Sunday, July 13, 2014

AT Day 58: Fearless

7/11 Friday
Abol->Katahdin
2170->2185

Forced to sleep in because the store didnt open until 7am. Now I know what youre thinking...why dont you just not be a pussy and run the last 15 miles without food.  I considered. But when I get down from Katahdin and I have done 20 miles that is where I will camp for the night.  I aint skipping dinner, I am a fatty at heart.  Plus I wanted a redbull...duh wings.  I got in and out of the store. As I was on the trail to BSC, I began realizing; 8 more miles and I am done carrying this pack.  7 miles and Im on the last climb. 6 more until your free to fly. 5 more hours. 4 till the floor.  3 its just me. 2 what can you do.  1 this is soo much fun.  Chased a moose for the last half mile.  I hit BSC.  I saw my dad , lifted me higher. I dried my feet. Ditched the pack and packed my day pack ,...with pretty much nothing.  I ran the first mile of the climb. It felt amazing.  All the memories of the trail flowing through my mind like in the movies.  I was crying and flying.  The trail kicked up.  It became a little technical. But I didnt miss a beat. My arms were doing half the work now. Grabing tree and rock, lifting me higher.  I felt so alive. Superman ish.  As I crested the ridge after some boulder hopping.  I could see a hoard of people loitering at the top.  The fact that I had a cool breeze, a crowd might be watching me and I was finishing the last mile of a 2200 mile journey, made me numb. I poured it on I was running. Hopping from boulder to boulder feeling the groove and climbing ever so slighly.  The last bit kicks up. I only speed up. My lungs were burning for the first time in 2 months. Such a wonderful feeling. I got to the sign. 51:51?  Thats a wierd time.  Haha it was upside down. I couldnt tell. 12:12.  I had left at 10:36.   An hour and 36 mins to the top. No FKT but thats fast.  I was exhausted. I took pictures and took it all in. I ate some skittles and found my pot of gold.  But they were sour flavored skittles.  And it began to sink in. Yes, I was done with the AT. But I still needed to hike the 5 miles back down.  I know I said the AT was the hardest thing I ever did. But hiking down Katahdin was a pretty close second. I had no motivation. I was tired. Like 2200 miles tired. But I just reminisced the entire way down. The last mile I started running and by the end was sprinting. What an accomplishment.  I felt so satisfied. I came along way. Struggled through some really difficult patches. And in the end, I sprinted.  

What a journey. Thank you everyone who followed along, cheered me on or otherwise inspired/motivated/reved me up!  I honestly recommend the trail for everyone. You dont have to do 40 miles a day. But get out there. Walk around. See some beauty. Meet some people. Restore your faith in humanity. Learn more about yourself.  Think about what is important to you. Change your life for better. It is a life changing experience. For me and I think many other hikers. It is a struggle. And in my opinion, the best things come to you when you persevere through tough times and hardship, but still come out on top. 

I know I will come back to the AT. It will take some time to forget the pain, suffering and trenchfoot. But ill get over it and miss the beauty and emotions.  Maybe Ill get a crew and just run it. But I think I like the idea of being engulfed in the trail carrying all of your gear. Like an RV, drive and drive; home is where you stop for the night. No escape. A tunnel through the forrest.  The only way out is through. The only shorter way; faster.  If I do ever go for a record; I think I learned a lot that would be useful.  I know for sure; I probably wouldnt tell anyone. Especially family and friends that love and care about me. In a sense it would be easier.  Not to have the "support" as sometimes it turns from emotional/verbal support to physical/tangible support. Which, is just another challenge you dont need when you are already out there killing yourself.  That being said...I already descended Katahdin. Maybe I am heading SoBo right now, trying to go for the record......you never know. 

And so I will leave you with one more;  one of my favorite songs......Pink Floyds "Fearless" 

You say the hill's too steep to climb,
Chiding!
You say you'd like to see me try,
Climbing!
You pick the place and I'll choose the time
And I'll climb
The hill in my own way
just wait a while, for the right day
And as I rise above the treeline and the clouds
I look down hear the sound of the things you said today

AT Day 57: Almost Abol

7/10 Thurs
Pine needle forrest->Abol•ish
2119->2170

Well I woke up before my alarm as usual.  I got a mission to complete.  I got packed up. Dave seemed to be taking his time. I used the facilities.  I was still waiting for Dave. I told him I was going to walk slow and to catch up.  After a really slow half mile I reached a stream. I stopped and cameled up. I thought it would be perfect. I would drink tons of water and Dave would catch up.  After I had my fill and still no Dave, I decided to walk on. I hit a small climb, I thought surely Dave would catch me.  I reached the top. Still no Dave.  Smooth bomber descent waiting. Decision time.  Eff it.  So I go. I felt bad about leaving Dave , but I got the impression he wanted to leave me.  I was feeling good now though. Buttery pancakes. Flying I was. It got rooty, rocky and swampy. I didnt care. I would be done in a day. I really thought I could make the store by close. 51 miles in 13 hours. Just under 4 mph. I got this. Until about 4pm I believed. But then it was 16 miles in 4 hours to get there at close. The trail was really rooty and quite swampy. I was fading. I pushed until about 6 and then gave up.  I took it easy for the last 8 miles and got to a spot right before the road. Set up camp, it was only 9. But I missed the store and would have to wait until 7am for the store to re-open.  I guess I get to sleep in. Sounds good to me. I just did a 54 mile day followed by a 51 mile day.   It wasnt the 100 miler I dreamed off. But probably still pretty "Badass".  Tomorrow I am done. Not that I dont want to do this forever. But come on, everyone enjoys the satisfaction of a task complete. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

AT Day 56: And we danced...

7/9 wednesday
Monson->in the middle of the trail .2 past mile marker 2019
2067->2019

And we danced, and we cried
And we laughed and had a really really really good time
Take my hand, let's have a blast
And remember this moment for the rest of our lives
Our lives, our lives, our lives, our lives
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Tonight, tonight, tonight, tonight, tonight
'Cause tonight's the night
Am I right?

Dance!

See, so you see.  I can hear the music.  And I love to dance.  Unfortunately, this last week had really shook me up. With zero, near zeros, falls, survival sleeping and stressing out; I had lost my MoJo.  So we went to work. Slowly I was gaining my confidence. It helped that the conversation between Dave and I was flowing.  It distracted me and uplifted me. Dave was similar in many ways and we agreed on a lot of random topics. It was like have a bunch of Eureka moments. We talked about running, the Wasatch and even were planning an attempt on Nolans 14.  All this was getting me motivated.  We cruised along into the evening. Right about the time we needed headlamps, we reached the top of the last real climb of the AT.  Except Katahdin of course.  It was a sweet moment. The almost full moon poking through the clouds making them look like golden nuggets.  As we made our way into the night. I began thinking we should probably have a little nap as I didnt think 40 hours of straight moving(111miles to BSC) would have me feeling too good to summit katahdin.  So I mentioned this. But then it turned into well if we arent going to summit Katahdin for another day, then why not get some more sleep.  So we decided 4:30 was a good amount of sleep. Found a spot and threw down. It was 12:30 and we were all set to sleep. Suddenly it began to rain.  It was only sprinkles but it lasted past the time I fell asleep. I couldnt help but chuckle.  Here we are; suppose to be gorgeous weather for a few days and we gots sprinkles for dessert...only the AT:-). 


And I danced, and I cried
And I laughed and had a really really really good time
Take my hand, let's have a blast
And remember this moment for the rest of our lives

Maybe not the classiest songs. But it sums it up pretty well. I have a lot of respect for Mr Macklemore.  The songs about a party-and that is what the AT was for me.  One big long hell of a party. 

And we danced, and we cried
And we laughed and had a really, really, really good time
Take my hand, let's have a blast
And remember this moment for the rest of our lives

AT Day 55: Cant start a fire without a spark

7/8 Tuesday
Monson->Monson
2059->2067

Started off with some nasty words to my dad. He had been stressing me out. He was super helpful and kept me on track. Everytime I wanted to quit in the last week, he has said the right thing to keep me going.  I am forever thankful for how he raised me.  I just need to be alone now and finish this thing on my own.  A fella named Dave saved my AT trip. He started talking to me and sparks were flying. I was getting the fire back. I told him that even before getting on the trail,  I thought about doing the 100 mile wilderness in "100 miler " style. Basically, try not to sleep and finish it in 2 days. He was on board. Hell yes, lets do this!  So now I am amped up and it is 10 in the morning. A little late to start that venture. But I did have 8 miles to finish from yesterday. So I got a ride back to the trail and huffed it. It felt good. Maybe because I was motivated or maybe because my pack weighed next to nothing, but I felt like I was flying. Ended up being ~11 miles with running back to the hotel.  I got groceries and pigged out. Watching Germany pick apart Brazil like a surgeon was amazing. Granted Brazil was playing awful; Germany was perfect, on fire.  Nothing motivates me to be great at something more than watching a great performance.  Now I am super amped up and packing up my bag. Half of me wanted to leave right then(7pm). But I had already paid for the room and my man Dave wasnt around. Hmm.  I took in the lovely evening and thought about finishing this wonderful journey.  Off to bed early. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

AT Done: Done and done

57 days 4 hours and 41 minutes after leaving Springer, the top of Katahdin.  It is not a record, but I am proud of what I have done out here. I survived the monsoon in the south and a hurricane in the north.  In between we cruised.  I am all beat up, but feel amazing.  This has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life, but also the most rewarding. It has been a beautiful, long rollercoaster ride from hell.  Definitely type 2 fun. Or type 2200 fun. I want to thank everyone who has supported me and followed along on the blog. I will fill in the details shortly. But right now it is hotel, shower and dinner time.  

