Saturday, April 23, 2016

Hiking: Updates from Storm's Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike (4/17/16 thru 4/22/16)

Storm (Moe) is making his way through North Carolina on the Appalachian Trail. Here's a look back at his last few days of hiking in his own words:

April 17, 2016

Day 12: We woke up at Top of Georgia Hostel. Bob and his staff were amazing and every thru hiker should stay here. He did a talk at 8:30 about tips to successfully thru hiking. It was really good. We were offered free coffee/tea and homemade muffins in the morning. They were yummy. I took the 8:30 shuttle to Dick's Gap. It was nice to be with the crew again last night. They really are a great group of people.

I boogied again today and made it to plum orchard shelter at a about 11:00 and guess who was there. Timber and Dexter... Yay!!! I haven't seen them since Sucches. I had an early lunch and dried out my feet. Then filtered some water and jumped back on the trail. Then we climbed and boy did we climb. Finally reached the GA/NC border took some pictures and made it to Bly gap. Had to filter water again and stopped at the funky tree and took a picture. Then North Carolina showed what she's made up with a steep horrendous climb over a knob.

Welcome to North Carolina! Ugh. Then another and then another. Finally arriving to the shelter at about 4pm. I practically crawled on my hands and knees to get up the last knob. At the shelter I set up my pad and bag. I was so spent I was so not looking forward to setting up a tent. So I still have yet to be in my tent. Once summer comes I'm sure I'll be in it more often. I walked up to Raven Cliffs and there was an old plane crash. The cliffs offered a fantastic view. Got back to the shelter and ate cold dinner as I didn't wanna cook. The rest of the crew from the hostel are here... Luigi, Tranquility, Timber, Ompi, and Tune up from Gooch shelter. It's nice to be with all the people I have met from the beginning.

April 18, 2016

Woke up at 7am at Muskrat Creek Shelter. Made breakfast and packed up and hit the trail. I was the first one out. The crew left showtime after me. The morning was bluebird skies again and not a cloud in the sky. The weather has been perfect and no rain. Knock on wood that it stays. The trail was good to us today. She gave us a gift after yesterday's horrendous climbs. One slight climb and then a steady downhill to low gap. I shedded all of my layers at low gap to begin the climb up Standing Indian Mt.

The climb followed and all road and very much resembled a climb up Hunter Mt in the Catskills following the old road out of Spructon Valley. Made for an easy climb and I reached the summit at just about 12. No really good views from the summit but you could see nice views through the leaf less trees. The summit stands at 5435 feet. The climb down from Standing Indian was awesome.

Bright sunshine and temps in the 80's it was almost hot. I was just in my running shorts still ahead of the pack. The temp increased as I dropped lower in elevation. The trail was through a tunnel of Rhodendron in an archway. Suddenly a stream popped out of nowhere with a huge pool of cold water. I was in heaven and soaked my head and soaked a bandanna which I wrapped around my head. I continued on my way with just one more climb to end out the day.

I arrived to the shelter at 3:15 and was the first person there out of the group from camp. I set up my tent, filtered water, and got organized and soaked in the sun. The crew started filtering in at about 4:15 so I guess I was about an hour ahead of them. I cooked dinner and at, then relaxed around the fire. Went to bed about 9:30. Tomorrow we have several big climbs including Albert Mt where the 100 mile mark is. Holy crap I've almost walked 100 miles. We all are shooting to get to rock gap shelter and get a ride into town. The 8 of us are going to try and split a suite at comfort inn. Today was a great day.

April 19, 2016

Woke up early at around 6:30 this morning. Packed up my tent, gear and made breakfast. I was just about ready to go when the rest of the crew started waking up. I said see you all this afternoon and was off. Well between camp and 15 minutes later down the trail I must of stepped in dog poop, animal poop or quite possibly human poop. How did I discover this, well I looked down and at the bottom of both pant legs on the inside there be "poop" Well I laughed cause what else are you gonna do in the middle of the woods. I hiked on.

Apparently I broke trail because for the first 4 miles I was covered in cow webs from head to toe. Your welcome all behind me!! I stopped for a snack at about mile 4 and unzipped off my pants and pulled them inside out and tucked them in my bag. I hiked on.

Stopping to filter water at Betty's Creek. I arrived at Mooney Gap and met another hiker Chris who just got back from a tour in the Middle East in the army. He arrived just as I was to trail magic by Rodney who was just setting up. He had coffee, OJ, bananas, oranges, pineapple, cookies... I was so surprised as I didn't even know there was a dirt road there. He was awesome and had time today as all he had to do was dismantle a piano. What?!?? Lol!! He said he has two pianos in his house and no one plays it so he was gonna dismantle one. I thanked Rodney took a picture and moved on.

