Tag Archives: Springer Mountain

Casualties of the Trail

Whether it’s a deer mouse in the shelter, a result of disorganization or a questionable can of meat left by another hiker, there are plenty of opportunities for trail mishaps. Here is what we’ve experienced:

  1. My hydration bladder had a hole in it before we even hit the trail.
  2. I lost my scarf at the visitor’s center. (It was later found and mailed to me!)
  3. Springer Mountain Shelter mouse ate one of Shotgun’s earpieces on his headphones.
  4. Springer Mountain Shelter mouse then pooped in Shotgun’s pack.
  5. We couldn’t make the water filter function properly and had to boil our water.
  6. Shotgun’s stomach became a casualty of vienna sausages.
  7. We lost our knife in a Taco Bell trash can.
  8. I lost my towel in Fontana Dam.
  9. Shotgun lost his towel at Ice Water Spring Shelter.
  10. We began drying off with our dirty clothes.
  11. My leg looked like a drumstick to Douglas, the unleashed Dobermann/Rottweiler beast.
  12. We met Sparky in Fontana Dam and never wanted to hike again.
  13. I became ceraunophobic on Kelly Knob.
  14. Shotgun rolled out of a hammock and got wrapped up in the mosquito net on his way down to the ground.
  15. Our neighbor is a felon.

Don’t worry, Mom & Dad.  We’ll be just fine! Happy hiking, y’all!


Posted by on June 27, 2011 in The Hike


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A Long Way to Maine

It seems more than a week ago that Brent’s parents dropped us off at the approach trail in Amicalola Falls. Maybe time moves at a slower pace in the wilderness or maybe it’s just my tired, blistered, unfit feet telling me this. Regardless, it has been a wonderful journey from the falls to our first resting place in Helen, Georgia. We are two days of hiking from our first state line, which provides enough motivation to wake up in the morning and hit the trail again.

Among this motivation, we have witnessed the kindness of many trail angels and the beauty that lies beyond roadways. Trail magic. Wow. It’s been overwhelming how locals and fellow hikers have responded to us straggling thru-hikers. We’ve been offered rides, picked up on highways and given fuel, water tablets and food. Nature. Amazing. We’ve witnessed a momma bear usher her three cubs down a tree trunk, an eerie owl prowl for food below in leaf litter, a rattlesnake (that I nearly stepped on) slither across the trail, a turtle hide away within its shell, and a turkey looking bird dart in front of us.

I’d love to elaborate on the trail angels with whom we’ve crossed paths and acknowledge them by their names and good deeds, but it will have to wait until the next post. We’re already looking at a short night’s sleep, and we have fourteen miles to hike when morning arrives.

There were some strong storms back home tonight. I hope everyone is safe and sound with power! Until next time, happy hiking!


Posted by on May 25, 2011 in The Hike


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Springer Mountain to Justus Creek

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Posted by on May 20, 2011 in The Hike


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Brent and I Conquer the Great Shoe Hunt

Busted Feet

Since thru-hikers rely on their feet to get them to Katahdin (or Springer Mountain when hiking southbound), beginning with footwear seems appropriate. I will refer to my experience in the great shoe hunt as I describe our footwear, but I acknowledge that only a handful of readers may find this useful since all feet are different. Let’s take the problem-solution approach here. Take a peek at my feet. I have the narrower heel of a woman, the flat, wide base of a Sasquatch, and as my dad likes to say, “Eagle talons for toes.” I was quite unfortunate in the feet gene pool, which has resulted in many fruitless shoe hunts. I initially sought hiking boots for their ankle support, durability, and sound effects (I like to stomp). I found that all the women’s boots I tried on were incredibly narrow and uncomfortable. The toe-box scrunched my eagle talons inside like New York City residents on a subway during rush hour. The solution was simple. I bought the Merrell Phaser Rush —men’s boots. Once broken in, I liked them so much that I wore them through the winter and rainy season on a daily basis  in addition to week-end hikes.  We were in New York City during the snow storm in January, and I sloshed through the puddles and snow piles without ever getting wet or cold feet.  All of my travel buddies were miserable, rushing back to the hotel to warm their frost-bitten toes.  As a result of my fondness for the Merrell Phaser Rush, they are already worn and consequently, unfit for beginning the Appalachian Trail.

 I debated the switch from boots to trail shoes for a considerable length of time because I feared the loss of support and waterproofing.  On my second pair of shoes, I opted for a low-cut, trail shoe made of synthetic fabric and leather with Gore-Tex: the Montrail AT Plus GTX.  I plan to use the Montrail in conjunction with trekking poles, since I’m not wearing the more supportive boot, and the Gore-Tex eases my waterproofing worries.  There are a couple of reasons why I selected this combination.  I love my boots, but I feel restricted in them and appreciate the lighter weight of trail shoes.  Heck, I’m from Kentucky.  I’d rather not wear any shoes at all, but if I must, the lighter, the better.  The main reason I chose the Montrail is that it was a perfect fit, and I did not have to break them in like the boots.  The women’s shoe has a narrower heel than my Merrell’s, so my heel does not slip out of the back, but it is designed for wide feet.  If I need a new pair while I’m on the trail, I will find them easily.  I’ve found my solemate!

 Brent has more typical feet than I.  He will put on the first shoe he sees, and magically it’s a perfect fit.  He started hiking with the Asolo TPS 520GV, which is a rough trail boot of full-grain leather with Gore-Tex.  His second shoe is also a low-cut, trail shoe with Gore-Tex: the Merrell Continuum.  For a camp shoe, Brent will be taking Waldie’s Appalachian Trail Clog. This shoe weighs only 3.2 oz. and has antimicrobial ComfoTek to resist odors (something I will appreciate).  I’ve been stealing them from Brent to wear around the house, and I must say that I’m a believer.  They are extremely light and comfortable.

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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in Footwear, Gear


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