Peace and Love 
Flash

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

AT Day 54: Dancing

7/7 Mon
Pierce Pond->Monson
2030->2059x->2067

Slip sliding through mud. Everything itchs. Might be poison ivy, but im not that reactive to it.  I didnt scratch, despite the itch.  I got black flies dive bombing my eyes, making it difficult to see at times. I forded two rivers that ended up coming up to my waist.  The water is moving, it is a bit sketchy.  At one slippery muddy spot. I slipled on a wet muddy rock, my recovery step slipped on a rock, my second recovery step slipped in the mud, now my legs are pretzeled and I go down. Luckily there are rocks to break my fall. I split the impact between my wrist and my face. Thankfully it was spread out enough to not do damage. And I didnt get that muddy. Couldnt help to chuckle, I almost had a face full of mud like a lady getting a facial mask.  Finally, I got to a river that after sometime I decided was insane to try and ford.  I want an adventure, experience and to push myself; but I am not suicidal. I headed back to the last gravel road. There were 4 people waiting for a shuttle. I asked if I could join. They said certainly and there mjght be cell service up the hill. I walked up and called my dad. I told him where I was and that I was getting a ride to Monson and planned to stay the night there. Well a few hours later, the shuttle showed up with my dad in tow. Another hiker and I jumped in my dads truck and Monson we went.  I am pretty fed up with the condition of the trail. Not only does it make passage difficult and slow, I am worried about getting injured and my feet falling off.  I have bacteria growing and eating my feet. There are more important things to me than this trail.  I cant fathom heading out into the 100 mile wilderness like this.  With the chance of hitting a river that is too dangerous to ford and having to turn around.  I might just go with my dad and summit Katahdin.  I will not have completed the trail , but 21/22ths is not bad. I have had a ton of fun. I enjoyed the emotional rollercoaster that I have ridden. I am closer to my family now than I have ever been.  I got to see so much beauty.  I have gotten support from tons of people and I cant say enough how much I appreciate it!  I feel so loved and cared for.  I did lose some weight and finally feel like I am getting into a runners body. Cant wait to see what I can do without a pack. I dont think I am done with the AT either.  Definitely need some time to get this taste out of my mouth (mud, cliffbars, black flies and ramen?). But maybe next time there is a drought, ill be back on the trail. Maybe just to hike, maybe go for a record (supported/unsupported).  Im sure I have learned more, but one thing that is sticking out right now...I really just dont like camping; especially in the rain.  But that is just hiw I feel now.  I willsleep on it and we will see. 

AT Day 51-53: Losing its thrill

7/4 friday
 Grafton->under a boulder
1918->195? no clue

It poured for a few hours. Descending Bald Plate in the rain was trecherous and gnarly to say the least. The rest of the day it was spitting and cold.  I forded a few rivers that scared the shit out of me...I was just glad to not have to take a poop break.  At ~6:30 the skies split open. It was raining so hard I could barely see. I found an over hanging boulder.  I spent one miserable night in my bivy with water flowing down on each side of me.  Chalk it up to another near life experience. Really living out here. 

7/5 sat
ColderBoulder->Stratton
195?->1997

Actually slept a bit. Who knew rocks jabbing the back could be relaxing.  Cold, got my hustle on. The trail is easy to follow; its just the flowing water.  Except when the waters really flowing. Then its time to ford.  Good thing I used to do ironmans!  Wish I could bike though.  Cold wet miserable. Im not pretending to enjoy this anymore. This sucks.  I have not seen this much rain in the rest of my life as I have the last 50 days... I dont need to believe in climate change, im living it.  Hotel to dry off for the night, maybe sleep too.  Dad and I had a real dinner. Ice cream for dessert!  Im just getting fat now. 

7/6 sun
Stratton->Pierce Pond
1997->2030

No point rushing today. Have to wait to take ferry tomorrow 9 am.  Slept in. Got out at 8:30. Nice day. Easy course. Swampy as hell though. Got to Pierce pond at 6. Would have liked to go father but can go past 2033 without hitting the ferry which only runs 9-11. Sucks. Why dont they just put in a zipline. It would be more fun anyway

Thursday, July 3, 2014

AT Day 50: Zero Hero

7/3 thurs
Bethel
1918

Rest was nice.  My first zero day. But I really just want to be back out there. Rumor has it, Rumsford got 12" of rain last night.  That is 20 miles north, close to where I should have been.  I guess I picked a good night.  Do you realize...that is 12 feet of alta pow?  Holy face shots trench digger.  Apparently the foot is good to go.  A little early for an xray to tell for sure, but it looked good, felt good.  So I am going to pad it up like crazy and give it a go. I got my dad camping around Maine and fishing.  Nearby if I need.  It looks like a hurricane might get us. But tomorrow is showery and then two days of partly sunny.  I think I will get out there ASAP and take advantage of the weather.   Although I wont be eligible for the record, as my Dad picked me up and we bought supplies today...at a grocery store ? So nice.  I still think it would be cool to finish under 60 days , then under Matts time  (current record 58d9h40m)  which by my calculations means.  731am July 13. And 5:11pm July 11( respectfully).  So I have a week to do 260 miles.  Not bad.  I am all fat now sitting around a hotel doing nothing. So I should be able to make it to Caratuck without stopping. Then the 100 mile wilderness resuply. Then Katahdin. Sounds easy enough. 

I have had a chance to read a lot of the white blaze.net forum.  I tried to login make an account but unfortunately my phone would not let me select the gender and I couldn't make an  account. I guess it is just as confused as I am.  I didn't have much to say. In my opinion the perfect course will be really steep up hills and long gradual downs. that way you the uphill over with quick you get your potential energy and then you get to roll it out nice and easy on the legs. Goodluck finding that course.  I do have one at home I like to train on. It is all switchbacks with a creek straight down the middle. You hike up the creek (steep 30-45%grade) then run down the switchbacks(10%grade).  It is amazing.  There it is.  A challenge. If someone could tell me which direction (NoBo/SoBo) is steeper up and more gradual down.  Then I will go that way. Honestly, I dont think it makes a difference , just personal preference.  Except I will say this;  one of the hardest things for me to cope with is the loneliness out there.  Hiking by yourself for 16 hours a day to pass. 5 hikers and say hey, hows it going? Have a goodhike!  It is tough.  I think the longer your out there, the harder it is.  Maine is surely the loneliest state with very few towns on trail. Hitting it last is difficult.  But that is my opinion.  A supported hike would not have that problem as you would see your team , have comforts and MUSIC.  I personally liked heading North around the summer Solstice ....I really havent done a ton of headlamp hiking and put in an average of15 hour days.  

As an Exercise Physiologist, I love all the science talk. The debate about putting in a hard 10 day hike then resting a day or two.  Then starting. Is a curious one. Ive thought about this.  Honestly , I think you have to throw science out the door.  It is too big a venture/variable and really comes down to the individual.  Personally, I think I have gotten stronger as Ive gone. Maybe I should have just started in FL and got to Springer then start the record attempt. But you dont know when the body is eventually going to wear down. If it was a marathon;   I would say , base-build-taper-Carb load.  But 2200 miles? Ummm just go Ape Shit.  So what if you crash and burn. You will never know how far you can go, until you go too far.  I have realized that with myself out here.  Ive pushed myself then woke up the next day and did it again.  I amazed myself , surpassed what I thought.  And I am in my opinion very open to the idea of limitlessness.  So I guess that would be my advice.  Dont hold back. Be semi-reasonable. But push yourself and see what you got. 

Also , I am curious.  I thought I did good in the Whites. 34, 38, and 28.  The 28 was really ~32 miles and if we didnt get lost, I think we would have had more MoJo to go the extra 2 hours and get 36 miles finishing at. 9:30pm(average) instead of 7:30pm(early).  I thought I read Matt averaged 28.4MPD, Jen 34MPD and me 33.3MPD. I really wanted that 36 day out of Whites.  Would have been a 36 MPD showing.  But you win some, you lose some.  29 miles into ME was bad.  But it was hot/humid, I had a bad fall, hurt my foot and finished early. 6:30pm.   But I guess that is all part of it.  Like freaking out about trench foot and only running a marathon.  Gosh , that really haunts me.  Wish I could take that back.  

I was saving one trick for the end and am curious peoples opinions.  I was planning on ditching my pack at 100 mile wilderness outfitters and taking a day pack. With only food, iodine, bladder, rain jacket and bivy.  I would run until I needed a rest. Nap. And run the rest.  Now, is this a bad idea? Is this "cheating" if you were to call it unsupported. I am reading all this conversation and it all seems so blurry.  But I guess I was saying it is still good. As for that day, you are carrying all your sleeping gear and food.  Although, that is not your sleeping gear for the rest of the trip.  But I think it is kind of like shoes.  If I buy a new pair, I can throw the old pair out?  Anyhow, I didnt send a day pack to 100 mile wilderness, so we will see if I can even do it. 

