Saturday, July 30, 2011

"Welcome Back" Said the Trail

So as some of you may know, I stopped hiking a week ago Tuesday due to an infection on my ankle that became quite serious. Unfortunately, Jetpack and I had to split up last Thursday because I didn't know if I would be able to get back on or not. Well, here I am, back in VT after quite the welcome. I enjoyed a lovely ride up with my mom and lunch at the Inn at Long Trail, only to be welcomed afterwards with high humidity, limited water sources, one of the steeper climbs I can remember, and then extreme downpours. Typical. I am writing this from my air mattress in a run-roof shelter however, where I am thoroughly enjoying the rain from here and couldn't be happier to be back!

Happy Trails,
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mail Drops

Hey everyone, just a quick post for our next mail drop locations. Thank you to Gram and Peter for the mail magic in Hanover it is greatly appreciated!
 Our next one will be at Pinkham Notch, NH, they only accept UPS mail there. This address is:

Kaitlin Allen/Dan Roach
AMC Visitor Center
c/o Front Desk
NH 16
Gorham, NH 03581
Please hold for AT thru hiker, ETA 7/30

Kaitlin Allen/Dan Roach
C/O White Birches Camping Park
218 US 2
Shelburne, NH 03581
 Please hold for AT thru hiker, ETA 8/1

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

We're in Vermont!

Well believe it or not, we're in Vermont! We hiked into Bennington at mile 1,603.3 yesterday and met my dad who stayed with us in town. Time is absolutely flying by, it really seems like we were just leaving Virginia. I'm ready for it to slow down again.  The last stretch has been nice. I was pleasantly surprised by New Jersey and New York.  Both states offered some great views and great hiking. Before the trail, I barely knew New Jersey even had trees let alone anything green in their state.   I couldn't have been more wrong and the state proved to be beautiful.  This was one of my favorite spots, a mile long board walk through the marsh like area.

Connecticut was steeper than I had expected, but the trail went through a beautiful part of the state.  We were psyched to be reaching Massachusetts last week and couldn't have been greeted by a more beautiful part of the state.  The first thing we came to in MA was Sage's Ravine, a beautiful spruce forest and ravine with waterfalls and pools that beckoned us for a swim.  It was a great start to MA and the next morning as we climbed  our first mountain we came upon this view:

We hit Mount Greylock a few days ago, the highest point in MA at nearly 3,500 feet. It was so nice to be back in higher elevation, Virginia was the last time we were over 3,000 feet.  We were greeted by spruce forests and wonderful views at the top.  This is the memorial tower on top from which we had great views:

Two days ago we finally reached Vermont.  We have been talking about the last three states for what seems like weeks now because we've been so excited for them.  Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine are known for their beautiful forests, abundant lakes and streams and huge mountains with outstanding views.  I'm hoping time will somehow slow down for the next few weeks because it has suddenly been going by very fast and I really want to be able to enjoy what I feel will be the best part of the trail.
  We are currently sharing the AT with the Long Trail for the next 100 miles in Vermont. Near Killington, VT the AT turns east and the Long Trail continues north to Canada.
  So we're going to enjoy a little more time here in Bennington, then it's back to the trail this afternoon.
Thanks for reading and happy hiking!

Sweet Home New England

Well hello again followers! Here we are in the lovely town of Bennington, VT at mile 1,603.3 with only 577.7 left to go! Jetpack's Dad Keith has come to visit us so we have our computers again. We also got some AWESOME food in this town to replenish ourselves! A great little stop off of the trail!

So where we last left off we were about to cross the Hudson...

After the Hudson, the trail in NY got much easier, as well as brought us a much cushier lifestyle. As Gram Cracker correctly refers to NY as the 'deli state', we crossed road after road with delis within 0.5 mile of the trail! I'm pretty sure we didn't miss a single one! Plentiful sandwiched, homemade salads, cold drinks, coffee, snacks, and packing in bagels and cream cheese with us - what a glorious stretch of local gastronomy! So simple, yet so satisfying! To top it off, blackberries have been coming into ripeness and you can bet your friends Eats and Jetpack have been taking FULL advantage of those delicious little things!

So enough about food, well for a second anyway. We finished up New York with gorgeous weather and very enjoyable terrain. Crossing into CT was pretty surreal since I went to the University of Connecticut and because we were finally in New England!!! The first night we camped just 3.5 miles outside the town of Kent and strolled into town the next morning with the intention of just getting some breakfast and picking up one of our mail drops. Well if you haven't been to Kent, CT, it is a cute little town with some fantastic food options that we got sucked into. We ended up doing laundry and bumming around all day, picking at home made goodies my mom sent in our mail drop, and eating at just about every place in town. I was also pleasantly surprised with a lovely mail magic package from our long lost trail friend Lady Pants....some dehydrated beets (for those of you who don't know, I LOVE and miss beets) as well as some dehydrated strawberries - amazing. Well this day also brought some rain which washed away our motivation. At about 5pm we realized that we had been sucked into town, but with nowhere to stay under $120 per night....oops. We tried to look pathetic so that someone would let us camp at their house, but to no avail. Feeling defeated we knew the best solution for morale was to - yes, get more food. We headed to the local Pizza joint with our new friend Tin Man. We asked the owner of the shop if he knew anywhere in town that we could get away with camping. He told us we could use his clearing behind the shop if we were desperate, but that it was in rough shape. Apparently he doesn't know how us Thru Hikers roll. After an awesome meal, we set up shop by their dumpsters and stayed the night. We arose the next day, had, yes, more breakfast - I'm telling you the food in this town (J.P. Gifford's namely) is so so good! - and then finally got back onto the trail.

