Trail Magic

One of the things that really makes a hiker’s day is Trail Magic!  It’s a little something special and unexpected which gives a ray of hope.   Lauren received one back at the 501 Shelter.

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“A huge thank you to Joe Frambach and Tori Frambach for surprising me with trail magic at the 501 shelter! Unfortunately I misses seeing them by an hour but they left a ton of food at the shelter for me. When I arrived at the 501 and the caretaker said there was trail magic left there specifically for me I didn’t believe him. All he could remember is they were friends of mine from the PCT and I couldn’t think of anyone I knew from Pennsylvania. Joe and Tori who live in San Francisco happened to be visiting PA and contacted Travis to find out where they could surprise me with trail magic.
What a special treat! Joe and Tori are amazing. I loved the fresh fruit, particularly the watermelon.”

I have to say this is a very impressive shelter the 501 Shelter is!  Look at the number of hikers that can be accommodated! This Shelter was before we reached them.

Until next time,

~ Linda

Halfway, Allentown Shelter, and more

Wow….I’m retyping this post because I did something to delete the entire post just before I was ready to post.  =(  This one will be shorter I’m afraid.

Since we left Lauren in MD on June 1, Lauren has crossed the Mason Dixon Line (MD/PA line):

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And crossed the official half way mark of the trail.

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She continues to hike with Kyle.   SG and I made a run up about 3 hours from our house to meet the at the Allentown Shelter when Lauren determined we could hike in to meet them and spend the night. While I’m a Glamper, I agreed to this because I know SG would love to camp and 2 miles is not a big deal with a day pack.  Jeff and I dug out the sleeping bags:

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There was a Cabela’s on the way so I knew we could stop and get some basics – like straps to tie down the sleeping bags to the packs (ours are day packs and our sleeping bags are not ones designed for hiking) and a few other things.  SG and I left.  We had a small delay outside of Baltimore due to a truck accident.  Does anyone else find it eerie that Google Maps can tell you how long your traffic delay will be in real time?  We hope no one was seriously hurt.

The largest Cabela’s is in Port Clinton, PA.  We picked up pillows, a sleeping mat for me, and straps.  We also got gas and TP (another vital need for hikers).

We made it to the trail head where I got the packs set up

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SG was so excited when we set off!

The hike was a little shy of 2 miles.  When we got to the Shelter, Aunt Lauren and Kyle were working on dinner.  SG and I set up camp while they did this.  Dinner was fantastic.  SG was fascinated by all the things that went into adventure and I’m so glad we did this.

SG helped put the food bags up in the trees to keep the bears away.  We hung all the packs up and left the zippers open on all the compartments so the mice don’t chew their way into the pack.  There was a rattlesnake that apparently likes to live at the privy so you took a stick with you there to make noise to warn it away!  SG would have been content to stay and hunt for it so she could see it!

We shared the camp site with 6 other hikers, so a total of 9 of us.   There is an easy camaraderie among the hikers.  Sharing of information and friendliness.

There was some light rain that came early in the morning.  Luckily, it let up as we were getting up. After packing  up and eating breakfast, we headed out stopping at an “unreliable” spring to see if it was there and it was.  Lauren and Kyle took the opportunity to stock up on water.  They carry filtration systems to help ensure their safety.

After this, I turned my keys over to Lauren and encouraged them to take off as I do not hike at their pace.  They needed to reach the truck anyway and get their day packs ready to go so they could slack pack this next section, which is known to be fairly rocky and limited in water supplies.  I would take their packs to the next cross over at Little Gap.  This was my last view of them for about an hour.

I enjoyed my hike out, taking pictures of the different things that caught my eye.

Once I met up with them, they were working on their packs.  SG was entertaining everyone with a “pick a card” magic trick.   SG has a little bit of hero worship going on with her Aunt Lauren!

 

Off they went went into the woods and we headed over to Little Gap.

We drove down the windy mountain road to the valley highway.  We drove through Lehigh valley, along the ridge line where they were hiking.

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We stopped off at the Blue Mountain Summit and discovered it was also a ski resort.  Very pretty up here.  They will hike past it over the ridge, above.  The workers shared they’ll get hikers through for a meal.   It was great to use a restroom and wash our hands and faces.  =)

SG and I left for the trail head.  It’s literally left out of the ski resort and almost an immediate right to the “parking lot”.  SG and I scouted around for a bit, looking for a good, safe place to stash the packs.  With pictures and texts we let them know where we left things.

