Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Civil War Celebration!

Virginia is over! Forget the fact I've walked 1000 miles:

Forget that I made it to Harper's Ferry, the "halfway" point of the trail. Virginia is no more. The state constituting 25% of the trail has been hiked. Don't get me wrong, I liked hiking it. But it went on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on.

Actually, trumping all of these milestones, is it bad that I'm most excited that I'm using Firefox 3.0, and that it's spectacular? I can't escape.

But yep, I'm in Maryland. And in two days I'll be in PA. And that will be my residence for the next 230 miles. On to the next.

Here's another Gem. This was posted on the doorway to a restaurant near the trail:

This isn't directed toward the it?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The results are in...

Well, I finished the Shenandoah's. Took 5 and 1/2 days to do 107 miles. Not a bad pace if I do say so myself.
So I've broken up "The Band," as Mr. George has dubbed us, and am no longer hiking with Snap and snack. I've actually reconnected with some trail-buddies from a month or two ago: Brahma Bull, Sweet Potato, and The Thinker. Here we are: (me, Thinker, Brahma, and Fleur and Buck (a really nice Nova Scotian couple I met way back in Georgia))
So now I'm staying at Sweet Potato's aunt's house in Manassas, VA. Good to have connections. Thanks J.J. and Don, if you are reading this!

Well, I've tallied all the results from each category from my hike, but first, a big thanks to all who donated to the Shenandoah SMA cause. I'm sure everyone out in California appreciates it during this difficult time. My thoughts are with them.

Here's what I ended up with:

Rainy Days: A whopping 4. Each of which was the result of a thunderstorm at some point during the day. It will be perfectly clear one moment, then you will see something like this in the distance:
...and it's coming you're way.

Spills: Just 1. And it was during (you guessed it) a storm. I guess it looked pretty bad from the perspective of the people behind me, but luckily, I didn't injure myself. This was a nasty storm too...Full of lightning and grape-sized hail. The trail turned into a raging river, and here we are, standing in the middle of it, holding metal poles. A good adrenaline rush, but a bad place to be. Here's a picture:
That stuff stung.

Snakes Seen: 1. Small one. On the road. Dead. Still counts.

Liters of water pumped: 17. A bit less than normal since there was so much tap water along the way.

Comments on my hiking skirt: 1. Some guy described it as being "all decked out." I think it was a compliment.

Money spent on snacks: $40.89. Food was wicked expensive, but since it all beat trail food, we indulged.

LongShot specials:

Pictures of bears: Zero. I ended up seeing 3 total...all were cubs. So naturally I didn't hang around too long to find mama-bear on the other side of me. But once one of the cubs saw me, he scooted up a tree so fast, he must have thought I was going to devour him. Quite the site.

Celebrities seen: does some-band-nobody's-ever-heard-of-playing-at-the-lodge-one-night count?

So the site to donate again is
Just put whatever the amount came to in the "other" field and fill out the rest of the form. Thanks again to all who donate.

Well, I'm back on the trail early tomorrow morning, and then it's only 2.5 days until Harper's Ferry: the psychological halfway point of the trail (the real one's about 50 miles or so north of there). But by then I'll have hiked 1000 miles! A milestone if there ever was one. So until then...

actually until then you should check out Brahma Bull and Sweet Potato's blog
which I'm sure has stuff I've left out on this post.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Skylar's Fight

On Friday, June 20th, 2008, Skylar Bahrenburg passed away in Sonoma CA. I now have a new determination to continue to raise funds for a cure in his memory. My thanks to all who are generously participating in this effort.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Help me fight SMA all the way from The Shenandoahs

This is my cousin Skylar:

He is 7 years old, lives in Sonoma, CA and was born with with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). SMA is a genetic disease that weakens the voluntary muscles associated with walking, crawling and swallowing. More info can be found here:

There is no current treatment for this disease, which is often fatal. So donations toward SMA research are the best way to combat it, and hopefully one day, find a cure.

This is where my hike fits in. Starting Thursday the 19th, I will be hiking through the Shenandoah National Park here in Virginia. During that time, with your help, I will be fundraising online for SMA.

Here's how it'll work: donations will be category-based, in that you donate a certain amount of money for every time something occurs in that category. I'll list them now, and once this part of my hike is over, I'll report back and let you know how many of each category happened.

