Endless P Summer

It’s been awhile since I last updated this blog but I’ll try to bring you up to speed on my last few weeks on the AT. I tried to get a post out about every ten days or so while on the trail but those last few weeks were tough, I barely had time to stuff my face and read myself a bedtime story at the end of the day. Anyway, I finished the trail on July 5th and it was glorious. For real, it was quite a thrill. I didn’t start off thinking I would bomb through it so quickly but about a third of the way in I decided to at least make an attempt to do it in 80 days. Early on in the hike I was averaging around 25 mile days and my body felt really strong, it almost felt like I was going easy on this thing. In northern Virginia I did a little arithmetic and figured if I hustled a little I could get home to Massachusetts in time for the Fannon/Borrelli nuptials in early July. Once I made that decision it was crush city out there. For real this was an NFA, bare bones, thru hike at a suicide pace. For me, it was thoroughly enjoyable but I’m not sure I would recommend this style to others going out to hike the AT. Unless you’re really into punishing yourself all day long for weeks on end.

The last two states, New Hampshire and Maine, were without a doubt the most difficult of the entire trail. In my opinion they provided the best scenery and, especially Maine, were the most remote. I’ve been hiking in NH’s  White Mountains since I was a kid and thought oh yeah no big deal I can handle it, but traversing the state with a pack was super tough. Nothing I couldn’t handle though but it did slow me down.

I had been used to doing 30+ mile days since Virginia but in the Whites my pace slowed to a crawl, averaging about 25’s through the rest of the state. It was fun though. Most of the time the weather was great, ideal for looking around and swimming in icy cold streams. My favorite way of reminding myself how alive I am is to jump in the coldest water possible on a hot day. It’s also a good way of holding myself over until my next shower, since I went 12 days without one(new record if you were wondering, showered in North Adams, MA and then not again until Bethel, ME). #livefreeordie.

When I got to Franconia Notch, my buddy Patrick came up to camp with me for a night and hike a few miles. He took me to McDonald’s and a gas station to resupply then got me all caught up on gossip and the antics of his life. It was fun.

The one time in NH where I ran into lousy weather I was probably in the most inopportune place. I was getting up to the Presidentials just leaving the Mitzpah Spring Hut where I stopped for a quick snack.(the huts in the Whites are different than the shelters. They’re staffed and heated and have beds and meals for like $100+ a night. Not really my style but they treat thru hikers pretty well. If we do chores we can spend the night on the floor for free and after meal time they give us tons of leftovers. They feed us like dogs, in a good way.

One time I stopped in a hut and they gave me a huge bowl of cold steak tips and a piece of day old lasagna the size of a baseball glove. It was awesome!) It was overcast and I could still see the summit of Mt. Washington when I left but once I got to top of Mt. Pierce the wind picked up and it started raining. All of a sudden it got wicked cold, super windy and was raining cats and dogs.

This next section of trail is above the treeline and exposed for miles. I knew I could reach the next hut in a couple hours so since there wasn’t any thunder or lightning I went for it. Ride or die and all that stuff. I was not in a very favorable situation, it was actually pretty miserable. I was soaked to the bone and about as cold as I get, but when I got to the Lakes of the Clouds Hut I couldn’t have been happier. Everybody there was pretty much in the same boat, excited to be inside, comparing their harrowing weather stories and high fiving each other. I waited out the storm for about 3 hours and when it seemed to clear up a little I went for the summit of Washington and got there around 5. The guy working up there told me to expect 70+ mile wind gusts but probably no precipitation. So I pushed 6 more miles to the Madison Springs Hut and made it, obviously. The rest of NH wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination but it wasn’t as dangerous either.

A couple days later I crossed into Maine and hiked through Mahoosuc Notch, the gnarliest and most notorious mile of the whole trail. Reading about it won’t do it justice, you’ve got to experience it yourself. My parents met me again in Grafton Notch and for a couple days I felt like Scott Jurek with a legit crew. They got themselves a new Maine atlas and found all these small roads where the trail crosses, it was almost like they were showing off. So I stayed with them at their place in Bethel for a night and because of their knew knowledge of the road crossings was able to slack pack a couple of small sections. It was really cool. My mom hiked with me for one of the sections and they both provided trail magic for me and some other hikers, giving us food and rides to hitchhikers.

