Twig Adventures

AT Day 0: Hello Again Maine!

Phase 1 of my AT journey was getting from one of the most southern locations in the US to one of the most remote of northern locations…all in only one day! This involved a direct flight from Miami to Bangor, a commuter bus ride from Bangor to Medway, and finally a shuttle to the AT Lodge in Millinocket, ME. The Lodge offers a great SOBO special, which includes the shuttle from Medway, 1 night in a bunk room, and a shuttle to Katahdin Stream Campground Ranger Station early the next morning. If a hiker opts for a second night (wise time spent acclimating), the staff will even help with a pack evaluation and shake-down. Millinocket is the closest town to[…]

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Southbound on the AT…the right way

Everyone knows that a long-distance trail is one-directional, from north to south, right? WRONG! Where and when this concept took root, I can’t say. I also can’t tell you how many times I’ve been informed by well-meaning northbounders (NOBOs) that I was hiking the ‘wrong way’ or ‘backwards’.  That’s all fine with me, as I’ve always had a penchant for being different and ‘going against the grain.’ Besides, southbounding the 3 Triple Crown trails has many advantages, namely fewer crowds and less competition for trail town resources. SOBOs also just rock. I didn’t start out going the wrong way on my first 2 trails, the Colorado Trail and Te Araroa. Both have some valid reasons for having a ‘more easier’[…]

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The Backwards Triple Crown

First, let’s get the “What’s the Triple Crown of Hiking?” question out of the way. Borrowed from the horse racing world, this Triple Crown is an informal recognition of those that have hiked all 3 of the longest American trails end-to-end. The 3 trails are the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), and the Appalachian Trail (AT). According to the American Long Distance Hiking Association’s 2020 records (ALDHA-West), a total of 482 Triple Crown of Hiking Award recipients have so far been recognized. That means more people have been to space than have hiked all 3 of these trails! Chew on that Jeff Bezos! Money can buy just about anything but it takes some real blood, sweat,[…]

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My Genesis on the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail. Well, plans are finally in place and I’m about 3 weeks from my start date…which is to say that I’m officially announcing my intent to hike the entire AT! I will begin at the top of Mt Katahdin in Maine, then work my way south to Georgia over the course of about 3-4 months. For those that are maybe not so familiar with the trail, here are a few ‘AT Fun Facts’ derived from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy webpage. The Appalachian Trail (AT) is one of the longest continuously marked footpaths in the world, measuring 2,193.1 miles in length. The AT passes through 14 states along the crests and valleys of the Appalachian mountain range from the[…]

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2021 GET Summary and Stats

I thru-hiked the Grand Enchantment Trail with my hiking buddy Stellar T, starting outside of Phoenix, Arizona on March 18th, 2021 and finishing atop Sandia Peak, perched above Albuquerque, New Mexico on April 29th, 2021. The route was pretty much what we expected it to be. There were days that involved some of the hardest/crappiest hiking I’ve ever done and some days that were the best ever for their scenery and remoteness. This is not a hike for winging-it. There are no signs or markers except for a few old Forest Service blazes here and there. GPS is extremely useful and I would argue, almost essential. Overall I found the navigation well within our abilities…that is to say it was[…]

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GET Day 40: The Finish on top the Sandias

Thursday Apr 29th, 2021, 1000-1600 I 40/Tijeras to Sandia Peak Tram, Segment 38, mm 757 15 miles I’d stuck this one out to the end and it was finally time to call it that…THE END. The past few weeks had certainly dragged on, first because of our illness and then so we could align our plans with good weather and our return ride. John, trail angel extraordinaire, was on his way from Phoenix to pick us up but wouldn’t be getting in until late afternoon. We had all day to walk the last 15 miles, which is a good thing since we had stayed up late with Blue and Twerk. We slept in a little, ate a small breakfast at[…]

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GET Day 39: Killing Time

Wednesday Apr 28th, 2021, 0730-1100 Manzanita Mountains to I 40, Tijeras, Segment 37, mm 742 7 miles I woke with another migraine but at least this time I took the right medicine. When my alarm went off, the pain was mostly gone. I also woke to something else, something that had been missing for too long…hunger. First thing I did was eat all my granola. It was a nice morning and we weren’t in a hurry, so I made coffee then tea while eating all the chocolate I had, along with other snacks. We continued down more bike trails but didn’t see anyone else. The day before we only encountered 2 bikers on the trails. There must be over 100[…]

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GET Day 38: Disjointed Wonderings

Tuesday Apr 27th, 2021, 0600-1900 Comanche Pass to Manzanita Mountains, Segment 37, mm 735 23.5 miles I woke around 4 am with a pretty severe migraine. They haven’t been too bad on this hike so I don’t know what triggered it. Perhaps too few calories and too much exertion. I took some of my medication but when my alarm went off, it felt like the migraine was worse. I realized that I must have taken a benadryl instead of the medicine I needed (both were mixed together in a small bag and oblong in shape, hard to differentiate in the dark). So not only was my head pounding, I felt groggy as well. I didn’t want to move but had[…]

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GET Day 37: Manzano Mountains

Monday Apr 26th, 2021, 0630-1800 Rattlesnake Spring to Comanche Pass, Segment 35, mm 690.5 23.5 miles It was another relatively warm and calm night. I heard some sort of nightjar calling but wasn’t sure what kind. While I was forcing my dinner down the night before, a single mosquito got a bite in before I could even recognize what it was. It’s maybe the 4th I’ve seen all trip. Flies and gnats have also been a non-issue. I guess our struggle to find water all the time comes with some benefits. To start the day, we walked some more ATV roads to a graded forest service road, then up 4 miles to a somewhat abused and neglected campground. It had[…]

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GET Day 36: UFO’s or weather balloons?

Sunday Apr 25th, 2021, 0630-1930 Grey Ridge cut to Rattlesnake Spring, Segment 34, mm 668 25 miles The wind settled down nicely overnight but once again, my stomach did not. I woke around 1 am feeling the need to throw up my dinner. I just couldn’t let that happen so I tried some herbal remedies that helped settle my stomach and put me back to sleep. I still woke with a knot in my stomach and could only manage to choke down a banana for breakfast. I’ve had no appetite whatsoever for days and my stomach is visibly distended, even though there’s nothing in there. I just feel bloated. I can’t imagine how much longer this could last. I should[…]

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