Scott’s Appalachian Trail Hike

Appalachian Trail Map

Where is Scott?

Day 189. 9/23/2019. Praise the Lord. I am finished! This has been the most amazing, awesome, and difficult experience of my life. I hiked Mt Ketahdin, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, today, completing the AT hike. Mile 2192.

It was not the finish I was expecting. The weather forecast was 40% chance of rain starting in the afternoon, followed by 3 days of rain. Seemed like reasonable odds to go so many of us started out hiking about 6:00 AM. It was overcast until we climbed into the cloud and it became foggy and windy. By the top it was pouring rain and the wind must have been 50 mph with no visibility. One could hardly stand without hiking poles for stability. On the descent it was very hard to find the trail marks in the fog and rain, so it took until after dark to return to camp. It was a dramatic finish, but not the one I expected.

I cannot overstate how good it feels to finish. No more hiking 10 – 12 hours per day every day for months. After a few days of relaxing in Maine, I can return to my semi-sedentary but completely satisfactory lifestyle.

Day 188. 9/22/2019. Birches (a special campground reserved for thru-hikers planning to hike Mt Kahadin in Baxter State Park.) Mile 2187. Prepared daypack for next days hike. Got hiking permit.

Day 187. 9/21/2019. Abol Bridge area. Mile 2177. I am finally out of the 100 mile wilderness, which is just like other Maine trails with mountains and mud and rocks and roots, except there are no houses, public roads, or businesses that sell food for resupply. I should finish in a few more days, though there could be delays getting a required permit or from weather. There is Mt Katahdin.

Day 186. 9/20/2019. Trailside camped next to Rainbow Lake. Mile 2168. Listened to the loons last night. They make a lot of sounds including some spooky haunted banshee ones. I haven’t seen a loon, only heard them the last month or so. Great hiking today, not so cold; very pleasant on reasonable trails.

Day 185. 9/19/2019. Trailside camped on top of Nesuntabunt Mt. Mile 2156. Good weather. Hike, eat, sleep, repeat, is my life. You can see Mt Katahdin from here.

Day 184. 9/18/2019. Potaywadjo Lean-to. Mile 2144. Cool but sunny. Great day for hiking.

Day 183 9/17/2019. Trailside on some unknown mountain. Mile 2128. Cold (30’s?) and foggy in AM. No views. Trail still wet and muddy. In PM partly sunny, but still cold.

Day 182 9/16/2019. Trailside on White Cap Mtn. Mile 2119. Cool and overcast and got colder as day went on. 48 F at 6:00 PM. Hiked West Peak, Hay Mtn, and part of White Cap Mtn. Camping in a cloud with rain-like dripping condensation.

Day 181 9/15/2019. Trailside next to Pleasant River. Mile 2108. Cool and sunny today but trail and tent are wet. Got lost today trying to follow trail through rock slide. Others had the same problem. Finally found the trail again. Had to ford Pleasant River. Shallow but ice-cold.

Day 180 9/14/2019. Trailside. Mile 2101. Cold, gray, drizzly day, but must hike anyway. More difficult hiking the 100 mile wilderness than expected. Lots of roots – all wet. There is nothing more slippery than a wet root.

Day 179 9/13/2019. Long Pond Lean-to. Mile 2093. Had to Ford another river. Cool and sunny today.

Day 178 9/12/2019. Trailside. Mile 2084. Finished resupply for 100 mile wilderness. Pack is pretty heavy with extra food, but manageable. Beautiful day for hiking.

Day 177 9/11/2019. Horseshoe Canyon lean-to. Mile 2069. Had to Ford another river. A nuisance to remove shoes and socks, wade across, dry feet, and put socks and shoes back on.

Day 176 9/10/2019. Bald Mtn Lean-to. Mile 2056. Beautiful day to hike up Moxie Bald Mtn. Great views. had to Ford another river today.

Day 175. 9/9/2019. Pleasant Pond Shelter. Mile 2046. A life jacket for the AT? Yep. Most rivers in Maine without a bridge can be rock-hopped or forded. However, the 400′ wide Kennebec River is controlled by a hydro station upstream so the water can rise faster than a hiker can escape so a canoe is needed to ferry hikers across it.

Day 174. 9/8/2019. North Branch Carrying Pond. Mile 2035. Hiked past a series of “carry ponds” which are actually long lakes used in the 1700’s to transport supplies and troops by Col. Benedict Arnold when he attacked Quebec.

Day 173. 9/7/2019. Flagstaff Lake. Mile 2022. Overcast and cool again. Started raining about 10:00 AM (seems almost normal). I put the pack rain cover on. I dislike the pack cover because it is hard to install and makes access to the pack for lunch or a drink of water more difficult. Then it stopped raining for the rest of the day.

Day 172. 9/6/2019. Avery campsite. Mile 2012. Overcast and cool, but dry. Good day to climb Bigelow mountain.

Day 171. 9/5/2019. Stratton, ME. Mile 2004. What a difference a day makes. Hiked Sugarloaf and Crocker Mountains (both peaks).

Day 170. 9/4/2019. Trailside Sugarloaf Mtn. Mile 1993. A new misery max on the AT. Day started normally with overcast sky and fog and hiking was ok. About 10:00 AM rain started, again pretty normal and ok. I was about 2/3rds way up the mountain when big winds started, huge wind – maybe 40 or 50 mph. I could hardly walk in the driving rain. Then the trail left the forest to climb above the tree line to exposed rock. This seemed a bad situation. The nearest road to hitch to shelter was over 10 miles away so I backtracked to the forest for some protection from the wind. I put up the tent in a poor spot but the best available and crawled into my sleeping bag to keep warm while listening to the wind howl. All wet but at least I was warm and had food and water while listening to the gale force wind.

Day 169. 9/3/2019. Spaulding Lean-to. Mile 1990. Good hiking day. Trail was muddy but manageable. Had to ford a stream about 50′ wide. Took off my shoes and rolled up my pants; only about 2′ deep.

Day 168. 9/2/2019. Poplar Ridge Lean-to. Mile 1982. Miserable day. Started raining last night about 1:00 AM. 18 hours later it is still raining and cold (about 45 F). The next section is downhill over rock slabs so the 5 of us in the shelter decided it was too unsafe to hike today. So we spent the day in our sleeping bags to keep warm, mostly just sleeping. Not fun. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Day 167. 9/1/2019. Poplar Ridge Lean-to. Mile 1982. Beautiful day; spectacular views. Lots of day-hikers due to holiday weekend. Hiked Saddleback Mountains.

Day 166. 8/31/2019. Rangel, ME. Mile 1972. Good hiking. Hitched into town for resupply. Camped in lawn behind dentist office.

Day 165. 8/30/2019. Sabbath Pond. Mile 1962. Good day hiking. Trail still muddy but rocks mostly dry. Hiked the Bemis Mountain range. Beautiful lakes in Maine.

