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This Yankee Is Back Home

Day 99 Friday June 30, 2017 Miles: 1057.9 - 1072.6 Time: 6:52am - 4:05pm Weather: Partly Cloudy & extremely hot and humid Tenting at Caledonia State Park Woo hop!!! This Yankee is back home. Well, atleast she is now north of the Mason-Dixon Line anyways. I am torn though.  I was born in Georgia on a military base. I love the southern weather, the people are friendly and the BBQ is best hands down but my heart belongs in the north. There is nothing like the deep woods, crystal clear lakes and mountain top views of Maine. It was extremely hot today. Not quite as bad as our hike into the Bears Den last week but pretty close. We tried to beat the heat by getting up early. We were not successful.

Lots of History Here In Maryland

Day 98 Thursday June 29, 2017 Miles: 1043.1 - 1057.9  completed: 14.8 Time: 6:45am - 3:30pm Weather: Hot and Sunny Tenting at Dalgren Backpackers Campground We played it smart today. We strategically mapped out our miles to end at another road so We could return back to Dalgren Campground for a second night. It's a cute and cozy little place for dozens of tents complete with a bath/shower house and spigot. Nothing else is needed for us hikers. We even left our tents up so we'd have one less thing to do after our hike. When you live with very little you learn to be creative and thrifty. A skill I find to be quite fun at times. It is amazing how I have learned that more isn't always better. In

Have You Thanked A Trail Maintainer Today

Day 97 Wednesday June 28 Miles: 1030.0 - 1043.1 completed: 13.1 Time: 7:50am - 4:15pm Weather: Tenting at Dahlgren Backpacker Campground Today I give the trail maintainers, ridge runners, and rangers a shout out. It's a thankless job but without them we would have no trails to hike on. It's hard enough for them to do what they need to do and they still have time to get creative. At lunch yesterday with James he was telling us all the stuff ridge runners have to do. They just don't walk up and down on the trail teaching us about best practices. One of their jobs is to knock the cone down in the privies and fish out anything that doesn't belong. They wouldn't have to do such a disgusting job

Harper's Ferry, We Have Arrived

Day 96 Tuesday June 27, 2017 Miles: 1017.4 - 1030.0 completed: 12.6 Time: 8:11am - 7:05pm Weather: Perfectly sunny and breezy Tenting at Ed Garvey Shelter We didn't cover many miles today but we sure had fun! We reached Harper's Ferry, West Virginia which is the unofficial half way mark and home to the Appalachian Trail Headquarters. Here we had our photo taken and received our numbers. At Springer Mountain we were numbers 1065 and 1066. We are now numbers 1173 and 1174. We had another hiker reunion. In 2015 when I arrived at the AT conservancy a wonderful ridge runner, James Fetig was working. I met him my first day on the trail and he was full of great and useful advice. A lot of people

It's Not About The Miles But Rather The Smiles

Day 95 Monday June 26, 2017 Time: 7:14am - 5:00pm Miles: 1003.2 - 1017.4    Completed 14.2 Weather: Perfectly sunny and breezy Staying in a hotel in Winchester, VA What a difference a little R&R can make. We hit the trail running this morning. Okay, not quite running but we did have a much quicker pace then Friday. We were rested and feed and ready to take on the day. It's not about the miles but rather the smiles and they can't get any bigger then the ones on our faces today. Black Bear & Batman Black Bear & Shortcake The sun was shining yet the humidity was low. I barely broke a sweat today and that's saying something for this menopausal gal who has her own tropical heat waves every hour i

Thru Hiker Class Of 2015 Rocks

Day 94 Sunday June 25, 2017 Time: Slept In Miles: ZERO There's nothing like being a through hiker, putting on the miles week after week and then escaping the trail for two days of no hiking. Our focus was sleeping in and eating. My world of sleeping in would be considered early for most people though. We were up by 8 or 8:30am each day. We did pretty good with the calorie intake also. We had a full breakfast buffet both days. Well, I did. Shortcake was too full to eat this morning especially since we had lunch plans with friends. I can always eat. My name isn't Black Bear for nothin'. And the good thing is I can eat whatever I want and it still isn't enough. Long distance hiking is a grea

Spa Day - No Hiking Allowed

Day 93 Saturday June 24, 2017 Time: All Day Miles: Zero At the Sheraton What a wonderful day. We slept in until 8:00am. I headed right down to do laundry. Zero days are always full of chores. Shortcake was up also and joined me. Then we work Batman up so we could head down to breakfast.  We filled our tummies with wonderful fluffy eggs, sausage, potatoes, oatmeal and fruits. Yummy. Then we headed to Walmart for resupply. It was crazy busy. I thought Saturday shopping at home in Bangor, Maine was hectic. I now have a new perspective of busy and it ain't pretty. Now I know why I love the woods. Once back at the room we began the opening, sorting, and packing our food for the next few days. Tha