The trail than followed a cliff with great views between the bushes. I was kinda glad the bushes were there as it was a woooooaash moment. That was for about a mile. Then in the distance you could see Albert Mt. with the fire tower in top. So cool to see. The climb up was very similar to something you would see in the White Mountains. Bedrock ledge scrambles. When I arrived at the top I took pictures and the fire tower was the 100 mile mark... Woooooooooo.

I hiked on after having my lunch on the summit. I stopped at long branch shelter and Rock gap shelter on the way and even with the stops I arrived at Rock Gap at 2:30. Did 12.2 miles in about 6 hours. I was pumped.. Now just had to wait till 6 for our ride into town. We all were supposed to split a room at the Hampton Inn. I was waiting for someone from the crew to catch up and Keg Leg showed. I asked her if she has anyone's number and she said her phone was dead. Well we waited and Kid and his dad showed up and another guy. We all sat and someone said hey there is one more shuttle at 3:45. So when it showed I wrote a note and stuck it to the trash barrel. Jumped on the shuttle and headed into town.

Got here and tried to get a room at Havens Budget Inn but they were sold out. So I grabbed a bunk in the bunk house. Did my laundry. Was sitting on a plastic chair in the parking lot in just rain pants, flip flops and no shirt watching the traffic go by. That's an image. Laundry finished, jumped in the shower then went and grabbed food at Hardee's and an Iced Coffee from Mcd's and resupply at Dollar General. Got back to the bunk house and now relaxing. Miles came in another bunk mate and he said he got a ride at 6pm from Rock Gap. I asked him if he saw a dog Dexter, Timber, Luigi. He said yes they got the same ride and got my note on the trash barrel. Excellent! I didn't want them to think I ditched them, but hike your own hike. Bed soon.

The plan tomorrow is to get up early, pack up grab breakfast nearby and get to the post office when they open to get my three packages. Then back to the Budget Inn to grab the 11am shuttle back to Rock Gap

April 20, 2016

I woke up early today at 6:30am in the bunkhouse. I packed up my gear and walked down town to get breakfast. After breakfast I headed back to the bunkhouse grabbed my gear and walked to the post office to pick up my 3 packages. I had to stuff it all in and boogie back for the free shuttle. Jumped on the shuttle and got dropped off at Rock Gap. I dumped everything out and repackaged it and realized shit I have so much weight in my pack. I didn't realize Jeff had sent some of the things I had bought last night.

I began the days hike and felt pretty good till I got to the ups. My feet instantly responded to the weight and were sore. I kicked off my boots and bandaged up my feet and duct taped them. I hiked on. Climbing out of winding stair gap I came across Little-foot who I had heard was sick. She said she thinks she had heat exhaustion and was taking it easy. I carried on and suffered up the climb to 5010 feet. I stopped a bit from the top to have lunch.

After lunch I came across a blue blaze to the top of the bald I was climbing. I dropped my pack and hiked up in the blazing sun. The view was phenomenal. I carried on cringing at my feet. I got to the fire tower for another fantastic view. I finally arrived at the shelter to full full.. Not a lot of places to camp normally so I'm set up on a hill. Hopefully I don't role downhill in the middle of the night. I did 14.7 miles today, my biggest day yet. I'm beat and gonna crash. The crew I was with were going to take a zero today and I wasn't wanting to do that so I moved on. They will catch up.

April 21, 2016

Another tough day on the feet today. Woke up in my tent with my head facing downhill. Never have slept that way but I slept super well. Got up packed up and got on the trail at 9. My feet hurt before I even started so I taped them, and put on 2 pairs of socks for added padding. I took my time as the climbing was not terrible but it was up. At the first shelter I came across I stopped and had s snack. Then continued on for more slow walking. I'm not sure if I have blisters under the skin, or bruised bottoms of my feet or what. All I know is each step was pain.

At Tellico Gap I stooped for lunch and took off my boots and socks to let everything dry. I had one more big climb of the day then it was all downhill to the NOC. At the top of the last climb was a tower with an observation deck. Granted there were clouds at this point but still great views and great pics. I contained on the climb downward. Taking my time to go the miles. When I arrived at the Morgan Shelter I had not realized I had just walked 15.5 miles my longest day yet. Tomorrow only 1 mile to the outdoor center and hopefully able to get a bunk in the bunkhouse. My feet need a zero and this will be my first one.

