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July 24th
     We stayed last night with Pieps' friends; Kevin and Lisa who really took care of us and cooked a huge steak dinner with all the trimmings.    Good people for sure!   So this morning, we had to drive up through Trout Lake where Kevin works at a HUGE organic herb farm there.   So, we stopped and had a great tour,  got offered jobs and of course turned them down.     Now it is 93 degrees and we just finished swimming in the Klackitat river here in Lye, WA.     Taking it easy here on my birthday and am not going to do much more today.    

July 23rd
     Well, today is a weird day!   Fiddlehead here and I am not hiking today!   It definitely feels strange.  It's a long story and maybe I'll be able to explain things.   I'll try;  I left Pieps in good hands over 2 weeks ago in Glacier Nat. Park as I had to go home because my father was dying of cancer and it was near the end.   I won't get into details but, I did do lots of eating, resting, and lack of walking while there for 2 full weeks.    It was a heavy scene with lots of heavy thoughts.   It felt good not to have to walk, so I didn't!   But, I came back to the trail 3 days ago, when I flew into Seattle.    We saw our friend, Matt, there and stayed with him Sat. night.   Headed up to Stevens pass the next day and started a northbound section, intending to go the 117 miles to Rainy pass.    Well, Pieps had told me about the snow, but when we hit it at 4,000 feet already, I couldn't believe it.  We were in snow almost all the time and after 1 ½ days, and many falls,  some dangerous, as the terrain was steep and the PCT traverses almost everything,  we had our problems.   So, we decided we couldn't make it without risking our bodies over and over again.   Another bailout!   
      I've had plenty of time to think of the hike, along with what's important, and have come to the conclusion that I need to do 3 things:  1/ fill in the holes in the CDT and complete that hike in it's entirety.  (due to the high snow levels in WY, and MT, we had to bail out and miss sections)    2/ Run the Leadville race on August 17th with a gallant effort!   (also a section we skipped back in May)   3/ Try to keep as much integrity to the hike as possible!     (This means not skipping anything!)    So, I realized that there was no way I could make up all these lost or skipped sections, and still complete the rest of the PCT by Oct. 14th.     Also, with the 2 weeks off,  I am lazy and must struggle to even do the 20 miles we did yesterday.     So, here's what I decided:  I'll drive for Pieps for the next 10 days and start working on my running skills,   and then when Joyce gets back on the 31st,   we go back to Montana and Wyoming and pick up every piece that we've skipped.   This will help acclimate ourselves for Leadville as many of these sections are at high altitude.  (especially compared to the 5,000'average here in WA.     So, I am going to skip WA state and come back next summer to complete it.    They say life is full of compromises and I know this is a big one, but one I had to make to keep my hike honest!    (and maybe one of the biggest decisions I ever made)    fh

July 14, 2002

Today I hiked 30 miles from Hart's pass to Rainy pass. Took several photos of some unbelievable landscape; lots of crags and spires. Snow was mainly on the North and East faces. Had another big snow traverse and used the ice axe to chop foot holes to get over the crux. Steep terrain with long run outs. If you fell it would've been a wild ride. Made it to Cuthroat Pass and it was literally all downhill after that. Had dinner, some XM comedy, and camped at Rainy Pass.

July 13, 2002

Today I hiked 33 miles from the border to Hart's Pass. I hit snow around 5000 feet. Snow was firm and the walking was good. Crossed the highpoint of the PCT in Washington at 7126 feet. Had to use the ice axe only once as the snow was steep and slick. Concluded earlier than I expected and had to get the Ranger to help me find the van.

July 12, 2002

We started the morning by driving from Usk, WA to the Canadian border, approximately a three-hour drive. Mark dropped me off about noon and I walked across. My plan was to hitchhike to Manning Provincial Park. The van was just not going across the border. As I approached Checkpoint Charlie, I encountered two Canadiens heading back to their homeland. I was sent to immigration where I received a one-week visa. I noticed that Rudy and Rudy were being scoped and searched. It took three rides to get to the park. Rob, my last ride, bought me lunch. After taking a few pictures, I hiked eight miles to the border where I camped.

July 6, 2002
It is the first day after Fiddlehead left.  Fiddleheads father is ill and he has gone home to be with his father.  I hiked with Puff and Nat.  We did 18 here in Glacier National Park.  National Parks are beautiful areas but the rules suck, so I have chosen to meet the van every night so we can leave the park.  Today was full of views.  I think Nat spoke the truth today when he said “I like hiking in mountains when they are 5000-7000 feet”.  I agreed. A person would have to hike at 11,000-13,000 feet to get the same tree line, exposed feeling.  The air is much nicer to breath at 6000 feet.  Well after making it to the pass the north side was full of snow.  It made for a great ski down.  We found a chute that was about a 1000 yards long and steep.  The snow was perfect soft yet firm enough to hold us without post holing.  Then after an awesome day we get back to the van and Mark tells me that the transmission is fucked.  It turns out that it is.  There is no forward or reverse so we are having it towed tomorrow.  Well until then peace out.

June 30thusy day
The number one driver here…. Eat your heart out Sly !   the yappster rules…J Well, not a lot of cliking going on here today. It has been great spending 2 nites with THE Fiddle head and Nor Nor..J We actually caught up with them while they were power shopping at the Walmart. You know Fiddledude and his pension for shopping. Well, I tell ya… being the number one driver is tuff on a girl…. Between burning the beans and letting the battery die I have had one busy day !… If it was'nt for my pasta maranera with a Mexican twist I might have been demoted ( like you rambling Rich ??) Everyone heads back to the trail tomorrow. We head towards Snoqualmie and those guys go to the airport to pick up some girl who SUPPOSEDLY makes chocolate cake and such…. She and Sly are battling for the number 2 spot.  Oh yeah, before I forget where are you Rainman??  I  miss you friend of mine… Good luck you guys  on the next phase of your hike.   I hope to hook up  with ya soon. The hospitality of  these  guys never fails to make me smile…J

June29-july 5th
    We are here in East Glacier, MT after 4 days in the Bob Marshall Wilderness and a lot has happened.    First of all,  the hike was amazing as we saw no other people in the wilderness except for Forest Service backcountry rangers: Bob at the Indian Point cabin, with his wife Annie.   Also Jim at the Shafer airstrip and 3 people that worked trail crew stationed there.   We spent a night with them at the airstrip station which is a beautiful place built in the 30's under the CCC program.    The fed us a great breakfast too.    The fords were high but we got through,  the blowdowns were unprecendented for us in our hiking career as there must have been a huge storm to make that pile of pick up sticks.   We shot some good video of all of it.   And of course the Chinese Wall was spectacular in all the snow up there.   I don't think many people have been through there this year yet.   We saw lots of wildlife although no grizzlies.   We're thankful for that but everyone else wants to hear stories.    We had quite a scare as we didn't meet the van until late last night, 2 days after we were supposed to because we came a different way than we had planned and came out the west side of the divide and Puff and Nate were waiting at a Badger Creek Ranger Station on the East side.    So, we've been in town 2 days waiting for them and we finally all hooked up together last night at the fireworks display here in East Glacier.     Once again, this town has been the best town on the whole CDT for us as it is a town full of friendly people!    A few of them remembered me from '98 but the new ones are just as friendly.   We heard a live band at Blondie's bar the other night and got to know them, and between the Backpackers Cabins at Sarrano's and Mark Howser who is quite the trail angel here in town, having done the AT in '92,   Mark has done so much for us throughout the years.    He let us use his: truck, Jacuzzi, storage, and gave us a free room on a weekend full of tourists.    Thanks so much Mark.   We have been invited to parties,  got free beers from Melissa at the Lodge in the park, and got invited to Mary Jane's home in Portland OR when we get there in late August or whenever.    So, now we are getting ready to head into the park, and there are 5 of us now as Mark Drollinger from LA got here yesterday with his parents and we now have 3 drivers at the same time.    Glacier Park is my favorite of all the national parks and a very scenic and special place.   

June 29th
    We are here at Benchmark campground right outside of the Bob Marshall wilderness after hiking with Puff for 2 days from Roger's Pass.     Had to say goodbye to Sid and Human,  I must say they were a great support team.   Sid always made sure that we were eating good and cleaning up, and Human was very concerned that the van would get to the right place in plenty of time.    Two traits that we often wished our drivers would be more conscious of.      Anyway,  they had to go, and now we are supported by Puff's friend Nate from Colorado.     We wore out Puff a bit with a 50 mile section that we camped early the 1st night in the rain.   So, yesterday we did about a 34 mile day!   His first good walk since he thru-hiked the PCT last year.      He did great.   So, now it's pouring down raining and we are lagging around camp slowly putting together our 4 days food bags.   This'll be the most we carried overnight so far on the trip.     It's going to be 120 mile section to Maria's Pass and the entrance to Glacier Nat. Park.  The terrain has been beautiful through here and we are often on top of the divide.    Saw a woman ranger, Janelle, yesterday that was at the same backcountry cabin in 98 when I came through.   

June 26th
    We are camping here tonight near Roger's Pass and we are right on the CDT!    Puff and his buddy Nate just showed up and now we are 6 people!!!    They are going to hike with us through the Bob Marshall wilderness area.     Today was the hottest day of the trip so far.   The sign said 93 in Lincoln today.    We are definitely not used to this.    A beautiful hike today mostly above treeline and right on the divide.   Human and Sid joined us for the day's hike and were quite impressed with the scenery.   We all took lots of pictures.    So, Sid is cooking us up some shish-kebobs tonight and the beers are flowing.     Still haven't come across any southbounders yet though.   Tomorrow we head into the 200 mile long wilderness.   (griz country)    

June 25th
     We are now camped at Flescher Pass,  11 miles south of Lincoln, MT.    We hiked 28 miles today over some beautiful bald areas.    Our friend, Sid from Laramie, WY drove 700 miles yesterday to come and help support for a few days.   We hiked with him last year on the CO trail a bit and he is now here enjoying Montana for his first time also!   So, we had a bit of a party last night and stayed up late.   
     The flowers are really out right now and we're seeing so many different kinds.   I hope the pictures are coming out.    Still a bit of snow out there though.  We were in snow this morning for the 1st hour or so.    (Nevada Mt.)      But here it is only 6200' and very warm for a change.   I think today is our warmest day so far on the trip.     There's gotta be some snow melting now.    (hopefully)   

June 24th
    Well, we said goodbye to Elbo the other day and last night,  Human flew into Helena and picked up the van, then came and met us at the prearranged GPS spot.   Gotta love it when the plan works.    So we hiked southbound for 2 days from McDonald Pass in order to get the van up here for Human.   The trail was amazing.   There are steps (concrete)  and about a ¼ mile long boardwalk through a swampy area,  but then the trail just ends and we had to bushwhack once again.   That's the CDT.   It was the weekend and there where tons of 4 wheelers out.    But we still managed to see a bunch of wildlife:  Elk, Deer and Moose.     Last night was full moon and we spent the night on top of McDonald Pass at the vista.    It is now morning and we are having our usual breakfast of a lb of bacon and a dozen eggs.    (and our freshly ground coffee made in our French press)    We hiked 37 miles yesterday so, slept in a little this morning  (23 miles on Saturday)   So our 30th driver, Human,  or Dave Kerxali, from Rochester NY is here in Montana for the 1st time.    

June 20 2002
It was a snow pack kind of day.  We covered about 15 miles in snow and another 7 out of snow for a total of 22 miles.  We ascended 4420 feet and descended 4150 feet.  Like everyday in the snow it was good to walk on in the morning and then as the day progressed it gets soft and the post holing starts.  It is melting fast but not fast enough.  The mountains are really wet.  The mountain is on big seep.  With all the water and snow it means wet cold feet.  The Pintler Wilderness is one of the many beauty spots of this great planet we live on.  We did have one sketchy section that required a traverse on a steep snow slope.  The steepness and the fact that we were not carrying ice axes made it hairy. Elbo has been driving the van for the last five days and leaves tomorrow.  Thanks a lot Elbo.  Well dinner calls, Italian sausage and pasta in a red sauce.

June 19th
    WE just got back from one of our worst days on the trail,  but it ended up good.    Yesterday,    we left the campground we were staying at on Elbo's first day of driving and later, we saw him running down the road.   Here the van wouldn't start and we had forgotten to show him how to start it when that happens.    So, after getting that straightened out,  he hiked with us for about 5 miles going back up to the divide from Elk Creek.    But, when it started to rain,  he headed back and we continued and as soon as he left,  the woods turned to burnt out sections from the 2000 fire that burned up 350,000 acres all around here.   Then the rain turned to snow which turned into a blizzard in no time.   We had to set up our tents at 3 pm and climb into our bags because it was that bad.   It seemed to clear a bit around 5:30 so we packed it up and continued.     The snow kept up and the terrain was all water about 6 inches deep everywhere you walked.   Around 9PM we found a cabin in the woods that had a window open.   So, we went in and built a nice fire and dried out and slept on mattresses.    This morning,  we headed back up to the divide again and it started to snow again, plus we were in a cloud so it was a whiteout!   We fought our way through 3-4 ft. drifts plus the new snow on top.   After about an hour of this,  we discovered we were going the total opposite direction that we thought we were.    It was then that we decided we needed to bail out and find a lower route.   But because of the fire,  there were no trails,  only burnt blowdowns and wicked steep terrain.   So we struggled all morning until about 2 or 3 o'clock to find a trail we could hike down.   We were exhausted.     So, we had to walk roads until we got a ride from a forest service woman named Linda who helped us  a lot to get back to Elbo and the van.   So he is now cooking us some enchiladas  (oh yeah Pieps ran out of food too, but at no time did he show fear)     

June 17th
    We just got back from a couple nights out.   Lots of snow here in Montana, especially above 8500'!    We headed out from Miner Lake and hiked up to a beautiful lake where we camped.  Saw a fox there and the ice is still breaking up.   Headed up through the snow to the pass (no name, no trail)   and started postholing again so we realized we weren't going to be able to hike on top as we would've liked as there are so many blowdowns below treeline.    But, bushwhacking again was the word for the day.    We got split up somewhere yesterday and about 3 hours later,  I saw a moose from pretty close so, talking to it to get a picture,  I guess we became friends as it started to follow me and got within 5 yds when I got pretty scared and screamed at it and then ran like hell across a beaver dam.  Altogether yesterday, I saw 24 elk,  5 deer and the moose.    Today I hiked up near Big Hole Pass and cut up a valley by a beautiful ranch.   It was snow again above 8500' and I found an old hunting camp that was completely stocked but abandoned and the snow did huge damage to the tent and some of the gear.   There was shit everywhere nearby.    Hard to believe these hunters would buy all this gear and then just leave it in the woods to get ruined by the winter snows.    Finally got to the road and hitched into Wisdom where I found Pieps in a bar.   We then hitched to the van back in Jackson at the hot springs and we are waiting for Elbo to show up.   Pieps went for a soak in the springs and I think I'll do the same.   

