegram worked along the Blue Ridge Parkway for years and has walked the Appalachian Trail."

Now he's hiking west from Raleigh, NC, in imitation of a book and movie character. Oh, and he's not carrying a tent but "will rely only on natural shelter."

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Another Redington Comment

Dr. Richard Jennings, in the 21 February 2007 Kennebec (ME) Journal gives his outlook on the Redington wind farm under the headline "Wind project is important to protect our future".

Among other things, he says, "
Siting turbines there would unarguably alter the view from the Appalachian Trail, and might as well threaten habitat and rare species, (though these latter issues are possibilities and not inevitable)."

Bishop's Reference to AT

In what appears to be an undated column in the Catholic Explorer (the official newspaper of the Diocese of Joliet, IL), Bishop J. Peter Sartain, writes about the theme "Surrender to God."

In defining what people can mean by the word surrender, he includes this: "
Similarly, “to surrender” can connote a variety of things: To stop fighting because we are unable to win. To give up possession of something—“He surrendered his wallet to the thief.” To let go of an idea or desire—“They surrendered the notion that they would ever hike the Appalachian Trail. ....”

That Trail sneaks in everywhere. I wonder if the good bishop is a hiker.

Hiker/Drummer on the Trail

The Chattanooga (TN) Pulse ("Chattanooga's Weekly Alternative") of 21 February 2007 carries a Bill Colrus interview headlined "Pouring Their Guts Out All Over The Place" in which Colrus talks with the Knoxville band called 'Dixie Dirt.'

In the intro he writes "While drummer Pete Bryan would leave the band to hike the Appalachian Trail, they picked up a new drummer in Chris Rusk, and a new, poppier sound."

Later on there's this: "Did I hear correctly that (former drummer) Pete Bryan is hiking the Appalachians? Yes, that is correct, and a big part of why he’s no longer with Dixie Dirt. I think it’s amazing what he’s doing, and I can’t wait to send him whiskey while he’s on the trail."

I guess that means he's on the Trail right now.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Trail Talk Given in Asheville

The 20 February 2007 Hendersonville (NC) News carries an announcement under the headline "Sports Festival features seminars" that describes the upcoming 3 seimnar series being held by the Mountain Sports Festival.

"The first seminar, Magic on the Appalachian Trail, is at 9:30 p.m. Thursday at the Asheville Pizza and Brewing Co., Merrimon Avenue. A panel of Appalachian hikers will discuss the world of the Appalachian through-hiker."

Probably not AYCE, but still worth dropping in on.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Bryson's New Book (not about AT this time)

In the Baltimore (MD) Sun of 11 February 2007, Susan Reimer writes a book review of Bill Bryson's latest: "Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir."

She writes that "Bill Bryson, a humorist and travel writer who has taken us on amusing journeys along the Appalachian Trail and across time and the cosmos, has turned his wit and his memory to growing up in the middle of the country, in the middle of the century, in the middle of a delightfully dysfunctional family."

Some AT hikers may be surprised that Bryson has had a big writing career both before and after his "A Walk in the Woods." I find him pretty entertaining.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Mega Transect Article

Another copy of the Associated Press Roanoke Times article about using motion cameras to inventory to carnivores along the Appalachian Trail as part of the "mega-transect" appears in the Newport News (VA) Daily Press on 17 February 2007.

"The all-volunteer survey is a cooperative effort between the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service and the Smithsonian Institution." {Although I don't see the Smithsonian's logo on the ATC's page of partners, where there are quite a few others besides the ones mentioned in this article.}

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Scott Staats and Frank Staats Thru-Hikers

There's a piece in the 16 February 2007 issue of the Bend (OR) Weekly by Scott Staats titled "Appalachian Trail - An Outdoor Appetite".

Scott writes about his 1982 thru-hike with his older brother Frank.

Or, more specifically, writes about how they ate their way from Georgia to Maine.