Also, for the record. I didnt take any support. That is what I freaked out about. I didnt want people thinking I was trying to cheat.  My Dad surprised me that day as did my Mother and Brother in New Jersey.  Now in New Jersey, my Brother and Mom brought food and shared it with every hiker that came through "trail magic" style.  I had some fruit , soda and pasta salad. But honestly, I had just resuplied 7 miles previous. The visit from them tripped me up more then helped.  I hadnt seen my Mom in a year and ended up sitting there for ~2 hours, not exactly compeled to leave.  I believe that shorted me for the day and lead to a very sleep deprived Joey.  My Dad freaked me out and (my fault) but I lost a lot of energy and motivation that day.  So I love my family, appreciate the support but I almost feel like they were a hinderence more than help.  With the exception of my Brother who was able to buy shoes, camelback and socks and send them to me. Now I could see that being considered support, but I wrote that off as if I had a maildrop ready and he just sent it to me. As I did not know how bad the outfitters were. What I realized though, is I should have just gone online with my phone and ordered the stuff and had it mailed to whatever town.  Chalk that up to not knowing what I was doing and not planning well.  I did some research and got the idea I should not be telling everyone where I was at the moment.  That is why I didnt bring my tracker.  That was why my blog was always at least a day behind. But I told my family where I was as a safety measure.  Apparently, if your family loves you then you shouldnt even do that.  It is hard enough to run 40 MPD, find shelter, resuply and get water.  But to be hungry and tempted??? Oh brutal.  That being said, I love my family and appreciate everything they have done for me.  I look forward to seeing you Mom, then being home with Mike.  As for now, this hotel room isnt big enough for both of us Dad. ;-)

That is all. If someone on the whiteblazes .net forum wants to copy/paste my comments feel free. Ill have to figure out my gender so I can make an account myself.  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Some beauty (2)


Webster Cliffs
I just started to get a kick out of it.  It seemed like everytime I got to a nice sunny spot and thought Ill stop and dry of my feet, socks and shoes. I would get my shoes off and one cloud would block the sun.  Okay I guess 33 out of 34 isnt everytime
View from Lafayette I believe (above y below)
Working up the ridge, now this is the running I like!
Lonesome Lake, not so lonely with that view
Kind of the same shot , but I love the way the clouds in the lake look
Mt Moosilauke (above y below)

Not a bad place for a break
I could break all day



I know you are sick of landscapes...

....

.....
Suckers

Some Beauty

Although I believe beauty cant be captured, it lives in the moment. I will try to share some with you. 

Getting the sun up and down everyday

Sometimes I wonder if it is real
I would always get a final push for the day around this time
Clouds forming over Mt Washington
I dont get sick of it. But you might
What we got from Mt Washington
Testing my one leg balance after. 30 miles on a cliff edge ... Yeah extreme


















AT Day 49: Roadrunner Baby

7/2 Wednesday
Full Goose->Bethel
1908->1918

Well okay.  Fine, fine, the foot is fine.  Well it doesnt hurt more than what I have become accustom to on the trail, I should say. Away we go, the most fun mile of the course.  Mahoosuc Notch. It is just boulders. Entering it was like going to the land of the living dead. The temperature must have dropped from 75 to 35 instantly. There was snow on the ground. Soo cool. I touched it just to feel home, niiiiice.   I thought about if I was home 10 days ago, I might have been getting face shots in Main Chute.  How sweet the dream! Task at hand Joe, task at hand. I got to work.  And so did mother nature.  I swear it was clear skies, but I could only see a little part of the sky down in the gully of the beast.  Big fat drops splatted the boulders.  By the time I had my rain gear on, it stopped.  Hmm. I guess this is just right of passage I thought. It didn't rain, no. The AT gods were just making sure I got the full experience.  Thanks guys!  It wasn't bad though. It was just a bit of scrambling problems. My mind wondered to my great friend Hangnar.  Hannah, only she is gnarly, so hangnar.  Yes she is a great friend, but I meant she is great!  She also hands down came up with the best line for me being bipolar.  "Sometime you are up and sometimes you are down. But you are all Joe". God I love you Hannah. Hope you are have fun climbing wherever you are this summer. Maybe Ill come visit when I am back in Utah.  Oh yea task at hand. So I got out of the man-eating mythological Mahoosuc Notch. It wasn't bad at all. You aren't going to make time and you might get turned around, but all in all it was a fun mile.  I climbed the Mahoosuc arm which seemed easier than I thought it might be while looking up at the beast.  Maybe a full nights rest did some good. As I start to descend and hopping down big jumps , I began to feel it.  Crap. Its back. Not as bad and now I am babying it, but it is back.  I did what I could to get down fast but I knew it didn't matter. I would have to lay up and figure it out.  As I reached the trail head, there was a lady already in my face asking me if I was Flash.  I said I am. But I really wanted to say I was.  I shouldn't say she was in my face, she probably stayed 10 feet back to avoid my stench. But it felt like she was in my face.  I must have come off as rude, so I must apologize.  I think it was just a bad time for me.   All I wanted to do was be left alone. I felt like such a failure.  I couldn't help but feel angry again, my dad was running his mouth off to strangers. I just wanted to get in the truck and go.  I was embarrassed.  But my dad was rearranging stuff in the bed.  I gave him attitude and he drove off. I thought for good.  I pulled my cell phone out, no service.  Damn. But my dad had stopped across the street down a ways.  He was just moving the truck to get away from people; for me.  I am such an ahole again.    Here he is driving late at night to sleep in a trail head to wait for me.  I apologized for being such a shitty son.  And I was sorry for being a failure. He told me I wasn't and what I had accomplished so far was amazing.  Then he said it.  So what no record, you can still finish. It dawned on me. When I set out , I just wanted to hike the trail.  Granted as fast as I could.  But the record was in the back of my mind.  And only after some days on the trail did I consider even going for the record. Lately I had been so caught up in chasing the record , I had forgotten why I came.  The beauty and the experience. There is nothing more awesome and peaceful than the beauty of the trees , mountains, animals and views.  I had lost that.  And although I am sad and disappointed I wont get the record, it doesn't matter to me. I hiked the trail, saw the beauty, lived the beauty and rode that emotional roller coaster.   ....well I hiked 1918 of 2180 miles.  Close.  But I will see if this foot is a bruise or a fracture and if it will get better ASAP.  I really do have some time to wait around, but it would be nice to finish quick and be home.

 So you can rest easy Mr. Kirk.  I appreciate the kind words earlier! To everyone else who supported me , I love you , you are awesome!  I appreciate that so much.  But don't worry , Ill be back.  It might take a year or a few,  but I know Ill get the itch. And when one itchs, one must scratch.  Maybe Ill even plan it.  I have a ton of knowledge and experience now.  Speaking of which, not bad for my first speedpacking trip? Haha. 

So I will post some pictures shortly maybe add another post to fill in some missed days, now that I have time.  And I will keep you updated on my foot. Hopefully a bruise and Ill be back out there ASAP trying to finish in true Flash style.... Which is.... hmm..... Balls to the wall, emotion filled , eyes closed craziness ????  Sounds good to me. 

One last tid bit: 
As I got in the truck and we sped down the road.  I felt like a kid again, experiencing something for the first time. Driving. I hadn't been in a car for 50 days. I wasn't freaked out. But boy was it weird. My Alta friend, let us just call him "Tulips" said the trail would change me.  He was right.  I look forward to seeing these changes in action.  
So we are speeding down the road ; my dad says, "I got a song for you". Turning on  Bo Diddley's. "Roadrunner ".  He turns to me, says,  "I just use trail runner instead "

So I leave you with ...

 "I 'm a trailrunner baby
And you cant keep up with me
I'm a trailrunner baby
And you cant keep up with me
Well come on lets race
And baby baby you will see"

AT Day 48: You know Goose dies, right?

