Thursday, January 31, 2013

A night in

Life is really good! Lots of stories. For now, about to eat with Sourdough, local trail volunteers, and the famous Marty D.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A zero day in the storm

The storm today was not nearly as bad in our section of Georgia as it was elsewhere, but it was a good day off. I read a few books and got a good start on A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin.

Thanks for all the concern and tips from everyone! We are more than ready to hike tomorrow. . .

Bad weather

We are under a severe thunderstorm warning, a flood warning, a tornado watch, and a wind advisory. I think we're gonna just hang out here behind the old abandoned store today. . .

Tomorrow we should make it to Cloudland Canyon.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hwy 157

This morning it was hard to get up off the most comfy tent site ever (we had a mattress!). We hit the road and made about 3 miles per hour for awhile, until the road went straight up for 3 miles with almost no shoulder but plenty of traffic. yikes!

Overall, I am impressed with how safe and scenic the Georgia roadwalks have been. Highway 157 is beautiful and will be our home for quite some time.

A state ranger chatted with us this evening and warned us of some bad weather. He recommended that we hole up behind an abandoned store. We have a roof and are snug, waiting for the storm. If it is too bad we may have to stay here tomorrow. But we feel pretty safe. Bart has been perfecting his Russian accent all day so clearly the sanity is long gone, but at least we are safe.

Not enough cell reception to call out tonight. We did about 16 miles.


But always look for the bright spots along the way!
HillBillyBartLunch spot!


Road walks are not always fun!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Georgia magic

What an unexpected day!

We awoke with the dream of another 20-mile day. A few miles into the day, my ankle voiced its extreme displeasure with that plan. We hiked 10 miles to Lyerly and 4 miles down the road my ankle was sending me a message that cannot be repeated in a public forum. I sat down in the grass, in pain and stressed about where we could spent the night. (roadwalks are tricky)

Then like magic Ramar showed up, who invited us to stay in his yard. He brought me an epsom salt bath and kept us company. Then Angie came home and she cooked us huge hamburgers! It was an absolutely magical evening with them and their stories. We have so much new brain candy floating around in our heads. Thank you for being our trail angels!

Thanks to extra rest and care, my ankle is much better and I am cautiously optimistic that we can make it to Chattanooga on Friday. We did 14.5 miles today.

Thank you Ramar and Angie (and Dixie Dog)!


GET-Great Eastern Thinker

Roadwalk view

HillBillyBart- just admiring the mountain of coal!

Urban excursion

Jo has been tired of the woodsy outdoor vista scenic hike so far so I took her some place different. I call it "The Ultimate Urban Excursion !" you will see 4-5-6 no 8 lane high speed traffic, trains, sewer plants, paper mills, all ethnic groups of worldly foods and finally the coal powered electrical plant. So book today the sprawl and mall maybe gone tomorrow!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

20 miles

Today was our first 20-miler and I am going to bed. :)

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Yesterday at about 1:00 we left Alabama and arrived at our second state! We loved our time in Alabama and it was bittersweet leaving such a beautiful and hospitable state, but it feels great to be on state #2!

This morning we were in Cave Spring by 9:30 and enjoyed a day of rest and recuperation. We have about 100 miles to Chattanooga!

Thank you Alabama Pinhoti Trail volunteers and trail angels!


It's confirmed- Jo is jealous of Katniss! I caught her pinching the head off her animated figure in the tent last night.

Cave Spring GA

We got some food.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Home for the night

We sure know how to move into a place.

Farewell Alabama

Our last night in Alabama... Fitting that we should run into Blister Bob on the trail today! Happy birthday! Now we are enjoying the sunset - this picture does not capture the fluorescent pinks, oranges, and purples. A beautiful farewell!

Break time

This is what I'm doing right now. I deserve a hammock break no shower for 8 days I smell like rank cake!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Shelter time!

Jos favorite spot after a long enjoyable hiking day! Reading kids books and trail snackin! 

Dugger Mtn

We are alive! Having lunch on Dugger Mountain in the sunshine. We have had no cell service the last few days and may not have it tonight either. We expect to arrive on Cave Spring, GA early Saturday morning.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


My alien dinner!



Sunset red

We were fortunate to be in a stand of pines today at sunset. The dead fallen needles are resurrected to life by the westward falling sun. They produced a somber orange amber that transitioned to burnt red. Giving life to a woodland fire that didn't exist.

Lunch with German Tourist

What do smart men do when two intelligent women are speaking? Shut up- listen- learn and take pictures! Great lunch with German Tourist- so many adventures- interesting lady.


