Monday, April 30, 2007

Tree Tragedy Avoided in Virginia

The story by Mark Taylor in the 29 April 2007 Roanoke (VA) Times headlined "Hikers escape fallen tree" could just as well have been titled 'Hikers escape falling tree.'

Section hikers Joe Boone and Rick Henn were at the Pine Swamp shelter in Virginia on the evening of 16 April. While they were setting up camp and preparing their usual cup of tea, the heavy winds convinced a neighboring tree to lay down its life. Luckily, although the top branches of the tree crashed into the picnic table in front of the shelter, there no injuries to speak of.

Other hikers to witness the close call were 4 "hikers from Delaware, along with a single through-hiker from Georgia."

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Tom "the Hobbit" Brown Thru-Hiking

Dave Lubach writes in the 27 April 2007 Sheboygan (WI) Press under the headline "Halfway there: City man 1,000 miles into Appalachian Trail". It's an article about the hike being made by Tom Brown of that city.

Hiking under the trailname "the Hobbit" Brown started hiking on 31 January. He aims to finish by the end of July. He'd gotten off the Trail to return to Wisconsin for the birth of a grandson. Sounds like Brown will be successful. He has an online journal with photos.

Music in Monson, Maine

The Bangor (ME) Daily News dated 27 April 2007 brings an interesting article about the Monson General Store. It's by Sharon Kiley Mack and headlined "Friday night jams bring fans from far and near to Monson General Store."

Friday night at 7:00 p.m. is music time at the store "deep in the Maine woods, just a few feet from the Appalachian Trail."

Emily DuPont Leads Group Hike on AT

The 27 April 2007 Straus Newspapers' "Advertiser News" has a story titled "Vernon’s Earthfest this weekend to involve the entire township." It advertises the 28-29 April festival in Vernon, NJ. One of the activities is described as:
"Appalachian Trail Hike n [sic] Emile DuPont, who has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, will lead a two hour hike on Saturday, beginning at the Boardwalk at 10a.m., and a three hour hike from the Route 94 trail head on Sunday at 1 p.m.. There is a $5 fee, and registrants must sign up in advance at the PAL."
Sounds like fun.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Trail Still Open Despite Smokies Fire

"Fire in northern end of Smokies grows" is the headline in an online version of a WMC-TV news story that came from the Associated Press.

The fire, at 200 acres, had not closed the Appalachian Trail.

F.W. "Otter" Townes and William "Tadpole" Townes

Greensboro NC's News-Record has an article by Jeri Rowe in its 26 April 2007 edition titled "Father, son forge bond on Appalachian Trail."

Rowe quickly recounts the thru-hike taken 2 years ago by F.W. Townes, and his son William Townes. Son William was a student at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, VA at the time of the hike. The article describes the potential friction between "Otter" and "Tadpole," but also how it turned out very well.

The pair are slated to talk about the thru-hike at the "Merlefest" on 29th at Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, NC.

12th Annual Trailfest in Hot Springs

The Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times has an article titled "Celebrate the Appalachian Trail" by Lindsay Nash in its 26 April 2007 edition. The celebration under discussion is the 12th annual Trailfest in Hot Springs, scheduled for 27-29 April and "featuring live music, hiker activities, a river cleanup and more."

Nash points out that
"Hot Springs is the first town that hikers come to after three to four weeks of hiking and is known as a place to stop, rest and resupply.

"As the Appalachian Trail Conservancy works to designate the town an official gateway community, the hikers and townspeople are doing more to work together to promote the trail."

ATC Trail Design Manual

The Raleigh (NC) News & Observer reports on the trail maintenance work being done on the Falls Lake Trail in an article by Joe Miller titled "Falls Lake Trail goes farther" on 26 April 2007.

They include reference to an ATC manual:
"The handiwork reflects a changing understanding of how to build trails, an understanding that has evolved into a science spelled out in two trail-building guidebooks used by the Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail: "Lightly on the Land," a 267-page tome, and "Appalachian Trail Design, Construction and Maintenance," published by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy."

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

New Maine-based Outdoor Club Forming

Richard Fecteau's efforts to form a new outdoor club in Maine -- in the Farmington area -- is mentioned in an article in the Original Irregular of 25 April 2007. There, Dan Cassidy's article mentions the meeting on 27 April on the University campus. Fecteau is also leading a snowshoe hike from the Appalachian Trail parking lot at "Route 27, three miles north of the Sugarloaf/USA access road. It is a moderate hike of a total distance of less than two miles. There will be plenty of time for discussion."

Food Poisoning from Restaurant Near N.O.C.

Thru-hiker Vinona Christensen -- in an article by William Fouts appearing in the Noblesville (IN) Daily Times on 25 April 2007 and titled "Woman Conquers More Adversity Along Appalachian Trail; Local hiker overcomes food poisoning to continue journey" -- reports having severe food poisoning while overnighting at the Nantahala Outdoor Center on 12 April.
"'I wound up camped out on the bathroom floor, because I couldn’t even make it back to my room,' Christensen reports.

