Welcome to the AppalachianTrailCafe.net!
Take a moment and register and then join the conversation

Astro on the AT 2018

    This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to our Cookie Policy.

    • jimmyjam wrote:

      Astro wrote:

      IMScotty wrote:

      Nice! Great to see you back on that horse.
      Unfortunately that was a week ago Saturday on June 16. I am just now getting back around to posting my reports.
      How's that knee doing?
      it hurts :(
      But not near as bad as it did coming down Sugarloaf Mountain, or even driving the 1600 miles home. Lots of ice, elevation, and Vitamin I. :)
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Astro wrote:

      Day 8
      1.8 miles to Piazza Rock Lean To
      Started day off by taking Mountain Pete with me to Gorham. He thru-hiked in 2016 and was doing a flip-flop from Harper's Ferry. Unfortunately he needed to go home and take care of his elderly father. Gorham is much better for logistics in his getting back to Michigan than Glencliff would have been. He called me a true trail angel, but I was just paying forward from James helping me get down from Mt Lafayette to treeline.
      I picked up my maildrop from Rattle River Lodge and Hostel to supplement getting me from Rangeley to Stratton. I also stopped by the sporting goods store to buy a new pack cover. Best I could find was a 5oz Mountain Hardwear one. It appears a lot studier than the 3oz ULA one that flew off some where on Mt Lafayette. I think the extra space it took up in Circuit mesh pouch was more of a drawback than the extra 2 oz.

      Drove on to Rangley to try and find a hostel I might be able to park the van at. Really didn't feel good about leaving it at the trailhead for multiple weeks. Finally lady at Ecopelagicon agreed to shuttle me and arranged for me to park at the Congregational Church (for a donation).

      Along the way I bought a new pair of shorts to replace the ones a slip on Kinsmen had put a whole in. I didn't think duct tape was the best long term solution. Treated them with permethrin, but unfortunately forgot to grab the belt out of my old ones.

      Loved the trail to Piazza Rock, reminded me of the AT in the south. Interesting rock formations, unfortunately trees made it difficult to get good pictures. 3 father's were there with their sons. One man was from Brazil, so I had a fun conversation with him about the times I lived there. Mentioned forgetting to grab my belt off my old shorts, so he gave me some parachute cord. Good thing I already have a trail name, I would hate to end up with Jethro Bodine. :rolleyes:
      Kathy and I killed a day at Piazza Rock shelter.
      We had started a section from route 4, just a couple miles before the shelter. The forecast was for thunder storms during the afternoon and evening. Just after the shelter you go over a mountain and we didn't want to be up there during lightening storms so we stopped at the shelter since the sky was getting dark. We only experienced a couple of storms but I'm glad we weren't above tree line
    • Day 9
      8.9 miles to Poplar Ridge Lean To
      Awesome day I will always remember! Beautiful day with around 3,500 feet of elevation gain, but great views that made it worth it! Started day off early with over 2,100 feet up to Saddleback Mountain. Awesome panoramic views and I sat and ate lunch reading Happy Father's Day text from my three son's. My wife even made a nice post about me as a father on Facebook. There were lots of false summits going up Saddleback, but they provided nice views. Next was the Horn, and then at the end of the day Saddleback Junior.

      By the time I made it to the shelter it was dark. Usually I set upbmy tent, but since it was so late and was going to rain I just joined the two SOBOs in the shelter. Because of bugs I use my loose tent as a bivy. It really does not take up any more room than my pad and sleeping bag. In NH I was being passed by a handful of NOBOs and an occasional SOBO each day. After jumping up to ME it is just the opposite.

