Monthly Archives: August 2012

Entering the Whites!

Finally, after the past 1000 or so miles of rolling hills, small rocks and mediocre views (though it was all fantastic) I’m about to enter the Whites! Now for steep and insane mountains, huge boulders and awesome (dictionary definition) views. Today it feels pretty good to be alive! This is what I signed up for! On Smarts Mountain fire tower looking out to my upcoming days! 🙂


New Hampshire!

Here I am in Hanover, New Hampshire. We crossed the state line yesterday from Norwich, VT and were bombarded with free stuff! We first got a free $4 egg salad sandwich from the general store in Norwich. A guy whose brother hiked the trail gave us a box of $5 ginger cookies. Plus there were numerous coolers along the way into town outside local homes that contained cookies, watermelon, all sorts of stuff! And all for us! Coz we’re real hikers or something, I guess! ha

Then in Hanover (a college town – Dartmouth College is here – an Ivy League school) we got a free bagel with cream cheese, a free slice of pizza and I think there was something else. Then off I went for some not so free, but delicious IPAs in the local boozer, the Salt Hill Tavern, or something. I love the ale scene in the USA (did I already mention this?!). There are hundreds and thousands of local brews all over, just like the UK, except it feels way more young and vibrant as opposed to the British, equally as delicious though very doddery old scene of geezers in the corner of the pub.

So, starting hiking in New Hampshire! We’ll be climbing into the White Mountains in a couple of days! Pretty excited and slightly (though only slightly) nervous! We have REAL mountains to climb! LOOK:

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I have recently inflamed my old injury in my right achilles tendon and also I have some weird muscle problem in my left calf. It doesn’t hurt but the muscle kinda bulges out in one spot. Pretty freaky, but whatever, worse things happen at sea.

Anyway, I’m going to wait until I get home to worry about that. The lack of universal healthcare in the United States means I would pay $100 just to speak to a doctor, never mind any type of treatment or medication. RIDICULOUS! You guys are insane. Really 🙂

For this reason I’m going to delay my charity 24 hour hike until the end of the 100 mile wilderness so that if I do cripple myself, I’ll be right at the end and can just crawl up the final mountain, Katahdin! So that means there’s still time to donate to my excellent cause! Macmillan Cancer. Please do, because none of my blog readers have thus far donated! GUILT TRIP! Here is a recent news article about me in my hometown’s paper.

DONATE HERE! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

ImageDONATE HERE! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂


Vermont

I have less than 500 miles to go! I WAS in the Yellow Deli hostel in Rutland, Vermont. A slightly strange place that I’d heard at least two people refer to as a cult beforehand. So, now my hair is braided and I’m about to drink some foul-tasting chemical substance from a communal trough on a farm in southern Idaho.

Is this really what I came here for?! I’m still unsure, but Jerimiah assures me it will all soon become clear.

Not really, I’m in my bunk waiting on my hiking buddy to catch some more Zs before we hit the road again. The people that run the group are a loving people that are religious (kinda Jewish and Christian without the book or something) and drink lots of mate. They eat western food with chopsticks (to slow the process down) and dance Israeli folk dances and sing on sabbath. I’m always prepared to pray and praise whichever lord or spaghetti monster is on offer when a free delicious meal and bunk is the carrot. So strike me down. Sure, they’re a little quirky but why are mainstream groups “religion” and small groups like this “cults”?! An unfair use of a very heavy word, I say. Either that or we use cult for all religion.
Anyway, we’ll be climbing Mount Killington today. The White Mountains are tantalisingly close. The feeling is a mixture of excitement and nerves. It just gets more difficult and beautiful from here on out. So the SOBOs say (southbounders) anyway. SOBOs must be sick of NOBOs. (I’m sick of us, too) I went to the pub with two last night. They’ve only done 500 miles so some NOBOs (especially those at the front who have no finished) are pretty douchy and know-it-all with them. But they’re not bitter. They’re having an awesome time, aww those were the days (just kidding!). Another 500 miles and some will be suffering like many a fallen nobo in late Virginia. At least they won’t have the heat! Good luck Tush and Greenthumb!

