What is this blog about?

My name is Lori. In August, 2014, I plan to hike the Camino de Santiago trail. Feel free to join me on my adventure by following me on this blog.

Monday, September 24, 2012


As I write this, I am on a plane back to Florida. What a weekend full of many emotions!
At about 10:30am on Saturday, September 22nd, I made the summit of Mt. Katahdin!
The 100 mile wilderness was kind to us, overall. However, seven days straight in the woods takes a toll. We were tired and hungry. We hiked to the closest point to the base of Katahdin that we could, in Baxter state park. Sparky's wife, Janet, met us there with a car which we proceeded to quickly stink up as Sparky, me, Longstride, and Silvergirl piled in.
As we hiked into the park, there was a ranger at a checkpoint to check us in. I was the first to tell him my name, and he proceeded to say, "ah, you're Passionflowers group. We thought you guys would making it here today". We had been referring to Katahdin as the "Emerald City" for a while now, and his reaction to us just confirmed how magical it was!
Just before I made it to camp on my last night in the woods, I hiked to a peak where I got this great view of the Emerald City:
My last couple nights in the woods were cold. I slept in layers of clothes, including my down pants and jacket. I don't like the cold much, so the climate helped me feel a little more happy to be finishing.
With the colder weather, I was able to get a little taste of the New England Fall.
Since we hike so much with our head down, looking where to step, it was nice to see the beautiful color changes!
Before driving out of the park, we stop at the ranger station to sign in as an AT thru hiker. In Harpers Ferry, I signed in at #545. Here in Baxter state park, I am #496. We have seen a lot of new faces in the last three weeks, it seems. Many hikers have sped up to make it to the end before the cold. Some have slowed down to enjoy their last weeks. Also there are some who skip part of the trail all together to catch up with others, or make it before their visa is up and they need to fly back to their country. Myself, and the group I have hiked most with are proud to say that we have been able to hike the entire trail without missing a white blaze.
Janet drives us to the big moose cabins where her and Sparky, Longstride and Silvergirl with two of their kids, and myself will stay for a couple nights. Janet cooked us an excellent meal with appetizers, lasagna, homemade macaroni and cheese, salad, and pie for dessert. EZ and Gravity joined us for dinner as well, with four of their friends. It was such an exciting night. We were all excited and apprehensive at the same time to climb our last mountain the next morning. It was great to all be together. The weather forecast kept changing for Saturday, but we were hoping for the best.
Saturday morning came, and we were in cars by 5:30am, headed back to the park. It was cloudy, but seemed to be looking as if the fog was lifting.
Since I was the only one without friends and family who joined me, I hiked a little quicker than the rest. I soon caught up with Voltron, who we caught up to two days before. He had been ahead of us since reaching New Hampshire. The weather was looking up.
The first mile or so is not so steep, but eventually we start claiming vertical. It is 5 miles to the summit. 
Layers of clothes come off as we get warmer climbing. 
UP we go!
Soon, as we get higher, the weather turns colder, wet, and windy. By the time we get to ridge line, it gets less steep, but it is really cold and windy. I have few pictures of the rest of the hike because of the harsh conditions.
When I reached the summit, and saw the sign I have been walking towards for six months, tears rolled down my cheeks. It was so hard to believe that I had made it. I had been hiking for exactly 6 months, and today, my journey ended with a destination.
The weather made it difficult to bask in the moment of what was happening. I touched the sign, and couldn't stop smiling!
The day I decided to do this trail, I met a southbound thru hiker with the trail name of "Whoopie Pie". Her family met her at Springer mountain and was giving out homemade whoopie pies. It only seemed right that I celebrate my summit with a whoopie pie!
I waited for all my hiker family to arrive before I hiked back down. 
Here is: EZ, Gravity, me, Silvergirl, Longstride, Voltron, and Sparky. We beat the odds and ALL made it to the end! What a perfect ending!The five mile hike back down was difficult, to say the least. Winds were high, almost blowing me off my feet at times. Rain turned to sleet. It's difficult to climb rocks, but even more difficult to get back down, especially when they are wet and slippery. I had to slide on my butt multiple times. Some of our group was fearing hypothermia on the way down. Once we got down in elevation, the weather got more mild, and wasn't even raining at the bottom.
We headed back to the cabin, had dinner, and everyone crashed out early from exhaustion. I guess it's a good thing we had a little party the night before!
We did celebrate again with a big breakfast at the
Appalachian Trail cafe. They let thru hikers sign their ceiling tiles, and that we did! We have made history. Congrats to the AT thru hiker class of 2012!!
Miles hiked: 2184.2
Springer Mountain GA 3/22/12- Mt. Katahdin, ME 9/22/12
I just hiked the Appalachian Trail!