Another long but very successful day. We went about 13 trail-miles but did an additional 3 or 4 into Heflin to resupply. A huge thank you to Wayne of Becwayne's Grocery, our trail angel who gave us a ride back to the trail! You saved us a couple hours of roadwalking that we were able to spend in the woods. Thanks!

Bart has some cool pictures I think he will post tonight. He gets extra credit today for putting up with me when I was being a butt. Thanks Bart!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A beautiful day to hike

Today was our best and longest day. We would have hit 20 miles this afternoon but we ran into German Tourist and spent a long lunch break discussing adventure past, present, and hypothetical. It was really nice to meet her!

We went 17 miles today through canyons and by waterfalls. The weather is glorious - cool but not cold, breezy but not windy, sunny but not hot. Ideal.

We are camped under some giant loblollies. Coyotes were going crazy a few minutes ago and the owls are singing too. Best day I could wish for.

tomorrow: resupply in Heflin! in & out.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Wet, but . . .

This is my look so far on our hike-WET!Everyday it has rained on us. Why am I still happy?


Sunset in Alabama!

Top of the state


Today is beautiful! We decided to let the world dry out a little today. My feet look rather like ground hamburger, so it was the perfect day to soak up this awesome state park.

The difference between today and 24 hours ago is dramatic. Sunshine and melting snow on this zero day gave me and Hillbilly Bart the chance to do something wild and crazy: we went for a walk! Imagine that.

We bopped up to the top of Cheaha. It is so beautiful! We are looking forward to making big miles from here to Georgia.

Thanks Kent and Angel for the tip regarding Hillabee - we will find a way around the creek.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Jan 17 update

We started the day wet. It rained all night and the tent was moderately dry inside and soaked on the outside. It was cool but not cold. We had no idea what was coming.

We were camped at Patterson Gap and from there the terrain was easy but wet. The rain came harder and colder, and by the time we made our climb to the ridge, we were dealing with sleet and lots of it.

The next 10 miles or so are a blur for me. It was colder and wetter than any other hiking I've done. Snow was a welcomed change at first, til it covered the trail. The wind whipped it into us and it felt like a million needles. My face and hands got frostnippy. Bart kept me sane.

We managed to take 2 wrong turns because the snow hid the blazes perfectly. Both were downhill. Awesome...

We got to Cheaha State Park and got a room here. We have two heaters, I had a bath, and we ate a 1/2 lb cheeseburger with fries, cheesy potato soup, and hot chocolate. Our stuff is drying out and we have thawed out.

Happy to be here!


Hi all! We have been in a dead cell zone the past couple of days, but we are alive and well.

Two days ago, after a night of pouring intense rain, we hiked a few miles on the trail and from there roadwalked to my friend Maggie's cabin, which she let us crash for a couple of nights. What a beautiful spot, and we had such a relaxing time. This hiking business is tough, you know! Thank you Maggie!

Today we got an early start thanks to Lynn, who drove us back to the trail. Thank you so much!

The rain held off for awhile, then it let loose. Good things about rain:
-makes the moss and lichen even more green
-creates waterfalls that weren't there before
-gives the woods a cloudy, magical look
-keeps us cool... I am so grateful for this cooler weather.
-makes sunny days sunnier

Tomorrow we should hit the highest point in Alabama! Cheaha here we come!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Maggie the cabin was easy to enjoy but hard to leave! That was so generous and unexpected I hope to see you one day to give you a hug! Lynn the ride to the trailhead this morning was more of a morale boost than you can imagine!
Thanks so much-HillBillyBart

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Day 4

Today was some of my favorite weather: ominous. The whole day I felt as if a storm was 20 minutes away. Each mile we did before the rain felt like a gift. And as it turned out, the storm never hit. I really hope it does; I am not made for this heat + humidity combo.

Today was our longest day, but it was also the day we felt the best. I don't know how far we went. Far enough.

In other news, we are taking a short day tomorrow because my friend Maggie is letting us crash her cabin tomorrow night. The world will be a better-smelling place overall once I have showered. It was easy to go a bit farther today knowing that we have tomorrow to look forward to.

We are really impressed with the Pinhoti! Awesome trail maintenance, y'all!

update: oh, I think the storm is here. Woohoo!

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Nothing spectacular about today. Good views- just tired and pack way too heavy. We are going two days with no way of resupplying water so must carry it all. No hot food tonight. I had several great ideas today-every time I decided to sit down and take off my pack!
In all seriousness great thinks to Blister Bob for our cache of much welcomed water at Bull Gap! It needs refilled.

