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