2000 Miler Anniversary

November 15, 2017

What would I feel when I crossed that road, meeting the spot where I had left the trail two years before? When I got there I could celebrate having walked all 2,175 miles of the Appalachian Trail. The spot lacked the drama of Mt. Katahdin or Springer Mountain, the geographic endpoints of the trail. My completion point was the crossing of VA state route 624, near Catawba. There’s no sign or plaque, no natural landmark or feature. Just white blazes on both sides indicating that the trail continues in both directions. read more

My Message

Here’s what I said to a woman struggling to lighten her pack. 

“And now, if you’re game for an even deeper exploration, it has helped me immensely to delve into clarifying my purpose for walking. I realized that the trail is a blank canvas on which I paint my own journey, design my own fulfillment. Sure, a popular way to engage with the AT is to backpack long distances. That’s not the only way it can be visited, and, conversely, hiking might not necessarily be the best way to fulfill your dream. It might open up a whole new journey to explore what you’re thinking that hiking the Shenandoah section will provide… ultimately, in my own hiking, I want to create something that makes my heart sing!” read more

Maps for the Appalachian Trail near Springer Mtn., GA

I received a text message from a friend: “My sister and I want to begin a hike at Springer Mountain in mid-July. Do you have maps we can borrow or recommend the best maps?”

My maps are in storage in Virginia while I work out in California! Besides, once you step on the Appalachian Trail, you’ll fall in love with it and want your own set of maps for fanning the flame of your new passion and recording your memories!  Here are my recommendations

MAPS

Maps are helpful for spatial orientation, road crossings, and for locating nearby towns and highway routes. They can also show topography, shelters, and points of interest along the way.  I also enjoy perusing a good map for bedtime reading! Here are suggestions for maps for the southern section of the Appalachian Trail: read more

Completion!

September 4, 2016, 1:00 p.m.

Tadah! John and I reached our goal of Killington Peak, Vermont, the point that marks where we have walked all of the Appalachian Trail at least twice!

When I set out to do a thruhike of the AT in 2007, my aim was to start in Maine and at least make it to Catawba, VA where I had left off walking the trail in sections with my then husband. I wanted to be able to say, “I’ve walked the whole trail” in one quick sentence.

I reached that milestone in November, 2007. That day, when I reached that nondescript road crossing, I burst into tears. “I’ve walked the Appalachian Trail!” read more

Little Things

June 11, 2016
I have a list of small mishaps that we’ve been able to deal with and keep going. HeartSinging walking reflects how gracefully I can dance with the little things.

**Broken watchband. My cheap fake leather watchband  snapped.  Irritating! The good thing was that I noticed that it had fallen off. I threw away the band and stuck the watchface in my waist pouch where I can still get at it easily. Keep moving!

**Melted food bowl. Drat! My favorite lidded Glad bowl where I rehydrate my food on the trail was NOT microwave safe for repeated uses! I like this solution! We made an extra stop at Food Lion on our way out of Front Royal and bought  small bowl of hummus. The container fits perfectly inside our cooking pot, and the hummus was a fine extra snack for the afternoon. We might even switch to PLANNING it this way, getting hummus to pack out and a new bowl! Keep moving! read more

Refreshed

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May 30, 2016
Today, I visited a favorite spot on the Appalachian Trail -Spy Rock, Virginia. It sports a 360 degree view atop a 40′ boulder scramble. I’ve had many a visit here in the past six summers when I worked in this section as a ridgerunner. This time I came as a day-hiker with no mission to educate anyone.

I couldn’t pass up the chance to remove a few firerings to preserve the untrammeled appearance of the place, but that was it.

Beauty, space, and freedom to move – that’s what the place evokes! Let the colors flow the same! All is well! read more

Ease

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May 16, 2016
Why does it matter to me so much that I feel balance and ease and beauty on the trail? I’m reading the blog of a woman hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Her feet hurt. It’s hot. She thinks she has to walk further every day. She lost her first toenail and believes that just goes with the territory. Snakes. Poison oak. Poodle Dog Bush.
Her  writing is alluring because I keep wondering how much worse it can get. Cold. Dirt. Fog. And all of it is baneful, and somehow necessary for pushing through. read more

A Hiker’s “Why”

I read this hiker’s blog today. She seems to be discounting her purpose, saying she doesn’t know why she’s hiking, and that’s OK.

http://leftbase.com/?p=1568

To me, it’s a missed opportunity to avoid or discount anwering this important, formative question for a fulfilling walk.

Knowing – or inventing- a purpose for embarking on a journey can help a hiker make important choices about all five essential areas of planning as well as provide quick clarity when challenges arise during a hike. read more

Maine Ideas: Fine Without My Brain

My PACK brain, that is! In my constant effort to lighten my pack and still have what I need I took out a few items in Monson, Maine. It’s been a week without them and all is well! I sent away my pack brain, knitted scarf, extra pack liner bag and didn’t miss them.
At Caratunk, I took one more step and ordered a lighter sleeping bag. What’s more, I wore my short sleeved shirt instead of my long, hot shirt. I could even wear the short one at night, so maybe don’t need a second shirt! I sent the extra shirt away from Stratton, Maine.
Lightening my pack gets done one piece of gear at a time! Trying a few days without things. Taking chances. Trusting. read more