• Miss Janets House ...

    Hey ya'll ...

    Here I am again at the famous / infamous Miss Janet's House in Erwin, Tennessee. The snow has finally hit in force and has blocked us in for a few days and made the approach to the trail / next set of mountains impassable.

    After hiking for three days from Hot Springs, the last town back in North Carolina, where I seemed to have gotten the flu or something worse, we did a 15 miler and two 20 milers so we'd push through the nasty weather and shoot back down. Needless to say, I am very glad to be past Hot Springs and out of North Carolina, we'll cross back over the state line a few more times as we go through what is known as the Roan Mountain Complex, or Roan Highlands ... yes, that would make me a highlander, once I'm through the other side in Kincora, TN. No, there will be no be-headings. Thankfully, Roan will be the beginning of the end of the larger mountains on the trail. Of course there are several more trecherous spots, like 'The Whites" in Vermont and a few more through Tennessee, but it's getting ready to flatten out, making the mileage burn like gasoline.

    I was running a journal on the other 'Trail Journals' site, letting the hiker community know what was going on, etc, but I have decided to scale that back and only do breif updates as the ratio of armchair quaterbacks to real hikers is 'Ridiculous' (Harry Potter - Prisoner of Azkaban). So, I will be keeping my friends and family on point rather than the strange populous of gear heads and knuckleheads that like to say the strangest things about what others are doing for recreation, etc.

    So, backing up to the hike again, when Bear and I got back up into the mountains from Hot Springs, we hit some pretty heavy snow and were trudging though everything from knee-high, thigh-high to waist high. It was incredibly cold as well, especially during the night. The highest point, was just over 6,000 feet on what was appropriatly titled 'Bald Mountain'. The water froze in my nalgene bottle while pumping it from the creek a few seconds in. It was probably 20 below, or somehwere in the close neighborhood. Thankfully with those temps, there are no more of those bastard mice, trying to haul away our precious ramen. I haven't had to deploy the troops:

    1. GnySgt Carlos Hathcock (Marine Corps Sniper)
    2. "Mister Rogers" Fred Rogers (Marine Corps Sniper)
    3. Paul 'Pee Wee Herman' Ruebens (Marine Corps Sniper)
    4. Lee Harvey Oswald (Marine Corps enlisted)
    5. GnySgt R. Lee Ermey (Marine Corps Recon)
    6. GnySgt Tom Highway (Marine Corps Recon) (fictional) (Clint Eastwood)
    7. Pvt. Leonard Lawrence "Gomer Pyle" (Marine Corps Recruit) (fictional) (Vincent D'onofrio)

    Yes, I did just describe the fact that we have named all of our mousetraps after famous / infamous Marines from the great American register. Yes, Paul Reubens was a Marine Corps Sniper with confirmed kills - bizzare, I know. Mister Rogers, was a Marine Sniper during the Korean War and beyond. Yes, I know you may have heard other info, but no he was never a Navy Seal. And yes, he has the tattoo as does Ruebens. That's what really serves for entertainment on the trail. Lee Harvey Oswald's psychopathic determination has racked up the most kills so far. Gunny Hathcock killed 2 mice on one snap several shelters back.

    So, I will be returning on schedule around June 15th, much to the dismay of other hikers, and yes I will summit Khatadin first. We have not hitchhiked or blacktopped it yet or have no plans to start. We have done over 275 miles and are putting down more every day. I'm having a grand time coming through the South and have enjoyed my moments imbibing Moonshine, as I did last night, eating lots of good food and drinking a lot of 'Sweet Tea'. I have no complaints about anything and have really gotten a lot out of the experience already. There has been a lack of people on the trail and that has been a benefit, however, the people that I have met on the trail have been magnificent and better then I could ever imagine. A few people have actually made me re-evaluate the way I look at folks in general with their acts of generousity. I have recieved much and have been humbled and very thankful every time.

    An example of this , if I could be so bold, when 'Bear' (Marine Corps Recon) and I had gone through a spot on our map called 'Allen Gap', we met a man who was concerned about being out in the cold, gave us food, shared coffee with us and made sure we had enough fuel for our stove. We had actually been dangerously close to running out as there had been a fuel malfunction with the stove, I would mark that down as providence and being blessed. He was an awesome human being. And yes, all the way in the back-mountain-hills-of-banjo-playing-Tennessee. I have had some unbelievable experiences here in the South and am better for them. All I know is his name was 'Larry', no joke.

    Another person, who I will leave unnamed, sent Bear and I a box here to Miss Janets FULL of stuff that we needed, wanted and had even just mentioned in passing when discussing being away from home. If you have read this far, I hope that I have made my point clearly on this. So to all of you who have been ther, mentally, spiritually and in-person-on-the-spot, ... many thanks to you all.

    I'll try to put some winter pix up today after I make my shopping run. We're out of Ramen and almost out of Instant Mashed Potatos and boullion. Yes, that's about all we eat on the trail, next to oatmeal, cheese and maybe some Keilbasa (yes - save your jokes, Jimon!!!!). I've lost weight and some of my clothes no longer fit. I'm also shocked at the amount of natural gray hair that I have, ... not having my long hair full of highlights ... which is how every one expected me to look when we pulled into several towns, yes, many people saught us out and gave us hugs and said they were following us online. Just amazing. So when they saw my ugly head, they were like "Oh my god, I thought you had blonde hair". Sorry folks. Staying nutritional is very difficult. I can only thank Mini and Courtney for all the yummy Trader Joe foods that they've been sending.

    Other than that, there seems to be a Radio Station here in Knoxville, Tennessee that likes to advertise themselves as the "World Famous K-Rock", yes you heard me, and I just couldn't believe the audacity.

    Well, that'll do pig ... for now, and I'll update later. Still waiting for my damn tripod so I can figure out some nighttime timelapse and some cool low-light trail shots. I have missed several million dollar opportunities. All of which I will work desperatly to reclaim.

    Jimon sent me a link to the PDF manual for my camera, but I don't have much internet access out here and I don't have the pack room to carry all that excess paper. If anyone has a Canon EOS 20D manual or can get me one - then ya'll rock. I can't figure out how to set the shutter speed long enough to stay open for a minute, 2 minutes, etc. Yes, I know, I'm an effing idiot and should know better, and shouldn't be using such a pimp-ass camera. But, I have no regrets bringing it yet. You'll see ...

    Expecto Patronum, Expelliarmus, and Lumos ...

    Papabear 'Steffan Piper'


    1. Good stuff buddy. Holy crap you've gone a lot of miles and met some great people on the trail. Its funny how generously comes in abundance in the middle of nowhere but in the city with millions you rarely see it. Good on em.
      20 below, that sucks, I've camped in what I thought was cold but I'll never complain about it again because you definitely out did mine by a long shot.

      Enjoy the experience and see you soon.


    2. Hey bro..
      Email me with an address so I can send you my tripod and some other goodies.
      Stay warm and safe
      Love you

    3. Hey bro..
      Email me with an address so I can send you my tripod and some other goodies.
      Stay warm and safe
      Love you