Also on my mind – I’m in my local paper, the Shrewsbury Chronicle! I was picked up by Daniel in Manchester, VT and welcomed into his family for a shower and a meal (Thankyou!!! photo to come). I’m getting somewhere close to what some people would call skinny in the right light. My legs are crazy muscular. I have a weird muscle problem on one calf that is unsightly and slightly worrying though painfree: I have to delay the 24 hour hike till the end. I want but don’t want to finish. I miss both homes and the people in them. I know my future but yet still unsure. I have answered many questions I had before and on trail. I have, however, asked many more. I could go on for days with simple sentences like this. Some cool, others deep, others depressing, disgusting, embarrassing….oh here goes the list of adjectives. A blog does NOT do the trail justice. Get out here and do it!

So much happens in a seemingly simple lifestyle. The physical hiking is considerably easier (though still very tough) than I expected. Everything else, the psychological and emotional battles are the real challenge.


24 Hour Sponsored Hike!!!

Ok guys.

This is it.

This is where I see how much you value me as a blogger, friend, colleague or family member!

A very good friend of mine was recently diagnosed with liver cancer. This was obviously a huge shock to everyone who knows him. I felt in need of doing something to help in some way but I didn’t know how.

He receives help from Macmillan Cancer Support and I know that they have really helped him and his family. I’m going to do a 24 hour sponsored hike to help this WONDERFUL charity. 

I’m currently at mile 1490 of 2183 of the Appalachian Trail. I’m in New England and now the terrain is starting to get really tough! And will get much much much harder soon. I’ll be hiking some HUGE mountains before I know it! And will be in the sponsored section.I aim to do a 24 hour hike, starting at midnight and ending at midnight the following day. I hope to cover around 40 miles in that time. But who knows, maybe it could be much more! I will take short breaks during and will try to keep up a speed of approximately 2mph. This will likely take place in Vermont.

Click here to DONATE NOW! Two miles per hour might not seem much but I will be going up and down huge mountains, clambering over rocks, through muddy swamps and more than that I’m already exhausted! Trust me, this is going to be hard, if not hell at times. I know I will try my very hardest.

Please donate what you can!
$1 would be greatly appreciated.
$10 would be AMAZING!
$100 and I will give you a foot rub!
$1000 and I will likely marry you!
PLEASE PLEASE donate what you can, even if it’s the smallest amount! If I ever made you laugh out loud or provided you with some mild entertainment or tip or advice, that’s worth at least a dollar or pound!
I know my friend, his family and many many others like him will greatly appreciate all the help you can give to Macmillan Cancer Support and therefore to those directly affected by cancer.
Macmillan Cancer Support supports local information and support centres, cancer support groups, benefits advisers and cancer support specialists, and can help with practical, medical, financial and emotional support.

Trail Magic

It’s a wonerful thing when one gets a free lunch.

They actually do exist on trail. At least while you’re hiking it. Free lunch. Today’s lunch cost about $2 but my night’s stay indoors is free. I’m in a barn in Falls Village, Connecticut.

I’m on my inflatable comfy (but stankin) matress on the hardwood floor, which needed sweepin, of an old (of course) red barn just behind the Toymaker’s Cafe. The barn is otherwise used to store old motorcycles. One poor soul is in parts on a bed sheet by Bunny’s head, ready for examination by the next intern at smalltown CT bike school. It f-ing reeks of oil but the rain was really pounding down today.

So, the cafe owner just lets us kip in his barn. They just straight up open part of their (admittedly oily) home to hiker trash. That’s magic right there. “Come one, come all, eat pizza drink beer and sleep amongst my clapped out motors, yo”.

Is there no end to the love that ordinary folk give us?! Most magic is seemingly (to most) small. A few gallon jugs of cold spring water in the middle of the iron-tainted desert that is New York, a can of coke in a shelter, unexpected, a ride when you didn’t even think about asking for one, a whole goddamn cooler full of all the things you’d never expect in the middle of the mountains…band aids, ice tea mix, denatured. Thanks Mac n Cheese! A beer n a hotdog cos folks know we hardcore. Trail magic is real magic and it is all over.

Many are all about the southern hospitality. I am too. But don’t worry ’bout crossing Mr. Mason n Mr Dixon’s line. It’s here too though less obvious, I suppose. People are more interested up here so that leads to some super star moments in state park parking areas and free cokes. More impromtu moments maybe.

Anyway, a tip of one’s headlamp to all those that give up a little for us hikers heading north and south 2200 miles. Your love is truly appreciated.

Suds’ second day of micheladas and cheap hotdogs coming up somtime in MA!