June 13th
    It's after 8 PM and still very light out,  we just finished our 31 mile hike on this beautiful day!    Saw lots of wildlife today including:  50 elk, 4 mule deer, 2 big brown bear (very close to us)   and 5 tourists at Sacajaweja spring at Lemhi pass.     We were in snow most of the morning, but it's close to 70 degrees now, and melting fast.    The mosquitoes are getting worse so we have our netting over the open door.   Joyce is leaving us for a month and a half tomorrow so, we are getting one of our last good meals; hamburger stew with dumplings.    

May 30th
    Finished Colorado yesterday at Berthoud Pass and ,  sure enough, it's hot as can be today.    You can smell the snow melting today.    So, it wasn't easy with all the snow we had dumped on us.   We then drove to Boulder and stopped in at Go-Lite (one of our sponsors)   and they gave us some new tents to try out and some awesome new shirts that have a “Triple Crown”  logo on them.   We stayed at JD's place in Boulder and ate at the Kathmandu restaurant in Nederland.     So, it's now back to Wyoming and continuing northbound from South Pass City.    Found a HUGE elk shed today and another smaller one.   That's 5 or 6 now plus a few deer and antelope sheds too.     We've been invited to Barbara's house (the woman who runs the store in South Pass City)    for dinner tonight.    Oh yeah, and we're lovin our new XM radio we had installed yesterday!    

May 27th
    Made it through the Memorial Day Weekend with only one day of getting swamped with 4 wheelers!    Sunday they were everywhere but we saw none on Saturday and only 1 today.   We stayed with Pieps' friends:  Annie and Jeff last night in Grand Lake.  Her and Joyce cooked dinner and breakfast today.   They had a hot tub two so of course we took a soak.     We cut across Granby lake yesterday as it is so low we could walk 50 feet below the normal level and still stay out of the mud.  (almost)   Almost no boats on the big lake on the big weekend.    So, tomorrow, we finish with Colorado (except for the 40 miles we must make up near Wolf Creek Pass and of course the Leadville 100 race course)    We're all looking forward to a day off to celebrate this tough state.   The plan is to go to Boulder and stay with JD (Joyce's son)      It's been a beautiful state but so hard with all this new snow.    Did about 25 miles yesterday and another 25 today.   

May 25th
    Another tough day in the snow!    We were hoping to have the snow at a much more manageable level when we got back to it in Colorado,  and things were looking good as we had 2 or 3 hot days in a row, but, then it snowed 8-10 inches yesterday!      So, it's back to the postholing, wet shoes, grind through the snow in Colorado.   We could only average 2 mph tops this morning going up to Troublesome Pass and it sure was troublesome.    By 2 PM, it started melting and got really slippery.   So, I think we only did 20 miles today and we are both worn out.     We are one day out of Grand Lake on this Memorial Day Saturday.     The snow kept most of the weekenders away from our trail and we saw no people today.    Lots of good pictures above treeline in the snow.   Will winter ever end?    Doesn't look like it.     
    Yesterday we met a guy from Cleveland, GA who has been living out here for 17 years now.    We talked about the AT and compared GA to CO while we watched the snow come down.   He told us that they only get 20 days a year that are frost free here!  

May 22nd
    Yesterday we roadwalked another 18 miles until the weather turned bad and then we drove to the Strawberry Hot Springs just north of Steamboat Springs.    They were awesome springs, high on our growing list.    But after driving the road we would be walking today (twice)  we decided to join the CDT bike trail and try it out!    We met a Norwegian guy named Paul yesterday who started at the Mexican border one month ago.  He had done 72 miles the day before and with that on our minds,  we drove to Baggs, WY first thing this morning and after checking out a few places,  were directed to the Police Station where we met Sheriff Ralph and Cathy and Janet who took us over to Sheriff Ralph's place where he had about 10 junk bicycles.     We took wheels from one, a seat from another,  a few spare tires, intertubes and he through in a pump, and we biked 52 miles into Steamboat Springs today.    New muscles are sore for sure and it was OK for a day or two but we weren't at all comfortable with the trucks driving by so close as there was no shoulder for much of the way.         Then, we went to the Ramada in town looking for a friend we met at the gathering last Oct.    She wasn't there but the Uzbekstan girl who was working there, got us a 2 room suite for $25 for tomorrow night!    So, Lots of Trail Magic today as we met the nicest cop I've ever seen as well as a beautiful Uzbekstan girl who totally set us up.     So, we now own 2 bikes that we paid $15 ea for.   What to do with them now???   

May 20th
    We are here in a place called Savory, WY after about a 34 mile roadwalk day!    Feet are sore, and we are tired.    Getting tired of roadwalks for sure!    Not much happening today except lots of pick up trucks and bigger trucks.     Pieps found 3 deer antlers and we are finally getting back to the mountains.    It's a fertile green valley here , unlike the red desert that lies so near to the north.    Lots of farms with irrigation from the Little Snake River.  Tomorrow should put us close to Steamboat Lake and back to the Rockies!    

May 19th
    We are here at Dad, WY after a flat roadwalk of 21 miles today.   We had breakfast in Rawlins and were glad to leave that depressing town.   It may be a good town for hikers as it has cheap hotels and everything but it has no people in it!   Seems like a dying town.   Anyway,  we're getting near the CO border and some mountains again and we're glad the flat roadwalk is almost over although it's been a welcome change from all the snow we were in.     We're thinking the snow must be melting as it is about 80 here today and it was hot yesterday.       Lots of prong horn antelope again today and not much else.   A few prairie dogs and birds.      

May 17
Well today was not as eventful as yesterday, but we did cover more miles.   A total of 31 in all. Our route did take us through a couple of sand dunes.  They were much more forgiving these year than in 2000. The fact that it rained last night helped to firm up the sand for better traction.  The only sheds we found were from the prong horn, no elk sheds.  The weather was sunny and almost hot.  You know the snow melted today.  We love that.  For dinner tonight we will be dining on crab alfredo.  Man that Joyce sure takes care of us.  Well until tomorrow.

May 16th
    Camped with Curly, AnneLeisse, and Ron last night and cooked a pasta meal for them!    Great to see other hikers out here.   Woke up to a cold, windy morning, after the weatherman said it was supposed to be a nice week.  But we had a great day finding neat stuff today!    Joyce found a skull with horns attached from a big horn sheep,  Pieps found 2 Elk antler sheds as well as a small deer.  And I found a gigantic elk shed as well as 2 small ones and a prong-horn shed.   Also found an old bottle with a date on it from 1857.   So, after all these months of looking for sheds after the cowboys down in NM told us how much they're worth and how many they were finding.   We've been looking hard but today was the first day we found any and we found lots.     So, the Great Basin roadwalk/bushwhack is becoming full of excitement.     Did 28-30 miles today.   Hard to tell exactly, as we bushwhacked plenty today to get off the road to find the sheds.     

May 15th
    Got to South Pass City, WY last night around ten o'clock last night.   About a half hour before we got there, we just missed a cow out on the highway!   We rearranged the inside of the van a bit on that one.    Spent an hour looking at maps and decided a route and about 10 miles into it,  we ran into Ron Vaughn and Curly and Anna Lisa who are also up here looking for a part of the CDT without snow.   They were in NM and got kicked out because of the fire danger, and had too much snow in CO , so,  we are here together tonight camping as they are on the same route right now.   We saw both Ron and Curly last fall and winter and it is a nice reunion.   Back to the roadwalking in WY is a restful time after the snows of CO.    Nice to be here.   Today we saw where the Morman trail,  Oregon Trail, California Trail and the Pony Express all come together at the same point.     It's very windy of course but easier than snow by a long shot.  

May 14th
     Wow, 5 days since I wrote, sorry!    Well,  Exhaustion is the word for the day today!    We are now at Berthoud Pass after 2 tough, tough days through the snow.   But let me back up to 4 days ago when we hiked from Leadville to Tennessee Pass and then drove to Roch and Catherine's house in Frisco, CO.   They are my ultra - running friends that I've known since 1998 when we ran the Catalina 100k race identically wrong.   We've kept in touch through the years and I stayed with them on my 98 CDT hike and last year when I did the CO trail and the Leadville race.   Great friends and Roch came out with us to do the section from Tenn. Pass to Frisco through mostly snow and we shot some great video of us post holing and  sliding down the descent from Searle Pass.    Then we took an easy day and hiked to Silverthorn on Mother's Day with J. D.  (Joyce's son who lives here)  and Roch and Catherine and Joyce.   Then it snowed about 4 inches, which made everybody happy except us as CO is having there lowest snow accumulation on record this year!         Had a great jam session with Roch and Pieps that night as Roch plays the Dobro, Banjo, Mandolin, Guitar and Uke!    A great visit!   
    So yesterday morning we left the highways of Silverthorn with all their fast food restaurants and headed up to the divide once again.     We hit the snow line at about 10,000'  and were in it the rest of the day.   About 2 pm, we started post holing in just about everything and it really wore us out.   So, when we got down to Bobtail Creek,  we grabbed the first flat, no snow piece of ground we could find and set up camp and tried our best to dry out.     We would posthole about 1 out of every 4 steps at the end of the day.  Very Tiring!       
     So, this morning we thought we'd be able to make good time as the snow was freshly frozen again.   But since the trail was totally covered,  we had to bushwack across the traverse of the divide, through the trees.    It got very steep and full of blowdowns so it wore us out quickly once again.      We finally hit a road in there that lead to a mine and then had to climb straight up 2500'  to Jones pass!    It was all downhill from there but there is a huge cornice on top there that lasts through the year usually and the only way over it was to just take the jump  (about 10' )  to the slope which we then butt-slid down about 1,000'!   Got it all on video which hopefully will show the steepness of the descent!
    So, now we are sitting here at Berthoud pass and looking at all the snow here, and thinking of heading up to WY and the Great Basin where we know it'll be dry, even if it's only for 3 days.    It's supposed to warm up and hopefully melt some of this snow because once again, we can't do more than 1 ½ mph.   And that just ain't gonna cut it!!!

May 9th
    We are camped here near Winfield.  A ghost town of old log cabins built in the 1800s that is also the turn around point for the Leadville 100 Trail Run.    It was an awesome day today as we came over 2 high passes, the 1st one; Brown's Pass, at 12,150' and the second one was the Continental Divide up and over Pear Lake Pass at 12,500'.    Lots of snow, but what really made it great was that there was no trail but it looked do-able and was a direct route from the Colorado Trail we had to do yesterday because of the high winds,  and back to the CDT here at Clear Creek Canyon Road (FS-390).     Incredible views most of the day and trailblazing without the GPS today as we could see pretty much what we had to do;  go through the snow to the top!     Got some great photos on the digital camera.   Had one funny (pieps thought so anyway)  episode today when I post holed really deep and couldn't pull my foot out without my shoe staying down there.   So, I spent about 15 minutes digging this big hole (about 2' around and 4' deep)  to finally get my shoe out.    So, we've finally found something wrong with low-cut running shoes out here.   They come off too easy when you're stuck in 4 feet of snow!    We're almost halfway through Colorado already and celebrating with a steak dinner that Joyce and Pieps are now cooking over charcoal.     

May 8th
    We are here at Cottonwood Hot Springs on Cottonwood Creek Road.    It was much too windy today to go back up to the high country, so we took the Colorado Trail and traversed Mt. Princeton.  Even then it was at least 50 mph gusts.   Sometimes I just had to stop and turn my back to the wind as the stones and debris in the air was blowing hard.   So, we did about 19 miles and called it quits and came here to the hot springs.   I imagine the gusts up on the divide would be close to 100 mph today.    So, we hiked a trail I did only last summer although it is quite boring compared to the Continental Divide and the high country.    It felt like we were back on the AT with the trees and rocks we hiked in today.      Anyway, we're hoping this wind is melting more snow up there so we can keep to the divide whenever possible.   It sure is a lot more fun up there.   Hoping to get to Winfield tomorrow which is the half-way point for the Leadville 100 race in August.   If so, we would then skip the next 45 miles or so as they are part of the racecourse.    No sense in doing them twice     The van is really rockin as these winds are incredible.    Joyce just said dinner is ready so…………………… later,

May 6th & 7th
      Hiked from Marshall Pass to Monarch Pass in mostly snow.   It was tough finding our way sometimes but we found signs of trail here and there.   Shot some great video and then as we came into Monarch Pass,  we found Joyce and Whiteroot about 2 miles in.   After talking awhile, we decided to head over to Whiteroot's house, 2 hours away in Ridgeway, CO.    Stopped and got some new tires along the way and since there's an awesome hot springs in Ridgeway,  we took yesterday off and enjoyed a soak as well as some excellent food.    Joyce was cooking all day and Caithlan is a baker by trade and made us all kinds of goodies.        So, we enjoyed fattening up a bit, and got back to the trail this morning.    Came down the Colorado trail as we think there's too much snow on the CDT at the higher altitude.     Since I just hiked the CO trail last summer, it was very familiar today.    It's a warm day and the mosquitoes are coming out big time.    We're camped here at Brown's creek Trailhead tonight.   Couldn't quite make it to the Princeton Hot  Springs, another 7 miles or so from here.   

May 4
Today started out cold once again about 20 degrees.  When will winter stop?  We managed to hike 36 miles today, which ended with an 800-foot climb in about a half-mile. It was steep.  The day also started with a climb.  To put an end to the climbing talk we ascended a total of 7100 feet between elevations of 10,000-11800.  The breathing is not the easiest thing to do at these heights.  There is a small amount of snow.  It is mainly on the north side and under the trees. The trail does cross thru a lot of open areas also know as parks or meadows.  So post holing was to a minima.  If you are unaware of what post holing is.  It is when you walk on snow and then the next thing you know your whole leg falls through the snow.  It takes a lot of energy and also tears up your legs.  Over all it was a fine day and felt great at the end.   

