West Virginia!

Another milestone today: I left Virginia for West Virginia! Milestones like this are a great incentive. 


Tomorrow, I reach Harper’s Ferry, home of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.  They log in all hikers that wish to be known, and take their picture for posterity.

In the woods, look before sitting!


I was followed for 5 minutes by this guy.


1000 Miles

Today was the roller coaster, and it lived up to its reputation! 6 climbs in 10 miles and temperatures in the 80’s made it my most challenging day yet. I did pass 1000 miles, and met another hiker there. We shared pictures and a shot of whiskey from his flask. Nice!

Fortunately, I made it to the Bears Den hostel before it started raining. I got 1 of 10 bunks, complete with pillow and sheets. The special, for $30, is the bunk, shower, laundry, pizza, coke, and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s! Ah…

Day 7, Rod Hollow Shelter

2 good days of hiking, 15 miles yesterday and 13 miles today. Clear skies and temperature in the 80’s. Much of the trail is not pretty. With all the rain, many paths are pure mud, and you try to jump from rock to rock… On the other hand, we get some gorgeous vistas!


The next 13 miles are lovingly called the “roller coaster”.  This is a series of about 20 ups and downs, with no respite. I will do the first 10 miles tomorrow, and stop at the Bear’s Den hostel, famous on the trail.

Today’s shelter is pretty standard, room for 8 or so. I’m very comfortable in my hammock.


Day 4 in the rain

Today was day 4 of my trek northward. The first 2 days were gorgeous and uneventful, until the shelter. Momma bear and her 2 cubs decided to visit! Within about 50 feet, they amused us for 30 minutes, and finally left.


Momma bear

Day 3 was sprinkles all day, but not bad. Today, day 4, was more and heavier rain, but fortunately I reached a hostel to get dry and warm… And so it begins!


AT hike, part two!

Day one of my return to the Appalachian Trail started with a 6am flight to Dulles, followed by a ride to my start point in northern Virginia. Janet saw me off at 4:45 this morning (ouch!).


For those interested in numerology, it’s been 711 days since I left the AT, or 1 year, 11 months, and 11 days!
Here’s to my hike!

Preparations for my 2016 Journey

How do you prepare for something that you failed at?

I’ve been thinking about finishing my hike for 2 years. My return is now imminent, and I’m excited! The physical part was easy. I’ve been exercising to prepare for the difficulties of hiking another 1300 miles. I also know that it will take 2-3 weeks of hiking to really be fit, and accept this painful process.

Equipment. I enjoy the “stuff” of hiking. I am only changing a few items for this year’s hike. I am going back to trail running shoes, this time from a company called Altra. I changed my wet weather gear. I now have an umbrella, and traded my nylon wind shirt for a rain jacket of similar weight. Umbrellas have become popular for hiking, as they can be used both for rain and sun. When hiking in a rain jacket, you are apt to perspire, and soon become as wet as if you did not wear one. We shall see! I am leaving my Tilly hat; it’s a bit heavy and inconvenient, and gets hot in really hot weather. I am going with a light cap and a Buff. Lastly, I bought light trekking poles, because I may be carrying them more when holding an umbrella.

Mind and spirit. I am prepared. I KNOW what to expect this time, this hike. I am also blessed with great support from family and friends. My wife says go! Succeed! In addition, I was just visited by my two hiking partners from 2014, Bear Bag and Isn’t Black. What more encouragement do I need, than their support?


Max, me, Bernd, Matthias, & Lothar