Thursday, August 27, 2015

I Love New York!

And you thought I was gonna say "gee someone should write a song about that." And look, I did!
Yet again, in two places at once:
New York was wonderful. Hats off and kudos to all the volunteers, ATC, Parks folks etc it was great. The signage and marking were so good that in one section someone painted the tops of the "toe bangers"
So well marked I did at least 3 night hikes. Bear Mtn had huge stone steps up and down to this summit:
Now ya gotta think about this one. I'm coming down and spot her:
A few minutes later, crossing a driveway, spot this scene, and the mom is frantically looking for???? Look closely at the daughter now. 
That's right! The camera. Imagine that. Hilarious: "ahhhhh Kim, u rait right there, DOE MOO I get camwa, Kiiiim RAIT!" Imagine if momma, that mom, did not actually have camwa?
Look at this place, Bear Mtn Inn by the time I walked down:
And here's the inn during the day, imagine the history:
If ur thinking I stayed there, you're mistaken. I did stay at a place that my resupply was mailed to. Now remember how funny yall thought it was when the cow ate my favorite bandana for bfast? Well as I'm heading into this nice lil motel I spot the hiker box a common repository of unwanted items found at virtually all hostels, hotels etc in towns along the AT. For the first time tho, in this box amongst all the ramen noodles, zip lock bags of oats, etc are gift bags tied with lil ribbons, hmmm that's a first. Not all identical one catches my eye:
See why this one caught my eye?
If it wasn't Sparky my trail name would be Even Steven. Oh, speaking of Ramen Noodles, I eat two packs weekly. Waaaaaaay back at Neil's Gap in Ga, a hiker says all Ramen Noodle packs are the same:
Same in that the flavor pack, ready?, is....and yes I use punctuation...any way I want, still ready?...found on the label front side, it's true:
See how educational and valuable this blog is? You're welcome. Here's a lil more education for ya; bunch of comments about my gut before leaving. FYI the man in the mirror is performing one half of an award winning (literally) pose called "In the water":
The other half of the pose is called "On the beach"
Which should not be confused with a pose being worked on for a mid October release, I'm calling it "Hunger Games"
Oh that's so terrible! I'm covered:
New York had some beautiful, quiet places:
NY also wants us to know, it too has a sense of humor:
NY is full of surprises:
Ya never know what you'll find on top of the next hill like this log book inside the mail box:
Cool stuff:
Nice sights:
Perty views:
A big tree:
Another big snake:
A big walkway thru a big shwamp:
A little lending library outside a little shelter:
Which also had 2 free Nike Dri-Fits just like mine and Bri's:
And a little bridge made with big logs:
Wait till you hear about Ct! It's A Wonderful Life (hint):

Sunday, August 23, 2015

You may be entertaining angels...

This blog is being interrupted for an important message...

There have been sightings of a strange being in the Greater Springfield area...

If you encounter this individual, it is recommended that you use extreme caution when approaching him due to the giant bear hugs and glowing smile. These are thought to be highly contagious. Although he looks homeless, er, uh, harmless, be sure to take a moment and ask him about the many encounters he has survived with dangerous members of the natural world thanks to the prayers of others.

Welcome back home, Sparky! Thank you for spending the day with the church family here in Chicopee. As you continue on your journey, we pray that you have safety and health, and many encouraging encounters with those in need of hearing the Good News!

And now, back to our regular programming...

