Month: June 2017



Kelly Anderson is a former professional tennis player from South Africa. She came to the US to attend Georgia Tech in their tennis program before taking up coaching positions, first at USF and then as Head Coach at Stetson. She even has her own Wikipedia entry! A chance meeting with a number of AT thru-hikers intrigued her and planted within her a desire to take on the Appalachian Trail someday.

 

Deciding that she needed to do it sooner rather than later, she divested herself of many of her possessions and started from Katahdin 2016, heading south to finish at Harpers Ferry in December.  This year, she is back on the trail to finish what she started. Her tale of grit and determination is inspiring. The two pictures below are of Kelly on Mt Madison and, bizarrely, Kelly in rather strange loaner clothes on a launderette stop.

 

 

 

There are a bunch of ways to follow Kelly. You can email her, follow her on Facebook or Instagram, and go to her blog as she reaches the conclusion of her journey.

 

 

Jessa/Attie and Nick continue to travel north, with the halfway point approaching rapidly. You can also follow Jessa through her blog.

 

As a bit of a preview for next week’s show, I promised to add Craig McPherson’s video to really whet your appetite for our interview. Once you see this, you’ll get some of the magic that we used to see on a daily basis on the Appalachian Trail

 

Don’t forget that the price of my two Kindle books will soon be increased from $2.99 each to $3.99 each. Save a couple of bucks if you’d like to get the Christmas price mistakenly left up for over six months!!


This week, I’ve got another diverse array of guests from Trail Days in Damascus a few weeks ago. While I guess a parade of hikers could have been interviewed, I preferred to go with others associated with the Appalachian Trail, so I’ve managed to get another interesting mix together.

 

Dan Bedore is hiking a kind of alternative AT, keeping the pioneering spirit of the trail alive by spending large amounts of time totally by himself. He said that he preferred it that way. When I checked his website, bedore.org, I was amazed at the variety of trails that he has completed. For those of you wishing to go a little off the beaten track, Dan’s site is a good place to start. You can reach out to Dan at danshike@yahoo.com if you’d like to find out more about his journeys.

 

Next, I spoke with the first of the vendors this week. One of the Jacks, of Jacks R Better, demonstrated the Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock, based upon the design of a suspension bridge. It provides a flat sleeping surface. I was a little doubtful, but it was terrific. Had I seen this in 2014, I may have even considered a hammock. You can find out more about the company at the Jacks R Better website and this video demonstrates the setup of the hammock.

 

Eric Fox, the son of Alison and Bob Fox, hiked the AT a couple of years back. Bob wrote Eric’s story for him, in a really interesting family collaboration, called The Endless Trail. Check out the book on Amazon. You can also see more about the book at Bob’s website and Facebook page. Click on the appropriate link. Here’s a picture of the two of us.

 

 

Kyle Jeffreys introduced me to a very reasonably priced air pad. The company is Klymit, and I highly recommend their website. I tried out the Static V2. At just over $60, it is a bargain and extremely comfortable. The website will give you far more information, as well as some really excellent deals for somebody putting together a bunch of equipment from one supplier. Once again, click on the link that appeals to you.

 

Moe Lemire is a hiker who wanted to give back. Instead of just talking about it, he joined the NY-NJ Trail Conference, responsible for more than 50 miles of the AT in these two states. If you’re from that area, or simply want to see the great work that Moe and his team do, check out their website.

 

Eddie Hinnant was showing us The Packa, his very own invention, at Trail Days. He demonstrated his combination pack cover and jacket with the fervor of a man who knows he has done good work. Let Eddie himself show you in this video. If you want to learn more, go to Eddie’s website.

 

Lisa Quigley, representing the Virginia Creeper Trail, told us as much as she could in the few minutes we spoke. If you’d like to learn more, you can see their pretty website or even their Facebook page.

 

Finally, Dave Degler was kind enough to talk to me about the work of A Christian Ministry in the National Parks. I was so impressed with Dave and his charming team, three of whom are hiking the trail this year. If you’d like to learn more about the extensive outreach that they do, visit their website.

 

I hope that you enjoyed meeting some of the people at Trail Days. I’m really glad that I went, and I PROMISE, the audio quality of outdoor recordings will improve if I do this again!!

 

Charlotte Taney, a previous guest, was originally unsure about any concerns that she may have had prior to starting the AT. On reflection, however, it turned out that she had a few for this week’s Fear and Loathing on the Appalachian Trail.