May 3rd
Did some tough miles yesterday as we left Creede (8,900 ft.)  with hangovers after partying hard at the TommyKnockers bar!   Very friendly to hikers!    We opened the place at 1 PM (Pieps had been there before on his CDT hike in 2000)   We ended up getting the guitar out and playing till I broke strings.   (always a sign of a good time)   We ended up sleeping at somebody's mobile home,  anyway,   we had to hike from 8900ft. to 12,750' which was in snow above 11,500 or something.   Got some great video and pictures in the snow.   We were post-holing up to our waists  which really takes the energy out of you.   But we got over the pass and just as we headed down the other side (Cocthetopa creek)   it started to snow and kept it up pretty much the rest of the day into the night.    We had our lightweight overnight gear meaning;  small sleeping bag,  thin pad, no extra clothes,  so, we decided to sleep in a cabin that we found near the trail.   Twas pretty cozy in there watching the wind howl and snow blowing outside.    Got up this morning and enjoyed breakfast at a kitchen table.    It was a beautiful morning with  the new snow and we saw a lot of wildlife this morning:   8 or 9 elk,  a moose,  and 2 prong horn antelope!    Came through the Cochetopa Hills which can be a maze of dirt roads and easy to get lost in,  but, we used the GPS and hit the van on a straight line.   (My 3rd time through here and first without getting lost!)    So, we are camping here near North Pass and I am tired!

April 30th
    We are here camping on the Rio Grande at a beautiful Forest Service Campground with no other people.  (and no fee's)     Left Wolf Creek Pass last night and hiked down to where they are blasting a tunnel in the mt.    Met the flagman there named George who we talked to for about an hour till we got through.   He just came here to see us and say hi!      So, we hiked north through some beautiful mtns. today but  could see that there was way too much snow on the north side of the divide for us to be up there.     So I think we made a good decision to take this shortcut (Creede cutoff)  which I really am not a fan of as it makes one skip one of the most beautiful parts of the whole trail:  Wiminuche Wilderness in the South San Juan Mtns.     Incredible scenery as I did it last year in preparation for this hike.     But it's all white now.       We hope to get through San Luis pass tomorrow although we can only see the south side and it looks patchy.     We shall see.      Had showers tonight which were badly needed by all.     

April 29th
    We are here at Wolf's Creek Pass after bailing out of the south San Juan's because of too much snow!     The same thing happened to me in '98!    It didn't look like much snow at Cumbres Pass once again, but  about 4 miles in it was all snow!    We still made decent time,  but not enough to keep going.   After a hard day of climbing and walking in 6-8 inches of snow up to 12,000 feet,  we decided to bail.    So, once again we had to slide down a 500' drop in a snow chute.   We may have even used the same one as in '98 but this time at least we got some good video of the drop.    So, we hiked out the Elk Creek Trail after camping in 2nd meadow.   Woke up this morning to find out that a huge bear had visited our camp during the night. (tracks)        
     After hiking the 12 miles out to the hi-way this morning,  we got a ride from some old and good friends of ours:   Rude Dog,  Barbie Gone Bad, and Grandpa Bruce , who had just finished the NM portion of the CDT at Cumbres Pass!    What a piece of trail magic!!!    So, they drove us to Pagosa Springs where we found Joyce at the Hot Springs there.     After our goodbyes,  we drove up to Wolf Creek Pass where we had dinner and then walked a few more miles yet.      Lots of decisions to make now regarding our route to get this thing done.    
     So, even with the snotel reports of 40% of normal here in southern CO,  it is still way too much to get through with these long distances between supply.     

April 27th
    Well, here we are in CO after a few days off.   Had a good time in Vegas, stayed downtown at the Lady Luck for $19.    Played a little Craps.  Didn't do so well though.   Got my teeth fixed, again.   Too much sugar in my diet!    When we got to Chama, we called Pieps' boss's friend and found out it was Paintball weekend at the cabin.  So, we decided to go and ambush them as they deserved it!     Got there about 2 hours before they did, and after hiding the van, and leaving a refrigerator magnet on the gate,   we still managed to surprise the hell out of Rudi and Linda, as they still thought they were the first ones there.   This was all a payback for the ambush that Rudi gave Pieps and Shirt when they finished the CDT in 2000!     So, we ate lots of food,  rolled some dice (much better than we did in Vegas)   played a little Paintball, and had a much needed weekend off.    Now, we are back at Cumbres Pass,  where it is all white as it snowed the last few days, and we are heading into the South San Juan's!   This is one of the most beautiful sections of the whole journey coming up and it is winter all over again.   Maybe in July the summer will get here.  Who knows?   

April 23rd
    We are driving across Death Valley, Ca after hiking 17miles to Trail Pass Trailhead, aprox. 20 miles south of Mt. Whitney.     We checked with Forest Service people and locals and the internet, to find out that there are no roads opened all the way to Carson pass,  a distance of 300+ miles from where we finished hiking.   So,   we've decided to go finish the CDT northbound from where we left it back in March at Cumbres Pass, CO.    It was quite the dilemma deciding which trail to hike next.    It's just too complicated here not knowing where we can get our next food supply.   No one can tell us much about the roads.   We told them that the Horseshoe Meadow road was opened as they didn't even know it.   So, how can we get reliable information from them?    So, we talked it over plenty and called Rainman before deciding to go back.    One thing it will do, is have us end at a beautiful place where people can drive to for a finishing party in Oct.   Also, it will allow us to hike all 3 trails backward from the way they are recommended in the guidebooks,  more our style to do things opposite of what society has decided was best.    
       Also, I have some more dental problems that need immediate attention and that is a priority to me right now.      So, it looks like we're going back to Vegas as it's right on the way to Chama and our continuation of the CDT.    Had to call Erik back home in PA to have our CDT maps sent out.    

April 21, 2002
    Camped here tonight at Kennedy Meadows Campground after a fairly easy day  (24 miles)  mostly hiked in a burned out forest today from a fire in 2000.     You can tell it's Sunday as there are people around here fishing and camping.   Good to see people for a  change.    Took a bath in the cold Kern river today but didn't get very clean so we fired up the blaster for a hot shower here at the campground.  Feels good to be clean.    So, tomorrow we head into the snow and a big climb.     

April 20th
      Woke up this morning to Pieps saying; “do you know what day it is today?”     I didn't , but found out quick enough today was 4-20!    So, first of all we decided to sleep in an extra hour this morning so we didn't get up till 6.      Then of course we had a slow start but once we got out there,   it was a beautiful day in the southern sierras and we came around a turn about noon and ,  lo and behold,  there was Pete Fish and the PCT trail crew, working on the trail.   I had met Pete and one of the crews in 96 when I hiked the PCT with Rainman and Blister Sister and we stopped and stayed with them for 3 nights and did some trail crew work at that time.   So it was great to see him again.    Met the whole crew and found out they are mostly horse people maintaining this trail,  it's a shame that they sometimes get a bad rap with some hikers even though they do the brunt of the work.        They gave us water and a beautifully raked trail.     It's cool now and we are camped at Chimney Creek Campground after our 29 mile day today.   

April 19th
    Felt pretty good yesterday after that tiredness for the past few days.   So, we dida 35 mile day all the way to Walker Pass where we camped.     I think we left the desert for good yesterday as we are now in the trees and beautiful rock formations known as the Sierras!      So, when we got up this morning, we decided to finally go check out all this snow talk for ourselves.  We got in the van and drove north through Lone Pine, where we checked out the Horseshoe Meadows Road which was open and clear all the way to 10,000 feet.     Then on to Independence where we drove up the Onion Valley road all the way to 9,200 which again was clear and open , contrary to some info we had heard.    So, we drove up a little further, to Bishop and seen that there was MUCH snow.   TOO Much actually.    And still snowing even today!!!    So,  looking at all the options,  we called Roch in Frisco, CO who told us most all the snow has melted in Colorado already.    So,  giving it a lot of thought,  we decided to hike 4 or 5  more days to Mt. Whitney.
         So, now I guess we are going back to our original plan of finishing the whole journey on top of Mt. Whitney

April 17th
    We started heading into the Sierra's from Tehachapi pass 2 days ago and only got a mile as the winds were blowing 50 mph down at the pass and (we found out later)   100 mph up on top where the windmills are located.   (talked to a maintenance worker today)    So,  we made a good decision I think, to stop and take the day off in Mojave.   Headed out yesterday when the wind died down a bit,  but the cold weather came back,   in 3 days,  we went from 107 in the sun (97 in the shade)   to 100 mph winds, to cold and snow flurries.    So, we hiked 27 miles yesterday to a pass about 12 miles after Golden Oak Spring.    Had a bear in camp and we had heard that this is the location where they put all the bad bears that they catch in the campgrounds that raid campsites for food and are not afraid of people.    This one didn't seem to afraid of us, but did run away when Pieps yelled at it.    Woke up this morning to snow on the tent and snowing most of the morning.      Winter's back.   So, now we are camped on Kelso road where it is still windy but we have a beautiful view of the mtns to the north and the way we are headed.   Looks good,  but I am tired and had trouble doing the miles today even though we are well rested up.    I hope this feeling passes soon.     We still don't see any snow in the mtns ahead although everyone tells us theres plenty !     

April 14th
    It's hot here in the desert!     Yesterday we hiked through the Mojave over the LA aqueduct from 6 AM to noon and then sat under the awning at Cottonwood Creek bridge for 4 hours checking the temperature which ranged from 97 in the shade to 106 in the sun!     Then we hiked again until 8:15 PM where we slept on the trail overlooking Palmdale.     The starts were pretty spectacular for a change as the moon is gone for now.   So, today we hiked the remaining 20 miles to the Tahachapi- Mojave road 58.    It's a rough neighborhood as we got yelled at by locals,  a dog tried to bite me, and theres gunshots going off all day.    We will start the southern Sierras tomorrow and glad to be leaving southern CA and it's heat, traffic,  irate locals,  and windmills.     We did talk to Brian Robinson today as we have been studying the possible resupply points through the Sierras and they are all looking grim as there's plenty of snow up that way yet.    It was interesting talking to Brian as we think of himoften and how he did this with no one to talk to.   He said he's taken up ultra running and now has a sore knee.  (after walking 7,000 miles with no knee problems.)      So,  we are camping early tonight to get a fresh start on a waterless section early tomorrow morning.    Today marks our 6 month  anniversary,   on these 3 trails.   I hope the next 6 go easier.     

April 12th
    Back to the trail after our stint in Vegas.    Had one of our best meals last night at the Rio where it was the World Seafood Buffet where they have whatever seafood you can imagine:  Maine lobster, Alaskan Snow Crab,  Raw Oysters, Scampi, etc.  We left early this morning (6 AM)  and drove back to Palmdale to my dentist appointment afterwhich we went to the library to wait most of the day till we got the lab work back at 5 PM.     Then headed back to the trail at the Mojave crossing where we just walked about 2 miles along the aqueduct here in the desert where it is once again windy.    It was nice to have a few days away from the trail.     And to see Boss Hogg and family again.   He totally styled us out with the rooms, meals and rides.  (cab as well as the Big Shot ride at the Stratosphere)    

April  11th
    I'm writing this log from our awesome hotel room at the Luxor in Las Vegas!     Here's how it happened;    we woke up at Cottonwood Creek yesterday morning after all night big winds continued (30-40 mph )      But there was a message on our cell phone and we had enough signal to check it.   It was from Boss Hogg and he said he figured we were only 200 miles away from Vegas where he and his family were staying.     We should take a day off, and come for a visit.     Well, it has turned into quite the experience here in this unbelievable hotel.    The Luxor is the one that is a glass pyramid and one side of our room is tilted glass looking out over the strip and the Excalibur's castle right in front of us.    Quite different from the desert we're supposed to be in right now.    The Hoggs are going on a raft trip down the Grand Canyon tomorrow.     So, we are cheating, I guess some would say as we are getting ready to go to our 3rd Buffet here in the Luxor.   (not necessarily the best AYCE in Vegas, but we don't have to walk)     So, no hiking today .       
          Roughing it here again on the PCT, fiddlehead

April 9th
    OK, well, it's been a few days again.  Sorry!      After I wrote the last log,  the Forest Service Guy:  Todd, came out an offered us a shower and a beer.   So,  of course we accepted.    He also told us how we must stay at the Saufley's house in Agua Dulce so, after hiking the 18 miles into town and through the beautiful Vasquez Rocks,    we looked them up and sure enough,  they have an excellent place for hikers they call “Hiker's Heaven”!     We told them we'd be back tomorrow as we had told Mark and Pam that we'd be back there.    Had another soak in the spa at their place and went out and hiked 22 miles to the Fransiquito Canyon road from which we drove back to the Saufley's to enjoy a great barbequed meal of chicken and cheeseburgers and strawberry shortcake for dessert.    Told lots of hiking stories into the night and showed slides to each other.    Great stay,  Great people.        We left there early this morning  and drove back out to the fire station where we left off and hiked all the way to 3 points bar (which was closed)    and then drove out to Cottonwood creek across the desert at the LA aqueduct.    The water is turned off so,  we will bring water back here to cache for the hikers who follow as we know this is a much needed water source.      Saw a big bear today and since he didn't see me,   I watched him for a good 10 minutes from about 50 yards away.   Springtime is showing it's face everyday as it's getting greener and greener with more and more flowers coming out ,  and now our first bear that hasn't been in a cage so far on this journey.        

April 6th
    28 miles today to North Fork Saddle Ranger Station where we are camping at the picnic area.   A light drizzle throughout the day made for some easy walking.   You can tell it's the weekend though as there were lots of vehicles on the back roads and rangers too.     We are almost out of the Angeles Nat. Forest where they try to make you buy an “Adventure Pass”  even though most of the roads are still gated since last fall!   So far, we've not been caught, but they are around on the weekends trying to collect these fees.   Slo Ride and Lori gave us a sign saying we are not recreating so, are not necessarily liable for the permit.    We hope it works.     Feet are sore, mouth is sore from the extraction, and legs are sore from the miles.   Oh well, gotta love it!

April 5th
     We had to go to town yesterday because I had a toothache that wasn't going away.    So, it was back to Mark and Pam's 2 days ago to make an appointment and get our relax on again.     I drove to Palmdale and went to a dentist office there that helped me out a lot.   The one that broke a week ago, had to be pulled as it was infected and gave me lots of pain.   All told, I sat in the chair for 4 hours and had 9 Novacaine shots.     Not a pleasant day although Pieps got his taxes done and is now a pro at the gameboy computer game they play at Marks.     So, today it was a 2 hour drive back to the trail at Eagle's Roost where we halted the other day.    Had a beautiful hike in the Coulter Pines and alluvials    and lots of memories from 96 from this section.    Came past Glenwood Cabin where we hid from the rain 6 years ago.      Mark and Pam have really been great to us, opening up there house everytime we need an oasis in the sea of highways known as LA.   
     Saw a troop of boyscouts out hiking the silver moccasin trail.  They are planning on staying at Little Jimmy Campground tonight and we got them scared telling them about the bear that hangs out there.     George had problems last year with the same bear and said he's not afraid of people, and is going to hurt somebody.   (we didn't tell the boyscouts that,  just that they need to hang their food properly.         It's getting cold again.    

