Thursday, August 2, 2007

Bennington, Vermont

The hikers have made good time once again and have had some great weather.They were at the Spruce Peak shelter just south of Manchester Tuesday night. They met "Radar" from Lisbon, Maine there and had a great time sharing stories of the trail. Last night they called from the Novel Naiheim Shelter. The news wasn't great...Kel may have either shin splints or a compression fracture. His shin(s ?) are very painful and swelling. They will hike into Bennington, Vt today and find a place to hold up for a couple of days. Please pray that it is the shin splints and he will heal quickly. It will give them both a chance to get fully rested, too. When they complete Vermont they will have 27 % of the trail done!

STICKMANS' JOURNAL...7/30/07...Monday... Had a wonderful night last night, got up this AM, and scurried to the top of the observation tower... pretty nice view, looking out over 5 States! ... No hurries today, but was up quite early. I made up for that though... headed downtrail towards the trailhead, with intent to go into Manchester, I stopped and chatted with another hiker... for 45 minutes! We finally got to the road, was quickly picked up by a friendly motorist, and deposited in Manchester. We did all of our laundry, chatting with other hikers, giving out cards. We saw Connor and Amanda again, and also talked a bit with Fiesta and Siesta, who we had met way back in the 100 mile wilderness, up in Maine. They are hiking for Charity, I believe it is "Blood and Water", and provide help to Africa. I will have to investigate more later. The charity is backed up by "Jars of Clay", and "Caedman's Call". Gosh!... and while I'm at it, I might just toss in a Golly! What a day! We really enjoyed seeing everyone!

We then walked a couple of miles, (one way...), to go to a recreational facility, where we were able to remove some stink with a nice shower. Although the smell can never be completely removed, I felt much better, and people no longer run away from me... After my shower, I was walking back to a common area, outside, to gather my belongings. I was in my sandals. Some kid left his skateboard at the entrance of the common area. ...I, of course, walked squarely into it! Anybody recollect me talking a while back about one of my toenails that had turned black? Well, it isn't anymore. Oh, no, don't get me wrong! It's still black, and all that, but it isn't on my TOE anymore! When I hit that skateboard, my toenail lifted straight back, or up... WOWZA! ...I had to pull it the rest of the way off. Hurts a bit to walk now... told the young fella he could keep the toenail as a kinda trophy. ... Let's see.. We walked the two miles back into town, so that we could walk back out of town, on the other side, to get back to the trailhead. While we tried for a ride, we met a NOBO Hiker, RADAR, from Lisbon, Maine. Had a good, long visit with him, real nice guy! We eventually got back to the trailhead in style, catching some cooling wind, in a Saab convertible. I could have rode around all afternoon in that buggy! Great! ... We met a couple more hikers who were NOBO, but had backtracked, as one was ill. They were at the trailhead, trying to catch a ride. When Faithful and I started back onto the trail, SOBO, I hadn't gone a great distance when I found "trail magic"! Most of it had already magically disappeared, but the best of it was still there. Fresh Fruit! I grabbed some bananas, and ran back North, got across the road, and gave them to the two hikers. You never know how long you will wait for "the ride", and I thought some potassium might help out the sick hiker. I crossed the road again, slipped through the veil of foliage, and hustled along the trail. As I began to gain elevation, I heard a car pull up for them. I looked back, and finding a small viewing portal amidst the leaves, was able to see that they were getting into a real sweet BMW! Wow, Limo service!

We hiked up in a ways, coming to Spruce Peak Shelter, at about 6:30 PM. Even though it is a beautiful evening, and quite early, we called it a day. We got ourselves some food cooking, and I called my Beloved. I miss her so much, and love to hear her voice! She said that she had recieved a very positive e-mail from a hiker whom I had talked with. He is another who is wondering, seeking... I hope that I was able to be of some encouragement, and that he might find the answer. God is so good!

"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."
Jeremiah 29:13

Well, it really was a wonderful day! Bromley Mtn. to Spruce Peak Shelter was only 5.8 miles. We were short on mileage, long on rewards! It's now after 10:00 PM, so I will call it a night. I hope the mice behave themselves tonight, and let me sleep! God Bless you all!


