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Archive for the ‘Appalachian Trail’ Category

Dave and I decided to hike recently at Meeman Shelby Forest State park in western Tennessee.  It was a chilly day, in the 40s, but sunny.  As long as long as I’m bundled up enough, I’m okay with the cold.  Its been a while since we’d been outside, in the woods and sunshine.  Sometimes in the winter, we spend too much time indoors missing out on vitamin D and the general feeling of  well-being that comes from sunshine and nature.

This particular park is a great one to visit, just a half hour from Memphis.  But when you’re there, you feel like you are in the wildernerness and that youve really left civilization.  Much of western Tennessee is pretty flat, and therefore not good practice for the Appalachian Trail hills in the Northeast (the yearly hike that we are trying to keep in shape for).  However this park has some pretty steep hills and beautiful scenery.

The trail we did at Meeman Shelby was the Woodland Trail loop.  It is about 5 miles if you go all the way to the Woodland Shelter and back to the parking lot.  This park also has an 8 mile one-way trail heading north and south (Chickasaw Bluff/Pioneer Springs Trail) if you really want some distance practice, though it doesn’t have as many steep hills as the Woodland Trail.

All in all a nice trip!  Watch our video, and plan to visit the park if you live in the area!

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After we had climbed the daunting Mt. Kinsman as our introduction to New Hampshire Appalachian Trail hiking, we were wondering what we had gotten ourselves into! This was much harder than anything we had done before, and we wondered if we would be able to finish the section that we had planned on. We decided instead of continuing to the next section on our hike, Mt. Moosilauke, we would skip it and hike the more mild section to the south to give our bodies one more day to recover.  We hoped by then we would feel well enough to conquer Moosilauke.

After hiking back to our rental car, we drove wearily to a car campground and set up our hammocks.  We were exhausted, but of course not too tired for some delicious Chinese food in town.  After that we crashed in our hammocks and slept soundly.

We had beautiful weather the entire week we were in New Hampshire.  The only major rainstorm happened that next morning, so we decided to give ourselves a break and wait out the rain. We had our breakfast at what was becoming our favorite breakfast place, Dunkin Doughnuts.  Then we cruised the main street of the town for stores that could provide supplies we needed.  We then hung out for the rest of the morning at a nice McDonald’s for delicious iced coffee, WiFi and power.  I was able to get the first YouTube video done for this trip. https://youtu.be/c7Dsfz1CT1k  It took a surprisingly long time and I was only able to get a third of the first day edited and uploaded before it was time to leave for the local pizza place with their $5 special, two pizzas and a soda!

By then it was pouring and we actually got a little wet running from place to place, which we were really trying to avoid.  We were wearing the clothes we were going to hike in and didn’t want them wet already.  But we were glad we could run inside and were not continuously remaining in the rain.  So after pizza, we headed out to the start point of our hike for the day.  By then the rain had stopped and it remained a bit overcast for a while but eventually the sun came out and it was beautiful!

The rest of the story is told in the video, Ore Hill (day 4) below.  The previous day is also included below.  Hope you enjoy hiking with us!  The Big Mt. Moosilauke will be next!

 

 

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This is the second day of our New Hampshire Appalachian Trail section hike a couple of weeks ago.  It turned out to be one of the most challenging hikes of the trip and probably the most difficult hike we’ve done.  At the same time, all of the boulder hopping is fun and the views are magnificent!

I was watching videos of thru-hikers going through this area, and they climb up it like mountain goats!  Lol I guess that’s what 1500 miles of conditioning up and down mountains does for you! Lol. (The northbound AT thru hikers started in Goergia and have done approx. 1500 miles at this point!). Some day it might be fun for my husband and I to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail as well, but we have to wait until he is at a point where he can take a break from work.  But for now we get to do these sections hikes with my Dad, and these have been the highlights of our hiking trips each year. Definitely the most challenging and most rewarding!

Join us on day 2’s hike in the video below, and I’ll get day 3 edited soon!

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This was one of our long and tiring days hiking the Appalachian Trail in Vermont. However, as usual, the views and the adventures were always amazing. The end of our section hike for this day took us through the town of West Hartford, down the street, and past the Village Store. There was a sign out front welcoming hikers from the Appalachian Trail and a place to put their packs. They had all sorts of things from pizza to salad to fresh Vermont maple ice cream, which was a most excellent way to end our long, tiring hike! I think that was the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted! lol Looking back, even though the trip was hard, I wish I was still there, such an amazing, magical place. Hope you enjoy the pictures!

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This was one of our longest hikes on this section of the Vermont Appalachian Trail. It was just my Dad, my Husband and me. We had worn my girls out so they decided to go with my Mom to the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Hist. Park, which was all about nature, conservation and farming. They loved learning about the different kinds of farm animals and seeing all the spring babies.

We hiked about seven miles and climbed about 1200 feet. This was our rainy day, so we donned our rain jackets and put our pack covers on. The temperature was in the upper 60s and we were hot from hiking, so the rain didn’t bother us too much. We just kept plodding on up the hills and through the overcast rainy weather.