Today Was Not A Fun Day

Day 92 Friday June 23, 2017 Miles: 993.3 - 1003.2  completed: 9.9 Time: 6:58am - 2:30pm Weather: Miserably hot and humid Just when we thought it couldn't get any more humid. The weather said it was 73 degrees but feels like 83. They didn't ask me what it felt like. Who decides that anyways. Someone sitting in an air conditioned dark room punching away the keyboard for an appropriate algorithm? They'd be more accurate if they stuck their head out the window. Today was not a fun day. Even though we crossed the 1000 mile mark we labored every step to get there. If the heat wasn't bad enough we entered a section of the trail that proudly boasts being called the roller coaster. The guide books sa

Today Was Only About The Miles

Miles: 974.9 - 993.3. Completed: 18.4 Time: 7:04am - 6:45pm Weather: Cloudy, hot and Humid Tented at Rod Hollow Shelter There is no happy medium. We are either drowning in rain and thunderstorms or drowning in our own sweat. This week has been miserably hot. I always thought I could handle the heat better than the cold. I guess I can't do either one. I guess I am SOL. We saw 3 bears today. After being roared at by Mamma Bear several days ago I didn't care if I ever saw another bear in the wild. Thankful each of these sights the creature was running away as fast as he could. I was having a partial panic attack at one point today. The heat, the overgrown trail, and hiking behind Shortcake had

Guess What Today Was

Day 90 Wednesday June 21, 2017 Miles: 956.3 - 974.9    Completed: 18.6 Weather: Hot and Sunny Tenting at Jim and Molly Shelter Yesterday I let the pics do the talking on my blog. But today you only get one photo. After this post I am sure my G rating will definitely drop to pg-13. It's tradition on the trail to bare all on the summer solstice. So hikers have from midnight to midnight to partake in this liberating activity. Most hikers do not choose to. Only the crazy ones. So you know what I did. Yup, Black Bear went bare! Weeks ago when discussing this activity with other hikers Shortcake expressed her choice of definitely not joining in on this day. When we woke up this morning we packed u

Hikers Are Just Some Of The Traffic On The Trail

Miles: 938.8 - 956.3 Completed: 17.5 Time: 6:42am - 5:45pm Weather: Sunny, warm and breezy I left this morning before Shortcake. I didn't sleep well so I was awake early. Since my clothes were still wet and the air was cold I too was chilly. I packed up quickly and headed out to keep warm. I went slow and stopped at all the view spots. She caught up to me quickly. I was warm and almost dry from the morning breeze. It wasn't long before my rain wet clothes were replaced with sweat. The trail was very busy today but not with people. Hikers are just some of the traffic on the trail. I'll let the following pictures show you who else is out here with us as we hike the Appalachian Trail. Coyo

A Brain Should Be Used For Good Things Not Paranoia

Miles: 925.0 - 938.8 Completed: 13.8 Time: 6:53am - 6:00pm Weather: Cloudy, hot and T-storms The wind blew something fierce last night. It was hard to stay asleep. I thought I was going to end up somewhere in Kansas. When morning came and I had packed up what I could while still inside my tent I was ready to emerge. I unzipped screen and was a little confused. My water bottle was missing and also my poles. Every night I place my hiking sticks parallel to the tent on the ground and place my water bottle on top of them so it won't roll away. I found it hard to believe an animal or someone else could have taken them without me hearing. But I assumed that's what happened. I then reached further

Don't Mess Around With Mama Bear

Day 87 Sunday June 17, 2017 Miles: 915.7 - 925.0 9.3 Time: 10:35am - 4pm Weather: Cloudy and hot Tenting at Big Meadows Happy Father's Day!!! Poor Bruce had to spend it without his kids and helping Shortcake and myself. At least we took him the Cracker Barrel for breakfast even though he drove. The next best thing besides spending his day with our awesome boys though was to be able to spend it in the woods hiking with me. Before he could do that though he had to secure a tent site for Shortcake and myself. After the last two nights of planning gone wrong we decided to be a little more prepared for the end of the day. After Batman dropped us off at the trail head he drove to where we wan