STICKMANS' JOURNAL...7/31/07...Tuesday... Got out of Spruce Peak Shelter at 8 AM, and made our way to Story Spring Shelter by 6:30 PM, covering 18.3 miles in 10 1/2 hours. We took lot's of mini-breaks to talk to hikers, and one very long break to do the same up on top of Stratton Mtn., elevation 3,936 feet. It was a very fun day, meeting all the hikers. I met "Uncle Tom" today. He is from Maine, and a brother-in law to the lady from Waterville, Maine, who I met on the 29th. I had another memorable discussion with a young lady from down South. She was talking about being in the Bible Belt, and that down there, you would be "well churched", but quite often, not saved. (I believe this to be somewhat true, no matter where you are.) She told me about two hikers that she had met, hiking up from Georgia. Both men had been raised in Catholicism, but one was now agnostic...


1. a.One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God.
b.One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism.

2. One who is doubtful or noncommittal about something.

...and the other was practicing Buddhism...


a religion, originated in India by Buddha (Gautama) and later spreading to China, Burma, Japan, Tibet, and parts of southeast Asia, holding that life is full of suffering caused by desire and that the way to end this suffering is through enlightenment that enables one to halt the endless sequence of births and deaths to which one is otherwise subject.

Although agnosticism doesn't deny the existence of God, it doesn't embrace His existence either. They believe that it is impossible to know if God exists. Buddhists flatly deny God, and practice a religion of "self". ... So, as I see it, both of these gentleman are practicing the same religion, the religion of "self", totally removed from God. ... Now, where was I?... Yes, the young lady hiker discussing folks being "well churched", and unsaved! Well, I suppose that there are too many people out there who practice the Christian Religion, who are also unsaved, and in the same boat with the Agnostic hiker and the Buddhist hiker. Religion will not save anybody, Relationship will! Only through a relationship with Jesus Christ can we be saved! It is a sad thing to see folks practice a God-less religion, and maybe a little sadder to see them practice a Godly religion, and leave God out of it. Folks, it doesn't matter to God how many Bible verses we can recite, or how many times we attend Church services, or do good things for our neighbors, if we don't KNOW Him! The "Religion" part of our lives should follow the "Relationship" part of our lives with Jesus! Building our relationship should lead to practicing our religion, to enable us to further build our relationship with Jesus Christ. ... there!... finish the story!... yes, the young lady hiker had good news! Both the Agnostic Hiker and the Buddhist Hiker, within a month of hiking the trail, had acquired Gideon New Testaments, and were carrying them, and reading them, in an attempt to know God, and His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ! How Awesome! I hope you will join me in asking in prayer that these young men, (and all the other hikers, too!), will surely come to have a wonderful relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, thanks go out to the wonderful Gideons, who continue to provide New Testaments, all over the world, even on the trail. ...

On a totally different subject, I have been having some difficulty with my right leg. The lower leg is quite swollen, and painful to walk on. It acts like shin splints... what are shin splints, anyway???

shin splints 
–noun (used with a plural verb) Pathology.
a painful condition of the front lower leg, associated with tendinitis, stress fractures, or muscle strain, often occurring as a result of running or other strenuous athletic activity, esp. on a nonresilient surface.

1940–45 Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006

Oh... Well, it made for an awful tough day of hiking, and prayerfully, it will begin to get better. As for now, I am completely worn out. I will rest the leg tonight, and prepare to attempt 18 more miles of hiking tomorrow. Meanwhile, I sleep... Good night all, God Bless!


STICKMANS' JOURNAL...8/1/07...Wednesday... Got up and going awful slowly this morning. We never hit the trail until 9 AM. My leg is still swollen and sore, but I made the best of it, hobbling along until I reached Melville Nauheim Shelter at 6:00 PM. I somehow made it through a 9 hour day of hiking, and completed an amazing 17.4 miles! I had to make a couple of extended rest stops to try to get the pain and swelling to ease up. I lost a good 1 1/2 hours of hiking doing that, but was happy to be able to continue walking. I'm pretty concerned at this point, as I don't want to make matters worse, and have to give up the hike, and the trail ministry. I am considering going into Bennington, Vermont tomorrow, and get a room. I really hate to spend the money, and it will set us back a bit, trailwise. Also, our next maildrop is in Cheshire, Massachusetts. We would end up there on Sunday, instead of Saturday, if we take a break. Well, maybe losing two days is what is needed. God always has a plan, and I will pray for direction.

We only saw a handful of hikers all day, as everyone had literally run off to Bennington yesterday and early this morning, to take advantage of a big, free, hiker's bash that was going on there today. At the shelter tonight, we have been blessed by more good company, a NOBO, and another hiker who tented off just a ways. I continue to be encouraged by all of the opportunities I have been given to meet these hikers. I just pray that my health holds up, so I can keep on trail...