April 22, 2016

Woke up early at the shelter and packed up my gear after a quick breakfast. Got on the trail by 7:30 so I could get into the N.O.C. before they opened up. Made the easy mile walk on super sore feet. Luckily I did this in between rain and I have still yet walked in the rain. I got to the outdoor center by 8:15 and dropped my gear off outside the restaurant. Went in and had the best breakfast ever. While inside at breakfast I tried to book a room on the N.O.C. website. They had nothing available for Friday night but did have a room for 2 in the bunkhouse for Saturday so I grabbed it.

After breakfast I sat and relaxed outside on the benches outside the restaurant under the pavilion. I called the reservation line at 9 just to confirm that there was nothing available or any cancellations. She told me the only thing they had available was a cabin for 549.99 which I said "NO THANK YOU". At this point the outfitter was open and I decided to wander around. I scored body glide and wet wipes in the hiker box. I bought a few post cards and mailed them and signed the log book. When the general store opened at 10 I walked over and bought a drink and went back and sat on the bench by the restaurant.

My best friend David and his family had left Disney World that morning and were planning on stoping to visit on their way back to Massachusets. They said they would take me into town to a motel when they got here at 6. So I plugged my phone in to charge and decided to relax. I googled places to stay and the Nantahala Lodge which showed a mile down the road. I called the number and Cindy answered saying yes they did have rooms available. She said they are only a mile west. I started walking in the rain and she called me back to say her husband was at the NOC and he would give me a ride. I turned around and found Chad and he brought me down to the motel. It was in a great location and very neat and clean.

I got there about 10:45 and unpacked all my gear. I took a bath and just lounged for the rest of the day. I jumped on a conference call at 5 for the Catskill regional chairs meeting which I am a volunteer for and was actually in a position to call in.

David and his family arrived at 6:30 and I was so excited to see them. We hung for a bit in the room and then drove into Bryson City to get dinner. They drove me back to the motel and we said our goodbyes. I got inside and was in bed by 9:30. I rested my feet and they are feeling better. It appears I have two blisters under the skin deep and not on the surface.

The plan tomorrow is to get dropped off at the NOC and take a zero and let them heal further. I won't make it to Maine without good feet. Luigi texted me yesterday to ask if I was hiking in this Monsoon of rain. I lucked out that I got into the NOC before it poured and boy did it pour. She was held up in her tent and the rest of the crew has taken another day off. They should of been dropped back off at Rock gap. I told Luigi if she could get to the NOC she could split the room with me. I have two beds and only need 1. She said she is gonna push to do 15 miles on Saturday to get to the NOC. It will be nice to have her catch back up to me.


Storm is posting regular updates from the AT on his Trail Journal (where much of this content is being developed from)

You can also follow him on his Facebook Page, Moe Hikes the Appalachian Trail

Storm is also working to raise money for charity as he hikes the Appalachian Trail. He currently has a GoFundMe campaign that is supporting the work of the Catskill Center to protect and preserve the Catskills and the Catskill Park, where Storm lives, enjoys the outdoors and volunteers!

Help Moe Hike for the Catskills!

For more information about the Appalachian Trail

You can visit the National Park Service's Appalachian Trail Park Page, which features a link to the AT brochure and map.  Guides and maps are produced and sold for the AT as it passes through each State between Georgia and Maine.  There are several books including the Thru-Hike Planner, the AT Guidebook, the AT Thru Hiker Companion and the Data Book to name just a few that can help hikers who are planning on hiking the entire AT or sections of it. We also maintain a section for Appalachian Trail Guides, Maps and Books at on Adventures in the Outdoors Online Shop.

Walking: Visited new Kaaterskill Viewing Platform, Catskills, NY

Spent last weekend walking the Kaaterskill Rail Trail and visiting the new viewing platform that has been opened at Kaaterskill Falls. The platform is accessible view a new trail that's perfect for families and others to safely get to edge of Kaaterskill Falls and it offers an amazing view of the waterfall and of the surrounding mountain clove.

View from new Kaaterskill Falls viewing platform

New view being developed on Kaaterskill Rail Trail!

Need more information on hiking and planning your 
trips to the Catskills and the Catskill Park?

Read up on the Catskill Park at our Catskill Mountains Information Page for hikes, advice, travel and planning information.   We have a Guide to Hiking in the Catskills available and on our sister site, ReviewThis is a Guide to visiting the Catskill Park.