The rest of Southern Maine was no joke. I did a 100+ mile stretch into Caratunk and it was packed with incredible mountains, ridges, rivers, lakes, and moose. Naturally I crushed it. I was surprised that there was such great hiking so close to me that I just never experienced. I’ve always just gone to the Whites when I go hiking and this incredible resource is so close. So many places I plan on returning to. Including the Caratunk House B and B, run by a former AT and PCT thru hiker Paul. Highly recommended. Paul has all the thru hiker staples: milkshakes, cheeseburgers and French toast and it was cheap.

From there it was about 40 miles to Monson and the beginning of the dastardly 100 mile wilderness. I tried and failed the breakfast challenge at Pete’s in Monson but left town with a full stomach and about 4 days worth of heavy food in my pack. The 100 mile wilderness goes from Monson to Abol bridge where there’s a store about 10 miles south of Baxter state park(two thumbs down for the store). The wilderness is out there, no civilization or cell service or anything. A week prior to getting there I had planned on meeting my mom at the Katahdin stream campground the night of the 4th.

After a day and a half of lots of little mountains I woke up on the morning of the 3rd with 66 miles of relatively flat trail, although rocky and rooty and muddy and buggy. I did a 38 mile day to make sure I had just an easy 28 miler into Baxter and got there shortly after 6pm. This must have been what hiking in the 90’s was like, no phones, just do what you have to do in order to be where you say you’ll be. So on the morning of the 5th I got up super early, and joined by the most badass 62 year old woman I know, bombed up Katahdin. The weather and the views were phenomenal. Reaching the sign at the summit was an indescribable feeling. So I won’t even try. We basked in the glory of the day at the top with a handful of day hikers then slowly made our way down and then home to Lynn.

The AT was great. Hard as anything I’ve ever done but beautiful, fun, and rewarding in ways I can’t put into words. If you’re thinking about thru hiking, go for it, just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I spent the last few days at home and it was great. Got to see my family which should be increasing by one any day now when Mike and Erica have their baby. It’s too bad they didn’t time it better and have the baby while I was home, but whatever. Also got to officiate at my friends Joe and Kristen’s wedding. No big deal, only one of the greatest dance parties of all time.

One of the benefits of putting such a whooping on the AT is that now I’ve got more time for adventures. Right now I’m layed over in Philadelphia on my way to Seattle.  Don’t be too jealous though I just got stuck on a plane next to a giant with humongous elbows, no regard for my personal space, and who kept burping up the bologna sandwiches he had for lunch. Other than that, things are cool. Stay tuned if you want to see what I’m up to the rest of the summer and feel free to follow me on Instagram @endlesspsummer.

-Endless




Live Free or Die

Mile 1757

Live free or die from mosquito bites. Just kidding that would be horrible and the bugs really haven’t been bad, tonight was the first time I had to apply Deet. But seriously, live free. I crossed into my 13th state today, New Hampshire. The thing is all states aren’t equal, there’s different lengths of trail in every one. If I remember I’ll try to include the mileage to each state at the end of this post. New Hampshire and Maine make up about 450 miles total and are supposed to be super tough, especially the White Mountains. I’m familiar with the trail through the Whites and I know they’re no joke but I really don’t know what to expect from Maine. I just better see some moose up there.

Last week I finished up New York and there was definitely some good hiking there. Plus you’re never far from civilization so you can get to a deli everyday and stuff your face with Italian subs, that’s what I did anyway. The trail passes through Connecticut for about 60 miles and it was pretty and everything but what stood out was how expensive the towns were, especially for a cheapskate like myself.

I had to go to the PO in Salisbury, CT to pickup some new sneakers. While I was there I went to the market and into a couple stores and let’s just say I won’t be taking any dates to Salisbury, CT in the near future. Massachusetts, no doubt,has the best people on trail. And I’m not just saying that because I’m from there.