Here they are:

Rainy Days. Donate an amount of money for each rainy day you think I'll have. The whole park should take me about 5-6 days to complete, and if it rains at all during the day, I'll count it as a rainy one.

Spills. How many times will I take a digger? I'd say I'm averaging about one spill every two or three days. This will be, of course, amplified by any rainy weather.

Snakes seen. I've seen a lot of black snakes (probably one every three or four days), and a couple days ago, I almost stepped on rattler. That would have been a fun day of limping and paralysis.

Liters of water pumped. I'd say I pump about 4 or 5 liters per day. More if it's hot.

Comments on my hiking skirt. Apparently it's a skirt, not a kilt. Whatever. But every so often I get questions from day-hikers about it, and it's level of comfort.

Money spent on snacks inside the park. I'm planning on packing out 5 days worth of food for the hike, but apparently there are several little stores and snack bars throughout the park that I know will tempt me with their hot, fresh food. So basically, you'd donate what I'll spend (I'll try to limit it though).

Longshots (heh heh):
These things are pretty unlikely, so you might as well bet the big bucks.

Pictures of bears. Many other thru-hikers have seen bears so far. I have not. But I've been told that if there's any place to see one, it's the Shenandoah's. So there's a decent chance of that happening, but could I snap a photo off in time? You be the judge. (I'd definitely post the photo).

Celebrities seen. This totally won't happen. So I think you should bet the farm.


So place your bets in the comments section of this post, or if you prefer to do it privately, send me an email at You can give to more than one category, and more than one person can give to the same category. Please donate what you can!

longshotfan said: I'll give $1 for each liter you pump, and I'll match whatever you spend on snacks inside the park.

If you aren't the betting type, you can always donate per mile (there are 107 of them), or even give a flat amount. It's up to you.

The donation site is
I'll repost the link at the end of the hike.
Again, I'll keep track of all the categories as I hike, then tally them up at the end, and give you the totals (I should be done around the 23rd or 24th). You'll then write in whatever the donation comes to in the "other" box on the donation site.

Sorry if this is a bit complicated. If you have any questions, email me (


By the way, I'm staying with my cousin Chris, his wife Karen, and their daughter Isabel in Richmond for a couple days to get some much needed rest. A big thank you to them for that! Also, I get to see game 6!

Double also, I think it's funny that everyone is so aghast at the sight of my beard. It's wicked common out here!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Dogs and Spoons

Ok, picture time. But first:

Man, it's been wicked hot lately... 80s 90s everyday, unbelievably humid... I'm dripping with sweat within minutes of hiking. But I've been swimming in streams and napping in shade when I can. So goes the hike.

Also, I just had to be away from a tv during a Celtics - Lakers finals. A CELTICS LAKERS FINALS! Such a thing does not come along every year. I heard Boston won game 1, and I even be able to catch game 2 tonight if my hotel roomies let me. I also think Bird and Magic should coach their respective teams just for this series, so that they can have one final showdown.

So here are some pictures:

Me on top of a mountain coming out of Pearisburg:
The resulting sunset on that mountain:
This is Tabba, an english sheepdog. His owner, Gouda, found him abandoned at trail days with a million ticks all over him. So he took him to the vet, shaved him, and they now hike the trail together.
A dog like that you have to feed every day.

On top of Dragon's tooth:

(the sign says "WON'T KILT U")

Oh yeah, I finally made my spoon:
Can I eat Full Quiver now?

Monday, June 2, 2008

There's a Walmart in this Town!

This audio clip sums up how I feel while staying in town:

Aladdin's soliloquy is apt for the hiker as well as the street-rat.

So we got into Pearisburg a couple days ago and took a zero yesterday as it poured. We seem to time the zeros just right so that we skip that one day of rain.
The terrain continues to be on the easy side as we just pulled a 23 miler to get into town. Not many views, but easy.
At mile-marker 624.0, I've completed part 1 of Virginia (according to my book), so there's only 3 more to go! In other news, Virginia is a wicked long state.
I'm finally able to send my cold weather gear home thought, as we enter the summer months here down south. Hopefully that will reduce my pack-weight somewhat.

I've also become separated from Waffle, Just Mike, and Tea-bag, and am now hiking with two girls named Snap and Snack. Great people just seem to be a day away here on the trail.

Well, it looks like we have a nice, sunny day of hiking ahead of us. 'Till next time!