Our 2018 adventure

We had hoped to finish the AT this year, but unfortunately our feet weren’t cooperating. Instead we decided to journey across the US in our RV. We hope to continue our AT journey some other year.

Feel free to join us in our current adventures.


End of the White Blazes

After 1,138 miles (plus a combined 14 at the south and north termini) we have decided to call it a day. I think a thru hiker we met a day or so south of Katahdin put it best–“the ability to hike the whole trail is proportional to your willingness to endure pain”. In the end, we’re not willing to endure the foot, ankle, knee, back, and shoulder pain for another 3-4 months. 

This has been the trip of a lifetime and we feel blessed to have taken it together. We’ve seen amazing wilderness, met incredible people, faced fears, and pushed our bodies beyond what we thought possible. We appreciate all of you that have given support and offered encouragement since we left on April 9.
Now to get out of the woods, get some lobster and see the coast of Maine. 

The 100 Mile Wilderness

On Wednesday, 16 August we hiked 10 miles from the base of Mount Katahdin across Baxter State Park to the beginning of the hundred mile wilderness in Maine. It took us 8 days and change to complete this 100 mile stretch. Had we not had 1000 miles under our belts I’m not sure we’d have made it. 
This was the most rugged and beautiful part of the trail we’ve done.

Along the way, we hit our 1100 mile marker!  

The trail was full of giant roots and rocks, mixed in with bogs and mud everywhere. 

This was the first time we were required to ford  streams and rivers, which was a little unnerving as they was very slippery.  Fortunately Maine is in a relative drought season, so it wasn’t as deep and scary as it could have been. 

But overall, the toughest part of the 100 mile wilderness was the mountains and the rock scrambles required to summit them. 

The reason it is called the 100 mile wilderness is because you hike 100 miles without running into a town, or any services. For many, the most challenging part of this is that you have to carry supplies and provisions to cover this whole trip. Fortunately for us, a fellow hiker told us about a company that you can pay to drop off food and supplies at the half way point. They put it in a five gallon bucket and hide it in deep in the woods, trying to find it is like looking for Easter eggs on Easter. This was awesome!!!!! We are glad that we found out about this as many we hiked with didn’t know and were carrying 10 days food… wow, that’s heavy! 

One Nobo thru hiker described  the hundred mile wilderness as her favorite part of the trail. We would have to agree as there were more views in this hundred miles than in the thousand miles we did down south. This area is blessed with an abundance of boulder strewn streams, lakes, and treeless granite mountain tops with views that extend for many miles.

Camping along this section was some of our favorite spots, next to streams and lakes, with gorgeous views and nature sounds a plenty. One of our favorite spots was a lake with some resident loons that serenaded us to sleep. The view was worthy of a magazine cover! 

On the morning of our exit from the 100 miles, we caught a ride into Monson, Maine where we stayed in a hostel where we took the most the needed shower of our lives, and did some much needed laundry. Below is a picture of what hikers wear (borrowed clothes) while they are waiting on laundry. 

 Needless to say, food was a priority and we are a little embarrassed to report that we went to a grocery store, bought a half gallon of ice cream, asked for two spoons from the deli and ate the whole container outside the store. We ain’t gonna lie, it was totally worth it!!!!

In short, the hundred mile wilderness was amazing, but we are glad it’s done!

Mount Katahdin

On Sunday, August 13, We flew to Bangor Maine, caught a bus to Medway Maine, then a shuttle into Millinocket Maine, where we stayed for two days at the AT Lodge. On Tuesday the 15th, after hiking over 1000 miles, we did the craziest thing we’ve ever done. We summitted Mount Katahdin. While we expected a strenuous 5 mile hike gaining over 4000 feet of elevation we were surprised that it really was more rock climbing than hiking. 

The advice given to us by the lodge owner was to turn around if the clouds got black and looked like a storm was looming as things could get dangerous. As Rob is scared of heights he was constantly hoping for black clouds to appear so we could descend and keep his dignity. However it was a beautiful day and we both continued to climb, although it was the scariest thing we’ve ever done. 

We summited via the Hunt trail, and it took us about 5 hours to get to the top, where we were blessed to have beautiful views. 

We went down the Abol Trail, which took us about 4 1/2 hours. Both trails were extremely steep and rocky and required climbing and lots of Boulder scrambling. It was a scary, crazy, wild day. But both of us are glad that we were successful and hope you enjoy our pictures.

Headed to Maine

Today is the day!  We are flipping to Maine to head south in an attempt to finish our hike. The reason we are flipping is because Baxter State Park at the Northern terminus of the AT closes on October 15. Based on our rate of travel, we will never make it by that time.  We hope that doing it this way will allow us to finish before winter sets in. 

We are leaving from the Dayton airport and flying to Maine. We should arrive later today, and after two short bus rides should arrive at the AT lodge tonight. Tomorrow we will work with the lodge owners to coordinate our summit to Mt Katahdin and our journey into the 100 mile wilderness. 

Tuesday we will enter Baxter State Park, hopefully summit Mt Katahdin, the tallest mountain in Maine at 5267 feet, immediately walk back down the same path to make our way south.  We will camp just outside that area on Tuesday night and will enter the 100 mile wilderness on Wednesday. It is named that because there are no towns, businesses and largely no roads for 100 miles. We currently have enough food In our bags to last 10 days, so needless to say, they are super heavy! 

