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.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Wind Farm Debate Continues

Donna M. Perry writes in the 25 August 2007 Lewiston, ME Sun-Journal under the headline "Groups search for consensus on wind power." The article reports things said by "several panelists speaking at Tilting at Windmills?, an informational forum on wind power in Western Maine sponsored by Western Maine Legislative Caucus."

Among the speakers was David Publicover, Appalachian Mountain Club senior staff scientist.

Energy Bars Post Noted

This isn't really about the Trail, but I found interesting a blog post on the Green Options blog, put up there by Kelli Best-Oliver on 25 August 2007. It's titled "Weekend Review: Matisse & Jack's Bake-At-Home Energy Bars."

The writer mentions that she and her husband had been
"backpacking on the Appalachian Trail for ten days this summer, and we started off eating various energy bars because they were light and provided quick energy. However, we quickly grew tired of convincing ourselves that we actually liked eating them."
Then the post goes on to give a review of this new bake-your-own-energy-bar product. Call me old-fashioned, but couldn't you achieve the same effect (avoiding pre-packaged, cardboard-flavored energy bars) by baking your own bars from scratch using, say, recipes from the Lipsmackin', Backpackin' cookbooks by Conners and Conners?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Hunting Wild Foods on the Appalachian Trail in New York

The New York Academy of Science has a "webzine" in which appears notice of an upcoming group hike and wild food hunt billed as a 4-hour walking tour. Specifically, they say that
"'Wildman' Steve Brill will lead one of his world-famous Wild Food and Ecology Tours of the Appalachian Trail in Pawling, NY. America's most famous hiking trail, which runs for hundreds of miles from Maine to Georgia. [sic] Our stretch, running through Pawling, NY, is loaded with wild foods."
The tour is set for Saturday 25 August 2007 at 11:30, leaving from the Metro North Appalachian Trail Station [i.e., the 4 hours does not include the train ride from Manhattan and points in between]. And the article about this is titled "Hunt for Burdock Root on the Appalachian Trail."

Introduction to Hiking in the Shenandoah National PArk

An article titled "Navigating Nature; Guided Hikes Show Visitors Shenandoah National Park’s Beauty" and written by Luanne Austin in the Harrisonburg, VA Daily News Record of 23 August 2007, describes some hikes led by Liz Cosby, a Student Conservation Association intern in Shenandoah National Park this summer. It tells us that
"On a hot Tuesday in August, she took a group of 19 park visitors on a two-mile (out and back) hike along the Appalachian Trail. Along the way, she talked about the AT: its history, characteristics, geography, famous people. She also talked a lot about what’s needed to walk the whole AT, which extends from Maine to Georgia."
As a teaching device she had the hikes pick trail names, and told them that if they were thru-hiking they'd be on their 850th mile.

A company called ARAMARK that "offers day-long and overnight trips" is also mentioned.

AMC Mountain Guide Online for a Price

According to a long story reported (press release reprinted?) at AlpineZone.Com and titled "Appalachian Mountain Club Launches White Mountain Guide Online" on 23 August 2007,
"The AMC White Mountain Guide Online is currently available at The cost for an annual subscription with unlimited access is $12 per year for AMC members. The subscription is $15 per year for non-members. A free trial offers an opportunity to try out the service before subscribing."
The story says repeatedly that the guide is the "first-of-its-kind," so it must be. The description makes it sound pretty snazzy. I haven't visited the web site yet.

Report on Alpine Rose Hearing

The Pocono Record of 23 August 2007 has an article by Howard Frank that details the hearing held by Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on the permit to allow the Alpine Rose track construction next to the Appalachian Trail. It is titled "Alpine Rose stormwater plan met with dissent."

The report summarizes lots of diffrent evidence and arguments against the permit. Despite the emotion displayed "the hearing's outcome will probably hinge on the science." To my eyes, the science says that the track should NOT be allowed.
"The next step in the application process will be a review of the testimony and additional documents the DEP has received, followed by a decision on the permit, according to Mark Carmon, community relations coordinator for the DEP, who ran the hearing.

