View Full Version : Whats your Story?

10-22-2003, 17:40
It all started when I was 2 years old. My family camped under a tarp. We used my dads military gear. I ate peanut butter out of military tins. In highschool I was in an explorer scout troop. We camped under the stars or rolled up in plastic ground sheets when it rained. I ate vienna sausage and beanie weenie from cans and cooked with sterno. My first backpack was orange-thats all there was. I hiked from Springer to Fontana Dam with that rig. After college and the real job I graduated to the bigtime. Sierra Designs Meteor Lite tent..gourmet meals cooked over a whisperlite stove. I hauled it all in a Dana Terraplane-you could carry a volkswagon in that pack. Now I sleep in a hammock..eat whatever you can add boiling water to and cook on an alcohol stove. My shoelaces weigh more than my pack. When I am not on the trail, working, eating or sleeping I am probably cruising a camping gear store. I can hit Sports Authority, REI, Gallyans, and High Country Outfitters all on the way home (15 mile stretch and yes I have hit all of them on the same trip) I live in Atlanta and the trail is 1.5 hours away. I am an ADDICT-I love backpacking. I am also a 45 year old female so that make me a little strange..oh well geuss I will never grow up...whats your STORY??

10-23-2003, 03:54
That is one of the best posts I have read in a month of sunday's.

I think of you hiking in your light gear , 20 miles a day falling behind your feet...it makes me think back to my first day on the trail at Hawk Mtn Sheleter. It was about 1300 and I was still jet lagged from the flight over to the states when the first hiker I met on the trail comes in. He was a texan by the name of Scott (later Maverick...if anybody kows his email I would love to get it). We get talking and he says "there is guy behind me who has a pack that would be at least 100 pounds!" I was some what sceptical until I saw a guy who was about 6'4" staggering in with the biggest internal frame pack with the most stuff you have ever seen in it. He took out cans of chicken, a small sound system and a full hard bound readers delux edition of The Lord of The Rings.

He wanted to know if anyone wanted any food as he had three weeks worth.

I know it isn't my life story but meeting a guy who starts the trail with 3 weeks worth of canned food is still a good story

Mongo 02:banana

10-23-2003, 09:19
Hi Firefly, Sounds to me that you got the same symptoms as a lot of us. I believe that you have a addiction to hiking and the AT.
It started with me when my son-inlaw asked me to go backpacking with him and his brother. I scraped some gear together and we went out for a couple of days. I was hooked.
I soon retired and was looking for a new challange. I decided to attempt a thru-hike on the AT. I compleated the AT in 2001. My life will never be the same again. I too am addicted.
Happy trails.

10-23-2003, 09:51
I went to a summer camp in Ridgecrest, NC, beginning at age 8. The older campers (13 to 17) were in a group call "Trailblazers" who would do a week on the AT. I would always ask them when they got back about their trip. Finally when I was old enough, I joined in and took my first AT trip. We climbed Roan and ended up the first night under the stars somewhere near Jane Bald. I'll never forget seeing satellites moving around the seemingly endless expanse of stars. I stayed with them until I went to college, hiking sections in GA, NC, TN, and VA. In 1983 I took off my sophomore spring semester at UNC and started from Springer, March 3rd, summitting Katahdin on July 29th. I still hike sections occasionally, my last trip with my wife from Max Patch to Hot Springs over Labor Day weekend. She loved it so much, she's already planning a thru hike for our retirement. . . .

squirrel bait
10-23-2003, 10:41
First time I ran away from Annie Whittenmeyer Home for Children in Davenport Iowa I learned I could live on my own with out many creature comforts. I hid out/lived in a tree house for a week cooking my own meals and scrounging for food and gear. That experience tainted me for life. I never did go back but I have been camping ever since. Now I am ate up with this hiking. I just don't have to run away to do it. Though in all honesty it really did make it more exciting. I don't think I well ever grow up.....

10-24-2003, 08:53
...my parents always wanted the sunny beach when i was a kid (1960s)....never saw the mountains til i was an adult my wife took me to the Smokies(1985)......after that...i wuz hooked.

my wife & i day-hiked for several years & then on a trip to Blowing Rock & Banner Elk, NC we decided to drive up to the top of Roan Mtn.,TN with friends....I stepped onto the A.T. for the first time (1999) & @ that very moment felt some "magic"...stirring..inside me.

on the drive home...my friend ("TeePee") & i talked about the desire to hike the Appalachian Trail...so, @ that time we started planning for a hike in 2001....that didnt happen....but, in 2002 the section-hike was on!

we started @ Springer Mtn (2002)& made it to Deep Gap,NC (Standing Indian) & picked up @ Deep Gap to Clingmans Dome (2003) & plan to section-hike: Clingmans to Hot Springs,NC (Spring 2004)..............i always say:...."i'm hikin' the A.T. on the 20-year-plan." (about 150 miles per year)

i'm also addicted to hikin' gizmos & gadgets..(as long as their ultra-lite) i love REI, Cumberland Transit (a local outfitter store), & Backpacker magazine! I've become an ATC member & member of the Tennessee Trails Association.

if you'd like to read about the "ADVENTURES"....(& see PHOTOS)

www.trailjournals.com/jaybirdandteepee (2002)

www.trailjournals.com/jaybirdandjigsaw (2003)

www.trailjournals.com/jaybird (2004)

see ya'll UP da' trail!

10-27-2003, 13:19
Got into camping through the typical Boy Scout route. I hooked up with two of my scoutmates after one of them read Ed Garvey's AT thru-hiking book in 1972. I used it as my bible and was able to convince my parents to let three 15-year olds hike from Delaware Water Gap to Unionville in early April 1974. We rolled up in our groundcloths that first night out (nobody told us about condensation!) and relied heavily on all-cotton clothing while lugging 50-pound packs filled with equipment from Sears (my Dad worked there).

