Friday, February 29, 2008

Alice Señeres Hits the Trail in Georgia

Prospective thru-hiker Alice Señeres of Hamilton, N.J. is profiled in Patrick Berkery's article "Bittersweet trails" in the 28 February 2008

Some people do their hike after graduating, but this hiker was in the middle of a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at Rutgers.
"Señeres and her husband Wright were expecting their first child to arrive in September 2007. But last March, Señeres suffered a miscarriage. While waiting in the hospital for a doctor to return with the bad news they were already anticipating, Alice said to Wright, 'If we lose this baby, I’m quitting school and hiking the Appalachian Trail.'"
She has an online journal, trail name Bananas.

Kids to be Hiking on the A.T. in May

Caroline Monday's article "Mountain Pathways and the Appalachian Trail; Students learn to take a hike" appeared in the 28 February 2006 Boone, NC Mountain Times. It relates that
"students of Mountain Pathways School’s seven through 12-year-old class took a hike last Thursday as part of their curriculum teaching about the environment and sustainable living."
The big deal is that this is their
"second hike taken in preparation for a two-day trip on the Appalachian Trail, teacher Kristy Weston said. The class will be experiencing the Appalachian Trail for its end-of-year trip later this spring."
The 2 day A.T. hike comes in May, when the students will be able to exhibit how well they learned their Leave No Trace lessons.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A.T. License Plates in Virginia, Too

WDBJ channel 7 television has a 26 February 2008 article on its web site, titled "Specialty license plate supports Appalachian Trail". Here's the gist of it:
"Virginia offers a wide variety of specialty license plates and there may soon be a new one available for Appalachian Trail lovers.

"There's a drive in the state legislature to get a specialty plate passed. A bill has passed the Senate and awaits House approval.

"For the legislation to take effect, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy needs 350 pre-paid applications by July. The specialty plate costs an extra $25, with $15 going to the A.T.C."
So, drive if you must; but if you drive, get an AT-supporting license plate. North Carolina started this ball rolling. Now Virginia. When will the rest of the A.T. states step up to the plate?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Jefferson National Forest Described

In the 25 February 2008 Bristol Herald-Courier, Kathy Still has an article titled "Jefferson National Forest; A 690,000-acre playground." Writing about the forest, she naturally mentions "the popular Appalachian Trail" that runs through a portion of it. Nice description of the surrounding area that most thru-hikers miss on their way north.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Thru-Hiker Tapon's New Book

San Francisco Chronicle writer Tom Stienstra wrote the article "His life is a long, gratifying hike" in the Chronicle's 24 February 2008 issue. It recounts the story of hiker Francis Tapon. Tapon, it says, quit his $75,000 a year Silicon Valley job at Hitachi 7 years ago and hiked the Appalachian Trail with then partner Lisa Garrett.

The article makes out like Tapon is a walking machine. But he hasn't done nothing but hike. It wasn't until "Five years later, Tapon, working for Microsoft, quit his job again." And hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. Then is wasn't until last year that he completed the Triple Crown by hiking the Continental Divide Trail.

Okay, so he yo-yo'ed the CDT by turning around at Canada and hiking back to Mexico. That's pretty impressive.
"Over the years, Tapon has become more than the Forrest Gump of hiking. He's a writer and a traveler, what I call the enlightened rambler: His first book 'Hike Your Own Hike - 7 Life Lessons From Backpacking Across America' (SonicTrek Press, $24.95) is an unusual mix of how-to advice, self-help philosophy and trail stories."

Commentary on Low Use Study

The Roanoke Times of 24 February 2008 has a column by Virginia Tech professor Steve Kark titled "Study links electronics use with drop in national park visits". He is referring to the "recent study published by the National Academy of the Sciences [that] links a decline in these outdoor activities and a corresponding drop in national park visitation to an increase in the use of home electronics." The Appalachian Trail is one of the National Park units cited as having experienced a drop in visitors. Kark tries to 'rally the troops' to get out into the parks, if not now, then this summer for sure.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods" Suggested

