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A Gay Man's Appalachian Trail Journey (Summer 2002)

ONE: JUNE 9

I am back on the trail and in Kent,CT! After getting back to Virginia from our trip (Island Peak Expedition) I spent only 5 days before heading to PA to jump on the trail. So far I'm having a wonderful time and trying to get my hiking feet back! actually I think I have them now as yesterday I hiked 26 miles and was feeling pretty good.

It is a lot different hiking in the Summer than the Fall! After starting in Delaware Water Gap I've been hiking with a group of 5 thru-hikers and the evenings have been a lot of fun. I still enjoy hiking solo during the day though.

The bear are still staying away from me but I have been seeing many deer, snakes, and other wildlife. For the most part the weather has been a friend, but today and yesterday I must have done something to piss off mother-nature as she is letting me have it!

It is hard to believe I'll soon be in New England and back in the Whites again! WOW!

TWO: JUNE 26

Sorry I never got around to sending an from Hanover.  I guess I was just in too much of a hurry to hit the trail again. At the moment I am in N. Woodstock!  I can't believe I am back in my old stomping grounds!  Let me tell you that the Whites have started to slow me down (finally).

Up to this point I've been averaging 22 miles a day, or
thereabouts.  For the most part it has been good weather but there have been the rain showers to have fun with.  It seems that most of the rain comes at night or when I am in a town.  But the trails have been so MUDDY! 

I really enjoyed the Long trail but I've now re-named it the Long (MUDDY) Trail.  After leaving Conn. it seemed the hills slowly got larger and larger until they could be called mountains.  Yesterday I went up and over Moosilauke and it was just as bad as I remembered it to be. 

Tomorrow I'll be doing my favorite section, the Franconia Range! When I left from Delaware Water Gap, Pa I started hiking with other hikers.  Well, we still seem to be hanging pretty much together.  It is a totally different experience than last Fall!

I am planning on summiting Katahdin on July 23rd but if I need a few more days then so be it. It is hard to believe I have only 4 more weeks (the hardest ones!) left!  I've gotten back into the hiker mode and seem to think
this is how life is supposed to always be.

Anyway, I will send another as soon as I can and hopefully it will include a few more interesting tid-bits.

THREE: JULY 2

Hello from Gorham, New Hampshire (mile 1886.7)!

Yes, I'm a movin' along! After leaving N. Woodstock a day later than planned (at the last minute I decided to take a "zero" and not hike for that day) I hiked up to the Franconia Range with a bit of clouds and mist. When we got to the top I had wonderful views of fog from all sides, as well as nice blowing mist! It made for a wonderful day of hiking Franconia. I was so happy I had done this section before and knew how wonderful the views would have been.

Before too long the weather Gods were more friendly and the nasty stuff went away. By the time we got to Galehead Hut we had sun. We also hit the jackpot and were offered a bunch of left-over pancakes (Yum Yum!) before moving on to Zealand Falls Hut. We got lucky again and were able to "work for stay." After doing about 10 minutes of work we sat down and ate so much leftovers that I felt ready to give birth to an alien baby. After getting an early start we went on to Lakes of the Clouds Hut. It was a perfect day going along the Presidential Range!

Once at Lakes we passed on the "work for stay" offer and opted to sleep in the "the dungeon." The following morning we got up at 3:30 and started out for a sunrise on Mt. Washington. Man it was nice! Not only did we have a wonderful view of the sunrise and all the mountains we were also the only ones on the summit!! I then went on to Madison Hut and finished off their leftover pancakes (I think I gained 5 pounds going through the Whites!) and moved on to Pinkham Notch to hitch into Gorham.

Yesterday I slack-packed from Pinkham Notch to US 2, a wonderful 21 mile day! So, here I am in Gorham and ready to continue on through some of the toughest parts of the Trail. I've been told so many different things about this section but I'm just trying to savor every moment and every mile as I know this adventure will soon be over. It's hard to believe I have only about 281 miles to go! I am still planning on being on Katahdin on the 23rd but the summit date will change if needed. I hope all you outdoor enthusiasts are enjoying the Summer so far. It seems like there's more and more exciting things listed on Go web site!

FOUR: JULY 23

Well,.........I am happy (and sad) to announce that my Appalachian trail adventure has been completed! I summited Katahdin last Friday morning under beautiful blue skies!

Since my last from Gorham I was unable to find a computer to send current s on my progress, but all was going well. The stretch from Gorham to Straton was pretty tuff. After leaving Gorham with a 7 day supply of food I started to develop Tendonitis in my right leg. It caused some pain but did not slow me down much. You can imagine how happy I was to finally enter the 100 mile wilderness, which I think is misnamed as I passed many day hikers in some sections! But at least it was flat! The bugs were still VERY bad! I am sill recovering from bites!!

Climbing Katahdin was awesome!! What a wonderful mountain with beautiful views! I reached the summit with Prudence, a 19 y/o guy I'd been hiking with since PA. I hope to get my pictures back tomorrow!

Anyway, sorry this is such a short "" but I don't have my Wingfoot book with me to refresh my memory about interesting things that happened worth writing about. I still can't believe I actually hiked 2168 miles and that the hike is completed!!

If I had the time and money I would have turned around and headed back to Springer!!

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