Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hiking the AT

Every year Trevor takes a father/son trip with one of the boys.  It was Timothy's turn to go this year.  I'm not sure how it came about, but they decided they were going to hike part of the Appalachian Trail.  For weeks they talked about their backpacking trip and planned their hike.  The day before they were supposed to leave it was freezing and even snowing (that's Spring Break for you in Ohio).  I kept asking them if they had a back up plan as I could just see them being completely miserable for 3 days and Timothy deciding he was never going to go backpacking again.  I even put in a bid on Priceline for really cheap tickets to Phoenix so they could hike the Grand Canyon instead.  Since the airlines weren't desperate enough to accept my low-ball bid (you would think they would want every 20 bucks they could get), my boys were stuck with their plans.  I kept reminding myself that it would be OK, because I was going to be at home in my nice warm bed!

I'm pretty sure God wants these boys to have a good experience on these trips as last year Trevor and Jonathan were expecting poor weather and it turned out to beautiful for them.  This year was no different.  I called Trevor for a weather update when they were about 15 miles from the trailhead.  He said the weather was gorgeous:  mid 50's and blue skies as far as the eye could see.  All I could think was, "Whew!"  They ended up having a fabulous time hiking 15+ miles in 3 days, meeting all kinds of "through hikers" (those hiking the entire trail from Georgia to Maine; a 6-month adventure) and managed to steer clear of any bears.  Here are a few photos (out of a couple hundred) for your viewing pleasure...

Doesn't he look so clean and anxious to hike?

Looking cool crossing the "bridge".

Playing Uno with the "Taliban" (as Trevor referred to them) in their shelter the first night.  Apparently, most of these "through" hikers were jobless, waiting out the recession on the trail!

Grateful for a loo, no matter how primitive.

These shelters sure came in handy.  Too bad this one slept 26 people the first night, when it was meant to hold about 16!

Lucky for them, all of the snow was on the ground!  It could have been much, much worse!

Slush and muck.


Taking appropriate precaution with the bear bag!

He was so thrilled to be able to build a fire the second night.  He even whittled a marshmallow stick for everyone in their shelter, earning him the trail name, "Blade".  Are you imagining the laundry I got to deal with upon their return?

Day three brought rain.  Good thing they were hiking out!

He found a vine to swing on along the trail!  Looks like fun, doesn't it?

A little reward at the end of the trail.  That night they stayed in a hotel and were grateful for a hot shower, plenty of toilet paper and a huge steak dinner!

Jonathan's already started planning his backpacking trip for next year...