Day 164. 8/29/2019. South Arm. Mile 1951. Rained hard last night; at least 1″. Today was sunny and clear with the usual post-rain impediments of wet rocks and roots and mud. Hiked Wyman Mtn and Moody Mtn.

Day 163. 8/28/2019. Andover, ME. Mile 1935. I know you are tired of me using the words tough, difficult, hard, and challenging. The truth is that no day is easy, including this one. Baldpate had a lot of bare rock which required crawling on all fours. That takes a lot of effort. I am glad that is behind me.

Day 162. 8/27/2019. Baldpate Shelter. Mile 1927. Beautiful hiking day. Cool and sunny. Challenging hiking on Old Speck Mtn. Spectacular views.

Day 161. 8/26/2019. Speck Pond Shelter. Mile 1920. Hiked Mahoosuc Notch (Notch is New England word for valley) reported to be the toughest mile on the AT. Then did a long steep climb up old Speck Mtn.

Day 160. 8/25/2019. Full Goose Shelter. Mile 1915. I am excited to be out of NH and into MAINE. So far (1 day) ME is even harder than NH and has a lot more trail miles (282 VS 159) so I will be here a while. The scenery and weather is beautiful but the hiking is tough.

Day 159. 8/24/2019. Trailside. Mile 1910. Great weather; sunny and cool and the rocks are dry. Days are noticeably cooler in the morning and hours of sunlight are reduced. Hiked Mt Success. Ascent was reasonable. Descent was crazy hard.

Day 158. 8/23/2019. Trident Col campground. Mile 1901. Hiked to highway and hitched into town. Resupplied. Hitched back to trail; saw old hiking friend (trail name: Gumby) doing trail magic. Hope he returns to the AT and finishes next year. Hiked Mt Hayes and Mahoosuc trail. Both reasonable. It was a good day.

Day 157. 8/22/2019. Rattle River Shelter. Mile 1892. Pretty day. Sunny but rocks are still wet and trails wet from yesterday’s rain. Hiked Mt Moriah today; pretty similar to yesterday’s Carter Dome but the descent not so perilous.

Day 156. 8/21/2019. Imp Campground. Mile 1886. Day started well with climb up Carter Dome. During the descent it began raining making the hike slow and dangerous, but there was no choice except to continue cautiously down the rock faces. I whiled in the rain about 4 hours, pretty miserable. At least it was not real cold.

Day 155. 8/20/2019. Carter Notch Hut. Mile 1879. Nice day. Hiked over all 5 Wildcat mountain peaks. Not an easy hike, but not terrible.

Day 154. 8/19/2019. Gorham, Hikers Barn Hostel. Mile 1873. Hiked to Pinkham Notch and hitched to a hostel for package pickup at PO, charge my phone, wi-fi to update web site, shower, laundry, and get a restaurant meal.

Day 153. 8/18/2019. Osgood Tent Site. Mile 1868. It rained last night so it was a slow and difficult on the random rocks over Mt Madison, followed by a water and root filled steep descent to the tent site

Day 152. 8/17/2019. Madison Spring Hut. Mile 1865. Tough day hiking. Hiked Mt Washington (5628′). This is significant because it has the highest recorded wind speed (231 MPH) of any place on earth. Today was a relatively calm 25 MPH with gusts to 35. However, Mt Washington was in a total fog, which I understand is the case 90% of the time, so I got no views.

Day 151. 8/16/2019. Lakes of the Clouds. Mile 1858. Rained all night and drizzled off and on most of the day.

Day 150. 8/15/2019. Mizpah Hut. Mile 1853. Tough hike up Mt Jackson, Mt Webster, and the Webster Cliffs. Good weather. Was able to get another Work For Stay gig so got another 2 good meals.

Day 149. 8/14/2019. Trailside near Rt 302. Mile 1846. Easy hike by NH standards. Had planned to hitch for resupply but big trail magic made unnecessary.

Day 148. 8/13/2019. Zealand Falls Hut. Mile 1839. Hiked Twin Mtn (4902′) but it was in a cloud so there was no view. Was able to get another WFS gig so got two more great meals.

Day 147. 8/12/2019. Galehead hut. Mile 1832. Great nights sleep last night in dry clothes, dry sleeping bag, and dry tent. Hiked Mt Garfield today. At 4453′ it is not one of the tallest peaks, but is considered one of the hardest because it is so steep. I was accepted for a work-for-stay program (WFS) at a hut. In exchange for doing some chores, I could sleep inside on the floor and provided a great dinner and breakfast.

Day 146. 8/11/2019. Trailside Mt Garfield. Mile 1828. Packed up all the wet stuff and hiked Mt Lincoln (5089′) and Mt Lafayette (5254′). It was cold and windy and foggy so no view. Quit early (5 PM) to allow time to hang out gear to dry.

Day 145 8/10/2019. Liberty Springs tent site. Mile 1822. Rained off and on all day, each time getting cooler. After a long uphill climb in the rain it was 48 deg when I arrived. Everything was wet. Slept in wet clothes in a wet sleeping bag in a wet tent. Not my best day.

Day 144 8/9/2019. Kinsman Mt. trailside. Mile 1814. Rained last night until 6:30 this morning, then became a pretty day except for the wet trail with mud and standing water. Mt Kinsman was a tough climb. Then while putting up my tent it rained hard; it was dark so I didn’t see it coming.

Day 143 8/8/2019. Wolf Mt. trailside. Mile 1808. It rained last night and this morning while packing the tent. Also the trail was muddy and full of wet and slippery rocks and roots. Along with the extreme difficulty of hiking The Whites, the result was the slowest hiking yet on the AT. Darkness came before I could reach my target so I had to put up the wet tent in the dark. No time to prepare a meal so I had a couple of plain tortillas, some trail mix, and a snack bar for dinner.

Day 142. 8/7/2019. Kinsman Notch. Mile 1803. Climbed and descended Mt Moosilauke, the first mountain of The Whites. It was the toughest climb yet.

Day 141. 8/6/2019. Hiker Hostel. Mile 1793. Another long, hard day in NH. Yesterday’s climbs up were followed by a lot of downs today. Because a 30 – 35 pound pack on your shoulders makes you top-heavy and because NH has a lot of roots several inches above ground, there is a high risk of getting your toe caught under one and tripping face first; so going down is very slow to be sure each step is safe.

Photo of part of the trail:

Day 140. 8/5/2019. N. Jacobs Brook. Mile 1778. Great weather but really tough trail. Each day in NH is harder than the day before, and I am not even to the famously difficult White Mountains yet.

Day 139. 8/4/2019. Trapper John Shelter. Mile 1767. Great hiking weather: low 70’s and low humidity, but that doesn’t mean the hiking was easy. It wasn’t. First a long hike up Moose Mountain, followed by a steep descent and then a climb up another. My legs are more tired than usual; I may need to cut back on mileage. Days like today are not sustainable. View from Moose Mountain, NH summit.