As he says, "Although we hiked through some of the most scenic areas on the entire east coast, endured every kind of weather imaginable and were bitten by just about every type of insect that flies, jumps or crawls, what I remember most is the food, or rather the lack thereof."

There follow a series of vignettes that mostly only a long-distance hiker would really understand. The AYCE Pizza Hut in Cloverdale, VA; the Half-Gallon Club; the 3 steak dinner two weeks into the hike; the hour-long yogi-ed meal with three other thru-hikers at a picnic ground in Pawling, NY.

Good stories.

Section Hiker Gene Smith Profiled

Kirk Wessler, executive sports editor/columnist, writes in the 16 Februry 2007 Peoria (IL) Journal Star about AT hiker Gene Smith, of Pekin, IL, who finished his 3 year section hike last September. The article is titled "Hiking this Trail Takes Conscious Effort."

The story begins with a vivid description of Smith's passage thru Mahoosuc Notch. That would be the one where his third fall knocked him out cold.

Smith turned from long-distance running to hiking and backpacking when his knee cartilage helped him decide to change recreation activities. "A co-worker at Caterpillar Inc., Smith says, started talking to him about trail-hiking and suggested the Appalachian Trail. When Smith retired in 2002, he visited his parents in Pennsylvania and took a side trip to check out a nearby stretch of the most famous trail in the United States."

So, three years and 15 sections after starting at Springer, he summited Katahdin. The article gives some good detail about how Smith's hiking changed over the years. It ends with this quote:

"Sometimes, you have to give yourself what appears to be an unrealistic goal," Smith says. "But don't put it off. Do it. Because you don't know how much you'll be given."

For a photo of Smith, see this link.

Leonard "Habitual Hiker" Adkins Speaks

The web site from Salem, Virginia has a current posting from the "Cave Spring Connection" titled "Experience the Appalachian Trail without taking a step" in which an up-coming presentation by AT thru-hiker and author Leonard Adkins, the "Habitual Hiker" is advertised.

Details: at the
Mill Mountain Discovery Center, Roanoke, VA for their barbecue dinner event on 24 February 2007, 6:00 p.m., reservations required, $15.00 per person.

"Adkins, who will begin another hike of the AT this spring, shares his love of the natural world by presenting multimedia programs about his trips. The program, accompanied by folk and classical music, is a compilation of his treks on the Appalachian Trail and depicts a typical thru-hike. Adkins will be available for signings before and after the program."

AT Hiker Becerra Headed 'Round the World

The Columbia Missourian of 16 February 2007 carries a short piece by Caroline Zilk and Alex Tribou. It's titled "Around the World on Foot" and relates the fact that a hiker named Cesar Becerra is aiming to be the 5th person to walk around the world.

"While walking the Appalachian Trail soon after being diagnosed with diabetes, he fell in love with long-distance walking and made it his goal to walk around the world, excluding the oceans. ...

"He started his journey three years ago from Key West, Fla., and made it to Clinton, last fall. In late February, Becerra will begin his walk again, this time from Clinton to Topeka, Kan. He plans to walk across Kansas and continue westward. His final U.S. destination is Los Angeles.

"After that, Becerra said he will jump a cargo ship to Tokyo to continue his journey."

In between walking, he is a tour guide in DC, NYC, and Boston, and a teacher for Nature's Classroom, Greenfield, NH.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Adkins Are At the AT Again

The Roanoke (VA) Times has a column by outdoors writer Bill Cochran in its 15 February edition titled "Striper Fishing Sets Record Pace."

Doesn't sound too Trail related. But, if you scroll down a bit you'll discover the following note:


"Leonard and Laurie Adkins are scheduled to strike off on the 2,176-mile Appalachian Trail in early March. If successful, it will be the fifth thru-trip for Leonard and the fourth for Laurie. The two live in Botetourt County, where Leonard writes outdoor guidebooks.

"The difference this time, said Leonard, is that they “going to emphasize time over distance.”

