Archive for May, 2008

So, I was wrong

May 30, 2008

Jen DID pack the cord for the camera, so pictures it is. Hard to believe that it is Friday, but this seems to happen when I’m on vacation. There will be a lot of pictures included, enjoy!


Last Traveler Update for 3 weeks

May 28, 2008

It’s official! Traveler has made it to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. This is a little over 1,000 miles complete. Not officially half-way, but a landmark nonetheless. I realized that I had named a previous post “Number 83” and failed to explain the significance of the title. When making it to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in Harper’s Ferry, each through-hiker is given a number, and Traveler is #83.

May 14, 2008 Rod Hollow Shelter to Bears Den Hostel (9.9 miles)
Today was planned as a short day so I could stay at a hostel which everyone reports enjoying. It’s in a large rock home and is run by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club by a couple who are former thru-hikers. For $25 you get a bunk, shower, laundry, pizza, soft drink, and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream! Good fellowship and relaxation!! Today I did most of a section of the trail known as “The Roller Coaster”. Its length is about 12 miles and has 10 significant climbs and descents. The streams remained high and everyone has wet shoes and socks. Tomorrow I plan to hike into Harpers Ferry, W. VA and will pass through the 1,000 mile point of my adventure during that hike.
May 15, 2008 Bears Den Hostel to Harpers Ferry, WV (20.5 miles)
I was on the trail early and completed the “Roller Coaster” in the first few miles. The trail in this area is very rocky and slows my speed, but that’s just a part of hiking the trail. The trees are now in full foliage, so the high views from the ridges are limited. I’ll go by the ATC (Appalachian Trail Conservancy) office tomorrow to register my thru-hike with them and have my picture made. I understand I will be assigned a number which will represent how many thru-hikers have made it this far in 2008. Elaine arrives tomorrow so I’ll be taking several zero days.


May 28, 2008

Currently in Cape San Blas, Florida on vacation with Jennifer’s family. We forgot to pack the cord for the camera, so we’ll post some pictures after we get back. Have had some beautiful weather so far and looks to be a great week. Avery jr. has been thoroughly enjoying the sand and water as anticipated. Would love to sit and chat, but I’m on vacation and the sun and sand are calling…

Travels of the Traveler

May 26, 2008

May 8, 2008 Bearfence Mtn. Hut to Skyland Resort (16.1 miles)
I wanted to hike to Big Meadows Lodge for breakfast! I arrived about 10am, just before they stopped serving breakfast. I ate a huge meal with the appetite of a hungry field hand. I then hiked another 8 miles to Skyland Resort where I’m staying tonight. Had a shower and a great dinner. I know I’ve lost weight, but don’t know how much. Elaine tells me I look like I did in high school except for the gray hair and wrinkles! My appetite is like that of a hungry 16 year old. I’m o.k. with hiker food on the trail, but when I get to a restaurant I’m a serious threat to anything put on my plate! If anyone wants to lose weight while eating anything they want, I’ve found the answer. Hit the AT!
May 9, 2008 Skyland Resort to Pass Mtn. Hut (10.7 miles)
Today was a miserable day for hiking. It was very foggy with frequent rain and a chilly wind blowing. To make it worse I left a motel room with a restaurant and lounge! I started about 9:30am and reached the shelter about 2:30pm. I’m glad to be in a dry shelter because more rain is predicted for tonight. My cell phone has not reception here, but a nice section hiker let me use her phone to call Elaine. Hope the rain ends tonight.
May 10, 2008 Pass Mtn. Hut to Gravel Spring Hut (13.1 miles)
Today was much like yesterday, foggy with intermittent rain and a chilly wind. I didn’t try to hike further because of the rain. Tomorrow I’ll hike to US 522 and hitchhike into Front Royal, VA to re-supply. I’m in shelter tonight with Thud and his dog Max (below), Bog Foot and a young couple, Budge and Pocket Change. I’m on schedule now to meet Elaine in Harpers Ferry, W.VA.

May 11, 2008 Gravel Spring Hut to US 552, near Front Royal, VA (13.4 miles)
It was colder this morning with a chilly wind. The rain held off until I had completed the hike. I’m comfortable now in a Quality Inn in Front Royal. A check of “The Weather Channel” indicates rain with a high of 48 degrees tomorrow. I’m thinking of taking a zero day tomorrow to avoid the cold rain. The last 4 days have been chilly and rainy. This not only makes hiking more difficult, but you also wake up to damp cold hiking clothes. It wears on you after a few days. I’m really looking forward to seeing Elaine in Harpers Ferry, W. VA, this Friday.
May 12, 2008 Front Royal, VA (zero miles)
It’s cold, windy, and raining all day today. I’m glad to be warm and dry in my motel room instead of fighting the weather on the trail. I made phone calls to friends and family. It’s nice to be able to visit by phone.
May 13, 2008 US 552 at Chester Gap to Rod Hollow Shelter (23.5 miles)
The weather was great today, blue sky and high 60’s. Unfortunately, the recent rains turned the trail into a stream in many places. My shoes and socks were soaked early and often. Today’s point of interest was a rock wall which marked a boundary surveyed by George Washington when he was a young man.

