Appalachian Trail Jindo

A 2,200 mile hike with my dog Nara.

Goodbye Maine

Jul 10, 2013

281.8 miles hiked, 1,904.1 miles to go.

Trail names

Jul 10, 2013

I forgot to mention eariler, but on the Appalachian Trail, my trail name is Dog Whisperer.

Trail names are basically nicknames that other hikers give each other. Since you meet people for brief moments and might not see them for weeks or months at a time, it's easier to remember hikers by a trail name that reflects something about their personality. It's easy to forget a Bob and Jim but not a Mercury, Pink Leprechaun, or the Blunt brothers.

Reading material at a shelter

Jul 10, 2013

Nice coincidence. I have to say the camino and AT are totally different experiences.

There are also log books at each shelter where hikers leave comments. It's a good source of info about trail and towns ahead (from north-bound hikers) and to see the other south-bound hikers that are in front of you.

Hikers leave books they've finished

Mahoosuc Notch

Jul 09, 2013

Southern Maine is considered the most difficult section of the AT, so naturally it would also have the hardest 1 mile of the entire 2,186 miles.

It's known as Mahoosuc Notch, which is a mile of boulder scrambling. Most hikers have to take off their packs and slide through small gaps between some of the boulders, but if you're a strong climber, you can fine alternate routes (climbing over the huge boulders).

It takes some hikers over 2 hours to complete this mile. To make the day even harder, the notch is in between two mountains, so you have a steep descent and ascent before and after the boulder scramble.

I ended up letting Nara off-leash. It was a lot of fun watching her figure out how to tackle all the boulders.

Off-Leash at the start of the notch

Stll snow in June down near the boulders

Passed out after 1 mile of hard work

Waiting too much

Jul 09, 2013

Gotta go with the Nike slogan, Just Do It.

Kennebec River

Jul 09, 2013

The Kennebec River is probably the most famous river on the AT. It's about 70 yards wide, and there's a dam upriver that has unscheduled releases.

Hikers use to ford this river, but a hiker died trying to ford, so the official AT route is to use ferry service (canoe).

Thank goodness for the jolly volunteer who helped me and Nara cross. The river and current definately made me nervous.

Where's Nara?

Jul 09, 2013

1 month update

Jul 05, 2013

I've been in New Hampshire for about a week, but it's been raining nonstop, and I only get signal on the mountain peaks, so the posts will have about a weeks delay until I can catch up.

Three M's of the Maine Trail

Jul 05, 2013




Hard to log long mileage days with these three.

Hitchhiking on the AT

Jun 27, 2013

I survived my first hitchhiking experiences. I was running low on supplies, so I had to take a detour and stop by a small town called Andover. The problem was that the town was 9 miles from the trail head, and the road had very little traffic (leads to private cabins and a campsite).

After walking a few miles, a van finally picked me up. It was two friendly old ladies that run a hostel in town. They had just dropped off a hiker who had been staying with them. I think one look at Nara convinced them to stop and give us a ride even though the hostel doesn't allow dogs.

Quiet road to Andover

In Andover, I ate a big steak and egg breakfast and picked up about 5 days of food at the general store, and started walking back to the trail.

Andover General Store

About a mile in, a gentleman in a truck picked me up. He knew exactly where I was heading. He worked for the campsite at the end of the road, and we got to talking and he mentioned how his sister-in-law thru-hiked several years back when her husband was deployed to Afghanistan. It was a way to relieve her anxiety.

They were pleasant experiences, and I'm grateful they picked me up and saved me the long walks.

I think too often the risks of hitchhiking are overblown. It's like staying out of the ocean due to fear of sharks. Part of this fear probably comes from the constant barage of negative news we hear night after night on the evening news. The constant negative news skews our views about the world. That's another good thing about thru-hiking: it's a vacation from the mainstream, negative-biased news, which doesn't help anyone make sense of the world. Lately, all I've witnessed is the good in people. It balances all the news I've been listening to ever since my high school civics teacher said we should watch the news daily and "stay informed."

Of course, there are still dangers, and you should always remain alert, use good judgement, and listen to your instincts. If it doesn't feel right, you can always decline a ride. Hitchhiking in a small group (2-3) people is probably your safest bet, especially for females.


Jun 27, 2013

You can hear cars when you get close to roads intersecting the trail.