"What that means is less attention to making miles and more on the luxury of enjoying vistas, waterfalls, wildlife, trail towns and the multitude of other attractions of the Georgia-Maine journey.

"The Adkins expect to get passed by many hikers, and they plan to skip some areas and come back to complete them later in order to make Maine’s Mount Katahdin before the snow flies.

"'We will finally have the time to discover and appreciate all of the small parts of the Appalachian Trail that come together to make up the whole,' said Leonard."

Leonard's trail name is "Habitual Hiker." Laurie is "The Umbrella Lady." His web site has him scheduled to give some presentations at an Elderhostel in Wirtz, Virginia in April and June. Check it out!

One of these days I'll have a job that I can take off from for more important things like hiking.

Pennsylvanians Pushing Trail Portions

A piece in the LancasterOnline web site by Lancaster PA Intelligencer Journal staff writer Dave Pidgeon on 15 February 2007 includes three notes about the Appalachian Trail.

Under the title "Tips, Sites for Winter Hikers" Pidgeon mentions, first, the Delaware Water Gap area, saying "If a foot of snow covers the area, try snowshoeing the 6.9-mile loop from the Dunnfield Creek parking area, following north along the Appalachian Trail to Sunfish Pond, a 41-acre lake formed by moving glaciers."

Later on down in the piece, he says "Hawk Rocks on Cove Mountain is one of the most underrated vistas in Pennsylvania and is just half-a-mile south on the Appalachian Trail from Duncannon.

"From the perch, hikers see a 180-degree view of the town, the Susquehanna River and the ridge-filled countryside rolling north of Harrisburg.

"For a 7.2-mile shuttle hike, start in Duncannon and follow the Appalachian Trail across a rock slide uphill. Continue past Hawk Rocks over the Cove Mountain ridgeline, reaching a view about 4.7 miles in thanks to a pipeline. The hike finishes at Pennsylvania Route 850."

He also mentions the Doyle Hotel ("famous" and "iconic") as a possible place to stop for a bite to eat after this particular hike. [By the way, who knew the Doyle had a web site?]

Then there's the Sunset Rocks hike in Michaux State Forest: "Start this hike from Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Cumberland County, following the Appalachian Trail southward until a juncture with the blue-blazed Sunset Rocks Trail. The Sunset Rocks Trail is where you find the boulder scramble and vista, and the pathway eventually returns you to the Appalachian Trail, which you follow back northward to your car."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Maine Windfarm Opposition and Support

So the discussion continues, of course. In the 14 February 2007 issue of there's an post by Carey Kish that agrees with the LURC decision to reject the Redington windfarm. It's titled "Throwing Kibby Mountain Under the Bus."

BUT, Kish also takes the Maine Appalachian Trail Club et al. to task for backing windfarm plans at other wild sites, particularly in this case Kibby Mountain.

What's the deal? Kish quotes from the AMC Maine Mountain Guide that calls Kibby a "remote mountain ... in the heart of the wilderness area" and then continues,

"So, I’m curious: Why would the well-intentioned folks at the MATC think that wind power is not okay at Redington, but that Kibby can be sacrificed? With all due respect, that smacks disappointingly of its own sort of NIMBYism, don’t you think?

"We don’t want wind power ruining our view from the AT, but just up the way we don’t mind if somebody else’s view, somebody else’s favorite mountain, gets marred by development.

"It doesn’t jibe. We need to be more consistent."

Fanhestock Park in New York and the AT

In the Poughkeepsie (NY) Journal of 14 February 2007, Larry Hertz has an article titled "Putnam Park Has Something For All". The "Putnam Park" means 'a park in Putnam County,' not 'a park named Putnam Park.'

The piece describes the Clarence Fahnestock State Park that's over 14,000 acres in size.

"Hikers have a choice of a network of trails, including a portion of the famed Appalachian Trail, a 2,160-mile footpath that stretches from Maine to Georgia. The four-mile segment that winds through the park offers stunning vistas, including one above the park's largest lake, Town of Poughkeepsie resident Ron Rosen said.