Beth Sceery, a librarian at the Emma Andrews Branch Library, Newburyport, VT recommends Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods in her 22 February 2008 column in the Newburyport Current titled "Speaking Volumes/Beating the February blahs". She suggests it as a way of keeping an upbeat attitude in the midst of February's cold, dull weather. Specifically, she says:
"If you have ever had any interest in outdoor adventure, this book will be sure to satisfy. In the troughs of a mid-life crisis, Bryson joined up with an old college buddy and hit the trail — the Appalachian Trail — pen in hand. He relays his experiences in hilarious, gut-busting detail. A few chapters in, you’ll snap right out of your February funk, I guarantee it."
Sceery has some other good suggestions for md-winter reading, too.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Bill Booz Boosts Book

Franklin, NC's Franklin Press of 21 February 2008 has an article by Melanie Lebert titled "Booz shares images and tales of his journeys." Lebert profiles thru-hiker and author Bill Booz III and his new book Seasons and Colors of the Appalachian Mountains that features his photographs.

Booz thru-hiked in 1999 carrying a camera like many others. But then he kept going back, logging "four years of photographing, more than 50,000 miles on [his] vehicles, 450 miles on his hiking boots and shooting hundreds of rolls of film." Visiting particular locations, sometimes repeatedly until the light or leaves or some other element was just right, Booz captured some wonderful images.

The book is available at Books Unlimited and online at I've seen the book. Made me want to go hiking.

Adkins Speaks in Charleston, WV

The notice in the Charleston (WV) Daily Mail by Monica Orosz on 20 February 2008 describes the upcoming presentation by Habitual Hiker Leonard Adkins with this headline: "Program will show what it's like to hike Appalachian Trail".
"Adkins, who has turned avocation into vocation by writing about hiking in 15 books and for magazines and newspapers, chronicled his most recent journey in a series of columns that appeared in the Daily Mail from last March through November.

"...Adkins will return to Charleston March 5 to present a free program at the University of Charleston.

"The multimedia program, accompanied by folk and classical music, is actually a compilation of his many hikes on the Appalachian Trail. The program is designed to show what a typical thru hike - the term for hiking the entire length of the trail - is like."

Adkins Making Presentation About Trail in March

Roanoke, Virginia's OurValley.Org website carries the announcement as of 21 February 2008 that Leonard "Adkins will talk about hiking the Appalachian Trail at March program".

The Habitual Hiker "will present Traversing Ancient Mountains: 2,000 Miles on the Appalachian Trail in the Fincastle Public Library at 11 Academy Street in Fincastle at 7 p.m." Adkins, his wife Laurie, and their dog, finished yet another thru-hike in November.

Hiker Glen Summers Talks in Indiana

A brief note in the Terre Haute (IN) News of 21 February 2008 under the heading "Health briefs: Feb. 21, 2008" mentions that
"The Friends of Turkey Run and Shades State Parks member, Glen Summers, will present a slide show of his 800 mile hike on the southern half of the Appalachian Trail. ... Glen hiked the southern half of the Appalachian Trail from its southern end in Georgia to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Come see some of Glen’s experiences along this legendary trail on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 7:00 p.m. in the Dogwood Room in the basement of Turkey Run Inn."
Doesn't say when he hiked.

Jeff Alt Speaks in Pittsburgh

The 21 February 2008 issue of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has an article by Karen Price titled "Rocks, snakes and beer on the Appalachian Trail" and showcasing an upcoming talk by thru-hiker and author Jeff Alt. Alt hiked in 1998, and
"almost 10 years later, Alt is making his first trip to Pittsburgh. The author, speech pathologist and avid hiker will be at REI at the SouthSide works on Saturday to share stories from his book, 'A Walk for Sunshine: A 2,160 Mile Expedition for Charity on the Appalachian Trail.'"
Alt's hike was 147 days long, and
"six months in the planning, which included mailing 22 boxes of food to himself at intervals of about 100 miles along the trail and walking two hours per day on a raised treadmill while carrying a 50-pound backpack."
The article refers several times to the famed rocks in Pennsylvania, and Alt says at the end that he especially remembers both Duncannon and Port Clinton.

Stop Light for Eldred Race Track

Andrew C. Martel of the Allentown, PA Morning Call writes on 21 February 2008 of the welcome news that the "State delays car-driving track in Eldred Township".

Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection has raised questions about deficiencies in the racetrack's applications. The specific concerns were about probable pollution of an otherwise pristine stream. Developer Richard Muller Jr., and his expensive Alpine Motorsports Club are not allowed to begin construction until the environmental permits are granted. Unfortunately, it appears, noise pollution and visual pollution are not considered. The Appalachian Trail is already in this area, but seems to have no strong legal basis for stopping this wasteful project. Hikers will not be happy about their new 360 acre neighbor in Monroe County, PA.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Two Fund-Raising Hiker Vets

The Lewiston, ME Sun-Journal has an 18 February 2008 article about another fund-raising hike on the Appalachian Trail. It's by Terry Karkos and titled "Pair to Hike 2,00 miles to Help Homeless Veterans."
"Former Sgts. Jarad Greeley, [of Jay, Maine] 25, and Marshall Berry, 28, of New Hampshire, will be raising awareness and resources for the nation's homeless veterans by through-hiking more than 2,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail to Maine in four to five months."
Some local Veterans of Foreign Wars leaders are backing the hike and encouraging VFW posts along the Trail to offer warm food and a dry bed to the hikers as they make their way back north.
"To help the nation's homeless veterans through the Appalachian Trail journey of Jarad Greeley of North Jay and Marshall Berry of New Hampshire, write to: The Homeless Veterans, P.O. Box 27, Jay, ME 04239, call 207-897-0900, or call Palmer Hebert of VFW Post No. 2335 in Jay at 897-2859."
The Boston Globe carries a shortened version of the story, unsigned, on the same date.

Appalachian Trail Only Part of His Plan

An unsigned piece on the Dallas-Fort Worth channel 4 Fox tv news website created on 18 February 2008 is titled "4 Your Health - Hiking For Gilda's Club." It describes the goal of one John Robb, described as a "a beat-up 48-year-old, who's had numerous surgeries on his knees, shoulders and neck" and has diabetes. Robb is off on a fund-raising hike. He's planning on starting at Springer and heading to Kathadin, finishing "around the first of October."

Then the fun continues. Robb has in mind hiking all 8 of the National Scenic Trails, and being "the first guy to do it all for charity." He's intent on raising money "for Gilda's Club North Texas---a refuge for cancer patients and their families."

Monday, February 18, 2008

Hot Springs, NC Profiled

The Knoxville (TN) News Sentinel's 17 February 2008 issue has an article by Linda Lange titled "Expresssways may not lead to Hot Springs, N.C., but trails do" about that A.T. trail town.

There's more to the profile of Hot Springs than the mentions of the Trail, but Lange does say this:
"Hot Springs' heaviest traffic enters on foot. The Appalachian Trail, the 2,189-mile path stretching from Georgia to Maine, goes through the heart of town. In the spring, hundreds of northbound hikers emerge from the mountains and fill the sidewalks of Bridge Street. They refuel before crossing the river and disappearing back into Pisgah National Forest."
And then, later down in the article:
"From mid-March until early June, Appalachian Trail thru-hikers drift over the mountains. 'We might see 10 or 12 in a day in April,' says Wayne Crosby, part-owner of Bluff Mountain Outfitters. Hikers pick up parcels at the Hot Springs Post Office and cross the street to his store. He sells outdoor gear, clothing and groceries, including a large selection of organic foods.

"'Where's Elmer's?' hikers ask as daylight diminishes. They've heard about Elmer Hall's Sunnybank Inn, one of several accommodations that welcome thru-hikers. The town will celebrate its special connection to the AT by holding TrailFest on April 25-26. A chili cook-off, live music and hiker games will entertain crowds."
Other good stuff about food and housing opportunities -- as well as other things to do -- round out the article.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pastor Ponder Ponders Pastoring While on the Trail

The Hunstville (AL) Times of 15 February 2008 has a profile of a hiker written by Kay Campbell with the headline "Dense forest trek also provided experience to examine life's path." Campbell describes the experience of Pastor Luke Ponder on a month-long sabbatical from the First Presbyterian Church during which he took a lengthy hike on the Virginia portion of the Appalachian Trail "last fall."

Inspired by Bill Irwin's "Blind Courage" hike, Ponder saw no people for the first 10 days of his hike, but continued on thinking, reflecting, pondering, and meditating.
"The trail itself became a kind of metaphor for the church universal - a path lovingly maintained by volunteers over generations for the feet of others they'd never know.

"But the main lesson Ponder learned on the trail is that a person needs company."
He found one in an abandoned puppy that he brought home from the Trail with him. So he had a bright spot on his hike despite earlier difficulties:
"Neither of his two cell phones could pick up a signal for a conversation with his sister or other friends. The grandeur of the old-growth forest had become oppressive. The startling brightness of odd mushrooms along the way were a monotonous distraction. Trail markers showed him that his pace wouldn't have made a turtle pant."