7/1 Tue
Imp-> Full Goose
1879->1908

Leaving early this morning I felt good physically, but mentally I felt like I was losing a friend and going out in the wilderness, lonely again.  Surely Pnuemo was worked and had no reason to continue at such pace except for the companionship.  I got to White Mountains Hostel and Inn (our goal from yesterday).  I asked if they had any food to buy. Not really. The guy checked.  One Cherry Garcia.  I took it and filled up.  Somehow I got to saying I was in a hurry because I was going for the record. The guy asked if he could interview me. I said fine, but I needed to keep walking. Well I ended up stopping. But it was brief and I was on my way.  Eating Cherry Garcia for break fast and jogging down the road. Odd to some people, seemed to make perfect sense to me.  It was hot and humid. I sweated out all the Cherry Garcia on the first climb. It was beginning to dawn on me that making it to Stratton was going to be a big stretch and I might just have to suck up 16 miles(8x2) into Andover.  I could pray for trail magic and consider buying food off other hikers.  Which, I don't want to do but also don't think really counts as support.  If you cannot plan or rely on it, it is really just a matter of luck.  But all I could do right now was keep moving. So I did.  I was making my was up a steep wet slab of rock. My feet were barely holding on and my hands were helping keep me up.  I went to make my final move to the top. My pack went, then stop. It caught a tree branch. I landed on my chest, my foot slipped and my hand couldn't grip. I slid down the rock and crashed.  Thankfully The pack took most of the impact but I was shook up and one of my ribs really hurt. I was really just heading to a dark place. So when I got to the top of the mountain, I decided I would lay in the sun on a big rock, dry out my feet, dry my gear and maybe grab a quick nap.  As soon as I sat down, it was lunch time...for the bugs that is. I don't notice or get bothered by the bugs when I am moving, but when I am sitting still I cant stand them.  I quickly did everything in between swats. So uncomfortable.  And so I got moving again, not much of a break.  Things were going fine. I was descending. I jump down off a rock 4 feet as I had done a million times in the last few days. But I landed funny/hard. There was a weird shooting sensation from my left foot.  I tried to keep moving before the pain set in. But it was a pain that was going away.  I stopped took the shoe off. I felt around, massaged and tried to diagnose.  This was not good.  My best hope was for a bone bruise which would be uncomfortable to finish to say the least.  The other more dreadful and thing I was most worried about running 50+ days straight with a pack on and being malnurished; a stress fracture.  I got my phone out, I had service. I called my dad. He answered.  Between tears I tried to explain what was going on.  He told me to calm down, everything was going to be okay. Of course, why didn't I think of that. I was really reluctant, as I yelled at him the other day and said I didn't want to see him until Katahdin. But I worked up the nerve to ask him if he could meet me at the next road tomorrow; it was still 16 miles away for me.  He said he would have to hurry but he would.  I thanked him profusely and told him I loved him a ton. It was difficult but I got to Full Goose Shelter safe and sound.  It was early so I will get a full nights rest.  Hopefully, my foot is better tomorrow.  

AT Day 47: D-Day

6/30 Mon
Lake of the clouds->Imp
1851->1879

Woke up today excited for some more Whites. The first thing we did was descend down the wrong trail. Now I say we, as Pnuemo decided he hadn't had enough and got up to go with me. I love it!  This kids got heart!  Well, if someone told me they started on the wrong foot, I would tell them to try being ambidextrous. But wrong trail descending 3/4 of a mile.  I got nothing for that. So when we got back up to the shelter, I just pretended I had slept in(as I had thought about).  Disappointing to not top out Mt Washingting, but been there done that.  It was also socked in and wouldn't have been a view.  We did have a gorgeous day break sun thru fog ridge descent though (picture in time).  After a bit of non stop rock hop we arrived at Madison hut. We were hungry and looking to stuff our gut.  We were hoping for breakfast leftovers.  I told Pnuemo, i doubt they' ll have pancakes. They are so quick to make there wont be extras.  Well, I ate my words, with syrup and they were delicious!  They also had some baked goods and pulled some leftover pasta from the fridge. I grabbed a Probar and tossed $10 in the basket. I didn't have too, but I also would have paid $50 for that breakfast.  Being full is a great feeling as a starving hiker.  But climbing up a mountaint with a full stomach is plain nauseating.  The ridge in the sun fried me.  All the blood was in my stomach or out at my skin.  There was none left to work the legs or head.  Ugh strugglefest. We reached some creeks.  I dunked in and drank up.  Trying everything.  We kept the train rolling and I finally came around.  Now I was really running on pancake juice.  We hit Pinkham visitor center which was a nice pit stop. Quickly grab food, drinks and unload some waste.  I looked at the guide real quick and thought, lets get it on.  White Mountains Lodge was only 21 miles away.  It was motivation time.  I told Pnuemo, "Lets pace each other there and your rooms on me".  Sounds like a plan.  See, I plan?!   So we took off. Chit chatting like school girls and bounding up mountains.  We are going to do this I thought.  No way. After 38 yesterday another 36 miles and I had an awesome run in the Whites.  Then it began.  No blazes, some blazes and ambiguous signs.  We were turned around and around again. At one point we ran down a side trail (not the AT). Got to a further intersection, ran the AT south. Got back to the same intersect. Spent 10 minutes figuring out where we went wrong then ran the same trail again. Ugh. Is there a flipflop unsupported record?  Getting lost not only wastes time, energy but also zaps your mood. We kept on. But that voice you hear started. The voice when one too many things have gone wrong.  You're not going to make it. Hard to swallow.  But we realized and decided to go up the last mountain and do the downhill in the morning with light.  But then even that seemed like reaching. I told Pnuemo, we made a good effort. But I think the wise thing to do was to call it quits and start fresh on a new day.  It was 7:30 and we were settling on Imp Campsite. An early night, extra sleep I thought.  Lucky me.  I tried to drink that cup of tea. But the reality was today was Disheartening, Discouraging, Deflating, Dreadful, okay I am Done. As I am not Don King and Didn't study the D-section of the Dictionary.  Okay, now I am Done.  

He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life-Muhammed Ali

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

AT Day 46: Run with Love

6/29 Sun
Liberty->Lonesome Lake 
1813->1851

Today I ran with emotion. That emotion was love. I struggled to start. I was shook up about yesterday and didnt sleep much. 

But then I though about what I love
I love my Dad and Mom. They made me who I am. 
Iove my Brother for his awesomeness
I love Christal for putting up with my shinanagins
I love all my friends 
I love the random strangers that have given me support 
I love this trail
I love pushing myself and see when I can do
The mountains
The other through hikers
Especially I love music


Met the only person I'll probably hike with this whole way I am stoked.  His name is pnuemo. He's hammering out a 90 day venture. He heard about me and wanted to keep up with me for a while and we just crush it. 

Oh and I love huts and doing dishes for food

Sunday, June 29, 2014

AT Day 45: Almost quit today

6/28 Saturday
Ore Mill->Almost Liberty
1779->1813

Well I almost quit today.  And it's not for anything you would think. I enjoyed the lovely morning climbing up MT Moosilauke. But on the descent I ran into two hikers that told me my dad was hiking up and had supplies for me. At first I was surprised. Then I got angry.  I didn't think I would see him again until Baxter.  Here he was telling people he was bringing me supplies. I couldn't help but think he was trying to sabotage me.  Once I caught up to I let into. I called him an asshole. I told him he knew I couldn't accept support and asked why he was trying to ruin this for me. He told me to calm down and drink a Mt Dew. I told him to eff off.  And I took off down. I was so pissed started hammering up the other side. Quickly my feelings went from anger to worry. I was getting along so well with my dad; it was like we were buddies. So I called him.  No answer. I called again let a long sopping message. I was sorry. But he knows better.  I wanted to talk to him.  I texted similar. But I kept moving.  Check check and re check my phone. Nothing. My chest hurt. My head hurt. I interrupted a nice family picnic with my loud sobbing.  I sat down. I just couldn't move.   My dad drove all this way and started hiking a mountain. He just wanted to give me a mt dew and red bull. And I told him to eff off. I am such an asshole. I am quitting I decided. Being friends with my dad is way more important than this stupid record. But I realized, great. Even if I quit I still have to walk 10 more miles out to the road.  So I kept on, very mopie.  Finally, I checked my phone. I had a message from my dad. "At road waiting for you".  I hustled. Sweet. I'll smooth this over and be fishing with my dad in no time.  I got to the highway. My dad was grilling.  Are you effin kidding me. I couldn't help but laugh.  I told him I was sorry about what I said and he couldn't just show up and surprise me. He knows I cant accept supplies. He tried to get me to eat a burger. I don't really eat meat and I wasn't quitting. I told him to go home and I would see him in baxter in 10 days.  Some how I don't think this will be the last I see off him. But I think we came to an understanding. I said goodbye. And wondered up the trail. I was exhausted and only covered 34 miles. 

Well I couldn't sleep well and had phone service. I got the Whiteblaze site to work. I read a lot of comments. And I am blown away. I appreciate all the support and am blown away by how big this has gotten.  Also, I got some info on resupplying. Thank you especially to Mr townsend. It is a big help and I have already put it to use. 

For everyone guessing out there, here it is...

When I started the trail I was aware of what the record was and thought, Lets see what I cal do.  After 10 days average 36.6.MPD. I decided to push and see how I felt. After a couple of big days and feeling great. My confidence was growing. I decided to get my average up to 40 MPD asap. I did. Then I decided to bank miles for the Whites.  My understanding was, leaving VT and starting the Whites. I had 19 miles in the bank. 1779 in 44 days. So I could bleed 5 miles a day thru the whites, a few more in Maine then pull and all nighter get Katahdin in the AM july 6-7. So 53.5-54.5 days.    I guess that is a plan. But I have been flying by the seat of my pants. So we will see....

Also, someone mentioned I run on emotion.  I totally do!  Today my emotion tank was drain.  But I love my dad and he knows it. Tomorrow is a new day

Saturday, June 28, 2014

AT Day 44: Fatty

6/27 Friday
Happy hill->Ore Mill
1737-1779

Felt amazing running into Hanover.  6lbs on my back, downhill paved road. I might have just clipped one mile off at 7min pace. $128 at a convience store later , I felt like a bloated out of shape fatty walking out of town. Had a few climbs but nothing crazy.  Loved trudging thru a few swamps too.  I guess I will be wet this whole trip(only wet maine left).  But then Ill appreciate the desert so much more in a few weeks time. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

AT Day 43: Refresh day

6/26  thurs
Killington->Happy Hill
1700->1737

Shortest day on the trail in a long time it seems I just under 12 hours got a good nights rest and get a good nights rest tonight a lot of food it's hard to go slowly take it easy. But I think I'll be good from the mountains coming out. 

