Tagged With: American Discovery Trail
Upon arriving at “Hiker Heaven“, I was greeted by one of many dutiful volunteers with the oh-so-fitting phrase, “Welcome to paradise”. At mile 454.5 in Agua Dulce, California, a family named the Saufleys coordinates a sort of oasis for PCT hikers, where anything and everything a hiker could need is provided to them without any expectation of reimbursement. There is a laundry station with fresh towels and loaner clothes to be worn while one’s filthy hiking clothes are being washed; a garage converted into a make-shift post office and information center; an entire back-building with full kitchen and bathroom, piano and guitars, couches and TV, Wifi, sewing machine, bookshelves full of adventure literature and guidebooks, and 2 bedrooms; 8-person tents in the yard with cots and hammocks for lounging and sleeping whenever under the shade of a few sizeable pines- you name it, they’ve got it covered.… Read more
My first night in Nevada was spent under a full “Strawberry” moon, laying less than a mile from the “Welcome to Nevada” sign under the soft silver-pink light of the moon and the Milky Way-no tent, just my thin blue sleeping mat and my sleeping bag. I could see the treeless mountains surrounding the valley and imagined what could be over that first ridge: sand dunes, vultures circling over, dry mouth and chapped lips and sunburn and blinded eyes, all with Chopin’s Funeral March as the soundtrack. The thought kept me awake for a little while, but the wind kept me awake for longer.… Read more
As I walked into Utah, it looked like I was entering some strange post-apocalyptic world where the weeds have grown through pavement, the sky is dark and ominous, and the only traces of human life look decades old. I was on Old Route 6 & 50, what used to be a major travel route across the US before I-70 was made. It was stormy and grey, and instead of a shiny “Welcome to Utah” sign, there was a stone obelisk bearing the remnants of the letters “UT”, graffitied and chipped away by vandals and hooligans like myself. It was fitting to my mood.… Read more
For a long time, Kansas had been the thorn in my side. From what I had been told, Kansas was nothing more than a flat-as-a-pancake, farming no-mans-land, where the high winds blow the smell of manure right up your nose and even driving across makes some people go crazy. I was worried about the monotony, the increasing distances between civilization, and also the complete lack of natural shelter from the elements. I received a warm welcome in Kansas from my own dad, who happened to have a business trip in Kansas City around the same time I would be there. Initially, Kansas surprised me in that it was much more hilly than expected
There are very few trees
The people are much more friendly than some folks in Missouri think they are
The towns got smaller and smaller, and the distance between them got farther and farther.… Read more
From May 1804 to September 1806, Meriwhether Lewis and William Clark led the Corps of Discovery into the West on an expedition that would change the course of history. They left in the pursuit of knowledge, and for the sake of documenting the adventure. In some ways, what I am doing is similar; I am embarking on a long journey into unseen lands, exposed to experiences that harden the spirit and open the mind. I am forced to learn as I go just like they were.
For the most part, however, our journeys are drastically different. They often had to fight to survive and possessed little to no knowledge of what was around the corner; their supply of resources was determined almost exclusively by the time of year and the land that surrounded them.… Read more
Illinois didn’t take long compared to the other states I’ve walked through, yet I saw some of the most amazing things I’ve seen so far while passing through the Shawnee National Forest. Namely, I got to see the Garden of the Gods. I had heard about the epicness of the bluffs and giant sandstone rock structures in the Shawnee National Forest, but it was grander than i could have possibly imagined. Coupled with the breathtaking views, I rarely had to sleep outside while walking in Illinois. This must be the famous Midwestern hospitality I’ve heard so much about. Way back in 1994, I was born in Lombard, Illinois- much farther north from where i was hiking- on the west side of Chicago.… Read more
In a single day, I managed to experience more comfort, fear, thrill, and awe than I have within any given week of Dudetrek, perhaps since I began.
Hurricane Sandy began wreaking havoc on the East Coast sometime on the 29th of October, showing her full force throughout the night and into the 30th. I could hardly believe the stories I heard, and the pictures I saw. I was just in Ocean City, Maryland for “Senior Week“- where Maryland high school Seniors take over the entire city in massive numbers to party nonstop for an entire week at the beach.… Read more
Well, here I am. After crossing the Ohio River, I’ve left Mountaineer country and entered the Buckeye state. While I’m certainly glad that I’ve made it over the Appalachians, I will miss them dearly. Some of my first glimpses of unmanned wilderness took place back in Cub Scouts: hiking the Appalachian Trail and learning the basics of survival, gaining an appreciation for nature, and generally utilizing the outdoors for everything they have to offer. Within the past few years I gained a newfound love for these same mountains, and they are symbolic of the general terrain that I’m used to and have hiked most often.… Read more
Just as I crossed the creaky, one lane wood bridge to leave Maryland and enter West Virginia, I stopped to take a picture of the sign that had the quote above in giant bold letters. I can’t help but feel accomplished after reaching this first momentous milestone, but I am quick to stifle my excitement as soon as I see the mountains I will soon be climbing. While taking my first couple steps up what would eventually feel like an endless ascent, I briefly wonder whether or not this is all worth it.… Read more
Dudetrek begins tomorrow, and I am as ready as I will ever be. All my gear is packed and ready go, and at 5:30 tomorrow morning, I will see my last glimpses of Eldersburg for a while. People often ask me questions about my gear, and what exactly i will have with me tomorrow morning when i take those first steps. Well, I have decided to lay it all out for you in the following diagram. To see everything up close, click on the picture
- Martin “Backpacker” guitar
- ALPS Mountaineering 45L “Orizaba” backpack (100oz. “Omega Waterbeast” Camelbak inside)
- Hygiene/ Spiritual/ Misc.