UPDATE: Story also appears in the 23 February 2008 Winston-Salem Journal under the headline "Sabbatical on the AT shows need for others" as a Religion News Service story

J.R. Tate Mentioned in Article

Clarksville, TN's 'Clarksville Online" website has an article by Debbie Boen titled "Tennessee Trails: Volunteers clean trails, remove litter from walking trails" posted on 15 February 2008. She's writing about a trail maintenance activity hike sponsored by the Tennessee Trails Association, but includes in it a snippet of an interview with Appalachian Trail thru-hiker and author J.R. "Model T" Tate.

Greenway Still an Urban A.T.

The Florida Times-Union out of Jacksonville has a 15 February 2008 article titled "Woodbine Greenway" by Gordon Jackson. It refers to the long-distance "East Coast Greenway" and says that their "Web site describes the 3,000-mile trail stretching from Calais, Maine to Key West as an 'urban Appalachian Trail.'" The Woodbine Trail, by the way, is the first E.C.G. segment in Georgia.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Kevin "Hurricane" Haynie Set to Start Hiking

Robin Dake writes in the Anderson, SC Independent Mail of 14 February 2008 about the planned Appalachian Trail thru-hike by Toccoa, GA resident Kevin Haynie under the headline "Toccoa resident plans to hike Appalachian Trail."

Haynie is 21 years old and
"feels he is prepared for the physical and mental challenges of hiking 10 to 20 miles a day. In addition, he has the knowledge and experience of his older brother. Keith Haynie and his wife, Lisa, hiked the trail two years ago. Kevin Haynie said hearing about the couple’s experiences was catalyst for his desire."
He's starting with the trail name "Hurricane." and has a journal at Haynie aims to leave Springer on Monday, 18 February and to finish "by July."

Where HAVE All the Backpackers Gone? out of New London, CT has a column by regular columnist Steve Fagin titled "Where Have All the Backpackers Gone?" on 14 February 2008. He is mainly reacting to the recent study of outdoor use that shows declines in numbers all across the board.

Specifically, Fagin writes:
"Statistics on people trekking the 2,160-mile Appalachian Trail support their findings. The number of hikers surged through the 1970s and 1980s, but then began tailing off. In 2001, 2,375 northbounders started the trail in Georgia and 622 finished in Maine; in 2002, 1,875 started and 589 finished; in 2003, 1,750 started and 600 finished; in 2004, 1,535 started and 578 finished; in 2005, 1,392 started and 546 finished; and in 2006, 1,150 started and 488 finished.

"So, will backpacking one day be remembered as a quaint fad of a bygone era, like dancing the Macarena or playing with a hula-hoop? While I have no specific demographic data to report, I can say in recent years I’ve seen far more Baby Boomers on the trail than Gen-Xers, which does not bode well for the future."
Fagin and I both hope that it's no passing fad.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Thru-Hikers John and Becky Williams Speaking

According to a note in the Lafayette, LA 'Daily Advertiser' newspaper, on 12 February 2008 titled "Ultralight Backpacking clinic offered"
"John and Becky Williams will offer tips and tricks that can help to reduce the weight of your pack to a light and comfortable level. This seminar sprang from the Williams’ efforts to bring their overall pack weights down from the 35-42 pound range to under 25 pounds for their Appalachian Trail Thru-hike."
That's there in Lafayette on 12 February 2008 at the Pack & Paddle store.

Day Hike in Virginia Described

Another WSLS television channel 10 story, this time in a blog from one of their anchors, John Carlin, appears under the title "Wind, Leaves and Fire" on 11 February 2008.

Carlin describes a hike he and a friend took, planning "to leave Troutville at 9:30 and run/hike the Appalachian Trail to route 311 near Catawba. It’s a 20 mile venture with three significant climbs – Tinker Mountain, Tinker Cliffs and the backside of McAfee’s Knob."

They faced significant wind, drifts of leaves (like snow drifts) sometimes chest high, and the smoke from 3 different forest fires in the area. Sounds like a blast.

