Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Jeez Louise! It has been a CRAZY few weeks!! we are pretty much in Inception but instead of descending levels of the dream world, we are making our way through awesome vacation opportunities! Once out of Harpers Ferry we caught the train to Washington DC where we took a ton of pictures at the Capital Building, walked the mall, rode the carousel, saw some museums, went to a bar with all day happy hour, (in honor of the first day of summer), then headed to the hotel to freshen up and get ready to go to the MICHAEL FRANTI concert! We had the best night ever listening to the best music ever, jumping up and down, singing along, dancing, laughing, and taking pictures. It was absolutely amazing. The next day we had a leisurely morning, strolling around the mall, going to museums, etc. Got to have lunch with Elaine! Catch up and talk about camp! Then my awesome cousin and aunt came out to the Natural History Museum and we got to catch up too!!!! It was such an awesome day! We headed out to Nationals Park to watch the Nat's play the Mariners!! Had fun yelling at the field, being rowdy, and watching some baseball. Laugh Track and I headed out to Annapolis later that night and got to see the best people in the world! Larry and Diana and my crazy awesome mother!!! We got to have a few days in Annapolis hanging out, eating amazing food, and recovering from some pulled leg muscles. Friday, Larry generously brought us out FISHING!! Laugh Track and I had the time of our lives, eating, drinking, and catching spot, the bait fist, then rock fish (striped bass)!!! They were HUGE and so so strong! Neither of us have ever gone fishing before, so it was an awesome day full of first, some hard-to-reel-in fish, and pretty cool people. Had the best fish fry ever that night, after I devoured some raw fish at the cleaning station, and both L.T. and I learned how to fillet a fish! Then the next day we got to take a water taxi over to Eastport, where they were having a massive music festival called Eastport A'Rockin' - 27 bands, 3 stages, beer, food, oyster shooters, vendors, awesome people...it was epic. We watched great bands, met some cool people, and got to hang out while looking out onto the bay filled with sailboats! Had the best respite from the trail at the Freed's, we definitely needed it! Got back on the trail, saw some cool sights, a HUGE buzzard, walked through two rock mazes - and then decided to sleep in one - in a cave. We set up our tent in a 3.5 foot high cave, hung out on the rocks while catching up in our journals, tossed the rugby ball around for a bit after dinner, then crawled into the cave and went to sleep! Walked into Boiling Springs the next day, a beautiful little hiker town with a pond, stone buildings, and a park. Looked in at the Boiling Springs ATC, then met up with a Wyo camper's mother, who had GENEROUSLY offered her home to us for the night! Finally got to take a shower!!! We did some laundry, played soccer with her ADORABLE girls, (who are insanely athletic and talented at soccer, even at their young age! they totally schooled us), ate some ice cream, got to talk all about camp, what to expect, which activities are awesome, how much fun everything is, and got to watch the new WYO promotional video! It totally brought back a million memories and stories, made us miss Wyo so so much, and we even got to see a 11-year-old Laugh Track hiking up a mountain! Caught a bus to Philly, then up to Boston so I can attend a wedding (and see my man), and so Laugh Track can get home for a few days before the second leg of our journey begins! We are having the time of our lives, loving ever second we are on the trail, and every second we are off meeting new people and having new experiences. Loving this life SO MUCH. definitely don't think it can get any better! We are excited to be in Duncannon, PA for a 4th of July party!!!!! Updates will be quicker this week, since I have my computer!!! xoxo gossip girl!