Day 138. 8/3/2019. Velvet Rocks Shelter. Mile 1751. Hiked through Norwich, VT into Hanover, NH, home of Dartmouth College, where we were given cafeteria privileges. The variety and quality of the food was awesome. Today was more of an eating day than a hiking day.

Day 137 8/2/2019. Trailside. Mile 1739. Warm, dry. Pretty much an ordinary day: hike, eat, sleep. The stars last night were spectacular- no moon, no city lights, 3000′ elevation. The Milky Way was clearly visible.

Day 136 8/1/2019. The Lookout. Mile 1720. Last night’s stay at the inn included breakfast, which was excellent, but resulted in a later start than usual. As a result it was a longer than normal day finishing on top of a mountain with great sunset views.

Day 135 7/31/2019. Killington, VT. Mile 1704. Overcast sky from last night’s rain. Rocks and roots are wet and slippery so long slow climb up Pico Mt. Mid-afternoon started to rain again so quit early to go to Inn at Long Trail.

Day 134 7/30/2019. Clement Shelter. Mile 1692. Very tough climb today up big rocks to the top of Bear Mountain. Otherwise great hiking conditions. After finished hiking for the day, heavy rainstorm fell. Photo of Vermont roots.

Day 133 7/29/2019. Green wall Shelter. Mile 1678. Terrific hiking day: warm and dry, reasonable ups and downs. Only one tall mountain to climb. Mosquitos are terrible tonight.

Day 132 7/28/2019. Peru Peak, VT. Mile 1663. Hitched into Manchester Center for a 2nd breakfast, lunch, resupply, and hiked on. Beautiful day for hiking.

Day 131 7/27/2019. Spruce Peak, VT. Mile 1650. Wonderful day of hiking. Perfect weather today. 4 mile climb up Mt Stratton to 5000took nearly 4 hours and all my energy.

Day 130 7/26/2019. Trailside camp. Mile1635. Beautiful day hiking; so good I quit early to enjoy relaxing in the woods. Trail still muddy but improving. Here’s a photo of trail mud.

Day 129 7/25/2019. Goddard Shelter. Mile 1623. Good hiking day. Cooler during day and night. Trail still muddy but getting better. Lots of big stone steps today were tiring.

Day 128 7/24/2019. Congdon Shelter. Mile 1609. Weather was good, but the trails are a muddy mess from the heavy rains 2 days ago. Crossed into Vermont today. MA tried to roast me, drown me, dash me on the rocks, and feed me to the mosquitos; but I survived MA.

Day 127 7/23/2019. Williamstown, MA. Mile 1595. It rained all night, finally stopping about sunrise. I put on my still wet hiking clothes and shoes and hit the trail. The trail took me up Mt Greylock, the highest peak in MA (3491′). The rocks were still wet and the trail full of big puddles so I went to a motel to dry out and eat non-trail food.

Day 126 7/22/2019. Noepel Shelter. Mile 1585. Rained all day. At first it was a refreshing change from yesterday’s heat, but as the day went on it became heavier and colder. Everything I had on quickly became wet; the trail became a river and the rocks slippery, slowing down progress. I finally arrived at dark with no time to prepare dinner or blog so I just ate a couple snack bars and went to bed. Overall, it was a pretty miserable day.

Day 125 7/21/2019. Kay Wood Shelter. Mile 1568. Hiked mostly boggy lowlands so lots of bugs. Hot temps today (90?) so humid and sticky. Good progress but a long day.

Day 124 7/20/2019. Upper Goose Pond. Mile 1551. Best hiking day yet in MA; ups and downs reasonable. Trail well marked.

Day 123 7/19/2019. Mt Wilcox South. Mile 1535. Finally! A good hiking day in MA. The terrain is still tough hiking with many ups and downs, but at least the rocks are dry. Mosquitos are so bad food preparation and eating are done in the tent.

Day 122 7/18/2019. Great Barrington, MA. Mile 1523. Weather was good, but the rocks were still wet from last nights rain. Although I hiked as carefully as I could, I slipped on the rock, fell and scraped skin from one leg, an arm, and my face. Fortunately, I was unhurt but a fair amount of blood showed on my pant leg and shirt. Since I was a bloody mess, at the next major road I got a ride into the town of Great Barrington, where I had not planned to go, and got a motel room to clean up. Friends brought me peroxide, antibiotic, and bandages to prevent infection.

I should add that the rock in MA is different from that in CT and states south. The rock south is mostly individual boulders of random size and shape from glacial drop. It is difficult to walk on, but as individual rocks it presents edges and corners for the shoe soles to grip. MA is like one big smooth rock like solidified lava or sedimentary buildup with ripples, creases, and indentations, but not defined edges to prevent slipping. I heard several other hikers fell today but I don’t know how badly compared to my fall. If this kind of rock continues, I may need to avoid hiking when the rocks are wet.

Day 121 7/17/2019. Hemlock Shelter, MA. Mile 1515. Slow hiking today. Long uphill climb to the highest point in CT, then back down again. Then crossed over to MA which immediately took me up a steep climb to a view point along an exposed ridge in the hot sun, then down to a gap and then up another climb to the next peak.Most days have hard parts and easy parts. Today had no easy part; it was all hard and slow. The good part is that the rain did not start until I was done hiking for the day.

Day 120 7/16/2019. Riga Shelter. Mile1505. Good weather. Some tough trail. Photo of this old hiker taken a couple days ago by Brendan (Zombie, 14) on CT mountain top.

Day 119 7/15/2019. Pine Swamp Shelter. Mile 1486. After a late breakfast with my family as they prepare to leave, hiking was pleasant as it was a bit cooler than yesterday, but terrain was not easy. Very little flat; almost always up or down.

Day 118 7/14/2019. Cornwall Bridge, CT. Mile 1480. Great weather for hiking with son and grandsons over some challenging terrain and steep descents and beautiful views.

Day 117 7/13/2019. Mt. Algo Shelter. Mile 1469. Beautiful hiking for son and grandsons with some challenging hills grand views.

Day 116 7/12/2019. Ten Mile River Shelter, CT. Mile 1460. Best hiking ever; our son, Jason, and his sons, Jadin and Brendan, joined me hiking the AT. Despite a late start today we did a respectable 10 miles and passed from NY to CT. Everyone carried their own backpack.

Day 115 7/11/2019. Telephone Pioneers. Mile 1448. Great hiking day: cooler temperatures and constant breeze. Rain threatened but did not start until evening after hiking was done.

Day 114 7/10/2019. RPH Shelter. Mile 1431. Hot and dry today. Reasonable trail for NY.

Day 113 7/9/2019. Franciscan Monastery. Mile 1412. Crossed the Hudson River today. The AT went through the zoo in the town of Bear Mountain.