We enjoyed taking some time off trail and seeing family, friends and our dog! We honestly probably couldn’t have finished without a break to allow our bodies some rest. Surprisingly, we are still sore (especially our feet), but feel much better and at least want to give it a try. 

We will try to keep you updated, but the next 500 miles is supposed to be pretty rugged and we might have limited cell coverage. 

Spiritual Half-way point

Today we hiked into harpers ferry West Virginia, the spiritual/psychological halfway point of the Appalachian Trail. The last 24 hours has been filled with a couple of highlights. Yesterday morning we reached the 1000 mile mark, which felt incredible. 

Today we hiked out of Virginia for the first time in over 500 miles. We also crossed the state of West Virginia today and ended up in Maryland as we crossed the Potomac River. Three states in one day feels psychologically like a win after being in Virginia for so long. 

It was a bit emotional crossing in to Maryland as this was the state Corey was living in when he passed away, and today is his birthday.

The end of last week was special as we passed through the Shanendoah’s, and were able to spend a couple of days with Teresa’s family. We stayed with her aunt Anita and visited with her cousins Crystal and Travis and their families. It was a great time.

In a mad race to reach Harpers Ferry after getting back on the trail post family visit, we pulled 54 miles in 3 1/2 days. Two days ago we entered the roller coaster, a 14 mile section of steep ascents and descents, most of them at about 400 feet of elevation gain and loss each. As we have climbed much higher peaks than this, we didn’t think it would be too difficult, however it kicked both of our butts. 

Yesterday we completed the last 9 miles of it and pulled a 16 mile day. Today, we were pretty exhausted but pulled 10 miles in Horrible humidity. When we got to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, which is housed in Harpers Ferry, we met up with a number of people that we’ve been in contact with over the past week or so on the trail.

On a sadder note, we laid to rest our cat hole trowel that we have had since purchasing it nine years ago in the Denali national Park. Somebody, who will remain nameless, tried to pry a rock out of a hole and snapped it. We did however replace it with a gardening trowel which is amazing and worth all $.84.

We are currently sitting here in Harper’s Ferry, waiting for Teresa’s mom to come and pick us up. We are going to take 7 to 10 days off trail and go to Ohio, to let our bodies recover and rest. After over 90 days of hiking and camping, we are feeling a bit trail weary and in need of respite.  Teresa’s foot is still bothering her and is need of some time off.  In fact, most of our joints are feeling quite overworked and begging for a few rest days. Our current plans are to fly to Maine after our rest, and hike south back to Harpers Ferry. We expect to be finished with the trail in November. 

900 miles

Today we hit the 900 mile mark. We will feel even better when we hit 1000. 🙂 

Before entering Shenandoah national Park we took a zero, a day with no hiking, in Waynesboro Virginia. We found the worlds greatest restaurant that should be at the top of everybody’s list, Golden corral. Perhaps everybody is a bit strong, but I think every hiker would love eating there. We skipped the side trip to Devils backbone brewery prior to hitting Waynesboro, although it is a favorite amongst the hikers. One of our big duties well zeroing in Waynesboro was to look for new footwear for Teresa. The day before hitting town she noticed that her boot was splitting out at the juncture of the shoe and the sole. 
She decided to go with the trail runner rather than a traditional boot. All the cool kids are doing it. So far the results have been good, as she is able to fly up the mountains like she has wings on her heels. 

Waynesboro is interesting because they have a list of trail angels who might be available to offer rides either from the trailheads or around town. We did have some luck in contacting a couple, and we also found a trail angel, Ebo, at the outdoor store who was just in purchasing some footwear. He took us 4-5 miles out of his way back to the motel. He was just returning from a business trip, he was a fellow hiker, and like all hikers with access to cars knows what hikers need( rides and food). We’ve been in Shenandoah national Park for three days now, and it doesn’t seem grossly different than most of the trail. However one thing that is different is that bears are more common here and they have no fear of humans. We have seen a total of three since entering the park, bringing our total sightings to 9. The most recent of which was only about 20 feet from Teresa, and it was nearly dark. As I am typing this, we just heard a huge crash through the woods about 30 yards from our tent, and are a little concerned that a bear is near camp. I prefer bears that have a healthy respect for humans and run at the sight of them. These bears do not do that, Nor do they seem particularly aggressive at this point. The other thing that is a little different about this national Park versus the rest the trail is the presence of restaurants within a mile of the trail. It is a nice treat to be able to get a hamburger at the end of the day. It is also helped us to increase our calorie consumption. We’ve also taken to eating instant potatoes and Ramen noodles at lunch time, and old-school (Rob) is drinking powdered Ensure. So far this seems to be doing better.

Yesterday a gentleman who worked for the national Park system in the summers, a retired 74-year-old, offered us a handful of cash as a form of trail magic. We politely refused, but then proceeded to bum a ride from him to the nearest restaurant. He gladly gave us the ride which was incredibly nice.

The weather remains hot, humid, and buggy. This hasprompted the use of headnets and deet. 

Teresa sporting her new headnet!

Rob enjoying a sunset on top of some cliffs