First of all, earlier on the trail, every  time I would tell somebody I’m from Mass they would be like, “Oh you’re walking home?” Then I would think to myself, “No, dummy, I’m walking to Katahdin where I’ve been just about as many times as I’ve been to the moon.” And then I would feel like I owed them a geography lesson and explained where Lynn is and how the trail slices through the very western most section of the state. Anyway the trail through Massachusetts is pretty awesome and the people were great.

My first day in the state I was walking along and it was pretty cold and all of a sudden the skies just opened up. I mean it was raining cats and dogs and this went on for a couple hours. My rain gear was soaked through, I was cold, and I was a little miserable. When I finally got to a road I stuck my thumb out just hoping to get somewhere dry. After just a couple minutes, Brenda and Joe pulled over and asked me if I wanted to eat some food and warm up. This was awesome. I really can’t put into words what an incredible turn of events this was. They took me to their house where I showered and they fed me pastrami sandwiches. Brenda, Joe and their daughter Rachel invited me to a graduation party that afternoon and gave me an open invite to stay in their son Ryan’s yurt.

It cleared up so I decided to get back on trail but I’m sure it would have been fun. Brenda told me they look out for hikers and take care of them in memory of their late son who was a hiker and a traveler. It was so nice to have someone looking out for me that day.

The following day I stopped at the Cookie Lady’s house right off trail. This is an older couple who sell hard boiled eggs for 40 cents and the chocolate chip cookies and their stories are on the house. This has been going on for like 30 or 40 years and it’s awesome. That night I got into Dalton, MA where trail angel Tom Levardi lets hikers crash in his yard and then cooks them breakfast before they move on.

Leaving Dalton I prepared for altitude sickness summiting Massachusetts high point Mt. Greylock and then made it into North Adams where my parents came out to visit me for the night. What’s cool about my parents coming out, besides putting me up in a hotel and buying me a few meals, is that they’re super supportive. When I tell them I’m going to live in the woods for awhile and walk really far they’re like, “Oh cool! How can we help?” So they’ve been very helpful, which has been great.

I’ve spent the last 5 days in Vermont. I did this section last September and once again it was beautiful. It’s green, there’s good climbs, mountain lakes and refreshing rivers for swimming. The AT coincides with Vermont’s Long Trail for about 100 miles so I met a bunch of people doing that. Supposedly the northern half of the LT, which I haven’t done yet, is the tough half. At least according to my sister Molly, a former Vermonter and Long Trail alumnus.

Last night I walked about a quarter mile off trail in Woodstock because I had heard about this ice cream shop. Turns out the place closes at 5:30, even on a Friday night in June. Bankers hours I guess. So I’m walking back to the trail and local trail angel Dan Quinn offers to let me stay in his barn. I declined and told him I was just hoping to get a soda at the IC shop. He said he’d help me out if he could but he doesn’t have any soda. Then he tells me to wait a minute, he runs into his house and comes back with a 2 liter of ginger ale. He told me how his friend and Appalachian Trail legend ‘Baltimore Jack’ left it there a little while back and told Dan to hold onto it. Baltimore Jack hiked the trail a bunch of times in the past and had been a fixture in the AT community for years. He died earlier this season before I had the chance to meet him but I feel like he provided me trail magic from beyond. I shared it with the couple staying in the barn and it was just what I needed to get through the last few miles of the day.

Again today I had some great trail magic. I stopped at Randy Hart’s house in West Hartford, VT and he cooks pancakes for hikers passing through. And across the street from him is the ultimate swimming hole! For real, there’s a bridge with a 30 foot drop into deep water with a sandy beach on one side and a big rock to chill on across from it. If you’re ever in the area on a hot day like today, find the bridge and take the leap. At your own risk of course. Alright if you made it this far through the post I’ll keep my word and leave the approximate miles for each state. This is what I remember anyway.

Georgia 70, the trail runs the border of North Carolina and Tennessee for awhile so I’ll say 400 miles combined, Virginia has the most at 550, West Virginia 4, Maryland 40, Pennsylvania 230, New Jersey 80?, New York 120?, Connecticut 60, Massachusetts 90, Vermont 150, New Hampshire 150, and Maine the final state and second longest 270.