Day 112 7/8/2019. West Mtn Shelter. Mile 1399. Drizzled first 3 hrs. Then overcast until late afternoon. Drizzle cooled things off and suppressed mosquitoes so it wasn’t all bad. Terrain still tough but not as life threatening as yesterday. Lots of wild blueberries trailside; small but flavorful. Overall, a good day.

Day 111 7/7/2019. Trailside Island Pond. Mile 1387. Warm and dry. Tough but interesting hiking with challenging abrupt ups and downs, considerably slowing progress.

Day 110 7/6/2019. Wildcat Shelter. Mile 1376. What a day! Started with mosquitos as thick as I ever have seen. Hiked along in hot humid breeze-less weather and crossed over into NY. NJ was a good state to hike in: trails were well kept and well marked. NY was immediately more difficult with more rock. Then it rained – and I was soaked and the rocks slippery in just a few minutes. It rained off and on the rest of the day with mosquitos just as thick at the end of the day as at the start. Not my best day.

Day 109 7/5/2019. Wawayanda, NJ. Mile 1364. Hooray! I was able to pick up the new hiking boots I ordered from the Post Office today. Now I don’t need to walk so carefully not to rip off the front of my old boot which I pushed too hard. New boot vs old boot.

Day 108 7/4/2019. Vernon, NJ. Mile 1359. Although it was a holiday for most, it was just another hiking day for me. And it was hot. Most of the trail is in the shade, but not today; it was a lot of walking in the sun along side pastures. Ultimately spent the night in a motel since there was no camping place.

Day 107 7/3/2019. High Point Shelter. Mile 1340. Hot and humid. Good trail, but a long day.

Day 106 7/2/2019 Brink Shelter. Mile 1320. Hot and humid today. Otherwise, pleasant hiking. Long day; lots of mosquitos. Saw. Porcupine today.

Day 105 7/1/2019 Trail campsite. Mile1301. Crossed from PA to NJ. NJ?! Who knew the Appalachian Trail went through NJ? Neither did I. I am glad to be out of PA. The people are nice but the trails are not well maintained and the trail markings are the worst so far, in my opinion.

Day 104 6/30/2019 Fox Gap. Mile 1288. Good weather. Boring trail: pretty flat with no good views but lots of rocks to pluck your way through.

Day 103 6/29/2019 Smith Gap. Mile 1272. Tough climb out of Lehigh Valley.

Day 102 6/28/2019 George Outerbridge. Mile 1259. Good hiking with some trail magic until mid-afternoon when it rained on me and I got soaked.

Day 101 6/27/2019 Allentown hiking club shelter. Mile 1242. Good hiking today. My only problem is that my left shoe is falling apart. The shoe maker (Salomon) is reviewing for warranty. However their process is to issue a voucher to purchase another pair on line and order from Salomon who will ship them to an address I provide.

Day 100 6/26/2019 Windsor Furnace. Mile 1225. Hitched into Hamburg Walmart/Subway and had a big sandwich, grocery shopped, and got another sandwich for dinner at camp. Good hiking; sunny and dry.

Day 99 6/25/2019 Eagles Nest. Mile 1211. It rained last night, but quit before dawn so it didn’t affect hiking except to make the muddy trails more muddy and the rocks more slick.

Day 98 6/24/2019. William Penn Shelter. Mile 1191. Pretty good hiking day except that I got lost so wasted about 3 hours to get back on the trail.

Day 97 6/23/2019. Rausch Gap, PA. Mile 1178. Good hiking weather. Trail conditions still poor with lots of mud and puddles which is a problem because my shoes are falling apart and have big holes in them.

Day 96 6/22/2019. Peters Mt. Mile 1160. Good weather. Trail drying out and improving but getting more rocky. Duncannon, PA is one of the few towns that the AT goes through so resupplying was done here today.

Day 95 6/21/2019. Cove Mt. Mile 1145. Sunny and dry today. Too bad the trail is a muddy mess from yesterday’s rain except for the very rocky sections.

Day 94 6/20/2019. Carlisle, PA. Mile 1131. Maybe most miserable day yet. Started OK and then the skies opened and poured rain on me. Heavy pounding rain. I was in the woods hours from any kind of shelter so there was no choice but to keep trudging down the trail that was now a river, sometimes over a foot deep. After about 4 hours of this I came to the town of Carlisle so I quit early and checked into a motel where I did laundry and got a hot shower and good meal.

Day 93 6/19/2019. Kennedy Shelter. Mile 1120. The traditional ritual when you reach half way on the AT is to eat a half gallon of ice cream. It was easy. Got rained on again. Tough hike.

Day 92 6/18/2019. Tom’s Run. Mile 1101. Rained last night but quit by morning. Left trails muddy and rocks wet. Rain threatened all day but did not happen. Passed AT midpoint.

Day 91 6/17/2019. Quarry Gap. Mile 1087. Drizzly rain, but not too bad.Tough climb on rocky trail.

Day 90 6/16/2019. Tumbling Run. Mile 1075. Good hiking today. Crossed the Mason-Dixon Line from Maryland into Pennsylvania. Although MD had some rocky challenges, it was one of the best states for hiking: pretty forests and the best trail markings of any state. The down side is that it is so developed one is never out of earshot of highway traffic.

Day 89 6/15/2019. Rock Raven Shelter. Mile 1062. Good weather today. Tough boulder field today to traverse followed by a long uphill climb. Not an easy day. Here’s a photo Of the trail I was unable to upload earlier today.

Day 88 6/14/2019. Pine Knob Mile 1048. great hiking day: cool, dry, trail in good condition and well marked.

Day 87 6/13/2019. Ed Garvey Shelter, MD. Mile1032. Spent most of day in Harpers Ferry (HF) which is significant for 3 reasons. 1. Where in 1859 abolitionist John Brown tried to arm slaves for an uprising. He failed and was hanged for treason. 2. Scene of big civil war battle in 1862 where the Confederates, lead by Stonewall Jackson, won. 3. The headquarters of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and museum. I enjoyed HF. Then I hiked out of WV and into Maryland and promptly got rained on and soaked once again.

Day 86 6/12/2019. David Lasser Shelter. Mile 1016. Yippee! I am finally in West Virginia. Virginia was beautiful with the best hiking, but it was so long (over 500 miles) I didn’t feel I was making much progress.

Day 85 6/11/2019. Sam Moore Shelter. Mile 1002. Breaking 1,000 miles is an encouragement. Dry, sunny, cool, and windy today. Tough hiking over the “Roller Coaster” of rocky spring steep ups and downs with very little level ground.

Day 84 6/10/2019. Whiskey Hollow Mile 989. Light rain all day, not as bad as yesterday. Muddy trail and wet socks and boots.