Need a hiking map for your hikes in the Catskills?  We recommend the Trail Conference's Catskills Trails 6-Map Set.  These maps are the best available for hiking and outdoor adventures in the Catskills and the Catskill Park. The Catskill Center offers a regional map of the Catskills that provides an excellent overview of the region, it's roadways, attractions and trails.  National Geographic Trails Illustrated also produces a map for the region. 

How about a guidebook?  Both AMC and ADK publish trail guides to the Catskill Region and thAdventures in the Outdoors Bookstore carries many more books and maps that will help you as you hike and explore the Catskill Mountains region. 

If you are looking for more information about the extensive history of the Catskill Mountains and the Catskill Park, we would suggest reading The Catskills, From Wilderness to Woodstock and The Catskill Park, Inside the Blue Line. For the most comprehensive natural history of the Catskill Park and the Forests of the Catskill region, we recommend reading The Catskill Forest, a History by Michael Kudish.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Hiking: Updates from Storm's Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike (4/10/16 thru 4/17/16)

Storm (Moe) is making his way through Georgia. His hiking companion who started with him, decided to end her thru hike 8 days and about 50 miles in. Considering this was her very first time hiking for more than a few hours and camping for more than a night, we all think that Sharon (Trooper) did really well! As for Storm, he has continued north after helping Sharon get a bus to Atlanta to get a flight to come back home. Today (4/17) he should be crossing into North Carolina and have one state in his trip done!  Here's a look back at his last few days of hiking in his own words:

April 10, 2016

After a warm, warm, warm night in the hostel we got up and ready for the 9 am shuttle. Well we thought it was 9 but in reality it was 10. So we went into the wolf pen country store and had coffee.

Gonna miss little foot, blondie and timber and Rex. Rex was such a good pup who was at the hostel last night. Made me miss sandy pup a bunch. We got to woody gap at 10:45 am. Same guys were doing trail magic and I thanked them again.

We headed in and started up to preaching rock. It was a slow go for Sharon when we got to the ups especially with the rock scrambles they are hard for her. After reaching preaching rock we had big cedar mountain and more rock scrambles. Sharon did well and we made it to lance creek at about 2:30. I said do you wanna stay or push on trooper said push on... I think she regretted that decision. As there were more ups. I started having my first tough day on the physical end. Not sure if it was stopping and starting or doubling back just to make sure trooper was good. The last mile was tough and I felt famished. I'm eating like every 30 minutes. Trooper on the flip side at one point said she wanted to go home. I said we gotta get to Neels Gap before we can do anything and then you can think about it. Your not quitting on a bad day.
Preacher Rock

We finally reached the sign for the shelter and were like hurray. Then we walked what seemed like a mile long blue blaze to the shelter. Finally made and no one I mean not a soul to be had was here. I guess we are the only bozos carrying a bear canister on a thru hike. I was gonna try and keep mine thru the Smokies and then send it home. It was good having it because for trooper to do lance creek to neels gap would have bee really taxing on her. At least this way she only has 3.5 miles to go. We did chores, filtered water, ate food, food, food.. All with a cold wind blowing. We crawled into our bags at 8pm and are ready to zonk. I wanted to write this up first. Blood mountain tomorrow.

April 11, 2016

I awoke at 4am in Woods hole shelter to Trooper whispering what is that noise? An owl I say! You sure trooper says? Well it's not the Georgia Devil. Needless to say Trooper slept with the head lamp on till daylight. I got up first to a very damp and heavy mist. We were in the clouds at 3700 feet. I gathered kindling and fired up the stove for coffee. We are packed and pushed off. Stopping on our way out to filter water on the blue blaze back to the AT. We had a short 3.5 day but it was not going to be easy. Up and over Blood Mt and down to Neels gap. We started slow and at the junction of Slaughter Creek trailhead I waited for Trooper to catch up.

We saw our first hikers in almost 17 hours. Most people do not carry a bear canister with them just a food bag. You cannot camp or stay in a shelter between Lance Creek and Blood Mt without a bear canister. Everyone stayed at Lance Creek last night. It was good we had bear canisters or Trooper would of had to hike 11 miles from Lance Creek to Neels. We could have done 9 and stayed at Blood Mt shelter but it wasn't that nice. For a tidbit fact it was the first shelter built on the AT in 1932. So it was nice to see other hikers as we were alone last night at Woods Hole.

