Friday, October 26, 2007

Walkin' Jim also Talkin' and Singin' in Virginia

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

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

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

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

Group Hike in New York

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

Seniors Hiking Across Florida

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

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

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mike Martone Thru-hikes to Katahdin

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

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

Coming Up Next: A Korean 'Appalachian Trail'

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

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

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

Scouts' "Appalachian Trail District"

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

Virginia Trail Protection Passes House

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Juliet "Bonafide" Araujo Thru-hikes

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

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

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mount Rogers Description

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

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

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

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Good Scouts on the A.T.

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

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

Saturday, October 20, 2007

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

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

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

For more information, call 684-6262 or visit

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bear Naked on Bear Mountain

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

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

Nuclear Lake, New York Mentioned

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

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

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

Thursday, October 18, 2007

North Carolina Land Preserved

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

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

Dry Hiking the Smokies

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

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

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

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

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

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

"But not this year.

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A.T. Has Steeper Climbs than PCT

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

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

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

Tillie Wood, Hostel Hostess

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

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

Monday, October 15, 2007

Former Soldier, Future Hiker

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

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

Sunday, October 14, 2007

White Mountain Hut System Described

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

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

Nice description, though.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Appalachian Trail Hike in Watercolor

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

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A.T. Thru-hike in 90 Seconds

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

Monday, October 08, 2007

Midnight, the Four-Footed Hiker

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

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

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Jeff Alt Talks Up His New Book

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

Leslie Mass Book Touted

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

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Adkins Clan Closing in on Another Finish

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