Yes, I’m more then 1/3 of the way to Maine. As you can see from the photo I’ve climbed the iconic McAfee Knob. The day before, I went over Dragon’s Tooth. That one was tough, and I have a tear in my pack now to prove it, from sliding down granite boulders on my butt.
Firsts. Several firsts: Boomer and stole food from another hiker for the first time. He snatched a cookie right out of her hand. Luckily this occurred right at the Woods Hole Hostel so I was able to buy another cookie and replace the purloined one.
When I hiked into Daleville, The Roanoke chapter of the Appalachian Trail club was putting the finishing touches on a new footbridge. I was the first person to walk across it.
And this morning, my first personal close up encounter with a bear. At least the first one on the Appalachian Trail. A friend, Trotter, and I stealth camped about 4 miles past a shelter that was closed due to bear activity. We were within the supposedly safe zone. We were up early, eating breakfast and sorting out our food for the day. At 6:15 AM, Trotter looked up and said, “Hey, look, there’s a bear!” And indeed there was a bear approaching, about 15 feet from her, and perhaps 25 feet from me. A large adult bear. After briefly marveling at the bear, we said, “Wait a minute. We ought to be scaring that thing away.” So Trotter began to clank her poles together, wave them around, and shout at the bear. I grabbed hold of Boomer’s leash. He had not yet seen or smelled the bear. I commanded him to speak. The combination of barking and pole clanking caused the bear to turn and leave. I think the bear may have visited during the night, because Boomer was barking at 4 AM and he seldom makes any noise during the night.
Gear. First, a disclaimer. I’m only giving my personal opinion of shoes that I tried. No guarantee that what works for me will be good for another hiker.
My first pair of trail runners were worn out by Damascus. So I went to the outfitters, and the shoes that seem to fit were Oboz boots. They were quite comfortable on my zero day walking around town. But once I got on the trail, they were absolutely horrible. They gave me blisters and they gave me pain in places that I’ve never had foot pain before.
So I turned to Zappos and ordered some Altra trail runners. The model is Olympus 2.0. The Altra company says they’re the ones with the most padding. So my feet still have sore areas at the end of the day, but the horrible pain has resolved.
Ice cream challenge. I haven’t arrived yet at the half-gallon ice cream challenge in Pennsylvania. But here’s a photo of a hiking friend taking the 5 gallon challenge at Middle Creek Campground. Strawberry!
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Congratulations on completing 1/3 of the trail! Love your posts.