Backpacking and Hiking Trips


Anyone that knows me knows of my life-long dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail, a 2,100 mile footpath through the Appalachian Mountains stretching from Georgia to Maine. I’ve done about half of the trail through PA but I am trying to save the rest for the “long haul”.

I also have secret hopes (guess it’s not so secret anymore) of doing the Pacific Crest Trail (a 2,655 mile trail running from Mexico to Canada through CA, OR, and WA) and the Continental Divide Trail (another long distance trail measuring 3,100 miles from Mexico to Canada through NM, CO, WY, ID and MT)

These three trails together are known as the “triple crown”.

Today I found out there is yet another trail to add to the list….a coast to coast trail known as the American Discovery Trail. I was sent a link about a couple that just became the first to complete the trail in one continued effort. I did a quick search about the trail and came up with distances ranging from 4,900 to 6,800 miles. Gotta find out more about THIS puppy!


WATCH THE SLIDESHOW OF THE TRIP!!!


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On Sept 21, 2005 Ackey (aka The Bottomless Pit), Charlie (aka The Energizer Bunny) and I, (aka Me) headed out from the northern terminus of the West Rim Trail. This is a 30 mile trail running along the western rim of the Pine Creek Gorge in north central PA.

The trail is pretty tame as far as steep ascents and descents go. The path varies from wide and open along old logging roads and state forestry roads to overgrown patches of fern and mountain laurel. But it’s blazed with orange rectangles so it’s pretty difficult to get lost or lose the path. And of course, the main attraction of the trail are the frequent vistas of the PA Grand Canyon scattered every few miles along its length.

We spent 3 days and 3 nights on the trail. The first two days were picture perfect….sunny and highs in the mid 70′s. Day 3 was rainy but it gave us a good reason to set the tent up at noon and take a nap!
Highlights included seeing 2 porcupines (what was God thinking when He created them???) and hearing a Whippoorwill for the first time. Also saw LOTS of itty-bitty frogs and a ton of mushrooms. Too bad I can’t distiguish between the poisonous and non-poisonous or I may have had a feast!

With Ackey being on allergy medicine (a steroid) she was bottomless. I knew by the end of the first day that the dogs would run out of food before the end of the trip. So I ended up sharing my snacks at lunch and my freeze dried spaghetti and extra cheesy Mac & Cheese with the dogs in the evening. We hit McDonalds ASAP on the way home. I was STARVING!

Water was not overabundant so we always carried some (Ackey carried hers and Charlie’s and I carried my own). The longest stretch between water stops was 10 miles but we always ended up having water where we camped. Glad I took the filter along! Some of the water holes were more mud puddles than streams. :-|

I saw my future home. Two possibilities, actually. One was a log cabin buried deep in the middle of nowhere. Not sure about the view to the southern sky for satellite internet connection though. The other was a house planted smack dab on the top of the mountain in a clearing across the canyon. The view must be beautiful from it! I know THAT house had a view of the southern sky. :-)
Ackey and Charlie were real troopers. I can tell Ackey is getting older. She only runs ahead for the first mile or so and then stays at my side for the rest of the day. Charlie’s a little energizer bunny. He just never quits. Everytime he’d hear the squeal of a chipmunk, he’d take off on a chase, having no idea where it was, of course. The one time we did see a chipmunk in the middle of the trail, he ignored it. Duh.

Had a great time and am planning on doing the Black Forest Trail sometime in October if the workload permits.

DON’T FORGET TO WATCH THE SLIDESHOW OF THE TRIP!!!

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