When we last left off, Babushka and I were enjoying the pine forests of the Green Mountain Range of Vermont. Our journey northbound along the Appalachian Trail continues. We are now in Maine! In this update, I will be focusing on our journey through the New Hampshire.
Appalachian Trail thru-hikers Spudnik and Babushka have passed through Virginia and West Virginia. Next up is their home state, Pennsylvania and the AT half-way mark at mile 1094.55.
I suppose I should start this post with an apology, and then some excuses. It has been far too long since I have updated the blog. We are still alive and well, and have not been eaten by any bears (as some have suggested). We haven't had as reliable access to wifi and computers, so it's been difficult to post any updates.
Spudnik and Babushka are currently thru-hiking the Appalachian trail and have just passed the quarter mark. Read on to learn about their adventures in cattle wrangling and a bear encounter in Virginia.
We have not been able to update in a short while and there is a lot to catch up on. Since our last post, we have traversed another hundred miles and have passed the quarter-way point on the Appalachian Trail.
It is with great pleasure and a considerable amount of satisfaction that I am announcing that we have finally made it to Virginia! We're almost 500 miles in, and crossing state lines does wonders to boost morale! It's getting hot and humid here, which makes for some sweaty hiking. We've been trying to get up early in the morning to try to beat the heat, but it still is quite warm. We had been told that Tropical Depression Bonnie might be headed our way and were braced for some rainy days, but we have remained quite fortunate to not have much rain while hiking. We got some overnight rain, but mostly just rumblings of thunder while hiking.
“It's the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top.” -Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
Brittany and I are having an incredible journey so far. The past four weeks have been amazing and challenging as we hiked through the mountains of northern Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee.
Ice-covered trees in the Smokies
It feels like a long time since we've been able to update, but we have been moving right along! We left Georgia, spent a few days in North Carolina, then entered Great Smoky Mountain National Park, where we followed the state line between North Carolina and Tennessee. We left the park and have been continuing on our way. I'm updating from Hot Springs, NC, where they have famous mineral baths.
Miles on the Appalachian Trail: 107.7Total Miles from Amicalola falls state park: 116.5
It has been quite an adventure into the mountains. We began our trip with a shuttle ride from Hiker Ron, who picked us up from the Atlanta airport. Ron used to be a park ranger at Amicalola Falls State Park, where the Appalachian Approach trail up Springer mountain begins and where we started our adventure.
It's been a great first week on the AT. We're possibly the dirtiest, smelliest, and sweatiest we've ever been, but have loved hiking through the northern Georgia mountains. The weather has ranged from 80+, sunny, and humid, to cold, thunder, and lightning. Jon Przybylek (Christian's brother) and his friend Rob were able to drive up from Florida and hiked with us from Cooper's Gap, camping out one night with us before they needed to get back to work and school. We are excited to be headed to North Carolina later today or early tomorrow. We have been having a great time, enjoying our time in the woods and little trail towns and making new friends. More to come soon...
In my last post, I talked about my desire to hike all the way across Short Hills Provincial Park before eventually turning around and heading back to the Rockway Conservation Area prior to sunset, only I didn’t quite make it all the way across. Without knowing exactly how much more distance I needed to cover, I reluctantly turned around, completely unaware of how close I actually was to the Wiley Road entranceway. Today I learned; it was a lot closer than I actually thought.
In hindsight, I definitely made the right decision by turning around when I did, as I was barely able to make it back to the lower bridge in the Rockway gorge just before dusk. And when I did finally get to the bridge, it was an absolutely amazing experience, so I have no regrets about bailing out when I did.
Long distance walking is addictive! There is something so beautiful and simple about the sole goal for the day being to walk from A to B carrying everything you need to survive on your own back. Something so uncomplicated but at the same time one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do. Usually at some point throughout the day your body wants to sit down and give in to the relentless aches; which leaves it up to your mind and mental stamina to force one foot in front of the other and push on. Pushing through your boundaries and feeling like you can conquer the world is what creates those endorphins and makes you want to go back for more.
Since completing the Camino de Santiago across Spain in late 2014 there’s been a little voice in the back of my head saying…. What’s next??? Well… this is what’s next. In early July I will be heading off on the European Peace Walk. This is a long distance trail that criss-crosses in and out of five European countries from the starting point in Sopron, Hungary all the way to Trieste, Italy. We will literally be having breakfast, lunch and dinner in three different countries on a couple of days as we jump borders between Hungary, Slovenia, Austria, Croatia and Italy.
As of today, it’s been three weeks since my hernia surgery, so to help celebrate, I decided to head out onto the Bruce Trail for a quick little three hour hike. How could I not on a day such as today? It was 18 degrees and gorgeous out there. A perfect Spring day. A bit windy and overcast, but definitely nice. Hard to imagine that it was snowing and below freezing just a few days ago.
13km – 3 hrs
This portion of Te Araroa starts from the southern end of Orewa Beach south of the bridge on Te Ara Tahuna – the Orewa Estuary walkway and winds up at Stillwater Boating Club in Stillwater. Starting out early we followed the footpath along the pleasant, popular shoreline of Orewa estuary before leaving the walkway and weaving through the new, cookie-cutter suburb of Millwater which eventually comes out at the Silverdale Centre shops.
Byron Bay is a chilled beach town in the far north-eastern corner of New South Wales, Australia. It is well known for its relaxed surfing culture and the original hippie/alternative lifestyle which harmoniously mingle here. The Cape Byron Lighthouse stands proud on the headland overlooking the township and is an icon of Byron Bay. One of the best ways to experience Byron Bay’s beauty and see why it is so popular with visitors is by strolling the Cape Byron Track.
The Cape Byron Track loops around the headland which is the eastern most point of Australia’s mainland. It passes by several stunning beaches, weaves through rainforest and if you’re lucky or unlucky enough (depending on your viewpoint and the creature) you might literally run into some interesting Australian wildlife. The culmination of the Cape Byron track is the historical 1901 lighthouse at the top of the point.
The track starts on a wooden boardwalk at the bottom of The Pass before heading through a short bush stretch to stunning Watego’s Beach. I ran into a few lizards here..including this rather large fellow below. There is a cafe here if you are keen for a bite and the banana bread is reputedly one of the best in Australia!
Do you think she knows she has a friend?
After Watego’s beach the track starts to ascend through the rainforest and then reaches a paved path that leads to the eastern most point of Australian mainland. It then continues up at a steeper incline to the Cape Byron Lighthouse. It was during this last stretch that I nearly got taken out by a small kangaroo bounding across the path literally half a step in front of me. Not having a clue what it was I just about fell backwards down the steps in my hurry to move away. He then jumped back on the path for a gracious photo opportunity and now that I could actually see what it was I was stoked! One of those moments when you just ❤Australia.
-Walk starts at the Captain Cook carpark on Lighthouse Rd.
-Wear proper shoes and take water.
-Take your wallet if you want to take advantage of the cafes.
-There is a maritime museum in the base of the lighthouse which is open from 10am to 4pm daily
For more info on gorgeous Byron Bay visit here.
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