Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Class 5 trail

Now this is a class 5 trail. Going up with a lots of rocks and steps and very steep.

Class 2 trail

This is a class 2 trail. Up hill but no rocks.

Class 1 trail

Here's a nice little video of what a "class I" trail looks like.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

NOC to Fontana Dam

The climb out of NOC was torture. 3000+ of up hill climb over a 6 mile walk. That night it started to rain and thunder storm throughout the night oh, and it got colder too. All in all a rotten day.

Along with this blog I have started another "blog" about the trail. Look for me on Go to the site and look for me under the trail name of 'one step'

Thursday, March 22, 2012

bridge & falls

Todays walk started with a walk across this bridge and this beautiful waterfall.Then 23 hard miles later I made it to the top of the fire tower.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


It's springtime up here in the mountains andthough the trees don't have any leaves yet the flowersare starting to pop up.

The trail

The trail comes in many forms from easy to very hard. Here's a short vidio of a nice section.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I'm taking a "Zero" day (a day with no miles walked) in town with Anna and Edie to give my feet a rest. (Only 3 blisters so far). I copied this map of the next 2 days walk to give you an idea of the amount of mountains that I have to hike thru and the silliness of the AT. Why does it have to go in a 20 mile loop when a direct route would be so much better? I start the trail tomorrow at 8 AM and have a forecast of rain for the next 4 out of 5 days. Oh joy!

One Step

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The trail

Some of the trail in the first 60 miles has been just too hard to describe. Long up hill climbs, rocks, challenging down hills or mud but once in a while you come upon a section that is full of mountain Laural or magnolia and it's like walking thru a green leafy tunnel.

Blood Mt.

During the Great Depression, the CCC built this shelter on the top of 4400+ foot tall Blood Mt. It is a well built shelter but small. The views from the summit are excellent.

Bear proof food

Every shelter has a "bear cable" where you hoist your food bags. As you can see, a lot of food bags were hoisted. The trouble is that the mice can still get to the bags. Last night, as I sleep a rotten dirty mouse got to my bag and bit a hole into it and into my sugar which (over the course of the next 30 miles) spilled out into the food bag and coated everything with sugar. Yuck. Life on the trail.

One Step

People on the trail

During the first day I walked past all kinds of people. Some had packs that were HUGE and some like this gal had a extra passenger. This is Susan and her dog Pico. Pico is ridding along for the first 20 miles and then Susan is going to thru hike the rest of the trail.

Start of the hike

We are driving to Amicalola falls State Park where I'll start the hike in a few hours.
The park is known for it's waterfall. All I had to do is climb over 425 steps to get to the top of the falls and then climb 2000 feet over a distance of 7.5 miles to reach the top of Springer Mt where the actual AT starts. Start of the trail behind the visitors center.

Top of springer mountain sitting next to the bronze plaque that marks the start of the trail.

First night on the mountain, now, only 180 more nights and 4,000,000+ steps to go! Wish me luck.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Start of trail

Made it to the start of the trail. 7 miles the first day. Had to climb 425 stairs to reach the top of the falls then 7 more miles to the camp. A long and hard day just to get close to the start of the trail. Tomorrow, Springer mountain.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cold weather

I'm trying to write this post on the smart phone. It is very cold this morning so I had to dress much warmer this morning . The layering worked and except when I was walking into the wind. Had to add pants, 2 shirts, long underwear top and fleece pullover and gloves. Almost ready for the trail.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Trail maps

How do you know where to go when walking the trail? I considered buying a full set of trail maps but after being on the trail last year I realized that the trail is so well marked that it is very hard to lose your place when walking. They mark the trail about every 50 yards with a painted white triangle on the side of a tree, bolder, building, etc.
This makes walking the AT easy unless you start off the wrong way for there are very few signs that tell you whether you’re heading north or south. I will be using the AT Guide for my trip. It has a lot of information packed into a small format. Millage, miles to the next shelter, distance to water sources, good info on towns and services, elevations and even the profile of the trail.
Now with the right equipment and a good guide all that is left is to put on the pack and go for a little walk in the woods.
One Step

Sunday, March 4, 2012


We made it just as a cold rain started in again. The last two days the weather has turned cold and rainy, I don’t like it. Last night we anchored in Beaufort to wait out the rain and it’s a good thing that we did for it came down in torrents throughout the night. In the morning, when I let the rear of the dinghy down to drain the water from it the water was so deep that it flowed over the top of the transom like a small waterfall. As we left the harbor we saw this beautiful motorboat at the dock.

It’s good to have the 1000+ mile trip behind us now but it also brings home the fact that in 10 days I leave for Springer Mountain to start the trail. Hope that it warms up a bit by then. Maybe I should start to sign these Blog posts with my trail name, “One Step”. You see, People who try to thru hike the trail adopt a trail name (or it is unceremoniously given to them). I think that I will jump ahead of the game and give myself one. Besides, as they say, every journey of a thousand miles always starts with one step.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Poaching Venus Fly Trap plants

As Anna and I were walking around the Carolina State Park we came upon an area that has venus fly traps growing. This is a rare plant to the area and they must have a bit of a problem with poachers who will dig the plants up and steal them. The person on the poster looks familiar. If you see this person please call the numbers that you see on the poster.

Photoshop, you got to love it!


Why walk 2200 miles? That’s a good question. I guess that it started when my best friend and I went backpacking on the Manitou Islands in northern Lake Michigan back in my teens. Caring your “house” on your back and wandering through the woods seemed like heaven to a city boy like me. Setting up camp on the shores of Lake Michigan, swimming, telling stories and watching a fire weave and dance in the twilight only added to the allure. It was about that time when I heard about a never ending trail that crossed the entire eastern US and of other trails that swept down from Canada almost to Mexico winding their way through the Rocky Mountains. Hearing and reading about these trails stirred a wander lust in me. Since then, I’ve gone on to other things, circling the US on a motorcycle, flying hang gliders and hiking. I’ve done many trails throughout the west and the east but never anything as ambitious as this. I don’t know if I will complete the 5 month, 2200+ miles of the trail or even the first week of the trail but I do know that my life would be less if I don’t give it a try for as Mark Twain said “Your greatest regrets will be the things that you didn’t do not the things that you did do”.