The sound of cars remind me of sirens from greek mythology. Sometimes (especially when you already have supplies) you have to close your ears ane keep sailing on, or you get sucked into towns, and end up spending way too much money.

Road into Rangeley, Maine

Maine is tough

Jun 27, 2013

So many mountains in Maine! I'm learning first-hand why Maine is the most difficult state on the AT. To make things more strenuous, it's been a rainy month, which makes it very difficult to descend. The slick rocks and roots combined with all the mud make for some very hard days. It's a little discouraging to hike 1 mph for 12 hours, when I'm more use to a 3 mph pace on much flatter trails back home.

Avery Peak

One day after hiking 15 miles to Avery Peak, it started raining at the top of the first peak. I was cold, wet, and exhausted. I looked at Nara, and she looked the same, so we tented in between the top two peaks in the photo rather than hiking another 3 miles to a shelter over the third peak.

No fun setting up a tent in the rain.


Jun 27, 2013

Early in the thru-hike, the lean-tos (shelters) get a little crowded, so shortly after Monson a few of us set up our own tent site.

After 200 miles, I've noticed that the thru-hikers have begun to disperse. There's people behind and in front of me I haven't seen for weeks. I'm sure I'll catch up to the people in front or the people behind me will catch up to me in weeks or months. That's one of the fun parts of thru-hiking: the unexpected reunions.

Lots of firewood to cook and keep the bugs away

Comparing tents

Monson (pop. 681)

Jun 18, 2013

Monson is the first town outside of the 100 mile wilderness. Nara and I stayed at Lakeshore House Lodging and Pub, which is kind of like a hiker hostel. Very friendly owner, even picks up from trail head 4 miles from town.

I ate their pot roast (best bang for your buck) and had a few beers with some of the other hikers that came crawling in through out the day. Its a lot ot fun catching up and talking about the trail with other hikers. There's a lot of camaraderie on the AT.

Hostel up the stairs

Hanging out in the common area

Nara happy to get out of the rain

Joey and Corey from Tennessee - very cool guys; sad they had to get off the trail so soon.

100 Mile Wilderness

Jun 17, 2013

They should rename it the 100 mile rainforest.

It rained 6 of the 7 days I was in this section. My feet were constantly wet (and muddy). The mosquitos were maddening. Longsleeves and a head net were not enough to protect me from their onslaught. Anytime I tried to take a rest, you could see swarms of them around me and Nara. On top of the mud, wet feet, and bugs, everything was extremely slippery. I had a few close calls, especially when hiking down some of the steep sections.

Daily stream/river fordings. Luckily, log bridge near this leanto.

Katahdin: looking back at the start.

And we're out.

Thankfully, we made it out safely, and staying at a hiker hostel in Monson (town just south of 100 mile wilderness) really helped reinvigorate us.

Abol Bridge Campground

Jun 17, 2013

For future hikers, here's a visual of the Abol Bridge Campground store. You can resupply here before entering 100 mile wilderness. Also where the kennel service in Millinocket drops off dogs.

Katahdin Stream Campground

Jun 13, 2013

Home away from home after my Katahdin summit. Took a 2 hour nap after summiting, woke up, ate dinner, and slept another 12 hours.

It's called a lean-to

The Stream

Katahdin Summit

Jun 12, 2013

My first day on the Appalachian trail.

It was a gorgeous morning, and I started the ascent in T-shirt and shorts. Halfway up it started raining, and I could feel the temperature dropping. I quickly slipped on my rain jacket but was growing concerned. Visibility was getting worse, and I didnt see anyone else going up.

By the time I reached the summit, the temperature plummeted, the sleat was pelting my legs, and the strong winds kept shaking me up. My hands were losing feeling and I was all alone on the summit.

I skipped the planned lunch on the summit, but thankfully the weather cleared up halfway down the mountain. It was a shame I didn't get the amazing views at the top, but it was a good lesson in preparedness.

In Maine

Jun 10, 2013

Quick Update:
I have a weak cell signal, so thought I'd let everyone know Nara and I are okay.

I summited Katahdin (northern terminus of the AT) on June 4; picked up Nara the next day since dogs are not allowed to climb; and now we're currently walking in a section called the 100 mile wilderness. Details to come later.

Bad weather at the summit

Heading for Maine

May 03, 2013

Test post to check dynamic routing and parent_key in datastore.

This post should now appear when filtering blog for Maine.