"Carmon would not give a time frame for that process."
It almost seems like the winner will be the side that waits it out the longest.

Fire Ban Along Blue Ridge Parkway

"Campfires forbidden on Appalachian Trail" is the headline in the Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch for Rex Bowman's 23 August 2007 story relaying the information that the Blue Ridge Parkway officials have temporarily placed a ban on fires in the park (including along the A.T.) except at established fire grates. This is due to the dry, hot weather.

Story also appears on the web site of Roanoke, VA's WDBJ television. And on the website of Harrisonburg, VA's WHSV television.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Maine Wind Farm Proposal Back Again

The Maine wind farm proposal is back in the news in the Kennebec Morning Sentinel's 23 August 2007 issue under the headline "Wind project returns to table; Black Nubble project slated for public hearings."

"Black Nubble project is a smaller version of the Redington wind farm, which called for placing 30 turbines on both Redington Pond Range and Black Nubble.

"But environmental groups and groups that advocate for the Appalachian Trail, which passes close to the project, have said that while the one-mountain project is smaller, it still raises significant concerns."
The Black Nubble site is just over three miles from the Appalachian Trail, while Redington was about a mile away.

Vermont's Long Trail Festival Hailed as Success

Brent Curtis writes in the 21 August 2007 Rutland (VT) Herald that the
"Promoters of the Rutland Long Trail Festival said the success of their three-day event during the weekend guarantees that they are in it for the long haul."
They attracted "more than 1,000 people" to the 3-day "concert and outdoor extravaganza."

The organizers'
"dream is to make the event an annual stop for hikers in the same way the annual Trail Days festival in Damascus, Va., which straddles the Appalachian Trail, has become over three decades.

"During its first year, the Long Trail Festival attracted hikers hailing from as far away as Canada, West Virginia and Georgia, he said."
Sounds about right.

The article's headline is: "Long Trail fest looks like a go as annual event".

Hiker Todd Murphy Featured

Southbound hiker Todd Murphy is the focus of the brief news story titled "Disabled Hiker Attempts Appalachian Trail" on the WPTZ-TV (Burlington, VT) web site on 23 August 2007. It's taglined as an Associated Press story.

"Hike Inn" Hostel in North Carolina

The Smoky Mountain Sentinel (Hayesville, NC) has a local news column titled "News of the Region" in its 22 August 2007 issue that mentions the Appalachian Trail, particularly one of the hostels thereon.

The sub-headline reads "Robbinsville. Hike Inn serves hikers at gateway to the Smoky Mountains". The key sentence below reads:
"They arrive from all over the globe to take advantage of the services offered by Jeff and Nancy Hoch, proprietors of The Hike Inn, a small, five-room motel catering exclusively to hikers at the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Fontana Dam."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A.T. Described

Raleigh, NC's television station WRAL has a piece on its web site by Dolly R. Sickles headlined "Field Trip | Hiking the Appalachian Trail" and dated 22 August 2007.

It's a short piece that introduces folks to the Appalachian Trail for the first time. Despite a little inaccuracy (like quoting a Georgia hiking web site on elevations to make it sound like the entire Trail is above 2,500 feet ... possibly in Georgia, but whatever happened to the Bear Mountain Zoo?) the piece might pique some people's interest.

Logging Plan in Cherokee Forest a Threat?

Gregg Powers writes in the 22 August 2007 issue of the Kingsport (TN) Times-News that
"According to a news release from Cherokee Forest Voices, Laurel Fork stream would be greatly impaired by muddy runoff from a logging project in the north end of the Cherokee National Forest. CFV officials said the proposed Rough Ridge timber sale in Carter County would also degrade mature forests and chop up scenic views along the Appalachian Trail and other paths popular with bird watchers, hikers and mountain bikers."
His story is headlined "Conservation group seeks to stop logging project in Cherokee Forest" and decribes the plan by the U.S. Forest Service to log a total of 267 acres in 8 different tracts.