Day 3

Today we slept in and had a beautiful hike on Rebecca Mountain. Thank you Blister Bob for the water drops! We suspect you are the man behind the White Gap drop as well. Both were much-needed.
For those of you reading this from the frigid north, Bart and I are hiking in temperatures of 60+ and high humidity. Rumor has it that we may be in for a change soon.
We're getting up early, so it is bedtime.
We hiked around 11.5 miles today, but it felt like more. Ahh, day 3.

Friday, January 11, 2013


From Bart:   This evening I cooked, for the first time, on the homemade can stove I made at Brad and Senethas house. Perfect! Mushroom flavored rice never tasted so good.

Day 2

Thank you to Kent and Angel for a wonderful night of delicious food, good conversation, and relaxation! And special thanks to Donut Eater, AKA Sydney, the youngest trail angel I ever met! It was a beautiful welcome to the Pinhoti, and we so appreciate all you did for us. PS. The cake you sent with us made a great lunch!

Day 2 greeted us with rain, but happily it was sporadic and when it did pour, it ended soon enough. We had a quick journey on some backroads to the trail. Our feet (well, mostly mine) are not in great shape, so we took most of the afternoon off at a nice stealth spot near water. The next 24 miles-ish are very dry, so we feel grateful to be by this water. We only went about 11 miles, but we want to take care of ourselves so my feet won't explode.

Bart went downhill to get about 6 liters of water this afternoon while I nursed my feet. What a nice guy.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thanks for sharing

Jo was kind enough to mention all the excitement and trail help on our first day but failed to mention the thing that has us both belly laughing in our tent.

After our wonderful meal at Kent and Angels they offered us to stay and watch a doc which was hard to turn down because of their company and the plush reclining couch.

Jo excused herself to the bathroom and was gone ( I thought) a significant amount of time. The bathroom is just to the left and I heard the door rattling and I was confused at first and when she returned her face was red and she was sweating. I asked no questions as i felt embarrassed of her absence. Later she told me she had locked herself in and the rattling was her trying to get out. I offered no help and we live another day on the trail.

Day 1

Bart and I are resting in Alabama after a truly humbling first day. We have received so much support and kindness in the last 24 hours that we feel spoiled (and very well-fed!). From the hospitality and hundreds of miles driven by Brad and Senetha for our hike, to meeting up with Mother Nature's Son and Blister Bob. . . wow! We had a great first mountain despite persistent fog! This picture, if my technology works, is of those two rockin' trail angels. Thank you for the shuttle, hike, guidance, company, water drop, and cookies! Our lunch break at Weogufka 2nd Baptist Church brought us an offer of showers and shelter, but we had plans to go about 7 more miles for a total of 13ish. We were adopted by Mama Dog for a mile but we think she was just escorting us through Weogufka. Part II of Trail Angel Day 1 coming soon.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Long-distance ups and downs

There are fun things about backpacking long distances and there are hard things - just like dayhiking, except bigger.  Anyone who has been on a dayhike and climbed over a fallen tree knows that it can be a bit annoying.  But that pain is much, much bigger when you're hiking with a big pack on your back, you're 10 miles into a 15-mile day, and all you've eaten for the last three days has been stale bagels.

Sometimes while backpacking, you come across sections like this.   Should you go over or under or around?  Or call the whole thing off and wait for a teleportation device to be invented?
Or what about bocce ball?

 There are definitely days like this - days when I wonder why I didn't take up croquet instead, so I could sip lemonade and hang out with lawn gnomes all day long.  Croquet might have been a better option . . .

Fiskars guest-stars in this entry.
 But then there are glorious moments like this!  The joy of backpacking is that every day, no matter how few miles you go, you're still making your way to the finish line.  The only person you're racing is yourself.  Can you do a 20-mile day? What will you see?  When you wake up, you never know what the day will bring.

Sometimes the days bring snow.  Precipitation is challenging.  But even in pouring rain, the world is a beautiful place, although sometimes it's hard to remember that.  I don't look forward to encountering weather like this on the Great Eastern Trail, but when I look back on the Benton MacKaye Trail snow, I realize that these are some of my favorite memories.  Go figure.

I rest better on-trail than in "real life."
Not sleep better - rest better.
You learn to listen to your body.
You know when it's time to relax.
You become quieter inside.
I'm looking forward to that.

There is something tremendous about knowing where you are and how to get where you want to go.

But, hey, anyone wanna play croquet next summer?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Happy 2013!
Thank you to everyone who made 2012 so memorable.
Thank you to everyone whose love and support is making this hike a reality.
We are excited to hit the trail in a week or so.