Monday, October 18, 2010

OH YEAH!!! We've done it.

We completed our first long distance trail (almost 2200 miles!) and want to say thanks to all of our family and friends for your support. Now its time to get back to the "real" world, get a car, a few jobs, and an apartment. Who knows what the future will hold for us, but we're confident with the skills we've developed on the trail that there is no goal we set for ourselves that will be unachievable. And just for the record, we only have two more trails left (the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail) to complete the Triple Crown- but we'll just have to see what happens...
Sunday, August 29, 2010

1737 miles - (stuck in) Hanover, NH

Vermont was by far one of our favorite states and we were sad to say goodbye to it on Friday evening as we crossed the Connecticut River and into New Hampshire. We've agreed that someday we'd like to come back to VT and finish/hike the Long Trail, which the AT follows for most of its time in the state (and seeing how it ONLY 273 miles we think it'd be a manageable goal). The views from the firetowers on Glastonbury and Stratton Mtns. were amazing, as was the general foliage. And the weather... great if you're prepared for it- for a few days the rain was relentless as were the winds. Thankfully our winter gear is waiting for us in Glencliff, NH...which was not very helpful. After a very cold, rainy, windy night spend in a renovated firewarden's cabin on the back side of Killington (the windows had been removed so the clouds drifted in and out of the shelter all night preventing anything from drying) we decided to jump off trail in Rutland, VT to dry out. We had a great time relaxing on our first real zero day since the Delaware Water Gap, and before we left town Mike bought his 4th (and hopefully final) pair of shoes. Two days later we ended up here, in Hanover, NH, where we seem to be stuck in some 'Groundhog Day' type scenerio. The short version of the story is that someone stole mike's credit card number last month and bought $400 worth of artwork from Hong Kong, so he needs to sign some paperwork to have the charges removed. Hanover is the last 'real' town we'll see for at least the next 150 miles, or longer, so we have to wait here until Monday morning to recieve/send a fax. We had hoped we could get all of that taken care of by Saturday, but nothing's every that easy. The up side is that we had arrived too late on Friday to take showers/do laundry at the community center, but they'll be open tomorrow morning and we can clean up before we get out of town. It's kind of surreal staying here- currently we're camped in the woods with a bunch of other hikers on the other side of Dartmouth College's soccer fields like a bunch of hobos, and even though the school is nice enough to let us wander around campus and use their computers to post this, we can't help but feel a little out of place taking 'temporary' residence at an Ivy League school/town. We're really really really looking forward to getting back on the trail tomorrow afternoon and with the White Mtns. only 40 miles away you can probably understand why. Things are supposed to be more rugged and remote from here on out, so eventhough we may not be able to post that often, we'll try our best to keep you updated.

442 miles to go!!!!
Monday, August 16, 2010

1601 miles - Vt. 9 near Bennington, VT

We crossed into Vermont this morning at about 9:45 am and we were immediately crossing through giant patches and puddles of mud which has quicksand/wet cement properties. No wonder why they call it "Ver-Mud"... Most of the day was spent in the clouds with no views, but lots of loud ominous thunder coming from all directions. Eventually it rained for a little while this afternoon and now it's clearing up so hopefully we'll stay dry(er). So far, the trail here seems to have more of a northern woods wilderness feel and is seemingly picturesque at every turn. The evergreens are dense and beautiful as well as the many ponds and wetlands we've passed along the way. The mountains and climbs get bigger from here on out, and it's been getting cooler at night, so we can tell we're hitting the final stretch. We'll let you know how it turns out.

1600 miles down- 578 to go.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

1529 miles- between Great Barrington and Dalton, MA

Wow time flies! It's been a little over a week and we've completed all of NY, CT, and are working on being outta MA and into VT by next monday the 16th.

NY was a pretty tough state right out of the gate, but once we made it over the Hudson it was nicer hiking as we weren't being forced to climb directly up and over every mountain (which were surprisingly rocky and challenging- particularly from the NJ state line to the river).

In CT we followed the Housatonic River via more of the Taconic mts. (which were also in NY east of the Hudson River). We're really looking forward to seeing more of New England.

Also, we finally met up with our friends who we've been chasing for 1000+ miles at the CT-MA border on Tuesday. It's been nice to spend a couple days of hanging out with them, but we have to get back to hiking more and stick to our schedule to finish by the end of September. This has been a wild experience and we can wait to see what the last 650 miles have in store for us.      

Oh yeah- laura's platypus just broke and we also just realized that we left our water filter at a shelter this morning (15miles south of here- too far to go back looking for it). We'll have to figure something out once we get to a larger town.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

1367 miles - NY (w. of Hudson River)

Though it seems like we just crossed the Delaware River into NJ, we finished the state yesterday evening and are headed to New England by this weekend! NJ was very beautiful and completely different than we expected. Great views from the Kittatinny ridge on the western side of the state and lots of bears. We stopped in Vernon, NJ to resupply before we entered NY and we're hoping to hike straight through and be in Kent, CT by Saturday afternoon. We've also read in trail registries that we're only 5 days behind our friend Beth (Cerveza) from Seattle so we'll be catching up to her sooner than later which we're looking forward to. More to come.  
Thursday, July 29, 2010

Finally! 1285.6 miles and we're in NJ, or "7 states down, 7 to go"

Whew... we both thought that there was a point when the rocks of PA might actually chew us up and eat us alive- but here we are in NJ, taking a day off and preparing to set off on the final leg of our AT adventure. It was great to have three family stops in a row (Sooze and Alan at Harpers Ferry, Mike's parents at the mid-point, and Laura's dad at the Delaware Water Gap), but now we'll be on our own until we finish. So, we have 893.5 miles to go- not counting the extra walking into and out of towns to resupply, as well as the re-routes that we'll encounter. In addition, Mike's sister is getting married at beginning of October so we need to be back in PA by the end of September. It's a tight schedule we'll be on and we realize that it's an ambitious goal, but we're ready for the challenge. We hope to be in NY by Monday if as long as we don't encounter any problems.

Some highlights of the northern half of PA:
-Laura was swarmed by bees, but luckily only stung 3 times
-We hiked through our first "Superfund" site near Palmerton, PA (a zinc smelting factory contaminated the area and basically destroyed all vegetation on Blue Mountain and the area is full of heavy metals such as zinc, cadmium, and lead)
-Mike saw a bobcat 'butt' as it jumped from a rocky outcropping and disappeared into the forest
-We both saw the biggest male Black Bear we've ever seen in our life, nearly face to face at 7:30/8 in the morning

It's been an incredible experience and we're excited to see what the north has to offer, so we'll keep you informed when we can!

(FYI- the only rattlesnakes we saw were sleeping in some ferns, and we were thankful that we weren't dodging them the way we imagined we'd be....)
Sunday, July 18, 2010

Halfway Point (1089.6)

We're visiting with mike's parents about 25 miles north of the halfway point and enjoying the free shower(s) and good food. Both of our feet were really bothering us so we ran out to find new shoes as soon as we got here, but we'll be heading back out in the early morning. Up next are the infamous "rocks of Pennsylvania" and we've read that north of here they're experiencing some drought-like conditions-so it should be a fun 8+ days through the rest of PA. Also a lot of talk about rattlesnakes coming up... a lot of rattlesnakes. Awesome!