Monday, June 20, 2011
OHHHHHHHHHHH we're halfway there!!! OHHHHHH LIVIN' ON A PRAYER!!! Rolled up to Harpers Ferry today! the half mile mark of the Appalachian Trail!! but first thing's first. the last time we were on here was wayensboro....so lets start there. We had an amazing time there, sorta got sucked in - there was a club, with DANCE MUSIC, so obviously we had to go - Laugh Track and I miss dancing SO much, so be broke it down for a few hours, and taught some fellow thru hikers how to shake it. Saw some more movies, drank some chocolate milk, made some sangria, laid out in the sun, and finally made it out of town. Started walking through the Shenendoah's - super beautiful. Our good friends, Catalyst and Bandit, had birthdays a few days apart from each other, and wanted desperately to go to the beach, so they made it happen. The texted everyone they knew on the trail, telling them to walk out onto Skyland Drive at noon on tuesday, and they were going to drive the length of the Shennies picking up wayward hikers. When they got to us, the already kidnapped Dash, Wild Child, Box Elder, Spins, and Jungleboots. We made out way to Lake Anna, a state park in the middle of VA with a gorgeous lake. We stocked up of steak, beer, wine, fruit, and sparkles, set up our tents, threw some steaks on the grill, dove in the lake, and started the party. Had an amazing night, celebrated the birthdays and had a nice little vaca from the trail. Got back on the trail the next day, after getting traditional blackberry milkshakes at Big Meadow's Wayside. Hiked into the woods, pitched out tent and had a chill night to ourselves. We met up with Box, Boots, Mark Trail, and Bubbles at Skyland and ate some lunch, then decided to hitch into Luray for a shower and a bed and laundry - all of which we desperately needed. Hit up a local bar that night, listened to amazingly HORRENDOUS karaoke, and made some friends with some townies. Hiked some more, saw some views, then got into the Bear's Den Hostel. What an awesome place - they had views over the Shennendoah Valley, a mulberry bush in the yard, a tv with so so so many awesome DVDs to watch, pizza, a pint of ben & jerry's each, and a soft bunk. I'm pretty sure we watched about 5 movies, ate soooo much food, slept like the dead, and the next morning made mulberry pancakcs. Hiked out late, stopped by Blackburn Hiker Hostel for a soda, and camped at a great shelter with a porch and porch swing. Woke up excited...since we only had 10 miles to get into Harper's Ferry!!! Had an easy walk into town, got to walk over the bridge and see amazing views of the Shennendoah River, and finally made it to the ATC in Harpers Ferry!! Got our pictures taken in front, and found out we were the 510th and 511th people to pass through the ATC this year! Got some postcards, picked up our mail drops (Thank you B, for sending me my rugby ball!!!!!!) and had a former hiker, Blue Moon, offer up his apartment for us to stay for free!! Got a shower, did our laundry and had an amazing dinner cooked by Blue Moon. The moment we walked in, he poured us Jagger shots, to celebrate our accomplishment of coming halfway up the AT!!! Now we are relaxing in the air conditioning, nice and clean, and watching TV. Tomorrow we're off on a mini vacation to Washington D.C. to see a Nat's v. Mariners game! And then up to Annapolis to see our friends, the Freeds, and Momma Raccoon! We can't wait!!! this is the best trip ever!!! OHHHHHHHH WE'RE HALFWAY THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!! OHHHHHHHH LIVIN' ON A PRAYER!!!!!!!!!