April 2nd
   We are camped here at Inspiration Point just west of Wrightwood, CA after an uphill day.     Left the canyon bottom early this morning and climbed from 3,400 feet to 8, 260 on top of the Blue Ridge.      We hiked on to Vincent Gap but drove back up here for sunset.    So 26 miles today of mostly uphill and we are tired.      Came over the Mt. High Ski Area where the spring break gang were getting in there last runs of the year on  the only slope still open which was just next to the PCT.     Beautiful views all day of Pine Mt to our south, and Baden Powell to our west.      I remember the climb well from 96.   OK, suns going down, gotta go take some pix.

April 1st
     Interesting day as we left the campground before they opened (6AM)  and no one was moving around.   Went back to where we finished last night and continued past the store on the Silverwood Lake road which was closed!    I guess new owners are going to open it back up , but as of now, its' empty with for sale signs around.    So we had great views of the lake that looked so inviting on this hot day.     Lunch found us at the new McDonald's at Cajon pass on I-15.   Spent a few hours there people watching as there where loads of beautiful women as well as all types that make up this crazy country.   The trucks and traffic were just non-stop which seemed so strange to us as we have been alone in the desert for the most part here in CA.     Leaving the madness behind (and the trash)   we headed under the interstate to find some awesome graffiti painted there.   Took pictures until the battery went dead.    Then we climbed the beautiful rocky foothills of the San Gabriel's , I think they're called here.       Camping tonight in Swarthore Canyon and we just had hot showers from our blaster and shower pump.    We don't always use it as it's often much too cold but not here at 3,000 feet.      Tomorrow we go back up to the high country where it should be nice and cool.      

March 31st
      An Eventful Easter Sunday today!    Started early and hiked about 10 miles before the heat set in to Deep Creek Hot Springs which were Awesome!    Only a few people there for the 1st 2 hours and then they started coming in droves when we were getting ready to leave.      So,  we pretty much had them to ourselves.    What a great place!   The Forest Service Station in Big Bear City told us the water was only ankle deep because of the drought, but,  we can't figure out why they would tell us such a lie.   The water level was about the same as it was for us in 96 which was a normal rainfall year.  Oh well,  once again they got us.   When will we learn to realize these people don't go out there and check these things out?    Anyway,  Joyce cooked us Shrimp Scampi for our Easter dinner which is my favorite.    So, except for all the motorcycles on the trail today (5 ),  It was a great day.   We only hiked 21 miles today but, we had a great day.

March 30th
    Hiked 23 miles yesterday to Holcomb Valley Road from where we headed into town (Big Bear City)    Met up with Lori there who drove up from San
Diego to spend some time hiking with us.    The hiking is getting easier (maybe it only feels that way because we have been mostly downhill these last 2 days)   Had some snow on the trail most of the day as it snowed pretty good Thursday night.    Enjoyed pizza and beer at the Motel 6 and after a big town breakfast this morning,   hit the trail with Lori hiking 7 miles with us before she had to go back.    We're in the big pines now,  I'm not sure of all there names but they are huge and the Coulter Pine Cones here are probably the biggest on the whole trail.    Except for a big burn area this afternoon,  the terrain and scenery is beautiful in here.     Joyce met us after 20 miles today with 2 cooked chickens from the market which we devoured quickly and although the miles weren't big today,  we are tired anyway.   Tomorrow is Easter Sunday  and we should be at the Deep Creek Hot Spings for the morning services!    

March 28th
    Did an overnight since the last log.   Left Cottonwood Trailhead yesterday morning and headed up through the wind turbines near I-10.    Joyce went with us for a few miles carrying the video camera to get some shots of the windmills in action but, no wind that morning.   We did stop and talk to the guys at the maintenance station at 4 miles and learned a lot about these wind turbines.   These guys work for Enron although the turbines are owned by individual investors.    There are aprox 4,000 windmills and the average one produces about $40 worth of electricity per day.    They have excellent water at this facility (Arrowhead water from a big bottle !)       Proceeded into the hot morning past Whitewater Creek which seemed to have about 1/3 of the flow that I saw there in '96.    Also, Mission Creek only had about a third of the water.    I think the PCTers starting in April or May will have some problems in Southern CA.     We climbed all day and camped at a good spot next to a seep at 6,100 feet.    This seep is in the guidebook and data book, but again, was barely running.     Continued the climb this morning to Coon Creek Jumpoff and then leveled out a bit till we got to a road that had signs everywhere about checking in for an appointment.   We went to find out what it was all about and found that they keep about 5 tigers,  a leopard, a black panther,  bobcat, and a full grown Grizzly bear here!   They use them in movies and we found a guy feeding them who was telling us they eat aprox.  12 lbs. of meat a day each.     Well, we thought this was pretty crazy out here right next to the PCT and then we heard the lions roar.  He told us you could hear there roar for a few miles and the locals had to be warned.    Anyway, it was weird.    Now it is snowing and winter all over again.   Between all the desert and all the winter we've seen,  we thought it just might get warm for a while.   Oh well.   

March 26th

    Well, it's been a few days I see.    We've been busy.   Hiked a long day coming into Pines to Palm Highway (rt. 74)  and were beat from the 30+ mile day so, we called up Pieps' friend, Mark and drove the 2 hours to LA and took 2 days off!    Mark lives (as many Californians do)  in a development with a pool and spa and once again, we had some long soaks in that 102 degree spa.    The bodies needed some time off so, it was a relaxing weekend.   Back to the trail yesterday morning early as we started the climb up Mt. Jacinto with full packs as we decided to overnight it to save the descent into Idyllwild.     So, last night we camped at 8,000 feet in a beautiful spot under some ancient trees with  a nice fire to melt the snow.    Not much water in those 54 miles, we found one little seep besides the snow we melted.   The long descent down into Snow Creek was once again monotounous and once we got set up for the night,  got chased by some woman at the gate.    That's the first time we've been chased for camping at a trailhead since the trip started.    So, after 32 miles today, we put our shoes back on and continued 5 more miles to Cottonwood Trailhead parking lot, where we are spending the night.    

March 21st
    First day of Spring and an exciting one (or two)  !      Yesterday we hiked the dreaded Scissors crossing climb.    It was alright but hot after a load night camped by the road.   Then we found some water in a tank and hiked into Barrel Springs where Rainman,  Blister Sister and I worked with the trail crew 6 years ago.   Trail looked Great!    We heard that the resort at Warner Springs now allows through hikers to stay there, so, after checking it out.   Checked In and proceeded to get our relax on with a good soak.   Cooked in the room and went out again for an evening one.    Got up early this morning and got dropped off back at Barrel where we hiked into the spa again by 10 AM.   Nice!  Finally left town around 1 PM and followed a running creek up the mt.   Met a few people on the trail today ,  that was nice for a change.    Camped here near Indian Flats with a view.     The desert is starting to show signs of spring.   Lovin it

March 19, 2002
Well today was a 35 mile day.  I  must say that they came rather easy.  The PCT does a lot of in and out (alluvial) and takes a long time to loss or gain elevation, making it easy terrain.  We dropped from Mt. Laguna  (6000) to the Anza-Borrego Desert (2200) Which also made the day easier.  Plants in the desert are starting to come to life.  There are a few flowers blooming and the stuff that always looks brown is actually starting to look green.  This evening we are camping at scissors crossing.  So named for the roads here and how they cross each other. The weather has turned nicer as well.  Today was sunny and a high of about 70 degrees.

March 18th
    Here at Mt. Laguna after our 2nd day on the PCT.    Hiked 20 miles yesterday with Slo Ride and Lori after a bit of a party at the border and the start.  Griz and his girlfriend, Tamara, came and celebrated with us.    But let me back up a bit to the last 2 or 3 days as we haven't written a log lately.     After finishing the NM portion of the CDT on the 13th,  we drove to Farmington where we sat in a Jacuzzi for a badly needed soak after all that roadwalking.    The next day, we drove to the Grand Canyon after picking up “Julius” a full blooded Navajo Indian who was brought up in the old traditional native American ways.   He loved to talk and told us many stories of his people.    The Grand Canyon was quite crowded even though it's still winter.   It was exactly one year since our kayak / raft trip down the entire canyon and I was surprised to see how many tourists were probably watching our group run rapids last year.     We continued on through Arizona to Laughlin, NV where we got a room at the Flamingo Hilton Casino where I taught Pieps how to win at craps and we let the casino buy us our room and 2 AYCE meals at their excellent buffet there.    Left there Friday morning and drove through Joshua Tree NP on our way to San Diego and Lori and Slo Ride's place there where they had a big meal waiting for us as well as some old friends.    Catherine Mataiz, Griz, Tammy, as well as Joyce, Slo Ride and Lori,  all came to hear of our tales and party down!       On Saturday, we all went to Road Runner Sports' big outdoor sale and we all got new running shoes,  spent the rest of the day shopping , relaxing,  watching slides of their Arizona Trail through hike of last year.      Sunday morning found us driving to Campo and our start.  Slo Ryd and Lori hiked the 1st 20 miles with us and then camped with us at Lake Moreno County park where it started to rain about 5 pm and we needed the awning.   During the night it turned to snow and we woke up to a winter wonderland.     Hiked all day in snow and here at the top of Mt. Laguna, it is aprox 6” deep.     We didn't know these things happen in southern California, but it made for some beautiful scenery today.    So, we are camping on Mt. Laguna in the snow after a 23 mile day.     Gotta start picking up the miles soon but the legs are tight after the 2 ½ days off.   Tomorrow looks like mostly downhill so, we hope to make some tracks!   

March 13th
     Finished NM today in exactly one month (28 days actually since it was mid-Feb to mid-March)     We knew it was 57 miles from yesterdays start point so we did a big day with 45 miles yesterday and 22 today.   The muscles are ALL tired and we are in Farmington, NM now looking for a room with a spa.      It's much hotter already in this part of NM.     Chama looked a bit like a ghost town with almost everything closed for the winter.  (That's the way this whole trip has been so far)    But the woman in the Post Office recognized my name from 4 years ago, even though we didn't get any mail this time.     Way too much road walking in this state and yesterday as we were walking down the shoulder of the road,  I think the high school kids were racing and trying to do a double pass right where we were walking and the car missed me by inches!   They were going at least 70 miles an hour.     It just goes to show you how you can go at any time.  
    So we are on our way to San Diego and our start of the PCT !   YAHOO!  No More Roadwalking !

March 11th
    Today was mostly a road walk through natural gas fields.    The only vehicles we saw were the gas company trucks and we must have seen 12 of them.     We're getting tired of roads and are starting to think ahead to southern California and the PCT.   New Mexico is beautiful but trails are a rare thing.   So, it's either roads or bushwhacking, which usually includes crossing many barbed wire fences.   They all make me think of that poor elk yesterday.   What a tough way to die and not much we could do to help.    We're getting up earlier now that the days are getting longer.   Another thing about today was all the goodies we found on the side of the road.    A pair of tin snips that we traded for two sodas at a small store!    And a perfect shaped bone from some animal to make a slingshot!     A real score!    Hiked about 28 miles today and we are now camping at a beautiful spot with horses hanging out nearby.    

March 10, 2002
Yesterday the 9th was more or less uneventful.  We did about 18 to make it to Cuba, NM.  The last 4 miles was a bushwhack.  Fiddlehead met the land owner.  The land owner  told him that he was trespassing on his property and then started to feel bad for telling him that.  He told Fiddlehead that he hoped he was not mad at him for saying that.  
Today was much different.  We walked across an Indian Reservation.  Somewhere we were not supposed to be.  As we were walking we started to here a drum beating.  We stopped and quickly got off the road and found a new route.  The last thing we wanted to do is walk in on some Indian ceremony while trespassing.  We could have been the sacrifice.  So the last 6 miles of today turned into a bushwhack.  
Right after hearing the drum and getting off the road we came across an elk that was tangled up in the bob wire fence.  It was laying on the ground and one of its legs was wrapped in the top part of the fence. It was still alive. We wanted to help but needed wire cutters or a gun.  Both of which we do not carry.  It was hard to leave and we both looked at each other feeling empty.  We walked about 22 miles today.  

March 08
Well New Mexico has thrown us another curve ball, but Fiddlehead and I hit the ball right out of the park.  Today we covered about 27 miles in some ripping winds.  All day the wind must have been a steady 30 miles per hour with gust of up to 60 miles per hour.  The wind was from the west to north west putting it to our left side or right in the face.  At time we were walking leaning into the wind. We looked like the guy on the V8 commercials. The wind would also stop us dead in our tracks.   We looked like the guy on the V8 commercials. During a break I reached into my pocket for something and found sand.   We must have been some site for cars passing us by.  We had our wind proof Patagonia tops on and ski goggles.  I also wore a bandanna around my face to keep out the dust.  The wind would blow so hard that it picked up sand and pelted us with it. During a break I reached into my pocket for something and found sand.   At time there was even snow mixed in with the wind and dirt.  It made for some crazy walking.  The wind drains the body a lot like the sun.  
Yesterday was different yet.  Locked gates and mud.  We ran into a looked gate which meant that the Joyce would have to go completely out of her way to get back to somewhere to meet us.  We carried a sleeping bag and a few other live saving items thanking we may not see the van that night.  After about 28 miles we found the van just on the other side of the locked gate at the other end. The mud was an extra challenge.  When the human body is moving at about four miles an hour and then you hit a slick mud spot and your push off is gone the body stops.  It takes a lot of energy out of the body to stop and then go again.  Hope that made some since.  Well who knows what is in store for us tomorrow.   