      Pictures below are of Saddleback Mountain.
      Images
      • IMG_20180617_102817378.jpg

        154.07 kB, 337×600, viewed 17 times
      • IMG_20180617_111332689.jpg

        136.87 kB, 800×450, viewed 16 times
      • IMG_20180617_114338308.jpg

        248.81 kB, 800×450, viewed 17 times
      • IMG_20180617_123543439.jpg

        103.12 kB, 800×449, viewed 16 times
      • IMG_20180617_111320283.jpg

        137.54 kB, 800×450, viewed 15 times
      • IMG_20180617_123426428.jpg

        92.82 kB, 337×600, viewed 17 times
      • IMG_20180617_123656434.jpg

        119.39 kB, 800×450, viewed 16 times
      • IMG_20180617_123637095.jpg

        116.55 kB, 800×450, viewed 15 times
      • IMG_20180617_111338560.jpg

        117.41 kB, 800×450, viewed 16 times
      • IMG_20180617_123641053.jpg

        101.49 kB, 800×450, viewed 18 times
      • IMG_20180617_111324158.jpg

        120.89 kB, 800×450, viewed 17 times
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Day 9 cont.
      The Horn
      The AT in NH and ME could definitely benefit from more ladders. :)
      Images
      • IMG_20180617_143738872.jpg

        228.5 kB, 800×450, viewed 18 times
      • IMG_20180617_150221677.jpg

        128.78 kB, 800×450, viewed 17 times
      • IMG_20180617_153115865.jpg

        84.91 kB, 800×450, viewed 17 times
      • IMG_20180617_153109982.jpg

        80.2 kB, 800×450, viewed 18 times
      • IMG_20180617_144751741.jpg

        118.34 kB, 800×450, viewed 19 times
      • IMG_20180617_145051917.jpg

        122.95 kB, 800×450, viewed 18 times
      • IMG_20180617_145032287.jpg

        111.23 kB, 800×450, viewed 17 times
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Day 9 cont.
      Saddleback Junior
      Not for sure what type of skull that is.
      Images
      • IMG_20180617_190911950.jpg

        79.35 kB, 337×600, viewed 25 times
      • IMG_20180617_190939124_HDR.jpg

        72.87 kB, 800×450, viewed 21 times
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Day 10
      2.8 miles to Orbeton Stream
      Original plan was 8.0 miles to Spaulding Mountain Lean To. But it rained during the night and most of the day. This made for slippery rocks, so I decided once I forded Orbeton Stream and gathered water I would camp at the first flat place I could find. Fortunately going down to the stream there actually were some rock steps that trail maintainers had built.

      Fortunately just after the stream was what AWOL called Woods road. My map said it had been a railroad at one time. Not only was it flat, but it also had a rock I could use to sit and cook on. About this time the rain had stopped so I set my tent up and cooked a very early supper. I was even able to dry my pack cover, jacket, and rain kilt a little.

      But eventually the rain came back so I went to bed early. After all the mountains the day before I knew my knees could use the break. That afternoon a SOBO named Colorado (probably at least in his 50s) had the same idea and set up his tent on the same road a little closer to the trail. It was nice talking with him before I took off in the morning. No beautiful mountain views today. Just the stream I forced. The waterfall pictures are distorted due to the rain/fog.
      Images
      • IMG_20180618_110212826.jpg

        165.7 kB, 337×600, viewed 16 times
      • IMG_20180618_114230086.jpg

        98.2 kB, 337×600, viewed 18 times
      • IMG_20180618_114052355.jpg

        51.48 kB, 337×600, viewed 17 times
      • IMG_20180618_114116210.jpg

        100.24 kB, 800×450, viewed 17 times
      • IMG_20180618_121817255.jpg

        177.97 kB, 337×600, viewed 19 times
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Astro ().

    • Day 11
      10.4 miles to Caribou Valley Road
      Got off to an early start after the long night's rest. Started off with 1700 feet up Lone Mountain. Had multiple areas I needed to ford due to all the recent rain. The first picture is of where the AT basically became a stream. Lone Mountain had no views, thus just a picture of the sign. I was surprised how small Moose scat is, included my foot in the picture to help give a scale to compare it to.