The Lookout was really cool. You could reach it on a short side-trail. The sign said it was only .1 mile, but we think it was closer to a quarter mile. Of course the fact that it was more up hill may have made it feel longer! This led to a private cabin which the owners allow the hikers to use. There was a platform built on the top of the cabin, which you could reach by (again!) climbing up a ladder to the top. But once at the top, the view was spectacular! We stopped here and had our lunch.

The rest of the hike was very surreal. We passed so many very old rock walls, all that remains of past families and farms who lived in the area. At one point I had hiked ahead of the guys and found a dry place to rest on a rock, when I was surprised to meet an older gentleman. He told us he hikes on the Appalachian trail 3/4 of the year! Apparently he felt quite at home on the trail and had decided to make it his regular lifestyle.

Many of the forests we hike through looked like rain-forests, covered in ferns and moss and often very damp. This day was so wet there weren’t many places you wanted to stop and sit down. But occasionally we’d come to an evergreen grove. Under these not much else seemed to grow and it would be covered in a thick layer of soft, mostly dry needles, which made perfect resting points. I would often hike ahead of my hiking companions and then find one of these unique evergreen groves and sit and rest.

Another tiring day on the Appalachian trail, but looking back, such sweet memories. I feel so blessed that we got to go! I hope you enjoy the pics!

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This was our fourth day hiking the Appalachian Trail in Vermont. My husband had just flown in the day before, and this was his first day hiking with us. This day we hiked a section of the Appalachian Trail that passed the Thistle Hill Shelter.  Looking back at these pictures I just can’t tell you how beautiful it is there, though it was very exhausting and made it a little difficult to appreciate the absolute beauty at the time. But looking back, I long to return and hike through all of the amazingly different landscapes of the Appalachian Trail in Vermont. Every time I look at the pictures I am completely amazed by the awesome and varied beauty that God creates. The sight of this beauty leads me to awed worship of Him.

We hiked for about 10 days total. It was just enough time to completely wear us out, but not enough time to get used to it. When my husband arrived, he wanted to hike even more than what we were doing on the Appalachian Trail. He was there for a shorter time, and he was so delighted to be free from work and in this beautiful environment. I had already been hiking three days, so I was already really tired.  But he is naturally in excellent shape, and it was really starting to irritate me! lol So I ended up doing some extra hikes with him and exhausting myself even more. Looking back, I realize I should have taken the days off that my Dad did. One full day off would have made a huge difference in my physical condition. Though, I don’t regret the extra hikes we did. They were all awesome! So choose more Vermont beauty or rest to enjoy the future beauty better??? I don’t know what I would choose the next time… I’m just glad we got to do any of it! It was definitely a trip of a lifetime!

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To reach the start of this section hike, my Mom (our wonderful driver and cook), dropped us off at Stony Brook Road.  This was a gravel road that wound up into the wilderness.  At first there were houses, but as the road deteriorated we only saw an occasional vacation cabin.  At the point where she dropped us off, it was pretty remote.  She could not park right at the trail, so we had to start by hiking up hill up the road about a quarter-mile. Then we headed up the trail, and I mean straight up!

Our 1200 ft. climb in a mile and a halfMy poor daughter, who was already tired after several days hiking, about a quarter-mile in said, “That’s it!”  She sat down in tears in the middle of the trail, threw down her pack, and refused to go a step further. lol My Dad and I looked at each other. What could we do? My Mom was long gone.  We were in the middle of nowhere.  There was no cell reception here. Short of an emergency, there was no way anyone was getting out of here but up and over this crazy mountain!

So after a rest, some water, and a snack, and handing off some of her pack weight to my Dad, she was ready to tackle the trail again. I am really proud of her for sticking it out.  After we were done with our trip she told me how she had learned that she can tackle challenges with perseverance and persistence that once seemed impossible. Both she and I realize how much better shape we are in now, both in leg and cardiovascular strength.

My Dad, who has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail from Georgia to where we were in Vermont, taught us how to handle hills. We learned to take it slowly and steadily and to time our breathing with our steps. I ended up taking one breath for every two steps. And sometimes I would just look down at my feet and concentrate on one step at a time. And of course, I would stop and rest when I’d reached my limit. Using that method, we climbed 1200 feet in a mile and a half. And that was a useful tool to get us through all the other crazy hills in Vermont too.

So we survived our five miles and 1200 feet and were very glad to seem my Mom at the other side. Though the hike was super hard, it was also super beautiful. We had a cool ladder to climb up to the top of a giant boulder. And there were actually a couple of peaks we reached on this trail. Each one had a different look from the scenery on the way up and you felt really rewarded for all that hiking to get to see this unique mountain top that most people probably never see.

I have several more days of Appalachian Trail hiking to write about. And next week we are headed back to middle Tennessee to camp and hike on the Cumberland plateau. This is a super interesting area which I was quite surprised to find in Tennessee.  I actually think it is actually as interesting as Vermont, though only a 4-5 hour drive (instead of 22! lol) It is an area of higher elevation made of sandstone which easily erodes into waterfalls, boulders, rock cliffs and caves. I can’t wait!! This is our last summer fling before Fall responsibilities.  So more posts to come about our Vermont Appalachian Trail and our Cumberland Plateau hike!

I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.  Phil. 4:13

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