Friday, July 29, 2011

Life After the AT

Living the Dream

In one way it is hard to believe that it has been only a little over 2-weeks since I finished the AT -- in another, it feels like a lifetime has past.  I knew that assimilating back into "real" life would be difficult, but I didn't bargain on how difficult it would be.  The first few days back were very hard.  I had found so much comfort in the simplicity of life on the Trail.  My only job and purpose for 71-days was to cover miles (then get up and do the same thing over and over).  I trained myself early on to forget about the life I was leaving behind and consciously ingrained the mantra of "This is who I am and this is what I do."  I truly became Gobbler, the AT thru-runner/hiker.  Turning off my AT-mentality once we returned home was difficult and not something I even wanted to do.  Only days after finishing, I yearned to be back on the Trail.  I was depressed and I wanted my simple purpose back -- even with the mosquitoes, mud, rocks, hunger, thirst, and pain.  I missed our stinky tent, eating unhealthy amounts of Little Debbies, going to bed dirty, growing a beastly beard, bathing in creeks, and living out of our car.

I can honestly say that I am finally getting back to a sense of normalcy.  It's been a slow process, but I've been thrusted back into the responsibilities of daily life -- ready or not, life as I knew it beckons.  "Normal" is not what I am seeking though as I cannot and will not forget all those priceless lessons I learned on the Appalachian Trail this summer.  I don't know that I will ever be able to completely impart what I did actually learn, but here is somewhat of a list:
  1. You can get by with much less than you think you need.
  2. You can ALWAYS do much more than you think you can.
  3. You can live on Little Debbies, pizza, and maltodextrin (I consumed 48 lbs. of the stuff) . . . but you had better be doing some serious miles.  I did not lose ANY weight after running 2,181 miles -- I think I had the fueling pretty dialed-in!
  4. Hygiene is over-rated . . . but boy does a shower feel great when you've not had one for 4/5 days!
  5. Being alone in your own thoughts for 10-14 hours a day is good for your soul.
  6. I can't believe how much my wife loves me.
  7. I can't believe how much I love my wife.
  8. People are important.  As much as I love being in nature, people and relationships are our most important natural resource.
  9. We need the Lord in our lives.  I know where my strength comes from and it is not from me.  I praise God for His protection and guidance on this adventure.
  10. A sense of purpose in life is important.  I am glad to have a job and life (along with a bed, microwave, and air-conditioning) to come back to.
So what is next?  I'm not sure for a while.  Right now I'm simply focused on surviving daily life and preparing for the 4th Cheat Mtn Moonshine Madness.  I forgot how time consuming directing a race is.

Many folks have asked if I would do it again.  The answer even surprises me a bit.  It is an emphatic, YES! . . . but I'm not sure if I'll ever have the opportunity.  I would love to do the AT again, but even more I would love to do the PCT.  It's good to have dreams, but for now I'm comfortable where I am.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

