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.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

And for Sparky's family's enjoyment.....Hehehe! There's a few hurdles to jump out here :-)


Yesterday was one of our wettest days yet. It started raining around 1pm and rained for 19 hours. The rain didn't get us down though because we passed a major milestone. We finished Georgia, and crossed into North Carolina. Great accomplishment so far! North Carolina came in with a bang, with a straight up climb in the pouring rain. We got a glimpse of a beautiful view above the lower mountains, where we could see the lower clouds moving through. Pictures just don't do it justice. Once we got to the shelter, it was pretty full. We ended up sleeping 10 people in an 8 person shelter. When I say it is an 8 person shelter, that really means it sleeps 7 comfortably. Haha! We had one on the floor, one on the table, and 8 shoulder to shoulder on the sleeping platform. I had met most of the people at least once, so by AT standards, we were all old friends already. Let's just say we were pretty cozy on that platform, but at least we were warm. This morning, I had the joy of putting my wet cold clothes back on for today's hike. I won't lie, I hate that part of the day. We dried out pretty fast once the fog left us late morning. When lunch time came around, we hit the parking lot at deep gap and were surprised with some more trail magic. Thank you "freight train" & "plan B" for the free hiker lunch and baked goods. Mmmmm
As I write this post, I am standing by a toasty fire with no rain falling on my head (though we might get some overnight).
Overall, I am having a great time, and enjoying the company of the other hikers. I am looking forward to seeing Chris in a couple weeks ;-)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Oh yeah!!! Guess where we are? North Carolina, that's where!

PS-if I look wet, I'm not....I'm drenched!!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Snail and Turtle

Elisa's last night with me. We are all going to miss her. Passionflower, Sparky, Turtle, and Snail will hike on without her. 

The picture below is Speck, Octane, and Karen. They are trail angels, who served us a little trail magic. They set up at a crossings on the trail, and provided cold drinks and lots of food. They served hotdogs and chili (I'd hate to sleep next to those hikers tonight) haha. I had some salt and vinegar chips, cold soda, and homemade sour cream pound cake. Yum! It was good timing because this is where we had set up a shuttle to go to the blueberry patch hostel. We had about a half hour to veg out with the trail angels before our shuttle arrived. 
We only did 4 miles today to get some much needed rest on our feet. 
I am having a problem with my Achilles tendons the last couple days. I need to figure out a solution quick before it prevents me from hiking. Other than that, I feel strong, and my muscles are no longer so sore. I may need to get some different shoes, but unfortunately had no luck finding some in this town. 
I have my feet up right now at the hostel. It is a room with two three-bed bunks, and one two-bed bunk. All but two bunks are taken, so it's pretty cozy. The man who runs the place, Gary (with his wife Lenny), also provides a bathroom/shower room. They are very generous. They will be cooking a full breakfast in the morning. Turtle and Snail (zee Germans), are also staying at the hostel tonight. We went into town for a bit, and when we pulled into a parking lot of a motel with a hiker store, several other hikers shouted "Passionflower! Sparky!". It's pretty cool to be part of this hiking community. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mountain goat, Passionfliwer, and Sparky. What a team!

Today was day 6 on the trail. We have hiked to mile 54.3. Our muscles feel like we have hiked 100 miles. We have had two 11 mile days in a row, and we sure feel it. That is a lot for the first week on trail. I am very excited for a low mile day in a couple days with a night in a hostel. I can't describe how amazing getting a shower will feel! On trail, I give myself a baby wipe bath every night. Even that feels good. Tonight we have a pretty private camp at the top of a mountain. It is just me (passionflower), Elisa (mountain goat), Allan (sparky), and a very nice German couple we have camped with for the last couple nights (snail & turtle). We see a lot of the same faces at night, and during the day as we hike. Me, Elisa, and Allan have hiked together since the first day. When Elisa leaves the trail, Allan and I will continue to be hiking partners as long as our pace continues to match
so well. He's a great hiking partner!
We haven't seen much wildlife yet besides birds and squirrels. Last night we camped right next to a lovely babbling brook that sang us to sleep at night. The people on the trail are pretty amazing. It's like being at a family reunion, as everyone is so friendly and looks out for each other.
When we meet people out on day hikes, they ask if we are thru hikers, and are always excited to hear our answer and cheer us on.
We were around #400 thru hiker on day one. A couple days ago at the 30 mile point, I was thru hiker #326.

Friday, March 23, 2012

My first two days on the trail have been very wet. I am enjoying it none the less. We had some great musicians at the shelter last night playing a ukulele, a violin, and singing. It was great! We slept in the shelter to keep our tents dry, and had no problems. Funny how comfortable you can be sleeping side by side with a stranger. Haha. We hiked all day today with Allen from Arizona. He's a retired air traffic controller, and has a nice easy going disposition. He keeps telling us to "stop scaring him" when we say something about mice, bugs etc. Hahaha. We are camping for the 2nd night with "voltron". Planning to sleep in the shelter tonight again to stay out of the storm. Hopefully the critters will stay away. 
Here is a cute salamander we found today. His name is firecracker. 

