Ted on the AT 2013

Track me from Georgia to Maine


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Back in Maine

Thanks to the help of many caring people, I’m back home in Maine. I’ve seen a doctor here who was shocked at the amount of frostbite. But he referred me to a plastic surgeon who said she thought everything would be OK. She said it would just be a long healing process once the swelling begins to go down and the blisters drain. She said the feeling should then begin to return.

Thank you again for all of your thoughts, prayers and concern. So many people have done so many things for me over the past 4 days — it’s a blessing!


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Hike is finished

After 22 days and 207 miles, my attempt at doing a thru-hike on the AT is finished. After hiking through deep snow, sleet, freezing rain and frigid temperatures for almost four consecutive days, I have serious frostbite on four fingers and the doctor at the hospital ER outside Gatlinburg told me I absolutely could not continue. He told me to get back home and see my doctor back in Maine to assess the damage, once the swelling goes down.

Thank you to everyone for their prayers, thoughts and support. I also hope everyone still on the trail is safe as the high elevation storms continue, particularly those with whom I hiked during the past three weeks: TK, Maggie, Frost, Mot, Gered, Ears and Camaro.


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March 5

Not sure what day of the hike this is….but Ted made it to Gatlinburg, TN and is staying for a few days to wait out the storm.  He said he hiked for days through snow, sometimes up to his knees.  A car picked him up on the road which was thankfully open again, and the man gave him a ride into town and helped him find a motel.


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Days 17-18

Update from Ted by phone, Friday, March 1.

The original plan was to stay at Fontana Dam village and then he would hike a mile into the shelter at Fontana Dam and relax.  The next shelter is an 11 mile hike up a 3,000 foot elevation gain to Molly’s Ridge.  TK & Maggie were also staying at the village, and they thought that was a good idea.  At about 1 p.m., (Thursday) they got a ride to the trail and it started snowing and they decided that they would try to get to Molly’s ridge.  Ted decided to try it also even though he knew he couldn’t keep up with them.  The weather was supposed to get progressively worse, and by the time he got to the shelter, it was 7:45 p.m. and he was using his headlamp and the owls were serenading him, and other things were rustling in the bushes in the night.  He doesn’t know what they were.  The other 4 in the shelter were sleeping, so he decided not to disturb them by cooking dinner and ate granola bars and Snickers for dinner.

He was first out in the morning (Friday) and left at 8:30 a.m.  There was another shelter 2.5 miles away, and he stopped and ate for breakfast the dinner he would have had Thursday night.

He then hiked a total of 6 miles to Spence Field Shelter.  A 59 year old man and a park ranger were in that shelter.  The shelter has a fireplace, and they found enough dry wood to make a fire.  The weather is very cold and is supposed to be frigid the next 2 nights down in the single digits.  He has enough food (bought some more at Fontana Dam village), but is a little concerned that his fuel might not last since it takes longer to boil water at the higher elevations.  His sleeping bag is not as big and puffy as some of the others.  If he feels he needs it, he’ll buy a warmer one at the next Outfitters he comes to.

He saw many animal tracks in the snow and he wishes that he knew what kind they were.  He was following a really big 3 toed track wondering what it was, when a huge turkey flew out of a bush in front of him!

He is only planning on doing 6 or 7 more miles today (Saturday).  The Smokies have shelters every 7 miles or so.  He doesn’t plan to try to get in touch again until Tuesday (unless there is a problem)


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Day 16

    This is from Ted directly. I’m at the Fontana Village Resort (very nice) for a night of good food and relaxing. Tomorrow I will begin the challenging hike through the Smokies, but there’s some question about that, too. There is a winter weather advisory for tonight and tomorrow. I may hike just to the first shelter at the base of the Smokies and wait and see how the weather is. The problem is, the forecast calls for snow on Saturday.

    I had an interesting experience today. One of the other thru-hikers I’ve seen the past two days is a film-maker and he is doing a documentary on the AT and its hikers. His name is Chris Galloway and he followed me for a while today, taking both still photos and video of me hiking. Then, while we stopped at a spring to fill up with water, he did a taped interview with me. It was an interesting experience. Obviously it will be a long time before the docmentary is ready, but he said parts of his work will be ready in a few weeks at TheATmovie.com.

    This was the end of Day 16, a total of 165 miles.

    Thank you for all of your prayers and well-wishes!


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Day 15

2/26/13  Had another phone call from Ted.  He’s COLD, but good.  At a shelter for the night…snow flurries just starting.  His raincoat from LL Bean is working great and helping to keep him warm. Three others in the shelter with him, and it’s warmer inside.  He was told that the road to Gatlinburg would likely be open by the time he gets there.  We hope that’s true.  He feel’s he’s about due for new boots, so we hope he can get into town to find a pair.  Here’s his update:

He had a bright sunny day the other day and had a good view of the surrounding mountains.  Getting ready to go into the Smokies, and getting ready to go up Clingman’s Dome which is the highest point on the Appalachian Trail (several days away yet.)  He’s planning to push today, along with the 3 others in the Shelter to make it to Fontana Dam where there is a place to eat and to get a place to stay overnight.  On a side-note he said that he’s getting increasingly frustrated because he leaves 90 minutes or so ahead of the pack, and that people are catching up to him and passing by.  But he has to remind himself that those people are 40 years younger than he is and to let it go.  He has to stop and rest more often. 

No phone calls planned for today.  In Reach unit in the mail for the next drop which he should pick up around the 10th or 11th of March in Hot Springs, North Carolina–the other side of the Smokies!


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Day 14

Ted picked up the box at his food drop and now has a phone!  He called last night (Monday) to give this blog update.

Hiked 144 miles so far.  Today was one of the toughest days.  After I picked up my food drop I climbed a mountain that was 7 miles straight up.  Elevation gain was 2900 feet!  It took 4 hours to do it, and now at the shelter.  The original plan was to stay at the Outfitters at Nantahala, but there are supposed to be heavy rains and 60 MPH winds tomorrow, so he pushed on to the shelter so he’ll be protected.  In the 30’s tonight and the weather forecast is for rain Tues. Wed. & snow Th & Fri.  He is 3 days away from Fontana Dam & that is the beginning of the Smokies.  But that is about the time that they are forecasting the snow.  Saw the Smokies yesterday (beautiful sunny day) from another mountain and had a nice view of Clingman’s dome.

There have been road closings from rock slides and he won’t be able to get into any towns, so from Fontana Dam he needs to carry enough food to get through the Smokies!

The In Reach is fixed and will go out in the next food drop box.  He will call tonight to discuss how much to send (and where) so he can get through the Smokies OK.  He says his pack is heavy but he’d rather have more food to eat!  Also, he bought some boot cushioning liners because his feet were getting sore.  He’s not seeing many other hikers now.  He did see Maggie and TK at Nantahala, and they are in the shelter with him now.

He’s still OK and having a good time, and it’s good to know that he can call.