Hey everyone, so we’ve actually made it into New England, even though we are bad bloggers and haven’t updated since the Mason-Dixon line. We’re trying to get caught up and we’re sorry that we haven’t been good at doing better updates. It’s crazy how busy you are on the trail and on a zero day we are so busy getting ready to keep hiking that it doesn’t seem like we have time to go sit in the library and relax.
HOPEFULLY in the next week or two we can post the Pre-Pennsylvania Rocks section, the Halfway Hangover, the Post-Pennsylvania Rocks section, the Slackpack Experiment Section plus a bunch of other short interest pieces.
At least we’re better at moving north than we are blogging!!
Much to our disappointment we had to make the good-parenting decision and send Hunter home from Maryland. He has been doing fine, the week sitting in the boat during the aqua-blaze really helped the cracks in his paws heal up, but the upcoming heat and rocks of Pennsylvania would still be enough to do him in. We’re pretty sure he would be okay, if he had to walk it, but the risk of him injuring himself is just too high for our liking. We had the opportunity to send him back to Maine for about 4 weeks with my parents and it was one we just couldn’t turn down. We’ll be picking him up again somewhere around the Massachusetts/Connecticut border, which will give him an 800 mile section and a 700 mile section – not bad by any standards! Once he gets back to the trail we’ll be sure to update the world on how he is doing with the New England mountains, especially with how silly he makes us humans look climbing through a boulder field!
To the outside world there is no difference between one stinky thru hiker and the next. You have to be some shade of a little bit crazy to want to hike 2,000+ miles in six months, and most strangers and laymen lump us all together as one group with a collective set of motivation, morals, backgrounds and methods. Lindsay and I believed that this would be the case with our Appalachian Trail experience and I even stated that one of my prime motivators for this trip was to be in nature with a group of like minded individuals. I thought that, besides the expected outliars, the people hiking the trail would be doing it for relatively the same reasons as us and we would spend the entire summer meeting interesting people and wanting to learn their stories while building a relationship with fellow strangers based on common interests. We thought that having a hiking partner for the day would be as easy as waking up and asking the stranger camped next to you where he intended to hike to today. Well… not so much.
In the previous post, Aqua-Blaze Part I, we left off in the middle of our grand Independence Day weekend adventure. We had rafts, a river to float down, more beer than we should’ve, burgers and hot dogs and a blissful ignorance to what we were getting ourselves into. It took us two days to make it 21 miles. Not bad, except that we needed to cover 130 more in the next five days if we were going to stay on track. Yikes.
The Appalachian Trail is marked with one consistent method; a 2″x6″ white paint stripe on the side of a tree and every 100 to 400 yards there is normally a “white blaze” to keep you on track. Blue blazes mark everything from side trails to water sources to shelters to shortcuts. Because they mark shortcuts and ways to skip the true Appalachian Trail, those that take these shortcuts are often condescendingly referred to as “blue blazers” by their strict white blazing purist peers. Worse than blue blazing is the brown blazer, which is when a hiker follows a road to get easier miles rather than taking the trail. Still worse than a brown blazer is the dreaded yellow blazer, referring to the yellow of a taxi cab that they use to skip trail miles from one trail town to the next. Yellow blazers are the worst. Until mile 857 in Waynesboro, VA that is, meet the “aqua-blazer”.