He’s still hiking

May 24, 2008

For those that might need a refresher, I’m posting the e-mail updates I’m receiving from a friend who’s hiking the Appalachian Trail. He goes by the trail name Traveler.

May 3, 2008 The Priest Shelter to Maupin Field Shelter (13.6 miles)
Today was a day of hard hiking beginning with a steep descent of The Priest Mountain and then a long hard steep ascent of “The Three Ridges” which is the last mountain above 4000 feet I’ll see until the White Mountains in N.H. I’m in the shelter tonight with Hard Bound(below), who is a physician’s assistant from Roanoke, VA. Also, Mark and his two kids (5 and 9) who are just out for the week-end.

May 4, 2008 Maupin Field Shelter to Rockfish Gap (20.8 miles)
I started early today in order to reach Waynesboro. I did some quick shopping and had a steak dinner. Nothing builds an appetite like walking over mountains with a heavy pack! Today’s hike was notable for the rocky, rocky trail we covered. Made photos of a large black snake on the trail and some beautiful wild azaleas. I hiked most of the day with Hard Bound who is going to leave the trail for a few days later this week. Tomorrow I’ll enter the Shenandoah National Park where the AT runs for about 110 miles.

May 5, 2008 Rockfish Gap to Blackrock Hut (20.0 miles)
I had an early breakfast at the Quality Inn and hit the trail. The trail seems wider and a little smoother in the Shenandoah so far. No fabulous views today, but I’m very near Skyline Drive. Lots of hikers in and around the shelter tonight.
May 6, 2008 Blackrock Hut to Hightop Hut (21.4 miles)
They call the shelters “huts” in the Shenandoah National Park. So far they have all had a water source, privy, bear cables for hanging food, and a dry place to sleep so I can’t complain. Tonight Hard Bound and I are sharing a hut with a group of college students from the University of Florida. They seem to be a good group of young people. I saw lots of deer today.

May 7, 2008 High Top Hut to Bearfence Mtn. Hut (12.4 miles)
I planned a short day today because I’ve just done 3 days of 20+ miles and my legs want to rest a little. Had a quiet afternoon. About 5:00pm a Ridge Runner came in. He’s staying the night and could pass for the twin of my old friend Steve Golder. I got a photo to prove it! Tomorrow I plan to hike on to a motel for a shower and a couple of meals.

It’s late and I’m up

May 23, 2008

Jen and I have begun to go through all our stuff and weed out the junk that we don’t want to pack. I have quite a few books and have been contemplating what to do with them. I was talking to a colleague and friend Sara Rippel in clinic today when inspiration hit. She is in an identical situation as she is moving to Nashville to start a fellowship (Pediatric GI). She has many books as well that are becoming progressively useless. She has been listing them on with a few positive results. She can do it, why not me?

So, logged on and posted a couple of books. Low and behold, not 5 hours later I’ve sold my first book. How in depth do I really need to know EKGs anyway? So $22 later, that’ll be one less book to pack and approximately 5.5 gallons of regular unleaded in the tank. Jen’s giving me strange looks as I scour the house, looking for things to sell.

As I was looking through old pictures, I found some of me as a youngster. I want to post 2 to compare myself with the junior size Avery. Let me know what you think.

More Traveler Updates

May 22, 2008

April 30, 2008 Matt’s Creek Shelter to Punchbowl Shelter (12.7 miles)
It was a cold morning, but warmed nicely by noon. The day began with a beautiful walk by Matt’s Creek and the James River which is well known to those interested in the Civil War. I crossed the river on a foot bridge and climbed almost 3000 feet up and over Bluff Mountain. Spring is coming to Virginia. Except for those on the high ridges, the trees are beginning to bud. Lots of dogwood and wild azaleas are adding color to my day! Tonight I’m in a shelter which has a small, but pretty pond nearby (below). I’m here with Mike, a thru-hiker from N.J. who went to Colby College in Waterville, Maine. I hope to get an early start tomorrow. I plan to hike about 12 miles to a road (US60) and hitch into Buena Vista, VA, for re-supply and a good shower and meal.