We went slow any steady and arrived at the summit at 12:30 to pea soup fog. We rested at Blood Mt shelter, ate snacks/lunch, used the privy. I was signing the log book when suddenly it was like the mother alien ship moved off the mountain and we were drenched in sunshine and panoramic views... WOW! Talk about timing. Pictures were taken and we started our descent. Taking our time on the way down was much harder than the way up with lots of rocks. We took several breaks and arrived at Neels Gap at about 4pm.

Trooper went in and bought some snacks and was looking for accommodations. She was under the impression we would be able to get into a motel or hotel. The word we were hearing from everyone along the trail was that Neels Gap was the emerald city. Our choices were the hostel, cabins, or a B+B which had a free shuttle from Neels and back to Neels. It sounded like it was out of someone's home. I called around to see if I could get a shuttle/taxi from Neels to either Blairsville or Dahlonga. Left 3 voicemails and finally one guy said he would do it for $75 dollars. No thank you! Trooper said ok let's just get a cabin and she called the number. We just sold out she was told! Ok I guess the hostel... We just sold out!!! Argh are you kidding. Trooper was about to have a meltdown. Pretzel who was standing by had heard some of this and saw Troopers face and said I'll take you for 40 bucks in a few. Gotta finish up one thing. (He works at Neels Gap) shhhh he is not supposed to take people. We said sold... We were very thankful. It was about 20 miles to the holiday inn express, When he found out we were from the northeast he pulled in to Dunkin Donuts without even asking us. Our faces lit up big time. Iced Coffee Wohoo!! We bought Pretzel a donut and he dropped us off. We paid him and thanked him immensely. He gave us his cell phone number in case we couldn't get back he would come after his dentist appointment. He thru hiked the AT in 2012.

We checked in and had a hot, hot, hot shower, ordered everything on the papa johns menu and relaxed. I went through my gear and took out about 5 pounds worth of stuff. I even went to the gym in the hotel to lift weights for my arms. Legs are good, arms don't get too much of a workout while hiking. Now sleep time. Sharon booked a shuttle/taxi from the holiday inn back to Neels Gap which will be 45 dollars so Pretzel was right in line and he went way out of his way for us. Our plan is to go from Neels gap to Whitley Gap Shelter which would be a 7 mile day.

April 12, 2016

We woke up at the Holiday Inn and had a fantastic nights sleep. We booked a shuttle back to Neels Gap and were on the trail by 10. Oh my god this day consisted of 12 ups and downs. The first 1/2 of the day was good and our spirits were high. The sun broke out and felt good on our skins but quickly turned into an energy draining yellow ball in the sky. We made it to Tesnatee Gap and saw the climb in front of us and wanted to give up. It was 565 feet in elevation gain in only .70 miles. I made it to the top end came back down to where Trooper was to carry her pack and we got her to the top. Ugh! We were spent. What a bitch of a climb for the end of the day. We made it to the junction of the blue blaze trail where the shelter was and it was 1.2 miles. We wanted to cry. We pushed and the trail dropped steeply to the shelter and we thought darn it we are gonna have to come back up this thing in the morning. Ugh. But we have to embrace the suck it will get better. Late addition this morning. I forgot to mention that I met Luigi and Knobbies yesterday. They both have trail journal so here. Ive been following them so it was nice to meet them in person. The plan is to take an easy day and go to low gap shelter.

April 13, 2016
The name says it all. We started the morning at Whitley Shelter and the climb up was to say at least not fun. When Trooper got up to the top she said well that was a hell hole and it stuck. The day was filtered sunshine and the wind died which made for pleasant hiking weather. We had three mountains to summit today. After our 1.2 miles out of Whitley we finally got back to the AT. That sucked, you walk 1.2 miles and it doesn't count for anything. We took our time to do the remaining 4.8 miles to low gap shelter. The scenery today was pretty lackluster but I did see a lot of neat flora. We made it to the shelter about 4:30. Trooper did a nice job today. Everytime I turned around she was right behind me. We got in the shelter again. We have not used our tents once yet. We set up shop and filtered water. We made dinner separately and I had chicken flavored Ramon, some of Sharon's pasta salad, 2 honey cups (from the holiday inn) and a snickers bar. We now are hunkered down for the night at 7pm.

April 14, 2016

We started the day off early from Low Gap Shelter and got on the trail by 8am. The grade was so nice the first 4 miles. The trail was on an old road very similar to what we have back in the Catskill Park. The only difference is many of the old roads in the Catskill Park go up this one was flat and was a very easy grade. We were boogieing and had gone 4 miles before noon.