Alpine Rose Hearing on 22 August

The Pocono Record out of Stroudsburg, PA has an article titled "Alpine Rose hearing tonight; 3 p.m. deadline to register to testify" in its 22 August 2007 issue. Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said
"The public hearing will address developer Richard Muller Jr.'s request for reinstatement of a permit to discharge stormwater from construction into the Aquashicola Creek."
ATC, Sierra Club, and the local Blue Mountain Preservation Association all oppose the plans to build a track next to the Appalachian Trail where car and motorcycle drivers will be able to zip around the 3 1/2 mile loop at speeds of up to 120 miles per hour.

The DEP had originally denied the permit not because of encroachment on the Trail, but because of potential pollution of a pristine stream in the area.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Flint Mountain Shelter Described as a Memorial

What a nice article this is. Laura Sperling writes a column in the Sarasota (FL) Herald Tribune on 18 August 2007 under the headline "A trail blazed with memories; Ascending to Shelter and Solace."

Sperling describes parts of a recent hike to the Flint Mountain Shelter along the NC-Tenn border a ways north of Hot Springs, NC, near Devil's Fork Gap. My Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker's Companion says, of this shelter, that it is the
"site of one of the more unusual animal encounters in Trail history. In 1994, a sleeping thru-hiker was bitten on the hand by a fox in the middle of the night--despite the presence of other hikers and two dogs."
Well, add to that the memories from this article. Sperling says that it's pretty much a family tradition to make a day hike to this shelter whenever they are in the area. Before his death, her dad had hiked most of the Trail. And her dad had helped the local club build Flint Mountain Shelter in 1988 to honor her brother Mark, who died in 1987.

In all her visits to the shelter, Sperling says she has never met a backpacker staying there, although she enjoys reading the shelter register's comments. This visit was special in another way. Sperling was able to take her niece, her brother Mark's daughter, to the shelter that commemorates her dad for the first time.
"Her interest was piqued by a friend who took a sabbatical to hike the Appalachian Trail last year. ... I asked Emily what she thought of her first shelter visit. She called it cathartic, explaining that the physical sacrifice of the hike heightened her emotional connection to this place of solace."
That's how it should be. I think it's great to learn more about spots like this along the Trail.

Wheelchair Accessible Appalachian Trail Portion in Vermont

David Gram's Associated Press article, "Vermont: Accessible trails open outdoors," in the 20 August 2007 issue of the San Jose Mercury News, describes the National Park Service's attempts to find ways to 'open the outdoors' to people with various mobility and other handicaps. This includes a single, central website that will debut in September with accessibility information for all the Park Service's properties in one place.

In this article, Gram focuses also on activities in Vermont. For example,
"In Killington, the Green Mountain Club has been working this summer to finish a project relocating part of the Appalachian Trail to get it away from roads. The project has grown to include a new wheelchair-accessible boardwalk. When it opens this fall, it will be the first section of the Appalachian Trail in northern New England to be designed as wheelchair-accessible. Nearly 1,000 feet long, it passes a spectacular view of the Thundering Brook falls and through the Ottauquechee River flood plain."
And, no, the Trail isn't being paved through the wilderness. Where these accessible trails are not boardwalks, they are being surfaced in hard-packed gravel.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Thru-hiking Well Described

There's a long, descriptive article about thru-hiking in the Miami Herald of 19 August 2007, written by Kerri Westenberg and headlined "Spotlight: Hiking the Appalachian Trail; The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine, and every year, more than 1,000 people go for the entire walk." (Westenberg does make clear that there aren't 1,000 people who complete a thru-hike each year.)

She writes well. For example, describing the kinds of people who hike:
"Some of these through-hikers wear boots scruffy from years of wear. Others come with gleaming new equipment they barely know how to use. They are accountants, mail carriers, schoolteachers, retirees, recent college grads. But in the woods, where most take on trail names, they leave those old labels behind.

"They come to strip life to the basics: up at sunrise, down at dusk, eat food, drink water. They come for the contemplative act of putting one foot in front of the other -- again and again and again and again -- following the white blazes painted onto trees and rocks that mark the Appalachian Trail. They come for the joy of exerting their muscles, meeting other hikers, merging with nature. Primarily, they come to see if they're up to the task."
You can tell this isn't your usual article about thru-hikers. There are bits about the history of the Trail, the lingo, and trail magic, too. And stories from a few of this year's hikers: "Old School," "Dinosaur," and "Balance and Peace."

