Roads Rivers and Trails

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Monthly Archives: December 2013


Southbound: episode 15

December 21st 2006
Written by: Bryan Wolf and Joe White

The roller coaster wasn’t much to scream about, nor was it long enough to wear us out. We should have been more tired after 23 miles. The next morning, we went into Linden to pick up our maildrop and food. We were so excited to be sleeping less than a mile from the beginning of the Shenadoah National Park . In the morning, we registered for our permit for camping in the park and started strolling down some of the nicest trails we have seen yet. The weather was beautiful and so were the views. The views were better than any since Vermont and Massachusetts . It is nice being above 3000ft again.

After 23 miles, all we wanted was a good nights sleep, but there were a couple of mice that kept us up most of the night. In the morning, we hitched into Luray for mail, resupply, and a bucket of chicken from KFC. We were told that it was illegal to hitch in Virginia , but so far its been the easiest place to get a ride in and out of town. The rest of the day was still filled with great views and nice trails. We stayed the night with a couple out for the weekend. The one guy was in the Navy at Norfolk , and he was planning a thru-hike once he finishes his service. We shared a lot of stories from different adventures we have had as the campfire slowly burnt out.Hogback Overlook

The following day we hiked 21 miles until we hit rt33, which passes through the park, so we could be picked up by a trail angel named Melanie. Before we made it there, we bumped into a thru-hiker named “super dave” and he was also from Cincinnati . He started in WV and hiked north to Maine , then went to Georgia and was on his way to WV. We were all so excited to meet each other, because we had met his friend in New Hampshire and we were told to look out for him. He actually knew who we were before we introduced ourselves. He should be finishing up his journey in the next couple of days. Congrats Super Dave and we wish you the best.Shenandoah

We finally made it to the road and Melanie picked us up and took us in for the night. We met her in Harpers Ferry at the trail club dinner, its funny how everything falls together. She cooked us dinner, let us shower, and do laundry. She had an awesome music collection. In the morning, she took us to the store to pick up enough food to get us to Waynesboro and then back to the trail. Thanks Melanie.

In the Shenadoah National Park , skyline drives runs parallel to the AT and follows the ridgline all the way, so the mileage is pretty much the same. We had to hike along the road for both that day and the following, about 45 miles. The reason: Around thanksgiving, the southern section of the park was hit with a devastating ice storm leaving the trail and road covered with trees, branches, and tree tops. The AT was closed and was recommended to skip, but we instead walked the closed skyline drive.

The road walk hurt and it seem to go on forever. There were a few good things though. We could listen to our transistor radio while we walked, we still had great overlooks, and we didn’t have to stare at our feet to make sure we weren’t going to trip. Our last shelter in the park had a big rat living there that was rumored to eat holes in backpacks. We hung our food and packs outside the shelter, but we still caught a glimpse of the nasty beast. The last 20 miles out of the park was miserable. We were hurting so bad and we looked funny as we were limping along. We made it though, and we were fortunate to know another trail angel that picked us up and dropped us off at the Quality Inn.

Some of my family came down that night and stayed with us. We ate some Papa John’s pizza while watching our first Bengals game. It was a depressing game though. The next morning 8 of our friends from home dropped in to visit. The rest of my family came down later in the evening. By the end of the night, there was 18 of us, it was like being at home. We spent the day tossing Frisbee and football. They even brought down the corn hole set. That night we all went down to the bowling ally, what a great time. The fun lasted until 3 or 4 in the morning, way past our bedtime.Shenandoah Sunset

Yesterday, they all went home after we all went out to lunch together. It was sad to see them go, but it was a reminder of all the great people we can’t wait to get home and see once again. Someone did get left behind though, by choice, her name is Ginger Snap, formerly known as Barbara. She is going to hike with us for a week and a half or so. Last night we just kicked back and relaxed and tried to re-cooperate. Today we are just doing the usual in town resupply and journal update before we hit the trail. We will hike out of town here in a little bit to the first shelter 5 miles away. We hope to be about 135 miles farther in about 8-10 days where we can update you once again. Thank you to all of those that came to visit. Merry Christmas to everyone. We miss and love you all.

This exert was originally published on atwishhikers.com. It’s content has not been edited from the original post.

