An Appalachian Trail Series – New Hampshire

160.9 miles
14 days (09.02 – 09.16)

Fun Fact: The New Hampshire section of the Appalachian Trail has the highest average elevation gain of the entire trail at 329 feet/mile. Be prepared. This state can totally kick your ass (in the most beautiful way possible, of course).

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Live free or die.

It’s not my motto though some may argue that it could be (just kidding, I like to think I’m far more hardcore than I actually am).

It’s the motto of the great state of New Hampshire.

And accurately so. Continue reading

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An Appalachian Trail Series – Massachusetts

90.4 miles

5 days (8.16-8.21)

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When you hear the word “Massachusetts”, what image do you conjure up? Assuming you aren’t one of the 6.7 million people living in this great state with a unique and intimate perspective, perhaps you might imagine…

Cobblestone streets in Boston…

Lighthouses and quaint fishing villages on Cape Cod…

“The Departed”…

Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch…

All reasonable first thoughts. What child born in the U.S. wasn’t taught about the midnight ride of Paul Revere? The Kennedy Compound summons memories of this country’s 35th president, his family and the beautiful, slow-paced living of Cape Cod. And, if all else fails, 99.9% of people on this planet are assuredly aware of the six-pack abs belonging to the perfection that is Mark Wahlberg. Continue reading

An Appalachian Trail Series – Connecticut

51.6 miles

4 days

Helpful NOBO tidbit: If you are planning to receive a winter gear mail drop, Connecticut is a good place to begin planning when and where to receive it (we received ours in Bennington, VT). Depending on the season and time of arrival, it can get quite cold in the remaining states. It’s best to be prepared!

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Connecticut… home of this fine country’s first juicy burger, headquarters to ESPN and the World Wrestling Federation, and birthplace of George W. Bush (listed in order of quality contributions to American life).

Also home to Connecticut? Quaint New England towns, polo-shirted men, and charming countryside. Continue reading

An Appalachian Trail Series – New York

An Appalachian Trail Series – New York

89.7 miles

6 days

Interesting Fact: The first section of the Appalachian Trail was completed in 1923 and was constructed in the Bear Mountain-Harriman State Park segment. Also found in this section? The lowest elevation point of the A.T. is located at the Trailside Museum and Zoo at Bear Mountain ringing in at a whopping 124 feet above sea level.

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When you cross into the ninth state on your Appalachian Trail journey, you don’t just smile, say “wahoo”, and move along. You sit and savor the moment. With Friends. Celebrating.

When things get monotonous, you celebrate.

Every.

Single.

Milestone.

That was our key to keeping the excitement alive. As enjoyable as hiking can be, doing anything repeatedly for 4-5 months can make even grandma yawn to an episode of Green Acres (which just plain doesn’t happen). Continue reading

An Appalachian Trail Series – New Jersey

72.2 miles

6 days

Things to know: Campfires are prohibited in Jew Jersey and camping is restricted to designated campsites. Plan accordingly.

Fun Fact: New Jersey is home to one of the highest densities of black bears in the nation.

Odds of seeing one = GOOD

Odds of seeing one while blissfully chatting away with friends = ZILCH,

ZERO,

NADA

… Oh well, it was worth it…

New Jersey Continue reading

An Appalachian Trail Series – West Virginia and Maryland

4 miles* in West Virginia

40.9 miles in Maryland

3 days (not including our 2 ½ week hiatus spent in Michigan)

Fun Fact: Maryland and West Virginia are considered the easiest states on a thru-hike due to minimal elevation change and well maintained trail.

* Figure does not include the 15 miles +/- that hug the Virginia/West Virginia border.

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Still reeling from hiking 1,000 miles, we knocked out West Virginia with ease. Okay, okay. It’s beside the point there were only 4 miles of trail in it… we kicked ass those four miles!

Boom.

West Virginia – Check! Continue reading

An Appalachian Trail Series – Virginia, Part Two

Part two in this two-part post covers the Appalachian Trail north from Daleville, VA to the Virginia/West Virginia border:

277.5 miles from Daleville, VA to the Virginia/West Virginia border

  •   536.8 miles total in VA (not including the 15 miles +/- that hug the Virginia/West Virginia border)

23 Days from Daleville, VA to the Virginia/West Virginia border

  •   53 total days spent in VA

Fun Fact: Nearly one-fourth of the Appalachian Trail runs through Virginia.

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Leaving Daleville was a struggle. Not so much from the pull of the town but from the state of exhaustion I found myself in. I don’t know if it’s malnourishment (probably) or the daily wear-and-tear on my body (likely) but I knew I needed to try something new. We’re going to start with upping our calorie count. Little things like adding olive oil to meals and packing out peanut butter are worth their weight in gold in terms of the calories added. Continue reading

An Appalachian Trail Series – Virginia, PART ONE

Part one in this two-part post covers the Appalachian Trail north from the Tennessee/Virginia border to Daleville, VA:

259.3 miles from the TN/VA border to Daleville, VA

  •   536.8 miles total in VA (not including the 15 miles +/- that hug the Virginia/West Virginia border)

30 Days from the TN/VA border to Daleville, VA

  •   53 total days spent in VA

Highest elevation: Roan Mountain – 5,729 feet (the A.T. actually skirts the summit by a half mile – follow a blue blaze trail to take you to the top)

Wildlife seen: Deer, snails, a variety of snakes, WILD PONIES, many birds, many dirty thru-hikers

Virginia

The morning after completing our first marathon was rough – more so for me than my Chuck Norris-esque husband. My stomach was in knots all morning and energy levels were so far off the radar that you could compare them to Sarah Palin’s election odds (hopefully you interpret that as “zero”). Continue reading

An Appalachian Trail Series – North Carolina/Tennessee, PART TWO

Part two in this two-part post covers the Appalachian Trail north from Hot Springs, NC to the Tennessee/Virginia border:

189.3 miles

  •   384.7 miles total in NC/TN

20 Days from Hot Springs, NC to the TN/VA border

  •   38 total days spent in NC/TN

Highest elevation: Roan Mountain – 6,285 feet

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There is a running joke on the trail that the moment you ride in a car after a week in the woods is comparable to a ride in an F-15 fighter jet. When you become accustomed to walking 2-3 mph, cruising down the expressway at 60 mph is eye-opening to say the least. Put that F-15 on copious amounts of crack and you will begin to understand our near-death experience on the ride to Asheville, NC. Continue reading

An Appalachian Trail Series – Georgia

Georgia Fun Facts

78.5 miles

9½ Days

2nd most elevation change on the A.T. (New Hampshire is first)

Highest point: Blood Mountain–4,458 feet

Lowest point: A sleepless night at Mountain Crossings Hostel acclimating to fellow hikers’ snoring habits.

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Georgia, Georgia, Georgia… What can I say?

It’s TOUGH.

Unless you’ve just completed an Ironman triathlon or are Chris Hemsworth, you will struggle with this state. Physically, mentally, emotionally… Georgia covers a lot of ground on the struggle bus. Continue reading