We rested for a bit as we climbed up Blue Mt. We lept frogged Kate, Ompi, bubble head, no name and Hayden in some form or another. These were the group we spent most of the day with. Trooper was stiff and sore to start but the sun came out and she loosened up and was good to go. The climb up blue was steep but really rocky. This was our first real rocky climb on the AT. I said Trooper what does this remind you of and she said the Catskills. I felt like I was going up Westkill and not Blue Mountain.

I got to Blue mt. shelter first and took off my bag, gaiters and unzipped my zip offs to make shorts it got pretty warm. I walked back to the trail junction to start going down the AT and there was trooper. Holy crap I said. I was coming down to help you and there you are good job. She was spent and beat tired. We walked over to Blue Mountain shelter and rested and ate snacks for about a 1/2 hour. We then debated on if we should stay in Hiawasse or Helen for the night as we needed resupply. My sister is in Georgia and is going to meet us on Friday. We decided on Helen as the hotel is closer for my sister and it had an indoor pool and hot tub. We called and made a reservation and began our steep 1.5 trek down Blue Mt dropping 1000 feet in elevation.

We got to the bottom and were spent and were talking about ways to get to Helen. Do we hitch? Do we call a shuttle and then bam we crossed the street to trail magic. A group of past thru hikers 2010 had driven up from Athens GA and did trail magic since 8am. There were hot dogs, chips, soda, Gatorade, fruit, snacks and COLD BEER. Now I'm not a beer drinker but when I heard cold beer I was pumped. It was a nice surprise after a 10 mile hike in the sun. We sat in chairs that were provided and exchanged stories. Tumbleweed and company were wonderful. We called for a shuttle from a number the hotel provided. Trooper called and the guy who answered said he was sick. That's so our luck... Our shuttle guy is sick we laughed. I then said I guess trooper I'll stick you on the side of the road and pray someone picks us up. Just then tumbleweed says we all have 5 cars here one of us can give you a lift. We were overjoyed at the offering and said yes please. So we piled into the back of tumbleweeds car and Max her boyfriend and she drove us to Helen. She said that she had gotten a ton of free rides and trail magic that it was time to pay it forward.

They dropped us off at the hotel and we checked in. We dropped all of our gear in the room, pulled all our clothes into one pile and did a wash. I had my pair of running shorts which I threw on and went in the hot tub to soak my legs.

When I got back into the room I heard Trooper on the phone with her husband. I heard her say the words I'm coming home. She said goodnight to him and hung up. I looked at her and said its that time? She said yes it is! She said the trail is so hard and I'm in so much pain. In the coarse of 52.9 miles I have watched the pain on Troopers face but she pushed through it. Finally it was just too much for her.?So trooper will not be joining me back on the trail at Unicio Gap. She had said 6 times prior, I wanna go home and I would have her read the list of why she wanted to do the AT. If she had done all on her list then it was time to go home. The last time we stayed overnight at the Holiday Inn I thought she might not return to the trail but she did for another 16 miles. She is sad to leave and loved every minute but her body just is not liking it. Watching her grow over the last 9 days has truly been remarkable. From her first steps of panicked looking where do I put my foot, to me turning around to see how far back she is and she is right at my heels. Trooper was not a hiker or outdoors person before she did this. All of her outdoor experience has been with me and most of that has been since November 2015 when her and I started training for this. I'm going to miss her out on the trail and all the times we have laughed but I know she is still right there with me. She helped me get my trail legs, she helped me keep a slow pace and low miles and she helped me get smitty 52.9 miles closer to Maine. I think her 52.9 mile journey has been a success and has forever changed her. So to my super trooper thank you for the memories. Come visit me when I get to Virginia.
April 15, 2016
So this day was full of emotions. First we woke at the hotel and I went in the pool and hot tub again. Trooper spent most of the time after we had breakfast setting up to have a shuttle/taxi pick her up and bring her to Atlanta.
When she found a driver she had an hour to book the flight and pack before he arrived. We both packed and walked down to the lobby to check out together. We both sat on rocking chairs. Her ride arrived and I put her pack in the back of the van we hugged shed some tears and she was off.

20 minutes later my sister arrived from Ellijay with the whole clan. We had lunch at Big Daddies, my sister brought me resupplies so I repacked my gear in the parking lot. Then went to post office to mail stuff home and mail stuff forward. We then stopped at a gas station so I could buy a bunch of snacks. My sister then drove me to Unicio Gap to hop back on the trail. We said goodbye again tears and I was on my way.