Forest Fire Near A.T. Blamed on ATV

Virginia's WSLS television channel 10 reports on the forest fire at Montvale, VA in a story titled "ATV Blamed for Forest Fire in Montvale." At the time of the 11 February 2008 report, fire fighters were at
"a fire line that stretches about 3 1/2 miles along the Appalachian Trail. The fire is about 4,000 feet below the trail, moving up. The flames have burned more than one thousand acres."
The 16-year-old ATV driver was "on a restricted trail" when his machine started the fire.

Barry Veden Talks About His Book

"Hiking The Appalachian Trail" is the title of Jason Miller's 11 February 2008 article in the News-Dispatch of Michigan City, IN. The article is a report on a talk given by local author Barry Veden at the Michigan City Public Library. Veden has recently published a book,
"Coming of Age on the Appalachian Trail, a collection of short stories about the many hikes he's taken along the 2,160-mile mountain trail that traverses some of the East's most beautiful and dangerous mountain terrain."
Veden hopes to thru-hike the Trail at some point. "'You really have to go there in person to really understand it.'"

Monday, February 11, 2008

Fewer Hikers Noted

The Northwest Arkansas Times of 10 February 2008 has a column by Bobby Hill titled "WHEN NATURE CALLS : Time in the outdoors loses out to a generation of technology" that reports the recent study funded by the Nature Conservancy showing that there are fewer people outdoors, including an 18% drop in the number of people on the Appalachian Trail between 2000 and 2005.

A.T. Jumping off Point for a LONG Hike

Russell Helms has an article titled "Hiker plans to walk around the world in seven years" in the 10 February 2008 issue of the Birmingham (AL) News. The piece records the imminent departure of Daren Wendell on a planned hike around the world.
"Wendell begins his journey in March, hiking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, then hopping the Atlantic to pick up his trek in Europe. He will traverse southern Europe and hike his way through China, making the Great Wall part of the adventure. Into Siberia, bounding over the Bering Sea, wandering through Alaska, Wendell will finish out the final 2,075 miles walking west to east, eventually landing back at the start of the Appalachian Trail in northern Georgia."
Wendell grew up near Canton, Ohio (I recently read the Steven Newman book Worldwalk about his 4 year round-the-world hike some 20 years ago; and Newman was from Ohio. Coincidence? I think not. Newman walked across northern Africa and eventually made his way across Australia, skipping China and Siberia.)

There's a web site.

Cameras Looking for Wildlife on the Trail

Sterling Meyers writes in the 10 February 2008 Washington Times under the headline "Cameras to aid in trail preservation" about the effort to document wildlife along the Appalachian Trail with 50 digital cameras on loan from the National Park Service. The cameras are equipped with infrared heat sensors that trip the shutter when a warm body passes by. A target of special interest is the elusive and possibly extinct eastern cougar.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

A.T. Just a Leg on a Mega-Triathalon

The FOX Business Network's website has a story on 8 February 2008 titled "Launch of Adventure Ultra Triathlon Begins Today" which announces that Kevin Knieling is beginning a
"solo, unsupported ultra-triathlon [that] begins with a 5,000-mile bike ride across the U.S., followed by hiking the length of the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail and finally a 3,500 mile kayak trip beginning in Winnipeg, Canada which will end in the Gulf of Mexico."
How is this possible?
"Knieling represents the growing generation of executives turned adventurists, leaving his job on Wall Street after 10 years to pursue his dream of adventure travel. In the last two and a half years, Knieling has traveled over 200,000 miles in 40 plus countries, ridden a bicycle over 4,000 miles across the US, hiked through the Himalayas, stood atop Mt. Kilimanjaro, jumped out of planes and completed scuba dives the world over."
Ah, that's it! I chose the wrong vocation back in school.

Knieling, of course, has a web site. Fortunately, this is a solo event, not a 'race' or 'competition' in the way a regular triathalon is. That will come in time, no doubt.

Thru-Hiker Now at Big Brothers/Sisters

The article titled "Big Brothers, Big Sisters Hires New Leader" online as of 8 February 2008 on the web site describes the arrival in Pittsfield, MA of Raymond Ross as the new executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Berkshire County. He's a hiker:
"An avid hiker and backpacker, he and his wife of 28 years, Susan, completed hiking the entire Appalachian Trail in 1989. Ross completed the trail a second time in 2004, being one of fewer than 100 people to do so according to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. He is a member of Appalachian Mountain Club's 4,000-Footer of New England Club, having climbed all 65 mountains exceeding that elevation in New England and is an end-to-end hiker of Vermont's Long Trail."