Day 83 6/9/2019. Front Royal, VA. Mile 969. Exited Shenandoah Nat Park today. It was the best hiking so far: good trails that were well marked and not so tough. Unfortunately, the weather today was terrible. It poured down on me, the trails became rivers and the rocks even more slippery. After several hours of that, I decided I didn’t want to put up my tent in that and be wet all night so I went to a B&B and ended that miserable day at a Thai restaurant. The B&B was a restored anti-vellum home and very nice.

Day 82 6/8/2019. Gravel Springs, VA. Mile 958. Good day hiking. Got cheeseburger, fries, milkshake from Wayside grill in SNP. Rain threatened but didn’t happen. Life is so good to me.

Day 81 6/7/2019. Thornton Gap. Mile 944. Short day to go into town of Luray for shower, laundry, resupply, and eat big meals to try to get weight gain.

Day 80 6/6/2019. Pinnacle picnic area. Mile 939. Walked in wet socks and shoes from yesterday’s rain. Otherwise, good hiking. Long day.

Day 79 6/5/2019. Bearfence Hut. Mile 918. The great weather couldn’t last. Today I got rained on by an afternoon shower. Still, not a bad day to hike and the trail is still in good shape.

Day 78 6/4/2019. High top Hut. Mile 906. Another good hiking day. Good weather. Saw lots of deer; not very shy.

Day 77 6/3/2019. Brown Gap. Mile 887. While not exactly easy, today was the easiest day yet on the AT. Gentle ups and downs without steep ascents or descents. Saw a bear at trailside. Here is a photo; he looked closer in real life.

Day 76 6/2/2019.Calf Mountain. Mile 871. Resupplied in Waynesboro, VA and got a big lunch. Entered Shenandoah National Park (SNP) for next 110 miles or so. Saw a big rattlesnake but it slithered before I could get a photo.

Day 75 6/1/2019. Wolfe Shelter. Mile 859. Got a late start after a big breakfast. Great hiking day.

Day 74 5/31/2019. Reeds Gap(Devils Backbone) Mile 845. Tough morning hike. Then hitched a ride to this commercial campground (free for hikers) with a good restaurant and brew/pub. Spent afternoon relaxing. Nice place.

Day 73 5/30/2019 Harpers Creek. Mile 837. Good hiking day; cooler from the rain of the previous day.

Day 72 5/29/2019. Steely-Woolworth,VA. Mile 822. Good hiking day for me; others complained about it being too hot. After settling in for the night, it rained and cooled things off.

Day 71 5/28/2019. Brown Mtn Creek Mile 807. Warm, almost 80 deg. Good hiking.

Day 70 5/27/2019. Glasgow, VA. Hitchhiked into town for resupply, shower, laundry and recharge phone and backup battery. Spaghetti dinner provided by local church to hikers.

Day 69. 5/26/2019. Marble Spring Mile 779. Everything is still wet from yesterday afternoon’s rain. After about an hour of hiking body heat dried all but socks and shoes. Very nice day of hiking. Crisscrossed the Blue Ridge Parkway a couple times. Very scenic.

Day 68. 5/25/2019. Bryant Ridge Mile 762. Wonderful hiking conditions, until it wasn’t. About 4:00 PM the skies opened and it poured on me for about 30 minutes. Everything I had on (which is almost all the clothes with me) got soaked. Oh well, no rain, no pain, no Maine.

Day 67 5/24/2019. Bobblets Gap, mile 748. Great hiking. Warm, light breeze. Great vistas; good trail conditions. No crazy rock faces to scramble over. Life is good.

Day 66 5/23/2019. Fullhardt Knob Mile 735. AT goes through Daleville, VA. Went to the Post Office, the outfitter’s for a new water filter, and 3 restaurants. Was so full I could hardly walk to the next campsite.

Day 65 5/22/2019. Trailside near Daleville, VA. Mile 726. Went to see sunrise at McAfee Knob but didn’t get there in time. It was still beautiful. Walked along edge of Tinker Cliffs all day. Wonderful day of hiking.

Day 64 5/21/2019. Catawba, VA. Mile 712. Passed 700 miles today. Some hiker marked the trail. The descent from Dragon’s Tooth area was hand over hand rock climbing – with a backpack on. Challenging!

Day 63 5/20/2019. Pickle Branch. Mile 697. Good weather, but tough trail. Lots of big flat rocks at crazy angles. Don’t know how one could cross them in slippery conditions. Long day. Exhausted.

Day 62 5/19/2019. Server Hollow Mile 681. Long hike today to Kelly Knob and some other peak. Great weather.

Day 61 5/18/2019. Trailside campsite. Mile 665. Great weather, but the trail was tough. It required crossing a few miles of random sized boulders, round or flat at various angles; some stable, some unstable. Really slowed me down.

Day 60 5/17/2019. Trailside campsite. Mile 651. The day started with intense thunder, followed by heavy rain for about half an hour. Then, surprise! The clouds separated and it was blue skies and sunshine. It was the first time I recall a good surprise weather change. It was beautiful hiking for the rest of the day.

Day 59 5/16/2019. Pearisburg, VA. 636. Beautiful hiking in Virginia. Eating in a town today. Eating a half pound burger, fries, and milk shake. Tonight planning to go to all you can all you can to get some of lost weight back.

Day 58 5/15/2019. Doc’s Knob. Mile 628. Good hiking day. Cool and windy, but at least it is dry. We had another bear in our camp at about 4:00 AM. It was frightened away pretty easily.

Day 57 5/14/2019. Unamed campsite. Mile612. Cold (40 deg) and windy, up to 60’s in PM. Trail was a muddy mess, but at least it stopped raining.

Day 56 5/13/2019. Helvey’s Mill. Mile 594. Off and on rain again. I am tired of hiking in wet socks and shoes – still wet from the days before.

We got some trail magic today. The local Methodist church provided us with a great breakfast. They said that many Methodist churches along the AT have a trail ministry and provide breakfast to hikers on Mondays. It was all food and conversation – mostly about hiking. No preaching and no pressure.

Day 55 5/12/2019. Jenkins, VA. Mile 580. Rain and drizzle all day. I was tempted to stay dry in my tent, but couldn’t stand the thought of doing nothing all day – I didn’t even bring a book with me because they are too heavy – even a Kindle. So I hiked.

Day 54 5/11/2019. Chestnut Knob, VA. Mile 570. I and about a dozen others were awakened at 6:00 AM this morning by the VA State Police. Apparently they had announced for everyone to get out of their tent but I was asleep so didn’t respond. He said to my tent “Is anyone in this tent?” I heard that and said “Yes, What’s going on?” He answered “There’s been a stabbing.” A couple miles from our camp, a guy whose trail name is “Sovereign” stabbed a gal and a guy last night and the police were checking to see if there more victims. They had the perpetrator in custody. This is a long story. He was arrested last month for threatening someone and for drugs. He pleaded guilty and was released. Latest word is that the gal died.

It rained all day today, so hiking meant slowly trudging along in the mud and over slick rocks. It’s been a bummer day.

