earthtrekblog

Adventures of Life


1 Comment

How my dog survived a thru hike with me: Keeping them healthy

I’ve been off the trail for over a year now and nothing I do connects me to the trail more than sharing my experiences with others.
I just spent a weekend in Damascus VA celebrating Trail Days with past, present, and future hikers and the one thing which caught my attention was the number of dogs on trail this year.  Some of them seemed happy and enthusiastic about this endeavor, others not so much, I saw dogs who were lame, and others who were going through emotional struggles.  The trail is not for every dog, it is a place of uncertainty with constantly changing rules and boundaries.  I had been working on this post but realized just how important it was to get it out there.
Here’s some stuff to think about when considering a thru hike with a dog!
Follow me!!!

20150907_140419CE

Looking north from Saddleback Mountain outside of Rangely ME

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Bookie’s Dirty Dozen on trail etiquette

My next blog is up!  Hope you are all enjoying this journey with me!

image

http://appalachiantrials.com/bookies-dirty-dozen-on-trail-etiquette/


5 Comments

Hiker life

In the hiker world there is a lingo you quickly learn.

“Hiker midnight”
Anytime after 8pm or the sun has set.
image

“Hiker appetite”
The ability to consume huge amounts of food without effort.
The odd combination of foods which you’d not normally consider combining, peanut butter and tuna.

“Hiker fashion”
Either trail clothing which you wear for a week at a time or the random attire you put on for town days while washing your trail clothes.
image

There is also a point where hikers discover a whole new type of challenge, not the day to day drone back in society

What do you do when the “facili-trees” are bare of leaves and you need to go to the bathroom?
image

The moment when you become aware you have a clear view of the crew making dinner in the shelter when you’re seated on the privy.
image

Your feet get more attention than your hair
image

You discover you were photo bombed, not by your friends, but by bugs
image

When the weather gets wet your dog gets the rain coat
image


2 Comments

Lessons learned on the trail

The first week on the trail seems so surreal.  I have done so much and yet, already, each day is blending into the next.

image

The names of mountains bounce around in my head, Big Cedar, Hawk, Blood Mountain, Springer, Powell, Kelly Knob. They’re are already too many for me to count.

I have gained my trail name, Bookie!

image

The people are amazing; Ghost, Moonlight, Rhythm, Rikki Tikki, Ambush, Arrow, Possum, Twig, and so many more!

image

There is something to be said for what you will eat on the trail.  I have developed a trail appetite and creativity gains you points. Most common breakfast is oatmeal with carnation instant breakfast mixed in, this one thing has so much potential for adaptation!

image

Gluten free wrap with peanut butter and Hershey bar!

Blisters,  I know blisters,  at least that is what I thought.  But on day two, when between my toes was burning, I was perplexed.  I had heard nothing of blisters between toes.  I settled into my tent and looked at the situation, they seemed just little bubbles of annoyance,  things that should go away. Go away they did.   With needle and thread I punctured my blisters, leaving the thread in overnight allowing them to drain and settle.

image

Blister threading

This worked for one of them, the other two were more of a chronic issue,  one where alternative options were needed.  Toe socks it was! 

image

 
When you’re too cold to function take care of your own basic needs.  After a long day of hiking through rain and mist our arrival at the shelter was bleak as every other hiker on the trail in the surrounding 5 miles was there.  I struggled to get fine motor function going,  after trying to warm myself with hot food and good company I retreated to my tent to shiver through the beginning stages of hyperthermia where I dried off and regained the wonders of normal body functions.

image

First week in photos

image

image

image

image

image

Natural rain shelter

image

Blue Mountain Shelter sunrise

image

Trail magic


9 Comments

Let the trail begin!

 

image

Every step taken brings me further from society and into the wilderness.  I am here.  There is so much to be said and no way to say it.  The trail is nothing like I expected and everything I’d dreamed of.  Within the first mile I was a fish out of water, gasping to fill my oxygen deprived lungs with air. Slow and steady got me up the mountain and on with my journey.

image

Bear bags hung in morning mist on Springer Mountain

image

A good day of hiking leaves a tired puppy

I met amazing people within hours of getting on trail.  An older gentleman and I  got to talking while hiking down Springer Mt, it turns out he went through high school in Portsmouth, NH, with my uncles. I came all the way to GA to meet someone who grew up with my family.
I’ve seen remarkable people leave within days. The first two were a wonderful couple from CT,  personal health and the reality of the physical strain the trail puts on your body ended their journey on day two.  Another three left on day three, all for the same reasons.  Day five brought news that Ranger, a 74 year old had also decided to call it after pushing through some rugged terrain.

image

Ranger hiking on a misty morning

Star has taken to the trail like it’s where she was born.  Every morning she waits by the trailhead while I pack my bag.  Her love for the mountains is clear,  she can’t wait to know what lies around the next corner or over the next peak.  She has also developed the “hiker appetite” and she will eat everything!  Loves her meal topper of Thrive from The Honest Kitchen.