In the Northeast

Mile 1414

Greetings from the Northeast! I’m not sure what exactly is considered the Northeast but I’m north of the Mason Dixon line and East of the Hudson River, so I’m definitely in the Northeast. Getting here was a challenge of course, but it’s been awesome. In order to get out of the South I had to pass a series of challenges or ‘feats of strength’ if you will. Starting with the 4 state challenge, which I crushed. I was moving pretty well all day and the trail through Maryland was good for putting up big miles. Except for the end, the last 7 or 8 miles included a rainstorm, a few good climbs and a very serious downhill. It was a long day, but I’m glad I did it.

The next day I passed the halfway point and the day after that there’s this store that has the “Halfway Half Gallon Challenge.” It’s really just a gimmick to get us to buy ice cream. You don’t get it for free or anything if you finish it. Still I had to do it, I’d been training for this moment my whole life and had 100 percent confidence I could do it. Anyway I got to the store around 8:30 in the morning. I primed my stomach with some pop tarts and a danish and hiked about 5 or 6 miles from my campsite to work up an appetite. I worked on my strategy for days leading up to this event and thought I was being pretty savvy going with Neopolitan(van/choc/straw), this way I wouldn’t get burned out on one flavor. Since a carton of ice cream is only 1.5 quarts you have to drop another 3 bucks on a pint to complete the challenge, and their selection was terrible. I chose peach and it was only ok. This was like the easiest challenge ever. Then I hiked all day.

The real challenge is the state of Pennsylvania. PA is notorious on the AT for being the hardest or the least favorite of all the states. There’s all these super sharp rocks that shred up your sneakers and wreak havoc on your feet. People have come up with clever names like ‘Rocksylvania’ or ‘the Pennsylvania Foot Massage’ and I do not like foot massages. Plus there’s snakes, I saw a huge rattler and a buttload of rat snakes.

Worst of all for me was the allergies I dealt with in PA. I walked through a field of hay or grass or something, got this stuff all over my arms and legs and had a pretty significant allergic reaction. I had hives all over, sore throat, was sneezing like whoa and one of my eyes swelled up all crazy. I felt like Thomas J in ‘My Girl’ ///SPOILER ALERT/// except I didn’t die. I still hiked all day, but then it rained on me, it absolutely poured. It was not my day.

If it wasn’t raining in Pennsylvania, it was hot and humid. I’m not complaining or anything, I still enjoyed myself, but I can see why people aren’t crazy about the place. I blasted through there and got to Delaware Water Gap, a town right on the border of Jersey, a week after I got into the state.

New Jersey and New York have been pretty sweet. It would have been a nice touch if Jersey had speakers on the border playing Bruce Springsteen, or at least Bon Jovi, but they don’t. These states are underrated. They’re tough and slow going  with lots of rocky ups and downs but really scenic, much more than I expected. Today I climbed through the lemon squeeze, hiked up bear mountain, through a trail side zoo and over the Hudson River on Bear Mountain Bridge which was quite spectacular. I don’t feel too far removed from civilization though. They call this section the deli run because of its close proximity to towns and restaurants. It’s a good section to stuff your face.

I’ve had some really good trail magic lately. A bunch of people have hooked me up with rides, Luke and Anna May drove me back and forth to WalMart so I could resupply in Port Clinton, PA. In Jersey I caught a ride in a big camper from a bunch of fun dreadlocked kids coming from a festival. I also got a ride back to the trail from a guy named ‘Sidecar’ not to be confused with the awesome Seattle trail angel of the same name.

In New York My friend Jessie drove up from Jersey, took me to Greenwood Lake and fed me a big piece of blue fish that she had just caught. My friend Angelika, a world traveling New Yorker who I met when I first started this hike in Georgia, met me at Harriman state park and took me out to dinner. Sometimes I wonder how I can be so lucky. Really. Things are going great. The trail has been fun, tough but fun. My body is feeling really good, besides the allergies which I’m on the other side of. And it’s been fun to take this on as a physical challenge. It wasn’t really my plan to move this quickly when I started but I’m sort of crushing it and I’m enjoying the pace.