Yeah the voice type doesn't work all that great. 

AT Day 42: Slip n slide

6/25 Wed
Mt Baker->Killington
1659->1700

Spent the night in a hotel with with my dad it was awesome I did not want to leave I do want to go to bed I'm back out here I'm resting up taking an easy day. Eating lots of food to refuel before the whites

AT Day 41: Sorry guys

6/24 Tues
Goddard->Baker Mt
1617->1659

This is going to be too hard to keep up through the whites and Maine.  I'll do my best but I got to have a focused head and get these last 400 some odd miles done. Hopefully I'll pop up somewhere and have a Katahdin in 14 or days or so

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

AT Day 40: Voice type revolution

6/22 Mon
Cobble rocks->Goddard
1572->1617

Finally some mountains Greylock and Glastonbury. Margot and her dad met me; it was awesome.  They track me down then walked the trail with me and ran with me for 3 miles and it was great! It was like meeting to old friends for coffee hang out for a while catching up and then leaving feeling refreshed and good. Although we covered 3 miles we talked while we walked for 3 miles and I felt when they left and I was refreshing ready to hike again. But I was already hiking. 

Okay we reach a all-time new level here I realize how to use the voice type on my iPhone. All I need is a signal and I can basically just talk to my phone and here you go you got a blog. 

Unfortunately I am moving all day and focus I think get food get water and massage my legs him the rest of it I walk sleep that's all I have time for I will try to keep everyone updated as best I can but I'm sure I'll be heading out service very infrequently coming up. But I am home in Vermont playing in the mountains a group plan then i'm going to see my dad tomorrow night SigmaStat hotel room so that's going to be awesome and refreshing both mentally and physically. Right now I am on and kisses the 12th day where I will get 40+ miles an absurd I love it going to time for anything else you time to think about that my new new balance minimus shoes fell apart in less than 40 miles but hopefully will get some issues soon and will be sorry again.  I can't tell you all how much I love you and appreciate the support it's been amazing. You guys are motivating me and inspiring me every day and I hope I can only return the favor someone to keep going. About 545 miles to go to Katahdin I love it can't wait

Peace and love everyone

AT Day 39: Pancakes

6/22 Sun
Blue Hill->Cobble Rocks
1526->1572

Easy day. Besides two 1,000ft, a 800ft and a 600ft climb. Today was flat. So boring, so tiring. Pancake flat.  can't be like pancakes all exciting at first and by the end you're sick of them thanks Mitch

AT Day 38: Sorry trying to be better

6/21 Sat
Belters->Blue Hill
1486->1526

  

AT Day 37: No time/energy still moving

6/20 Friday
Nature landscapes->Belters
1446->1486

Well I slept. Woke up covered in a cold dew. The only way I know how to get warm is move. Packed quick and started running. It was a mile of cow pasture to start every step soaking my feet in cold morning dew. It actually felt nice. I was booking for it was smooth terrain. Got to my resupply point and went to work. I spent a little too long there but it is a nice mental break as well. Ugh now my pack is heavy.  I kept up a good forward progress. But the terrain wasn't making it easy. Can't help but feel like Frodo Baggins trying to get to Mordoor to destroy the ring.  I am currently entering the kingdom of Isengarrd before Mordoor.  Google St. Johns ledges... Enjoy the view. Now add st. Johns ledges stair climb.  Lord of the rings?  Well I just keep plugging away. But every time I calculate my pace, I just seem slow. I am not going to make it. I get angry and sprint. But the sun was winning the race.  Finally, I had to stop and put the headlamp on. I ate , brushed my teeth and couldn't help feeling like a failure. 38 miles...I wanted 40 to make it a week of 40s.  I was getting everything together for my bear bag when I noticed the guide book page for today. I looked at it to try to figure out why it was so hard? Why I didn't make it? There it was...I had the wrong starting mileage. I thought I started at 1448 but I started at 1446. Thus making my pace seem slower all day. Realizing this; that means I did 40 today.  But yesterday? I did 40 not 42.  Haha. The best part of that mistake is it probably pushed me to get those last few miles instead of giving up. Well awesome!  Thankful, I passed out. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

AT Day 36: If you only need a good third

6/19 Thurs
Graymoor->nature landscapes
1406->1446

Ugh. The rain started early in the AM. I happened to pick a spot where the roof leaked. Just a drip. But it woke me up and made me move. I really didn't want to be here today. It rained until 11. I was moving so slow. Almost as if I was trying to slow myself down. The sun came out. It was 1 pm. I needed water. I went to a tent site with a pump and laid out my stuff to dry while I filtered the water. I made a few needed phone calls. It was 3 pm.  Crap. I had only cover 17 miles in 8:30.  I got up and started running. I didn't stop until 8 pm. I had covered 23 miles in just over 5 hours. A pretty good pace with a pack. I walked across a swamp on a long boardwalk while eating dinner. I cross some railroad tracks and was at the nursery.  The power outlets didn't work and the bathroom was locked. I got water and passed out. 

AT Day 35: Character Building

6/18 Wednesday
Prospector rocks ->Graymoor
1363->1406

So my day start with a big crash.  A tree came tumbling down about 50 feet away from where I slept.  It was really windy, there was lightning(I assume heat lightning), it wasn't raining and was hot as hell.  I was thirsty. So I drank some water. It was 1:30 in the morning. I was up now. Really thirsty and running out of water.  Oh well night hike.  It must have gotten warmer thru the night. 2 miles in, I found a brook and I loaded up on water. Do people actually like the Sawyer Squeeze? I think it is annoying. I would rather pump.   So I stumbled through the dark until about 3:30.  I was pretty tired so I figured a nap would work wonders.  Slept until 5 with my feet up on a rock and my head on my pack. No bag/sac just my tights and shirt.  Well it worked like a charm. I felt like I had slept all night. The day was going great. I was in NY. I crossed the thruway where I have driven a million times. There were climbs. Punchy short steep climbs. Probably the best to get my climbing legs back. I was about 18 miles into my day and walking up a longer climb. I looked thru the guide book to find outfitters to get shoes. Sweet. The next 3 towns. About 50, 80, and 110 miles out all had outfitters within a mile or so of the trail.  So I stopped to break and dry out my feet. I called. All three outfitters.  None of them carried shoes.  Only one of them knew what compression socks were.  And only one had camelback bladders.  Now I've lost it.  How can you call yourself a "hiking " "Trails" and "backcountry" outfitter and not sell shoes or boots ?  I don't know what to do. I called mike and left him a 15 minute sobby voicemail.  I took off back on the trail feeling lost. What am I doing out here?  How am I so unprepared?  Why do the outfitter stores along the AT suck?  Nothing good.  The trail meandered over slickrock and thru brush. I found it very difficult to follow the trail. All of this was frustrating the hell out of me. I decided I would go to the visitor center at the pallisades to buy some cokes and snacks. I was kind of low on food and figured it would cheer me up/give me some motivation. I crested the last climb and had a far off view of NYC. Now that is better. Down the descent and .4 miles later, I was at the visitor center. The ladies there hated me.  Fair enough. I don't much and like the overweight, chatty couch potato types either. I left quick and headed out over a nice climb. I was getting turned around a lot on the descent and it only further frustrated me.  I climbed up West mountain and it was a meandering line.  We circumnavigated the top and it seems though they were doing some maintenance and the trail is very confusing only frustrating me more.   Finally I just descend, feel much better reaching town and trying to cross over to the last climb of the day.  I had to walk through the zoo and when I reach the gate it was locked and apparently take another trail because as he was now closed it was too late.  The trail dropped down into what seemed to be the sewer of town and paralleled the road for .2 miles then popped back out on the road. I don't know whose sick idea that is.  I cross the bridge across the Hudson river. And head out my final climb of the day. I was really tired and feeling faint. So I decide the best idea is to just try to run up the climb as quick as possible. Apparently this just jump started my engine.  I ran the last 3 1/2 miles in about 30 minutes over lumpy terrain and finally a descent through the woods into the darkness of night. I missed the turn off to the market but I saw the glowing lights and knew I was close. Being dark I decided to just go for it in trudge across this grassy looking field. It ended up being a swamp but I didn't care I was home. I got there into the appellation market and it was beautiful. Really nothing more than your ordinary gas station but it was heaven to me and they were open 24 hours and had pizza and desserts. I drink my orange juice quick and my V-8 juice did my shopping in a couple pieces of pizza and headed out the door with my food. I still had a half-mile to go on the trail and then a half-mile off to the campsite.  I arrived set up shop and passed out hardly doing any massage at all. What a long day hopefully I can forget and they're better days to come. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