      Ate lunch at Spaulding Mountain Lean To. Like all the other shelters in Maine the water was close and easy to get to. Since I ate dinner/supper so early the day before I got my Jetboil out and made a Mountain House scrambled eggs, sausage, and hash browns. Added a couple of packets of grits to make it a southern boys feast, and then felt good to keep on hiking. Views from Spalding Mountain we're obscured some by trees. Got a picture of the bronze placque signifying where Myron Avery and crew completed the last section of the AT.

      Views from Sugaloaf were much better! Before heading down Sugarloaf there was what AWOL and my map made look like an "easy" level section. Unfortunately with all the rain, it more like playing hop scotch to get across the rocks without soaking your socks and shoes. During this time my right knee I had originally hurt on my trial hike for my plantar fasciitis of Pinnacle Mountain (the Thursday before I left AR) began to hurt more. My thoughts at the time were I need to go a Doctor when I get to Statton.

      Once I started the steep descent down Sugarloaf things quickly got worse. I believe you go down 1500 feet in a mile with quite a bit of rock to sramble down. It got to where I could not stand to put weight on my right foot due to my knee. I started to take the most Advil gels (Ibuprofen) I had ever taken in my life. My only thoughts were focused on I have to some get down out of these rocks before dark. Fortunately there were some good views along the way. Everytime any weight came down on my right leg, my knee felt intense pain. Somehow with prayer, Ibuprofen, and determination I made it down to ford the South Branch Carrabassett River just before dark. By the time I was on the other side and put my shoes back on it pretty much was dark.

      I walked on through the campsite I had planned to stay at and 0.1 miles to Carribou Valley Road and called the Stratton Motel and Hostel. He said if I would walk another mile down the gravel road he would he meet me at the trailhead parking lot (a gate blocked him from coming further). I basically drug my right leg along for a mile and was so glad when he showed up. As much as I had enjoyed the past few days, I knew something was seriously wrong with my knee. It was a sharp pain just to walk.
      Images
      • IMG_20180619_083605954.jpg

        173.2 kB, 337×600, viewed 17 times
      • IMG_20180619_100619177.jpg

        181.59 kB, 337×600, viewed 18 times
      • IMG_20180619_111006094.jpg

        171.02 kB, 337×600, viewed 18 times
      • IMG_20180619_135256318_HDR.jpg

        225.82 kB, 800×450, viewed 17 times
      • IMG_20180619_154117914.jpg

        232.58 kB, 800×450, viewed 19 times
      • IMG_20180619_164935588.jpg

        130.19 kB, 800×450, viewed 18 times
      • IMG_20180619_180300060.jpg

        176.76 kB, 800×450, viewed 18 times
      • IMG_20180619_180304152.jpg

        107.79 kB, 800×450, viewed 18 times
      • IMG_20180619_164947627.jpg

        133.91 kB, 800×450, viewed 17 times
      • IMG_20180619_182129077_HDR.jpg

        71.96 kB, 800×450, viewed 18 times
      • IMG_20180619_204127891.jpg

        169.69 kB, 800×450, viewed 20 times
      • IMG_20180619_204743571.jpg

        156.92 kB, 800×450, viewed 18 times
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Maybe high 40s, or low 50s. No problem with my 35* WM HighLite bag. Only chose to wear long pants the one day up on Franconia Ridge. I was really happy with the weather overall.
      Man I wish I was still out there (as I sit here icing my knee). :)
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Actually might have been colder than that when it was raining up on Mt Lafayette. I usually think of colder weather at night and in the morning, not the middle of the day.

      Key I guess is be prepared for surprising cold and wet at high elevation during the day, but at night you should be below treeline.
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • LIhikers wrote:

      I remember Mt Lafayette!
      We were in the clouds with visibility of less than 50 feet, cold rain, and wind so hard that it was hard to stand still. You had to lean into the wind to walk forward.
      Astro, thanks for making me remember ! :)
      Hopefully you don't wear glasses. Mine kept fogging up. I would wipe them off and then they would fog right back up and I could not even find the trail. :/

      Once I finish the AT, I hope to go back some time and hike Franconia Ridge during good weather to enjoy those postcard views. :)
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Astro wrote:

      LIhikers wrote:

      I remember Mt Lafayette!
      We were in the clouds with visibility of less than 50 feet, cold rain, and wind so hard that it was hard to stand still. You had to lean into the wind to walk forward.
      Astro, thanks for making me remember ! :)
      Hopefully you don't wear glasses. Mine kept fogging up. I would wipe them off and then they would fog right back up and I could not even find the trail. :/
      Once I finish the AT, I hope to go back some time and hike Franconia Ridge during good weather to enjoy those postcard views. :)
      A good day makes alll the difference!
      Images
      • Scan126 (2).jpg

        143.15 kB, 800×514, viewed 15 times
    • Astro, A beautiful crisp Fall day up on Lafayette Ridge is absolutely the grandest thing in the world. But I recommend getting there early and midweek, because that hike can also be like being in a Conga Line.
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • max.patch wrote:

      Astro wrote:

      Hopefully you don't wear glasses. Mine kept fogging up. I would wipe them off and then they would fog right back up and I could not even find the trail. :/
      i don't need glasses yet, so i can't make any personal recommendations, but perhaps you should start to carry cat crap or something similar.
      Thanks, I will look into that. Never had the experience before.
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • The Next Day

      While I was grateful for the ride back to the Stratton Motel and Hostel, and that they had a bed for me, unfortunately it was upstairs and the bathroom and kitchen were downstairs. Thankfully Tree Hugger who thru-hiked in 2016 and now runs the place carried my pack up for me. I shared a room with Jelly Bean (named after the design on his gaitors). He is an older guy, but knocking out 20 plus mile days up here and bragged about how he always slackpacks faster than the hostels think he can. Unfortunately he sleeps on his back and snores unbelievably loud. But thankfully he carried my pack back down in the morning. As always, it was great to take a shower, even if just standing on one leg.

      I had brought along a 6 day prescription of Predizone to use in case the cortisone/steroid shot wore off for my plantar fasciitis, so now was like the "break glass in emergency" moment, so I started taking them. Knee still hurt like crazy, but at least I was not stuck sleeping on those rocks coming down Sugarloaf Mountain.

      In the morning I got a shuttle back to my van in Rangeley. Ate breakfast in a local diner and had Blueberry pancakes, scrambled eggs sausage, and toast. Food is always nice when you get to town and have something different (and you do not have to cook it).

      Drove up to Shaw's in Monson to see if they still had the package I had asked them to send back last year. They didn't, so who knows what happened to it. Unfortunately my wife had just mailed this year's so it was not there, so they wrote a note on the board to return it (still have not seen it either). From there I went back to Pine Ellis in Andover and then the AMC Lodge (and I think headquarters) at Crawford Notch to retrieve my other maildrops. Took some pictures at the AMC, the flowers are lupin.

      From there it was on to the Inn at Long Trail. Throughout the day I was constantly putting ice on my knee and greatful for cruise control.

      At breakfast I met Fifty-plus who I had hiked with around the Triple Crown (Daleville) in VA in 2014. He had completed his AT section hike (I believe in 2016), and was now doing the Long Trail. Always neat to see someone you have hiked with in the past. The last picture is of the game room.
      Images
      • IMG_20180620_182407664.jpg

        109.62 kB, 800×450, viewed 12 times
      • IMG_20180620_181956332.jpg

        207.18 kB, 800×450, viewed 12 times
      • IMG_20180620_182401937.jpg

        106.49 kB, 800×450, viewed 12 times
      • IMG_20180620_182124845.jpg

        130.3 kB, 800×450, viewed 14 times
      • IMG_20180620_182007879.jpg

        129.42 kB, 800×450, viewed 13 times
      • IMG_20180621_075629331.jpg

        162.73 kB, 800×450, viewed 13 times
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Astro ().