We headed home back to go bowling with some friends.  Lauren sent me a text letting me know they found the packs and were off again.  They have almost hiked across the state of PA in 10 days.  When we drove out, we were very close to Allentown and I would have loved to have the day to stop and visit.  Allentown is the 3rd largest city in PA with lots of great history.  Allentown has been involved in both the Revolution and Civil Wars.  It has some amazing history and while it’s not a “known” history spot, it’s one you should definitely put on your stops if you love history.  Check out Wiki on this.

Until the next check in

~ Linda

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harper’s Ferry to AT Trailhead at I70

Wow!  What a whirlwind experience to join “Dust Buster” and “AT AT Walker” on this quick turn.  Very educational and respect for Lauren has grown leaps and bounds over this.  Kyle is a great guy and we are so glad he and Lauren seem to be hiking at the same speed.

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Let’s talk about speed for a moment.  Lauren checked into Spring and received the number 1378 on March 30.  Kyle checked in on the same day receiving the number 1381.  When checking in with the Appalachian Trail Conservatory in Harper’s Ferry, Lauren is now 470 and Kyle 471!  This means they have hiked past 908 and 910 hikers respectively!

Today, after a huge, hot breakfast, SG joined Lauren and Kyle for a 3.2 mile hike.  It was suppose to be 2.7 but because I ended up in the wrong parking lot a half mile longer.   SG desperately wants a trail name so I told her that we’d call her “Three Miler” right now.  =)   In this section they traveled from WV to VA to MD.  Very exciting for SG to travel through 3 states and for Lauren and Kyle to move beyond VA.  With big tears, we sent off Lauren and Kyle on to their hike with the plan to meet them later around 5:30, 20 miles later.  This gave Lauren and Kyle a chance to “slack pack”, carrying only what they needed for the day.  Hopefully, this will help Lauren’s back/sores out.

SG and I checked out a few things in the area, enough to know we want to return to raft on the Shenandoah River, do some zip-lining, and spend more time in Harper’s Ferry going through the stores and buildings as the history is incredible.  They dress historically in the shops.  It’s also crazy to see Lewis and Clark mentioned here.  They are huge in Montana history.   After driving across the United States, we have a greater appreciation for their role in history.

 

We reached the AT Trail Head at I70 around 11:30.  SG was so excited to “get on the trail” we headed out.  We were hiking south to meet Lauren and Kyle.  This time, my pace is much slower than there.  I want to look and take pictures plus I’m not remotely in the shape that they are!  I got several great pictures of different plants, flowers, and lots of great pictures of SG climbing.  SG was very excited that I would stop and let her play in the forest.  It’s such a natural playground for a kid.

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We found homes of critters and watched some chipmunks play/forage.   We checked out trees that had been uprooted and looked at how bugs and animals were using them as homes.  Many downed trees offered SG many places to climb and play.  We found stone walls.  When SG’s feet started to hurt, 2 miles in, we turned around and took more time to look at different things we waited for Lauren and Kyle to reach us.

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While waiting, we had a chance to meet Dick, a gentleman who’s home aligns with the trail.  It cuts through to the overpass between his property and his neighbor’s.  Dick has been there for years.  He used to have a log where hikers could sign in with their trail names and tell a little bit of themselves.  Dick no longer keeps this log due to ongoing damage to the case that it was kept in.  However, he has years of signatures/history.  I suggested he publish this or share it with the Conservatory because of the history in those pages.  They are trail angels, leaving fresh produce out from their garden for hikers.  I asked Dick about the stone walls we found.  He explained how the whole area was farm land and those were the walls that acted as fences.  Those walls have been there for years and years.

Soon, Lauren reached us and Kyle shortly after.  We hiked the remaining .3 back to the parking lot.  One of the cool things was crossing the overpass of I70.   Lauren and Kyle repacked their bags and got ready to set off.  Tears and hugs followed.  We hope Lauren’s new pack will resolve her getting sores.  We look forward to catching up with them on the trail after SG gets done with school.  We are so blessed to have the chance to meet up with them, spend time, and support their journey.

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Until next time #embracethejourney

~ Linda

Harper’s Ferry – the unofficial halfway point

It’s May 31 and I’m getting to report first hand!  SG and I met Lauren and Kyle today here.  It was great to see her again and to meet Kyle.  SG is beyond excited to see her Aunt Lauren.  Harper’s Ferry is the unofficial half way point being around 950+ miles into the AT. The “true” halfway point is around 1090 some miles.