 

Epilogue:
by: Bryan Wolf

This was a big post, both in time, miles, and events. Like most of our other posts the most interesting moments are not about the physical trail but more about the characters that help shape it.  We introduced and met back up with several new characters in this post.  The first was Melanie; we first met Melanie back in Harpers Ferry at the Potomac Trail Clubs Christmas Party.  She offered us a place to stay down the road and we were happy to make the call.  Melanie refueled us for our adventure and I’d like to think that we fueled her adventurous spirit too. After dinner Joe and I helped her start planning an epic trip around the country. Not long after finishing the trail we would meet her again in Cincinnati; a detour on her epic life changing adventure!! I think this is a good time to maybe reconnect again.

Hiking into Waynesboro was hard for me too enjoy. Some things were in our favor, we had an easy road walk due to the trail shattering ice storm and amazing views, however the anticipation of meeting family and friends seemed to draw things out a while. To make matters worse I secretly was feeling the worse I had felt yet. The top of my right foot had a stinging pain with each step. I found my self stopping often trying to readjust my boot to no avail. I think the road walking, although flat, was also rough on my feet and put a lot of stress on them. I hobbled into town and put ice on the slightly swollen foot. I didn’t want to blow it out of proportion and especially worry any of our friends that had traveled so far to see us, but secretly I was concerned that it would not heal.

One car load at a time our friends and family piled in. As you can imagine this was a great few days enjoying every creature comfort you could want and laughing again with those you miss.  It meant so much to us that they all came down and I will forever be grateful to each one of them for taking the journey. As all good things do, the time went all too fast, the cornhole boards, cards, Frisbee, beer, and pizza was packed up and drove away making it home hundreds of miles away in the time it takes us to travel less than a half dozen miles. The one who stayed behind, Ginger Snap, was Joe’s friend from Alaska who was going to hike with us a while.

I was excited to have someone else around for a while at this point (but that did not last). When we hiked out I found that my foot had still not healed and the miles were slow. Despite the miles moving slow, I was still way out in front of the two of them and suddenly felt very alone. Ginger snap had a tough go at the first few miles despite being a backpacker (The AT has that affect on people) and we stopped 5 miles in. I took a few “Vitamin I” (Ibuprofen)  pills and just wanted to go back asleep. Tundra, or as I called him, “TW” and Ginger played games and I just wrote and slept. The next day I still wasn’t feeling well and it started to become quite concerning, luckily my partners in crime were fine staying in so we did another shelter zero (5 miles from a real town I may add!). My best guess was that it was a stress fracture and I needed to stay off it.  At least we packed out some Beef and Cheddars.

Outsidecincy.com “Get to Know an Enabler…”

Published December 15, 2013
Written by: Cody Sowers

When I first moved to the Cincinnati area, outdoor gear stores were few and far between. Big box stores littered the outer belt, and only a couple “real” gear stores existed in between. That all changed in 2010 when Roads Rivers Trails opened their doors, and they have been inspiring everyone with adventure ever since.
roads rivers trails
Walking through the doors, you are smacked in the face with gear. High tech clothing, a variety of canoes and kayaks, packs, shoes and more. There is even a replica Appalachian Trail shelter, of course, stuffed with quality gear.
appalachian trail shelter
If the gear was not enough for you, what sets this store apart from the rest is the ambience. These folks know what they are talking about, and they do not just talk about it, they do it! You will be hard pressed to find a more knowledgeable and experienced group of individuals that are this well versed in outdoor gear and adventure.
get to know an enabler
If you are in the market for anything related to the great outdoors, or just want to pick the brains of some gear heads, make the trip to RRT which is conveniently located in downtown Milford. Be sure to also check out their website to stay in the loop with their different hike/gatherings/presentations.

Get Outside Cincinnati!
roads rivers trails

You can find this original article and more stories and gear reviews at:
Outsidecincy.com

Southbound: episode 14

December 11 2006
Written by: Bryan Wolf and Joe White

In order to do the trail, you have to accept that things don’t always go as planned. It’s not that what happened is bad, it’s actually kind of funny that its the opposite of what we wanted to do. We are at the Bear’s Den Hostel, just 20 miles south of Harpers Ferry which is the funny part. We made it to Harpers Ferry 3 days ago, granted one day was an off day, but what we did in one day last week, we did in 2 days. The terrain is not to blame, nor the weather. The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club has been very hospitable. We bumped into the trail club in Hapers Ferry and the invited us over for dinner both Friday and Saturday night. It was a great time and we really enjoyed hanging out with all the people that are not just building and maintaining the trail, but also working to protect the wilderness around it.Roller coaster

They talked us into stopping by the Blackburn Trail Center last night, which is just off the trail, to stay the night and have dinner with the caretakers. We also celebrated the caretakers birthday with cake and ice cream. Of course, we still had to stop by here to do laundry and grab some more food to get us to the next town. Pizza, ice cream, internet, electric, hot shower, and a bed? OK, we’ll stay, but tomorrow we are doing 23 miles. Tomorrow we hit what they call the “roller coaster”, a long series of quick ups and downs, sounds like fun.