Michael "Bobcat" Innes Completes Thru-Hike

Chris Carlson, writing in the 19 August Berkshire (MA) Eagle, records the completion of Michael Innes' northbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.
"Beginning with his approach from Amicalola Falls, Georgia on March 16 and finishing atop Mount Katahdin in Maine on July 27, Innes became the first Berkshire County resident to walk the entire Appalachian Trail this year."
And eight days later, Innes got married.
"Innes followed the age-old AT tradition by traveling under a trail name. He chose 'Bobcat' because he'd seen one of the felines roaming around the trail in Dalton. His dirt-covered dog, Romeo, was 'Swamp Monster,' while his bubbly wife, an English teacher at Taconic High School, took on the name 'Sunshine.'"
Lori ('Sunshine') hiked the last six weeks with Innes.

The article's title is "Following the Trail."

Maine Wind Farm Details

Lewiston Maine's Sun-Journal newspaper has an 18 August 2007 article by Donna M. Perry about the current proposals for a 'wind farm' somewhat near the Appalachian Trail. This article describes the currently-known details of the plan as presented by TransCanada Energy Ltd. The article is titled "Details emerge on wind farm."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Northbound David White Completes Thru-Hike

The Spartanburg (SC) Herald-Journal of 18 August 2007 has an unsigned article titled "Happy, tired retiree ends 2,175-mile hike" that records the completed thru-hike by 58 year old David White who recently "retired as district manager for Duke Power."

He started at Springer on 9 March, and summited Katahdin on 31 July.
"'Hiking the trail was a way to purge my system of all the corporate world and get away from everything,' White said. 'I've been thinking about this for 12 to 15 years and knew this was the only time I'd have a chance to do that.'"

Southbound Hiker on Prosthetics

Linda Rathke writes an Associated Press article in the Boston Globe of 17 August 2007 under the headline "Disabled hiker attempts Appalachian Trail." It's an account of the southbound thru-hike attempt started by Todd Murphy on 3 June.

Murphy, "who lost his lower legs due to a birth defect," has been hiking 12-19 miles a day on a pair of prosthetic legs that were specially designed for the trip. He aims to be back in his Florida home by Thanksgiving. He's past Vermont at this writing, his online trail journal recording his arrival in Massachusetts on the 16th.

The trail journal is at

(article also appears in the Bradenton (FL) Herald on 17 August 2007)

(and in the Sarasota Herald Tribune on 18 August 2007)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Section Hiking Described and Endorsed

Tim Jones, writing in the Concord (NH) Monitor on 17 August 2007 describes the joys of section hiking the Appalachian Trail under the headline "Going to pieces; Long trails can be conquered one small step at a time". One would suppose that many people, having heard of the Appalachian Trail, might not think it would be 'okay' to hike it a week at a time. If so, Jones's article explains how many people do just that, piecing together a 2,000 mile hike over many years.

As Jones says:
"So how about it? Have you ever taken your first steps on a very long journey? So what if you don't have the time to do it all at once. Cut that big journey into bite-sized pieces and savor it slowly. You'll still get there one step at a time.

"Life isn't a spectator sport. Get out and enjoy!"

Friday, August 17, 2007

Story Behind the Long Trail Festival

Brent Curtis of the Rutland (VT) Herald has a 16 August 2007 article titled "Long Trail Festival a team effort" in that paper. It describes the hard work put into creating this weekend's festival by its originator (and Appalachian Trail thru-hiker) Wayne Krevetski and his wife Kathy.

They are both "avid hikers" and are consciously patterning their hopes for the Long Trail Festival on Trail Days in Damascus, VA. In the words of the article, they
"want the Long Trail Festival to function like the annual Trail Days festival in Damascus, Va. Hikers from all over the country come to that town, where the Appalachian Trail runs down Main Street and eight other trails converge, for the 30-year-old festival.

