Appalachian Trail Jindo

A 2,200 mile hike with my dog Nara.

Goodbye Pennsylvania!

Aug 28, 2013

1,126.0 miles hikes, 1,059.9 miles to go.

Best time to hike

Aug 24, 2013

...I think early morning or early evening. The lighting is always cool.

Night hiking can be exciting, but there's nothing to see in the pitch dark and easy to get tripped up on roots and rocks.

Quarry Gap Shelter

Aug 24, 2013

If my mom was thru-hiking, this would probably be her favorite shelter.


Super clean and flowers

Halfway Point

Aug 20, 2013

Hard to believe we've walked over 1,000 miles.

I'm curious what percentage of the population walks that far every 3 years. If you have a dog or walk to work, it shouldn't be too hard.

Surely the percentage was much higher before the invention of the automobile. When I walk into towns it's hard not to notice how convenient and efficient cars have made traveling. On the flip side, it's hard not to notice how big everyone is :(

Not to say everyone should be thru-hiking. I'm not sure if it's even healthy, but I believe a daily walk (especially in the woods or mountains) can be therapeutic.



Cutesy Nara

Aug 20, 2013



Lost in the cornfields

Aug 20, 2013

Nara keeps getting herself into trouble.

While I was packing up in the morning, she darted off after a critter. Usually I'm not concerned, but she had her leash on, which can easily get caught or tangled.

Sure enough she didn't return after I had finished packing. I went off to look for her and in the distance I could hear her crying. The problem was we were in between huge, dense cornfields.

I was very worried I wouldn't be able to find her, and she'd end up as fertilizer for the corn.

I walked on the perimeter of the field that I thought her cries were coming from. When it sounded liked I was close I ducked down, and I could see her white fur not too far away.

I was hesitant to go into the field fearing I'd lose my orientation, but realized the field wasn't that big and whichever direction I went I'd still be able to exit.

So luckily, I found her and she lives to hike another day. She's definately making this hike more adventurous.


Scared I wasn't going to find her in this maze


I could see the relief in her eyes

Maildrop #3

Aug 20, 2013

Arrived in Boiling Springs Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, the post office was already closed, and it stays closed on Sundays. I decided to take my second zero day and pick up the package on Monday morning.

Hat tip to my friend Jimmy who took the time and effort to send me a package. Besides sending package, he is maintaining my website while I'm on the trail. What a buddy!

Thru-hiking the AT is mentally challenging, but having friends and family cheer me on makes me confident we will finish at Springer mountain in Georgia.


All sorts of different goodies



Jimmy and wife Martina. They look so all-American in this pic.

Walking off the war

Aug 17, 2013

Earl Shaffer is credited for being the first person to thru-hike the AT in 1948. He said he wanted to thru-hike to walk off the war (WWII).

I was in Duncannon (trail town) the other day and was talking to a local. He said the first thru-hiker he met this year was a former British soldier who saw combat in Afghanistan. He was also walking off the war.

It was interesting because I also saw the British soldier in the 100 mile wilderness over two months ago. He was the first NoBo I saw, and I didn't see any for couple weeks after him. He started early January (dead of winter) in the Georgia mountains. He must know what he's doing because it's dangerous to hike in wintry conditions. I hope the trail has helped him.


Earl Shaffer on Katahdin

Visitor in the night

Aug 16, 2013

Last night, around 2 in the morning, I woke up to Nara shuffling around the shelter.

I shined my headlamp on her and noticed she had quills sticking out of her snout. Apparently a porcupine was looking around for food, and Nara paid the price for protecting the food bag.

Thankfully she only had 3 quills on her. I've heard horror stories about other dogs getting a face (and mouth) full of quills.

I was able to pull the quills out with my mini-leatherman. However, Nara wouldn't sit still, so it took awhile. She looks okay today, but I'll have to monitor her for next few days for signs of infection.



Similar to giving Nara a bath, pulling quills is more of a 2-person job

501 shelter

Aug 16, 2013

This is one of the more well-known shelters on the AT, mainly because it's next to route 501, so you can order pizza delivered to the shelter.

It's also relatively clean and fully enclosed. Unfortunately, I reached it in the morning, so I didn't get to stay.

Since my maildrop didn't arrive, I decided to try and hitch on 501 to nearby town called Pine Grove to get a small resupply. It seems harder to hitch in PA, but a nice couple coming back from a day-hike drove me directly to the Dollar General Store (great spot to resupply and stay on budget). A big thanks for the ride. It saved me another 5 miles of road walking.




Rattler

Aug 16, 2013

Penn trail is known for its rocks and venomous snakes hiding underneath.

I constantly walk with my eyes on the ground in front of me, so that I don't twist my ankle or step on a snake.

The other day I saw part of a big snake sticking out between some rocks. As we got a little closer, it retreated under the rocks and started to rattle. Spooky sound when it is directed at you, but glad it gives a warning. I'm not sure about the copperheads.


Hiding from us

Things I miss while on the trail

Aug 16, 2013

  • Family and Friends
  • Fresh food and parents' cooking
  • Music

I was thinking about bringing a travelers guitar with me, but I probably would have pissed off a lot of hikers. Most likely would have broken the guitar in Maine or New Hampshire as well.

