Remembering Baltimore Jack
“Got a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack
I went out for a ride and I never went back
Like a river that don’t know where it’s flowing
I took a wrong turn and I just kept going”
– Hungry Heart by Bruce Springsteen
In 1998, Pox crossed paths with Jack while hiking the Trail, originally meeting him at Kincora Hostel. Earlier this hiker-season, Pox drove around Franklin trying to find Jack…but couldn’t locate him. He was probably somewhere sipping a coffee and enjoying a copy of the NY Times.
Puss met Jack in 2009 at Mountain Crossings, four days after she was “famously” asked “Have you met Baltimore Jack? You will.”
Puss is even wearing a Baltimore Jack button on her shirt in the first promo photo we ever took for our podcast.
In 2013 we were lucky enough to sit down and do an interview with Baltimore Jack while he was working at Mountain Crossings. It was early on a rainy day, and up until this point we had never recorded an episode without at least one beer in our bellies. We apologized to Jack for cracking a beer at 9am in the stock room of Mountain Crossings and he playfully scolded us for about 5 seconds…before pulling a flask out from his jacket pocket.
On that day, Jack was an open book. He was like a jukebox of legendary tales about the Appalachian Trail. We would ask him to tell a story and he would. It was amazing. We were giddy, and walked into that interview to talk to a trail celebrity and we were humbled to depart with a pass of the flask, hugs, back-slaps and promises to do it again sometime. Since its release date, the “Baltimore Jack Episode” continues to be our most popular episode.
For the past several years Baltimore Jack could be found up and down the trail, volunteering his time, experience, words or cooking skills at outfitters, hostels, and other popular trail outposts all hiker season long. He almost inevitably crossed paths with any hiker or volunteer who spent any notable amount of time on the AT, backing up his legendary status and bringing a humorous truth to “Have you met Baltimore Jack? You will.”
Baltimore Jack LIVED the Appalachian Trail experience we all wish we could. To call him a “Trail Personality” would be a disservice to the word “personality”. He will surely be missed.
Below you’ll find the two episodes we released from our interview with Baltimore Jack.
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Pox, lovely tribute. Thanks for sharing this. I’m going to go back and listen to the Pox & Puss with Baltimore Jack this afternoon!
Met him twice during our 2015 NOBO. Big personality, full of history. Remember he shared his watermelon with everyone.
Thanks for posting this Pox. It’s great to listen to him.
Great tribute, thanks for sharing. Neat to hear Jack’s voice. I spent many days on trail with Jack back in 1997, his first full thru-hike. Two memories standout:
1) his daily breakfast was two shots of whiskey (Jim Beam) and a cigarette.
2) we were having an extended conversation about father wisdom one day and he told me the best advice his father ever gave him was, “God gave you two ears and only one mouth, use them accordingly.”
RIP, Baltimore Jack
I met Baltimore Jack at the Southern Ruck this year. I was pursuaded that if THAT old, fat, white guy could hike the trail, THIS old, fat, white guy could. So I’m headed out 3/1/17. At 66, 6’3 and 240.
If you finish, you are almost guaranteed to lose some of that weight. Good luck.
Thanks for this tribute–I knew Baltimore Jack many years ago when he briefly married into our family–lost touch with him over the years but knew he was a BJ. Was always so glad that he found his place of belonging, on the AT! RIP, dear Adam!
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Really love the Pox and Puss podcast. I discovered them about a year ago and started listening to them from oldest to newest. Had the privilege of meeting a younger and thinner Baltimore Jack 10 + years ago. Took his picture and didn’t realize I was in the presence of Trail royalty or I would have spoken with him longer. Think I saw his back once in Mojo’s during Trail Days. He was wearing a shirt that read, ” If you are going to drink all day, you have to start in the morning”. Loved the shirt.
Well keep up the bad work and off-colored humor.