March 6th
    Well, this will be a day that we will probably always remember!   We left Grants yesterday and hit some real trail after 5 miles of Grant's suburbs and passing a prison.   Headed up  Horace Mesa and met Joyce there to change our equipment over to our “Rondenee”  ski gear and heavy double boots.   We have been looking forward to that for a while and with Mt. Taylor at 11,300 feet,  we knew the north side would be mostly snow.     The packs really felt heavy with those skis strapped on and we climbed the rest of the afternoon arriving at  the top around 5 PM.    We skied about half and walked about half, but we knew we were in trouble as we had another 8 miles or so to the van (so we thought) with only 1 ½ hours of daylight left.      So we skied down the north side and, sure enough, the first time we hit deep powder,  we were in trouble.     I did a face plant and couldn't get up for a while and Pieps broke his binding.    So we stumbled down to a decent camp spot and collected firewood into the dark.    It was at 10,500 feet and we were without overnight gear.    So we dug into the frozen duff and built a big fire,  and with heated rocks and somewhat of a windbreak, we spent the next 10 hours trying to stay warm.   We had no way to melt snow, so had no water.    Got up this morning, and headed down the 2,500 feet on ice, which made my skiing tougher than ever with the new gear.   Finally after 13 miles, we figured out that Joyce and the van were not going to be there .  (we found out later that the forest service ranger gave her directions for a different road.)    Well, we all found each other by 1 pm and drank and ate and slept for the rest of the day!        So, now we are going to bed early.       

March 3rd
    Piep's Birthday!    Well, Joyce is back!  Picked her up yesterday in Albuquerque after taking a day off at Allen Stibora's house.     Walked the boring road walk out of Pie Town, that lasted 48 miles of windy, cold dirt road.    Today we saw some hunters who had a javalina that they had shot earlier a bit south of here.   Beautiful scenery as we are in the El Malpais recreation area, with sandstone cliffs on our left and a huge lava flow on our right.   We will enter the lava flow on the Acoma-Zuni trail tomorrow morning.   

March 1, 2002
I seem to have gotten in the habit of doing the log every other night and it seems to be working for me.  How about you?  Yesterday we covered about 28 miles.  How ever we did take a wrong dirt road which added 3 or so miles to the 28.  28 miles is positive miles.  We stay at Nita and Don and daughter Autumn.  What great people.  Nita cooked us dinner and sent us off with two of Pie Towns best pies.  Nita is the pie baker of Pie Town. Population of 60 plus or minus.  Nita's husband Don has got the jobs of all jobs.  He is the man that starts the fires.  Hopefully controlled fires.  Don seems to have a strong grip on the whole thing.  Being employed by the BLM for twenty years. Thank you Nita and Don.   
Today is the first and just two day to my birthday.  33  Well we ran/walked (rw) 32 miles in 8 and half hours.  That four miles an hour and that include stopping three times and snacking.
I did see a coyote today and that is about it.  The wind was strong and cold.  There seems to be a front moving in.  Calling for snow or rain.  More than likely snow in the higher elevations. Just were we are at.  We have been around 7500-9600.  9600 has been our high point so far and that was coming over Mangas  Mountain yesterday.  Well that is all for now.

Feb 27
Two more days have pasted.  Yesterday was a day off at the Gathering of Friends retreat.  What a piece of property.  There was a pond feed by a diverted stream.  From the pond the water then traveled to a hydroelectric plant made by Ken one of the runners at the camp.  It supplies enough electricity to take care of all there needs.  The house is awesome.  There are no corners in the house.  The roof is like a ginger bread house it is wavy not flat.  All the rooms are different and have names.  I put in a little work on the garden which is certified organic.  The property and buildings are great, but with out beautiful loving people the place would not have the same charm.  Thank you all for the friendly hospitality.  
The retreat is for runners.  These people go on two long runs a week.  One run six hours and the other four hours.  Both runs they do not stop and walk they do not even stop to eat.  It is a water only run.  It is an amazing group of ultra runners who wins races.  
The end of the night was blurred by beer, Jack Daniels, and Wild Turkey.  With all of these libations the morning came with a hang over.  Having to get back on the trail we said our good byes and went to breakfast.  
Upon entering the restaurant there was Bucky and Bear Charmer.  They helped us move our van for  a week in VA.  They are from North Carolina and  were on there way to Arizona and wanted to find us.  I walked into the restaurant and there they were.  Wow the element of surprise.  It must of take me about 15 seconds to realize what was going on.  It seemed a lot longer then that.  Trail magic is a live out here.  They even bought us breakfast.  Thank you Bucky and Bear Charmer.  We were unable to hang out very long, but they are two wonderful people.  Bucky likes to say “if you live right you feel right”.  He could not be any more right than that.  
They took Rambling Rich who had been driving for us back to Silver City were his truck was and we drove to Pie Town to pick up our new driver Allen.  After doing all that we managed to get to the trail and started walking about 2:15.  We walked nine miles and are now camping once again.  The camping part is my favorite part of the day.  It is time to get our relax on.  

Feb 25
We have made it to Reserve,  NM.  Yesterdays hiking took us to another beautiful spot in New Mexico.  Half of the hike was on forest service roads and the other half was a bush wack  thru a highland park.  A park is a large open area.  As we walked we keep an eye out for elk antlers.  We were told by Bobby of the NM Game and Fish a few days ago that the elk sheds (antlers that the elk shed) are worth $9 per pound and more if they are nice.  One horn may average about 10 pounds.  A large 6x6 or 7x7 rack can bring $1000.  All we have to do is find them.  We meet Bobby as we were coming out of the Gila.  As we were walking from Snow Lake we were on a forest service road.  The road was patchy with snow and mud.  Along the walk we came across a van stuck with no one around.  We soon saw that the window was busted out and the radio was stolen.  We checked it out and continued to walk.  About three miles later we took a break and that is we Bobby passed us.  We walked just around a turn and there was Rambling.  We were eating and relaxing at the van when Bobby came back and asked us question about the van and if it was our foot prints around the van.  We told him yes and he then asked for our I.D.  He know it was not us because the broken glass had melted into the snow and our foot tracks were fresh.  He also told us they have problems with drugs being run thru the area.  Why I am not sure.  Well we saw Bobby today and told that the car was not stolen.  It did have a shit load of air fresheners making it look like a drug running van.  

Today we walked 10 miles and calling it a day.  We spent the afternoon in Reserve doing earns (laundry, buying food, making phone calls).   We have not had a day off for 230 miles and the body is beat.  So tomorrow is going to be a day off with the Gathering of Friends.  I have heard that it is a wonder spot as well. Get ready to get your RELAX ON

Feb 23
Well we made it out of the Gila alive.  Just another beautiful place in NM.  We did an over night because of the lack of roads.  Places do exist out here with out roads and the Gila Wilderness is one of them.  It has been some tough walking.  We are back in the snow.  The snow is only on the north side of the slopes.  In the last two days we may have covered about 45 miles.  It is hard to tell how many miles one has done on the CDT because there are few signs and one may not always go were the true divide goes.  The CDT is truly wild and I wish it could stay that way, that is part of the adventure not knowing were you are going and or how long it may take to get there.  
When it is wild you see a lot more.  We saw two pairs of bald eagles, elk, wild pigs,  deer, and a lot more.  The weather has been great.  Today it was lower 70's and the nights have been cold low 20's.  The sun tan is looking great.  If you would like I will show you the tan lines.  

Feb 21
Well two more days down.  Yesterday the 20th we walked out of Silver City.  The first fourteen miles were black top, the middle six were on dirt road and the last eight was on an obscure trail for a total of 28 miles.  The trail was hard to follow and even lost it for a while. Once we hit the river bottom we were golden.  Getting there was a little tough for it is canyons back in there. The Gila that is.  That is also the river we followed north to get back here at the Gila Hot Springs.  It sure fills good to be clean.  I was bathing with two young ladies' that turned me on to another hot spring, which just so happens to be on the trail we are taking tomorrow.  
New Mexico is call the land of Enchantment and it is not to hard to see way.  New Mexico is a beautiful place.

Feb 18th
Well, we did our first 30 today in NM.   Mostly road walking but we did some desert bushwhacking which is my favorite.     Yesterday as we came across I-10 at Separ, our van was 3 hrs. behind us as Ramblin got caught in a maze of dirt roads with locked gates.  When you look at the map to see what's public land and what's private, you'll see one white (private) square out of 15 and sure enough, the rancher who owns it, locks the gates controlling the roads.   So, Ramblin put a lot of miles on the van trying to get through that mess.   Pieps and I waited at a truck stop that was very interesting on this Sunday afternoon.  Lots of truckers and tourists stopping to shop for their NM souveniers.   
    After setting up camp in the middle of nowhere in the desert, a truck pulled up full of locals who were out collecting rattlesnakes to sell to the tourists.   Well, here's how they do it:  One of them crawled down a mine shaft hole and “hog-tied”  the snakes to a shovel and drug them out.   Then they just put the snakes in the back of the truck and 4 or 5 of the guys crawled in back with them.     We took a lot of pix and video and found some interesting people here.     Today was colder and windy and we crossed the divide and went over 6,000 feet for the 1st time out here.    We can see the Gila getting closer and we will be in Silver City tomorrow.

Feb 16
Well the end of the day has come again.  Today we did a lot of cross-country walking.  This means we had no trail or road.  It is hard to know how many miles we have hiked but as the crow flies it was 17 miles which my mean we walked about 22-24 miles.  The body is sore from yesterday and after today it is now burned.  The backs of the legs are taking it pretty hard.  
We did see some wild life.  There was a herd of wild horses, which  we ate with.  They like trail mix.  There was also a herd of mule deer.  All of this in the middle of the Chihuahua desert.  There are cows out here but what these animals are eating I have no idea.  There is a rule out here in the desert and that is if you see a cow there is water with in two miles.  The desert is an amazing place.  It may seem dead, but it is alive.  

Feb 15
Today was a much different day then what we have been having.  We ran/walked 28 miles today.  We are on black top for the first 34 miles (NM81).  The trail started at Antelope Well, NM.  Upon get to the border last night the gate was closed, but Dan the U.S. Customs man walked us to the line that separates Mexico form the United States.  It is a funny place.  It is flat with a lot of scrub.  If one wanted to slip in the States all you have to do is walk out of site thru the scrub and you are past the customs station.  After that you know have to get by the border patrol.  Where they are you never know.  So after photos and video we started with seven miles.
The black top miles are tough, so my approach is to run for 10 minutes then walk for 3.  It seems to be working.  The body is use to hiking more than running, so I think I will be sore tomorrow with the use of the new muscle demand.
Tonight for dinner we will be eating hot Italian sausage in a red marinara sauce with pasta.  Man we live good out here.  Rambling Rich will also be dinning with us tonight and for the next 10 for he is our new western support person.  Thank Rambling!  

Feb 14
Well after traveling across the country from Georgia to New Mexico we will be getting in some miles this after noon.  Our trip was great.  We did dinner and breakfast with my mother and step father.  It is great to visit family, but being on a schuele we could not stay as long as I would have liked.  From Georgia we went to Little Rock to visit my older bothers and family. Their two boys Tyler and Seth are two unbelievable kids.  Upon arriving we visited Todd's places of employment.  There his boss John Fox of FOXCOR gave us a generous amount of cash.  Thank you John!  It turns out that the unexpected money came just at the right time.  After leaving Little Rock and almost making it out of Texas (El Paso)  we had transmission problems which cost us two bills to get fixed.  How ever there is a silver lining to the store.  That would be the Gila Hot Springs that we have made it to last night.  These hot springs are beautiful.  The temperature is 101-104.  The finial soaking of the muscles before hitting the pavement this after noon.  We are planning to do about seven miles.  I think with four days off and the few miles today the body will be screaming to do miles.  

Springer Mountain final arrived.  What a grand finish to such a demanding trail.  It had rained over night leaving a heavy overcast day with mist.  After seven miles we made it.  On top there were a total of  eight including  our selves.  Seven of the eight had 92,000 miles between us.  Know that is some walking.  The list of friends goes like this;  Diamond Dave, Looney, Shirt, Sly, Nimble Wheel Nomad, Fiddlehead, Tom Horn, and myself Pieps.  We partied as hard as eight people in the woods could. We even had some of that Tennessee corn liquor left.  It was hard to say good bye to all of our friend.  Shirt has also left us.  Shirt you are missed.  

Feb 09th
Via Diamond Dave:

I came in last night with some much need supplies.  Had a little warm-up celebration at Neals Gap.  Great Weather.  They say they are starting to see more and more people. I  wanted to see what it's like to hike with the Big Dogs .  I jumped in from Gooch Gap to High Tower.  I stayed with them for maybe 4 miles, but I could see their brakes smoking. They were like horse going to the barn at the end of the day. They were kicking rocks back at me as I labored up the slopes. I looked down and they were gone.  Hay! don't think I'm pumping these guys up.  If I can do it anybody can.  We worked on the van at lunch, replacing a few ignition parts. Looney took it to the next nights site, and in her words, the van was “responsive and a pleasure to drive.”  Team triple crown is ready to get their road trip on.

Feb 7
From the driver's eyes:

Drove into Hiawassee yesterday and got a Holiday Inn  Express room…not quite sure what the express was….unless it had something to do with the presence of a coffee maker, refridgerator, microwave, iron, ironing board, phone in the bathroom, hairdryer, pull out couch, two beds, (all in the room), not to mention the pool, Jacuzzi, gym and laundry.  So,  if a person were to take advantage of it all, would it really be an “express” experience??  “GAWD”, what a luxury for Team Triple crown.  
Did a little grocery shopping with the boys, sent them on their way at Dicks Creek gap,  spent the day with Tom Horn and Shirt at Unicoi Gap, sent them ontheir way, and  was reacquainted with F and P…looking forward to watching Bob Marley on DVD tonight.  Yup, life is rough for the driver!

All right, I'm back…just finished the Bob Marley DVD….the thought of the night:   Fiddlehead may have to start drinking from a sippy cup soon.  He's been having problems with spillage as of late.  

AND I forgot to mention this before, but yesterday…I found out that my cat Emma, who escaped the night before I came out on this trip was found, and my wallet that I left on top of my car as I left a gas station is safe and sound at the Kernersville Police station.  So…good vibes are flowing.

Feb 6
Well I failed to write a log for yesterday, so I will do so now.  The 5th we hiked 17 miles to end at Deep Gap or so we thought.  We were to meet the van at the gap for the end of the day.  Well the van was not there.  We built a fire and hung out for an hour before heading down the road the only way out via road.  After walking on the road it was obvious that no cars had been up the road in some time.  We walked an extra 5 miles to get to a gate were the van was waiting for us.  It end much better with a camp fire and banana boats.
Today started with the birthday of Robert Nesta Marley.  It started snowing around 6 o'clock in the morning.  It snowed about 3 inches before it turned to rain.  Today has ended with a hotel room at the Holiday Inn with a Jacuzzi.  We also hit the all you can eat as well, with one planned for tomorrow.