My Logistics Are Not Working Out Too Well

Day 86 Saturday June 16, 2017 Miles: 906.1 - 915.7   Completed 9.6 Time: 3:32 - 7:45pm Weather: Cloudy, hot, then cooling Sleeping at a CourtYard Hotel in Harrisonburg, VA It was a very productive morning at the hotel. Since we were kicked out of our parking lot tenting spaces last night we had one choice and that was to seek shelter at a hotel. The little motels were closed up tight with no late hour service so we had to drive to the larger city of Harrisonburg, VA Home of James Madison University. We were able to get lots of things done. The normal hiker chores such as laundry, drying wet gear, food resupply, and a trip to the clinic to get checked out. Oh yeah, can't forget a visit to Kri

Stealth Camping Is Acceptable As Long As You Are Hidden

Day 85 June 15, 2017 Time: 7:42am - 4pm & 6pm - 7pm Weather: Cloudy Misty and torrential rain The day started out great. We had dry clothes for once. Well, mine were almost dry. I used the hand dryer in the ladies room to get most of the moisture out of my shirt. Shortcake was dry and clean. She took the time and did laundry last night. Not me. Our dryness lasted about 30 minutes into the hike. That's about when the morning's incline heated us up to full on drippy sweat. That first hour we had lots to photograph. We saw a cute bunny. A beautiful view and even a tree turned into tooth picks by last night's storm. By 1pm our sweat drenched clothing was rinsed clean by a shower. It poured for

Try To Imagine A Day In Our Boots

Day 84 Thursday June 15, 2017 Miles: 874.0 - 888.7 Completed 14.7 Time: 7:33am - 3:45pm Weather: Partly Sunny, hot and humid with early evening tstorms I am sure you have wondered what it must be like to hike the Appalachian Trail. To help you understand what it's like try to imagine a day in our boots. First you wake up early ready to greet the day with wild anticipation (me). Or you wake up and hope your hiking buddy doesn't hear you and you can sleep a few more minutes (Shortcake). Once the eyelids are open you immediately start packing up. Hiking clothes are put on and everything else gets neatly placed back into your backpack hopefully before it starts raining. The last week we h

A Night From Hell

Day 82 June 13, 2017 Miles: 856.9 - 861.9    Completed: 5 Time: 7:04am - 9:35am Staying at a church Hostel in Waynesboro It was a night from Hell!!! Why is it when the sun goes down our paranoia goes up. All those scary movies we watched as kids come back to haunt us trifold. I fell fast asleep last night with little concern about the crazy hiker info we had. I armed myself with my SOS device and cell phone on and ready close at hand. Until about 11:45pm when I was startled awake with bright lights flashing through my tent. I sat up ready to attack and or defend myself and Shortcake. I slowly sat up unzipped my tent and peaked out. There I could see a headlamp shining sporadically from crazy

So Much For An Easy Day

Day 81 Monday June 12, 2017 Miles: 842.8 - 856.9    Completed: 14.1 Weather: Miserably Hot Tented at Paul Wolfe Shelter Waynesboro, Virginia was a mere 19 miles away when we woke up. Our daily goal is 14.5 but I was secretly hoping to push on to town. The elevation profile in the book looked gentle. I have hiked over 3000 miles using the same book and digital app and I continue to believe it. The day was another uphill marathon. At one point the gps said we were at the peak yet we continued to climb for another 30 minutes. We saw a very strange insect today. It was half bee and half house fly. My hopes of reaching town for a shower and real food foiled early afternoon. There was no way our b

Shortcake Gets The Boot

Day 80 Sunday June 11, 2017 Miles: 828 - 842.8    Completed 14.8 Time: 7:18am - 6pm Weather: Very Hot, 90's Tenting in a field We had another huge climb today but that wasn't until after we hiked out to the car. We had a nice easy downhill warm up first. It was nice camping with Bruce. I miss him even though he joins us almost every weekend. He is so much fun to be around. Even though he is usually so excited to be on the weekend and hiking and Shortcake and I are usually tired and would like to get off the trail. It's an amusing match up. At the car we emptied our packs of anything not necessary for the remainder of the day and hiked out. Bruce drove the bat mobile around to the ending poin

Serendipity Meeting Is Like Trail Magic

Day 79 Saturday June 10, 2017 Miles: 813.0 - 828.0    Completed 15 Time: 7:42am - 5:55pm Tenting at 4,000 feet I have been feeling strong. It is so Much easier to enjoy this hike when the body is working well. Honestly I don't know why. I don't sleep well at night and we certainly don't eat appropriately for the amount of fitness that we do. But despite all that I have been strong. Spy Rock was a pretty cool site. I skipped it in 2015 because that particular day I was not feeling strong and did not want to climb anything that was not on the white blaze trail. But today we dropped our packs and blue blazed out to the behemoth outcropping. Batman met us on the trail. We had already done our vi

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