Friday, June 10, 2011
well well well, here we are in waynesboro, about to start hiking the Shennedoah National Park tomorrow! So super excited!!! The past few days have been a blast, and talk about trail magic...What we have been experiencing is like trail magic on steroids, SO awesome and exciting. We went from Buena Vista to Lexington to hit up an old movie theatre with the boys to watch X-Men, and actually got trail magic IN the theatre....what?! we were all sitting there, when a woman shows up, whispers to our friend Goopah that she saw us come in, knew that we were hikers, so wanted to give us some trail magic....got brownies, cool whip, and blueberries.....while watching a movie? are you kidding me? this is the life. the next day, a former thru hiker, Landshark, who lives in Lexington, offered to have us crash at his house...i mean MANSION for the night. we got to watch 10 hours of TV and movies, hang out with his adorable 7 year old daughter, eat his incredibly delicious food, and drink beer in a massive, air conditioned living room. I don't think Laugh Track and I moved from our spots all day. We got up at 5 the next morning so he could drop us at the trail head before the brutal heat set in, and we started hiking up Three Ridges...3 miles of straight up, unforgiving, rocky trail. But with many water breaks and views from rock outcroppings we finally made it. While stopping at a shelter to refill on water, we read in the trail journal that there was a local brewery 5 miles down the road from Reels Gap. After consulting the map, we discovered that Reels Gap was only 6 miles away from us....hmm, what to do, what to do... It was hot, we were tired, and we were tired of only drinking cheap, watery beer....so Laugh Track, Old Crow, 4-Beards and I made the very hard decision of hitching to Devil's Backbone Brewery. They were so gracious at the brewery, even though we stunk to high heaven and had sweat out about 5 gallons that day, they let us sit in the dining room, drink WONDERFUL beer, the summer haze, their seasonal summer beer with hints of lemon and green tea, their IPA, traditional, amazing, hoppy, and their Gargamel, after tastes of apple and pear, a smooth finish, and 8% alcohol. It was absolutely incredible. Not only that, but during our dinner of pulled pork sandwiches, a woman who lived up the hill walked over and talked to us about our trip, asking for details and stories. When we had finished telling her about all the snakes we've seen, the bear that came into our camp etc, she told us she wanted us to order the gooeyest, sweetest, largest dessert our hearts desired, and that she would pay for it. She was truly a saint. so I ordered the rosemary creme brulee...it was heavenly. So after eating about 50 lbs of food, and indulging the delectable beers, we moved over to the bar to watch the Red Sox sweep the Yanks....OH HELL YEAH. count it. The owner of the bar invited us to camp in his back yard, then gave us free coffee the next morning with our breakfast at the coffee shop across the street from the brewery. Hitched into Waynesboro this morning to pick up our mail drops...thank you so much to everyone who has been sending us goodies!!! we look forward to them all the time! Now we're camped out behind the YMCA, about to go to a double feature at the cinema, Super 8 and Bridesmaids, and hang out with our fellow hikers who are escaping the horrible heat in any air conditioned space they can find. Loving this life, definitely being awed by the kindness and generosity of human beings, and getting excited to go through the Shennies!!!! 850 miles down! Rock me mama like a wagonwheel, rock me mama any way you feel, hey, mama rock me.
Monday, June 6, 2011
quick update, made it to Buena Vista, VA. yes - we know it's only been 2 days since we last were in town, but there is a movie theatre here, and there wasn't in Glasgow, so what's a girl to do? Pirates of the Carribean is calling our name. mmm...Johnny Depp... So we hiked up and over some mountains out of Glasgow, but not before we decided to jump off the 40ft bridge over the James River. Met up with 4-Beards and Stretch on a hot, hot day to test our fear of heights. Locals were out in droves, hurling their bodies off the bridge with enthusiastic fervor, doing flips, corkscrews, backdives, and gainers. Being the bullheaded New Englander I am, I obviously had to show off by jumping off the bridge the second we got there...but let me tell you, once I was out on the railing...I freaked out a little. 40 ft is a LOOOOONG way down. While Laugh Track and Strech lounged in the sun, cheering us on, and taking pictures, I made my way out on the ledge 5 times, just to prove I could. Even though it was terrifying, the rush was awesome, the water - a perfect temperature to cool off, and the cheers of the crowd, intoxicating. 4-Beards managed to grip the railing, looking out over the drop, for a good 50 minutes while trying to build up the nerve to jump. Amid the promises that we would all keep him safe, that he would be such a baller having done it, that he would be proud of himself after it was over - it was Lobo, a SOBO hiker from last year, that promised to drop sodas and treats at the next stream, 15 miles North for him, that finally persuaded him to let go, scream "Bear Bag Mafia" at the top of his lungs, and plunge 40 feet down into the depths. Again, much cheering. Finally, when everyone was packing up, I decided to jump one more time. Not from the bottom rung..oh no, I needed to show off even more...I had to do it.... from the top railing...50ft in the air...when will I learn to quit?? Some locals who had been doing synchronized gainers off the top all afternoon persuaded me to hop up there with them. After clutching the railing, laying there like a beached whale, I finally got the nerve to stand up. No supports, no handles, no reassuring railing behind me, with the promise of saftey if I just climbed back over. Once I was up, I was up...no going back. So as my stomach was doing it's own form of gainers, the locals counted down...3...2....1.... and I was flying through open sky. What. A. Rush. Well, since that was over and done with, we decided to walk north again..something new and different. Camped at a shelter, then did 18 miles the next day to a cute little campsite by a waterfall. Walked 3 miles the Rte. 60, was given strawberries and beer by 20-point and his dad, then was offered a ride by Landshark into Buena Vista, where we headed to the campsite, took showers, washed our clothes, walked into town, and are now waiting till 7pm for Pirates to blow our minds. Heading up to Waynesboro this week, and then into Shenandoah National Park. Loving every second of this trip! We're hitting the 800 mile mark tomorrow! Bring it on!!!