We did northern PA the following spring break, and then southern Ma/CT our senior year before going off to college. Until my Alzheimer's set in recently, I was able to recall every single day of those hikes. I upgraded my equipment with much of my discretionary income and knocked off the rest of Pennsylvania, northern MA/southern VT, and the Long Trail just after college. Career, post-graduate studies and family put a hold on my achieving my life goal of walking the entire AT until the bug hit really hard in 1999. Now that I can afford some of the best equipment and actually know what I'm doing, I just got back from lovely 120-miler around Roanoke that puts me up over 1,000 AT miles. Per Jaybird's comment, I'm hiking the AT on the 40-year plan, and like Firefly, I tend to be a little obsessed with it (just ask Hikerhead!).

10-27-2003, 15:15
I was planning a vacation to Nashville with my girlfriend. A friend of ours told us we should plan to spend a few days in the Smokeys. We decided that a backpacking trip would be cool since we are flatlanders from Minnesota. So we parked near cades cove and made our way up to Campsite 9 - where I proposed to my wife. Next night we went up to Spencefield and read the register there. Thinking it was just a bunch of high-school kids with weird nicknames that left the notebook in the shelter, we moved on. Hiked the AT to Russel field (and had no idea that the AT was a 2100-mile trail) and found another register. Now we were getting curioius and figured there was something bigger here. Despite having the worst gear ever (I was wearing steel-toe workboots and carrying a duluth pack), we had a blast on the trip. We found out all the detail of the AT when we got back to MN and talked to our friend who recommended the trip.

By the time we were married a few years later in 2002, we both had the bug to hike the entire AT. We thought it would be a perfect honeymoon and decided to go for it - was the best experience of my life.

10-27-2003, 17:57
My story is of how one individual can have a big impact.

24 Years ago I went to a party in Cuernavaca where a fellow student just happened to be showing slides of his NOBO. He made quite an impression, and was most helpful answering my many questions.

20 Years ago I had been teaching Bogota for a couple years and was wondering what else I could do avoid getting a real job, and all I could think of was that little guy who hiked the AT, and of his pictures of shelters that required chain link fences to keep the bears out and his photos of the Knife Edge. Two weeks upon getting back to the States, I was up at Baxter.

13 Years ago I finally returned to the AT, met a woman at Ethan Pond who I'd mary 2 years later, and started a new life. Good thing she ended up living in my building, or all I'd have would be memories of this really cool hiker babe whose number I was to timid to ask for.

Moral of the story to the young guys out there. Don't sit on your butts, go out and party.

BTW, If anyone knows of an AT hiker who hiked NOBO in '78 or '79 with a small scar on his face from getting kicked by a horse, thank him for me. His name might have been Randy and he might have gone to school in CT. A really nice kid, too.

I'd bet he'd get a good chuckle out of just how much he impacted one person's destiny ;-) . I am sure he has no idea.

Rick B

10-27-2003, 18:09
Originally posted by mongo

I know it isn't my life story but meeting a guy who starts the trail with 3 weeks worth of canned food is still a good story

There was a guy in 2000 who started with a 110# pack. His trail name became House. He carried a 12-pack and a fifth of booze up to the top of Springer to celebrate. He had 2 pairs of boots, canned food, steel pots, and lots & lots of clothes.

He ended up quitting the trail after a few hundred miles. He just got tired of it.

Me? I grew up near Greenwood Lake, NY in a cabin about 1.5 miles from the trail. I learned about the trail when I was a Freshman in High School, and vowed to hike it one day. I lifted a book on the AT from my High School library, and returned it sheepishly 10+ years after graduation. Thankfully, there was no late fee.

Fast forward to the Mid-90's, I was living in Warwick, NY within 15 minutes of 3-4 AT trailheads. Somehow, I remembered that dream from long ago, and vowed to fulfill it. My wife was supportive, and in 2000, I set off from Springer after taking a leave of absence from my job with Verizon.

Fast forward to today... I have left the corporate world to take a job with the American Hiking Society and National Park Service in Chattanooga, TN. It's strange how things work out sometimes. I probably would never have landed in Chattanooga if I hadn't met Sunnie on the AT in 2000. She raved about the place. Now.... here I is.

Little Bear
GA-ME 2000

10-28-2003, 06:27
Yo Little Bear:

I met a guy calling himself "the Mad Musician" that had about a 50lb pack stuffed with cans of meat, etc,etc & a gallon of whiskey strapped to his pack along with a guitar. Saw him around Walasi-Yi (Neels Gap) in 2002 buying more fuel & new boots.

He was from NY & had never been on the trail...but was determined he was..."gonna do it all.."

My partner: "TeePee" & i leapfroged with "the Mad Musician" & "Not Keith" for a couple days & lost them around Deep Gap Shelter (NC). I think they went into the town of Hiawassee to restock the booze.

i always wonder if "M.M." made it out of GA/NC.???????

oh well...life n the trail goes on....


10-28-2003, 07:38
Firefly: If you think you're "strange"(which I don't think you are),then I am, too!! I am a 46-year-old(soon to be 47) female into backpacking. I got into backpacking several years ago; started out with day hiking, graduating to backpacking. I got out a lot several years ago but have slowed down lately due to life complications. When I'm on the trail, I just look around me and think, "THIS is the essence of life(meaning nature)". All that society stuff...corporate world stuff....that doesn't matter....it all boils down to nature, the elements of God's creation. Out on the trail, people aren't concerned with the "social niceties", social expectations, etc. All the people-made crap.