Endless P Summer

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

  
  
  
  

This post has been months in the making but figured I should update my legions of fans on my adventure home and what I’ve been up to since getting off the PCT.

I left Seattle on August 26th and began to slowly make my way back home. My friend Jenn picked me up in the city and we drove to Yakima where she lives. On the way we stopped in Leavenworth, WA a Bavarian style little tourist trap of a town. Then, because I was in charge of navigation, we went the wrong way and ended up in Wenatchee. No big deal.

Yakima was enjoyable, I stayed there for a night and my short term plan was to get to Cascade Locks for PCT Days, a little festival/reunion with a bunch of hikers. I decided to hitch and after not having much luck with a ride out of Yakima I walked to the next town Union Gap. It took all day but I ended up getting 3 rides and doing a little road walking but got to Cascade Locks on the 27th.

I’m really glad I went to this little festival. I didn’t know anything about it until just a couple days before so I hadn’t planned on going at all. Lots of hikers were getting into Cascade Locks during the course of the weekend and others who were either behind or ahead found ways to get there. It was awesome to see so many people that I had met earlier in the trail that I hadn’t seen in hundreds or in some cases thousands of miles.

I spent a few days here and hemmed and hawed about trying to wait out the fires and possibly getting back on trail on the section I had to skip. In the end I decided I’m moving on. The 2015 edition of the PCT was over for me, I did what I could do when I could do it and the Northern Cascades will be there. Someday I’ll go back and walk through them. The incomplete section will gnaw at me for sure until I get back out to the NorthWest.

Without much of a plan except to eventually make my way back home, I started hitching East. Hitchhiking across the country might sound ludicrous or dangerous or just stupid to most people but I think it’s a pretty unique way to travel. I wish it was more socially acceptable. While I was on trail, hitching in and out of town is completely normal and is considered common practice among the hikers. So I had been pretty accustomed to it.

I got a ride right out of Cascade Locks and then just kept going for awhile. In 4 days I got 19 rides and made it from Cascade Locks, OR to Kansas City, MO for a total of 1750 miles. Besides just a few long waits I usually got picked up in about 10 minutes or less. And yeah I met a few crazies, that’s for sure, but I never felt like I was in any danger. Most of the time people just liked to tell me a bunch of stories, which was fine by me. I met some great people too.

Some of my better hitches included: Mike the hunter in Oregon who taught me all about elk and how to kill them. Misty the trucker who told me all about her life growing up in the bush in Alaska. She drove me from outside Boise all the way to Salt Lake. Pat the asst. principal, gave me a guided tour through beautiful Glenwood Canyon in Western Colorado. Jere, the player piano rebuilder, drove me literally from the mountains to the prairie and even brought me about 25 miles further along than he was going. Paula, a mother of 5 coming off a fresh stint working and living in Glacier NP, rerouted her trip on my request and drove me about 150 miles.

I didn’t get involved in any side adventures while I was traveling. As much as I had hoped, nobody picked me up and was like, “hey we’re going to explore some canyons in Utah or raft down the Colorado River and we need one more person.” I did however stop and visit a few friends. The Easter Eggs hosted me in Salt Lake City and it was a great stop. This was a couple I hiked with in the desert and hadn’t seen since early June. Mr. Egg cooked me arepas, and Mrs. Egg drove me to Provo, UT to help me along my way.

In Colby, KS I stopped for a quick visit to see my hiking partner Schemes before she headed West for school. After waiting for about 3 hours this guy Fred gave me a ride all the way across Kansas to Kansas City, Missouri. I was exhausted and I guess at this point I talked myself out of hitching the rest of the way. When I got to KC I spent the night in the airport and got a cheap flight to Boston the next morning.

I spent my first day home at the registry waiting about 4 hours for my number to be called. Going to the registry was a horrible decision. The following day my mother drove me out to Western Mass where we hiked Mt Greylock(Massachusetts high point for those of you keeping track) and then I headed North on the AT with my backpack and no definite plans. Hiking the AT was very different. For starters I was solo and I used much of the time In my head thinking about and reflecting on the incredible summer I just had out West.

Without really paying attention I crushed some big miles and got through Vermont in 6 days. On the Vermont New Hampshire border is the town of Hanover, NH where I caught up with my friend Queen B from the PCT. She got off trail out West and came back to the AT to finish what she started last year. It was really cool to see her and we got put up by a couple of trail angels in NH(Karen and Jon).

From Hanover I took a bus to Boston, then a train, car, and boat ride to Inner Heron Island off the Maine Coast. It was great, I spent the weekend relaxing with friends in a cabin on this tiny island. Then I went home. For the next couple weeks I enjoyed the end of a hot New England summer. I rode my bike, went swimming, surfing, running, golfing and hiking up in the Whites in NH. My very last weekend before returning to work I celebrated the Willis-Murray nuptials with family in Providence. It was so much fun.