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We arrived about 11:30 and got checked into the Clarion where the staff was been more than great in helping us out here.   We picked up Lauren and Kyle in Harper’s Ferry.  We returned to the hotel to drop off bags, sort out laundry (was glad we got two rooms as they were unpacking and the trail smell rolled into the rooms.   20170531_133223

 

After a shower, Lauren, SG, and I made a run to REI to get Lauren a new backpack.  The reason why?  Her current backpack was leaving sores all over her lower body.   I’m only showing you the one that I can as this is a G rated blog.  Even with open sores and 30 pounds on her back, Lauren has pushed through.  My admiration for her grit has jumped several notches.  Kyle stayed back and handled the laundry end of things.

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After about an hour at REI with SG and I taking a walk over to Barnes and Noble for a few books, Lauren has found a bag that will work.  It was necessary to compromise on weight, going from a bag that was two pounds to one that is about 3.25 pounds.  Trade off?  Aluminum structure and a lumbar band that will not leave her raw.  REI staff were great in helping her out and taking the return of the old pack pack. The REI in Rockville MD is impressive and two stories.

We tripped back during rush hour traffic which made a 40 minute drive 1 hour and 35 minutes.  Great time for us to catch up.  Lauren and SG headed off to the pool while Kyle and I made a WalMart run.

I am definitely impressed with “Hiker Hunger” after watching Lauren polish off a flatbread pizza, chicken sandwich, and half of a really good watermelon!  Tomorrow brings a new day and SG will hike with Lauren and Kyle for about 2.7 miles.  I’ll pick her up and we’ll drive to where we are meeting them after they do a day of slack packing.

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On a side note, Harper’s Ferry is a beautiful, quaint town that is worth a day trip to come and spend the time wandering around.  The town reminds me of a village with the historical buildings which have been preserved.  You can wander through the different shops, catch the Amtrack back to DC, or sit outside in one of the eateries and enjoy the ambiance.  Easy access to the AT. Tomorrow when I drop the three of them off, I plan to stop and take a few pictures to share in an upcoming blog.   We enjoyed a beautiful sunset tonight.

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Until the next update,

~ Linda

Rain Rain Go Away @ Mile 862

Rain Rain Go Away

Lauren has touched bases with me to let me know she needed to take a zero day because of all the rain.  It’s been raining here for the past several days since Travis left last week.  It’s hard to embrace the rain after so many days.  Rain is cold.  Rain is dreary.  Rain makes the trail muddy, slippery, and challenging.  Lauren does have company on the trail as Kyle is hiking with her.  Rain will continue through the end of the weekend before they get a break.   I was thinking I might need to find her some new shoes for better footing.

The plan is to get to Luray, VA by Saturday. There, Tonya S,  a fellow business friend of mine with Close To My Heart (CTMH) will be stepping in as a trail angel, in some manner, to help her and Kyle out.  We are waiting to finalize plans.

In the meantime, Lauren has shared some amazing pictures with us, since she and Travis parted ways.  Here are some of her pictures of their time together:

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You can check out Travis’ summary of his time on the trail with Lauren here.  I have the best brother-in-law.  I believe this to be their parting picture as Lauren went back to the trail and Travis to civilization.

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Travis went home in style. I must say, tad envious of his trip down to North Carolina with the top down and the wind in his hair!

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Lauren’s update from this morning: “This last section was only 3 days but I did my best to take more photos per my husband’s request. I can barely tell the difference between all this green so I am sure it must all look the same to you but I have been told it’s important to keep taking pictures of it.   Apparently I only get good weather when people come to hike with me because the day Travis left it started to rain again. However, in the moments in between I did get to see serval new little creatures. Miles 806 – 862. ”

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“Shenandoah National Park includes a 101-mile portion of the Appalachian Trail. The trail traces the ridge of the Blue Ridge mountains, often following the same route as Skyline Drive. The trail crosses Skyline Drive numerous times in the park. ” (http://www.visitskylinedrive.org/What-To-See/Top-10/Appalachian-Trail.aspx ). They will be leaving the Shenandoah National Park when they reach Luray, VA.  Luray sits in the Shenandoah Valley.  The Shenandoah National Park is amazing as Lauren’s pictures show. Even with the rain.

Here are some great creatures and plants that Lauren has been able to see as she’s hiking.  I believe that the black snake is a rat snake since they are indigenous to our area and protected.

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That’s all for now!  Until next time

~ Linda

Company

It’s so nice to get a call from Lauren and Travis as Travis has joined her hiking.  They were taking a “zero day” in Daleville, VA.    Daleville is a census-designated place (CDP) in Botetourt County, Virginia, United States. The population was 2,557 as of the 2010 census, an increase of over 75% from the 2000 census, when the population was 1,454. It is part of the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area. One of the county’s two high schools, Lord Botetourt, is located in Daleville. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daleville,_Virginia).  While it appears to be a small town, Daleville has a lot “MacMansions” in the area around it.