Day 53 5/10/2019. Knot Maul ,VA mile 560. A ho-hum kind of day. Good weather.

Day 52 5/9/2019. Atkins, VA. mile 546. Good hiking. Nothing interesting happened today except more great views. It was pretty much a hike, eat, sleep, repeat, kind of day.

Day 51 5/8/2019. An unnamed campground. mile 529. No water here so had to backtrack about 1/4 mile to a stream and filter water to bring to the campground. I don’t think I mentioned bear bags yet. Since we had an encounter with a bear yesterday, I should. Every night we camp in the woods, even from the first day, we must put all of our food, or anything a bear might smell and think is food, like toothpaste, in a bag and hang it from a tree branch out of a bear’s reach. Here is a photo of my bear bag.

Day 50 5/7/2019. Old Orchard, VA. mile 511. Right ankle a little sore so took a slow short easy day. At night a big black bear approached our camp. We (about a dozen of us) made a lot of noise and threw rocks to scare him off. He wasn’t afraid but wandered off. About 15 minutes later he approached from the other side of camp and we did it again either same result. This happened once more back on the original side. By now we, and the bear were tired of this so we went to sleep. If he came back, we slept through it. No apparent effect. All our food was stored in a steel box.

Day 49 5/6/2019. Massie Gap, VA. mile 503. Sunny and dry today, but trail is full of little streams and mud from yesterday’s all day rain. Had to pick my way through random rocks. Tough climb to summit of Mt Rogers and Greyson Highlands. Saw lots of wild ponies.

Day 48 5/5/2019. Lost Mountain, mile 487. Rained all day, from slight drizzle to heavier. Not too cold so it was ok after accepting that hands and feet were going to be wet all day. Lots of rhododendron in bloom.

Day 47 5/4/2019. Still in Damascus. I took a zero day at a hostel to rest, resupply, get a shower, do laundry, and to eat to regain some weight I lost.

Happy Birthday to me! I turned 72 today. Thank you to those wishing me well and who sang to me (including about 20 other hikers at the hostel).

Day 46 5/3/2019. Damascus, VA mile 471. Yahoo! I am out of TN. Eastern TN is also beautiful – like western NC. In fact since the trail followed border between the two states, any given time we didn’t know which state we were in.

I will be in VA for a long time. There is more of the AT in Va (about 550 miles) than in any other state.

Damascus is of special significance for the AT because the largest festival of the Trail is held here the third weekend of May.

Day 45 5/2/2019. Double Spring, TN mile 452. Good liking today; a few nuisance showers that didn’t amount to anything. Just enough rain to stop, put on rain gear, then stop again to remove the rain gear because the rain stopped and it is too warm unless it is raining.

Day 44 5/1/2019. Vandeventer mile 438. Good hiking weather. Trail magic today. Life doesn’t get much better than this. Living the dream. I just added a new photo of my tent on the bald a few days ago, before the windstorm (if it uploads).

Day 43 4/30/2019. Laurel Fork. mile 420. Yippee! I am out of North Carolina. NC is beautiful with terrific mountains, cascade rivers, and flowered woodlands; but it also can have tough hiking and mean weather.

Day 42 4/29/2019. Mountaineer, mile 403. Resupplied by hitching a ride to Dollar General in Elk Park,TN and then back to the trail so got a late start. Great hiking day.

Day 41 4/28/2019. US19E mile 395. Cool, windy, dry. Pretty good hiking. Balds are mountain tops above the tree line there are only rocks and maybe grass and small bushes. I camped on a bald thinking I would have a nice sunset an sunrise. All was fine for the sunset and I was asleep when at about 10:00 PM the wind picked up in huge gusts. The tent was well staked so the bottom was not moving but the force of the wind gusts blew the top of the tent all around, almost flat to the ground. I was concerned the wind would either burst the fabric, tear the seams, or fatigue fail the aluminum poles; so I unclipped the pole ends from the tent corners and let the tent collapse on me. I tried to sleep the rest of the night under the collapsed tent but the wind kept flogging at the loose fabric so it made a lot of noise. It was my scariest night in a tent, ever. Fortunately it was not raining or particularly cold. At daybreak I packed the tent as quickly as possible and got off that bald. No real damage resulted from that night but I don’t plan to ever sleep on a bald again.

Day 40 4/27/2019 GrassRidge mile 383. Wonderful day for hiking. It was even more good than yesterday was bad. Trail Magic had pancakes and bacon and fresh fruit and Subway sandwiches. It is unpredictable when and where it will be; and is provided by former hikers who appreciated it when they were hikers.

Day 39 4/26/2019 near Clyde Smith Shelter mile 370. Terrible, rotten, lousy day. It started raining overnight so I had to pack up the tent in the cold windy rain. It rained all day and got colder and more windy as the day went on. It even hailed for about a half hour. Finally I had to put up the wet tent in the rain. My fingers and toes are numb. I buried my self in my damp sleeping bag to try to get warm, get some sleep, and forget this crummy day.

Day 38 4/25/2019 Unaka Mountain, TN mile 357. After early morning drizzle, it cleared. Overcast skies with no sunshine, but a good hiking day. I got lost again and wasted about 40 minutes getting back to the trail; I need to do something about getting lost so often.

Day 37 4/24/2019 Erwin, TN mile 344. Warm hiking day- maybe mid-70s. Other hikers complained it was too hot. I thought it was just right.

There is a woman named Miss Janet who is famous for helping hikers. She hosted 5 of us for dinner and provided a chance for a hot shower and to do laundry and to sleep inside and charge up our electronics. It was great!

Day 36 4/23/2019 Whistling Gap, 331. Good hiking weather. Tough hike to top of Bald Mountain (5,516′).

Day 35 4/22/2019 Hogback Ridge, mile317.

Great hiking day, warm and sunny. Long hike today, but not too difficult.

“He is risen indeed.”

Day 34 4/21/2019 Happy Easter! Jerry Cabin, mile 302. Packed up wet tent in cold rain. Fingers are numb; no fun. Rain stopped about noon and then overcast. Sun broke through about 6 PM. Then beautiful views from the ridge made it all worthwhile.

Day 33 4/20/2019

Spring Mtn, NC. Because of yesterday’s heavy rain which continued through the night there was flooding of the French Broad River including part of the AT so I had to take some detours to proceed. The rain stopped for the first few hours of hiking, then it turned cooler and resumed raining. Air temp is 40 degrees.

Cell service not sufficient to upload photo. Maybe next time.

Day 32 4/19/2019

Hot Springs, NC mile 275. Woke up to thunder and lightning and rain. Slogged through the rain into Hot Springs. Had a good meal at a restaurant but it took so long there was not enough time to make it to the next campground so spent the night in a hostel.

Day 31 4/18/2019

Deer Park Mt. mile 272. Another fine day of hiking. Stopped just short of Hot Springs, NC.