This exert was originally published on atwishhikers.com. It’s content has not been edited from the original post.

 

Epilogue:
by: Bryan Wolf

To be clear, we were laughing at the fact that immediately following a 26 mile day we managed just 20 miles in the three days to follow. We speed up and slow down over and over again on the trail; each time for a different reason.  At the Blackburn Center was our first time considering a later life move to the trail and looking into a lifestyle of support and trail work on the AT.  The young couple that were caretakers there at the time were amazing and seemed to have fun doing it.  Even after getting home we would talk about running a hostel or trail crew. More than a year after the trail we called the Blackburn Center to check on job details and availability. It is all proof of the lasting impact that the trail had and the desire to pass it forward and live more of a life surrounded by the trail.

Southbound: episode 13

December 8th 2006
Written by: Bryan Wolf and Joe White

  Here we are in Harpers Ferry , West Virginia . There is only 4 miles in WV, so we will be in Virginia as soon as we leave here. Virginia will be our 10th state and will also be the longest state, about 545 miles. Since leaving Duncannon , PA 7 days ago, we have gone another 124 miles without any real problems. We are impressed with ourselves and happy to see that we can still have 20 mile hiking days despite the short hours of sunlight. It has been pretty cold though. We have been taking extra care to ensure our water bottles and filter don’t freeze at night, which isn’t hard, just have to put in the sleeping bag. Today it was so cold that our mustaches started to ice over while hiking, so to keep the water from freezing, we had to keep the bottles inside our jackets as we hiked. The wind chill brought the temperature down into the teens.ATCTundra Wookie

As you can see in the pictures, we have come to quite a few nice views looking out over Pennsylvania , Maryland , and West Virginia , but they should be even better in Virginia . We passed the half way point marker (now outdated) and took a step past into the southern half of the trail. We are more than happy to be done with Pennsylvania , and Maryland only lasted two days. The trail took us through another small family cemetery from the 1800s. It was nice to see someone still keeping it fairly cleaned up. We also past by the first monument dedicated to George Washington, as well as several other civil war memorials. We have enjoyed not only the scenery but also the walk through time and history.Blast Iron Furnace

In the last entry, we told you about Little Engine and Ellipse and how they would be hiking with us for awhile. Well, that didn’t last long, actually, we never got to hike with them. They left town a little before we did and Ellipse hit the ground running and we can’t catch him. Little Engine must have gotten off the trail for one reason or another because we didn’t pass him on the trail and he certainly isn’t in front of us.

Overall, we are feeling really good, just have to get back in the grove for cold weather. It is hard to believe that 3 months has already gone by, exactly 92 days and 1165.2 miles behind us. Our mountains await us, above 3000 feet we go again.

This exert was originally published on atwishhikers.com. It’s content has not been edited from the original post.

Epilogue:
by: Bryan Wolf

You know when you just don’t want to get out of bed? You’re buried in the covers and you feel so warm, all you want is to turn over and sleep just one more hour? Now imagine you are outside and it is a cool 15 degrees outside of your sleeping bag! I did not want to get ready the morning that we hiked into Harpers Ferry but of course town food has its persuasions.  First, if you were not already sleeping with your clothes to keep them warm you grab them and warm them in your sleeping bag.  After putting on my hat and gloves I would sit up against the shelter and put on every top layer I had. Next I would put on every bottom layer I had while still in the sleeping bag. I would try to move fast and I had this routine down pretty well. Jumping out of the bag, throwing on boots, packing my entire pack, having breakfast, brushing my teeth, and pumping water while trying to maintain all my body heat.

I wasn’t about to get rid of any layers yet though. If you have a hiking buddy you know that one of you most likely gets ready faster than the other. I had a few more minutes to wonder around camp and check my gear before hitting the trail so I kept everything on till I was sure we were moving.  By the time we got going my toes and fingers were already numb and my body couldn’t hold it’s temperature any more, it is time to move! One at a time we would shed layers to keep comfortable. Hike, Rest, Repeat.