If you’re interested in seeing more pictures of my hike, feel free to follow me on Instagram @endlesspsummer

Just Shy of West Virginia

Mile 1019

Today I showered and it may have been the best shower of my entire life. At least top ten. Showering is one of my favorite thru hiking activities and I do it so infrequently. I’m not normally a dirty dude. In my non-hiking life I stay pretty clean and shower at least daily, but out on the trail, bathrooms aren’t always readily available to me. It’s hard to explain how good it feels to scrub off a hundred and something miles worth of sweat, mud and grime. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy feeling like a feral beast. Everybody out here smells like a wild animal and it’s to the point where only day hikers and people in towns can smell us. A hot shower after 4 or 5 days on trail is indescribably amazing. Even if the good of it doesn’t last very long.

Okay enough boring hygiene talk. Things between me and the Appalachian Trail have been going quite nicely lately. I feel as if I may have cranked up the pace just a hair and am moving along rather quickly. Knock on wood but right now my body feels fast and strong and my legs have been firing on all cylinders. Donuts and soda have been powering me through long days of cranking out big miles. I’ve still been hiking primarily solo on this trail but I’ve met lots of great people and some very formidable hikers. For a few days I hiked with ‘Badger’ and ‘Grouse’ and their dog ‘Shenny’. This is a fun couple who hike fast, enjoy slack packing, and eat ramen by the block. The other day I spent an afternoon bombing down the trail with ‘Svagnum P.I.’to beat an incoming thunderstorm. This girl, who is from Iowa, somehow pinpointed my accent to Lynn, Massachusetts. I was totally impressed. This morning I hiked with ‘Lava Monster’. We crushed about a dozen miles through ‘the Rollercoaster'(a section of trail named for its many steep ups and downs). This guy who is a competitive ultra runner can really fly on the trail. Today, however, was his last day since he was getting off trail in Harper’s Ferry. I’ve also come across some pretty sweet trail magic in the last week. The other night after a huge day, I got to a lodge within Shenandoah NP. I was hoping to get some hot food but the bartender already called last call. He still hooked me up with a Sprite and half a pizza which I promptly devoured. ‘Slay’ who was at the bar, let me crash on her site at the adjacent campground. Good thing because it was already super late and there wasn’t any good camping for miles afterward. Sunday, my friend ‘Shadowhawk’ from the PCT was passing through Waynesboro, VA while I was there. He treated me to breakfast and hooked me up with a ride back to the trail. A few days back I came across the Lexington, VA hiking club serving food at a road crossing and it was perfect timing. I guess they do it once a year and that day was my day. They insisted that I eat like forty cookies. #realtalk. Today ‘Shaggy’, a local thru hiker, and his mom were serving sodas and food and providing shade at a road crossing. Nothing like an ice cold Mountain Dew at a road crossing during the middle of a hot day of backpacking. I felt like we should have been on a Mountain Dew commercial.

So tomorrow is a day I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. I’ll be attempting the 4 State Challenge. Right now I’m tenting in Virginia about a mile from the West Virginia border. The challenge starts here, follows the trail for about 4 miles through Wild and Wonderful West ‘by God’ Virginia (really thats what they call it) then travels through about 40 miles of Maryland before ending in the 4th state of the day, Pennsylvania. It will be a big day but I’ve got faith in myself plus I have a plan. I’ll get up early, start walking, and listen to ‘Eye of the Tiger’ like 200 times in a row. Then as I enter PA I’ll switch it to ‘Chariots of Fire’ for the last 20 minutes or so. What could possibly go wrong?

Let me leave you with this little story. While hiking, I wear this green university of Oregon track tank top every single day(it stinks). You may be familiar with it if you’ve seen any of my recent pictures. I wear this jersey for no good reason besides its comfortable AF. I’m not from Oregon, I didn’t go to school there and I’m not a fan of their sports. I have nothing against the place, I love the state actually, and of course as a runner I’m pro Prefontaine. Everybody I come across has something to say about the shirt, it’s usually just, “Go Ducks!” or “PRE!!” But tonight a girl, who was section hiking southbound, told me how she’s a huge fan of Steve Prefontaine and his quotes and dropped this gem on me. “The best pace is a suicide pace, and today feels like a good day to die.” Morbid, sure and I’d regret dying, but inspiring. I’m about to crush it tomorrow: 4 State challenge at a suicide pace, let’s do the damn thing!!