"Krevetski said he and his wife want the Long Trail Festival in Rutland to become a similar destination spot for hikers walking the Appalachian and Long trails in the Northeast."
They had a lot of local support and help in pulling the Festival together. Best of luck with it!

Vermont's Long Trail Festival in Rutland

The Rutland (VT) Herald has a story in its 16 August 2007 issue about the Long Trail Festival in Rutland. It's by Brent Curtis and headlined "Hiking over to Long Trail Festival."

The 3 day festival (Friday-Sunday)
"is the first of its kind but not the last, according to organizers who hope to turn Rutland into a popular pit stop for hikers traveling the nearby Appalachian and Long trails. The free admission event at the Rutland fairgrounds is a cross between an outdoor concert and an outdoor adventures workshop."
The festival site is about 8 miles from the trail -- just a day or so south of the Maine Junction at Killington-- so it's not exactly 'Damascus Trail Days North,' but what a good idea anyway.

Hiker Fugate Profiled in New York

The Glens Falls, NY Post Star of 16 August 2007 has an article by Alyson Martin titled "Taking it to the streets; Message on the Move" in which she profiles cross country walker Steve Fugate. He was in the midst of a thru-hike in 1999 when he learned of his son's suicide. He's pretty much been walking since, carrying a sign with the simple message "Love Life" as a way to keep others from committing suicide.

He did, by the way, eventually complete his A.T. hike.

Take my advice, too, and read his Appalachian Trail story at his web site.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

MacAfee of Knob Gets Off the Trail

The Charleston (WV) Daily Mail of 14 August 2007 has another update on this summer's thru-hike by Leonard and Laurie Adkins -- and MacAfee of Knob (The Amazing Appalachian Bouncing Dog). The article is titled "Trail gets to be too rough for mountain-climbing dog".

Adkins writes about hiking in the Whites. He wraps up with word that their 14 year old dog "is off the trail for a while," resting up so that he can hike with the pair when they flip flop back to the south.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Hike For Steve Coming to a Close

"A hike for a lost friend" is the headline over Ruth Sheehan's article in the 12 August 2007 Raleigh (NC) News & Observer. It details a memorial hike this summer by three college friends honoring a recently-murdered childhood friend with whom they had planned to thru-hike.

The three hikers are Spencer McKay, Ben Burchardi and Garrett Dixon. They took the late Stephen Harrington with them anyway, or, at least, a small container with some of his ashes in it.

Leaving Springer on 21 May, they made a lot more miles a day than most thru-hikers do, and intend to be finishing this week or so. They will meet with Steve Harrington's family at Katahdin to spread his ashes there.

Harrington was murdered in October 2005. This is a really neat story of friendship and healing. Read more in the article and at their blog.

Worcester Mass. Hiker Profiled

David Greenslit's article "City boy finds his country soul in hiking" in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette for 12 August 2007 profiles AT hiker and AMC local chapter hiking chair Steve Ciras.

Mostly the article reviews how Ciras got involved in and remains in hiking. It also tells this undated Appalachian Trail story:
"Speaking of the Appalachian Trail, Ciras recalled meeting a thru-hiker, one who’s hiking the entire 2,175 miles from Georgia to Maine, atop Mt. Moriah in New Hampshire. Later that day, when Ciras and his group were at a pizza parlor in nearby Gorham, they saw the hiker and asked him to eat with them.

"Someone asked the thru-hiker, who at this point was one state away from finishing, when he knew he would make it. He said he always knew because he was hiking with his grandfather. The hiker, just out of college, explained that he and his grandfather had talked about hiking the trail together, but his grandfather died that spring. So the young man was carrying his ashes to the end of the trail, where he would spread them atop Mt. Katahdin."
There's another anecdote Ciras tells about getting caught in a surprise July snowstorm in the White Mountains with 14 hockey team buddies back in the 1970's and all crowding into "a nearby camp" despite the caretaker having told them there was only room for three more.

