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Thread: Trail Kitty

  1. #1
    Registered User Patco's Avatar
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    Default Trail Kitty

    I heard or read about a hiker that carried a pet cat on a long distance hike. The cat would sleep on the top of the pack by day and chase shelter mice by night. It gained something like 10 lbs along the way and ate a record 11 mice at one shelter. Has anyone else heard of this? fact or fiction?

    There are 3 kinds of poeple in this world; those who can count and those who can't. :datz

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    Fact. The hikers name was Geek, not sure of the cats name. They hiked in the early 80's. It is detailed in one of the AT books from the late 80's or early 90's. I ran into Geek in Port Clinton in July 2002 at the Billville feed as he was duing another thru. According to Geek as the hike progressed, the cat gained weight from the steady diet of mice.

  3. #3
    Registered User thestin's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RedneckRye
    Fact. The hikers name was Geek, not sure of the cats name. They hiked in the early 80's. It is detailed in one of the AT books from the late 80's or early 90's. I ran into Geek in Port Clinton in July 2002 at the Billville feed as he was duing another thru. According to Geek as the hike progressed, the cat gained weight from the steady diet of mice.
    JR "Model T" Tate talked about it in his book "Walking on the Happy Side of Misery".

  4. #4
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    Default Ziggy

    Quote Originally Posted by thestin
    JR "Model T" Tate talked about it in his book "Walking on the Happy Side of Misery".
    . . . And Ziggy was his name-o!

    In 'Walkin' on the Happy Side of Misery', Model-T mentions meeting Mule, Geek and Ziggy along the banks of the French Broad river at the unofficial resort "Club Geek" in Hotsprings. Ziggy is described as a "gray tabby cat with a stubbed tail" . . . who . . . "got thirteen confirmed kills one night at Blood Mountain Shelter." By the end of the book Geek has carried Ziggy all the way to Katahdin and Ziggy has grown from 3 to 14 pounds.

    Personally, given my experiences with cats, I can't imagine a feline riding on someone's pack for that long.

    But, cats live to prove us wrong!

  5. #5

    Default Geek

    I ran into Geek in 2002 at the Hikers Welcome Hostel in Glencliff. When I first saw him I didn't know who he was and said to myself "There's no way this guy is hiking the trail." He was wearing bermuda shorts and completely flushed.

    Anyways, he's a great guy and gave me a ton of advice before climing Moosilauke. He really pumped me up for the Whites and the rest of the trip. Here's a picture :Click Here

  6. #6
    Registered User Doctari's Avatar
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    In 2003 I met Hot Dawg & Stubby Cat. Hot Dawg tells that he decided to go hiking, so bought a pack, when he got it home, Stubby cat (an actual cat) jumped on top of the pack as if to say, "lets go" I left them in Erwin. Stubby would probably weigh in at 8 Lbs Max, she was rather tiny (compared to my 5, the smallest is 13 Lbs) Cant see her gaining 10 Lbs

    She was a terror to the shelter mice though. And very very defensive of Hot Dawg, she looked after him like a mother would. Would love to hear how far they made it.


    Doctari.
    Curse you Perry the Platypus!

  7. #7
    Registered User Peaks's Avatar
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    Default Larry Luxemberg

    You can also read about Ziggy and Geek in Larry Lunenberg's book "Walking the Appalachian Trail." For those who are not familiar with this book, Larry profiles several hikers and other prominate people associated with the AT. One of the best book about the trail.