"Several hikers succumbed to illness after a meal in a local restaurant. Christensen says there has scarcely been a day on her trip where she hasn’t thought of calling it quits."
Sorry, but the name of the apparently-offending restaurant is not given in the article.

Hikers Becoming Historic Re-enactors

There's an article by Laura Lutz about a project helping mark the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown, Virginia settlement appearing in the May 2007 Bay Journal from the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. Not too Trail-related? You're right.

Except that the crew of a reproduction shallop being launched this summer apparently includes some former thru-hikers:
"It took five months to select the crew, which includes seven men and five women in their 20s and 30s.

"'Some come with a sailing background and some with a rowing background, but others have biked across the United States or hiked the entire Appalachian Trail,' Bystrom said."
Unfortunately, it doesn't mention names or hiking dates.

Appalachian Trail Gave Rise to the Cumberland Trail

The news story in the 24 April 2007 Crossville (TN) Chronicle by Heather Mullinix titled "'Special places' donated to state for protection" mentions the genesis of Tennessee's Cumberland Trail.
"[Bob] Brown had been hiking with Mack Pritchard, a founder of the Tennessee Trails Association and state naturalist, and had complained of having to travel from Nashville to the Smoky Mountains to hike the Appalachian Trail. Pritchard reportedly told Brown to visit the Cumberland Plateau. Arthur Harrison showed Brown many of Cumberland County's natural treasures, including Peavine, Hebbertsburg, the Obed Canyon and Brady Mountain.

"When the idea of the Cumberland Trail was born, Harrison said he believed they envisioned a trail similar to the Appalachian Trail, and Arthur Harrison told the Tennessee Trails group he knew where the trail could go. Since 1968, hikers have been able to hike along Brady Mountain as part of the Cumberland Trail."
So, it would seem, sometimes not having the Trail near enough at hand can lead to new hiking opportunities.

The Cumberland Trail is over 300 miles long, from west of Chattanooga, past Knoxville, up to the Cumberland Gap.

Indiana Eagle Scout Had Hiked Part of A.T.

A new Eagle Scout from Richmond, Indiana -- Stefan K. Roha -- is getting his Eagle Scout rank awarded on 28 April, according to a piece by Rachel E. Sheeley in the 24 April 2007 Palladium-Item.

Part of the story mentions that
"In 2006, he and his Venture Crew hiked 40 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Venture Crew 119 was the first in the country to complete Kodiak Leadership training. This training, which must be conducted in a high-adventure setting, was completed while hiking the Appalachian Trail."
Well, good.

Smoky Smokies Fire Doesn't Close Trail

The Associated Press reports (in the Winston-Salem Journal on 24 April 2007) that a 40 acre fire in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park did call for the closing of some trails, but not the Appalachian Trail even though it is "near the area" in the northwest part of the Park.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Parade Magazine Spotlights A.T.

Well, not exactly "spotlights." The Sunday supplement magazine's 22 April 2007 issue has an article about "What Makes America Beautiful?" And it mentions the A.T.; with photo.

Maggiotto at Clingman's

The lower Hudson Journal News announces another blog post by thru-hiker Dave Maggiotto as he "attempts" Clingman's Dome. That's in the 22 April 2007 issue.

Appalachian Trail Officially "Iconic"

The Washington Post calls it as it sees it:
"A chain of new national historic trails has been created in recent years, under the aegis of the National Park Service. Unlike the iconic Appalachian Trail, created in the 1930s, these newer trails, some of which are in urban areas, are less recreational than commemorative; they are corridors of special identity."
That's from an editorial in its 23 April 2007 issue that's titled "A 'Goodly Bay,' Rediscovered; An old-new trail to explore the Chesapeake, 400 years after Capt. Smith."

Hiker with Defibrillator

Deirdre Fleming writes in her article "Extra socks? Check. Defibrillator? Check" in the 22 April 2007 Portland Press Herald about hiker Dan Feldman from Bowdoin, ME.

Feldman hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2002. No problem. Then a year ago he was diagnosed with "hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, commonly known as 'athlete's heart'." But he hadn't hiked the Triple Crown yet. So he got a defibrillator installed.

Interesting article about dedication to hiking.

Radford Conference Includes A.T. Hike

The Roanoke (VA) Times of 21 April 2007 has a Paul Dellinger article titled "Green infrastructure conference coming to Radford; The conference will also include some outdoor activities for participants."

It describes the 17-19 May "Building Trails to a Greener Future" conference to be held at Radford University. Part of the description is this:"The conference will actually start May 17 in Pearisburg, where a "walkable communities" workshop will be presented by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Lunch is included. Afterward, an afternoon hike will be offered to a Wilburn Valley overlook during which participants will learn about a realignment process for the Appalachian Trail in Giles County." So that would also cover the 'outdoor activities' promised by the subtitle.