Day 30 4/17/2019

Walnut Mt, NC. Mile 262. This was the perfect hiking day. Low 70′ s, sunny and clear, and most trails today fairly gradual with a minimum of steep ups and downs and rocks and roots.

Day 29 4/16/2019

Groundhog Creek, NC, mile 249. The AT runs along the border between NC and TN, so which state I am in depends on which side of the trail i am on.

Susie returned me to the point I left the trail to continue on. Good hiking in good conditions.

Day 28 4/15/2019

In Gatlinburg, TN. Figuring out the features of my new backpack. So many more adjustments to make than in my old pack. Went back to the shop to have some explained. I have one I never plan to use-the holder for an ice axe. Then went to a grocery store and bought too much food.

Day 27 4/14/2019

In Gatlinburg. Quite a tourist center. Reminds me of Pier 39 area in San Francisco. Went to an outfitter and bought a new backpack. I liked my previous one but it was not designed for distance hiking so after a couple hours of hiking my shoulders hurt.

Day 26 4/13/2019

Davenport Gap, mile 239. Exited the northern end of Great Smokey Mt National Park.

The Smokies were beautiful but I am glad to have them behind me. Because of their elevation (3,000 – 6,000 ft) they were cool, wet, foggy, and very windy. I would hike there again, but I would choose July or August instead April.

My wife, Susie met me at Davenport Gap to go to Gatlinburg, TN for a couple days of recovery and resupply.

Day 25 4/12/2019

Cosby knob, mile 231. Rained last night. I slept dry but packing a wet tent in the cold wind was no fun. Drizzled until about noon when it cleared. The rest of the day was windy and cool, but dry and bright.

To Siesta Key Chapel Choir: I know you will do a great job for the Palm Sunday music service. I wish I were with you.

Day 24 4/11/2019

Tri-corner knob, mile 223. Cool and sunny, but very windy. When walking across an exposed ridge, one feels like they could blown off.

Day 23 4/10/2019

Ice water Spring, mile 211. Beautiful day to hike. Started cool at 45 deg and warmed to about 60 quickly. However, I got lost on the wrong trail so had to backtrack to get back to the Appalachian Trail, causing about an extra 3 miles. I want to blame a confusing sign, but no one else got lost, so it was probably my fault.

Day 22 4/9/2019

Mt Collins, mile 203. Started in rain as usual; stopped raining about noon. Got to Clingmans Dome, highest point on the Appalachian Trail at 6600 ft. On the observation tower, there was nothing to see but fog.

Day 21 4/8/2019

Double Spring, mile197. Most miserable day yet. Started hiking in light rain. As the day went on, the rain got heavier, the wind stronger and colder. But no choice but to slog on. I was completely soaked, not a dry square inch on me.

Day 20 4/7/2019

Derrick’s Knob, mile 190. Rained overnight and for the first few hours, then stopped for an hour and then rained some more. Cell service hard to find; no one lives in the national park so no one bothers to install cell towers. Don’t be surprised if I go dark for a few days.

Day 19 4/6/2019

Mollies Ridge, mile 178. Entered The Great Smokey Mountains National Park, reportedly the most visited national park in the country. So far it looks just like N Georgia and NC except permits are required and there are rangers to check them.

Day 18 4/5/2019

Still at Fontana Dam shelter, mile 166. Tent sites here are concrete so no stakes can be used. My tent is free standing so that is OK. However the rainfly must be staked to be effective. Last night we had a strong wind-rain storm so this morning everything was wet so I took the day to dry out, resupply, and rest.

Day 17 4/4/2019

Ended at Fontana Dam shelter, mile 166. Referred to as the “Fontana Hilton” because of the view of Lake Fontana and modern bathroom with shower.The lake is a result of Fontana Dam, built by TVA in the 1940’s to electrify the region.

Day 16 4/3/2019

Ended at Brown Fork Gap campground. Mile 153. My replacement for the broken part will be provided at no charge. Thank you, Cascade Mountain. Couple of long steep climbs; slept like a rock.

Day 15 4/2/2019

I don’t know where I am. I stopped and pitched my tent along the trail because it was getting late. I suppose I am around mile 141. It snowed on me the first couple hours of hiking, then cleared up for beautiful blue skies. I broke my hiking pole but was able to kluge a repair. I was crossing a field of boulders when the bottom of the pole slipped between two rocks; I lurched and the pole snapped.

Day 14

At Wesser Bald, mile131. After a cold night where I wore everything I had including a knit cap and gloves inside my sleeping bag, it was another beautiful day of hiking. At noon there was still ice in the puddles.

Day 13 3/31/2019

He is at Waya Bald, NC, mile 120. Franklin, NC is very hiker friendly. The First Baptist Church provided free all-you-can-eat breakfast of pancakes, bacon, and orange juice to hikers. Then we got a free shuttle ride back to the trail. Hiking was great.

Tuesday, April 2nd is my 48th wedding anniversary. Thank you, Susie, for the best years of my life. I miss you. Love…..Scott

Day 12 3/30/2019

From Winding Stair Gap, NC, mile 109, I got a ride into Franklin, NC and spent the night at a motel. What a luxury – hot shower, laundry, food resupply, electric lights, wi-fi, and not needing to hang my food bag in a tree to keep it away from bears. I went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner.

I made a big time rookie mistake by bringing too much food. Since this is my first resupply, that means I had 12 days of food, making my pack heavier than necessary. Most hikers only carry enough to get them to the next food opportunity plus just a bit more, for a total of about 4 days.

Day 11 3/29/2019

What a glorious day to hike! Partly sunny from one beautiful view to another. Spent the night at Betty Creek Gap. Not much there except tent sites and a beautiful stream.

Day 10 3/28/2019

Yahoo! I am finally out of Georgia and into North Carolina. That’s one state down and 13 to go. Georgia was pretty brutal. I was hoping for a more flamboyant sign.

Day 9 3/27/2019

Started cool at 32 dog but warmed up to about 60. What a beautiful day to hike. Terrific! Heard coyotes overnight.

Day 8 3/26/2019

Cloudy and more rain. I am tired of being wet and cold, but my spirits are good. Spent the night in a shelter again. It is no warmer than a tent but it avoids setting up in the rain and packing up a wet tent in the morning.

Day 7 3/25/2019

Hiked 12.4 miles today. Drizzle from late morning until mid-afternoon when it rained more steady. Not too cold, mid 60’s and still a light rain. It was very peaceful and restful walking through mist. I was thoroughly soaked by the end of the day. Fortunately I had dry things to sleep in. Overnight there was a big storm with thunder and lightning; and I think hail. I didn’t want to open my tent to check.

