Monday, August 18, 2014

mile 2185.3 - done.

I haven't posted in so long! I'll post a more detailed version of this in the next few days but this is all that really matters...

We climbed Katahdin on August 16. Five months and eight days after we started. Man oh man what a wild journey it has been.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mile 1647.2 - Vermont!

Hello from Vermont, everyone!

I'm typing this from Green Mountain House in Manchester Center, VT. It is, by far, the nicest hostel I have ever been in! I had to get off the trail this morning because after hiking only 5 miles yesterday, I was completely wiped. I've been feeling like this for a while now, so I thought it'd be best to get to the doctor and check for Lyme. (Eeek!) Or, at the very least, take a day to rest. So that's what I'm doing now. I have my appointment tomorrow morning so send me some good vibes! In the meantime, I'm going to sit on a couch and watch Argentina whoop up on the Netherlands in the World Cup with a fellow thru-hikers :)

So much has happened since I last posted. Since leaving Ice's house in NJ, we have walked through the remainder of Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and the first part of Vermont! In only two weeks! Feels like we've been moving pretty quickly.

Ice's mom dropped me off where I left off in NJ at around 7pm. I had to walk an extra 3.5 miles to catch Ice and Pickles (formerly known as Wees). I was walking alone at twilight and it was one of the most magical times I've had on the trail. I walked across the boardwalk of NJ and all around me were thousands of lightning bugs! It was incredible!

We crossed into New York soon after and hit Prospect Rock - the highest point in NY! We crossed the Bear Mountain bridge and Hyperbole's parents were nice enough to host us for an evening. They even slacked us for a day! "Slacking" means that they held all of our stuff while we carried empty backpacks - it allows for more miles in a day and you're not cussing up a storm going up a mountain. It's good walkin.

Prospect Rock
Ice in a N.Y. lake
Crossing Bear Mountain Bridge

It felt like we breezed through NY, before I knew it, we had hit Connecticut. CT was beautiful! When we hit Falls Village, CT, Pickles' actually had some family friends that took us in for the night. They let us shower and fed us until we popped. (Thank you Dan and Barbara!) My feet were in pretty bad shape around this time, but I was able to get my new shoes in Salisbury, about 7 miles further. (THANK GOD! - Thanks for sending them, Mom!)

We were sitting outside the grocery store in Salisbury, CT, about to head back to the trail to go to sleep, when a lady and her daughter approached us and asked if we were thru-hikers. We told them that we were and she replied, "It's going to rain, why don't you come sleep in my living room." We bought her some flowers and walked down to her house - what we found there was the most generous, kind, wonderful family we have met on the trail so far. Kelly and Hannah, thank you again for all that you did for us. They invited us into their home for three days and slacked us for two. It was incredible. I hope I get to see you guys again one day!

Into C.T.!
CT trail
A little dirty
Rattle rattle
 I would walk 500 more!

After CT, we hit MA. Massachusetts felt like it went by pretty quickly - probably in part to Kelly slacking us! We stayed in Upper Goose Pond Cabin for the 4th of July - it was rainy, but such a wonderful place.

Upper Goose Pond

The mountains were starting to pick it up again as we closed in on Vermont. Mt. Greylock, in northern MA, is the highest point in the state. It was a climb and a half but we were treated to a FEAST from Reset's (one of my favorite thru-hikers out here) family. After we ate dinner, Ice Party spoke with the inn on the summit and got a group rate for us all to stay there! We got to watch the sunset from Mt. Greylock and hang out with some good friends.

We crossed into VT two very rainy days ago, so I'm happy to be sitting in this hostel and relaxing. I've got the doctor's appointment tomorrow so fingers crossed! I HAVE MAINE IN MY SIGHTS.

Also, Kris and Jamie - I got your packages/letters at the cookie lady! THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! Made my day. :)

Next maildrop:

Kristen Bacon
C/O AMC Visitor Center, Front Desk
361 Rte. 16
Gorham, NH 03581
Please hold for AT hiker
ETA 7/25


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mile 1349.1!