The conference's main sponsor is the New River Valley Planning District Commission.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Trees Downed on the A.T. in the Smokies

Mark Barrett writes in the Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times of 21 April 2007 about the wind damage in the Smokies from the recent Nor'easter that blew up the east coast. The article is titled "Trees slow foot travel in Smokies."

According to a park spokesman:
"The area between Clingman’s Dome and Newfound Gap is the hardest hit, but significant damage is present along the trail northeast to Cosby Knob in the park’s northeastern end."
Nothing is closed, but travel will be slower than usual.

Vernon, NJ Earthfest Includes A.T. Hike

An article titled "Vernon Earthfest, scheduled for net [sic] weekend, is bigger and better than ever," in the Warwick (NY) Advertiser of 21 April 2007, mentions the Appalachian Trail. This Earthfest, by the way, is in Vernon, NJ.

It says:
"Appalachian Trail Hike led by Emile DuPont. Two-hour hike at 10 a.m. on Saturday, beginning at the Boardwalk. Three hour hike at 1 p.m. on Sunday, from the Route 94 trail head. Registrants must sign up in advance at the PAL."
And I guess if you know where Vernon, New Jersey is, you know how to get to the boardwalk.

The whole festival sound really interesting ... both the events at "the Appalachian Hotel at Mountain Creek" and those not.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Hiker Lost and Found in Connecticut

The Kent (CT) Dispatch, reporting on 20 April 2007 on the Nor'easter that blew through the eastern U.S. dumping lots of rain thereupon mentions that:
"Monday afternoon the KVFD was called out for a lost hiker on the Appalachian Trail. Searchers spent about five hours locating a hiker who had become separated from his group. The search area was the part of the Appalachian Trail that extends from Bull's Bridge through the Schaghticoke Indian Reservation and out to Macedonia Road (Route 341 west). Chief Epstein said the hiker was not injured but was "tired" when he was located."
I haven't heard of any damage to the Trail, either.

The article is dated 20 April 2007, bylined Karen A. Chase, and headlined "Nor'easter rages, but causes little real damage."

David Kuykendall Honored

Blairsville, Georgia's Union Sentinel has a news release in its 19 April 2007 issue titled "Kuykendall receives Award from Appalachian Trail Conservancy".

It's about what the headline says:
"David Kuykendall, outdoor planner on the Brasstown Ranger District of the Chattahoochee National Forest, [is being honored] as the agency partner of the year for the Southern Region of the USDA Forest Service."
He works down around Blood Mountain. He's one of the good guys.

New Maine Club Possible

The Lewiston (ME) Sun Journal of 19 April 2007 has an article by Ann Bryant titled "Outdoor club being planned" which outlines the plan by Richard Fecteau of Farmington, Maine to host a meeting in the North Dining Hall of Olsen Student Center at the University of Maine at Farmington on Friday 27 April.

The point of the meeting is to explore whether there is enough interest in the area to form an outdoor club. Fecteau refers to the Appalachian Trail a number of times in the article, both as a model and as perhaps a target for service by the possible club.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hiker Leslie Mass Speaks in Ohio

"Woman hikes length of Appalachian Trail solo" is the title of the article by Holly Richards in the Coshocton (OH) Tribune of 18 April 2007.

It's all about a presentation made "as part of National Library Week, [when] the Coshocton Public Library invited [Leslie] Mass to speak at Lake Park Pavilion." Leslie Mass is the thru-hiker and author of "In Beauty May She Walk."

There's a photo, a very brief summary of Mass's remarks, and some comments from a couple of the people there to hear her speak.

A.T. in Harpers Ferry Mentioned

The Rappahannock (VA) News has a travel piece about Harpers Ferry, WV titled "Where history and hikers collide" and written by Kevin Allen in its 18 April 2007 issue.

He mentions the Appalachian Trail in two sentences down there in the middle of the article:
"Harpers Ferry is located at the halfway point of the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine (and passes through Rappahannock County on the way).

"The 2,175-mile footpath passes through Harpers Ferry, with wooden posts directing hikers on the town's brick sidewalks."

Bryson Mentioned

The Bainbridge Island (WA) Review has an editorial in its 18 April issue titled "Schools could use your voice." It's about upcoming school board elections.

Along the way to making their point, they refer to Bill Bryson's book "A Walk in the Woods." They call is "his 1998 environmental opus," which is something I have never heard it called before.

Great Southeastern Hiking Festival in May

From the Associated Press on 19 April 2007:
"The American Hiking Society is hosting the Great Southeastern Hiking Festival there [i.e., western North Carolina] May 3-6. The event includes a conference at the Montreat Conference Center, more than 20 scheduled hikes, educational seminars for hikers and trail organizations, and entertainment."
Naturally Appalachian Trail folks will be involved.

Hiker Danielle "Danny" Bernstein Speaks

Danielle "Danny" Bernstein has been hiking all her life. An Appalachian Trail end-to-ender, she has written a book titled "Hiking the Carolina Mountains" which is spoken about in a brief article in the Smoky Mountain Sentinel of 18 April 2007.