Cameras Hunting for Wildlife

The Maryland Daily Record (of Baltimore) has an 8 February 2008 Associated Press article titled "Hunting for proof" that reports the Mega-Transect's use of automated cameras to try to document the populations of large mammals -- specifically the eastern cougar -- along the Appalachian Trail.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Fewer Hikers Reported

Rich Lewis writes an editorial in the 7 February 2008 Sentinel newspaper from Carlisle, PA titled "Virtual is nice, but real is much nicer." He reports that Dickinson College there in Carlisle is beginning a brand new environmental studies program. And he ties it to the recent
"study, published Monday in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, [that] demonstrates a 'fundamental and pervasive decline in nature recreation.' Specifically, Oliver Pergams of the University of Illinois and Patricia Zaradic of Bryn Mawr College found that, since 1981, there has been an 18 to 25 percent drop in the number of people engaging in various outdoor activities at national and state parks and other public lands. Fishing is down. Visits to national parks are down. Hiking on the Appalachian Trail is down. Camping, a bellwether activity, is down."
While having less people on the Trail creates a more wilderness-like experience, the bad news is that fewer hikers = fewer people who care = less support.

Fugate Hike Still Going Strong

Steve Fugate's cross country walk is highlighted in the "Hiker Crossing Country To Remember His Children" article by John Larson writing for the 'Mountain Mail' from Socorro, New Mexico. The article was picked up online by the Small Town Newspapers web site on 7 February 2008. Fugate was on an Appalachian Trail thru-hike in 1999 when his son committed suicide. Six years later his daughter died of an accidental drug overdose.

Bryson Being Read in Cohasset, Ma.

The Cohasset Mariner and Patriot Ledger of 7 February 2008 announces by way of its "Library Corner / Cohasset Reads" column that Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods is one of the two books chosen for this year's community read-together by The Paul Pratt Memorial Library. The other is something called Walden by some guy named Thoreau.

There is a discussion group on the Bryson book on 27 February at 10 in the morning. And the next day there is an "Appalachian Trail Slide Show – Learn about what it takes to maintain and manage the Appalachian Trail from Mass. Appalachian Trail Management Committee member Steve Smith. Mr. Smith will present a slide show of the trail at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 28. This is a free Cohasset Reads Together event and all are welcome. Seating is limited."

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Heading Toward Last Hiker on the Trail?

Heather Mallick has a column in the 6 February 2008 Guardian Unlimited out of England titled "Reluctant Campers". A Canadian journalist, Mallick tells us that Americans (of the United States variety) don't go camping as much as they used to.
"Here are the statistics: Americans make 25% fewer trips to national parks than they did in the 1980s. Hiking the storied Appalachian Trail peaked in 2000 and has slid 18% since then. (Perhaps they read Bill Bryson's 1997 book on the subject, A Walk in the Woods, and discovered it was just as scary and arduous as he said.)"
Well, hmmm the headcount may well be down, but the word on the trail has been that Bryson's book increased the number of hikers, hasn't it?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Voice of America Highlights the Trail

The Voice Of America broadcast a story about the Appalachian Trail on 5 February 2008 under the title "Hiking the Appalachian Trail Through the Mountains of 14 States." The transcript begins with
"VOICE ONE: I'm Faith Lapidus.

"VOICE TWO: And I’m Steve Ember with EXPLORATIONS in VOA Special English. Today, we tell about one of the most popular walking paths in the United States, the Appalachian Trail."
Recordings in MP3 and RealAudio versions are available for download at the VOA website. This Special English program was written by Oliver Chanler. It was produced by Mario Ritter.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Scouts Recognize A.T. Hike Leader

Ann Franzen-Roha of Richmond, Indiana recently received the Silver Beaver Award, the highest award given to adults by the Boy Scouts of America, according to the 5 February 2008 Richmond, IN Palladium-Item newspaper's 'Everyday People' column by Rachel E. Sheeley titled "Boy Scouts recognize 2 from Wayne County with top honor." Part of Franzen-Roha's leadership contribution was to be "the female leader when her Venture crew spent a week backpacking along the Appalachian Trail."