Tumbleweed and Max and the crew were back at it with trail magic. She gave Trooper and I a ride into town the day before. I grabbed a Gatorade and chugged it, thanked them again for everything and started up Rocky Top mountain over 1000 foot climb out of the gap.

I was thinking about Jeff, boy do I miss him and today was his birthday. After being together for 19 years this was his first birthday we weren't together for. Ugh!! I kept pausing and turning to look for Trooper but she wasn't there. This was turning into my first emotional day and I'm sure more to come. I summitted Rocky Top and then dropped 950 feet down to Indian Grave Gap and then back up 1345 feet to summit Tray Mt. Arrived at Tray Mt shelter, was able to get in the shelter. I was way too tired to set up my tent. I made dinner and ate and now relaxing... Tomorrow I'm not sure where I'm headed.. 7 miles to the next shelter, 11 miles to a hostel or 15 miles to the next next shelter. We shall see what I can do comfortably in one full day solo.

April 16, 2016
Woke up early in Tray Mt shelter. Made breakfast and hit the trail before 7:30. Saw the kitty that is hiking with a couple. It makes me laugh. Poor kitty must be tired each day.

Made it to deep gap by 11:30 and completed 7.4 miles. I boogied right along. Didn't see anyone except one man who was packing up his camp. I said good morning and he was running around yelling I'm late I'm late. All I could think of was the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. I was laughing inside and never found out if he was headed north or south.

Stopped at Deep Gap shelter and only one hiker there who was taking a zero at the shelter. He was nice and read while I ate my lunch. Left the shelter and stopped in my way out to filter water as I was getting low. I went up and over Young Lick Knob and Kelly Knob. Kelly Knob was quite the climb at 4126. My pack felt like someone had put a cinder blocks in it by the time I got to the top. Met another hiker who I think is called Chris. We kept flip flopping each other the last 3 miles and finally arrived together at Dicks Creek Gap at about 2. We started walking the road back to T.O.P (top of Georgia hostel) when the shuttle pulled over to pick us up. We were thrilled even though it was only a .50 mile walk it felt like 10 miles.

We checked into the hostel and this place is known for being the best hostel along the AT. They gave us a free cold soda and gave us a tour of the facilities. The check in place is in a great room with three large tables and benches, two large couches, flat screen tv. They have a kitchen area for staff which has coffee on all day, snacks and you can purchase pizza and other food. They also have a private bath in the common room with a shower. The big bunkhouse has a kitchen, stove, microwave, sink and a private bath. The big bunk house area has 18 beds. Then the wolf den is for guests with dogs. I got put with all the pups and was in heaven. I took a shower and relaxed. They have a front porch and a back porch with rockers and benches. So nice. They serve breakfast for free (included in price) is offered in the morning and they run a shuttle to the gap every 1/2 hour. It's going to be a nice night here. I'm excited that a whole bunch of familiar faces are here tonight. Little-foot, Luigi, Ompi, Kate, noodles, the librarian and a bunch of other familiar faces are here. Trooper and I met them all on our first 10 days.

Tomorrow the plan is to get back to Dick's Creek Gap in the morning and shooting for Muskrat Creek Shelter. That would give me an 11.8! Mile day. My plan is to be in Franklin in 3 days.


Storm is posting regular updates from the AT on his Trail Journal (where much of this content is being developed from)

You can also follow him on his Facebook Page, Moe Hikes the Appalachian Trail

Storm is also working to raise money for charity as he hikes the Appalachian Trail. He currently has a GoFundMe campaign that is supporting the work of the Catskill Center to protect and preserve the Catskills and the Catskill Park, where Storm lives, enjoys the outdoors and volunteers!

Help Moe Hike for the Catskills!

For more information about the Appalachian Trail

You can visit the National Park Service's Appalachian Trail Park Page, which features a link to the AT brochure and map.  Guides and maps are produced and sold for the AT as it passes through each State between Georgia and Maine.  There are several books including the Thru-Hike Planner, the AT Guidebook, the AT Thru Hiker Companion and the Data Book to name just a few that can help hikers who are planning on hiking the entire AT or sections of it. We also maintain a section for Appalachian Trail Guides, Maps and Books at on Adventures in the Outdoors Online Shop.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Hiking: Updates from Storm's Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike

Getting started on the AT just north of
Springer Mountain
Storm hit the Appalachian Trail on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 and has a few days of hiking under his belt already. He's hiking with Sharon (just recently named Trooper on the trail) and their goal is to thru hike the AT.  We will be following them as they hike north, posting updates and joining in with them when we can get away from our day jobs!