The presentation will be Sunday, April 29th 1-4pm at the Folk Art Center, Blue Ridge Parkway, Milepost 382.

Oh, yeah, there's a web site, too.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

SO-BO Hikers to Speak in Ohio

John Johnston's article in the Cincinnati (OH) Enquirer on 16 April 2007 titled "An Appalachian adventure; McNicholas grads learn about nature and about themselves" previews a talk by the two hikers at 7 p.m. on April 26 at Nature Outfitters, 118 Main St., Milford, OH.

The two hikers, Joe "Tundra Wookie" White and Bryan "Ice Man" Wolf, were southbound thru-hikers last year, starting from Katahdin on 7 September. The newspaper story sort of focuses more on their adventures on the northern half of the Appalachian Trail. They hiked for themselves, of course, but also "to raise money for Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Ohio, which helps children with life-threatening medical conditions. The pair say they've raised $10,000."

Hiker Maggiotto Blog Updates in Newspaper

The Journal News from the lower Hudson Valley, New York, has updates from hiker Dave Maggiotto's blog for the paper's readers in its 16 April 2007 issue. His last blog post at press time is dated 7 April at Franklin, NC.

Monday, April 16, 2007

College Credit for Hiking

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an 'available by subscription only' article that looks a little interesting. In the snippet they give at the come-on page, one can read the beginning of "An Online Course Takes Students Down the Appalachian Trail" by Sierra Millman.

Millman writes:
"Taking an online class sounds like the ideal way for students to spend more time in their pajamas — unless they're enrolled in an online hiking class, and the Appalachian Trail is just out back.

"Offered every autumn for the last three years, this 12-week interdisciplinary course is taught by professors from the two southwestern Virginia colleges. It asks students to get to know the natural world "online and on foot" through weekly nature excursions, trail journals, photographs, and the state's vivid fall foliage. The class is offered online to allow a mix of adult and traditional students at both colleges to participate."
And to get the rest of the article, you need to hand over the cash.

Of course, there's nothing that says they can't take the class "in their pajamas." I've quite often slept and hiked in the same outfit.

High School Hiking Trip Planned

The NWI Times (from northwest Indiana) issue of 15 April 2007 has the story titled "Better than book learning" by Kass Stone. It's about a local teacher from Highland High School who is taking some students hiking on the Appalachian Trail this summer.

"The class was brought to Highland by social studies teacher Robert Blumenthal, who copied the class from one taught by Bob DeRuntz at Chesterton High School.

"For this year's class, Blumenthal will lead his students on a 10-day excursion that will include primitive camping, hiking along the Appalachian Trail and a visit to the site of the Battle of Gettysburg and Harper's Ferry."
After some early summer classroom work, Blumenthal and his 16 students leave for their trip on 9 July.

Hiker Goodman Battles MS with Raw Food

The 15 April 2007 issue of (which seems to be some kind of joint newspaper site, as it gives the user the options to select either the Burlington County Times, the Bucks County Courier Times, or the Intelligencer) has an article by Ed Moorhouse titled "He refuses to bow to debilitating MS." It's a brief profile of MAtt Goodman.

Goodman is the one with multiple sclerosis. He was diagnosed in 1997. Six years later he "hiked 1,600 miles along the Appalachian Trail through Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Pennsylvania." (And I don't know if that means he skipped Vermont, Connecticut and New Jersey; but see below because apparently he went all the way to Virginia.)

Anyway, after following the standard medical regimen for a while,
"he eventually decided to stop taking medication to treat the disease, so he turned to yoga, meditation and a strict diet of raw foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds."
It was after this change that he made his hike.

He began hiking in Maine in June 2003 and
"After four months of hiking through 11 states, Goodman ended his trip in Virginia. He has since chronicled his experience in a self-published book titled, 'Holy Sh!t: How I Did It,' and speaks to others about his healthy lifestyle at events across the country."
And, that must explain that the reporter, not Moorhouse, skipped those northern states.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Vinona "Fire Hazard" Christensen Defrosting

The Noblesville (IN) Daily News is keeping up with Noblesville resident Vinona Christensen. Their 13 April 2007 issue has another William Fouts article, "Appalachian hiker pushes on after a night indoors; Cold weather forces trail retreat."

That's about it, Christensen and other hikers felt compelled, the article says, to check themselves into a motel somewhere north of Bly Gap after waking up at the Gap to 18 degree temps. She hoped to get to Nantahala on Friday the 13th.

Hiker Achey Now Climber Achey

The Bangor (ME) Daily News of 14 April 2007 brings an article by Jeff Strout titled "Achey to climb Mount Rainier". It mentions the upcoming attempt by Shane Achey to climb Washington's Mount Ranier "in early September as part of Backpacker Magazine’s Summit for Someone benefit climb."