Feb 4
Pieps here writing tonight.  What a sucky  day today was.  It all started with a phone call to AT&T.  Do I need to say anything else.  They want me to verify an address with two forms of I.D.  Well I can not do that.  The price for being homeless “priceless”.  I told them the whole list of general delivery address.  Well enough of that.  
We meet Tom Horn yesterday.  What a great person.  He is out on his yearly winter hiking trek.  He told us he has hike about 22,000 miles on the A.T.   Now that is some walking.  We all got our super bowl game on last night as well. With the aid of  some white lighting and cold beers.  What a game that was.
It has turned cold fast.  Not three days ago it was  65 and full sun for us in the Smokies.  Tonight it is already down to 22 degrees and it is only 8:00 pm.  Sure do love my 40 below zero sleeping bag.    

Jan 31st
Here at Fontana Dam after my biggest day so far,  40.3 miles today!    From Newfound Gap today, I didn't see one hiker or ranger or signs of any.   Hard to believe the Smokies could be 50-60 degrees on the last day of January and nobody out here hiking it besides us.     I guess it was 9,700 feet of climbing today and 13,000 feet of descent.   My calves are a bit sore but not too bad.  I'm getting in shape!    Again with the warm weather, we got the spring like smells even though it still looks like winter.     Enjoyed the free showers here at the Fontana Dam Visitor Center.      

Jan 30th
What an awesome 2 days in the Smokies!    I've hiked here 4 times and every other time it was either raining or snowing.  And that was in April and May!     We've had 60 degree temps and clear blue skies and no one on the trail.   Except for a pleasant surprise running into Big Jon and Gourmet Dave this afternoon near Charles' Bunion.   They came down here from the Ruck to hike about 130 miles and saw us on their first day.     We have been experiencing what seems like spring days with the smells of decaying earth, and new plants.    It just doesn't' seem to make sense that it is still January!      Stayed in Cosby Knob Shelter last night with the shelter mice and built a nice fire inside.    It sure has been a pleasant journey through the 1st half of the Smokies.    Also, we saw our 1st northbounder that started this year,  a guy named David and he is here at Newfound Gap eating some food with us.   He started Jan 1st.    

Jan 28th
Well, we did our 35 mile day coming into Hot Springs.   Twas  a beautiful day and mostly downhill at the end when the legs started getting tired.   Yesterday we took off at Sly's house in Black Mt.  and watched some football     Looney came back as our driver and we said goodbye to Sly and Cheryl.    Had a great time with them and lots of stories.   Now today we hiked to Brown's Gap from Hot Springs (23 miles)  and drove back to Max Patch to watch the full moon come up and take some video. (Pieps is actually breaking out the tripod!) Today was in shorts and shortsleeves all day as it was in the 60s.  We stopped so many times today to enjoy the smell of spring, and the beautiful views from the balds.     

Jan 25th
   After Beauty Spot Bald camp,  we woke up to rain, rain , rain.   Hiked in all day Wed. and then partied with Beer Styk and Nathan in Johnson City, TN.   Woke up to rain again and took a day off at Sly's house in Asheville.     Felt Great.   Now we are camping at Devil's Fork Gap in NC after a 21 mile day from Spivy Gap.   Beautiful day over Big Bald and had great views, lots of pictures.  Met our 1st southbounder today;  DJ.  He's been on and off the trail since May and we showed him how Team Triple Crown does lunch.  In style!    They seem to have been working on the road at Sam's Gap for decades now.    We're hoping for a big mileage, nice day all the way to Hot Springs tomorrow.   We shall see!   fh

Jan 22nd
    22 miles today to Beauty Spot and an awesome spot it is!   An eventful day as Sly, our present support driver,  was not at the prearranged spot and as we went on, later in the day, he showed up on the trail, northbound!    Said the road was all ice and he couldn't get it either up or down.   We had forgotten to tell him about the chains.   So we had to hike down the mtn. to the van and put on the chains,  then he drove to Beauty spot where we met him for a beautiful sunset and view up here.   The trail has about 2-3 inches of snow on it and much has melted and frozen again and is black ice.   It's a challenge but fun.    

Jan 21st
Got up to rain this  morning at 5:30 AM.    I had a rough day.     I  took the old AT by mistake and got lost.   Then hit the Sugar Hollow road and got attacked by the pack of dogs there.   3 were rottweilers, and 3 or 4 others all were loose.   They circled me and all I could do was pick up a very rotten stick and acted super tough with it.    Took a while but I walked backwards until I got away.   Talk about scared!!!    Then while I was still shook up,  I went the wrong way and went about 4 miles before I realized it!    Makes for a long day.   But the afternoon was so beautiful with Little and Big Hump and Round Bald Mt.  With about 4 inches of snow and ice on the trail, they were truly spectacular!   Got lots of pictures and finally made it to Carvers Gap about 5: 30 PM.   Long Day but was pleasantly surprised to find “Beer Styck”   (thru hiker we met in Maine while still with Boss Hogg)     So, I've got to go party, later, fh

Jan 18th
Said goodbye to Jack and Jan this morning and headed back out to the trail at TN rt 91.  It was so good hangin out with them and enjoying all their hospitality!   It snowed last night and early this morning so we had about 2 inches of snow until about noon.   Turned out to be a beautiful day as we came in to the Watauga Dam section of the trail.    Blue sky, clear,  great views of the lake and dam.   Saw some green grass today so you know we're in the south as it's the middle of winter up north in Yankee country.  Going to Dennis Cove and a hostel there to meet “Slyman”  as he will  be our next driver.  fh

Jan 17th
We're here at Jack's.  (insufferable drunken hog)  and Jan's for our 3rd night.    Took a day off yesterday after hiking into Damascus and seeing Lone Wolf, Skid, Jack and Looney all at Dot's!     good to be here after such a long state.    Today we entered Tennessee and got styled out 3 different places on the trail.    Lone Wolf and Gypsy met us at our mile 11 with treats this morning, then Looney met us at mile 14 with lunch and then Jack hiked into the shelter and had a fire and second lunch ready when we got there.  Damascus is a great trail town and we haven't been disappointed at all.   Saw old friends, resupplied,  got on line, partied and hiked into  a new state.   It's all good, fh

Jan 14th
  Today marks the completion of 3 months on the trail and one day away from finishing VA!    Also we are now ¼ of the way through the year.    And what a great day it was.  One of my favorite sections of the trail south of the whites, today we hiked through Grayson Highlands State Park with it's wild ponies and western style terrain with open views throughout the day!     Very beautiful although the pictures didn't come out too good today because it was a cloudy day.      But no complaints for sure!     Did the side trail to the top of Mt. Rogers to bag the highest peak in Va.    26 miles total and I'm tired as we did our share of climbing today rising to the high point at 5,780 feet on my altimeter.     Looking forward to Damascus and a badly needed day off tomorrow.   fh

Jan 13th
Well,  Bucky and Bearcharmer Sue went home after Looney got here.   We were camped near Bland , Va.    They were great supporters and saw us everyday on the trail as they did a lot of hiking while they were out here with us.     So, we hiked 26 miles that day, then 19 yesterday to get in early to watch football at Atkins where we got a motel room.   Watched the Eagles kick Tampa Bay in the 1st round of the playoffs!    Left early this morning and hiked 26 miles past the Mt. Rogers Forest Service building and new shelter (only people with permits can stay there,  doesn't make much sense to me to put up what must be a $20,000 shelter and then not let hikers stay there unless they can procure a permit somehow)   who knows what lurks in the minds of these people who make those rules!!!     It was  a beautiful day but cold, with snow on the ground but deep blue sky.   

Jan 09
Here we are at Va rt 606 near Dismal falls after doing 23 miles today that felt like 28.    Left Pearisburg at 7 and climbed Angels rest with good views looking back at Pearisburg.  Shirt says:  “when your shoes have more than 2500 miles on them, they're not gonna grip very good on the snow!”       The snow was such a consistency today that Bearcharmer built a snowman.   We met up with her and Bucky for lunch near the tower and view.   Met a fat guy at Wapiti shelter who told us about a murder there in the 80's  (and other things)     Twas a beautiful day and the snow has mostly melted now.     Finished the day off with fiddlehead's favorite meal:  curry chicken with rice and corn while listening to Pink Floyd with my awesome friends.    Hot Chocolate and chocolate Christmas candy's  mm  mm good,        can't get no better than this!!! fh

Jan 08
Here in Pearisburg Va after 27 miles.   Spent a cold night up on Salt Sulphur Turnpike.   It was windy and blowing snow and ice all night and we were glad to be in the van while Bearcharmer Sue and Bucky slept in their tent!    They are hardcore!!!    The hike today was all in the snow and very very scenic!    Beautiful white twigs and branches all day with blue skies.   Met up with Bucky and Sue at Rice Field Shelter where we had incredible views.    Got to town hoping to go to the hostel but found out it is closed for the winter.   Once again, we find an AT classic spot closed for the season on us.   We did see 2 other hikers at shelters that they had slept at last night.   It's good to finally see other hikers out here.   That's 3 thru-hikers and 2 overnighters in the last 4 days!   

Jan 07
It was a snowy 25 miles.  The snow is only about two inches deep, so walking and running was not a problem.  The feet were however wet and cold.  Yesterday the 6th was a zero day meaning we hiked zero miles.  Stayed with Purple Haze and watched football all day.  The day   off was also a snowy and rainy day, so setting around doing nothing while the weather was foul was extra nice.  Purple Haze is a fellow thru hiker who hiked the A.T. in 95.  
We all are having thoughts of warmer spots (i.e. New Mexico)  soon enough.  

Jan 05th
Hiked 23 miles today to rt. 621 where we are at the closest point to Blacksburg, Va where my friend: Purple Haze lives, so we are heading there for the night.  Came over Dragons Tooth this morning on a beautiful day!     Saw some hunters who hunt with dogs for bear.  They were pretty excited about a bear they were after.      Saw 2 northbounders today:  Oato and Sy  (sp?)      talked to them for a long time.   They had southbounded in 96 and now with they're nov. start,  should once again see practically no other hikers out here.   Great day!

Jan  4th
After enjoying and AYCE dinner last night and the Shoney's AYCE breakfast this morning,  we slowly climbed up the mtn this morning to Tinker cliffs and MacAfee Knob.    It was a beautiful day, warmer,  bright blue skies,  less wind, with no pollution to hamper the views.     Saw Bearcharmer and Bucky as they hiked about 10 miles after moving our van for us.    Took lots of pictures today on Tinker and MacAfee.  Now we are camped and cooking our own food again.   With Joyce gone and the restaurants behind us,  it's back to hamburger helper tonight.    Everything was great today except Pieps still hasn't paid off the bet he lost to me on the championship game last night.   Oh well,  you can't have everything.      fh

Jan 03rd
Hiked 28 miles today in some cold weather and about an inch of snow.   Shirt is getting in shape pretty quickly for being off so long.   Buck and Bearcharmer met us at the 3rd shelter today (Fulhart Knob Shelter)   And we finally met our first northbounder!   A guy named “Frosty”  who expects to get to Katahdin in April!    We don't understand how he could get through the whites at that time,  but,  good luck to him!       So we enjoyed a quiet (no traffic at all)  hike today parrelleling the Blue Ridge Parkway.    The wind's have picked up and we have a wind chill now that's bitter.    But, we are in a motel tonight in Cloverdale watching the Championship NCAA football game.   Pieps went to Nebraska but they are getting hammered.      Enjoyed and AYCE at the Country Kitchen.  Looking forward to the AT famous “Shoney's AYCE”  Breakfast Buffet tomorrow.   

Jan 01
I guess it's been a few days again since I wrote.   We are now in the middele of VA.  We crossed  the James River this morning on the new million dollar bridge.  Can you believe the Federal government would spend that kind of money on hiker trash?  It was nice.  The weather is cold and the  river was partially frozen.  Yesterday being New Years Eve we spent the night in a hotel and throw back a couple of cold ones in a nice heated room.  We faild to stay awake for the midnight dropping of the ball.  It is hard to stay awake after the sun sets.  Joyce has been treating us right.  She always has hot lunches ready along with hot water for tea, and for that very reason I must end this log.

Dec 29th
Twas a long night last night till we finally got  “30 seconds” here.   We couldn't believe the size of this 5'2” girl's pack!   It's the biggest pack we've ever seen.  I don't know how these people can carry a pack this size.   Anyway,  it was really windy, last night,  so much so that Pieps' tent pole broke.    Had a big breakfast this morning and headed out early and hiked past Rusty's cut off, over the mtn and down to route 56 at the Tye river where we are camping.   We're ready for the BIG climb tomorrow that's called the “Priest”!     Cold day with lots of wind, snow in the air, it seems like winter.   But we can't complain after all the unseasonably warm weather we had thru southern New England to Pennsylvania.    It's all good.

Dec 28th
  Well, our 2nd day back with Shirt and he was the 1st one in today.    We are out of the Park.    Have a little saga going on with the “Dog” (Greyhound)    But , for now, we are camped near the Blue Ridge Parkway's Blackrocks.    Cooking dinner waiting for another call from our friend who is riding Greyhound for the 1st time and is not with her luggage, not near where she's headed,   not getting here on the correct day,  and , well to tell you the truth,  we have no idea where she is anymore.       More on that later……………
Did 24 miles today and went on a hunt for mail, buses, friends, backpacks and the van!  Good to be out of the park though and camping again near where we start and end the day.    Rules, rules, rules have turned us off from the beauty that comes with the park.   