    • Wish I had read this before making that decision about picking up my hike at Rangeley (US4) or Stratton (US27). :rolleyes:
      Oh well, I guess I got some tougher miles behind me, and had some great views. And my knee was probably going to deteriorate eventually anyway.
      Images
      • IMG_20180704_093945712.jpg

        112.06 kB, 800×450, viewed 22 times
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Lessons Learned
      I used to think that saying that once you hit NH you had done 80% of the AT with 20%of the effort was an over the top exaggeration. Well I now believe it is true.

      I finally made an observation that I guess I had been conveniently ignoring until now. All the hikers I saw in their 20s we're slim and trim. More so those in there 50s, 60s, and 70s were too. Now for some of them it may have been the previous 1800 miles that got them in that shape. But regardless that is the body types they had when hitting NH and ME. While I have lost 15 pounds so far this year, I am planning to loose another 30 before I leave next summer. That should help with my balance going up and down all those rocks and the wear and tear on my knees (and the rest of my body). Also the exercise to get there should also help drastically improve my cardio conditioning. That is one reason I left the Whites and skipped to ME, I didn't feel like I had that extra gear conditioning wise for when things went wrong.

      These last two years with my challenges with the plantar fasciitis, I have attempted to do the most difficult parts of the AT while in the worst shape of my life. In the south you may be able to slowly walk yourself into shape, but not with this part of the AT. As Einstein said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

      The views are beautiful and worth the extra effort (as long as your body can handle it).

      I have had multiple people over the years suggest staying at the AMC huts and slackpacking. While this is a significant investment, this is what I plan to do next summer. I figure I can park my vehicle at Pinkham Notch (AMC Joe Dodge Lodge) and then take the Garfield Trail back to the AT where I left off. Then once I get back to Pinkham Notch I can swap out to my real pack (with minimal food) and still stay at Carter Hut and Imp Campground and then resupply at Rattle River Hostel in Gorham.

      In the South I would usually do a week's worth of food resupply (10 in SNP). Up here I believe I will shoot for 5 days (max 6). Besides the slight reduction in weight, I also have much less pack space due to the extra clothes I am now carrying (weather conditions).

      These past two summers have been a valuable education, but I really want to "graduate" next year. :)
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Astro ().

    • I've been focusing on keeping my weight down too. So far I've been maintaining 167 (down from a record 184 in 2013). And i'm really concentrating on my knees. Knee work outs everyday: step ups, squats, rubberbands, eliptical etc. Trying to cross train my knees every which way I can.
      "Dazed and Confused"
      Recycle, re-use, re-purpose
      Plant a tree
      Take a kid hiking
      Make a difference
    • Astro wrote:

      Wish I had read this before making that decision about picking up my hike at Rangeley (US4) or Stratton (US27). :rolleyes:
      Oh well, I guess I got some tougher miles behind me, and had some great views. And my knee was probably going to deteriorate eventually anyway.
      That's the section Kathy and I did last summer.
      I'll second the fact that it's mountainous and tough, especially for a section hiker going in without "trail legs".
    • CoachLou wrote:

      184..... damn that was a long time ago! :D

      jimmyjam wrote:

      I've been focusing on keeping my weight down too. So far I've been maintaining 167 (down from a record 184 in 2013). And i'm really concentrating on my knees. Knee work outs everyday: step ups, squats, rubberbands, eliptical etc. Trying to cross train my knees every which way I can.

      Here too. But (with some work) I am looking forward to seeing it again. :)
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • jimmyjam wrote:

      I've been focusing on keeping my weight down too. So far I've been maintaining 167 (down from a record 184 in 2013). And i'm really concentrating on my knees. Knee work outs everyday: step ups, squats, rubberbands, eliptical etc. Trying to cross train my knees every which way I can.
      I started a weight loss effort back in May when I hit a high of 214.8. Today I'm down to 205.4. I weigh every AM and chart the progress. I can loose about 1 lb per week. I can already tell a difference.
    • I found that when I eat a big breakfast of eggs or egg substitute with whole grain toast, Canadian bacon or turkey sausage and maybe some strawberries- I snack less and eat a smaller lunch. I think it's really helped me loose weight. Cereal just won't cut it for me.
      "Dazed and Confused"
      Recycle, re-use, re-purpose
      Plant a tree
      Take a kid hiking
      Make a difference
    • jimmyjam wrote:

      I've been focusing on keeping my weight down too. So far I've been maintaining 167 (down from a record 184 in 2013). And i'm really concentrating on my knees. Knee work outs everyday: step ups, squats, rubberbands, eliptical etc. Trying to cross train my knees every which way I can.
      I lost 12 lbs in a week doing the 100 mile wilderness, combination of no appetite and some tough miles, thought I was turning into a wuss (and may be) until a flip flopper who'd done the south said the section that did me in was the toughest of the AT he'd done, the decent from the rock climbs did a number on the knees.
      I may grow old but I'll never grow up.
    • Drybones wrote:

      jimmyjam wrote:

      I've been focusing on keeping my weight down too. So far I've been maintaining 167 (down from a record 184 in 2013). And i'm really concentrating on my knees. Knee work outs everyday: step ups, squats, rubberbands, eliptical etc. Trying to cross train my knees every which way I can.
      I lost 12 lbs in a week doing the 100 mile wilderness, combination of no appetite and some tough miles, thought I was turning into a wuss (and may be) until a flip flopper who'd done the south said the section that did me in was the toughest of the AT he'd done, the decent from the rock climbs did a number on the knees.
      Drybones, you have any pictures from Kathadin and the 100 mile wilderness?
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Thought I'd try my sons diet for getting the blood pressure down...80 cal yogurt with berries or nuts for breakfast, salad with spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, onion,cranberries, sunflower seeds, cheese, for lunch and eating half what I normally eat for dinner, I.E. only half a large pizza...blood pressure is down about 10 points.

      Astro wrote:

      Drybones wrote:

      jimmyjam wrote:

      I've been focusing on keeping my weight down too. So far I've been maintaining 167 (down from a record 184 in 2013). And i'm really concentrating on my knees. Knee work outs everyday: step ups, squats, rubberbands, eliptical etc. Trying to cross train my knees every which way I can.
      I lost 12 lbs in a week doing the 100 mile wilderness, combination of no appetite and some tough miles, thought I was turning into a wuss (and may be) until a flip flopper who'd done the south said the section that did me in was the toughest of the AT he'd done, the decent from the rock climbs did a number on the knees.
      Drybones, you have any pictures from Kathadin and the 100 mile wilderness?
      I do, but can't figure out how to transfer from phone to computer, even though I've done it before...may have changed a setting unintentionally.
      I may grow old but I'll never grow up.
    • Drybones wrote:

      Thought I'd try my sons diet for getting the blood pressure down...80 cal yogurt with berries or nuts for breakfast, salad with spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, onion,cranberries, sunflower seeds, cheese, for lunch and eating half what I normally eat for dinner, I.E. only half a large pizza...blood pressure is down about 10 points.

      Astro wrote:

      Drybones wrote:

      jimmyjam wrote:

      I've been focusing on keeping my weight down too. So far I've been maintaining 167 (down from a record 184 in 2013). And i'm really concentrating on my knees. Knee work outs everyday: step ups, squats, rubberbands, eliptical etc. Trying to cross train my knees every which way I can.
      I lost 12 lbs in a week doing the 100 mile wilderness, combination of no appetite and some tough miles, thought I was turning into a wuss (and may be) until a flip flopper who'd done the south said the section that did me in was the toughest of the AT he'd done, the decent from the rock climbs did a number on the knees.
      Drybones, you have any pictures from Kathadin and the 100 mile wilderness?
      I do, but can't figure out how to transfer from phone to computer, even though I've done it before...may have changed a setting unintentionally.
      You can just email them to yourself from your phone. Or connect your phone to your computer with a USB cord. Or if the pictures are on a microchip get a "chip converter"-basically a regular size chip that you put the microchip in and then plug that into the chip slot on your computer.
      "Dazed and Confused"
      Recycle, re-use, re-purpose
      Plant a tree
      Take a kid hiking
      Make a difference