Achey thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2006. While hiking, he says, he noticed countless groups of kids who were hiking as therapy of some kind, usually having been forced into it. He said that he (and the mentors for the kids) observed
"that after being on the trail for several days with these kids problems seemed to disappear. I guess that this experience is one of the reasons why I choose to participate in the Summit for Someone program because what they offer is very similar to what I saw on the [AT] last summer"
So, what is this "Summit for Someone program"? Go to their web site and discover how climbers of one of 14 western mountains can help raise money for worthy causes.

The article doesn't make clear how Achey hooked up with them, but it doesn't really matter.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

East Coast Governors Join Up

The recent signing of a pact by 4 east coast governors is the focus of an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Don Hopey published on 13 April 2007 under the headline "Program to revive Appalachian Mountains ecosystem, tourism; Federal intiative [sic] seeks to revive economically devastated area." We mentioned the Pennsylvania governor's press release on this a couple days ago.

What Hopey says about the A.T. is this:
"Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, the new program might aid local efforts on the Kittatinny Ridge near Harrisburg where the Blue Mountain/Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Project is already guiding the efforts of 24 local organizations to protect land along the globally important migration route for eagles and hawks.

"It also might support the Appalachian Trail Protection Initiative, which is working with the Appalachian Trail Conference [sic] to protect land adjacent to the trail from development."
...which isn't any more detailed than what was in the other story.

Ice Age Trail Run Compared to 1991 A.T. Run

Wisconsin's Ice Age Trail is the subject of Tom Held's 12 April 2007 article, "Runner hopes to log 1,079 miles in 23 days; What took a glacier thousands of years to carve out, he plans to cover in about 3 weeks," in the Milwaukee (WI) Journal Sentinel. It's about ultramarathoner Jason Dorgan.

But down towards the bottom of the article, the Appalachian Trail comes up by way of comparison:
"Yanacheck [one of Dorgan's "running partners"] is somewhat fearful that the effort could be one of Dorgan's last long runs.

"He likens it to David Horton's record-setting jaunt down the Appalachian Trail: 2,144 miles in just over 50 days, in 1991.

"'Horton said when he was done with the Appalachian Trail, he didn't feel like running again for a year,' Yanacheck said. 'He didn't even feel like putting on his shoes and running on his favorite trail or around the block.'

"Dorgan, however, has a much different idea.

"On May 12, six days after finishing his 1,079-mile effort, he plans to be back on the trail, competing in his 10th Ice Age 50."
Just so's they enjoy the scenery along the way!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Community College Earth Day A.T. Hike

"Hagerstown Community College Science Club will sponsor the following Earth Week 2007 activities. .... Sunday, April 22 - Appalachian Trail hike - Join the science club on a hike to Weverton Cliffs. The activity is open to the campus community. For information, call 301-790-2800, ext. 584." That's all on the Herald-Mail.Com web site on 12 April 2007.

Uncle Johnny's Nolichucky Hostel

The 12 April 2007 issue of the Valley Beautiful Beacon published in Erwin, TN has an article by Leeuna Foster that is a paean to "Uncle Johnny" Foster and his "Uncle Johnny's Nolichucky Hostel." The hostel celebrated its 10th anniversary back in February.

The article describes the accommodations, the location, and the services offered (shuttles and otherwise) at Uncle Johnny's, along with a little background of the proprietor himself.

Anybody having stopped there over the last decade would enjoy reading the article. The article says that "Most of the hikers spend at least two and a half days in Erwin and some of them stay longer." Two and a half days? Wow.

There's a nice picture of Uncle Johnny too, in case you didn't take one when you were there during those 2 and a half days.

Appalachian Trail Protection Initiative

PR Newswire is carrying a story from the office of the governor of Pennsylvania on 12 April 2007. It's about the governor joining with the governors of Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia to sign "the Highlands Action Program charter, a regional partnership that seeks to preserve the ecological and cultural resources of the Mid-Atlantic Appalachian Highlands."

It also mentions something called "Appalachian Trail Protection Initiative" about which I can't locate any other information at this time beyond this single paragraph in the press release.
"Also, the Appalachian Trail Protection Initiative is helping the Appalachian Trail Conference with its effort to focus public attention on the Appalachian Trail through Pennsylvania, and to identify ways to increase protection measures on lands adjacent to the trail."
Is is a Pennsylvania initiative? A regional one? Any ideas?

Recent Book by Hiker Brad Viles Reviewed

"Dreaming the A.T." is both the title of the blog article by Carey Kish in MaineToday.Com's 11 April online issue, AND the title of the book by Brad Wayne Viles that Kish reviews in the post. Well, technically the book title is: "Dreaming the Appalachian Trail: a Backpacking Novel."

Sounds like a fun, quick read. Since I haven't seen it, I won't comment any further. Read the review yourself.

It's a 76 page paperback, published by Xlibris; ISBN: 1425723950 and ISBN-13: 9781425723958. Looks like the list price is $10.00.