Since then I’ve been super busy. Working a lot and also enjoying my time between  adventures. The post trail adjustment wasn’t the most fun but I expected that. It really wasn’t all that bad either, I’ve got a nice little life here.

Throughout the fall I did a bunch of hiking in the White Mountains and finished NH’s 48 4000 footers. I also have been swimming and running a bunch since I’ve been home. My father was training for Ipswich’s Stonecat trail marathon in November, so I decided to run the 50 miler that day. I didn’t want to be out done by a sixty something year old man with a fake hip. Ski season is upon us here in the Northeast, and I’m wicked excited about that, but it’s off to a slow start. Maybe I’ll have to make a ski trip out West, it seems that’s where all the snow is going this winter. Oh yeah I shaved my hair, beard, and mustache in stages. I’ve gone with a lot of different looks this year and I apologize if you’ve had trouble recognizing me. Sorry, I’m not sorry.

Lots of people have asked me what I’m going to do next and as much as I appreciate the enthusiasm I always think of that line from Napoleon Dynamite when the kid says, “What are you gonna do next Napoleon?” I like to answer that question with a question, “What are you gonna do next?” For real though I don’t know,if you have any suggestions I’m all ears. Until then I guess just stay tuned. Follow me on Instagram if you want @endlesspsummer.

-Endless

  Going East
 The AT/LT in Vermont

 Inner Heron Island, ME

 Getting up onto Franconia Ridge, NH

 Team Carmody Running Club

 Beautiful and scenic Lynn, Massachusetts

 

 

Seattle, WA and Canada!

Alright I hope you’re sitting down. This is a long post and I encourage you to take 10 minutes and read it. My 2015 thru hike of the PCT is complete but my adventure continues. Of course it didn’t go as planned but I never had much of a plan in the first place. I hiked 2461 continuous miles from the Mexican border to Steven’s Pass in Washington. Northern Washington is currently plagued by wildfires and multiple trail closures forced me to forego the last 188 miles to the Canadian border. After a series of rides I got to Manning Park in BC, Canada and hiked the 15 mile round trip to the monument to officially finish my hike.

In a perfect world I would have hiked straight through to the Northern Terminus but I’m happy with the way it ended and everything worked out quite nicely for me. Not being able to finish the remaining miles is really no big deal for me, a bigger issue is these fires that have burned down people’s homes and currently took the lives of 3 firefighters. It would have been nice but I have to put it in perspective.

The final couple of weeks of my hike were some of the most enjoyable I had. Let me elaborate. On August 9th I flew back to Portland from Boston and was greeted at the airport by old friend Jeff Lyle who not only drove me to Cascade Locks but also brought me breakfast. I was back on trail at 12:30 pm and put in a strong 30 mile effort that afternoon and evening. My friend Schemes had returned to the trail a day earlier and linked up with old friend Tami and Diatom who all of us had only heard of until Washington. I figured I would catch them as soon as I could so I hiked 47 miles the following day and camped with them that night.

For the next two weeks the four of us became a pretty tight knit group and had a really nice time through Washington. We slowed down to about 25 miles a day and it was a very relaxing change of pace. I started getting on trail around 7, took more breaks, reduced my hustle and got into camp earlier every night. Washington is beautiful, but everybody knows that. The smoke from the fires gave the sky a hazy look and some days it appeared to be dusk all day long. We passed through Goat Rocks Wilderness, one of the prettiest sections of trail, and I saw at least 50 mountain goats one evening #realtalk. Equally impressive was hiking over the Knife’s Edge with an awesome view of Ranier.

After a stop in White Pass, where I resupplyed and spent the night, I was back on trail for one of the coldest and rainiest days of my trip. To top it off the hiking was tough. As uncomfortable as I was physically, I remained in a good mood and knew once I got through the day I would be inside a dry tent and my cozy sleeping bag. The following day was also super cold but we had quite a treat in store for us. Mt Ranier National Park was enjoyable even though the views were subdued because of clouds and smoke. At the end of a long cold raw day we came across Ulrich Cabin. This place was incredible! It’s primarily used as a snowmobile cabin in winter and besides the woodstove, it’s completely barebones. But it was sound and the stove kept us all warm and dry. The four of us were joined there by Playa and Patriot and we had a great night. Spirits were high and it was exactly what we all needed.

The weather turned in our favor and the sun was all business for the next two days as we hiked into Snoqualmie Pass. This was a cool little stop. We spent the night here, ate copious amounts of food and relaxed in the hot tub. We got back on trail the following day for what would be our final section. It was a good one and maybe it was because of the cumulative effort but it also seemed like one of the most difficult stretches. The ups and downs were pretty extreme, but I’m not complaining, just making an observation. The scenery was spectacular however and I had a great final 3 days.