Natural Feature Along A.T. in Vermont

The Barre Montpelier Times Argus of 12 August 2007 has an article titled "A rocky stairway to heaven" and written by Andrew Nemethy. The article describes a hike at a place called White Rocks. Nemethy describes this as
"Vermont's biggest rock pile, a spectacular ancient waterfall of craggy boulders that David Lacy, a forest archaeologist for the Vermont national forest, calls 'rare and unique' and unlike anything else in the state."
Furthermore, this area is a "slope of jumbled Cheshire quartzite, which rises up to meet the top of a tree-covered cliff that is crossed by the Appalachian Trail." Where is it? East of Wallingford, VT on route 140 about 2 miles, the turn right on Sugar Hill Road.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sweat Equity Article Reprinted

The Roanoke Times article by Neil Harvey titled "Appalachian Trail crew to mark 75 years of 'sweat equity'" is reprinted on the Newport News, VA Daily Press web site on 11 August 2007. It is about the Konnarock Crew and was reviewed here a couple days ago when it first appeared.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Longtime ATC Member Profiled

In the 9 August 2007 issue of the Gazette of Frederick County, Maryland (that is published in Gaithersburg, MD) Katherine Mullen has an article titled "Outdoorsman lives by Boy Scouts’ principles". It is a profile of 70 year old Earl Porter, resident of Lake Linganore.

The article mentions that Porter has "hiked segments of the Appalachian Trail in an April blizzard," that he is active in Scouting, and that "he is also an active member of Trailblazers, a group of volunteers that clean up and maintain the 32-miles of trails in Lake Linganore, and a 30-year member of Appalachian Trail Conservancy."

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Bryson Being Read in Massachusetts

The 8 August 2007 story out of Monson, Massachusetts in a web outlet for the western Massachusetts newspaper, the Republican, (out of Springfield?) is that there's a "Hiking book perfect fit for program." The program is a "one book - one community" reading program sponsored by the Monson Free Library. The book is Bill Bryson's 'A Walk in the Woods.'

Spot for an Introductory Hike

The Cherokee Sentinel (from Murphy, NC) has a column in its 8 August 2007 issue titled "Best Appalachian trail beginner's hike: Bring the kids" by "George columnist."

It describes the writer's nomination for "the easiest section between two very accessible roads anywhere south of the Smokies." He has "introduced a number of novice hikers to the trail, including preschool children," on this section of Trail. Where is it? The 3.6 mile stretch between Woody and Gooch gaps, near Suches, GA.

The article gives directions, suggestions, and descriptions.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Cooperating at Producing Sweat Equity

Neil Harvey's article "It takes a band to blaze a trail; The Appalachian Trail relies on dogged volunteers" in the 7 August 2007 issue of the Roanoke Times describes the work of the maintainers put on the Trail by the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club and the Konnarock Trail Crew.
"They're working [together this summer] to relocate and upgrade a half-mile stretch of trail called Angel's Gap, at the north end of Tinker Mountain, just north of Tinker Cliffs."
It's a really fine article that focuses on the diversity of the workers and the cooperation between the locals and the Konnarock Crew.

The only troubling part to me is that the Virginia Tech math professor, who has been the club's trail supervisor for years, says "'We got 10 or a dozen rock steps done today and we've got four or five more to go tomorrow.'" and I had always thought math was more exact that that.

Underage Drinking in Maryland A.T. Shelter

"Eight charged with underage drinking" is the headline over Gina Gallucci's story in the 7 August 2007 Frederick (MD) News Post. That about says it all, except that they were caught "in a trail shelter on the Appalachian Trail near Gathland State Park on Wednesday." The police had been keeping an eye out because of littering and underage drinking in the past.

Must have been the Crampton Gap Shelter which is 0.3 miles down a blue blaze trail that itself is 0.4 from Gathland (Gapland Road, MD Rt. 572).

Lost Hiker Story Detail

The story in the Rutland Herald gives a little more substance to the story about the 2 lost hikers in Vermont. It is titled "State troopers rescue lost hikers" and was published from staff reports on 7 August 2007.

There we learn that the pair went into the woods after dark, and that the male in the un-named pair "was clinging to a tree to keep from falling down a steep ledge on the Long Trail in Killington." The 19-year-old woman had a cell phone, dialed 911, and effected the rescue of her 18-year-old companion and herself.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

We're the Country Relatives, I Guess

The East Coast Greenway is the subject of an article in the Palm Beach Post, written by Chuck McGinness and titled "Local greenway aims to boost ecotourism." It was published on 6 August 2007.