AT Day 34: Motivation

6/17 Tuesday
Gren Andersen->Prospector Rocks
1321->1363

Today started slow and then got crazy.  I met a ridge runner by the name Grasshopper while I was filling up water at the first shelter. He started in with the usual questions and soon realized how crazy I was.  Being a thru hiker himself and more of a true trail hiker, we seemed to agree on a lot of things. He said that I best be going and that he didn't want to hold me up. I told him nonsense, that I was gaining motivation and inspiration.  But then I hurried away.  Things were going swimmingly but it was get hot and humid fast. I made it to the road I had to take to town and was about to turn on it. There was an older lady who looked like she might be from the area. I asked for confirmation.  She told me it was not the road and I had to go another mile. Ill call B S.  I just didn't believe her. I decided to just go up the road right in front of her. She yelled to me that I was going the wrong way. I just waved.  Sure enough it was the right way and I arrived to an airconditioned gas station. This was going to be hard to leave.  They had orange juice and pineapple.  I could cry. Downed a half gallon of oj, ate some pineapple, ordered/ate a chicken parm sub and bought my groceries.  But I didn't want to leave yet. I pulled out my phone and I had service. I had a text from my mom and two from my brother. Surely they are trying to figure out where to meet me in Massachusetts.   They were trying to meet up. But right now. Apparently driving down, they wanted to meet me at a place 10 miles ahead in less than an hour. Crap I thought. I wasted all this time just to stay in the AC.  I text my brother a new location only 6 miles away. Packed up and started running. Great now I am stressed and rushing. But it was great. I crushed those 6 miles and arrived at a roadside picnic of which seemed like a dozen hikers. I saw my mom and gave her a big sweaty hug. Then I punched my brother for surprising me and making me run so hard. I sat down and my mom introduced everyone to me.  I chatted with the other hikers and had some more pineapple. I had just left the gas station and wasn't that hungry.  One by one the hikers got on with their journey as I knew I should too.  But I didn't want to leave. Finally , I just blurted it out, "I ought to be going."  We said our goodbyes, but I didn't want to go. I hadn't seen my mom in a year. But if everything goes right, In a month I will be spending as much time with her as I can.  Well I flew off down the trail. It might have been the MT Dew, 3 hours of rest or the inspiration and motivation I had just gained. I passed a few hikers I had just met and wished them luck.  I got to the shelter that was only 37 miles for me. It was. 6 already.  How did it get so late?  Oh yeah.  Well I got to try to make it the 12 more miles to the next shelter.  I got my hustle on but it was getting dark. I got up to prospect rocks about the time you start to need a headlamp.  It was beautiful and breezy.  I decided to put my feet up and eat something. I was hungry. As I sat there looking up, I could see the stars starting to come out.  Its was one of those moments. You know you will never forget.  It is extra special because you know this while it is happening. It is nostalgic in the present.  Wow what a life.  I got up to move on and decide no, I am tired. I hung my bear bag and passed out. Thinking, wow Joe. You are really living life. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

AT Day 33: The Captain

6/16 Monday
Wolf Rocks->Gren Andersen
1280->1221

No case of the Mondays here. Excited for an early morning town, new shoes and camel back.  Half awake, I floated over those man-eating rocks they have here in PA.  Haha.  Okay, its a simple paychological explanation.  I am not going to deny that there are rocks in PA.  But there are rocks everywhere.  I remember some rooty/rock descent out of NC that was worse than anything in PA.  It is like my buddy Rusty said when I asked him about PA, "people got to have something to complain about".  Bingo. PA is long, flat, boring, uninspiring and lacks views.  But please don't take it out on the rocks.  I love the rocks! Running on rocks is like getting a foot massage all day..Awesome.  I had to run all day in PA, I like mountains and I cannot stand slowing down to eat when it is flat.  I guess I am just complaining now.  Boo hoo.   So I got top of the last hump before dropping to town. Mt MiniSi. Made me think of Jurek and Mt Si training for Western States.  We will get back to him later.  Gorgeous view with some sprawled fog. Takes my breath away.  Descent over in no time. Not to brag, but I am a pretty fine descender when I bring my A game. I get to the Village Farmer.  Sounded good.  It was a bakery. Last resupply candy shop, this one a bakery.  I half debated getting a pie.  Also, I was in a foul mood for the TWO outfitter stores in town were only open 10-5.  Honestly, this has always irked me.  It was before 9 and I don 't have the patience or luxury to sit around for an hour.  Both stores.  10-5. Not even an 8 hour day.  Lazy bums.  Anyhow, the only juice the bakery has comes in 2oz cans. After 3 V8s I gave up. And for food. Chocolate covered nuts and candy. Gosh my diet has been hell for a few days.  Okay off and running. Cross the Delaware river. PA behind me and welcome NJ.  I ate my loaf of cranberry walnut bread up the climb.  By far the best food I have had in 3 days now.  I started down that path... The one you shouldn't ever go.  Negative Nancies path.  Well it was getting out of hand after about 20 minutes. Instead of slapping myself around, there were people close by.  I decided to stop, lay down and just slow everything down.  Amazing how this trick works.  I laid on my back with my feet up and updated my blog. I saw I had a text and comment from my dad.  He went out hiking again.  I just broke out in tears. This is awesome.  My dad has worked his ass off his whole life. Out here we get trail names. Well my dad has a life name. Captain.  Captain Insano really. But he is a Captain. That means he commands a vessel. And my dad is out there. So you know its not a boat. It is like spacecraft or something crazy.  I don't think he is insane. If fact the opposite. He is a genius.  Sometimes he might come off as crazy, but he is doing what he has to, to get what he wants.  He taught my brother and I to work our asses off and make something of ourselves. He has truly made me who I am today and I am forever thankful.  I filled up on water and a young gentleman showed up to also rest and enjoy the spot along sunset pond.  I enjoyed talking with him but felt the need to get going. Fortunately, I drank a lot of water and had to use the facilities. He caught up to me and we walked and talked for about a mile. He energized me and lifted my spirits. I felt bad, but now I wanted to run and run fast.  I said good day and good luck. Brian if you read this, I would call you  "little enlightened one". If you wanted a name.  Well here I am off flying. I felt like I had just pulled a Jurek. In 2005 I believe. Don't quote me. It has been a long time since I read  "Eat and run". Jurek was laying on the ground at Badwater mile. 70. Feeling like he was about to die. Then pulled himself up and finished in record time. I didn't get a record time, but I got to Branchville fast.  I walked into the Gypsy Tavern.  An absolute beautiful spot on some lake. The world cup was on, USA V Ghana. I couldn't have planned this better.  So 6 cokes, 8 glasses of water, cheeseburger, sweet potato fries, pepperoni pizza and a lot of question answering later. USA won and I was out the door. I walked the 3 miles to the shelter and couldn't have felt happier or prouder of my day. Sure I wanted the 5 more miles to the next shelter, but screw it. World cup baby. 

Oh and it started pouring 30 minuts after I got to the shelter. So cheers to avoiding that one.

USA. USA.  USA.  USA.  USA. 


Oh yea we are in NJ.  Shot out to the boss. 
"Baby this town rips the bones from your back 
It's a death trap, it's a suicide rap 
We gotta get out while we're young 
`Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run "

I was born to run

AT Day 32: Happy Fathers Day

6/15 Sunday
Allentown->Wolf Rocks
1236->1280

Brr it was cold this morning.  Someone said it was 40 degrees and I would believe them.  Took a little while to get rolling today. It is fathers day and I want to make my dad proud.  Once the sun was up for a bit, both the temperatures and I were warmed up.  Cruised down to Lehigh gap around 11.  I noticed water dripping down the back of my leg. I immediately grabbed the bottom of my pack and it was soaking wet.  I threw my pack down and puled out a broken bladder.  Oh boy, no bueno. It was sunny, hot and the middle of the day. I crossed the bridge and then got lost somehow. All the white reflectors look like blazes so I get confused.  Cursing and looking confused cars just drive by, probably slightly perturbed.  I finally figure it out and get up to the trail head.  Someone had left water and I was immensely grateful.  I decided I needed to chill out and regather myself.  So I pulled out my feet and I called my dad to wish him a happy fathers day. We talked for awhile and realized I would see him in VT in 9 days. My dad told me after reading about all my hiking, he went for a hike himself.  I couldn't believe it.  I was blown away.  My dad was always active. He played soccer, basketball and he would chop wood and stuff like that.  But my dad would never be caught dead exercising just to stay in shape.  Really just caught me by surprise. After hanging up and packing up, I took off up a decent sized climb.  I felt invigorated by my talk with my day and the idea of seeing him in a little over a week.  I rounded the top of the climb and started running.  For some reason I launched myself in the air.  I just flew over a rattlesnake almost stepping on him in the process.  When I stopped and turned back, he finally started to rattle at me.  Definitely got the heart beating.  I took off running. It was flat and smooth high on a ridge. I was getting fried and sunburnt.  All this rain and forest, this is the first time I have really seen the sun in 31 days.  I struggled with hydration. I no longer had the camelback to sip from. At first I left the sawyer platypus bladders in my pack and then got them out each time to drink. Then I tried running with it in hand. Awkward.  I don't know if I was hyponatremic or hypoglycemic but my vision was quite blurry. I decided to lay down with my feet up for a few minutes. Try to regather myself. That didn't work and I thought I best be moving on. You don't need to be able to see to run, just float over the ground. At least that is what I tell myself.  My energy was drained and I was fried.  I was waiting to see if the sun going down would cool me off and bring me back to life.  Didn't happen. I saw a camp spot and decided enough us enough.  '44 miles. That is still not bad. I built a fire because I felt like it.  It was hot all day. I didn't need a fire. But I wanted to, I am a pyro and there was wood handy.  I think my dad would be proud of my fire too. Happy Fathers day dad, I love you!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