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Welcome to Joizy

New Jersey has a very good Trail reputation. There's a few hills sure:
There are also many boardwalks including this one which is about a mile long:
Here's a couple Trail days, about 630pm Wed night, High Point Park NJ:
Now it's Friday at 1030 am, the monument is barely visible right of center(like yours truly):
Same day, Friday, approaching the "Stairway to Heaven"
Also known as the Pinwheels:
The previous pic was taken down below almost center, couple hours later on top, now the monument is way off over second range barely visible if at all in this pic.
I've come across some great trail magic but this ones a lil cray cray. Remember a few days ago I snapped one of two trek poles?
Never seen a trek pole at a magic site. Steve L has "God Provides" tattooed on the back of his truck with a great story to go with it. I was gonna just save the next two pics for myself but this happens too often to not share. About a month ago I lost my last of two small bungee cords that I used regularly. About two weeks ago one of the new tent stakes snapped. Well one night it's getting late and I just want to find a tent spot. I notice an overgrown side trail, take it, and in a few yards it opens to a small barely used tent site that I guessed was used during last year's hunting season. As I'm moving around setting up the tent, half buried:
And sure enough, a few minutes later, an exact duplicate of what I lost weeks ago:
Now if I could just find those marbles???
Remember this guy? I found him heading south as he's doing some flip flopping:
The first thing Deja Vu says is about how much weight I've lost. I know. I've been told I'm "too skinny". I agree but it comes with the territory. When starting I looked sorta kinda almost like this:
Well maybe possibly perhaps a little more like this:
I say "maybe perhaps possibly" because whoever that is in the mirror can obviously not be positively identified. Ewwwww, hence reason #17bII why I needed this hike, drastic times drastic measures.
So I've gone from a 36 tight to 32 loose. We're burning 4-6,000 calories daily people! Think of how hard that is to replace, even if you sit on the couch with someone handing you the food all day it's pert near impossible to replace. Well I've had two things happen.
A. If I take the pack off and turn sideways I actually disappear:
See...I'm standing right there on the foot bridge.
2. I'm already getting post hike celebratory dinner invitations! Only question there is if I should plan to bring my sheventy shix pic shlide preshentashion that I've shaved down to 2 hoursh and fitty sheven minitsh.
Ja have fun reading that? There are at least a couple commonalities among single season through hikers I've read about when the Trail is finished, weight gain and depression. I've got a most excellent counsellor, more friends than I deserve and a schedule coming together nicely to keep me as busy as ever for the latter. Idle time is not a friend to ole Sparky. As far as weight gain, I'm looking forward to replacing about 20lbs.
"How ya like them apples":
Talk about a rock n a hard place:
What a relief though, got my mojo back including appetite, energy and 4-5 steppers without hesitation. "What's a stepper you say?"  DOD waited till I was about 40 when he taught me what a stepper is. Remember there are at least two by products from lactic acid, one is sore muscles the other is the same as from beans or broccoli. The stepper is how many steps you can take during release. Eights are great and I'm pretty sure I've had a couple tens but sometimes it's hard to know for sure unless you started counting right away. Now a word of advice as I can sense some eagerness and know that some of you have the kind of cake job that affords the opp to read this while pretending to work. Don't attempt the stepper on the way into work nor during the lunch break, wait till you leave for the day to avoid having an accident that you may have trouble with.
Well speaking of pain and trouble perhaps I've kept you long enough for now:
Be well.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

New Pennsylvania Postal Code

Happy Days are here again as we say bubbye to Pennsylvania! I understand the 50 States have only 2 letter postal abbreviations but think we shud change PA to PIA as it pulled no punches to kick my butt. One hiker called it the gauntlet.
The new boots purchased in Maryland already need repair tx to the boot wreckers. The start of "knife edge".
Hiking along around 7pm I came across Fern Gully. As I reach into my pouch to grab the GoPro camera (given by friends at the go away party in April) I suddenly spot the crown of a black bear on the trail heading my way:
I saw him first. As I grab my phone for a quick pic he looks up and we make eye contact. It's fascinating how much "eye contact" means and transmits. Anyway, we look at each other long enough to know and to acknowledge. The bear literally sits down right on the trail. He sat so hard and with such attitude that he jiggled from his butt to his head essentially saying "my home, my trail my homie!" As I'm trying to mess with cameras from video to pic he stands up:
He drops and runs in shame. I'd much rather come across another bear vs a rattler or copperhead.
Obviously one of the AT trailblazers had a warped sense of humor to include this climb out of Lehigh Valley:
Along the way I noticed I wasn't the only one praying:
Sure enough, the last hiking night in PIA it's about 730 and I'm moving to find a tent site which are sparce. Then fall #10 happens. This was one of those half hour falls where it feels like although you're falling at 32ft per second squared you have time to read a short thriller. It was a backward fall which I've noticed is the big difference in the time space continuum of falling science. The backward fall is the vortex fall. When falling forward your eyes are actively communicating with your brain sending out appropriate alerts and responses. In a backward (blind) fall it's all about memory, speed and hope. The teeter backward starts with "uh oh is this gonna happen?" "Was there a backstep avail?" "I don't know I wasnt planning on a back step!" "We're going down, it's a definite" "can we turn?" "No, can't see, no footing!" "Okay drop the poles, stick out the hands and butt(or lack thereof)"....BAM/SNAP!!!
Snap? What snapped? Was it the last line of patience with this State? No that snapped last week.
Two almost immediate and universal reactions to falling. 1. Look around to see who saw, no one all day so don't bother. 2 Try to get up, this can be dangerous if done before a good self assessment of damage. Nevertheless that's how we do, rolling around like a turtle on its back, kinda flailing trying to gain a purchase among the boulders.....SNAP!! Snap? What the heck snapped now?
Snap #1 was one of two new trek poles purchased after Harpers Ferry before PIA. Snap #2 one of two crocs. Nice, real nice.
So you get the idea about PA, except the ending, what a wonderful last 24 hours, absolutely wonderful. On Sat night I tented behind a church in Delaware Water Gap PA one door down from The Deer Head Inn. I had heard of this place and its reputation for attracting big name classical Jazz acts. Oh man Tony C, a totally tight quartet brought back fondest memories. Then before hitting the trail on Sunday, a very talented classic guitarist at brunch:
Then across the street for desert, a real milk shake with the steel cup and all. Can u see the little kiddies table in front of the fireplace? Puleeeez!
U.S. Know what this river is?
It's the Delaware! 
Whoda thunk NJ could be this pretty?
And look what we have here:
A glacial lake in the hills! Reminded me of another beautiful glacial lake (technically both are ponds) in Huntington!
And sure enough, as I'm hiking around it, listening to my Sunday playlist comes one of my all time favs and a fav of Marettas as well:

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