Day #1

We begin! Sharon and I got driven up to the parking area on Springer Mt. We walked up to the summit with Jeff and his dad. Took a lot of pics and walked back to the parking area. Sharon geared up as I already had my pack on and we said our goodbyes. I gotta say that was one of the hardest things I have ever done. This is going to be just as hard on Jeff as it is me. He is the most wonderful person I know and his support in this is beyond me. We walked the 1.8 miles to the shelter and arrived at 4:30. Everyone said go slow hike short miles and take your time. So we are! We are gonna ease Sharon into big miles. The loft in the shelter was open so Sharon and I decided to jump for it. It was Sharon and I and 15 other guys. All very friendly. We met a man with a dog named olive. Three guys from Vermont and a man from British Columbia. Sharon made Mac and Cheese for her dinner and I ate a bunch of bagged nuts, fruit bars etc to get the loose food down. We crawled up into the loft at around 7 for relax time before bedtime around 8 or 9. We are shooting for Hawk Mt shelter tomorrow. This would give us a 5.4 mile day.

Sharon and I are chugging along. After a night of severe thunderstorms from 9-11 we finally fell asleep. Thank god we choose the loft in the shelter. Many wet tents this am in the 50 mph gust. We met a pup named olive tonight. She looked just like sandy. Ok break over.. Back to it.

Day #2

We have arrived at Hawk Mt shelter at around 2:30. Sharon did tremendous today though she will say she's slow. We did some ups and downs gaining 700 feet in elevation and then loosing it. We set up shop in the shelter again as the forecast is for rain showers. The group here was much friendlier than last night. Met a ton of great people. My stove is a hit. Woot!! The plan is 7.7 miles tomorrow to Gooch mountain lean-to. We have to climb sassafras mt. and Justus mt. Tomorrow will be our toughest day yet. Chores and dinner done. Now bed almost.

Day #3

Quick update. We made it. Did 7.7 miles two mountains and 4 knolls many ups and downs... I showed Sharon all of your messages

Chores and dinner done. We were able to grab a spot in the shelter. THANK YOU Kate and crew. We met a bunch of new friends, Phillip and bug juice. Great group of people. Lights out. 9pm is hiker midnight. Sharon did get her trail name today. "Trooper". When she was crawling on her hands and knees to get over a rock incline with me trying to help her Kate and her crew came up behind her and said boy your a trooper. Well it stuck. I'm storm and she's trooper and together we're storm trooper. Lol lol. We had a good laugh. Night all!

Day #4

Morning all. Wow, cold and windy night. Low of 34 and 40 mph winds. We were warm but when the wind hit the back of the shelter underneath the shelter is open and the winds blow up through the cracks and brrrrr. We had branches landing on the shelter all night Sharon is recharged for today and we are going the 5 miles to woody gap for the free shuttle to the hiker hostle. Shower time. Will update tonight. Hope this wind dies does

We made it to woody gap. Sharon was hurting. I dumped my bag and ran back for her. We had our first trail magic with a day hiker giving us fruit. When we arrived we had our first "real" trail magic. A group of guys were doing a bbq for all thru hikers... Hot dogs and chips... Wooooooo. We got the free shuttle to suchess... Yes!!!! More later. We have hiked 21+ miles since springer.

We have checked in at the wolfpack country store. We have our clothes washing. Bought a bunch of resupply food. Unpacked and set up our bunks. TOOK A SHOWER!!! Boy did we stink after 4 days in the woods. We just sat in the country store and bought a mega pizza and split it. We will be warm tonight as the low will go down to 25.

Storm will be posting regular updates from the AT on his Trail Journal.

You can also follow him on his Facebook Page, Moe Hikes the Appalachian Trail.

Storm is also working to raise money for charity as he hikes the Appalachian Trail. He currently has a GoFundMe campaign that is supporting the work of the Catskill Center to protect and preserve the Catskills and the Catskill Park, where Storm lives, enjoys the outdoors and volunteers! Help him Hike for the Catskills!

For more information about the Appalachian Trail

You can visit the National Park Service's Appalachian Trail Park Page, which features a link to the AT brochure and map.  Guides and maps are produced and sold for the AT as it passes through each State between Georgia and Maine.  There are several books including the Thru-Hike Planner, the AT Guidebook, the AT Thru Hiker Companion and the Data Book to name just a few that can help hikers who are planning on hiking the entire AT or sections of it.