AT Day 31: Mikeys 30

6/14 Saturday
501->Allentown
1190->1236

Well it is my brothers birthday today.  Not just any birthday, dirty 30.   I wanted to do something special. Oh and it is flag day.  The day we celebrate the birth of American Jesus.  Well I took off running. The first 10 miles I spent trudging through the swamps of PA. After I got out of that grossness.  It was running. Non-stop running.  Ugh. Pennslyvania is so flat, it is inbeliveable.  Well I made it to Port Clinton in no time. Well, 5 hrs 10mins.  For 23miles. Ill take it.  Once I got on the pavement. I ripped my shoes and socks off  and called my brother.  Before he even answered the phone the sun had gone behind the clouds.  Seems about right, I shrugged.  I wished my brother a happy birthday, got to talk to Downey and congratulate Mr. Butch on getting married.  I decided to not try to long to dry out my feet with it being cloudy. So I went to the candy shop.  Honestly, it is almost perfect for a resupply.  They have nuts, trailmixes, gummy candy and dried fruit in large bins. You can get as much or little as you would like.  I only spent $50 and was on the road.  I figured I would try to dry my feet again. So I sat at the edge of the road and cleaned them up. I ate the pound of fudge (oreo and peanut butter). Then I finally made my up and out of town. Now I have learned in the past not to eat much in town, wait until you are walking uphill to start eating. And no different this time.  At the candy shop I had an orange juice, V8, 4 sodas and some carmel popcorn. Then I had the fudge before start up.  I was nauseous for the first 20 minutes. Then I was okay for the next 10 and then I was hungry again. Oh the ridiculousness of hiking 40 miles a day. I continued on for awhile but just seemed to be dragging. I finally had to sprint to make it to camp without a headlamp. I was exhausted and disappointed. I wanted to do something big for my bothers birthday.  And then I cracked up. I just covered 46 miles and spent $50 on candy.  Oh well I guess I am just ridiculous.  Well happy birthday Mike. Sorry I couldn't be there but I know you are surrounded by a bunch of cool people at the Butchs wedding.  I am really tired for some reason? Sorry, short and boring tonight. But I need some sleep. Goodnight

Saturday, June 14, 2014

AT Day 30: Marshall Ullrich

6/13 Friday
Doyle->501
1143->1190

Well it didn't seem to rain that much last night.  Maybe I made a mistake.  But my feet are a worlds better, so maybe not.  I ran 2 miles on pavement to start the day.  So my feet were dry for a little.  Had a nice little climb to start.  I felt heavy and probably was.  I ate too much and didn't run far enough.  But thats okay. I  will be down some weight in a few hours.  I got sprinkled on from 9 to 10am. I thought well that wasn't so bad. We are done with the rain for a few days and things will finally dry out.  All of a sudden there was a sharp pain shooting up from my right foot/toes.  I tried to move the foot around in the shoe. But nothing worked. It was so painful it made me nauseous and I threw up.  This is not good.  I stopped took it off. My foot didn't look that bad.  I picked some dirt/rock out of one of the sores.  I ate some cheesy crackers while I waited for it to dry a bit.  I rubbed some neosporin on it, wrapped it in some toilet paper and duct tape, then shoved it back in the shoe.  Seemed better. Started running. Better, but still really painful.  This is not good.  This could shorten my day again. Hmm. Ok I got it.  Good ole Marshall Ullrich trick.  Dudes badass. Done a bunch of stuff crazier than this and is known for having his toenails surgically removed.  I look up to him because he is hardcore and intuitive.  He figures out what works and does it.  He ran across the US a couple of years ago at the age of 57. He didn't get the record he was going for. But he averaged something like 60 miles a day and set the masters record.  Anyhow, he has a book, "Running on empty" and I read it about a year ago.  It is a good book; if you enjoy what I am doing, you should read it.  So in the book, I believe it is plantar fascititis, but he is in a lot of pain.  He decides to just tell himself it is not his foot and ignore it.  Well that apparently worked for him, so why not try it.  So..."thats not my foot, thats not my foot, thats not my foot."  Well, the pain went away.  I mean I think the pain was still there, but I was full on ignoring it.  Wow, I couldn't believe it.  Well a few hours of running later(pennslyvania is flat) it started to pour.  Not much in the way of lightning. But just pouring. Big drops. Now I was having fun. Remember when you were a kid and you would go splash around in the rain and stomp puddles.  Well I never grew up. And I refuse to. It was so much fun.  It was easy to follow the trail.., it was the creek.  I thought maybe I would blow up my dry sac and float this thing.  But then I thought against it, might be considered cheating.  The rain stopped after a few hours and I was almost sad.  It instantly became sunny, hot and humid. Ugh, talk about grossness. I had a decent climb to eat dinner on. And then 10 miles flat across the ridge, made for some nice running. But it rained a bit on me at the end. So once again showing up to camp dripping wet.  But I didn't care.  Today was awesome.  I ran 47 miles, splish-splashed like a kid and got rid of some nasty pain by using jedi mind tricks. 

I didn't mention before...the day I saw my brother, I thought "I could just get in this car right now and be home in Albany, sleeping in a warm bed in just 8 hours."  But I couldn't quit. I hadn't even made it halfway...DAMN 31 more miles.  Haha. Then the next night at the Allenbury, I had a dream I was quitting and going home. 
I will not quit. I am in this until Maine. Today really strengthened my belief that I will figure it out and I will get to Maine on the sooner side than later. 

On a more ridiculous note; I will be resupplying at a candy shop.  And yes I will be a kid in a candy shop.  So excited. You stay classy San Diego. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

AT Day 30: Marathon Rest Day

6/12 Thursday
Allenbury->Doyle
1117->1143

My first and hopefully last rest day.  I decided to sleep in a bit.  6:30. I figured I deserved it.  And I mosied out the door by 7:15.  My nice dry feet lasted about 5 minutes. It was only misting, but it poored last night. The ground was covered in puddles. Once I got back on the trail I was soaked head to toe.  The overgrown branches, wind and just plain dripping made it as though it was raining.  It was dead flat again.  I ran and ran. I passed a guy who said, "flash flood warning this afternoon to midnight". Thanks.  Then a girl, "Flash flood warning tonight, you probably don't want to be out here later". Thanks.  Finally, an older lady, "Flash flood warning, you probably shouldn't be out here much longer" thanks. Jesus.  Rahhh.  And I was worried about getting gangrene on my feet because I had been running through ankle deep water in and out of cow and horse pastures.  I had been running along a river that already looked really high for about 5 miles.  And I was running through an inch of water flowing across the trail.  I looked around for areas of respite in the case there was a flash flood.  There weren't any. I was on the high ground.  So I freaked out a little.  I started getting upset, annoyed and whinning, "why cant one thing go my way ".  I was focusing on everything negative and then it came. "Mindful of your feelings you must be"  Thanks little green man.  So I switched it over.  What can I do? How can I fix my feet ?  It was 11:45 and I just didn't want to be out anymore. I had covered 19 miles already and had only 8 to go until Duncannon, PA.  I checked the book and there was a place to stay, only $25.  Okay game plan.  I looked at the guide and it looked like a fairly easy course. Okay I said to myself , two hours of effort and I am warm, dry and can take care of my feet.  I noticed on the guide a caution symbol and it said really rocky section.  Okay fine, boulder hopping. 3 hours max and I am there.  Well I began running and pushing myself.  Waiting for these man eating rocks that everyone talks about in Pennslyvania.  Well the rocks never came.  I mean, there were rocks, but still trail.  It started pouring on my last descent where I knew town was just around the corner and I didn't falter.  I hit a road and the trail followed it.  This must be it and I sprinted. When I saw the Sunoco sign I eased my pace and jogged in.  It was 1:35. I beat my 4mph pace for the last 8.  And I was done for the day by 2.  I got groceries and headed for the hotel.  It was a bar with rooms up stairs.  An old victorian style building that reminded me of the one I lived at in San Francisco.  It was rustic and simple. Just the way I like it. I dried off my feet while I ate 3 yogurts.  Then I showered and really cleaned my feet.  I applied the first coat of neosporin.  I had phone service so I watch some Utube videos to help motivate me while I ate 3 bars of cheese and two pints of ice cream.  I layed down with my feet up and thought about the day.  It wasn't my best day. But I covered 26 miles in 6 hours 20 mins.  It was easy physically and mentally.  It will and already has motivated me to do more miles in the days to come.  And hopefully, I will get my feet feeling better and therefore ; make future miles easier.  Also, and best of all , I didn't get swept away in a flash flood.  All in all not a bad day. If you average my last 3 days(43,49,26) you still have 39.3 miles. I am not going to feel bad. I have some sun coming in a few days. I have the full moon soon.  I have my brothers birthday.  All things to get me more miles.  Also, rumor has it;  a flip flopper did 63 n change miles in one day.  I could always try to beat that.   

