[at-l] 11 years ago today... a non-dreamer started hiking the trail

rcli4 at comcast.net rcli4 at comcast.net
Wed Mar 17 22:20:09 CDT 2010

When Jan and I were hiking in Vermont I met a guy at the shelter they say don't stay at.  I can't remember the name but I remember God stayed there according to the graffiti.  Anyway he was from a town in the northern U.P. in Michigan.  I backpacked in the Porcipine Mtns there when I was a kid.  I started to tell him about the fine hiking there and he said,"Oh I'm not a backpacker, this is the first time I've done this.  I don't think I really like it."  He was thruhiking with about 500 miles left to go.


----- Original Message -----
From: Ryan Crawford 
To: at-l at backcountry.net
Sent: Thu, 18 Mar 2010 00:04:13 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Re: [at-l] 11 years ago today... a non-dreamer started hiking the trail

Spring 1995.  You couldn't pay me enough to sleep in a tent.  Summer 1995 I 
did by choice.  Even did a camping trip out west in the Black Hills.  Hiked 
up Harney Peak and saw a couple out backpacking and thought...you know 
that's the way to go.

Did a little looking in the library after I got home and saw mention of the 
AT.  Thought...could be interesting but I'd never get the chance.

Saturday, Thanksgiving Weekend.  Getting ready to watch Trailside on PBS. 
It comes on and it turns out it's the two part episode they filmed over the 
summer on thru-hiking the AT.  I fell in love with the idea instantly, 
before John Vehman faces was ever seen by TV audience.

Was planning on thru-hiking in '96 but never got out to get the equipment 
bought up until '96.  Bought my sleeping bag on Friday, Memorial Day Weekend 
before going out backpacking for the first time in my life, hiking for the 
first time as well.

Spent summer vacation down in S. NC, err, Rainbow Springs Campground to 
Standing Indian Mt backpacking.  I was still using very crude equipment.  I 
was using a daypack as my backpack and tying stuff on.  That should give an 
idea of how bad I looked at the time.

Fall of '96 I went to the Gathering in Carlisle and then started cementing 
my plans to thru-hike in '97.  Changed my entire schedule around thanks to 
the Gathering and decided to start earlier than I was planning and finish 
later so I would still be in New England so I would have no reason not to go 
back to the Gathering in '97.

I did some more backpacking in southern Indiana during the fall and then 
spent Christmas vacation once again down in S. NC hiking from Winding Stair 
Gap up to the fire tower, Wayah Bald(???).  I was hoping to get a taste of 
winter hiking.  YEAH RIGHT!, more like 60 degrees around the clock.  Didn't 
quite feel like winter.

Fortunately I had most of my equipment by then and continued to revamp the 

I left March 8th and started the trail on the 9th.  I finished two days 
ahead of my schedule on September 28th.

Stitches, you say it was a long term dream that you had.  Then what do you 
call it.

I have to admit.  Since I was only doing it to see if I could be crazy 
enough to do it, I haven't did much in the way of backpacking since then.  I 
did a couple of local trails up here in NH.  In the past year I haven't been 
out hiking once.  I did some winter backpacking last winter but I couldn't 
even get myself to spend the night outdoors this winter.

I guess it was pretty much a one shot deal.  I used to have thoughts about 
the PCT/CDT/IAT, but they have all disappeared anymore.  Heck I haven't even 
been ot the Gathering now in two years.  I kinda knew in 07 that it would 
probably be the last time I would go.

Who knows something may come back sometime.  I'm not too worried by it.  I 
still keep waiting for this thing called Springer Fever.  I've never had.

GAME '97 

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