Good news! DeLorme had to do a firmware update on both devices, and now they are working! I’ll pick them up at the store and will mail them off to Ted this week. Then we’ll be back in business!
Feb. 22, 2013..Ted called today from Franklin, NC to say that he is taking a half day off, and is spending the night at a Budget inn to rest tonight. He’s been slowed down by rain, snow and ice, but is still enjoying himself. I also received back the In Reach satellite device and will take it to De Lorme tomorrow to get it working again. In the box was also his journal from the first few days of his trip. Here’s what he wrote!
Monday, Feb 11. Left home at 4:25 a.m. (15 degrees) and flew from Portland to LaGuardia to Atlanta arriving just before noon. Commuter train for an hour to North ? GA. Willie from the Hiker Hostel picked me up 10 minutes later. Another hour ride to the hostel Dahlonega Ga, site of the first major gold rush in the US. Willie had done 2 thru-hikes (Nature Boy), the most recent in 2010–took him only 3 1/2 months by carrying only 14 pounds and hiking up to 30 miles per day.
Stopped at Outfitters for fuel for stove and then at Subway to get sandwich for dinner. I’m only hiker in hostel although Willie said 5 thru hikers came through last week before starting trail. Friendly dog Maggie. Big problems with In Reach connecting with testing. Couldn’t send or receive. Was on phone with Delorme for 90 minutes including step by step to do an upgrade. Also problem with satellite connection. Carol worked on it from home and finally we appear to have it working. Don’t know if I would have started if system didn’t work. In bed by 8.
Tuesday, Feb. 12–Breakfast of scrambled eggs, waffles, oatmeal, OJ. On road 8:30 at Springer parking lot 9:30. Appears 7 others have started thru hikes Friday 2-9. .9 miles to top arrived 10:00. Breezy & cold but beautifully sunny. On drive here saw US Rangers training in Mtns. Camp Merrill is Ranger training camp. They spend 24 days in woods & Mt. training. Officially began AT hike @ 10:15 am.
When I got back to the parking lot where I began there was a car and mother and grown son. She was beginning her thru-hike too! She had just retired and lives in South Jersey, and I probably wouldn’t know where the little town was. Her name is Jersey Jane and she was not sure how long the hike would take–she said she was just taking it one day at a time. She is slack packing the first few days, and her son will pick her up at road crossings. Her son is going to try some panning for gold while his mother is hiking.
Good first day–pack a little heavy, but not too bad. Knees & back & feet good. Finished at Hawk Mt. Shelter 3 p.m. just as it started to rain with a little hail mixed in. Had stopped a half mile earlier to put on raincoat & pack cover. Beautiful sunny morning on Springer summit but it continued to get cloudier all day & finally rain. Forecast is for heavy rain tonight. Rain started heavy about time I started dinner. Just before rain, 2 thruhikers who started today at Springer about 90 min after I did arrived at shelter. Maggie & TK from Conn. No trail names yet. He is going to Georgetown Law school in Sept. and going to finish AT on time. They just returned from working with the Peace Corps in Africa! Couldn’t get In Reach to connect with other unit. Couldn’t send Carol message.
Wed. Feb 13–Not a good night–little sleep and down in the 20’s. I took my watch off to get more accurate temp. Use my liner in the sleeping bag but still cold. Wore my fleece–a little bettter. Got up around midnight and there were snow flurries. Very foggy and misty in the morning. Wore my rain gear including gaiters. Wore my fleece underneath to keep warm. A lot of up and down climbing to start the day. I left shelter at 8:40–Maggie & TK were still sleeping. Got tired in a hurry..thought it was from little sleep and probably not enough breakfast. Few banana chips & 1 pop tart.
Went to top of Sassafrass Mt. 3500 feet. Frequent stops on the way up to catch my breath. Still very foggy all the way to the summit. I began to realize why so many thru hikers quit after one week or less. No matter how much preparation and conditioning you do, it’s not enough. But I also began to think what I have read in many books. First week is always tough–just accept it because it should get better once your body realizes what you’re trying to do. Good news was that my back and knees felt pretty good. Just short of breath.
Maggie and TK caught up to me after about 4.5 miles and then went ahead. Disappointing that I was doing only a little more than a mile an hour. Got to Gooch Mt Shelter at 2:30. Maggie & TK were there but said because it was so early they were going to go on and probably tent some where between shelters. After I relaxed a while and got some fresh water from a spring (drops work well for purification) I decided to go a little farther. It was 3:20 when I left the shelter and the sky was showing some brightening. Ended up going another 1.6 miles and set up my tent in a clearing. A lot of wet leaves underneath–hopefully the water won’t seep through. I have the liner on the outside. Cooked dinner, hung food bag in a tree to keep it away from bears and I was in the tent by 6:45. Very strong winds but mainly in mountains above me not down by tent. But it’s cold again–about 35 right now. I read from the Kindle for a while, listen for a weather forecast on the radio and then sleep. It was important to walk the extra miles today–9.6 instead of 8 because tomorrow is supposed to be a 12 mile day and my legs may not be ready. Now it will be only a little more than 10. In Reach connection still not working. I really miss not sending and receiving messages from Carol and others. It gives me the instruction to “pair” the In Reach with the PN60, but it doesn’t work. I’m still sending pre-programmed messages to Carol at the beginning & end of day. Hopefully they’re going through! I miss hearing from Carol every night.