"Going south from the Dutchess County part of the trail, you'll find a stunning 360-degree view, and beyond that, there's a beautiful overlook above Canopus Lake," said Rosen, a former chairman of the Dutchess-Putnam Appalachian Trail Management Committee and a member of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference."

I like that view of Canopus Lake, too. It's most "stunning" coming at it from the north because, I think, you get surprised by it. From the south, you walk alongside the lake and then the Trail climbs up to the vista, so you know it's coming.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Mega-Transect Looking for Cougars et al.

The Roanoke (VA) Times has a 13 February 2007 article by John Cramer headlined "Will Cameras Catch the Mythical Cat?" It is about the predator survey being started in the Appalachian Trail's mid-section as part of the "mega-transect."

So maybe they won't catch a Virginia cougar (Puma concolor) on film [can I still say that if they're using digital cameras?] with the motion-sensitive infrared cameras they're using. So what? The idea is to get a baseline population counts of all the predators in the woods. If a cougar happens to wander by, that would be icing on the cake. The fact that there hasn't been a verified sighting of one in Virginia since 1882 doesn't mean they're not there, does it?

"Between April and November, researchers and volunteers plan to post 50 digital cameras in 350 predetermined sites in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland." And, no, the cameras won't be on the Trail itself, so they shouldn't be snapping pictures of hikers.

If you are in the area, they're looking for volunteers to help out. Contact either the ATC or the Virginia Master Naturalist Program.

Hike for KaTREEna Results and Frustration

The Greater Baton Rouge (LA) Business Report carries an article by Maggie Heyn Richardson titled "Hammering it Out" that was posted on 13 February 2007. The second half of the article is about Applachian Trail 2006 thru-hiker Monique Pilié.

Pilié [the article consistently spells her name "Pilier," but her own web site has "Pilié" so that's what I'm using except in the quotations], a New Orleans native, evacuated in the face of hurricane Katrina to her family's "longtime country home in Covington." The loss of hundreds trees of trees there really hit her hard.

So she went on a hike.

Her desire to see trees replanted "sparked the creation of Hike for KaTREEna, a personal mission to plant a tree in greater New Orleans for every mile Pelier hiked on the 2174-mile long Appalachian Trail." ....

"But now that her daily pursuit of food and shelter is over, Pelier is discovering the arduous task of running a charity. She returned from the trail in October, and despite raising awareness and $40,000, she has only planted 15 trees.

"The problem is one of timing.

"'I'll drive around and think 'that's a perfect spot,' but the city will tell me if I plant something there it'll be dug up because of pending public works projects.'

"Pelier says she deals with the bureaucratic drudgery by recalling the amount of focus it took to complete a day of hiking.

"'Sometimes you can't see the end of the trail,' she says, 'but you still know it's there.'"

What a story! Go to her web site and buy a tree.

Duct Tape and Dental Floss

In the Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times, Karen Chávez published an article titled "For the prepared hiker, sometimes it's the small things that count". At the web site it says it's published 13 February 2007, and originally published 9 January 2004.

The story starts with a vignette of Lane Nakaji, Appalachian Trail 2001 thru-hiker sleeping with his duct tape. The article goes on to talk about other hikers and their duct tape, dental floss, replacement zippers, safety pins, and whatnot. It's all double use material and can all be used for emergency repairs.

Further down in the article, Nakaji says getting good gear in the first place is important. One of the other folks quoted in the article even goes so far as to suggest reading the instruction manuals for stoves and so on to forestall the breakdowns in the first place. Imagine that! It's just a crazy enough idea that it might actually work.

Cummings Supports Wind Farm Rejection

The Maine Sunday Telegram of 11 February 2007 has a piece by Bob Cummings titled "Beauty of Trail Rightly Protected." Cummings supports the rejection of the Redington wind farm.