-Endless

Daleville, VA

Mile 729

Virginia is a big state, especially by AT standards. There’s over 500 miles of trail through Virginia and it makes up about a quarter of the entire AT. Right now I’m about halfway through the state and its been really cool so far. There were rumors that it was really flat and you could just cruise but I try not to believe the hype. I don’t know what people were talking about, there’s been lots of ups and downs plus some awesome stuff to see.

Grayson Highlands State Park is home to Mt. Rogers(the state high point) and also a whole bunch of wild ponies. These things are everywhere and make me feel like a giant when I stand next to them and pretend they are horses. Over the last couple days I’ve come across some incredible rock formations. Yesterday I saw the Dragon’s Tooth and today I walked out on to McAfee Knob and along Tinker’s Cliffs. They were all pretty rad. You’ll either have to take my word for it, google images, or visit them yourself because my pictures don’t seem to capture these places quite the way they looked in person.

Trail Days is a big hiker festival held every year in Damascus, VA. Lots of former and current thruhikers flock to this little town for a weekend in May for a hiker reunion of sorts. There’s food, gear vendors, a tent city(exactly what it sounds like), bonfires, a hiker parade and all kinds of festival stuff. A lot of people time there hikes so they’ll get to Damascus right as the festival is going on.

Since I was in Pearisburg, about 150 trail miles north, I was on the fence about getting back to Trail Days. I figured I’d try to hitch and if I didn’t wait too long I’d head back. I like for things to go beyond my control and just happen and I lucked out with two quick hitches right away. One of them being ‘Rookie’, a former thruhiker who was driving from Maine to Damascus. Trail Days was quite an experience and I’m really glad I went back to it. Lots of people that I met earlier on trail were there and because of our different paces I didn’t think I’d see them again. I also saw people from the PCT last year and that was awesome.

I ate breakfast with my buddy Diatom who’s also on the AT this year and who I hiked with for 300+ miles in Washington state last August. Of course I ate tons and tons of food at the festival, made some boring gear adjustments, and was even summoned for a few interviews. No big deal, I’ll probably just be the new face of the Visit Virginia marketing campaign. My friend ‘Hey Girl’ interviewed me for a podcast called ‘Sounds of the Trail.’ This podcast is pretty entertaining, it consists of interviews of hikers who are currently out on the major hiking trails in the country. If you’re into podcasts and hiking like I am, then you should check it out. My interview might even make the cut.

I left Damascus Saturday afternoon and got a great hitch all the way back to where I left trail a day earlier. ‘Rocket Man’ a former hiker and long distance mountain biker drove me about 30 miles past his destination just to help me out. It was over the top generosity and he provided me with some stories of his lifetime of adventures. This guy has really lived. The culture surrounding this trail is inspiring. Trail magic comes in many forms and lots of former hikers come back to help people out. I got rides into town this week from Dan-O and Sarah who travelled all the way from Hawaii to provide trail magic. And just tonight I met a couple from Marblehead, MA(so close to home). ‘Cabana Boy’ and ‘Dutch Tape’ drove me and a couple other hikers to the Golden Corral buffet(where the owners were probably happy to see me leave) and around town to run some other errands.

Things are going well. I’m feeling good, moving quickly, meeting great people, and enjoying my hike. If you’re interested, follow me on Instagram for more pictures. @endlesspsummer -Endless



Damascus, VA

Mile 469

You know what they say, “No rain, no Maine.”Actually I only heard that once but it would make sense if that was a common phrase out here. Lots of rain this last week . Not complaining or anything but it is worth mentioning.

After I left Standing Bear I spent the night up on Max Patch(formerly Mack’s Patch), cowboy camping with about twenty other people. Max Patch is a big field on top of a mountain with views of the Smoky Mountains, North Carolina and Tennessee. It was a cool clear night, great for watching the sunset, shooting stars and sunrise. Since then I think it’s rained at least a little everyday. And it’s been cold rain, and hail, and sleet and heavy winds. Real talk. More than once I found myself using most of my muscles to hold down the flap of my tent from being blown open and having all my stuff get soaked.

Amazingly I’ve still had enough strength to crank out some serious miles. Hiking in this weather can be fun, I get to stomp through big mud puddles all day and the rain itself almost counts as a shower. Almost.