But now, the trail is getting a lot flatter and quieter. We hiked 24.7 miles, and only saw 2 section hikers towards the end of the day. I'll have to reevaluate when I get to Virginia.

For now, here's my way too modest friend and guitar teacher Mr. KJ performing Justin King cover.



KJ:
I was taking a break one day and played your cover for entertainment. Sounds nice out in the woods.

Port Clinton (pop 279)

Aug 16, 2013

Just next to Hamburg, the AT goes directly throuhh Port Clinton. This is a popular spot to send maildrops since the town is right off the trail.

I was expecting my 3rd maildrop on Monday morning, so I camped at picnic area nearby that is open to hikers courtesy of the local church.

Sadly, the package wasn't there the next morning as it should have been, so I told them to forward the package to Boiling Springs, PA.

On the bright side, I was waved over to the local barber shop across the street for some coffee and cookies.


I forgot to ask how long he's been getting his haircut here


Jammin away

Hamburg (pop 4,211)

Aug 16, 2013

Hamburg does it big. I was planning on stopping by the outfitter in town to pick up a new gas canister for my stove, so I took a 2 mile detour and walked down the interstate.

The outfitter turned out to be Cabela's, which is the biggest sporting goods store I've ever seen. I was stunned by the amount of people there were. It felt like I was in a busy mall, except everything was outdoor gear related.



Doing it big



Impressive exhibit

After looking around and picking up my canister, I walked over to the Walmart to pick up batteries and dog food.

While I was walking, a couple guys called me over from the balcony of another giant building. The building was Cigars International. Apparently it's the biggest cigar store/lounge in the country.

The guys that called me over asked if I wanted a beer. I was kind of confused since it was a cigar shop, but it also had a balcony and patio area where I met them downstairs. One of them had hiked the AT back in 2000, and he wanted to help out a fellow hiker. They bought me a beer (oatmeal stout), and I hung out with them for awhile as they enjoyed their cigars. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.


Some cool guys having a relaxing afternoon at Cigars International

Copperhead

Aug 12, 2013

We saw our first venomous snake the other day at a sight called the Pinnacle.

We were coming down from the vista, where there was a small rock scramble. On the otherside of a big rock, right on the trail, was a copperhead lying still.

I didn't see it until after I was coming down the rocks. and I planted my foot not more than a foot away from it.

I sprung like a jack rabbit, and Nara followed just as swiftly. Thankfully it didn't strike, or I'd be in a hospital or Nara probably in the grave. Somebody must have said a prayer for us.








She looks happy?

Aug 11, 2013

It's hard for me to tell whether Nara enjoys hiking for such a prolonged period.

Jindos are hunting dogs, so I almost feel like she'd prefer to go catch a squirrel, come back home and chill for the rest of day.

But there are days where we're taking a break and she looks happy and at peace out in the woods.


Well, she was smiling at me before she started dozing off

Views from Penn Trail

Aug 11, 2013

Lots of farmland. Took these two photos on separate days.



Rain is a bad thing

Aug 11, 2013

I thought this year's rainy June had made me impervious to rain, but after being spoiled with a few weeks of good weather, I was completely demoralized by the rain storms we hit after Delaware Water Gap.

We hiked 26 miles in isolated rain storms the first day, and I felt confident. On the second day, it poured heavily on us as we descended steep stone boulders into the town of Palmerton.

I was frustrated with the morning downpour and decided to stop by Walnutport, 2 miles off the trail. Even after breakfast in town, I still had no desire to hike, so I stopped at the next shelter to wait out the rain for a whopping 5 trail miles that day.

All better now. I think you just have to accept that getting wet is part of the process. Storms don't last forever, and it always gets better.


Getting dirty. Helps against the bugs.


Tented on exposed hill and thought my tent was going to give during the late night storm


Wet = not a happy camper


Foggy morning hike


Steep descent into Palmerton. Really started coming down after I took this pic from the top

Last of the NoBos

Aug 11, 2013

I think we've seen the last of the north-bounders in northern Penn. They have to reach Katahdin by October 15, the day Baxter State Park closes for the year due to weather conditions.

It should get really quiet from here on out. Thankfully I have Nara to keep me company. Besides Market Man, I havent seen any SoBos since Connecticut. There's about 8-12 ahead of us, which I don't think we can catch up to, and I have no idea how many are behind us.

I'm very curious about all the SoBos I met in Maine. Hopefully they're still on the trail.


Delaware Water Gap (pop 820)

Aug 09, 2013

Delaware Water Gap is located on the New Jersey/Pennsylvania border. We stopped by to pick up 2nd maildrop from mom and dad, and have a quick lunch.

My aunt has some friends that live nearby that were happy to host us, but I found out last minute, and decided not to burden them and keep pushing more miles. Thanks all for the offer. We're trying to make it to Harpers Ferry by end of August, roughly the 1,200 mile marker heading south.

There's a great bakery in town. $2.50 for a hot dog and slice of pie. The apple pie reminded me of my Grandma's homemade pie. Delicious.

And on we go!


Hiking into town


Presbyterian Church of the Mountain serves as a hiker hostel


Good local bakery


Double order for hungry hiker


Maildrop numero dos