As a board member of the Maine Appalachian Trail Club, Cummings writes with authority when he explains that "The Maine Appalachian Trail Club also is not opposed to wind energy. Members voted just this month not to oppose the Kibby Mountain wind power proposal, though this project also would be visible from the trail. Why? Members recognized, rightly, that there is a vast difference between an in-your-face industrial development on ridges abutting the narrow trail corridor, and proposals involving distant ridges."

This one, however, was different. "It's hard to imagine a site more in violation of the clear language of the statute."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

AMC in the City

The Worcester (MA) Telegram & Gazette News carries a Mark Melady article on 12 February 2007 entitled "Urban Park New Challenge for Hiking Club".

He tells about the Worcester chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club having gotten a grant from headquarters to fund its effort to clean up "the outdoor parlors of Worcester, starting next month with University Park, also known as Crystal Park."

Now ... I guess the question is whether they will also be building stone huts and charging for overnight stays.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Florida Trail 'Feels Like the A.T.'

The Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers' web site carries an 11 February 2007 item about The Florida Trail.

Here's how it starts: "The Florida Trail, a 1,400-mile foot trail stretching from Big Cypress National Park about 40 miles west of Miami to Fort Pickens at Gulf Islands National Seashore in Pensacola Beach, feels kind of like a tropical version of the more famous Appalachian Trail. That's not a surprise, considering it was founded by a guy who hiked the Appalachian with his brother and lamented the absence of such a wonder in his native Florida."

Yep! . . . Kind of like it, except with sand and hurricanes instead of mountains and snow.

David "AWOL" Miller Speaks

The Tallahassee (FL) Democrat's Tallahassee.Com web site carries this community notes item in its 11 February 2007 edition:

"Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail with 'Awol'" Program: Tuesday David Miller, whose trail name is "Awol," will discuss his 2003 thru-hike at 7 p.m. at Woodcrest Office Park, 325 John Knox Road, Bldg. F (first on right). Miller will show slides with facts and scenes from the trail and will bring his backpack and exhibit gear used during the hike. Contact Linda Patton at (850) XXX-XXXX.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Canoe Trail Compared to Appalachian Trail

The Adirondack Daily Enterprise of 10 February 2007 brings us Joe Hackett's column titled "Adirondack Gadabout: Old skis recapture a youthful spirit on a moonlit trail." Down at the bottom he writes about summer jobs, and includes this sentence: "A most unique internship is available this summer on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, a 740-mile water-based equivalent of the Appalachian Trail."

There's that 'gold standard' comparison again.

Stony Valley Swap Stopped

The Lebanon (PA) Daily News has an editorial dated 9 September 2007, unsigned, and titled simply "Swap Stopped." The article details the agreement reached between the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania National Guard regarding some land called Stony Valley. Appalachian Trail hikers may know it better as "St. Anthony's Winderness." (Think the miles between Clark Creek and Rausch Gap Shelter.)

The Guard has had its eyes on this valley because its firing range is on the other side of the mountain, and they figured they needed a buffer zone. But it seems they've pretty much been the only ones in Pennsylvania seeing it that way.

The end result is that the "it seems the Guard has abandoned altogether the idea of taking ownership of the buffer-zone land. It has a new plan: The land would remain part of SGL [State Game Land] 211 but, under terms of an agreement with the commission, access to the 900-acre buffer zone would be restricted for up to 90 days each year while troops are using the firing range on the other side of the mountain (the danger is from errant shells bouncing or sailing over the ridge)."

The AT is not in the new buffer zone that the Guard wants off limits for a quarter of each year.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Another Mainer in Favor of Windmills

In the 6 February 2007 issue of the Kennebec, ME Morning Sentinel, Waterville resident Wayne Mullen writes to express his deep regrets over the recent vote by the state's Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC) that rejected the plans to build wind generating towers on the Redington ridge in sight of the Appalachian Trail.