  8. #8

    Default Ziggy

    Hey, geek here!
    My cat was indeed named Ziggy. With my trip being so long, I named him Ziggy after the cartoon character that always had things going wrong. I got him at Manchester, Ohio on the river segment of my trip while waiting out Hurricane Hugo. He was so small that the first night he climbed from my chest into the sleeve of my wind jacket while I was wearing it. He spent alot of time growing up on the river and I think that he thought that he was a dog. He would leap into the water at will and wade infront of camp fishing for small fish. He loved canoeing and he loved to swim. His mother was a full blooded Manx cat and he retained the longer back legs, stub tail and facial and ear tuffs. He had light gray and medium gray tabby markings and looked very similar to a baby bobcat.
    I was unsure of taking him on the trail but I had him neutered and he had also become a part of my every day life so I figured that I would try and see what happened. What happened was that he hiked the first 33 miles of the trail and then one day in the rain, I felt sorry for him and placed him on top of my external frame pack under the rain cover. HE NEVER HIKED ANOTHER STEP! The next morning as soon as I closed the top of my pack he jumped on. At first he fell off about twice a day and although cats land on their feet. I was worried as to where he would land. I tied a cedar shingle to the pack frame top loop so that he was blocked from the wind and also he could use his claws to hold on. I then put him on a short leash that would let him climb anywhere on the pack but not fall past the pack so as to facilitate him climbing back up. He would be let loose at every rest and although he would roam, he would always come when called (back to that dog thing). He hiked the entire trail with me except the Smokies and Baxter. The permits at the Smokies had the words "dogs prohibited" however they had heard about me coming with Ziggy and when I got there, the word dogs had been inked out and the word "pets" stamped in its place. He had been in 25 states by his first birthday and rode home on my bicycle pack 998 miles. He was 14lbs at the end of the trip and weighed 19 lbs when I had to put him to sleep because someone had shot him and broken his spine paralyzing him from the shoulders back. I gave him a lethal injection and stayed with him until he died and then I buried him beside my fire ring at his favorite campsite. He never stopped wanting to go canoeing and camping and although he could come and go from the house at will, he spent all but the coldest of nights sleeping outside on the porch.
    I miss him greatly and felt so out of balance without him on my 2002 thru hike. He has a brick in the sidewalk at Damascus at the corner of the Mt. Rogers Outfitter building that my children got for me one year for Father's Day. Stop and say hi!
    geek

  9. #9

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    Great story Geek! Thanks for sharing. How sad to hear how your "buddy" passed. I love our cats. All three of 'em.

  10. #10
    Registered User spandau's Avatar
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    Default

    Geek, thanks for posting about Ziggy. Of all of the stories about the AT I have heard and read, 'the guy who hiked with his cat' is one of my favorites.

    I have an apricot-colored tabby cat who loves to go for walks on a leash. He would probably like to hike with me, but he weighs 25 pounds, so no way he could ride on my pack - he weighs as much as it does!
    Seltsam im Nebel zu wandern,
    Einsam ist jeder Busch und Stein.
    Kein Baum sieht den andern,
    Jeder ist allein.

  11. #11
    Registered User Michele's Avatar
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    Wow...THANKS for posting that Geek! I had read about you and Ziggy in Larry Lunenberg's book "Walking the Appalachian Trail," and I couldn't stop smiling and laughing thinking about this great cat. I've always been curious to know more. I'm so sorry he is gone though. He was certainly lucky to have run into you though, because it doesn't sound like you ever tried to "own" him. Do you have any pics of you and Ziggy? I'd love to see them.
    The Most Important Things In Life Are Not Things....

  12. #12

    Default

    Michele,
    If you go to white blaze.net then to white blaze gallery then to Pennsylvania Rose's images you will find a photo of Ziggy on my pack.
    Thanks for the interest.
    geek

  13. #13

    Default

    I remember meeting Geek and Ziggy on their climb north up to Beauty spot on Unaka (leaving Erwin TN) as we were heading south on a section hike. He was with Moleskin Meg from Hawaii, Dr. Doolittle, just to name a few, I remember commenting something about a man carrying his own pussy to Maine !! Some other guy who was hiking with his lady friend said yeah me too, but mine carries her own pack, LOL . Was a pleasure meeting you both Geek and Ziggy, too bad about the tragic ending but what other cat could boast of such a grande life on earth up in kitty or maybe doggy heaven ? I have seen the brick and now I know the answer to my question about how Ziggy passed. Thanks again Geek, perhaps we will meet again someday,

    RAT>PATROL

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Adams View Post
    Michele,
    If you go to white blaze.net then to white blaze gallery then to Pennsylvania Rose's images you will find a photo of Ziggy on my pack.
    Thanks for the interest.
    geek
    That is so cool! Thanks for your post, Geek.