AT Data

*click on the linked day number in the left column for the corresponding post.
Day Date Start Finish Mileage
14-May Springer Mtn. Neels Gap US 19/129 30.7
2 5-May Neels Gap Dicks Creek US 76 36.8
3 6-May Dicks Creek Rock Gap 36.5
4 7-May Rock Gap US 19 Nantahala River 31
5 8-May US 19 Nantahala River Fontana (Smokies southern boundary) 29.4
6 9-May Fontana Dam Newfound Gap US 441 40.3
7 10-May Newfound Gap Davenport Gap TN 32/ NC 284 31.3
8 11-May Davenport Gap Hot Springs 35.8
9 12-May Hot Springs Devil Fork Gap NC 212 35
10 13-May Devil Fork Erwin, TN 33.1
11 14-May Erwin Carvers Gap, TN 143/ NC261 34.1
12 15-May Carvers Gap Walnut Mtn Rd. 25.4
13 16-May Walnut Mtn. Rd. Wilbur Dam Rd. 26.8
14 17-May Wilbur Dam Rd. Damascus, VA 37.6
15 18-May Damascus Elk Garden (VA 600) 23.8
16 19-May Elk Garden VA 670 32.1
17 20-May VA 670 VA 42 31.2
18 21-May VA 42 VA 612 Kimberling Creek 33.6
19 22-May VA 612 Pearisburg, VA 42.1
20 23-May Pearisburg Rocky Gap (VA 601) 34.8
21 24-May Rocky Gap VA 624/ North Mountain Trail 32.2
22 25-May VA 624/ North Mountain Trail Salt Pond Rd. (USFS 191) 33.5
23 26-May Salt Pond Rd. (USFS 191) Thunder Ridge Overlook 35.7
24 27-May Thunder Ridge Pedler Lake Rd. (USFS 38) 31.2
25 28-May Pedler Lake Rd. (USFS 38) Tye River (VA 56) 29.5
26 29-May Tye River (VA 56) Rockfish Gap (US 250/I-64) 29.7
27 30-May Rockfish Gap Simmons Gap 35.3
28 31-May Simmons Gap Skyland 34.6
29 1-Jun Skyland Front Royal: US 522 37.2
30 2-Jun Front Royal: US 522 Bears Den Hostel 33.5
31 3-Jun Bears Den Hostel U.S. Alt 40 37.8
32 4-Jun U.S. Alt 40 PA 233 36.7
33 5-Jun PA 233 PA 94 35
34 6-Jun PA 94 Duncannon, PA 34.5
35 7-Jun Duncannon, PA PA 225 8.4
36 8-Jun 0
37 9-Jun PA 225 PA 645 36.4
38 10-Jun PA 645 Port Clinton/PA 61 26.3
39 11-Jun Port Clinton/PA 61 PA 309 26
40 12-Jun PA 309 Smith Gap Rd. 25.9
41 13-Jun Smith Gap Rd. Delaware Water Gap 24.9
42 14-Jun Delaware Water Gap Crigger Rd. 33.4
43 15-Jun Crigger Rd. Barrett Rd. 31.8
44 16-Jun Barrett Rd. Seven Lakes Drive 31.6
45 17-Jun Seven Lakes Drive NY 301 Fahnestock State Park 29.9
46 18-Jun NY 301 Fahnestock State Park Schaghticoke Rd. 38.4
47 19-Jun Schaghticoke Rd. US 7 Housatonic River 30.3
48 20-Jun US 7 Housatonic River Rt. 7  (Sheffield, Mass.) 31.6
49 21-Jun Rt. 7  (Sheffield, Mass.) Tyne Rd. 29.9
50 22-Jun Tyne Rd. Cheshire, MA 26.9
51 23-Jun Cheshire, MA Bennington, VT; City Stream, VT 9 33.2
52 24-Jun Bennington, VT; City Stream, VT 9 Manchester City, VT 40.1
53 25-Jun Manchester City, VT North Clarendon, VT 32.4
54 26-Jun North Clarendon, VT Stony Brook Rd. 28.9
55 27-Jun Stony Brook Rd. Hanover, NH 35.3
56 28-Jun Hanover, NH NH 25A 32.9
57 29-Jun NH 25A Franconia Notch, US 3 35.5
58 30-Jun 0
59 1-Jul Franconia Notch, US 3 Crawford Notch, US 302 27.7
60 2-Jul Crawford Notch, US 302 Pinkham Notch, NH 16 26
61 3-Jul Pinkham Notch, NH 16 Androscoggin River 21.4
62 4-Jul Androscoggin River Grafton Notch, Maine 26 30.8
63 5-Jul Grafton Notch, Maine 26 South Arm Rd. 20.4
64 6-Jul South Arm Rd. Maine 4; Rangely, ME 26.4
65 7-Jul Maine 4; Rangely, ME Caribou Valley Rd. 23.9
66 8-Jul Caribou Valley Rd. Long Falls Dam Road 27.4
67 9-Jul Long Falls Dam Road Moxie Pond 29.4
68 10-Jul Moxie Pond Maine 15 24.8
69 11-Jul Maine 15 Katahdin Ironworks Logging Road 29.9
70 12-Jul Katahdin Ironworks Logging Road Jo-Mary Road 28.6
71 13-Jul Jo-Mary Road Abol Bridge 40.9
72 14-Jul Abol Bridge Katahdin 15.1

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wrap-Up and Photos

What running the AT will make you look like (Lehmann found these glasses along the road)

Katahdin in the background
Jill and Dan nearing the summit

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The wife here updating for Adam in Rangeley, ME: He is doing well today and, although we like camping four nights in a row, we are staying in a little motel since it may be the last chance for one for a good bit (and it has a kitchenette - can't beat a "real stove" meal like at home).

Regardless, we're looking forward to Dan and Lara Lehmann joining us tonight and possibly Frances Mongold and Bradley's girlfriend, Jill. Wahoo! This will be a huge boost and help for our tired selves. The "home stretch" is quite the stretch - good thing it is beautiful!


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 61

Pinkham Notch to Androscoggin River - 22 miles

22 miles in 10 hours (no stopping and solid hiking). . . yeah it's that tough.  Very tough climb out of Pinkham to Wildcat Mtn first thing, then lots of gnarly wet rocks and a solid day of cold drizzle.  The descent into Pinkham off of Mt. Madison may be the most difficult descent on the Trail, and the ascent across Rt.16 may be the toughest climb thus far.  Glad to have this one in the books.  Only about 16 more miles and we'll be in Maine!  Tackling the notorious Mahoosucs tomorrow in what will most likely be another very long day to cover 50K.  Will I have a new "toughest mile" to talk about? . . . probably so.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Days 59 and 60

Day 59: Franconia Notch to Crawford Notch - 28 miles
Day 60: Crawford to Pinkham Notch - 26 miles