First Aid in the Maine Wilderness

The Kennebec (ME) Journal has an article by Rex Turner in its 11 April 2007 issue titled "First-Aid training good for outdoors." It's basically about wilderness medicine and first aid, and the need to be able to discern when to seek an emergency evacuation ... as well as what to be doing while waiting for help.

The writer uses the scenario of "a week-long backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail" as an illustration.

Trees Mark Possible Trail Near THE Trail

The Gainesville (GA) Times has an article in its 11 April issue titled "Group looks to map 'trail trees'." It's by Debbie Gilbert.

The Appalachian Trail is only mentioned in passing. The article is about a group in northern Georgia called Mountain Stewards that is mapping the locations of trees with "a tree trunk that bends into the shape of an arch or an upside-down "L," then shoots vertical again." They say these may well be trail markers left by Native Americans. (I'm wondering whether they might as well have been markers for slaves escaping to the north.)

Anyway, one apparent route marked by these trees parallels the Appalachian Trail.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Copious Optimism Reported on Springer

Gordon Brunskill is a sports writer for the Centre Daily Times from State College, Centre County, PA. He writes a good article in the paper's 10 April 2007 edition titled "Hikers show optimism for epic trek."

It's all about the optimism bubbling all over Springer at this time of year, coming from all those hikers intent on being able to stand on Katahdin in a few months. The article recounts the survival stats, and has a couple quotes from a couple hikers.
"Optimist Clubs around the country should hold their spring meetings at the top of Springer Mountain in Georgia.

"Positivity oozes from nearly everyone who climbs that mountain. People are smiling, laughing, confident.

"Of course, anything less and they have lost already."
It's really well-written. Read it!

Leonard Adkins Checks In

The Charleston (WV) Daily Mail of 10 April 2007 has a new update from the intentionally slow hiking Leonard Adkins. This is titled "Don't like the weather? Keep walking" and, as the saying goes, ain't that the truth?

Among other things, he reports that even when he and his wife might be a little trail-weary, their dog is always up and ready to go.

They've traveled over 300 miles so far and "already have been on the trail for more than a month and Georgia and most of North Carolina and Tennessee are behind us".

Read and enjoy. (Or wait for the inevitable book ... no, do both!)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

New Yorker Aims at Thru-Hike

Andrea Boyarsky, a reporter for the Staten Island (NY) Advance, has an article in their 9 April 2007 issue titled "A hiker's hardest challenge yet; Westerleigh resident will trek through 2,174 miles of Appalachian Trail to raise money for military non-profit."

The article chronicles the beginning of a thru-hike attempt by Staten Island resident Peter Priolo. Starting on 15 April, Priolo will be raising money (his own, if nobody else's) for "Fisher House, a not-for-profit organization that allows family members of military personnel be close to their loved ones during hospitalization for illness, disease or injury." The obligatory web site has more details.

"'I'm scared to death,' Priolo admits of the challenge. 'I don't know what to expect; there are a lot of intangibles. But with a positive attitude, I can do anything.'"

I'm sorry, but "I don't know what to expect"??? Don't you have access to any of the printed or online narratives written by people who have hiked before you?

Then there's the reporter's comment:
"Priolo will be hiking the trail alone, but believes he will meet other travelers along the way. He will be stopping at shelters, where hikers tend to congregate and discuss their journey."
Makes it sound like, well, he just might not meet other hikers while he's out there. No, wait, this is a Staten Island reporter. Never mind.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Maine Appalachian Trail Club 72nd Meeting carries an announcement of the upcoming Maine Appalachian Trail Club meeting slated for 14 April 2007. The meeting will be at Nutting Hall at the University of Maine at Orono from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

North Carolinian Greg Eans Hikes Virginia

The Daily Reflector from Greenville, NC has an 6 April 2007 update on the month-long hike by their photography chief Greg Eans, headlined "Al Clark: Wherever 'long walk' takes him will be a high and special place." Al is the columnist. Greg is hiking the Appalachian Trail in Virginia.

The column gives extracts from, and directs readers to, the blog being written by Eans and his wife Marion Blackburn.

The blog is a really nice interplay between hiker and spouse, especially because she does some hiking along with him and knows what it's all about. Good reading.

Hiker Maggiotto Updates the World

The White Plains (NY) Journal-News calls its readers' attention to AT hiker Dave Maggiotto's 7 April blog posting. From the village of Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, Magiotto writes about the cold, snow, and sub-freezing temps down south. The unsigned news article title summarizes: "Appalachian Trail blogger seeks shelter from extreme spring cold".

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Vinona "Fire Hazard" Christensen Reports In

The Noblesville (IN) Daily Times of 7 April 2007 has William Fouts's article titled "On the trail with Vinona Christensen," bringing readers what aims to be the first of many updates on the thru-hike attempt by Ms. Christensen.