  15. #15
    Formerly thickredhair Gaiter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Adams View Post
    Hey, geek here!
    My cat was indeed named Ziggy. With my trip being so long, I named him Ziggy after the cartoon character that always had things going wrong. I got him at Manchester, Ohio on the river segment of my trip while waiting out Hurricane Hugo. He was so small that the first night he climbed from my chest into the sleeve of my wind jacket while I was wearing it. He spent alot of time growing up on the river and I think that he thought that he was a dog. He would leap into the water at will and wade infront of camp fishing for small fish. He loved canoeing and he loved to swim. His mother was a full blooded Manx cat and he retained the longer back legs, stub tail and facial and ear tuffs. He had light gray and medium gray tabby markings and looked very similar to a baby bobcat.
    I was unsure of taking him on the trail but I had him neutered and he had also become a part of my every day life so I figured that I would try and see what happened. What happened was that he hiked the first 33 miles of the trail and then one day in the rain, I felt sorry for him and placed him on top of my external frame pack under the rain cover. HE NEVER HIKED ANOTHER STEP! The next morning as soon as I closed the top of my pack he jumped on. At first he fell off about twice a day and although cats land on their feet. I was worried as to where he would land. I tied a cedar shingle to the pack frame top loop so that he was blocked from the wind and also he could use his claws to hold on. I then put him on a short leash that would let him climb anywhere on the pack but not fall past the pack so as to facilitate him climbing back up. He would be let loose at every rest and although he would roam, he would always come when called (back to that dog thing). He hiked the entire trail with me except the Smokies and Baxter. The permits at the Smokies had the words "dogs prohibited" however they had heard about me coming with Ziggy and when I got there, the word dogs had been inked out and the word "pets" stamped in its place. He had been in 25 states by his first birthday and rode home on my bicycle pack 998 miles. He was 14lbs at the end of the trip and weighed 19 lbs when I had to put him to sleep because someone had shot him and broken his spine paralyzing him from the shoulders back. I gave him a lethal injection and stayed with him until he died and then I buried him beside my fire ring at his favorite campsite. He never stopped wanting to go canoeing and camping and although he could come and go from the house at will, he spent all but the coldest of nights sleeping outside on the porch.
    I miss him greatly and felt so out of balance without him on my 2002 thru hike. He has a brick in the sidewalk at Damascus at the corner of the Mt. Rogers Outfitter building that my children got for me one year for Father's Day. Stop and say hi!
    geek
    I've heard stories of a cat that laid his nights catch of mice next to his hiker as gifts for the morning. Was this Ziggy too or another cat? I've heard of a hiker who adopted a kitten in nc that rode on his pack, but he didn't think about it growing, it got to 20lbs but it stayed with him all the way to katadin.
    Gaiter
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  16. #16
    http://www.myspace.com/officialbillville Mountain Dew's Avatar
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    Default Stubby lives

    Hot Dawg and Stubby Cat made it atleast 1/3 of the trail if I remember correctly. I came across them just north of Damascus. I know his mother was havinghealth issues and he thought he was going to have to go home for a while to see about her, but i'm not sure if they made the whole thing. I have a picture of them in an absolute downpour. Stubby is under Hot Dawgs umbrella ontop of his pack. It's a classic A,.T. picture....
    THE Mairnttt...Boys of Dryland '03 (an unplanned Billville suburb)
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  17. #17
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    Default tribute

    the photo of Ziggy should be moved to the "in memory of " gallery

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Adams View Post
    Michele,
    If you go to white blaze.net then to white blaze gallery then to Pennsylvania Rose's images you will find a photo of Ziggy on my pack.
    Thanks for the interest.
    geek
    here's the link: http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=11541&original=1&c=665&userid=2907

  19. #19

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    dang got it backwards - link: Ziggy & Geek

  20. #20
    Registered User Michele's Avatar
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    OMG...that is the cutest thing I've ever seen! What a great cat!! And very cool of Geek to accomodate Ziggy's travel preferences too!
    The Most Important Things In Life Are Not Things....

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