He writes:
"Often thought of as the urban sister of the Appalachian Trail, the East Coast Greenway is a series of park trails, canal pathways, abandoned railroad corridors and waterfront esplanades that run through 398 cities and 90 counties in 15 states and Washington, D.C."
Which would make the Appalachian Trail the "country sister," I guess.

Follow the Blazes

WCAX-TV news reports on its web site that two lost Appalachian Trail hikers were rescued. They were day hikers lost in the woods somewhere near the Maine Junction at Killington. It can be confusing there because the white blazes split and both the A.T. and the Long Trail (which had them first) keep the white ... but these folks had to have been bushwhacking off trails.

Anyway, the story is an Associated Press story dated 6 August 2007 and headlined here "Lost in the woods, two hikers rescued near Killington."

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Scouts and Leader on the A.T. in Massachusetts

The Redding (CT) Pilot has an article in its 4 August 2007 issue titled "Scouts hike on Appalachian Trail" that records the 5 day 80 mile hike of two Boy Scouts and an adult leader through the Massachusetts section of the Appalachian Trail. They seem to have eaten a lot along the way. The hikers were Scouts Dan Guan and Bobby Cieri, and leader Dr. Robert Cieri.

Talking to Hikers in Maine

Gary Thorne's article in the Bangor Daily News of 4 August 2007 and titled "AT's through-hikers walk the walk" asks the basic question 'Could I hike the Appalachian Trail end to end? Could I be a thru-hiker?'

He seeks an answer by interviewing two hikers at a general store near the Kennebec River. One happened to be a southbounder 14 days into his trek, and the other a northbounder about that many days from finishing his. The former is Nathan Ruth from Ohio, having started on 13 July. The latter is hiking with the trailname "Retro" and started on 1 March.

Well-spoken men, both hikers gave the reporter good solid answers to his questions. He seems to be urging his readers to make contact with thru-hikers as they pass through Maine, especially in the next few weeks.
"If the question of what it takes still seems unresolved after talking with a through-hiker, you shouldn’t be too surprised. After all, the ultimate answer may be that you’ll never know if you can walk the walk until you load up a backpack and take that first step yourself. Then again, it may not be until you take the last one.

".... Just find the people who look like they’ve been in the same clothes for six months and are carrying everything they need on their backs. Most love to tell you about their trip. But if someone puts you off, don’t be too upset. They’ve probably been asked the same questions dozens of times, starting with, 'Are you a through-hiker?'"

Friday, August 03, 2007

East Coast Greenway Again

The East Coast Greenway is referred to as "an urban alternative to the Appalachian Trail" in an article by Hillary Copsey in the 2 August 2007 issue of TCPalm (for Florida's Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches from the Scripps Newspaper Group) which was titled "Trail proposal to help explore Florida."

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Day Hiker Dies in Maine

The Portland Sun Journal reports the death of a man hiking the Eyebrow Trail in Grafton Notch State Park. This came in an article written by Terry Karkos on 1 August 2007 titled "Man perishes in plummet at Grafton Notch State Park". Karkos writes that the dead man's name is Paul Marsh and that
"According to the Appalachian Trail trail-head log book, Marsh signed in at 9:45 a.m. Saturday, indicating he was hiking the Eyebrow Trail, ....

"The Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce describes the Eyebrow Trail as a loop of just over two miles. It follows the Appalachian Trail south for a short distance, then passes through hardwoods before steeply ascending to the top of Eyebrow Precipice, approximately 1,000 feet above the trail-head parking lot off the south side of Route 26."
The story also reports speculation that the death was a suicide. The body was discovered "at the bottom of a 160-foot-high cliff."

Follow-up article in same newspaper by same author titled "Body recovery a difficult task" and dated 2 August 2007.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

New Trail Mix Not Worth It?