"The backbone of the commission turned to mush because of a room full of trail walkers and environmentalists. They don't have the whole picture."

"I can't believe that people walking the Appalachian Trail will have their experience destroyed because they would see these windmills from one mile away. Maybe the LURC commissioners should think about the welfare of the people of the state instead of a few power groups and out-of-state people."

I believe that this has been cast as a NIMBY (not in my backyard) issue in the past -- that is, the ATC and many (most?) hikers want wind power, but just not in the Trail's 'backyard.' Here, however, one Maine resident says 'Yes. Please. Put it in my backyard.'

Monday, February 05, 2007

Run the Ridge Near the Water Gap

The Pocono Record, the "daily newspaper serving Monroe County and lower Pike County in northeastern Pennsylvania" has an article in its 5 February 2007 issue by Rich Kramer and Mary Ellen Kramer entitled "Running in the Poconos."

They write that "One of our favorite local runs is along the Appalachian Trail near Delaware Water Gap. This route is not a loop run. It requires a car at each end or a kind friend or relative to act as your taxi."

Describing the run, they also say that "you will rarely meet other runners but will likely meet hikers along the way. Possible deer, eagle, bear or other wildlife sightings provide an extra bonus on this run."

Wonder About that Amicalola Wonder

For some reason, the San Jose (CA) Mercury News has printed a McLatchy-Tribune News Service piece by Mary Ann Anderson on 5 February 2007 touting the fact that 'Georgia Has its Own Seven Natural Wonders.' I suppose, though, that people in Georgia already know this and that it's the Californians who need to learn about it, hence the article.

ANYway, one of these wonders is the Amicalola Falls which is, of course, in the state park of the same name which, in turn, is where northbound hikers find the southern end of the Appalachian Trail.

The list, in case you were wondering, "came about when state librarian Ella May Thornton of the Georgia State Library in Atlanta compiled the first list of Georgia's natural wonders in response to an inquiry by a journalist." Gotta love those state librarians!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Three No-Bo's Already On the Trail

In an article by Taylor Leonard published on 2 February 2007, the Catoosa (GA) County News reports that three local guys have hit the Trail heading north.

"Park officials don’t recommend hiking the Appalachian Trail until May 15, but three young men set off Saturday for a complete thru-hike of what back-packers call the 'AT.'

"Grant Harris of Catoosa County, Jeff Richardson of Whitfield, and John Cochran of Murray gathered Thursday, Feb. 1 at East Tech to have one last hurrah before beginning their five-month journey." The idea is, first, that they stay warm; and, second, that they finish by July in order to be able to earn some money before their fall semester in college begins.

Despite the date on the article, it ends saying that the trio started from Springer on Saturday, 3 February.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

AT License Plates Fund an Increase in NC

Lindsay Nash of the Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times compiled a column of outdoors news kinds of things that was published on 2 February 2007. One of the items is what looks like an ATC press release touting the increase in grants from ATC to projects in North Carolina. Last year there was $4,000 available, this year "up to $25,000".

That's a lot of license plates sold or renewed.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Former Hikes Lauds Smelly Plant

The Bay Journal, published by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay carries a nice February 2007 article by Kathy Reshetiloff, former AT hiker and current employee at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Chesapeake Bay Field Office in Annapolis. She begins with the eye-catching sentence "One of the things I enjoyed most while hiking the Appalachian Trail was watching spring emerge."

That's her entree to an article about skunk cabbage. You've seen it. You've probably smelled it. Now you can learn more about it. Interesting stuff.

I recall one of the Euell Gibbons books (don't know his name? look him up!) having his story about this plant and his attempt to cook it up like 'regular' cabbage. It didn't ever get to edible. Don't try it. If he couldn't figure out how to make it palatable, probably nobody can.

The article's title is "Sweetness of Skunk Cabbage's Scent is in the Nose of its Beholder; Ask Any Fly."

