Injury & Healing: A Mental Approach

In 2014, at just over 200 miles into our southbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, injury ensued. And not in some badass way that I can turn into a riveting story either. The knot I tied for one end of my hammock was loose and the toggle slipped out. The result? I landed straight on my tailbone. Oops! Crippled over in immediate pain, I knew it was bad. I could not fathom the thought of dropping off trail — it was not an option to me. So we took 5 days off in Gorham, NH where I laid motionless for the first 2 days, slowly walked around the 3rd day, slowly walked around with an empty pack on the 4th day, and repeated with a half-full pack the 5th day. It didn’t help that we were just getting into the White Mountains of New Hampshire, arguably one of the toughest sections of the AT.

You can see the crushed vertebra outlined in pencil.

You can see the crushed vertebra outlined in pencil. Yowza!

Continue reading

Advertisements

Gossamer Gear ‘Kumo’ and a Bear Canister Fall in Love

Planning to thru-hike an extended version of Roper’s Sierra High Route, I knew the dreaded bear canister had to join for the escapades. Shortly after becoming enamored with my Gossamer Gear “Kumo” backpack, the question popped into my head: Can I carry the Kumo with a bear canister? Research online proved little-to-no-help, so I set out to test not only the possibility but also the comfort of carrying a bear canister with my beloved pack. The results, a resounding success!

Kumo, fully loaded and ready to rock!

Kumo, fully loaded and ready to rock!

Continue reading

Eat

 


 

wpid-20140928_144938_1.jpg

“Let’s see here.  Allright, two dozen Reese Cups, gummy bears…”

Here it comes.

“Ramen…yep.  Uh, jar of peanut butter, tortillas, M&M’s.  Instant potatoes, um, two three, ok.  Ten Snickers, bag of Fritos, and, oh yeah, donut holes.”
The heavily bearded, slightly emaciated hiker in front of me nararated as he packed his foodbag.  Let’s call him Redbeard (a common moniker along the AT).

“And I could never do without these.”  He held out a sleeve of off brand sandwich cookies; the kind you find on the snack tray in the fellowship hall before church a service.   I looked at the Oreo knockoffs, nodded that I understood, and waited, expecting a punchline.   He shrugged and dumped them into a ziplock and crammed them in his pack, next to a few tuna packets and instant oatmeal.  His friend exclaimed from the trash can just outside the entrance of the grocery store.

“Dude somebody bought Triscuits!” He was gazing into the recepticle, full of hiker trash.

“Amateurs.” muttered Redbeard as he pulled the lid from a pint of Edys Moose Tracks. Continue reading

The Blister Whisperer

When your main form of travel is your feet and travel is your life-force, then the health of your feet becomes a top priority.
The old saying, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” rings true if you replace “momma” with “your feet”. For this reason, I have tried with many trials and errors to find a way to move about in the world that will keep my feet–and therefore myself and those around me–quite happy. Continue reading

“Oh my god, it was near-impossible!”

Common among hikers is a way of talking, of storytelling that is seemingly meant to scare fellow hikers; an explosion of a simple experience into something near-impossible or almost-unattainable. The exchange usually ensues as such:
Hiker A – “Hey, how was the ascent of Mount X?”
Hiker B – “Oh man, it was so gnarly! There were slabs of granite at almost a 90 degree angle that were all moss-covered and you couldn’t climb up without using both hands and feet! One small misstep and you’d definitely plummet right off the mountain!”
Continue reading

No Pain, No Maine: A Month in Photos

The old AT thru hiker adage, “No Pain, No Maine”, normally applies to northbound (NOBO) hikers and is used to keep spirits up as they push through the first 2,000 miles, essentially implying that without a bit of pain and suffering, you will never finish the trail.

Well since we’re southbound (SOBO), we started with the hardest terrain first, and we soon realized that the saying applies to us SOBO’s too, because, well, Maine hurts. From ankles to knees, backs and buttocks, the first 300 miles of the trail worked us like a couple of couch potatoes. Continue reading

The 100 Mile Wilderness in 5 Days

IMG_5478

 

Banana pudding, peach cobbler, vanilla ice cream, hand-tossed pizza, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, fresh fruit and crisp vegetables, moist homemade carrot cake, savory hummus and salty Pringles, pasta, butterscotch fudge, swiss cake rolls with espresso, pop tarts.  Fucking pop tarts.  This was the gist of our conversation as we ascended White Cap Mountain, our first major climb since heading south out of Baxter State Park. Continue reading

It Is Complete. And Now We Begin!

We did it! Coast to coast on bicycles!
We survived the diesel truck-laden highways and the swarms of curious, kind, and interested people which whom we encountered daily on our cross-country bicycle tour.

Dun digga du-du DUN!

Bicycling from Big Sur, California down to San Diego, across through southern Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and through Florida’s panhandle to St. Augustine made the coast-to-coast trip official. At over 3,500 miles in about 3 months, it became the norm to wake up, eat, drink coffee, pedal, eat, pedal, eat, drink coffee, eat, pedal, pedal, eat, top the day off with a beer and a shooter of bourbon, conk out in sleep, and repeat the process day-in and day-out. Continue reading