The walk into Harpers Ferry was awesome, after a steep down hill of switchbacks we hit the old canal tow path. It was easy walking and beautiful. At Harpers we registered with the ATC and had our pictures taken to mark our passing. The town isn’t super hiker friendly on pricing or lodging but there is little eateries and a camp store. Of course there is also plenty of sight seeing and historical education to be enjoyed around town.  The untold story was me getting sick in the trail clubs backyard from drinking too much red wine but you don’t need to hear about that. We’ll just say we were very lucky and thankful to be invited to their annual Christmas Party. Here we would also meet Melanie who we’ll see later in the trail; just another example of the trail working it’s magic and intertwining lives in wonderful ways.

Southbound: episode 12

December 2nd 2006
Written by: Bryan Wolf and Joe White

  We made it to Duncannon , PA , a nice milestone for us. Its hard to believe that we have been out here for 87 days now! In just three more we’ll reach the official half way point on the trail at 1,087 miles! We have learned so much thus far, not just of hiking, but of the hardships and joys in life. Our imagination stirs with whats to come next. Overall, in the past week, we have been making a lot of good ground. The terrain is completely different than any other so far. It has been a lot of flat ridge walking with the occasional steep 1000ft climbs in and out of the gaps, however, it is very rocky and a struggle some times. There were a couple of nights we cowboy camped out under the stars. Once because we missed the shelter, and the other because we spent too much time having to hike into Hamburg for fuel and resupply.Rocky Trail

We walked some old railroad beds and abandoned carriage roads from the 1800s. The trail took us through some ruins of an old coal mining village of Rausch Gap . The town went under in the early 1900s when the railroad pulled out and moved elsewhere. There was a cemetery with a couple headstones from 1854 and a really sweet stone arch bridge over a stream, and it was all out in the middle of the woods. The past few days of hiking have been fair weathered with rain and fog moving in andRausch Gap out. The weather killed our views from the ridge except for yesterday. We had great views of the Susquehanna River and the world’s longest stone arch bridge.

Our biggest concern over the past week has been the arrival of buck season and all the surrounding hunters. They seem to surround our camp early morning just before sunrise, and when the sun rose, the gunshots filled the air. We have seen over 60 hunters just in the first 3 days of hunting season. Not to worry though, we have been wearing blaze orange hats and ribbons to keep from getting shot. We caught up to 2 other south-bounders, “Little Engine” and “Ellipse”. We stayed with them last night here in Duncannon and we are all hiking out together today. By the looks of it, we should have some company for a while. We are pretty excited to be hiking with them.

Last night, Ice Man and I had an interview with a gentleman that hosts a very popular backpacking website called practicalbackpacking.com. He also hosts a series of podcasts, downloadable audio files, of interviews with different men and women in the field of backpacking. Including interviews with gear companies, authors, organizations, and backpackers. We are very excited to be included with the other respected and well-known subjects. The podcast should be up and running in the next few days, and we will put a link to the page when it is up. If you want to check out the other interviews or check to see if ours is updated goto www.practicalbackpacking.com/blog .Rausch Shelter

Our next town is Harpers Ferry , WV in 7 or 8 days.

This exert was originally published on atwishhikers.com. It’s content has not been edited from the original post.

Epilogue:
by: Bryan Wolf

Wondering into Duncannon, Joe and I dreamt of our 15 seconds of fame.  It was a voicemail one afternoon from a guy that hosts an online blog that started it all. We enjoyed the attention and the idea that a complete stranger found about us and our hike and even thought it worthy to blog. We let the whole thing spin way out of control of course, I think at one point I wanted to get us on David Letterman. All the anticipation made us nervous for the actual interview though. I sat there in the middle of the Doyle hotel nervous as ever for the recorded call.  I was more nervous then than I would be now, but at a little wood table covered with our notes and Joe’s phone in the middle, we did our best to answer his questions without letting our excitement take over. Check it out if you want, but please don’t judge 🙂

The Doyle was really impressive though. Not the crackling paint, cob webs, and noisy uncomfortable beds of course, there was something else. The place had character, and it also had a bar on the first floor. We barely got in the doors before the wind took out the electricity. Given that we were accustomed to having zero utilities, we became the hit of the party. Joe and I brought down our transistor radio for some tunes while we had drinks with the locals by candlelight.

The trail becomes a time warp through Pennsylvania if you let your imagination take over.  Although not a popular section (the entire state) because of the low elevation and rocky trails, I really enjoyed it.  I’m not a history buff, but I’d imagine it would be even more fun if I were.  I felt like I was discovering not just nature, but America.

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