Monday, February 04, 2008

Barry Veden Speaking Soon

Michigan City, Indiana's Public Library advertises a talk it is hosting at the Library on 10 February by
"Local Author Barry Veden, "Coming of Age on the Appalachian Trail." Veden has written a heartwarming memoir of how hiking changed his life. "Coming of Age on the Appalachian Trail" suggests that any adversity can be overcome with the right attitude and with the help of God. He will talk about his book, his experiences and for those who are interested in hiking, he'll provide tips about equipment and show off his gear."
Notice appears in the Michigan City News-Dispatch of 3 February 2008 under the title "Michigan City Public Library."

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Redford Film, Again

The BBC has published its notice of the proposed Robert Redford filming of Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods. It appears on the 29 January 2008 UK version on its website under the headline "Redford 'considering Bryson film'"

Pennsyvania HR 1281 Supported

An important editorial in the Pocono Record of 1 February 2008 titled "Appalachian Trail must be protected" speaks strongly in favor of Pennsylvania's House Bill 1281, which would require townships to enact and enforce zoning to protect the Appalachian Trail in the state. As the lead points out:
"It may be too late to stop the Alpine Motorsports Car Club in Eldred Township, but it isn't too late to protect the Appalachian Trail from future projects that threaten the pristine beauty and natural sounds of the nation's longest footpath."
Pennsylvania's Senate must also approve the bill, and then the governor must sign it, too.

Pennsylvanians: write your state senators!

American Hiking Society Maintainer Vacations

Grand Rapids, Michigan's Grand Rapids Press of 1 February 2008 has an article by Howard Meyerson titled "Vacations blend public service, hiking" in which he describes the volunteer service programs sponsored by the American Hiking Society. It begins with
"Ted Siereveld was 61 years old when he signed up with the American Hiking Society for his first volunteer vacation, a week spent doing trail maintenance on the Appalachian Trail in Vermont."
Sieverveld enjoyed the experience so much he's continued to sign up for more.

Property in Max Patch Viewshed Protected

The short article "Land preserved in Spring Creek community" in the 1 February 2008 Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times tells of the land trust preservation of "165 acres of scenic views, agricultural land, clean water and wildlife habitat." And mentions that "These properties can be seen from Max Patch, the Madison County grassy bald near the Tennessee border where the Appalachian Trail crosses."

Friday, February 01, 2008

Carl Ownbey, Hiking Maniac

The profile of Carl Ownbey, "Distance Denizen Doesn't Act His Age; Hiker Ownbey keeps on truckin' at age 86" in the 31 January 2008 Springdale Morning News from Springdale, AR, written by Flip Putthoff is fairly inspiring. Here's part of the opening, for example,
"In his 60s, Ownbey, of Fayetteville, through-hiked all 2,147 miles of the Appalachian Trail. He was pushing 70 when he hiked the Continental Divide Trail and completed all 3,100 miles.

"In his 80s, Ownbey, a retired farmer, ran the Dallas White Rock Marathon, one of several 26.2-mile races he has completed in his retirement years."
Ownbey is now 86 and hasn't slowed down much. A lot of us would like to be that guy.

His A.T. thru-hike would have been some time after 1984, which is when he read a book about the Trail that inspired him to go for it.

Weight Loss While Hiking

The Louisville (KY) Courier-Journal has a health column called 'The Body Shop' by Bryant Stamford in its 31 January 2008 issue titled "Hard-fought battle; Exercise required for massive fat loss is grueling." The mentions of hiking and the Appalachian Trail are really incidental to his point, summarized in the subtitle. But here's what he says, anyway:
"Here's an example of what an extreme exercise program can do. A reader had asked my advice about how many calories he would need daily to hike the Appalachian Trail, carrying a 40-pound backpack up and down challenging mountainous terrain. To maintain his weight, I estimated 6,000 calories a day. I was pleased to learn from him that when he later consulted the AT guidebook, it also recommended 6,000 calories.

"But that would take an amount of food that would be too heavy to carry, so he settled for an intake of only 2,850 calories per day. He averaged hiking 13.5 miles per day for 12 days. The difference between the 6,000 calories expended and 2,850 calories consumed was 3,150 calories each day.

"One pound of fat stores 3,500 calories. As such, with a 3,150-calorie daily deficit, he should have lost a little less than 1 pound of fat per day. The actual outcome was a loss of 11 pounds in 12 days of hiking.

"This example shows that mega-doses of exercise can accelerate the loss of body fat."
Caveats abound, of course, especially the one that warns 'your mileage may vary.'