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Progress

3 May

Well, I need to apologize. I was trying to find a more photo friendly format and lost control of the blog for a few hours. It is not the easiest to try and do everything from a smart phone.
Currently we are in Pearisburg. We have had two zero days and will head out tomorrow. We most likely would never have stopped in this cute little town, but one of friends that we hiked with in the fall lives here. Gritz completed his thru-hike in December with a few of our other friends and we could not wait see him and hear about the end of his hike. We were able to hang out for a few hours and walk along the New River, get some food, go to Wal-Mart, and laugh A-LOT. It has been great to see Gritz. Plus his mom, Mama Gritz, supplied us with a bag full of baked goods! Thanks Mama Gritz!!!
Originally we only had one zero day planned for Pearisburg, but after waking up this morning and realizing my feet were still quite swollen and that I was still very tired we stayed for another night. Georgy and Jen have also enjoyed the rest. None of us sleep our best in the shelters, especially now that they are getting full. We are in the southern part of the thru-hike attempting Nobo’s. The trail and shelters can feel quite cramped at times as they continue to spread out.
We had a pretty damp week as well. It rained for a full day and two others we hiked completely through the clouds. We spent the majority of these days damp and cold. We were very happy when the sun started to shine again. So happy in fact that the first patch of sunshine we had we dropped our packs and pulled out our tent and clothes to dry. I am not sure we will ever complain about sunshine.
The last of our week saw us hiking 18 and 20 mile days. The days are getting longer and we are taking full advantage for some bigger mileage. Hopefully we will continue to get stronger and put more and miles behind us during our weeks.
Our last hiking week had a lot of milestones:
-Hiked 92 miles
-Crossed the 1500 mile mark
-630 miles left
-Hiked McAfee’s Knob ( most photographed spot on AT)
-Hiked Dragons Tooth
-Celebrated Jen’s birthday!

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Argh!

3 May

Having technical difficulties. Argh! Please stay tuned.

Three days

19 Apr

Well we are on day 3 and doing pretty darn OK. We only hiked 2.3 miles our first day out, passing the point of our initial heartbreak. It was there we said a prayer to the trail gods and then quickly moved forward without looking back. We stayed our first night (and all of them since) in shelters by ourselves. It is nice to have the solitude as we get our heads and our bodies back into trail shape.
Day 2 consisted of 10 miles. We crossed over Cold Mountain on a sunny day and enjoyed our hike over a couple of Virginias famous bald mountains. We got to the shelter early and enjoyed a late lunch early dinner, we refer to this as “linner”. This allowed us to hit the hay early in preparation for the next day. However around 1 am we were awakened by a deluge on a tin roof. It sounded as if we were laying on the Tarmac with 747’s taking off ten feet above our heads. Georgy was even taken aback and nestled down close for a bit. We slept through the night in a series of twenty minute naps. As the rain passed over through the night we were still awakened by loud drops of water hitting the roof as it fell from the trees.
Not feeling rested we started our day despite the very strong urge to stay in bed. It was damp and foggy. We finally convinced each other we needed to just bite the bullet and get up. Coffee was a must and it was a good idea. We climbed straight up out of the shelter and over our first peak for the day. Then it was a 4 mile down hill. Our knees were feeling it and we were both quite happy to enjoy a beautiful section of trail that paralleled a babbling creek. We had some lunch by the creek and then set out to finish our day.
This ending was a doozy. We climbed, and climbed. It was our first real climb since being back and we felt every step. Jen let me lead and we kept a nice turtle-like steady pace up and up. Our last 1/2 mile to the shelter was quite vertical. We were very happy when it was time to take the turn onto the side trail that finished our climb for the day.
We feel good about our 15 mile day. It wasn’t easy but we kept a respectable pace and made god time. Tomorrow we head into town for a re-supply and then back out for a quick 2 miles to the next shelter.
I know everyone wants to know about Georgy Bear. He is doing well. He has settled back into trail life and is smiling along with the rest of us. We are all quite happy to be back. While we miss our significant others and our families, the trail feels right. It feels like home.

Starting to feel real

28 Mar

Well, I am going to be honest. When we left the trail back in November we were heart broken. We didn’t want to talk to anyone but each other, and we wanted to just get back to work and bury our heads in the sand. I think we both were quite successful.
We talk every day, and a lot of it has been us alternating who gets to be sad and who gets to be positive. Every day we miss the trail. For a while there our return to the AT was far enough away that it did not seem like it was ever going to happen. We watched fellow hikers post their finishes on Facebook and on their blogs. While we were happy for them every post of a finish invoked waves of nausea and tears. One finisher (who didn’t even do the first 100 miles) had the nerve to tell me that storm Sandy was “annoying”. ANNOYING!!! Those of us that had to leave the trail have many different terms for the storm. All of them far more negative and inappropriate than “annoying”. Jen can attest, I held my composure quite well on my following posts to Facebook. I wanted to verbally assault the guy on the public forum but instead I explained our circumstances objectively while fighting back tears of rage.
Since then things have started to change. We had a 30 day challenge through January that I lost. I will be the “water wench” for the first two weeks of the trail. *sigh* BUT, to be honest I am so happy to get back to the trail that I don’t really care.

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180 Days

4 Nov

Well, Jen and I have sad news. On Thursday we set out to hike and were hit with a brutal reality. Hurricane Sandy brought winter to Appalachia. Even though it required an AWD to get through the snow to our drop off point, and parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway were closed, that did not stop these two women. We put on our warmest gear, leaving only one layer for something dry at night. We put on socks, then zip lock bags, then socks, and then tennis shoes, in hopes to keep our feet “dry”. We knew they would be cold, we were just hoping that we could keep them from being cold and wet. We grabbed our trekking poles and our packs and set off to hike the mile up the fire road and onto the trail.

The road was relatively easy hiking. We were learning our bodies in our new environment and testing out our foot placement on the ice and snow. It is amazing how much your stride changes when your footing becomes uncertain! In an acceptable amount of time we found the trail. Jen stopped, turned around and looked at me, and without words we gave each other our “Well here we go” looks. At first it didn’t seem too bad. The snow was about 6 inches and it was still a novel feeling. However, that changed in about 20 minutes. Continue reading

Breaking News!

30 Oct

Georgy has been skunked.

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Franken-Wha?

30 Oct

Well, we were back on the trail last week and were making some good miles. While the nights were starting to get cold, the days were still sunny and warm. True fall weather. The kind I have been in love with as long as I can remember. The trail is covered in leaves and at times treacherous due to leaf/acorn combinations, but the colors are truly magnificent. It was about mid-week when both Jen and I started to get some ominous emails and texts concerning severe weather headed our way. We were frantically Google-ing when cell service permitted and checking the weather channel as much as possible. The gist of what we were reading resulted in a “wait and see” mentality, something we have become quite used to on the trail.

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Milestones

5 Oct

It has been a good week. We have almost made it through the dreaded PA, and have accomplished some big milestones along the way. We have also met some amazing people and have had a small trail family while hiking.

Shortly after starting our way through the rocky trail of PA we met 3 young men who are also headed south.

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Awesome

20 Sep

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Out with the old!

19 Sep

In with the new! Emily’s got a new pair of shoes.

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