And like that we’re in Massachusetts!

Hello all,

Sorry for the lack of updates. WordPress for mobile hasn’t been working well and after some testing it’s time to switch platforms.  We’ve been posting on Instagram instead and it has been working really well from our phones and minimal service.  Our profiles are public so you don’t need to have an account.  Below are links to our accounts.  Please follow along there for up to date pictures and video. If you have Instagram feel free to follow us.  Or ifyou have Facebook add us on there. Everything we post in Instagram gets duplicate posted there automatically. 

​https://www.instagram.com/red_tgz

https://www.instagram.com/lorashananigans

Sorry for the change of format late in the game, but it is the easiest for us to keep up-to-date.  
We are in Massachusetts though and should be in Vermont soon!  The trail since the NJ/NY boarder has steadily been getting better and better. Definitely the most beautiful hiking is in the northern part of the trail. Sorry south!

Advertisements

Crank Up the Bon Jovi…

Because Woah, we’re halfway there! Made it to the official halfway point Sunday afternoon. Now only 1o94.5 miles to go! We are into Pennsylvania now too. So we’ve successfully hiked through GA, NC, TN, VA, WV, & MD! 6 states!

Here are some pictures and video along the way.

Bunnies in Shenandoah. We saw lots of rabbits and deer, but only one black bear!  I was disappointed as other hikers we know saw between 8-12.

bunnies on the trail video 

Decent sunset from inside a shelter in Shenandoah. A fellow hiker is in picture.  The AT through the park isn’t one of the better parts of the trail. I would suggest driving the Skyline Parkway instead and doing day hikes on the side trails.

Photo at the ATC in Harper’s Ferry!

Harper’s Ferry is a nice little town.

Steve (Laura’s dad) came down to meet us in Harper’s Ferry. Made a quick trip DC, Antietam, and Gettysburg.  It was a really great time and glad he could make it!

A monk with a selfie stick..yes

Steve hiked a little bit of the trail out of Harper’s Ferry with us.

Cool ivy

Finally out of the South!

PA rock time

This isn’t the official halfway point for this year, but it looked much better than the official one ha.

I’ll try to post again soon. Maybe some more videos might be in order.

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY EVERYONE! It’s raining so we’re relaxing in the tent.

Hike, hike, hike

Made it to Waynesboro, VA for a rest day.  At mile 861.3.  Early next week we should break 1000 and get to Harper’s Ferry!  Exciting times!  Had a little delay in making updates to the blog. A week or so back I got some sort of illness in the woods, which made us take an unexpected trip back to Dalesville 2 days after leaving. All is good now, but I got to experience being sick in the woods. Let’s just say it’s as fun as you’d expect going out in the middle of the night twice with only a headlamp to use the bathroom and possibility of running into wildlife would be! Haha

Anyways, here’s a lot of stuff we saw including a little video I made while hiking in the mist.  It was like this all day, which looks cool but kills any views.  Also, a video of a lizard I saw. They are fast!

misty hiking video

Lizard video

image

image

image

Rattlesnake I saw on a bathroom stop. Glad I spotted him!

image

Some more forest fire remnants

image

Food stop

image

Worst blaze I’ve seen haha.

image

2nd biggest tree on the AT. It was big!

image

image

image

Some good trail magic from some Wisconsinites!

image

Dragon’s Tooth

image

image

Out friend Nick at McAfee Knob.

image

Us at McAfee Knob. We’re less daring haha.

image

Big rat snake. Thankfully they are not venomous or aggressive to people. They get big though!

image

A note left at Tinker Cliffs regarding a rattlesnake spotted close by. I was chosen to take lead after this picture haha.

image

Bullet holes…nice touch.

image

Cool older sign. Also, it is really astonishing the amount of trash you find at camps sites.  Pack out what you pack in people!  Or I will find you…

image

Interesting foot bridge. Thankfully if it failed it wasn’t far to fall.

image

Laura about to be crushed…actually just the “guillotine” rock.

image

Biggest foot bridge on the AT

image

Depressing memorial after a grueling climb up a mountain.

image

Little passing 800 miles sign we found

image

Tenting next to a swing we found in a meadow. Cool until your family makes you realize how creepy it is! Haha Thankfully it was a quiet night with no apparitions.

image

View from Priest Mountain

image

Changing our trekking pole tips. They definitely needed it!