Oh yeah, I have met several people who already knew me from my blog. How cool! Everyone on the trail are so nice

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hello everyone, Elisa and I are in route to GA. We will start hiking tomorrow. It has been a hectic week pulling all the ends together for this trip. I made a short video about what I have packed in my drop boxes, got it to my computer, and couldn't seem to get it downloaded to the blog. Technical issues to look forward to once I get home, I guess. I will be taking lots of pictures on a camera that I will download when I am home in September. I will also be taking photos from my phone which I will be able to share along the way.
I had some great opportunities this last week to see many of my friends, and got lots of happy Bon voyage wishes. Thanks everyone!
I am a little frustrated right now with my pack weight. I am at about 35.5lbs without water (1 liter of water= 2 lbs). I was hoping to be down to 30 lbs. I will make some adjustments tonight and get a final pack weight.
I guess when you aren't planning to stop hiking for 6 months, extras end up getting added to the pack. I am trying to make my "toss" choices wisely.
Here is our home for tonight...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

6 days, 7 hours, and some minutes

I will be leaving for GA in less than a week!!!
I just feel the need to post about how incredibly lucky I am. I have an awesome family, friends, and boyfriend who are all so supportive of me. Ok, well my Mom and my Boss are a little over supportive of me coming home early....but supportive none the less.

All of this support doesn't mean the planning of this great adventure has been easy, but it has absolutely helped! I have been overwhelmed lately of the friends I have in my life.
Kay and Jose: You guys are going to be my lifeline! Thank you so much for being my ground support for all my drop boxes, and other odds and ends.
Michelle: Dog sitting is one thing, but for 6 months?!?! Your generosity is overwhelming!
Buffy, Renata, Vanessa, Jose, Cory, Elisa, Heidi: The amazing back-up dog sitters. (I am beginning to thing that Maggie has more friends than I do....and I just come with the package) lol
Kelly, Tracy, Paula, Joanie, Denise, Leslie, JoAnne: you are the best work moms a girl could ask for! And all my other great friends at "the Ranch" who are rooting for me!! Kelly, thanks for arranging my happy trails going away dinner! I will miss everyone, and will definitely miss the babies!
All my Adventure Group friends...there are so many to name, but Matt and Leslie....Thank you so much for planning a bonfire celebration this weekend. Without you, there isn't a way I could have the time to see all the people I want to before I leave. Thanks for offering your home and yard to bring all my favorite people together.
Mike B: You are a thorn in my side...hahaha...but you are the one who got me excited about backpacking in the first place. Thank you! And if I get eaten by a bear, I want everyone to know who to blame. hahahaha
Craig and Betty: Thanks for training with me on the AT to prepare. We definitely saw the good, the bad, and the ugly in each other on that trip, and I can't stop laughing my arse off when I think about it. :-)
Elisa: Thanks for the wet training! lol Also, an enormous thanks for driving me to GA, hiking the first week with me, and then driving away quickly when the time comes, so I don't try to drive back with you. hehehe. You are truly a rare gem to find! I can't wait for our week together on the trail!
Appalachian Trail Class of 2012: We have been talking for over a year now, getting to know each other. Now we get to finally meet and hike this adventure together. Priceless!
Mom, Dad, Jamie, Scott, Shane: I love you! You are the greatest family ever!
Chelsea, Erin, Debbie, Marianne, Jenn, Olga, Buffy: My BFF's from afar and close by...I will miss you!
Pam and Vicki: I am claiming you as my other mothers. Thanks for the support! (even though I am sure you think I am absolutely nuts)
Chris: Thank you for being the amazing man you are. I am so fortunate to have you in my life, and will absolutely miss you just as much as Maggie! :-) Seriously, my boyfriend has been nothing but supportive of this trip. I miss him already. Looking forward to the short meetups we have planned along the way.

I would also like to thank brother and sister Duke for the lesson they taught me the last time they visited, using Thomas S. Monsons' talk. I would like to share those words of encouragement now.

Have a positive Attitude
Believe in Yourself
"Don't limit yourself and don't let others convince you that you are limited in what you can do. Believe in yourself and then live so as to reach your possibilities."
Face Challenges with Courage
"Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide on, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong"
"There will be times when you will be frightened and discouraged. You may feel that you are defeated. The odds of obtaining victory may appear overwhelming. At times you may feel like David trying to fight Goliath. But remember--David did win!"
"Have the determination to make the effort, the single-mindedness to work toward a worthy goal, and the courage not only to face the challenges that inevitably come but also to make a second effort, should such be required. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, 'Ill try again tomorrow.'"

I have a lot to do to be ready in 6 days, 7 hours, and some minutes. I hope to post at least once more before that time ticks out. For right now, my house looks like a tornado picked up a sporting goods store and dropped it in my living room. Today was my last day at work. Now the real work begins!

I read recently that the total amount of climbing for the AT is about 496,000 feet. Mt Everest is 29,000 feet. So, hiking the AT is roughly the equivalent of climbing Mt Everest 16 times. And according to the guys at the NOC, there are 865 summits on the AT.
Roughly 27% of those who set out to hike the entire Appalachian Trail finish their goal. 25% of those are women. I have a positive attitude, I believe in myself, and I am going to face those challenges with courage.