I appreciate the support from everyone and it motivates me through and through. So thank you. I hope you enjoy the blog.  If you have any feedback, I would love to hear it.  I am trying to make the blog more interesting than. "I ran this and that ".  There is soooooo much more to this journey and I am trying to share it with you.  I can 't even get half of the day in a blog post for I am going all day and then am tired at night.  So yeah, if you tell me what to focus on , I will do that.  I am planning on doing one on diet and daily rituals. 

Since I have had extra time today. I have looked forward to VT and the Whites.  I look forward to seeing a lot of friends and family in VT.  The Whites into Maine is going to be a resupply boojangles.  But we will make it work.  I look forward to getting to some real climbs.  Got to get in shape for speedgoat?   Haha. Hopefully I will have some 11K plus vert days to get my climbing legs back. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

AT Day 29: Halfway Home

6/11 Wednesday
Tom Runs->Allenbury
1069->1118

Well I said it was going to be on today, and it was.  As my first decision of the day; I decided to go back to sleep...haha.  It was raining at 4:50 and I thought it wouldn't be the best to run in the dark rain on slippy rocks. So I got up at 5:25.  Mosied out by 5:55.  49 miles to go. Resupply, eat n sleep, hotel and Rangers.  It takes me about 2 hours to warm up these days.  But even during those first hours , I averaged over 4 mph.  A nice descent got my legs going and my self chants kept it flowing.  It was Food , Hotel , Dry gear, Rangers and REPEAT.  I realized that I would cross the midway point soon as well. I thought about it...27 days ago I start and I have put a few hours in today. Doing the math on the run, under 55 days.  I can't believe it.  I checked and rechecked my math. I knew since I decided to push, I was doing well. But this blew my mind. I am averaging 40.1 miles per day and feel great.  Except for my feet, I am pain free. Mentally...well I was always off. But I am motivated and enjoying it everyday.  A few punchy climbs really got to me at the end of the day.  I ran for about 5 hours non-stop before the climbs.  I couldn't help it.  It was pancake flat.  I was bonking and not just calorie bonk. I was Carb deprived bonked.  I think that is a great.  It means I am pushing myself harder and using more carbs.  But it also means I need to pack higher carb food.   I got over the climbs in survivor fashion.  Once I caught my breath, I was booking down the descent. It seems that no matter how tired I am, when gravity comes into my favor I can just go.  I ran the last two miles through a corn field. Which quickly spit me out to a beautiful bike path along a small lake and town.  It was so cool. It reminded me of some small town in Italy or anywhere in Europe.  I downed a half gallon of OJ before I was half done with grocery shopping.  I ran/hobbled down the road to the Allenbury Inn. Which, turns out to be a crazy country club setup.  It took me awhile to figure out which building I go to register for the night.  I got my key and had to walk to another building where my room was. On the way, I noticed they had golf , tennis, a theatre, pool, hot tub and a dozen other buildings I couldn't see what there were for.  I ate my beans, pinneapple, pasta side and half gallon of ice cream. I got to talk to Christal for awhile which was awesome. I hopped in the shower and used the whole bar of soap.  About half clean, I plopped down and watched the Rangers game while massaging.  After awhile I couldn't remember why I was in a hotel room or where.  Then I thought, oh yeah duh, I am running the AT and I am in Pennsylvania somewhere.  But I didn't feel like I was running the AT.  I just felt like I was on some weird vacation.  Hmm. I enjoy the comforts and getting my feet and gear dry.  But staying in a hotel really messes with your head.  I rather be out there on the trail and feel like, well, I am really out there.  I can't fathom that I will run 40-50 miles tomorrow and be sopping wet the whole time.  But I know once I get out the door...it's game on.  

Rangers won, finally.  And I am going to say it is all because of me. I probably won't catch their next game.  Although, maybe I will bust out back to back 55 milers.  But in reality, I need to focus on the trail. Enjoying it for what it is.  And blowing this record to smitherines!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

AT Day 28: My brother mike

I will start this evening out with a poem that sounds like it was written by a first grader.  But in reality a grown man/boy who is really tired.

6/10 Tuesday
Ed Garvey->Two Runs
1026->1069

My brother mike
He is awesome, smart and has a big heart
He likes to ski, surf and play all day
He is one rad dude with a good attitude
He can fix or solve any problem if he wants
He got me to where I am today, for I followed him across the usa
He is the best brother one could ever have
I would have never thought that I would say, but he is my best friend today
Although sometimes he pretends to be Will Farrell or Ron Burgandy
He doesn't have to, because he is so much cooler
 He is the best bachelor Ive ever met, that ---- doesnt know how much of a bimbo she is yet
He will meet you half way on your hike
I love him, my brother Mike


So I ran 43 miles today.  Met some cool people.  But the best part was seeing my Brother. I got to hang out with him for about 2 and a half hours on the side of the highway.  He brought some fruit and veggies to share with the other hikers coming thru.  My brother told me a few days ago he might be driving through and be able to meet up.  But that sly dog planned it all along.  He knew he would be able to meet up with me some day on his road trip and didnt mention it to be more of a surprise.  And what a special surprise.  I was able to dry out my feet and after some crying, I even dried my eyes. I was so thankful to see him and now motivated to make him proud. I ram fast (28 miles in 7 hours ) to see him. Which was awesome. After I left him on the roadside, I felt this calm but motivated feeling. I took it easy to camp and still got there early.  I have a plan in the works. I caught up to one of the gentlemen that came thru and got some food from my brother. He seemed to have a really good attitude about life and was stoked on what I was attempting to do.  His name was Flying Hawk Spirit of Love. I said goodbye and goodluck.  Hopefully, I will see him in VT.  Anyway back to the plan. So seeing my brother and talking to Flying Hawk Spirit of Love has given me this wonderful feeling inside.  So I am think it is time to go beast mode.  When I first started planning my days, I used to use 3mph as a general guidline.  If I wanted to go 39 miles. I would plan on 13 hours.  That is with water, bathrooms, and other breaks.  But yesterday and today I have really just started using 4 mph. So I am going with it.  I am currently sleeping at 1069 and boiling springs is 48 miles away at 1117.  If I leave at 5am then I plan to get there at 5pm. Get new shoes , resupply and hotel by 630-7. Watch the Rangers Game.  Might be the only one I see.  So that is the plan.  If someone could let the Rangers know how hard I am working to watch them play, maybe it would light a fire under their ass and they can pull out a W for me. 

One of my first post I said you know this is going to be good.  Well good doesnt even begin to describe it.  So I will make up a word. Splendiforous.   YES.  You know this is going to be Splendiforous. 

If you know that reference then you get the double entandra.  Enjoy. Goodnight.  And LETS GO RANGERS!!!

Monday, June 9, 2014

AT Day 27: Half Cake

6/8 Monday
Rod Hallow->Ed Garvey
989->1026

So first off, the saying is, " you can't eat your cake and have it too". The other way just doesn't really make sense.  But I have come up with my own. "You can halve your cake and eat it too"  why am I thinking this?  Oh yes.  The town thing.  The key is getting to town mid afternoon.  Enjoy the town stuff then get out before dark.  Half-town.  
So 32 miles to town.  No sweat.  So I rode a rollercoaster today.  It wasn't a real rollercoaster; I know because they let me keep my pack on.  "13.5 miles of ascents and descents." That is how the guide book describes it.  I thought it was funny because the whole trail is ascents and descents.  It was short 300-600 foot climbs followed imeadiatly by a similar downhill. A perfect profile if you ask me.  You power uphill.  When the first hint of fatigue hits you, you can already see the top. So you power over the top and bomb down the otherside.  There are no rests, no lulls.  Just non-stop thrills.  It made the miles go by quick.  I didn't really have a water filter, so I had to talk the halfmile detour to fill up at the Blackburn ATC center. Once I got back on the trail.  I was thinking about meeting up with my brother tomorrow.  I was stoked. Flying along I ran the last 12 miles in 2:20 to Harpers Ferry.  I was also excited to get there and see the ATC headquaters.  I got my picture taken (as all thru-hikers do )  and even did an interview with a lady doing a research paper on trail communities. She just asked me to describe my trail magic experience.  As I went to leave I noticed it was pouring out. Again for the second time today, I got all my rain gear on.  In five minutes it had stopped raining and the sun was out.  Making it hot and humid with my feet squishy.  Basically the usual on the trail.  I hit the outfitters quick and was disappointed. The book says you can do a fully resupply there but it was a tiny store with a few snacks.  I got a new water purifier (sawyer squeeze; they didnt have any pumps.)  I grabbed what I could for a resuply and left.  I wanted food but there really weren't any quick close locations.  I wanted maybe some OJ, grapefruit juice , yogurt, fruit and bread. Ice cream parlor.  A cinnabon and two sundaes...close enough.  I hate how fat America is.  Anyway. Sat out in the sun for a few minutes to dry my feet, until I put my socks and shoes back on.  Then I ran out of town and started up the climb. It rained for about 5 minutes again.  At this point, I ought to just be used to being wet.  I guess I am. But I want to be dry.  I miss my desert. Whelp, I better just run faster and get this thing over with sooner.  Hopefully, I get to see my brother tomorrow.  It is certainly motivating me already and will surely leave me feeling high tomorrow.  Go Rangers!