Saturday, June 4, 2011
So after our Memorial Day vacation when we had to hang around watching movies and making white wine sangria to kill time before the Post Office opened to get our mail drops, (rough life, I know), we headed back out on the trail. We started off doing small miles, 10-12, instead of our 15-18, because it has been SO HOT. When we left Daleville it was 101 degrees, humid and horrible. But we valiantly struggled up the mountain to the shelter. 4-Beards had packed in some Miller Light, so we hung out in the heat, talked, laughed, made dinner, etc. Then, around midnight, just as we were getting in our sleeping bags, Velvet (who was in his tent) said, "Um, guys? I think we have a bear." And sure enough, after we bolted from our bags, and Laugh Track got out her handy "Surefire defender" we rounded the shelter, and there was a bear. Looking at us. Without the slightest trace of fear. Awesome. Data banged some trekking poles together, and Laugh Track yelled a lot, and finally after just ambling along for a while, the bear finally mosied down the hill, back into the wilderness. Needless to say, I may or may not have gotten much sleep that night, although Laugh Track was loving every second of it, and wanted the bear to come BACK. Remind me again why I decided to do this trip with a psycho? haha, so that was our adventure for that day. Did some miles the next day, and got our COOLEST hitch yet, on the back of a motorcycle, through the Blue Ridge Parkway. Amazing views, wind whipping through our hair, incredible. After declining to go to the next shelter, we set up camp on the top of Cove Mt. and had a very domestic night, hanging up a clothesline, building a fire, cooking dinner, catching up in our journals...it was very nice. We made it to a swimming hole the next day at noon, and didn't leave till....6:30. It was too hot to do anything but lounge around in the pool, watching the fish, eating lunch, splashing, tanning, everything you would expect from a swimming hole. Around 4 we got a hitch to a campground about 2 miles away where we got burgers and soda and popsicles. Finally we decided we should do something, like walk north, so we started up Fork Mt. - a very unforgiving hill, to the COOLEST shelter, Bryant Ridge, 3 floors, sleeps 20, clean. It was super buggy so we set up our tent inside the shelter with Stretch and 4-Beards after drawing a lot in the shelter register... Our next day we started calling D-Day, as in Death Day, since the map of the mountains we had to traverse looked like a very good year for a finantial firm. But with many "checkpoints" and a 2 hour long lunch, we made it over the worst of it, up to the top of Apple Orchard Mt, and down to "The Guillotine" an awesome balanced rock tunnel we had to pass under. We got into Glasgow last night, set up our tent at a shelter they have in the center of town, met up with Catalyst and Bandit again, stocked up of junk food for the night, drank a LOT of chocolate milk, sang camp songs in front of the grocery store for an hour, and finally ended the day drinking wine (classy) in our tent while telling ghost stories. Today we head out to jump off an old railroad bridge into the James River - a rite of passage for all thru hikers - and head up to Buena Vista to catch some movies, hit up Franks for the Memories, and stumble over a terrifying mountain eminence, accurately named, The Priest. Shout out to Mama Laugh, hoping she has mastered her knee scooter! We miss everyone and can't wait to see them when we get up north! You can hike but you can't hide!!!!!