Murder Victim in AT Parking Lot

Tha Harrisburg (PA) Patriot-News of 2 February 2007 carries an article by Al Winn entitled "More Slaying Arrests Possible, DA Says."

The only AT connection appears to be that the accused murderer put the "body into the trunk of a rental car and moving the car to the Appalachian Trail parking lot, about two miles north of Lickdale," and that a recently-arrested accomplice "suggested leaving [the victim's] body at the Appalachian Trail parking lot, where no one would be suspicious about a car being there for days."

Yeah, okay, now that's a little spooky.

Mountain Club of Maryland Schedules AT Hikes

The Capital-Gazette Newspapers of Annapolis, MD publish a 'Club News' column on Tuesdays and Fridays. The column for Friday, 2 February 2007, carried a list of hikes being sponsored by the Mountain Club of Maryland. There not being a lot of mountains in Annapolis, the hikes take place on the AT.

Here are the AT hikes listed:

  • Tomorrow: "Pen-Mar North to Antietam Shelter" hike of 14 miles on the Appalachian Trail at a moderate pace. There are breakfast, possibly lunch and dinner stops. For information, call 410-926-9298.
  • Sunday: "Appalachian Trail in Maryland" hike of 8.3 miles from US Route 40 to Pogo Campground plus a side trip to the Annapolis Rocks overlook. Pace averages 2.5 miles per hour with total elevation gain of 1,500 ft. For information, call 410-486-8737.
  • Wednesday: "Appalachian Trail in Maryland" hike, same as Sunday hike. For information, call 410-486-8737.
Sounds good to me. Even though it's going to be very, very cold, I always say 'a day on the Trail is better than a day in the office.' Besides, the single digit morning temps keep the amateurs at home.

"Meandering Little Trail"

A website called Florida Trend published an article on 1 February 2007 by Mike Vogel entitled "Florida Icon; Harris Rosen; President and COO, Rosen Hotels & Resorts, Age 67". It's, as you might guess, a kind of profile of Rosen. But it's Rosen's answers without the interviewer's questions, and strikes me as a meandering little 'stream of consciousness' kind of thing.

Anyway, after telling how he helped design some of the Disney resorts there in Florida, the article says, "Shingle Creek [Resort] will have this wonderful meandering little trail. Why should the Appalachian Trail be the only trail of its kind? We've got this wonderful opportunity here in Florida where we could do something spectacular. We would name the wilderness trail after Patrick Smith, who wrote "A Land Remembered." You can have development, and you can have a pristine natural ecosystem cohabitating. You can."

That's the AT I know: 'a wonderful meandering little trail.'

Centre College AT Hikers Also Hike in Spain

The web site of Centre College, Danville, Kentucky, carries an 1 February 2007 article about three of its folks (one grad and two current students) just having walked the ancient Christian pilgrims' trail called the "Camino de Santiago." The 'Santiago' part refers to Saint James, of Santiago de Compostella fame. That spot is the endpoint of the pilgrims' 500 mile trail. The artcile is titled "Three Centre Pilgrims Walk Across Spain."

Anyway, the article mentions that "Both [Rob] Kinzel [the one graduate] and [Mark] Mallman are veteran long-distance walkers. The two spent five months on a 2,172-mile hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2003, a trek prompted by Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods. The idea for the Camino walk, Kinzel says, came from another book, The Pilgrimage, by Paulo Coelho.

"Most long-distance trails avoid towns, but because of its historic need to provide shelter for pilgrims, the Camino de Santiago (or Way of Saint James), deliberately winds through them. On their trip, the three traveled through five or six villages a day.

"'The path is much different than the Appalachian Trail,' Kinzel says. 'Taking advantage of this, we found ourselves stopping at least twice each day for a café con leche (coffee with milk)'."

Find out what these guys are reading next!

AT Hiker Ralph Ferrusi Writes a Column

The Poughkeepsie (NY) Journal apparently carries a weekly column by Ralph Ferrusi of Stormville, NY called "Hike of the Week" each Thursday.