After starting from Springer on 25 March "'I have acquired a trail name: Fire Hazard. Yes, there is a story associated with that,' Christensen reported. 'The short version is that I managed to burn a couple of holes in another hiker’s gear, so I have to admit that I deserve the name. I have since changed cooking stoves so hopefully I will no longer be a hazard.'"

I'm glad it was only "a couple of holes."

Trailside Burning in Virginia

The Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch has an article by Carrie J. Sidener titled "Set fires clear way for nature; Prescribed burns help George Washington National Forest and test Forest Service crews" in its 7 April 2007 issue.

The article begins with a USDA Forest Service employee surveying smoke rising from a ridge while standing on the Appalachian Trail. "The 460 acres along the ridge is a part of the George Washington National Forest and it has a prescription to burn." It had been slated for a burn for several years, but wind conditions had never been just right.

Now, however, "the Appalachian Trail forms one of the boundaries for the burn and the other is the forest service road that accesses the area."

Ummm, keep an eye out for it when you hike through the area? Or at least know that the blackened earth trailside is both intentional and a good thing.

Mountain Club of Maryland Trail Activities

The Mountain Club of Maryland has its upcoming activities on and around the Appalachian Trail announced in the "Club Notes" column of the Capital-Gazette newspaper from Annapolis, MD on 6 April 2007. These include hikes and trail maintenance activities through 14 April.

Joseph Abrahams Starts a Thru-Hike

The Sand Mountain (AL) Reporter reports the start of a thru-hike attempt by Albertville, Alabama resident Joseph Abrahams. This comes in an article by reporter George Jones titled "Local man begins hiking 2,100-mile trail" which appears in the 7 April 2007 issue.

Called "Albertville’s version of the traveling Renaissance man," Abrahams had already been hiking for a while when profiled in this article. He started on 11 March.

Hiking with his dog Go-Jo, Abrahams "began with disappointment when he discovered the Smoky [sic!] National Park’s leg prohibited his traveling companion." Despite not having done that bit of background reading before beginning his hike, it sounds like he'll do fine and finish in time to start med school in the fall.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Leslie Mass Speaks in Kentucky

Linda Stahl of the Louisville (KY) Courier-Journal includes an announcement in her 5 April 2007 column about a presentation by author, speaker and hiker Leslie Mass at the Louisville Nature Center on the 5th.

Mass wrote "In Beauty May She Walk: Hiking the Appalachian Trail at 60" and is making the rounds now promoting the book and hiking (see previous post) while not out hiking with Wild Side Adventures.

Leslie Mass Speaks in Ohio

Author, speaker, and hiker Leslie Mass is speaking in Coshocton, Ohio on 17 April at the Lake Park Pavilion, according to a press release printed in the Coshocton (OH) Tribune on 5 April 2007 in the "Around Town" column.

Mass wrote "In Beauty May She Walk: Hiking the Appalachian Trail at 60" about her hike in 2000. The presentation -- coordinated under the banner of National Library Week -- highlights some of the things Mass learned on the Trail.

Jeff Alt to Speak

The Dayton (OH) Daily News of 5 April 2007 has an announcement by staff writer Jim Morris under the headline "Alligator found dead at Grand Lake with jaws tied shut" that's relevant here.

Down under the 'dead alligator in local Ohio lake' story, there's word that 1998 Appalachian Trail thru-hiker Jeff Alt will be speaking at the Gander Mountain store in Huber Heights, OH on 14 April.

Alt has hiked elsewhere and spoken elsewhere, too. See his web site. He's the author of "A Walk for Sunshine," his A.T. narrative, which I have not yet read.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

AT Mentioned to Blacksburg Students

Something or other calling itself the Collegiate Times has an article by Drew Jackson titled "What to do outdoors, and where to do it!" under date of 30 March 2007.

It's written as if all the readers were at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, VA. Maybe they are.

Anyway, according to the article, "Teresa Martinez, trail programs manager for the Appalachian Trail Services, also described the Cascades National Recreation Trail as one of students' favorite outdoor destinations. The trail is part of the Jefferson National Forest and is accessed off 460 in Pembroke."

And: "The most accessible and most popular of all outdoor attractions is the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the famous trail that stretches 2,170 miles from Maine to Georgia. 'The trail goes through 14 states and is maintained solely by volunteers,' Martinez said. Virginia possesses roughly a quarter of the Appalachian Trail, which is over 500 miles of the trail. However, none of these miles are in Montgomery County.

"'In our area the trail is in Giles, Bland, Craig, Botetourt and Roanoke counties,' Martinez said.

"'The AT offers folks an opportunity to get away from all the pressures of living as a student in town, the pressure of classes and classwork … You would basically get back to what was really fundamental in life, like walking, community and being in a natural place that helps you kind of ground yourself, and stay sane,' Martinez said. 'When you get out there, you have an opportunity to relax and do so in a way where you're not chained to your computer or cell phone.'"


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

New Yorker Starts at Springer

"5 million steps and counting down" is the title of the profile written by Matt Sartwell in the White Plains (NY) Journal News from the lower Hudson River Valley (or northern reaches of the New York City suburbs, depending on your point of view) in its 2 April 2007 issue.