We stayed in a jailhouse hostel in Palmerton, PA. Coming out of Palmerton was one of the most fun climbs on the trip so far! The entire face of the mountain was a rock slide. We made the climb with Boomer and Smudge. We had been hiking with Boomer and Smudge (Smoomer and Budge) for a while. Boomer is the kind of guy who can make you laugh no matter what - he's also the kind of guy who you can hear whisper over a leaf blower (hence his name). Smudge is the sweetest guy you'll ever meet.

We entered NJ from PA by crossing the Delaware River. Pennsylvania was pretty tough for me. All the states we have walked through have been challenging in their own way, but Pennsylvania was the first one that I felt really tested me - physically and emotionally. The entire state is a rock scramble, leaving you exhausted at the end of the day with your feet throbbing. I couldn't have done it without Ice and Wees.

I've really enjoyed NJ so far! I had heard that the whole state was "swampy" but it's really rather beautiful. It's a nice break from the climbs we had been doing, and the climbs we have coming up in New England. Because PA was so difficult, we decided to take a little "trailcation" in New Jersey at Ice Party's house.

Jersey trail - like a rainforest!

Jersey trail
Jersey trail

I've had the best time in NJ/NYC in the last week! I went into the city and stayed with Kris (HI KRIS!) the first night. I can't wait to see her and her family again in Maine! Thank you again for your hospitality and the hat (which I think Ice Party is doing her best to steal from me!). The next night, I stayed with Kathryn in Brooklyn. Nate just so happened to be in town! IT WAS SO GREAT SEEING BOTH OF THEM.

Kathryn and Nate - I had missed these two!
After Kathryn's, I stayed with ANNNAAA for two nights. It had been about 2 years since I had last seen Anna. My time in NY was fantastic. Exploring this new city with old friends. I loved every second of it.

Sitting in Times Square

Central Park!

After I left NYC, I came back to NJ where I spent the rest of the week. I watched Ice Party's brother take home the cycling bronze medal in the Special Olympics!

Ice and her mom also took me to the Jersey shore and Asbury Park! Springsteen's old stomping grounds. This one is for you, Sarah-

I had a really wonderful time in NY and NJ. Thank you thank you again and again to Kris, Anna, Kathryn, and Ice Party's family. We'll get back on trail tomorrow to begin what feels like the final stretch. I couldn't be more excited for the upcoming states - only 830 miles to go!

Next maildrop address:

Kristen Bacon
C/O Roy & Marilyn Wiley
47 Washington Mountain Rd.
Becket, MA 01223
Please hold for AT hiker
ETA 7/1

More soon!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Mile 1198!

Hello from NJ!

SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED SINCE DC. In two weeks, I've officially completed Virginia, walked through Harper's Ferry, successfully ate a half gallon of ice cream in one sitting (duh), walked through Maryland, went dancing in Baltimore, fell in love with Wees' amazing 88 year old aunt, and walked half of Pennsylvania. We're still on the trail in PA, we were just picked up by Ice Party's lovely mother yesterday and spent the night at her home in NJ.

I don't have much time to write, so I'll keep this short and just include pics.

The Mason Dixon line! Officially out of the South.

 Ice and Wees at the half way marker!

 Half way! Pre ice cream coma.

 One of my favorites - Elusive.

 Boomer - three slices deep.

 Laundry day! Sleeping bag skirts - all the rage in Duncannon, PA.

 Crossing into MD from WV.

"Hey Ice, will this snake kill me if I get close to it to take a pic?"
"Nah, totally harmless...
..."I have no idea if that snake was poisonous or not" THE TRUTH COMES OUT

 Elusive's potluck! Such a great day.

 Smudge and Ice taking it in.

 Budge and Smoomer!!

 This shelter was nicer than my apartment.

 Early mornin

 The Doyle! Old ass hotel in Duncannon.

 We were attacked by a falcon shortly after this.

Wees in rocky Pennsylvania.

We're well into Pennsylvania right now - I am having a great time but the rocks are killing my feet! I'm super stoked to get into New Jersey in a few days. I may be going into NYC for a few days coming up (??) so if you're in the city, give me a holler! I may need lodging. If you know of anyone or any place to stay, I'd appreciate it!