Thurs, Feb 14–Water collected around tent overnight from wet leaves and when I went out from the tent I didn’t tie my laces. It got down to 26 and when I went to tie my laces, they were frozen–took a while to thaw them. Bottom of tent also was wet even though the liner was underneath. But the water never came through the sleeping pad to the sleeping bag. I hung the tent on a tree to dry in the wind before I got going and where it had been wet on the bottom turned to ice crystals. Finally got going at 8:40–later than I wanted. Some steady climbs through the day and my legs got tired after about 8 miles. A lot of stopping to rest my legs & catch my breath while going up 3800 foot Big Cedar Mountain. Blood Mt is tomorrow at 4500 feet. Ended up doing 11 miles for the day and was VERY tired. I actually went an extra half mile to the Slaughter Creek tent sites rather than stopping at the Woods Hole Shelter as planned. The shelter was a half mile down a side trail so I decided to keep going on the AT for a half mile to the tent sites. It will save me some time (and climbing) tomorrow when I go up Blood Mt. From the summit of Blood Mt. it’s 2 1/2 miles downhill to Neel Gap where hopefully my first food drop will be waiting.
Sun was out all day today which made it a lot nicer than yesterday’s fog & drizzle. Not much wind either and the forest was total silence for long sections–no birds, no squirrels, no wind–just the occasional sound of a stream below me. Because of recent rain and snow melt from winter, water is not much of a problem–good thing because I drank more than 5 liters today. Good to see surrounding mountains today. Didn’t see anything first 2 days except from the summit of Springer. Got up in the mid 50’s today, but cold again tonight. Atlanta radio said a cold front is coming through Sat & Sun with highs only in the low 40’s–that may mean highs in the 30’s in the mountains–hopefully sun!
Saw only a few day hikers today–no thru hikers. I did see a big man with a full black beard heading south with a full pack but he was moving too fast for any questions. Total after 3 days–28.5 miles. I will back off my plan though because I have some back to back 15 mile days coming up and I don’t think I’m ready for them yet! Still no luck with In Reach connection with PN60. I keep trying but no luck. I’m thinking of sending both units home tomorrow at my food drop. If Carol gets a chance she can see what DeLorme thinks. When I talked with them on Monday they said they still would be under warranty. If they can get them working Carol can send them back with a food drop. I’m also thinking of sending this journal so something can go on the blog other than “technical difficulties”.
Fri, Feb 15–Up at 6:45 still fairly dark. By the time I packed everything, got cleaned up a little, ate a little, it was 7:50. Started up Blood Mt. and made it to summit at 8:40–brilliant sun out feeling much warmer. Down in the upper 20’s overnight again. With packing tent and other things without gloves my fingers were numb. Began to get tingling feeling almost to summit of Blood. After the summit it was 2 1/2 miles downhill to Neel Gap and the Walasi-Y Outfitters/hostel. My food drop was here!
Ted should pick up his next food drop with the new cell phone in it on Monday or Tuesday. I will get the In Reach working and will send it back as soon as possible so he can give more updates. He said he’s enjoying the hike.
Well, the technical difficulties continue. Ted started his hike this morning at 7:25 but he called me from the Walasi-Yi Center around 11:00 using one of their cell phones He said that the texting piece of the In Reach is not working, and he’s sending the whole thing back here so I can take it to De Lorme to be fixed, and then I’ll send it back to him. So we’ll be out of touch for a week, at least. In the mean time, I’m sending him a cell phone for emergencies! And he’s also mailing back his journal to me, so I will update this blog with his writing when I receive it next week. Stay tuned!
Oh, he did mention that he’s ok, and that it’s supposed to get down to 15 overnight with some snow in the coming days. brrr He’s been sleeping in his tent with his sleeping bag, liner, coat and hat on, and he says that’s good.
All seems to be OK. Started hike at 8:24 from Gooch Mountain Shelter, and ended at 4:46 for the day at the Woods Hole Shelter for a total of 12 more miles. This brings the total for the hike to 28 miles with 2158 miles to go! Ted should be stopping today at the Walasi-Yi Center today to pick up his first re-supply box. I checked and his box has been delivered I also left him a message there to say that I’m getting all his messages, and that he should keep texting. Hope he gets it!
There seem to be some technical difficulties with the Satellite for text messaging, But I am getting his pre-recorded messages for starting and stopping, and I can see him on the map. Ted did start his 2nd day from the Hawk Mountain Shelter at 8:26, and he arrived at the Gooch Mountain Shelter and logged in saying he was finished for the day at 5:15 p.m. 8 miles for the day. He should head to the Woods Hole Shelter today. I have another box to send him with supplies. It will include a phone!
Started the hike up Springer Mt. at 9:30, and offically started the AT hike at 10:15. Made it to the Hawk Mt shelter just as it started to rain. When I started down, I met a woman through hiker who was just going up Jersey Jane!
After flight cancellations on Saturday and Sunday, finally flew to Atlanta through New York this morning and then took a commuter train to northwest Georgia.
Willie from the Hiker Hostel picked me up at the train station and drove me an hour to the hostel, where I’ll stay tonight.
After breakfast in the morning, they’ll drive me to the parking lot a mile below the summit of Springer Mountain. I’ll hike a mile to the top, sign in at the Appalachian Trail marker, and then begin the 2,000-plus mile journey.
I’m planning to do 8 miles the first day, finishing at the Hawk Mountain Shelter.
It’s raining here now, but it’s supposed to clear for tomorrow. Temperatures in the 50s.