 

Attie seems right back into it, so we’re both looking longer term than we had in previous weeks. I can’t tell you how delighted I am. I also know that I posted this picture a few weeks ago, but I wanted a Trail Days picture to go with the podcast on Facebook and this turns out to be it.

 

 

One last thing.

 

If you’ve read any of my three books and you HAVEN’T left a review, please do me a big favor and click on the appropriate link below to take you directly to the review page of that book. Thanks so much.

 

My Appalachian Trial I: Three Weddings and a Sabbatical

 

My Appalachian Trial II: Creaking Geezer, Hidden Flagon

 

Hiking the Appalachian Trail is Easy: Especially if You’ve Never Hiked Before.

 

By the way, remember that this last book is free at my author’s website, though I won’t be in the least bit offended if you want to pay me $2.99 for it!!


Kyle Bock has had some dark days, not least because he lived in Alaska for over fifteen years with no running water and, for the past few years, with no electricity. Kyle has taken on the challenge of an AT thru-hike with an almost professional approach, yet enjoyed his journey as he contemplates what the trail means to him. He is expressing himself with his beautiful photographs, altering them to reflect how he felt at the time.

 

The only contact information that he shared was his Instagram account, which is under the name of Bockasaurus. Pay a visit to Kyle’s page; you’ll be glad that you did. The three photos here are examples of the thought he has put into his pictures.

 

       

 

 

Kyle hopes to complete the trail in about four months; I’m really looking forward to catching up with him on his return.

 

Attie has reassessed her situation and is now pushing forward with her hike. She continues to enjoy her adventures but has been a great example of somebody who may have expected much of what she has experienced but didn’t necessarily count on the yearning to be at home. I faced similar times when I was away; I’m just glad that she has made this reassessment and pushed forward.

 

As always, thanks to everybody who supports the show. I hope that you listen to my new podcast, Mighty Blue on the John Muir Trail when it comes out soon. Watch this space.



A trip to Trail Days wasn’t on my itinerary when I hiked the AT in 2014, so my visit this year had a dual purpose. I was going there to both see what I’d missed and to interview others who were attending. I was trying to capture some of the spirit of both Damascus at party time and the Appalachian Trail. This episode will focus on Trail Days and forms the first of two such episodes.

I’m still following Attie, as she makes her way north. She has hit a few walls on the way but is upbeat pretty much whenever we speak and is taking each day as it comes. She has teamed up with a couple of other hikers, Bananas and The Machine. Here is her iconic shot at the glorious McAfee Knob.

 

 

Another past guest, Erin McKenzie, told us about her Fear and Loathing thoughts on the AT.

 

But this week is mainly about Trail Days. I’ve pulled together a number of the short, live conversations that I had with a wide variety of people. I hope you enjoy them.

First up was Nathan Harrington, the enthusiastic maker of his Katahdin sign replica. These signs are all handmade by Nathan personally, so each will be unique. Nathan also has a great story to tell about how he proposed to his lovely wife, Sharon, at McAfee Knob. You can actually see the moment he proposes on his YouTube channel, Between the Blazes, as well as other AT videos.
You can also follow him on Twitter as @ToKatahdin. If you’d like to buy one of Nathan’s exquisite hand-made Katahdin signs, go to his website, www.betweentheblazes.com
Tim Keenan told me his moving story that combined his AT thru-hike with a reconciliation of his “enemy,” as he referred to him, later in Vietnam. You can get Tim’s book, The Good Hike, on Amazon. It has excellent ratings.
Next, I spoke with Will Ransom and his beautiful dog, Retta. They seemed to have such a calm and mutual understanding of one another and were utterly devoted to one another. I asked Will if he’d carry on if Retta couldn’t continue. Interesting answer.
Dick Klane, from the Friends of Baxter State Park, kindly gave me a run-through of the new rules regarding permits to summit Katahdin at the end of your hike (as a NOBO). It is really worth listening to Dick, because you really need the climax of your hike to run smoothly on the day. If you’d like further clarification, you can check out their site, at friendsofbaxter.org. It is an excellent site and full of information on the park. It is well worth checking out before you end up in the park.
Bob Peoples is quite simply one of the legends of the Appalachian Trail. His Hardcore Crew work to build and maintain sections of the trail and his selfless devotion to all things AT is remarkable. We are so lucky to have Bob in our lives.
Last, but certainly not least, I ran into two young women at the All You Can Eat (AYCE) pancake breakfast in town. Nadia and Kathleen were at the same table as me and, when Nadia saw my podcast tee shirt, she asked if I was the podcast host. Apparently, she is a listener and I couldn’t miss out on interviewing a fan!!