Day 6 3/24/2019

Hiked 12 miles today, my most productive yet, mostly because I could start an hour earlier because I didn’t need to strike camp since I stayed in a hostel last night. Another beautiful day of hiking. Tonight I stayed in a shelter. Shelters are about 5 – 10 miles apart and are a three sided structure with a roof. You sleep on wooden platform with about a half dozen strangers. There are pros and cons. Generally, I prefer my tent. If this photo uploads ( some don’t with a weak signal) it is of the shelter I am in tonight.

Day 5 3/23/2019

Hiked 7.3 miles today. Neels Gap is a hiker destination because there is an outfitter so hikers can get things they forgot, lost, or broke. Lots of day hikers here to go up Blood Mountain (enticing Name, no?), which is the highest point in GA. I stayed in a hostel, which for $20 provides a bunk, a towel, and a hot shower. No laundry facility so a couple pairs of underwear, a tee-shirt, and my sleeping bag liner took a shower with me. All synthetic so they dried quickly.

Day 4 3/22/2019

Hiked 8.3 miles again today. Experienced two more trail Magic’s today, one at breakfast and one at lunch. This is highly unusual, perhaps because it is peak season here for thru-hikers who must leave about now to have a chance to finish before winter in Maine. Glorious day to hike, cool and sunny. Too bad the terrain is so rugged.

Day 3 3/21/2019

Hiked 8.3 miles today. Experienced two more trail Magic’s, one with breakfast and at lunch time. That is when folks provide free food and drink to hikers. This one had hot dogs, fresh fruit, donuts, Gatorade, and water.

It may be the first day of spring, but it is still winter here. No sign of wildlife and the trees are still dead-looking.

Day 2 3/20/2019

Hiked 9 miles today including about a mile to Springer Mountain, the official start oh the Appalachian Trail and another 8 miles of the trail. No pain or blisters so far; all is well. Here is a photo of the start of the approach trail.

Day 1 3/19/2019

28 degrees when started hiking. I wore 5 layers of clothes (t-shirt, light long sleeved shirt, polar fleece shirt, puffy coat, windbreaker jacket) to keep warm. That’s all the clothes I have with me except another pair of socks, underwear, and rain pants. They would have been next.

Hiked 9 miles from the lodge to the visitor center and up the approach trail almost to Mount Springer, the start of the Appalachian Trail. All is well. No pain or blisters.

Day 0 3/18/2019

Travelled without incident from Sarasota to Atlanta, then by light rail train, then by a shuttle service to the Appalachian registration center. Then to the Amicalola Falls Lodge. I did my first stupid mistake today by forgetting to pack my recently purchased thermal underwear. I need them to sleep warm, so I had to buy another set. The shuttle driver graciously stopped at 3 stores before I could find any.

Day – 3 3/15/2019.

I have decided to take my new tent, Big Agnes brand. Even though it is smaller and more complex to set up, it is a pound lighter. That is a lot for a hiker. Here is a photo of the new tent and me, dressed in my hiking clothes (in my back yard.

Day -7. 3/11/2019

Preparation continues. Adding more padding to the backpack hip belt and shoulder straps. Also need longer straps for the shoulders so I can loosen them to take more load off the shoulders and put it on the hips. Ordered strap material from Amazon today.

Am spending alternate nights in my two tents to decide which I will take. My old one is larger and goes up much faster and is warmer than my new tent. The new tent has many more lines, snaps, buckles, and poles, better ventilation, and is about a pound lighter.


The most common question I get is why am I going? I am not sure; maybe when I finish I will have a better answer. It has not been a long time bucket list passion. My interest started about a dozen years ago when I read the Bill Bryson book “A Walk In The Woods” and then the Cheryl Strayed book “Wild” and then several other books. It sounded like an adventure. I waited so long to do it because I didn’t want to give up the summer visits with our kids and especially the grandkids. But as I approach my 72nd birthday I figured if I were to do it at all, I need to do while I was still healthy enough ( I think). I still have mixed emotions about missing them and my wife. When it is over I will need to consider if it was worth it.

15 thoughts on “Scott’s Appalachian Trail Hike

  1. Great adventure. Can’t figure out the dates: March 20 isn’t here yet?? Anyway, hope your knees and everything else holds out. How many shoes do you figure on??


  2. Hi Scott!

    It’s amazing what you’re doing and I’m sure it’ll end up being worth it in the end. Just the experience alone I bet is eye-opening; I can’t even fathom it. It’s a dream amongst some of my friends as well.

    I hope everyday is a new, wonderful experience! And I wish you the best, and hopefully the weather gets better for you as the days go on. Say hello to any of your new hiking friends from me, haha.

    Much love from Indiana,
    Ann Liang


      1. I am sort of taking zero days by hanging out with Steve Escher until Saturday when my flight leaves. Can you believe there is a non-stop flight from Bangor, Maine to the Bay Area, and it is the cheapest choice, but they only fly on Saturday.




  3. Hello Scott, I met you in Virginia, on a ridge, ~ 3 miles before you crossed the Foot Bridge over the James River, on Memorial Day. I am 63 and you had just turned 72. I had stayed at Matts Creek shelter the night before and was just doing a 5 mile out/back hike . I told you the Flying Dutchman and the hiker w/ white dog also stayed at the shelter and were going north. Karefree and Hotfoot stopped at the shelter and decided to tent 1 mile before the Foot Bridge. You were going into Glasgow for a hamburger and milkshake to help put weight back on. I told you I was considering hiking from Foot Bridge to Springer in June, but after completing the uphill, i was having doubts. I remember you told me your 1st month on trail was miserable and you were now enjoying the adventure. I did not go out in June. I have followed your hike ever since and I want you to know that you inspire me. I have enjoyed your words and pictures. Praise the Lord you are safe! Thanks for letting me be part of your adventure. WELL DONE.


  4. We met at several of the huts in NH. You were soaking your feet in the stream, or brook as they call it, at Zealand Falls. Then several of us waited anxiously for you to hike in to Lakes of the Clouds. Do you know if Moonwalk finished? What about Snail Mail? My friend John (Raven) has been filling in miles in VA since our return from NH. I have added 135 new miles, some in Va and some in PA this fall. Congratulations on finishing!
    Jane (Revisit)


    1. Hi Jane. I remember you and Raven well, among many great folks I met on the AT. I have kept up with only a few of them, but I don’t know about Moonwalk or Snail Mail. I am enjoying being back home and have a new appreciation of electric lights, hot showers, and cars. Congratulations to you for the additional miles that you are continuing to add on. Great to hear from you.


  5. Scott, I have read your blog twice. What an amazing feat! Not only are you an incredible hiker, but you are also an incredible writer and photographer. I am not sure that I will ever be able to thru-hike either the Pacific Crest Trail, or the Appalachian Trail, but I am hoping to thru-hike the John Muir Trail at some point. You are an inspiration! I am going to have to connect with you sometime to figure out a gear list. I have an old (read heavy) tent, pad, backpack, and sleeping bag, so I will likely have to get new gear.


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