I have found beauty in the mountains that surround me.

image

Forest mist


Leave a comment

Drunk on sleep deprivation

There is a point in time where your body hits a state of drunken euphoria, when you are trying to function off a couple hours of sleep a night. I was at this point. Walking up stairs was safer at a crawl, I had a false sense of happiness which can only be attributed to my body working as hard as possible to keep me functioning on some same level. If you tell yourself enough times everything is in order it still won’t be.
image

I have been wrapped in a whirlwind of adventure over the past couple of weeks. I made it up another 4000 footer in the New Hampshire White mountains. Mt. Osceola was a fun hike which challenged me physically. The Rocky terrain kept me on high alert as I climbed, stepped, and scrambled my way up. In some ways I was thankful the trail held few distractions, there was no reason for me to stop and pull out my camera, the trail was bare of flowers, moss, or other macro opportunities.

image

Summit view from Mt. Osceola

This was an exciting day for Star, since she’d been left behind on my last hike. I even borrowed her boyfriend for the day and Tamarack was along for the adventure. The day became a training day for Star, it was all about trail manners, these included but not limited to, giving way on the trail, ignoring other dogs, not begging from other hikers, and learning to pose. The posing became a very serious situation both for Star and Tamarack. I don’t know if it is the fact that both dogs are absolutely adorable or if it is the dog packs they wear.

image

Pup-arazzi

image

Never can get them to both look at me

My days streamed one into another. Work was a constant reminder to the day of the week and the dwindling time before my trip.
Thursday came and it was time to hit the road. Hopped a bus to Boston where I met up with my travel companion, picked up the rental car and we were off. Two drivers one car and almost a thousand miles between us and our destination. Twenty hours later, meals on the road, string cheese wrapped in turkey, and too many “no public bathrooms” I was happy to find our motel.
The next days were full of friends and celebrations as I watched two good friends give their vows to each other. The wedding day was one of a kind. Running around Myrtle Beach looking for a white shirt for the groom, or ending the night with the bride tip toeing into the pool dress and all!
I can’t even start to describe the whirlwind of my trip so here are some pictures from the day.

image

Sealing the deal

image

Palm fronds

image

image

image

image

image

With another twenty hours on the road I land with my feet back in NH. I have less than twenty four hours to repack my bag and hop a plane to CA where I will see the red woods, revel in the beauty of the world and take time to reconnect with me.
I will do my best to post semi regularly with high quality photos from my phone.


Leave a comment

Sea Legs atop a Mountain

I stood staring out across the expanse of color which covered the mountains before me. As I drew air into my body I reveled in the accomplishment upon which I stood. Each breath cleansing my body of all the pain, frustration, and disappointment of the past year.

The first glimpse of the colors to come!

The first glimpse of the colors to come!

On this day it was the air which had me totally immersed in the season. The smell of fallen leaves permeated the air making each breath a reminder of how precious life is.
It was a hike day. Not just any hike but the first hike since I had been sent back to PT and informed my leg was weak and I was on limited activity.

View from the East Ledges

View from the East Ledges

I Packed my bag, including only what I NEEDED, which naturally meant my camera, 2 lenses, and extension tubes. There was no way I was going to miss out on photo opportunities during the fall.

This was just a small hike, elevation gain of 1450′ and 4.8 miles to be exact.

The hike up was littered with little items of beauty. I paused along the way snapping pictures of interesting things, many of which were taken with my iPhone.

Autumn colors lit from behind

Autumn colors lit from behind

When we reached the East Ledges we settled in for a quick lunch and some photo opportunities. The iPhone went away and the real camera came out.

Meeting the wildlife

Meeting the wildlife

Attempted to catch and eat this beautiful creature

Attempted to catch and eat this beautiful creature

It might take a moment but she really does love being held in my lap.

It might take a moment but she really does love being held in my lap.

We continued on our way enjoying the views as we worked our way around to the summit. Upon the Summit I settled in and braced my knee up. As we started down the wobble of my legs became apparent and I was thankful for my forethought!

A beautiful hike down with the light fading and the colors becoming more vibrant as the harsh light of midday ebbed.

Trillium remnants

Trillium remnants

This beauty sat just off the side of the trail.  Happy to have seen it!

This beauty sat just off the side of the trail. Happy to have seen it!

Last view headed off the mountain

Last view headed off the mountain

There will be more!!!

This is just the beginning - Photo courtesy of Mikaela Ritter

This is just the beginning – Photo courtesy of Mikaela Ritter