Dec 27
Sorry, I haven't done the log for about 3 or 4 days now.   We've been home for Christmas.     Drove home on the 23rd, and chilled out on the sofa watching football for a few days.    Then on Christmas Eve, the parties started   we ate lots of great  food, saw lots of old friends,  (my whole family was home)   Had a big party on Christmas night at my house and woke up with big hangovers but tons of leftover food and headed back down here to the Shenendoah Nat. Park where it's cold again.   But we have “Shirt” back with us again.   He decided this was better than working so he came back out and met us here yesterday.    Hiked about 26 miles today to break him back in properly.   One more day and we'll be out of this park.   The rules are getting longer and longer and I can't even remember them all anymore.    So, we're back, with Joyce driving and the 3 of us hiking together again.    We have so much food in the van right now.   I think everyone we visited gave us Christmas cookies and we are lovin THAT!       Good to be back.  fh

Dec 21st
    Just finished our biggest day so far;  39 miles from just north of the Shenendoah Park, to Hawksbill Gap!    And on the winter solstice.   So  our longest day was done on the shortest day, if that makes any sense.     It was a ccold day for this first day of winter.  Ice on the rocks again.  We haven't seen THAT since the whites.   But it was blue skies and maximum visibility although very windy with bitter cold temps.
     This Park has some strange rules which is going to make things tough for us.  There are only 4 access points in this 107 miles and they are all closed except from 8 AM to 5 PM every day.   I saw an albino deer among the many deer in the park.   I stopped counting at 30 and that was around 10 am.    So we are going to a Motel as Joyce is coming to run support for a while and Rainman and Bridget are heading home for the Holidays.   Once again we thank our support people so much.  We couldn't do it with these big miles without them in this weather.   So we are now about a week ahead of our schedule although we will be taking 2 days off for Christmas at my house.   fh

Dec 19th
We've been havin so much fun, I haven't written in a few days.   Hiked into Maryland on Sunday and got done early so we could go watch football at a bar called “Blondie's” near Pen Mar.   20 miles Sunday and 22 Monday into Harpers Ferry where we went to the ATC headquarters and got our picture taken by Wendall who was volunteering that day.  Tried to see Brian King and Lori but they were too busy.    Had a great stay with Rerun who has hiked the AT at least 2 times and maybe 3!   He is now 83 years old and tried again in 99 only to stop in New England after he thought he was getting in peoples way.  Then yesterday, (Tuesday)  we hiked into Harper's Ferry and stopped to do some shopping at the Outfitter there and hiked on to do another 22 miles.   
Today, we did about 23 to Sky Meadow's State Park just after Ashby Gap.  Rainman and Bridgett are cooking us beef stew in the dutch oven tonight.   Her brother drove her all the way down here from NH and then turned around and drove home.   We hear that there's lots of snow now up there and it's nice and warm here.   Glad we're southbound.

Dec 15th
Hiked 25 miles today to this dirt road (Swamp Road)  about 5 miles south of Caledonia state park here in Pa.     Easy hiking again today and it's so easy to tell it's a Saturday as we saw at least 10 day hikers.    The sun was out all day but the temps dropped about 20 degrees from yesterday.   The rain filled the creeks and springs and Rainman cooked us chicken and broccoli and mashed potatoes.    It doesn't get much better!     Last night we enjoyed Shawn's company at the Iron Masters Hostel in Pine Grove Furnace so we all watched our Led Zeppelin DVD with some Pete's Wicked Ale !    Should cross the Mason-Dixon line tomorrow.    

Dec 14th
Here at Pine Grove Furnace State Park after 20 miles in the rain today.    Gonna call it a day.   It's nice to have an experienced AT hiker for our driver with Rainman.   He meets us a few times a day and has the place checked out for water, camping, people, etc.     PA needs the rain so we ain't complainin!  It's Friday night and our friends from York may be over to greet us.   Hope so.   The Delorme map program we're using is working great.    Rainman's been experimenting and we're getting profile maps, (of the AT)  distance between any points we enter.     The hiking is easy.   It's all good.  fh

Dec 13th
Hiked 25 miles from the “Doyle”  to the ATC regional office here in Boiling Springs, Pa.   
Last night we had a nice visit from Yahtzee who was with us in Maine.  It was great to see him and tell the Boss Hogg /war stories.    He finished his AT hike a month ago and is missing the trail big time.    Thanks for the Yuengling , Yahtzee! Easy hiking here in Pa and the flatlands of the Cumberland Valley.    Saw Rainman at 13 miles for some lunch and finished our 25 by 2 PM!   Drove to our friend's Deb and Gene Galbraith in Holly Springs.   Deb is a massage therapist and Joyce called in an order for a massage for each of us.    So, not only did she cook us a great dinner, but also worked most of the evening on our muscles!    Had a great stay.   Life is good.   

Dec 12th
Here in Duncannon Pa after a few days of setting up shuttles and then hiking and heading back home afterwards.    But now we are on the road again with Rainman driving for us so, it's no wonder that we find ourselves at the “Doyle” Hotel here today having a few beers.    Met a northbounder in the bar there too.   Amazing how many people we see off the trail but haven't seen many at all on the trail.    Anyway,  Rainman had some problems yesterday driving down from NH and Hoffy has once again saved the day!    Rainman broke down about 8 miles from our exit on I81 and got towed into St. Clair and Hoffy's to get his wheel bearing fixed.    We owe a lot to our mechanic.   Now he's even keeping our support crew in tune and running again.    So, we have the woods back to ourselves again and it's nice!     An easy 17 today as we got a late start, but the miles should pick back up tomorrow.   fh

Dec 10th
Haven't written in a few days because we've been HOME!   Got to Eckville and Lazee's house on Wed.   Had a few beers and stayed there.   Then we hiked to Port Clinton and had the biggest cheese steak I've ever had there.  So, we went back that night with 11 friends and had a big dinner.   They sure give you HUGE portions.     Lots of hunters in the woods, so we took the next day (sat) off.    Yesterday we had a few friends: Woody and Shmitty hike with us between Port Clinton and 183.   They tired quickly but did good.   Now that we are home,  so many people seem to be trying to outdo each other and bake us cakes and goodies.   We are trying to eat it all but it's getting tough.   The refrigerator here is so full and we must leave here for good after tomorrow.      Rainman is coming tomorrow to drive for a while.   That'll be fun as we've hiked lots of miles together.    Can't wait.

Dec  5th
We're here at Lazee's place after hiking 20 miles today and 25 yesterday with Larry (Mr. Blister)  driving the van.   He cooked us a big dinner in Wind Gap and then we went to my buddy Joe's house (after he spotted us on the I80 bridge over the Delaware river the other day)   Joe cooked Thai food for us but gave us some terrible news:  Gelzen (our Sherpa from Nepal)  was turned back by immigration at the NYC airport and sent back home to Nepal.     It's been a rough one to handle and I've certainly been contemplating the problems this causes all day.    It'll be tough to do much from the trail.    Anyway,  we're near my home and hangin out at Lazee's waitin for him.   The trail is rocky but relatively flat so the big miles are pretty easy.   Water is becoming a problem though as most of the springs are dry.    We see there's a southbounder one day in front of us,   it would be nice to see one but, tomorrow we're planning a day off at my house with some more work needed on the van.     Big Bear came for Larry today so he's helped us move 3 times now.     What would we do without our friends?    Oh yeah,  today the temps were in the high 60's.   It even smelled like springtime out there in this crazy December!

Dec 3rd
We're here with Larry “Blister” in Wind Gap, PA.   Larry's cooking us a big dinner with mashed potatoes with garlic butter and cream, roasted chicken, 3 kinds of sweet corn, mixed, apple cider and for dessert, a huge cake (pound)   !   It just keeps getting better!   Nice easy ridge walk hiking today.  This is actually the 1st place I ever hiked on the AT. Back when I was about 13 years old with the Boy Scouts.   I bet I was carrying a heavier pack back then.    Saw my buddy Joe on the bridge as we were walking across this morning.   (how wild is that?)     Good to be in PA.   Life is good. fh

Dec 1
Said goodbye to Gazelle and aTiff this morning after a BIG breakfast  after last night's AYCE (Chinese)    Great visit and now they are moving our van to Del. Water Gap.   So today's hike was 28 easy miles finishing up NJ.    What a beautiful day with the unbelievable 60 degree weather.   It brought out the people though today.   Must have seen 50 people on the trail today.   Nice ridge walk and another state down.    We are feeling like we need a day off .  I think it's been since mid  Vermont  since we had our last 0 mile day.   So, tomorrow is going to   be low mileage with a day off soon.    We are getting the cooler and cupboards stocked almost everyday with all of our NJ friends.  Thanks so much.  

Nov 30
Made it to Culver's Gap in NJ after 20 miles yesterday and 25 today although it felt like more as we hitchhiked last night to a motel to watch the football game as Kansas City (Pieps' hometown)  vs.  the Philadelphia Eagles.    So we made our bets and got a room.   We finally got some rain today as we got on some ridge walking and the rocks are slippery.   I fell twice on the same spot of my hand.      Mr. Blister is here with homemade pizza and we are going to Gazelle's house for the night.      Almost to PA.   Feelin Good!  

Nov 28th
    Just said goodbye to Big Bear and Mr. Blister after they moved our van today and came out to see us.   (PCT 96 buddies)    This is a great way to see many of your old friends.     So we've got full cupboards and many choices for what we eat.  Life is good.   Anyway,  25 tough NY miles today .    Camped here about 6 miles after the Greenwood Lake section.  A place called Longhouse Rd.        Sore knees for me today,  the 1st time that's happened since VT.   
    Yesterday we camped with Scott and Ann Hoff,  our mechanic, who came up to do some adjustments on the van.   We owe him so much as our engine blew up 10 days before this trip started and he put the new one in!!!    Now he drives up to check on it and us.    So 25 miles yesterday, and 25 more today.      

Nov. 27
Today we hiked/ran 25 miles.  No records were set until we got into camp.  The trail became rocky and have been told that it will stay rocky.  The trail is currently crossing ridges instead of  following it.  So it is a lot of up and down.  Scott and Annie Hoff came out and joined us at Harrimen State Park here in New York, which we are only about 35 miles form the city.  Scott fixed the small van problem we have been having so the space ship should be in good working order.  We were also joined by Big Bear who will be moving the van along with Mr. Blister.  The records that were set last night were the three Yuengling beers FiddleHead and I drank.  For some reason people think we are drinking a lot of beers.  We are not.  Thanks Scott, Annie, Big Bear, and Mr. Blilster.

Nov 26th
Left John and Patty's this morning after getting them to wake up at our usual 5 AM reveille.   Twas a great stay with lots of: food, hot water,  warm beds, football, and great hospitality.     I forgot how nice NY is on the AT.  
     Yesterday we got John to come out and hike with us.   He was surprised at how nice his surroundings are having moved to Pawling only 6 months ago.   He led most of the day and surprised  us at how fit he was.   We've been out here 42 days now with only 3 days off and he kept up with us.
Today was full of lakes, viewpoints, and oak trees,   yet not many people out here this close to NY city.    We did 26 miles to S. Highland Rd.  where we are camped.   Looking forward to seeing some old friends tomorrow.  

Nov  24th
We're here at our friends house ;  John and Patty Branham's here in Pawling NY.   Hiked 19 miles by 11AM today because it was raining.    So, we didn't see a whole lot today except a group of about 15-20 people hiking in the worst part of the rain.   Couldn't figure that one out.   But we entered NY state today.    Another one bites the dust although Conn. Was very good to us.   We had our speed hike with Ed Kostak,  thanksgiving dinner,   a great visit with the gamemaster; Campfire, and now we're staying in a beautiful house with our friends from PA who now live here.    

Nov 23rd
We're here with an old hiking friend:  Campfire in New Milford, Ct.   Took a short day after our Thanksgiving dinner.   Only hiked 12 miles today and came to get cleaned up.  Another beautiful day in Conn.     Joyce met us after the river walk and hiked with us.  Saw the website today with the new pictures.   Awesome.    We never know which pictures Boss Hogg is going to put on there until we see them and are usually pleasantly surprised.   Thanks again to our webmaster Boss Hogg.   And all of you who are signing in with support on our message board.    Just when we are wondering how we are going to get the van moved for the next state,  we get messages from friends in that exact area volunteering to help out.    The hiking is the easy part.    No really, we are so thankful to everyone for helping out.    

Nov 22nd
Thanksgiving Day!
3 days have passed since I've written and it's getting nicer and nicer the further we go south.    From Tyringham,  we had rain in the morning so I didn't bring the camera.  Then after trying to have lunch at the bar at rt 7,  (closed on Tuesdays)   we ended up doing 28 by 4pm staying at the picturesque Glen Brook Shelter!     A bit of snow on Everett and into Conn.      Then Ed Kostak  (set the new record for hiking the long trail in 4 ¾ days)  came out and moved the van for us.    Then this morning after camping with us, he hiked 14 miles to Cornwall Bridge with us.   We moved a lot faster today for some reason.   Cornwall Bridge was where we rendezvoused with Joyce who drove up from PA this morning after cooking us an amazing Thanksgiving Dinner complete with all the works!   Turkey, filling, corn, biscuits, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and soon dessert!   Anyway, it's been one incredible day here in Connecticut along the Housitonic river.

Nov 19th
Stayed in Kay Wood shelter last night aprox. 3 miles south of Dalton Mass.   Rainman and Bridgett and Shirt moved the van for us to here at Tyringham road.   48 miles in 2 days.    I gotta tell ya,   we noticed a big difference from Vermont to Mass:  1st there's blue sky vs. clouds almost all the time (so far)   2nd,  within a mile of entering mass, we saw our first rhododendrums.   So, the alpine plants are gone and we're seeing oaks and rhodos, etc.   3rd,  it's warmer here,  much warmer.    We're down to shorts and tee-shirts today and had our first shower from the van since northern maine back in mid-oct.    Also, the terrain is definitely  easier,  we did 24.5 today before 3pm!    But the hiking is not so easy as all these oaks drop lots of leaves over the rocks.   I fell hard today on my hip.    So, Shirt went home to make some money so he can continue and now it's just the 2 of us.    Our friend Ed Kostak is moving the van tomorrow for us and we're looking forward to Thanksgiving coming up in a few days.   We're starting to eat like thru-hikers!