Now onto the Shennendoas!

-Toby

Past 600!

Stayed overnight in Perrisberg, VA to resupply and beat the rain. Stayed in the bunk room at the “lovely” Holiday Lodge.

Past 600 miles and still moving! Here’s some recent pictures.

image

image

image

Rhododendrons in bloom and another orange flower.

image

Not bad…

image

image

image

600 miles! Time to dance.

image

image

Turtle!

image

Branches that looked like they were placed in the tree. Looked funny.

image

Our new home (tent)!  Working great so far.

image

image

image

image

image

More cows and stiles! Tricky things to get over with a pack on.

Past 500 miles, time to crank it up

We broke 500 miles the other day!  Still a lot to go, but excited to hit that mark.  We finally got to play The Proclaimers “I’m Gonna Be”! Planning to crank that every 500 miles.

image

Stopped over in Marion, VA to pick up packages with new shoes for Laura and a new tent. We’ve upgraded our home from a Big Agnes Copper spur ul2 to a Zpacks triplex. It’s a small company that hand makes the tents.  Upgrading to the almighty “cuben fiber” that is super light and inherently 100% waterproof.  Shaving 1.5 pounds off our setup and going to a bigger 3 person! Pretty excited.

Here’s some random pictures from the past week or so.

image

Interesting flower that fell from a tree

image

Crazy big pine tree. Looked mutated with all the trunks.

image

Tented by a cool pond with big bull frogs

image

Buzzard Rock…I think

image

Wild horses!

image

image

Cornering Laura. The expression is priceless

image

image

image

Lindsey getting harassed by the ponies.

image

image

A baby! Fun to see

image

Deer on thr trail. She really didn’t care that we were there and only moved off the trail 15ft or so when we came up.

image

image

Virginia Time!

Made it to Virginia yesterday!  It was a bit wet on our hike into Damascus…but rain and knowing we had a B&B room booked helped us hike 18.7 miles pretty quick! Here’s a short video I took to show how the trail was basically a small stream.

https://youtu.be/VdMhWUaL368

Tomorrow we continue on and will hit 500 miles in a couple days!

Here’s some random pictures from the past week or so.

image

Into Virginia!!  3 states down, 11 to go!

image

image

The trail went through a cow pasture.  Pretty cool and wasn’t expecting that.

image

A gravestone for Nick Grindstaff. He was a hermit who lived in the TN mountains near Watauga Lake for 40 years.  His epitaph is pretty depressing.
“He lived alone, suffered alone, and died alone”

image

Watauga Lake

image

Laural Falls, not bad

image

Looking of Squatches

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

The Roan Highlands.  Easily my favorite section of the trail so far despite being super cold for mid May in NC/TN. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

-Toby

Still Kickin’ in TN

We’re still trucking.  WordPress just keeps acting up every time I get access to some wifi and doesn’t upload.  Hopefully the hostel we are staying in tomorrow will have functional wifi.

Until then, we are officially done with North Carolina!  At mile 411.5!  Should be done with Tennessee and into Virginia by the end of the week if all goes well.

Also, we saw our first rattle snake leaving Hot Springs!  A guy in front of us on the trail put his hiking stick right on it because it was barely off the trail. Another guy decided to use a big stick to move it so everyone could get past.  The snake was pissed, but thankfully no one was bit and everyone got around ok.  WordPress didn’t like the video so you have to click the YouTube link below.

https://youtu.be/fg0fMLFZSXw

-Toby

Hot Springs, NC

First walk thru hiker town on our travels!!

Such a cute little town with some awesome food and great people!

Here’s Toby at Spring Creek Tavern with their 18oz AT Hiker Burger! (It was worth the 13 sprint into town yesterday!!)

image

image

image

And a few photos of Max Patch, a huge grassy mountain with amazing views!!

image

image

-Laura

Out of the Smokies

Day 23 and at mile 247.5.  Here are some pictures from the Smokies.  Amazing views. Unfortunately we didn’t see any bears though.

image

image

image

Old plane crash site.

image

image

image

Some rain while waiting for a ride into Gatlinburg with a couple we’ve been hiking with, Lindsey and Nick.

image

Wild hog containment fence. Didnt see any though…

image

image

image

image

Standing Bear hostel where we stopped for resupply after the Smokies

image

image

image

A hiker’s dog she has with her. Super nice.

image

Hiking into the fog today 

200 miles, lots of rain & the highest point on the AT

Big milestones today! We hit our 200 miles today, on day 20 of our hike! Uffdah. Right now our highest mileage day is 17.7 miles but we are averaging 10 miles a day!

image
Highest point on the AT, Clingman's Dome!