A very brief 'food review' in the 30 July 2007 Houston Chronicle pans the recently-released trail mixes by the Bear Naked company -- including one called "Appalachian Trail Mix". Reviewer Mary Vuong calls them "bland. Where's the joy of trail mix - the balance of crunchy and chewy, the marriage of sweet and salty?" The review is titled "Trail mixes take a wrong turn."

Adkins Checks In

Leonard Adkins has checked in at the Charleston (WV) Daily Mail with an article titled "Bugs of north no match for this hiker" written from Vermont, and printed in the 31 July 2007 issue. Adkins, his wife Laurie, and their dog are making their umpteenth hike of the A.T. this summer. They started in the south, going intentionally slower than usual; then skipped up north; and will flip-flop back southbound to finish up later on.

Adkins writes this time about the awful mosquitoes and deer flies of Massachusetts. And the record heat. And the 8 days in a row where it rained at least some of the time each day.

AND about some trail magic that was much welcomed. Compare and contrast this with the trail magic recounted in the Waynesboro, PA newspaper's 3 part series on trail magic. This is the type where someone lets you sleep in a shed to keep you separated from the mosquitoes. Or where
"One family had even set up a small roadside refreshment stand, complete with a 25-gallon jug of ice water (most appreciated on a 95-degree day), homemade cookies and energy bars."
So very appreciated on a very hot, humid, and sunny day.

Adkins's closing thought is that of many of us hiker types: "Amidst the greens and the blues of the forest is where I belong and am at the height of my contentment with life."

Trail Magic, Part 3

The third part of Noah C. Kady's series on trail magic appears in the 31 July 2007 issue of the Waynesboro (PA) Record Herald. It's titled "Trail magic comes in many forms."

Kady describes the food/drink side of trail magic again, with some specific examples (including one that he suggests might have gone too far). Then he contrasts that with the magic of the Trail itself -- how does the thing continue to exist? The answer, of course, is the corps of volunteer maintainers. Kady suggests that people wanting to 'give back' to the Trail might better do it by volunteering some time to keep it going rather than simply buying some snacks to leave at a road crossing.

Excellent series, this.

Former Thru-hiker Now a Cross Country Biker

Staunton, Virginia's News Leader has an article in its 31 July 2007 issue by Chris Lassiter that chronicles the cross country bicycle adventure of Tammy Johnston. The article is titled "Area bicyclist takes journey to San Francisco." Starting 8 June and finishing 17 July, the nearly 4,000 mile trip carried Johnston "the equivalent of driving from Staunton to Charlottesville's Fashion Square Mall and back 47 times." (By the way, how many laps around the mall-walk route is an Appalachian Trail hike worth?)

Which brings us to the connection: Johnston is a former AT thru-hiker.
"When Johnston hiked the Appalachian Trail, Gordon wouldn't hear from his wife for days at a time. Although accessing phones is easier on the bike trail, that doesn't mean the husband worried any less."
The article doesn't say when she hiked. Besides, toward the end it says that "Although she preferred the cross-country bike trip to hiking the Appalachian Trail, she's in no rush to do it again."

The First Few Steps

Mark Watson writes in the Black Hills Pioneer about his 40 mile introduction to the Appalachian Trail at its southern end under the headline "2,175 miles to go: Taking the first steps on the [A.T.]" It's a nice little piece that recognizes the difficulty of those first few miles for most backpackers, and plants the seeds for a return hike. He includes driving directions from Atlanta to Springer.

Troutville Park Attracts a Few A.T. Hikers

In the 20 July 2007 Roanoke Times, JoAnne Poindexter has an article titled "'A real nice little park'; Locals and visitors alike make Troutville Town Park a popular spot." It is really about the town park and the people who spend so much time taking care of it, as well as the amenities it offers.

Among its offerings is, apparently, some option for camping.
"An average of 75 or more cross- country bicyclists on the TransAm, a 4,000-mile biking trail from Virginia to Oregon and Washington, also stay overnight at the park during the biking season.

"A few Appalachian Trail hikers also have signed the park's log of guests."
It's a 2 acre park. There are bathrooms. And it pretty much sounds like it is 'in town' and well-used by local folk.