The profile is of local resident Dave Maggiotto who has just set off on a thru-hike attempt. The article has quotes from him, from his mother, and from "Rush Williamson, a volunteer with the Appalachian Trail Conservatory [sic!] who lives in the Washington, D.C., suburbs." [Williamson broke a leg while hiking last year, but is getting back on the Trail next year in another attempt; but the article didn't make clear why he is the chosen commentator.]

Anyway, Maggiotto has had hiking experience but only decided to take on the AT back in January. (January!) Though he lives in the area he didn't know where Harriman State Park even was back when he tlaked with the reporter on 26 March.

Interestingly, for one of these 'local resident goes on a hike' articles, there is an itemized list of the gear he's taking in his 40 pound (without food) pack. You don't often see those lists.

Oh, yes, the web site for his hiking journal:

Thru-Hiker Claims Surviving on Wild Plants

Khristopher J. Brooks writes in the 2 April 2007 Bristol (VA) Herald Courier about a local college student under the headline "Appalachian Trail trekker found his meals on the move."

It's a story about local college student Ben Casteel. "The 21-year-old horticulture student at Virginia Highlands Community College walked the Appalachian National Scenic Trail last spring. He survived the five-month trek by eating wild plants he found along the way."

He also carried a mandolin. Which he sometimes played for food. So he didn't survive solely on the trilliums, ramps and wild greens he identified and ate.

Okay, aside from eating plants that are somewhat threatened (the trillium) he also breaks one of his safe food rules ("don’t want to eat anything that has a bad odor") by eating the ramps.

Whatever happened to the old 'leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures'? Maybe he only ate a couple of these wild foods and didn't really "survive" on them. Sigh.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Pennsylvanian Starts a Thru-Hike Attempt

Eric Long again, in the Williamsport (PA) Sun-Gazette, has an article about a local hiker starting out on a thru-hike attempt. It's in the 1 April 2007 issue, headlined "One of his ‘biggest hikes ever’."

The hiker is Aaron Faust, identified as "a former city resident." He's using the hike to raise money to fight cancer (see the web site).

Faust has hiked in various places, says he plans on staying in shelters and that "I will probably take a tent, too."

His family was aiming on driving him to Springer on Easter Sunday.

There's a longer version of this article at this location. Same author, same date ... I don't know, maybe one was for online consumption and the other one was in print on paper? This version is titled "Hiker with a cause: Former city resident to tackle Appalachian Trail, fight cancer."

Organized Slack Packing Business in Shenandoah

The Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch has a 1 April 2007 article by staff writer Katherine Calos that describes a trekking business in along the Appalachian Trail in the Shenandoah National Park under the title "A hike anyone can enjoy."

The business operator is one Andy Nichols, who "leads the programs with other members of his 13-year-old Teamlink/Shenandoah Mountain Guides company. They have a contract with Aramark, which operates the lodges in the park.

"Nichols goes beyond what park rangers can offer during the rangers' spring season of daily activities beginning Friday. Free ranger-led hikes and other programs generally last for only an hour or two.

"For people who want to spend more time on the trail, the guided adventures at Skyland Resort and Big Meadows Lodge include inn-to-inn overnight trips.

"The concept was inspired by European traditions of hut-to-hut hiking in the mountains. The Shenandoah version is easier because luggage goes into a van instead of being backpacked."

The article describes it all in more detail.

Organized slack-packing. For a price.

Very Basic History of the Appalachian Trail

The Williamsport (PA) Sun-Gazette of 1 April 2007 has an outdoors column titled "Appalachian Trail attracts 4 million visitors annually" by Eric Long. It's a short, pretty basic introduction to the history of the Trail.

"The 'Holy Grail' of hiking in the eastern United States began as a proposal by a regional planner, who felt the beautiful stretches of wilderness in the East should be preserved and protected." And so on.

Appalachian Trail Maintainers Meet in New York

Nancy Haggerty writes Without Limits every Sunday for the Poughkeepsie (NY) Journal, and on 1 April 2007, she wrote a column under the headline "Appalachian Trail monitors meet to talk preservation."

Highlighting the work of the trail monitors in New York, Haggerty tells about "a [recent] meeting of current and potential New York-New Jersey Trail Conference AT monitors at the RPH Shelter in East Fishkill." In particular she picks out the comments of three: Ollie Simpson, Ron Rosen, and Jim Haggett.

"Currently, 12 monitors cover Dutchess and the AT's 20 miles in Putnam, about half the number Haggett would like. Monitors commit to checking at least twice yearly for problems along the Park Service's boundary and property.

"Maintainers (there's a solid contingent of 30-plus) work more often, trimming overgrowth, removing or cutting trail-blocking fallen trees and doing more, including sometimes helping construct bridges."

A really nice explanation of the importance of this side of Appalachian Trail work, that helps keep the Trail open for hikers.