  1. You are amazing! Thank you so much for keeping this journal of your adventure so we could all live it with you! Can't wait to see you!!!

  2. Have really enjoyed following your progress since Springer it will be missed! Congrats on your acomplishment!!

  3. Well done! You are an inspiration to us all. Can't wait to give you a big welcome back hug <3

  4. I have followed your whole journey and I can honestly say I am a little sad to see it end just because I love reading your posts. I can't even imagine doing something like this but I am so glad that I got to share in your journey and get a tiny bit of an amazing experience for myself. Congrats on finishing your dream.

  5. Lori,


    I've followed your progress since the snowstorm near Erwin, TN. At that point my friend Big Red told me of his friend Sparky's endeavor, and from Sparky's blog I learned of yours. Congratulations! Your tenacity is inspirational. You'll treasure this experience for the rest of your life. One of my Raleigh, NC neighbors was "Flower", Class of 1995 (or 1996?). She's now a married mother of 4 in suburbia (albeit a home-school teacher for her brood, a first-rate vegatable gardner, and a budding chicken farmer), but she still absolutely lights up when the subject of the AT comes up! Thanks for your considerable effort to keep this blog updated. I'm going to miss firing up my PC each morning and looking at the map, your blog, and Sparky's blog to see just exactly "where is lori AT". Best wishes in you future endeavors.

    Raleigh, NC

  6. Lori, you are AMAZING! So impressed with you and your achievement. You ROCK!

  7. Congratulations


  8. I've waited for days to say something, it still may be early. In my youth President Kennedy said: " We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win...". What you have done here is un-common, it's amazing and very hard. You have tested your metal and pushed the limits, you have found "you can", a very important thing. Now your life will move on. I am also reminded of a quote from Helen Keller; "It is not required of every man and woman to do or be something great. Most of us have to be content to take small part in the drama of life. Lori, you have certainly proven that you are not "every woman", in fact you are a very special Daughter of God and I get to share a small part of the plan as your Dad. I have no question that there shall be yet great things you accomplish in your mortal sojourn, but the wisdom in Helen's vision* is recognizing the importance of the "small part" we all claim hold to. I think this will always be an inspirational moment for you as it should be. I think also that the greatest achievements you will ever see will be in small, even sacred, some even quietly and all being hardly noticed save it be by you. That baby's breath or heart beat you save, that calming assurance you render someone in need, that thought of doing the right thing only seen and known by you and God. the deep breath you take with a smile in your heart that encourages yourself to carry on, that deeply planted desire to help and serve others in need as witnessed by yourself time again and again. You need not seek the thrill and addiction of dangerous and near impossible challenges that come your way, but should you be just overwhelmed with the desire to go to some Emerald City, just over the Rainbow, well you know the pattern of "How-to", just be sure, be safe and always now remember the value of living at the speed of Walk. Love Dad

  9. congrats on your finish!
    - "Progress"

  10. Hello,

    I am planning on starting the AT this March I was wondering if I would be able to chat with you to get some first hand advice. jnodding(at)hotmail(dot)com. Hoping you would be willing to share your wisdom.
    thanks in advance