May 1, 2008 Punchbowl Shelter to VS 60 (outside Buena Vista , VA) (11.3 miles)
I had a short day today. The last 4 miles went by a beautiful creek (Brown Mtn. Creek) with lots of shoals and small waterfalls. There was little traffic on US 60, but an older man in a pick-up truck gave me a ride (10 miles) into Buena Vista. After checking into a hiker motel (Budget Inn), I walked about 1 ½ miles to a Food Lion to re-supply and then walked back with my supplies. I’ve now showered, washed my clothes, and eaten so am feeling much better! Hiking the AT and hitchhiking when necessary will really make you appreciate how privileged our lives are. Please continue to pray for my health, safety, strength, and perseverance. Back on the AT tomorrow.
May 2, 2008 US 60 near Buena Vista, VA to the Priest Shelter (20.9 miles)
It was a nice warm sunny day for hiking. The day began with a long climb up Bald Knob and Cold Mountain. At about the summit I saw a familiar face hiking toward me. It was my old friend Virginia Slim (below), who had stopped his thru-hike and was just out for the week-end.

We had a nice visit before hiking on. Later on I photographed a rabbit who sat quietly for me while I took his picture several times. He seemed almost unafraid. I ran out of water about 4-5 miles from the shelter. Unfortunately no streams or springs were found until I reached the shelter where there is a flowing spring. What a relief! No other hikers are here now so I’m going to read a while before going to sleep.

Number 83

May 21, 2008

April 27, 2008 Harvey’s Knob overlook to Bryant Ridge Shelter (15.7 miles)
The day was overcast, but no rain yet. No spectacular views today. I met “Foot Machine” and his wife Mary at a road crossing. He’s trying to complete a southbound thru-hike which was interrupted last year and had to leave the trail a few days ago for some dental work. They gave me a Dr. Pepper and a peanut butter sandwich! I stopped early today because of expected thunderstorms and the fact that the next five miles are a steep climb. I switched from my high top shoes to low cut ones. They are lighter by ½ pound per shoe and are well broken in, but I found a blister on my right heel tonight. I’ll have to take care of that. I’m in shelter tonight with 2 section hikers, Dead Weight and Rain King, and a young couple who are thru-hiking, Snidely Whiplash and Apple Core.
April 28, 2008 Bryant Ridge Shelter (0 miles)
It rained all night last night. I woke just before dawn and started getting ready to hike, but the rain started again. I went back to sleep until 9am and the rain continued. No one left the shelter until 11am when a few headed out. With the rain continuing until 3pm, I decided to take a zero day. A few folks hiked in wet and cold. Hope tomorrow will bring dry weather.
April 29, 2008 Bryant Ridge Shelter to Matt’s Creek Shelter (22.7 miles)
I was up early and on the trail after a zero day yesterday. The rain stopped, the sky cleared, and a cold north wind was blowing. It was COLD on the mountain top. Today’s special sight was “The Guillotine,” a huge boulder which was balanced on the A.T. (photo below). Everyone hesitates before passing under it.

I’m in a shelter tonight with 6 other thru-hikers. There was no space left when I arrived, but they made a place for me! What nice folks! Their names are Snidely Whiplash, Apple Core, Hike Farmer, Kirby, Hard Bound, and Cookie. I made pictures (below) to remind me of their kindness.

No cell phone reception here. Will try again tomorrow.

New Demographics

May 20, 2008

A friend of mine, Jason Caldwell introduced me to this topic, so I’ll give the guy some credit. When looking at the phases of my life, demographics make about as much sense as anything else out there. Since I’ve been in Tampa, I’ve gone from married, no kids to married, one kid, then married 2 kids. Today marks another shift in the MixonItUp world as I am now married, 2 kids, homeowner. We closed on the house (281 Ivywood Drive Nashville). We’re very excited and plan on having you all over at some point, house-warming gifts are a requirement (FYI). We have hundreds of plans for sprucing it up and about $10 to use. Will toss some new pictures soon, but keep in mind that “soon” is a very vague term.

If you’re especially good at decorating or handy with home repair stuff (seriously, sanding cabinets for Habitat for Humanity doesn’t count) we really want you to come. We’re thinking of painting the brick a white color, if you have any opinions or ideas, here’s your opportunity to share.

New Shoes

May 18, 2008

Went to the mall yesterday and got some new shoes. This was long overdue. I last purchased a pair of athletic shoes prior to moving to Tampa if you get the drift. Jen’s had hers almost as long. Just breaking them in and hoping to get out on the trail tomorrow if the weather cooperates. Avery couldn’t resist trying them on. He’s going to need some new shoes of his own before too long, his nickname should be Kudzu.