About 15 miles into our day (July 4!) we ran into a couple of families out for a hike with their children. They mentioned how much stuff we were carrying and we said that we were headed to Maine. They asked where we had started and of course we replied "Georgia". Upon hearing that we had come so far, the 4 adults and about 10 children responded with "OOhhhs" and "Ahhhs" and a round of applause for us. After a Q&A session we were on our way with quite the morale boost. CT was just as beautiful as I had imagined and the terrain a little bit harder - just some steep climbs and whatnot, but we see it as training for what lies ahead. Before crossing into the homestate, we crossed this lovely gem of a waterfall:

Later in the evening we crossed into Massachusetts, our home state!!! We took some time to bathe in the gorgeous Sage's Ravine where the water was cold but the scenery was amazing:

The next morning we woke up early to meet my Dad and came across some really awesome views of the early morning clouds beneath us with the mountains rising above them. I don't want to totally litter this post with pictures so make sure to check out the albums linked up at the top bar! So we met my dad a little ways into the day and hike 11 miles with him to a nice shelter. He even got some Trail Magic with us! Some nice cold drinks on a hot, hot day! The next morning the 3 of us hiked into Beartown State Park for a nice swim in the pond before we met my brothers. Of course we had a silly night of brews, grilling, and games. It was great to have the Roach men come out with us since they don't get into the wilderness much. I think everyone really enjoyed it, especially my dad since he got to go up into backcountry with us into the great outdoors!

The following night we stayed at an awesome cabin on Upper Goose Pond and met some really great hikers and got to hang out with some we had already known. The atmosphere was great and reminded us of the beginning days of the trail at hostels where you catch up with hikers you know and swap stories with ones you hadn't yet known. A great time! Again, make sure to check out the pictures! The next day we stopped by the 'Cookie Lady's' house who bakes cookies for passing thru hikers! Then Courtney, my little brother's girlfriend who lives in Pittsfield, picked us up for a great stay at her house complete with homemade cookies, rides around town, laundry, showers, a trip out to dinner, and our favorite downtime activity (besides eating) - watching a movie!!! She was an EXCELLENT hostess and dropped us at the trail the next morning. Thank you again Farrell family!!!!

That day we summitted Mt Graylock, the highest point in MA. The following day brought us into Vermont!! It is still so surreal to think that we are finally this far up, in a state adjacent to Canada, when we started walking in Georgia. Our first full day in VT seemed just right - we got a hitch into Bennington from Don, a local man who was finishing up fishing for the day. We made a quick detour to his house to drop off his trout. When he ran in, he offered us beers, so we of course took him up on the offer. He hopped back in the car with a Long Trail Ale for each of us (including himself). We cruised through the mountains and farms of VT with the windows down, listening to music from the 60s sipping cold brews and talking about the trail. He dropped us at our motel where we met Keith. And here we are, enjoying a great break from the trail, quality time with Keith, and some really awesome local food. Another restful stop - if resupplying, seeing the town, blogging, uploading pictures, etc is restful. Well at least my legs are a bit rested!

Well stay tuned as we will be able to blog again in Hanover, NH - probably mid next week (CRAZY!). I will try to keep up the short posts from the trail, but service has been spotty. I hope everyone following is enjoying summer, we are having a ball as usual. It is so hard to believe we are getting close to finishing, but there are still plenty of adventures to be had, so stay tuned!

Happy Trails!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Woah, wait. We're Where?

Ok sorry again for not posting in a while, combination of bad service when I have the time to blog and the usual craziness when I don't. We are currently in Pittsfield,MA staying at the Farrell residence. (Thank you!) But yes, CT is over and we are actually planning to cross into VT on Tuesday! That night we will have our computers again with Jetpack's dad so we will five a full rundown with pictures then. Stay tuned!
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Mail drops

Hello everyone!
 We wanted to quickly post our next few mail drop locations since we haven't done that in a while.
The first one is Killington, VT. They only accept Fed Ex or UPS, so do not send through US post office.

Kaitlin Allen & Dan Roach
C/O Inn at Long Trail
709 Route 4
Killington VT 5751

 Please hold for AT thru hikers ETA- July 15th

 Kaitlin Allen/ Dan Roach
C/O Hanover Outdoors
17 1/2 Lebanon St
Hanover, NH 03755

 Please hold for AT thru hikers- ETA July 19th