Travis will hike with her until Lexington, VA.  He’ll get off the trail.  Travis, unfortunately,  needs to return to Spokane and the real world.   Lauren has been making such great time on the trail, Travis has to get from Lexington to Charlotte, NC (going back south) to catch his plane home.  We are working on the logistics of getting him back to Roanoke to rent a car, if possible to save on money.

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Lexington is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 7,042.[3] It is the county seat of Rockbridge County,[4] although the two are separate jurisdictions. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Lexington (along with nearby Buena Vista) with Rockbridge County for statistical purposes. Lexington is about 57 miles east of the West Virginia border and is about 50 miles north of Roanoke, Virginia. It was first settled in 1777.  Lexington is the location of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and of Washington and Lee University (W&L). ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexington,_Virginia )

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Lexington looks to be an amazing place to spend a day.  There is a lot of history in the area.   Lexington was named in 1778. It was one of the first of what would be many American places named after Lexington, Massachusetts, known for being the place at which the first shot was fired in the American Revolution.[5]  The Union General David Hunter led a raid on Virginia Military Institute during the American Civil War. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson are buried here. It is the site of the only house Jackson ever owned, now open to the public as a museum. Cyrus McCormick invented the horse-drawn mechanical reaper at his family’s farm in Rockbridge County and a statue of McCormick is located on the Washington and Lee University campus. McCormick Farm is now owned by Virginia Tech and is a satellite agricultural research center.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexington,_Virginia)

They will be in the Shenandoah Valley which is one of the most amazing  places on Earth to be on Earth.  One of our goals has been to go there during peak color change in the fall.  Here are some amazing pictures of the Valley.

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While this is going on, Lauren is trying to upgrade her phone and if it can go wrong, it has gone wrong.  Pretty crazy.  Here’s a picture of her on the phone to me, while I’m doing the computer side of things.   Logistics on the trail as Travis put it.

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That’s all for now!

~Linda

Quarter of the way done

From May 9th:

Had a blast hiking as a trio this last week. Kyle’s long legs keep us moving at a swift pace. He is 6′ 4″ and so I end up having to take twice as many steps but I enjoy the challenge as not very many people can hike faster than me. When Green Beard and I get tired, we either give​ up and let Kyle go or relegate him to the back of the hiker train.


On May 4th we reached the 25% mark and on the 7th we crossed 600 miles.


Much of the last section included hiking through farm land.

We stopped for trail magic at this old school house from 1890. The list of punishments for rule breaking was a bit disconcerting. I would have received quite a few lashings for climbing trees and playing with the boys.

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The weather here continues to be problematic. Although I don’t have any pictures of it the rain makes up about half of my time. Swollen creeks, muddy trails and damp gear is a constant battle. Thankfully it hasn’t slowed me down too much.

That’s from Lauren.  I should have taken pictures of the rain.  It’s needed rain but it’s been cool/chilly here.  We’ve been on fluctuation of 40s to 90s, rain, no humidity to 90%.  It does make things challenging.

Since we’ve warmed up, some other challenges are presenting themselves such as ticks and mosquitoes.   I’m sure on the West Coast, both carry viruses of some sort.  Here on the East Coast, we have West Nile and Zika from the mosquitoes (along with heart-worm for the pets) and ticks minimally have the Lymes disease issue with crops up often in this area.  We are already experiencing a problem with both so the hikers will need to keep a watch out for this (http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2017/05/11/CDC-More-ticks-deadly-new-tick-borne-disease-coming-this-summer/4211494518650/)

While there is nothing romantic about these bothersome bugs, the seriousness of the infestation predicted for this year merits a better understanding.  The above pictures of an embedded tick is not fun to look at.  The “bull’s eye” around the tick needs to be paid attention to.  It’s a sign of the tick carrying Lyme’s and treatment needs to happen quickly as Lymes, untreated can cause a lifetime of issues.

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Give me the creeps to write about it.

Okay.  So to more fun things.  The crew continues to make great headway on this hike.  Mile 600 puts them close to Pearisburg, VA.  By the time this posts, they should be past Pearisburg unless they stay over.

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A better picture or more global:

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You can see the progress through VA they are making.  Pretty incredible.  Lauren provided some amazing pictures for this blog of the scenery she’s experiencing and I don’t feel the need to add more.

Until next time

~Linda