Sunday, September 30, 2007

Jeff Alt Speaks on Appalachian Trail

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

Mt. Rogers Hike Described

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

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Maine Caretaker Profiled

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

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

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Jeff Alt Quick Profile

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

Monday, September 24, 2007

Lowland A.T.

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

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Newspaper in Favor of Black Nubble

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

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

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Underhill Under Fire

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

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

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

Trail Protection Money in Virginia

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

Friday, September 21, 2007

Land Protection in Maine

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

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

AT in CT

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

Windmill Discussions Continue

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

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

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

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

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

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

Opposition to Maine Wind Farm Continues

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

Hiking New England Encouraged

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

Monday, September 17, 2007

Chris "Mowgli" Martin Thru-Hikes

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

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

The Business of Hiking

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

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

Sunday, September 16, 2007

British Newspaper Touts A.T. Holiday

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

Eradicating Invasive Plants

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

The workday described in the article is in Hot Springs.

Doug "Twofer" Gibson Summits Katahdin

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

Thursday, September 13, 2007

"The 3,380-kilometre Appalachian Trail"

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

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Thru-Hiker Evacuated in Maine

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

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

Maine Wind Farm Proposal Status

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

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A.T. Hiker John Illig Now Coaching at Middlebury

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

Schuylkill River Trail Intersects Appalachian Trail

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

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

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

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Two Thru-Hikers in Minnesota

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

Jeff Alt Announces New Edition

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

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Thru-Hiker Deane Jones Passes On

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thru-hiker Church Hearon Leads Group Hike

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

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

Mike "Gatorgump" Osmond Summits Katahdin

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

Possible Alternative to Thru-hiking

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

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

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

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

His web site for the hike is:

A.T. Azaleas Inspire Gardener in South Carolina

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

Friday, September 07, 2007

Shelter Bibles and 9/11

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

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

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

Thursday, September 06, 2007

'Gran-Ma Soule' Passes On

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

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

Family Group Hikes Up Mt. Washington

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

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

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Stricken Hiker Phones for Rescue

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

Also reported at

The Adkins Are in Maine

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

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

Governor on the Mountain

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

Monday, September 03, 2007

New Yorkers Finish Thru-hike

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

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

Invite to Stay in the White Mountains

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

Miles Upon Miles for Kentuckians

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

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

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

Harrington Tribute Hike Completed

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

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

Yaniglos Completes Thru-Hike

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

Another Thru-hiker Noted

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