Nov 17th
Watched the Leonid Meteor Shower kick off this cold November morning.  A beautiful day for our last day in Vermont. Several  hunters out this morning along the trail. An easy rolling trail all the way to Massachusetts.  Rainman moved the van to Mount Greylock and we will see him again this evening. Nice pools along Sherman Brook which we followed into the town of North Adams.  The climb out of town was a steep one up the shoulder of Greylock . At one lookout a glider sailed by close enough to get a good look at the pilot.  As planned we met Rainman  at Notch Rd. and had a few snacks and hot drinks. We all piled in his van and went to the summit since it was a beautiful blue sky day to see our last weeks route and the upcoming trail. No camping here so we went  back down the mountain and out of the preserve. Rainman cooked up steaks for us. He's been to see us in four states now and really taken care of us. We are looking forward to tonight's meteor shower peak and if they don't lock the gate we'll be going back to the summit sometime around 3am

Nov 16th
Here at Rt. 9 near Bennington, VT.  after  2 days of 20 miles each from Manchester where Karine dropped us off.    Easy hiking and bit variety in shelters.   Spruce Peak was an enclosed cabin with woodstove,   and Kid Gore and Canawaugagwa were tiny, rustic cabins built before WWII!      Ready for another state tomorrow.   Slept at Story Spring Shelter which was visited by a pack of coyotes around 9 pm last night.     The “Shithouse door”  was lit around 6.     Now we're hoping to see Rainman again tonight as he usually comes out to camp with us on Fridays and then moves the van.    The miles are getting easier but the days shorter.    Lovin it!   fh

Nov 14th
Here at Bromley where Blister Sister helped us put our van this morning.    Slight drizzle,  easy day:  only 17 miles.   We're not making big miles right now, but having lots of fun and stylin out at Blister Sister's house every night.    We call it resting up for when we do have a driver again.    Boss Hogg says he is coming back to help as is Joyce for Thanksgiving.    Saw a bull moose today.   1st one I've seen in VT.   the heater was on at the warming hut at Bromley peak.  Nice.   Looking forward to seeing Rainman again this weekend.   Moving the van ourselves tonight and using Blister Sister's truck.  Thanks again.      fh

Nov 12th
Sitting here at Magic Mt. Taking a day off.    Came over Killington yesterday with about 4-5 inches of snow.    17 mils yesterday to Clardendon.     It's been cold and now it's hunting season in VT.    we heard a bear was shot near us from a hunter on a 4 wheeler all dressed in orange.   We saw 2 hikers in the last 2 days.   That's pretty rare except when we realized it was a weekend.     Blister Sister is sure taking care of us here with a big home cooked dinner last night complete with apple pie ala mode!      So, it's football and watching the snow flurries from a warm spot instead of hiking in it.    Seeing the website for the 1st time in a while.   Great job Boss Hogg!    The whites look very arduous  with all the snow.   The deepest snow was on our climb up to Moosilauke.     fh

Nov 11
Today was a short day.  We did 15 miles and they felt great.  Yesterday (nov 10)  was a day  off or a zero day.  Let me tell you now there is nothing better then setting around and eating, along with some Monday Night Football.  Blister Sister has put us up for a couple of nights while we hike.  The hot showers and the warm house is out of  this world.  Blister Sister is a hiking friend of the three of us from the PCT and the AT.   Thanks Sister.
The days have been in the mid 30's  and the lows in the low 20's to upper teens.  The 15 miles today came easy.  We had not had a day off for about 10 days now and the body was screaming for a day off.  

Nov 9th
Came into Hanover NH yesterday after 17 miles from the DOC skyway.    Cool weather. Great for slow jogging.    So, we hit the big town, checked email's at the college, found Baltimore Jack.    Went to his place and got cleaned up and met his landlord: Dave.  Good guy with lots of stories  Went back to town for pizza and beer.    Today we got those guys up early  (5:30AM)   to say goodbye and hit the trail on a windy day.  Easy terrain here in Vermont after NH's tough mtns.    Nice fields,   saw a northbounder about to finish today.   First thru hiker we've seen in about 10 days?     Hiked 20 today to Vt rt. 12 where we are going to camp.      

Nov 7th
Left Big Jon and Rhia at the “Hiker Welcome” in Glencliff early this morning and climbed Mt. Cube and Smarts Mt.    Snow above 2000'.    Very windy and cold on top of Smarts  but we met Shirt up there.   Descended to Lyme-Dorchester road where we camping.    20 miles today and finished by 4pm after a late start.   So the miles come much easier since the whites.   Saw our first hunter in the woods.  I guess he was hunting deer although we haven't seen one yet in over 400 miles now.    I doubt he'll have much luck.       Tomorrow should bring us to Hanover and the Vt. border.

Nov 6th
Here in Glencliff NH, after another snow day.   Coming over Moosilauke today with over a foot of snow and 50-60 mph winds.  Pieps says it was full-on up there.   Hiked 15 miles total.   After yesterdays 8-10 inches of fresh snow, we are a bit worn out.   Looking forward to having dinner with Big Jon and Rhia tonight at the “Hiker Welcome” hostel.  Pieps says it was a big snow day with drifts up to 3 ft.   near the top we thought we saw someone elses track but after following them for a while, realized they were fresh moose tracks up there.    Crazy moose is all I can say.  

Nov 4th
Here we are at Franconia Notch after some tough, but beautiful miles over the Franconia range.   Left Rainman and co. early yesterday morning and after some awesome views from zealand peak lookout,  continued up to Garfield ridge with all the weekenders.   About 12 people spent Sat. night in tents while we had the shelter and a fire.     Early this morning, Lafayatte was covered in ice and when we got to the top,  we found 4 French Canadians who spent the night there.    The sun burnt through while we were up there and it was another great day above treeline.     2 more days in the whites and then things should ease up a bit.    

Nov 2nd
Just finished out marathon hike over mt . Washington!    26 miles from Pinkham notch to here at Crawford notch.   And 260 yds up the hill to the van makes it a marathon distance!    Shirt moved the van and then hiked all the way up to mt. Wash. too.  We met right near the top.   Then we cruised down some tough trail to get here just at dark.  Had some great weather for Nov. though.   A bit windy but relatively warm.   Saw about 6 other hikers in those 26 miles.   None near Washington though.   Rainman is supposed to meet us here but hasn't arrived yet.    Bridgett is cooking dinner but we may start cooking something ourselves as we are quite hungry, tired, sore, and just plain worn out.    
    This is a 2 day log as yesterday we took a day off and didn't write anything.   Spent most of the day with Pieps' friends:  Bob and Jen who live in Maine but not far.   They have a lot of dogs.  (Sled dogs)    After the 21 miles across the Carters and then with Mt. Wash. coming up,  we were glad it snowed so we had an excuse for a rest.    I'm so glad we waited as it would've been tough in all the snow that was up there yesterday.  Today most of it melted.     

Oct 31
Went to town yesterday  and shopped.  Gaiters, water bottle, mittens, for me.  Ate at Burger King,  which really sucked.   We've been eating good , cooking in the van when it's cold and outside when nice.     Today was a classic day with all the carter's, wildcat, moriah,  and all the rest.    Great views all day.   We kept thinking ; maybe we should've climbed wash. today!    The hiking is great.    Nobody out here but us.   Except in carter notch hut,  it was crowded and hot.     Tomorrow is the big day.    The camera is not liking this cold weather.   Hopefully we'll figure it out.    On to hot showers.  

Oct 30th
Here at Gorham, NH.   After an overnight at Gentian Pond shelter.   It was 2 cold days hiking through the ice and snow.    Using the icewalkers to go up the steep stuff.   Mahoosic Notch was truly a playground with the snow and small pack.   Finally out of Maine and into NH.   It was a rough but beautiful state.  Bologna sandwiches are calling me.   (we've been talking about them for days)   Might have to get some warmer gloves and better gaiters for the rough trail ahead.   Right now it's off to the PO to mail this to Boss Hogg.  

Oct 28
Last night we erected our van tent.  It was a true success, stopping the wind and adding about ten degrees to the outdoor temperture.  The party how ever was short but sweet, with Burt, Christine, and Alden. Today we climbed Moody Mtn., Hall Mtn., and the Bald Pates for a twenty mile day.   With the snow that has fallen in the last two day all the peaks were icy.  The Bald Pates are above tree line and they were extremely slick.  The three of  us only had on running shoes so a lot of falls.  In one fall I tore my new gloves and bent my new trekking pole.  Maine has been tough and at times unforgiving.  With the snow and ice I wonder how tough Mt. Washington is going to be.  Well soon enough we will know.  

Oct 27
Drove up from Peaveys this morning after a great stay!   Left the van and headed into the flurries from Maine 17 near Oquassic, Me.      Met some northbounders “Little Train” and Heatmiser.      It snowed most of the day on this first day of deer season for Mainers.  Saw no hunters in the woods.   But a few in their pick up trucks.    We don't know why they don't like walking in the woods.     Came over Old Blue and there was Christine (my niece) and her dog, husband , Bert, and son, Alden.    She hiked up to find us and now we are camped at south Arm lake.  Put the tent up on the van for the 1st time.    Now it's party time.   

Oct 26
We ar now at Peavey's place laying over on our first day off.    Two days ago, we left Maine hi-way 27?  Near Stratton, Me.   It rained both days.   Maine is supposedly having it's worst drought in over 100 years but we see it raining almost every day.   I do believe that the climb southbound up north Crocker mt.  Is our toughest climb so far.    It was 4.9 miles to the top.      We ran into our friends Yahtzee and Beer Stick again.    Stayed with them at the Poplar Ridge Lean -to.     They are doing 10 mile days so we may see them again after this day off.     The climbs have gotten tougher but we're finally starting to get used to it.    The knees are aching but not as bad anymore.     The days are getting shorter but our muscles are getting stronger.    If the weather holds in the whites,   we'll be …………………well, lets see what happens.  Peavey and his wife have been so good to us.   The Hot tup is 102 degrees and the food has been coming hot and fast.    Breakfast this morning was about 4 different courses.   And I'm heading back to the hot tub in a minute.        

Oct 23rd
Stratton Me.
We're camped near the hiway 27 in the rain.    It was a rough day over the Bigelows as we got up this morning to 19 degree temps!    But we finally got a look at our new website and our itinerary and noticed that we are right on schedule.   I don't know how that happened since we haven't seen it since before we started.   Very cold on Avery Peak today and no water at the spring at Horn Pond.     Did see a few people on the trail today which is a rarity anymore.   Beautiful views today even though it was cold.   Winter's coming.     Check out our pictures that Boss Hogg's been putting on the web.    

Oct 22
Got up early this morning to ford the Kennebec!    It was wide but shallow.   Walked to Pierce Pond Shelter before we put our socks back on.     Easy day with not many mtns.  Now we're camped at East Flagstaff road with the van and Boss Hogg has just cooked us up an awesome spaghetti dinner with cheesecake and hot dogs for late night (maybe we'll stay up till 8 tonight)              we have some cell phone signal finally so we'll try to upload to our website tonight.    We heard that there's a bunch of people wondering where the hell we are since noone has heard from us since we started.    It's pretty remote up here in northern Maine.   It's still the 3 of us hiking , and looking for a driver so  Shirt can keep on truckin .    Lots of Ponds today and beautiful scenery.   Bigelows tomorrow and pass through Stratton and lots of old friends for me (fh)   as I used to live here.        

Oct 21st
Left Shaw's and hiked to Moxie Pond Lean -to where we spent the night in a beautiful shelter on a Pond.  The Loon's were calling all night long.   First thing this morning, we headed up the mountain on a beautiful morning and at the top we had the momentus occasion to meet Brian Robinson!    This was such a great place to see him as it is a bald mtn. with a great view.   Spent about an hour talking about many things as he has only 140 miles to go and we have about 7,350 miles to go.      We're glad the meeting happened in a nice place and that it is finally behind us as we were thinking about him way too much.    Now we can concentrate on our own hike more.    Ran into 4 AT hikers today who are here at our van keeping dry right now.    We are all talking about how we will get across the Kennebec in the morning as we are near Caratunk.    We are hoping to ford.  Hope it's not too cold.       Great dinner again tonight by Boss Hogg.    Gotta go socialize.    Later………………….

Oct 19th
Spent the night at a ccold 22degrees near the Long Pond road crossing.   Boss Hogg picked up two more hikers and brought them along for the journey.    So we only hiked 17 something today.    And now we are at Shaw's in Monson.    Had a long hot shower after limping in with 117 miles in 6 days!    Saw a moose and a coyote today.   Had an awesome meal at a Barbecue Place right near Shaw's.    Unbelievable meal complete with Whoopie Pies for dessert.      Shirt says “OW”   (we all have sore knees)  

Pieps' trail tip for the day:  To get your mind off of pain,  take a handful of red cayenne pepper,  and smear it all over your toilet paper in the morning,   guaranteed to keep your mind off of your knee pain.    More tips to come.

Oct 18     day 5
Somewhere in the middle of the wilderness.   We're at the van tonight after 2 tough days of  re-learning these Maine climbs. Went over 4 mountains just today : Barren, Chairback, 3rd, 4th, Monument,  and a few others I think. But the big story is: fall has turned into winter in only 2 days.! It was only 2 days ago we took pix of lots of autumn leaves, but this morning we woke up after 2 days of rain, to cold temps and winds. We are now in our winter gear with the temps around 28 or something. We all have sore knees and bodies. Looking forward to the end of the wilderness.    

Day 3
Just got to Jo-Mary road which is at mile 56 or something.   Stayed in our first shelter last night atWadleigh Stream lean to.    All cooking on our alcohol stoves .  And into bed early.   A bit of rain throughout the day just made it seem more like Maine.  It's been really dry here as we can see from the low levels in the ponds.   Some springs are dry but creeks are running.    Today (16th)  is a beautiful fall day once again.  Lots of pictures today.    Passed both the nicest spring on the whole AT and the nicest Privy!  (Shirt vouches for that one)        Boss Hogg showed up with the support van and a fresh supply of food and CD's and water.  (These afternoon showers sure beat the smell of these Northbounders)            OK,  gotta go eat. Appetizer:  Chicken Corn Noodle soup and tonight, it's sausage, red beans, and rice, and we'll see what else.

Three great days of hiking in the North Maine woods.  Looking for more.

1st day!                  Oct 14, 2001
Gotta say, thanks to our friends: Rainman and Bridget and Raymond and our Support Crew:  Boss Hogg to come see us off and party with us.  Ate pretty good the night before with Lobster and Yankee Pot Roast!  (and lots of beer)   Got up early and left Abol Bridge at 8 AM and got dropped off at Roaring Brook.  Hiked to Chimney Pond and then went up the Cathedral trail.    Beautiful trail.    But steep.   The weather was great , great views, lots of thru hikers finishing on top.   Had to wait in line for pictures.   Stayed on top an hour and left at 12: 40 (noon)    It was pretty exciting after all these months and months of planning.   Shirt stayed with us all the way.   The Foliage is prime right now .    Colors couldn't be better.    Only saw one ranger (girl from London)   Came down the AT and only saw 4 people on the whole way down.   Two moose spotted,  both females.   Got back to abol bridge after hikeing 20 miles today,  15 on the AT and the other 5 going up on the Cathedra l trail.     Scott Hogg (body) is cooking sausage and noodles after our hot showers and going to get some more beer.        GREAT DAY!