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Author Archives: Quiet_Earp

East Coast 2015: Days 15-20

It’s been almost a full month since I started hiking northbound from Key West, and I have started to become desensitized by the climate and terrain of Southern Florida in the dry season. Walking with wet feet, being chewed up by mosquitoes, having sunburn on sunburn, rationing my food for long stretches of strenuous and hard to navigate swamp walking, and staying vigilantly aware of my surroundings for the presence of alligators, snakes, wild hogs, and rapidly changing weather; all part of the day to day life of a Florida thru-hiker. Even though I have come to tolerate and even welcome these everyday challenges, I find that the difficulties of inconsistent and variable hiking conditions lead to some of the greatest problems on the Florida Trail.… Read more

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East Coast 2015: Days 10-14

The most physically exhausting experience I’ve ever had in my life was undoubtedly reaching the summit of Mount Whitney last summer. It was the middle of the night, I had been breaking trail through fresh snow for miles at high altitude, and I probably should have had more to eat and drink beforehand. Though in many ways the mental challenge of consciously willing my shivering and energy-depleted muscles to continue to push on, was even harder. I could have turned back or set up camp below the summit at any time, but I fought to achieve my goal and refused to let my body quit on me.… Read more

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East Coast 2015: Day 9

The Miccosukee tribe, once part of the Seminole nation, now have a reservation in southern Florida that is encompassed by Everglades National Park. Their roots can be traced back to a tribe in what is now Georgia, but their history, as with the history of nearly every Native American tribe, is one that is complicated and wrought with great struggle and tragedy. Having been displaced from their native and adopted lands time after time between the 18th and 20th centuries, they were greatly dispersed for generations, and only through becoming federally recognized in the 1960’s, did they begin to reform in Florida.… Read more

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East Coast 2015: Days 6-8

Never get between a hungry hiker and their food, especially after a long day on tough trail and a massive calorie deficiency. Give a hungry hiker some food in the same conditions, and like a naturally obedient dog, they will be your best friend and go through hell or high water for you.

Until we met at the Shell gas station on the far Northern end of Key Largo, Ryan and I were total strangers. We were thousands of miles away from each other and lived entirely separate lives. The odds of our crossing paths were practically non-existent. But through the thoughtfulness of a friend named Jake whom I sat next to in one of my classes in high school, we were able to exchange phone numbers and discuss how, with my hiking pace and his work schedule, we could arrange a time to grab a bite to eat.… Read more

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East Coast 2015: Day 5

This morning I woke up in the woods, greeted by the first few orange and pink rays of sunlight that had broken through the trees. With a groan, I sat up and slowly reached my arms above my head, then leaned slightly from one side to the other, simultaneously stretching my back, obliques, and triceps. I noticed that my feet were dirty with toe jam and sand, so I stuck them straight out and reeeeaaached to pick and brush all the gunk away while giving my hamstrings a good stretch. It took a few tries to loosen them enough that I could reach my toes, but damn did it feel nice once I could.… Read more

Categories: East Coast 2015, Florida Overseas Heritage Trail | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

East Coast 2015: Days 2-4

THE WALL. Ask any endurance athlete about it, and they will likely say the same things. The wall is not a physical brick and mortar barrier, but refers to the point at which, after an extended period of grueling exertion, your body just starts to give up, as if trying to say “I’ve got nothing left to give dude, so can we please just stop!?” You might lose your form, feel exhausted, experience pains all over, become nauseous… Everyone’s responses are different, and while most practical remedies for symptoms of hitting the wall are preventative rather than palliative, when you do inevitably reach that breaking point, there is one crucial trait you must have if you want to make it through the discomfort: mental toughness.… Read more

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East Coast 2015: Day 1

On an old closed road, thin but dense borders of twisted and tangled Mangrove roots keep the crystal clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico from splashing over onto the road’s surface. As I lie there on top of my sleeping bag, sweating from the heat and humidity, I let out an exalted sigh. Only 2 days ago, I stood for 4 hours in 30 degree sleety weather trying (and failing) to hitchhike from Maryland to Key West- but now that I am here, only a stone’s throw from the beach, I feel extremely relieved and content. Just as I drift off, I feel the first light drops of rain hit my bare face.… Read more

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SE Portland to the Columbia River Gorge

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Columbia River Gorge from Angel’s Rest

Portland, Oregon, AKA the City of Roses, is a mecca for those who love being active in any type of weather; as the home of some of the most beautiful, plentiful, largest and smallest parks in the nation, PDX provides many welcome places for one to enjoy running, bicycling, or equestrian activities away from the constant din of bustling traffic. Mount Tabor Park, an extinct volcano and source of 3 drinking water reservoirs, is a perfect example of a park near my house with lots of trails to explore, a playground, and many family-oriented events throughout the summer.… Read more

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2014 Pacific Crest Trail Gear Review

1017 miles on the trail this summer and having a lighter base weight this time around made a world of difference. The items that are linked are from companies that I received a sponsorship or pro-deal from, and the retail price listed does not represent what I payed for them. I think it is a valuable stat (no pun intended) to note, because it proves that sometimes an expensive item is not always the most reliable and that there are many ways of saving money without sacrificing quality.  Thanks to my sponsors and the North Face for employing me, and please visit their websites to see pictures of the products and specifications.… Read more

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Turn and Face the Strange (Ch-Ch-Changes)

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By the time I reached Mammoth Lakes, California, where I created my last post, I had come to accept the fact that completing the trail in 100 days or less was no longer achievable, but I was still driven on finishing as quickly as I could. My pace had fallen behind schedule from time spent in town to resupply on food or wait out a storm in the Sierras,

and “the pack” (the party-crazed majority of hikers that cling together in a wave of slow-moving cliques) had finally caught up to me. There were people passing me that I hadn’t seen since my first day, and while I hoped that I might finally find a hiking partner or a group with a similar pace, it did make me feel a bit defeated.… Read more

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