Okay this is where things start to get complicated. Bear with me, I know this is a long post but you’ve come this far so you might as well get to the end. About 3 miles out of Steven’s Pass Schemes got a message from our friend S+M who had got back on trail and we were planning to finish up with her. Apparently the last 188 miles of trail, everything north of Steven’s Pass, was closed. We were kind of stunned and took our time getting through those last miles. Tami’s friend Martha aka Sidecar picked us up at the trailhead and drove us first to the town of Skykomish, where we reunited with S+M , and then to the Dinsmores house(trail angels who let us crash in their yard and use all their amenities).

The following morning ‘Collector’ drove me and Schemes back to Skykomish to eat tons of breakfast. After a little while Diatom, Tami, and S+M joined us and we also ate with Daybreaker and were rejoined by old friend Aloha. We all ate lots of food and unbeknownst to any of us, fellow hiker ’30 Pack’ footed the bill and took off before we could thank him. So if you read this, thanks dude, that was cool. After hours of brainstorming we came up with something of a plan to get us to Canada but we’d be relying on others and it would take a little luck. Our first step was to get to Seattle. Before we even got our thumbs out, 2011 thru hiker Honey Bee pulled over and asked us if we needed a ride. We piled into her little rental car and she brought us to Lynnwood, WA. S+M took a bus south to get back on trail elsewhere and the rest of us regrouped at a coffee shop. Sidecar drove up from Seattle to scoop up Schemes, Tami, Diatom and myself and bring us back to the city. It was great, Sidecar got us a church to sleep in for the night and we spent the evening checking out Seattle. Diatom secured us a car from a friend for the next morning and all of a sudden things were going really smoothly, too smoothly. The next day we ran a few errands, got all our chores accomplished and were super excited to be driving up to Canada.

That would be short lived, just a couple minutes on I-5 N we wrecked. Thankfully nobody was hurt but it appeared our hike once again ended too soon. We waited hours for a tow and at this point had pretty much decided to go our own ways. This is when Sidecar stepped up big time. Again. She moved her shifts around and volunteered to drive us up to Manning Park. What a sweet deal. We arrived at our site shortly before midnight and the following day hiked south to the monument. It was really cool and I’m so glad I got there.

We spent about an hour taking pictures, high fiving, eating s’mores and just chilling out. When we got back to Manning Park we played in the pool for a couple hours like little kids then Tami’s parents, who had driven up from Idaho, had a big feast for us. It was a great night. I cowboy camped and had one of my best nights of sleep in recent memory. Dennis and Susan fed us again in the morning and all of a sudden it felt like the last scene of the ‘Breakfast Club’. We said goodbye first to Tami because she stayed with her folks to continue her trip before she returns to Portland. Sidecar drove the rest of us back to Seattle and next we dropped Diatom off for a bus that would eventually get him back to Santa Cruz. The last one to see go was Schemes, my hiking partner for roughly 1700 miles. I got off at the airport with her, said our goodbyes, and she was headed home to Kansas via Colorado before starting a doctorate program in Santa Barbara this fall.

As for me I returned to Seattle and my friend Carol is putting me up for a couple nights in her beautiful house in Queen Anne. I spent today enjoying Seattle. I caught up with my buddy Malibu, who I hadn’t seen since the Sierras, when his train came in this afternoon. I got some brand new used clothes at the same thrift shop Macklemore shops at, then did the most cliche thing possible which was type my blog in a Starbucks in Seattle while wearing flannel and listening to Pearl Jam. Just kidding about the flannel.

I’ll enjoy the city for awhile and check out a Mariners game tonight. I’ve got a few things planned for the near future but I finished my hike a month ahead of schedule so I guess I’ll just slowly make my way back East and do whatever I want for awhile. If you’ve got any suggestions I’m all ears, or if you’d like to put me up I’d love to visit. I’m not quite ready to re-enter society but when I do I’ve got a nice little life to return to. I will definitely miss the trail and I’ll never forget it but more than that I’ll happily remember the time I had and the people I enjoyed it with.

I should probably do a whole post on acknowledgements but in case I don’t get to that I just want to say thank you to everybody that helped me. Hiking the trail would be impossible without all the angels in all different capacities who give up their time and money to help strangers. Thank you. And to my number one trail angel my mother who was at my beckon call the past 4 months, tracking stuff down, and sending me my resupply packages and all kinds of helpful information. Thanks Ma!

Endless P. Summer PCT 2015

 L to R me, Tami, Schemes, Diatom

 Diatom, Schemes, S+M, Me, Tami

 Diatom, Me, Tami. Action shot

 Dance party in Seattle

 Diatom, Schemes and Tami eyeing the mighty Puget Sound

 Reunited and it feels so good. Two idols eyeballing each other. Schemes and S+M
  ‘The Trail’

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