"Ferrusi has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail twice and maintains a section of the AT," according to the notes at the bottom of the 1 February 2007 column. This particular column is entitled "'Bear' of a Hike Worth the Effort" and is about a hike in Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park. From one point on the hike you can see Anthony's Nose, the Bear Mountain Bridge, Bear Mountain itself, West Point, and other points of interest.

You might could get a chuckle out of Ferrusi's opening advice: "Watch out for: A sign at the trailhead warns: "YOU ARE IN BEAR COUNTRY. THE BEST WAY TO AVOID BEAR PROBLEMS IS NOT TO ATTRACT THEM…" So, how to make yourself unattractive to bears? Don't wash for a week? Nope, this might make you more attractive! Wear goofy heart-shaped sunglasses with red lenses and thick white plastic frames? Mix plaids with stripes??? Your call…"

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Retiree Set to Hike

The York (PA) Daily Record has a personality profile article on 30 January 2007 by Mike Argento that's entitled " 'I'm Just a Hyper Guy.' " It profiles Ernie Lehman who is retiring from his antique business and plans to hike the AT, fulfilling an ambition that started as a Boy Scout hiking in and around Swatara Gap.

"He plans to set out in mid-March and hike to Swatara Gap by the middle of May. Then, after a short break, he'll resume the journey, planning on finishing in Maine at the end of July." . . . .

"He plans to start out slowly, hiking 10 to 12 miles a day, and work his way up to where he can cover 20 miles a day. He doesn't plan to rush, though. He wants to take in everything. 'I plan to enjoy it,' he said."

Maybe he's not planning on stopping at any hostels, or taking any zero days in towns. Seems like 4 months is quicker than most thru-hikers take these days.

Then again, Lehman is a self-described "hyper guy". Good luck!

Thru-hiker Melissa DeVaughn; and Squirrel Hunter

A column in the Roanoke (VA) Times of 1 February 2007 called "Bill Cochran's Mail Bag" publishes a couple letters from readers who have AT connections.

The first letter, from a "Julie Smith," includes the sentences "When I squirrel hunt on the Appalachian Trail I make sure oncoming hikers see me well before they get close. I don't want to frighten them." She's writing in favor of Sunday hunting.

The second letter, from a "Melissa DeVaughn," updates readers on this former staff writer for the Roanoke Times who is now living in Alaska. The editor's note at the bottom includes the sentences, "One of her most memorable projects was hiking the 2,000-plus mile Appalachian Trail with her dog, Ruby, while sending dispatches of her adventures to the newspaper. Fans of DeVaughn still will remember her haunting account of Ruby being killed by a car shortly after their return from the trail."

Frank "The Walrus" Miller Hits the Trail

The 1 February 2007 edition of The Havre (MT) Daily News has an article about retiring obstetrician Dr. Frank Miller who has headed for Springer withplans to thru-hike. Written by Tim MacDonald, the article is titled "Physician Taking to the 'Trail'."

Besides marking his retirement he is going "to raise funds for the proposed Hi-Line Sletten Cancer Center" in Havre, Montana. He ran into delays right at the start because of some ice problems at the Atlanta airport. Not to worry, though, “'I think the hike will take around six months, but it may take seven or eight, depending on where I find to stop along the way,' Miller said."

"Interested parties can track Miller on their computers at, 'The Walrus,' after the doctor’s distinctive Fu Man Chu moustache."

Thru-hiker Ken Dague Presents

CBS television station WTRF (channel 7) in Wheeling, WV has a 1 February 2007 story by Leigh Ann Towne on its web site about AT hiker Ken Dague who started his 6 month hike on 21 March 2000. The story is titled "Valley Grove Man Tackles The Appalachian Trail."

Dague is now "the environmental educator for Schrader Environmental Center at Oglebay" and will be speaking about his hiking experience -- starting with a 75 pound pack -- on 20 February and 27 February at the Environmental Center.

There's also a video.