Literally, so windy at Clingman’s Dome, i had to sit down so I didn’t topple over the rail!!

We made it to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park on Thursday. Loving the incredible changes in scenery within one park!

image

image
Great Smokey Mountains National Park

My only complaint on the Smokies is that the shelters you have to stay in have extra smooth, slippery wood–yes even when dry, and especially in socks— that I slipped and fell from the top bunk…rocking a nice cut and black eye on the trail.

image

We ended up dodging rain and storms (after about an hour of hiking and waiting for our car in the pouring rain) and catching some zzzzz’s in a hotel! Whew!

Here’s some extra, random photos!!

image
Hiking up to Clingman's Dome
image
View of the Fontana Dam
image
Nightly routines

Shout out to our new and great friend, Train!!! Lew, we’ll miss you on the trail! We have been catching up to Train since Day 1!

image
Smokey Mountains with Train!

-Laura

100 miles! & Toby’s birthday!!

At the top of Albert Mountain!! Just got our 100 miles of Appalachian Trail finished!! More if you count the 8.8 approach trail!!

Here is Toby at the summit of Albert Mountain,  eating some freeze dried ice cream on his birthday!! Not a bad way to spend your birthday!!

image

The Albert Mountain approach:

image

image

More updates once we get into town!!!

-Laura

Neels Gap Rest & Resupply

Staying at a cabin with some other hikers at Neels Gap. Gave us a chance to have some wifi, shower, and get some more food. Plus some pictures finally! In chronological order.

-Toby

image

Amicalola Falls

image

The official start. They unfortunately don’t count the 8.8 mile approach trail we did.

image

Some rain on night 1

image

Day 2 start!

image

Felt like we were in a jungle with the light mist/rain

image

Not a bad view

image

This is the easy stuff. Not pictured are the more difficult rocks and many ups & downs.

image

Not a bad place for a photo

image

Campsite last night with a fire

image

Blood Mountain  (yes real name and it was in a bear alert area . didn’t see any though…)

image

More views from Blood Mountain

image

And another

image

Neels Gap shoe tree. We are told they are from former thru hikers…keeping my eyes open when I sleep tonight haha

First Bear Sighting

Laura is hiking in front of me and says “there’s a bear running right at us.”  I thought she was joking until I saw a bear running through the woods in our direction. Thankfully it must not have seen us because when we started making noise it got startled and turned and ran uphill away from us. Also Laura was a quick draw and already had her bear mace just in case.  That was a good first encounter and only on day 2!

-Toby

Driving Down to GA

image
My pack....has our solar panel light and a token from a friend!

Heading down to GA today, 2 days left! Toby’s Mom and Brother are driving down with us, bless their souls haha!

Starting our hike with some family members also which is quite special!

image
The boys

Found the Cat!

After about 2.5 days we finally found the little guy!  Blown away and so happy we were able to find him.  Now to finish this effing move to MN so we can do final prep for the AT on April 11th!

image

Turn of events….call for help

Driving in separate cars to get home and SOMEONE who will remain anonymous opened the car door and cat cage at the same time. I consider this man very intelligent. However,  even intelligent people can make the worst decisions. *note it wasn’t Toby*

Hugo was lost out in brambley woods.

image

image

I am HEARTBROKEN. Hoping to have the stamina to even start the trail in a week.
We’ve been camping near the Delaware Water Gap where he was lost with our othe cat Pierre.

We are doing everything we can to find him. Please spread the word if you live in the area. Reward money is a definite.

Here are some photos of our Hugo:

image

image

This is the damage done trying to find him, today we are going out in almost hazmat suits because the brambles are that bad.

image

image

If there is but one piece of trail magic we could wish for is that he be found  (sooner rather than later). Thru hikers please keep your eyes open!!!!

19 days and counting

image

If hiking over 2,000 miles wasn’t a big enough challenge; we upped the ante and added a move cross country back to our roots in the midwest.

Gotta love over ambitious type-A folks such as ourselves.

Less than a week for our move. 19 days and counting till our trail start date.