Every few days the trail goes right through some cool little towns where I get to participate in my three favorite trail activities: eating cheeseburgers, eating pancakes and drinking milkshakes. I’m starting to get really hungry while I’m out here. It’s fun. I take stuffing my face pretty seriously. Just kidding, but I do have to mention it because I spend so much time thinking about food.

This last week I’ve gone through Hot Springs, NC, Erwin, TN, and now I’m in the ultimate trail town Damascus, VA. Also I stopped at this awesome place Kincora Hostel for a shower and laundry the other day. The hostel is run by trail angel Bob Peoples. Bob is incredible, a real legend out here with Chuck Norris level status. And I got to meet him.

Trail magic on the AT has been pretty legit. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about trail magic is food or any other kind of resource needed by hikers usually left unexpectedly at road crossings by people who are either former hikers, trail angels or just fans. It can be anything from a bunch of bananas or a cooler of sodas or people setting up grills serving hot food. Twice this week I got fed unexpectedly. ‘Wheaties’ and Mark had grill operations going at two different spots with all kinds of stuff for us. It was awesome!! And absolute perfect timing since I’m always wicked hungry.

I just crossed into Virginia yesterday and this is the longest state of the AT with something like 500 plus miles. Stay tuned because I have a feeling I’m about to lay the proverbial smack down on Ol’Virginny. For more pictures feel free to follow me on the gram(Instagram) @endlesspsummer

-Endless

Standing Bear Hostel, NC

Mile 240

Since this is my first post in awhile I’ll spare all my readers the details of my life the last few months. I’ll just start with what I’ve been up to lately. On April 17th I started hiking north from Georgia on the Appalachian Trail or the AT. My plan is to thru hike the 2200 miles of trail from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in Maine.

So far so good. The night before I started hiking I stayed at the Hiker Hostel in Dahlonega and I definitely recommend it to any future hikers. The place was super clean and very helpful and there was a bluegrass festival going on in town. There are two options to start the hike; one option is to start right at the southern terminus which is the peak of Springer Mountain or the other is taking the 9 mile approach trail from Amicacola Falls State Park to the summit. I’m pro waterfall so I opted for the approach trail and was up the top around lunch time with about a million other people.

Since then I’ve really just been crushing it. North Georgia was really cool. Lots of ups and downs, great views and it was about 80 and sunny the whole time I was there. The trail crosses into North Carolina about 75 miles in and once I entered the state I had a sudden urge to take my shirt off and spin round my head like a helicopter. So I did that. Another hundred miles and I got into Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I don’t know what’s so great about it, just kidding it was cool. Through the park and a little beyond it, the trail acts as the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. It’s cool, my left foot is always in TN and my right foot is always in NC, I think.

Since I’ve thru hiked before I feel like I at least have an idea of what I’m doing, not that I’m any good at it, but I do try to keep it simple. For me, the way I like to hike is to not carry much stuff and walk really far everyday. I got used to hiking big miles early on the PCT because there was so much distance between water sources in the desert and greater distances between towns so I had to carry more food and water. Out here I don’t have to carry as much food and water so I can keep my pack pretty light. A lot of hikers seem to be getting there legs and figuring out what kind of fear they can do without.

I feel like I’ve got good speed right now but don’t quite have my all day legs. The word is people start opening it up once we get into Virginia, so I’ll probably pick it up a little over the next few weeks. 4/17 was a little bit of a late start but I’m beginning to find myself in the back of the bubble(bubble is the term used for a group of thru hikers, like school of fish or gaggle of geese). There’s lots of good people here and quite a few formidable hikers.

Since I’m moving through the main bubble of hikers I’m hiking and camping with different people every day. Way more east coast people on this trail, so people don’t look at me like I’m from another planet when I start talking. I’m taking half a day off today and chilling out at this place Standing Bear Hostel right outside the Smoky Mountains and trying to resupply and organize a little bit.

I’ll try to stay on top of this blog but if you want to know what I’m up to on more of a day to day basis feel free to follow me on Instagram @endlesspsummer or on Facebook if you can figure out my other name.

-Endless