Also big thank you to all the amazingly generous people who have showered and fed us in the last two weeks. Steph, Jenny, Ice Party's family - you're all so great.

Kris P - I got your package in Pine Grove! THANK YOU! I hope you got my Facebook message. I accidentally threw away the packaging before I wrote down your address - would you mind commenting here or sending me a message with your address? I'd like to respond!

Next mail drop:

Kristen Bacon
C/O Mohican Outdoor Center
50 Camp Road
Blairstown, NJ 07825
Please hold for AT hiker
ETA June 9, 2014

This drop is coming up a little fast - I'll post a further out one when I'm in NYC! MORE SOON!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mile 965.6 - DC!

I'm writing this from my best friend's apartment in Washington D.C.! I made it to Front Royal on Thursday evening and was picked up from there to come into the city. I've had the BEST WEEKEND. More about that further down.

Since I last posted, I feel like I've been flying! We left home in Catawba and immediately hit some of my favorite places - McAfee Knob, Tinker Cliffs, Dragon's Tooth, THE HOMEPLACE. If you ever hike the trail, go eat at The Homeplace. It's my favorite restaurant of all time and just off the trail. Really popular with hikers. I ate my body weight in roast beef. Debated lining my pockets with it as I left. I am not above that. Shit is good.

McAfee Knob

Dragon's Tooth


Anyway, after we hit those 3, we slackpacked (hiking without your pack) all the way to Daleville! It was pretty spectacular. Fastest 24 miles I've ever done. Got to Daleville and my Dad picked us up. It was so nice to see my Dad and little sister for the night. I even got to see my little sister kick some major 12 year old ass in softball. She's incredible - so proud of her. I'm so lucky to have family just off the trail. Going through home was so perfect - hard to leave, to be honest. Miss my family.

After Daleville, I just hit the ground running. I actually met up with the group of girls I started out with! I've been hiking with Wees and Ice Party for the last couple of weeks. They are two fantastic people who do nothing but laugh, sing, and have a good time. Makes me happy.

Since I last posted, we completed the Shenandoah National Park! We exited the park two days ago. It runs for roughly 100 miles. I thought it was gorgeous. Not so much the scenery, which was still incredible, but the wildlife! I was hiking one morning by myself and turned the corner to a doe standing on the trail. She just strolled off the trail, not phased by me at all. She stood there for a while for me to take a picture or two. I loved it. I saw so many deer in the Shenandoah. 

I also met this guy:

Named him Butters.

Trail in the Shenandoah. Spring has sprung! Wish the leaves would hurry up and fill in so I don't burn 24/7. #gingerproblems

After a lonnng day. Ice Party stopping to enjoy it.

Moose, Flipper, and Wees drying out.

Trail was a little wet. Jumped in this puddle 80 times.

After we left the Shenandoah, we reached the Front Royal road crossing and Sarah picked me up to take me into the city. I've had THE BEST time. Reunited with all my best friends and little cousin. Got to see Desi get her Masters from Georgetown, drank a beer called the Dalmatian (all about it), ate SO MUCH FOOD (I think there is something wrong with me. Bottomless pit.).

Sarah's dad treated us to Thai food - thank you, Mr. Weber! After walking around Georgetown for a bit.

Reunited with my baby cousin. This normal thumb picture following a bathroom mirror photo shoot. Too ashamed to post those.

Just kidding! Crocs for days.

Best friend - 19 years and counting.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST. RAN INTO THIS ONE IN DC. Couldn't believe it. I miss you all, Portland. Also got to facetime Andrea and Sasha. Made my month.

Anyway, I'm heading back to the trail today. We should be hitting Harper's Ferry soon! Almost done with Virginia! Bittersweet. I'm so excited for the northern states.

Maildrops and letters! Kris and Fisken, I received your letters in Waynesboro! Thank you so much, they made my day. There have been a few cases where I know people sent letters and I didn't receive them. I make it a point to reply to every letter I get, so if you didn't get a response, I probably didn't get it :( :( ...would love if you'd write again!

Next maildrop address:

Kristen Bacon
C/O Ironmasters Hostel
1212 Pine Grove Rd.
Gardners, PA 17324
Please hold for AT Hiker
ETA May 25, 2014