Hmmm.. only 9:30 PM, but I think it would be wise to get all the rest I can tonight. So, see you tomorrow! God Bless!


STICKMANS' JOURNAL...8/2/07...Thursday... Well, here we are at Bennington, Vermont. We checked in to a motel, and I have spent some time in the pool, and elevated my leg to rest it. My brother, Larry, is going to come pick us up tomorrow, bring us back to Maine. That is a 6 hour trip, each way, and I am thankful for him, grateful that he would do that for me. He has been there for us at every stage of this hike!

We got to talk with folks around the pool, also Teapot and Dreamer were here. We also had a wonderful meal at the Blue Benn Diner, and did a lot of relaxing.

I am not sure what to say right now, my mind is all over the place... although a little sad that I will have to stop the hike, I remain optimistic that I may heal up, and be able to return. One thing is for sure... in looking back over these last days and miles and people, God has truly Blessed me. He is continuing to Bless me now, even if I can't see it. I have His assurance that He will Bless me tomorrow! Yeah, God STILL Blesses, and I pray He is Blessing you!

Good night!


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Bromley Mountain in Vermont

The hikers called from a cabin on top of the mountain to say that they went about 16 miles, met a women from Waterville maine and one from Embden! They were excited to meet them...they met and spoke to a lot of people...they are almost a quarter of the way! Hope to have new pictures on site soon.

STICKMANS' JOURNAL...7/27/07...Friday... As always, morning brings good things! I checked on mileages, and it looks like we actually hiked over 13 miles yesterday! We also need to hike just about 19 miles today!

We got a late start today, at 7:45 AM. Faithful is not feeling well, with an upset stomach and a tender knee. He was willing to try and push on, so off we went. We got up and over Killington Mtn., with much effort! Then, it was onward, trying for Minerva Hinchey Shelter, a mere distance of 19 miles. On our way, we met a dozen or so hikers that we were able to speak with. We were also pleased to come across some "trail magic", not once, but twice!The first time was a cooler full of Coca-Cola, and a box full of cheese/peanut butter crackers. That was extra special magic, as it included a note to the SOBO hikers that they should celebrate their 500th mile of hiking! Sure enough, as we left the cooler to resume hiking, we stepped, shortly, onto a road, where we saw that the magician had left another message. He had artfully placed stones to say "500!". That was SO THOUGHTFUL, and lifted our hiking spirits greatly!

We eventually made the miles that would bring us to Minerva Hinchey Shelter, at 8:15 PM. That's 19 miles in 12 1/2 hours, even with our breaks! Not bad... the last 4 1/2 miles were hiked in the rain and thunderstorm, but we made it...wet to the bone. Upon arriving at shelter, we were pleasantly surprised to find Connor and Amanda here. We had met them in Monson, Maine, at "Shaws". We had a great time with them tonight, and now everyone is asleep, except me. It is now 11:00 PM... and I should probably turn in. We have another big day tomorrow, as we need to get to the Post Office in Wallingford, for a resupply. ...and we also need to wash our stinky clothes! We will need to do a quick hike of a little more than 4 miles to get to the trailhead, then hopefully hitch a ride to town. Looks like thunderstorms are forecasted as the weather of the day, so please pray for everybody out on the trail.
For now, good night to you all, God Bless!

STICKMANS' JOURNAL...7/28/07...Saturday... Up and at'em this morning in good order. We were on trail at 6:30 AM, and happy to hike only 3.6 miles to the trailhead. I know that yesterday I said it would be 4 miles... so... you might ask, "What's the difference? Why even mention that it is 3.6 miles? Doesn't that just round up to 4 miles?". Well, yes, it does indeed round up to 4 miles, on paper. On trail, it doesn't round up at all. It is 3.6 miles. Hiked. So, the difference would be... let's see... 0.4 miles! There are times when a tenth of a mile or so is not significant, and rounding up, or down, is OK. Examples of those times would be when it is sunny, and evening has not come, and you arrive at shelter early... OK to round off miles. Nobody is counting. But, when it is in the middle of a thunderstorm, or it is late at night and your headlamp is getting dim, then it becomes significant. Not having to hike 0.4 more miles becomes VERY significant! Yup! It was 0.4 miles less... but it seemed like 0.4 miles more... so it all works out!?! The climb out of Minerva Hinchey Shelter somehow took us down first, then up and over Bear Mtn. ... Now, I don't think Bear Mtn. got its name from being big, but rather, tough... bear tough... tough as a bear. It is only 2,220 ft. high, but STEEP! ...We got to the trailhead and were fortunate to quickly be picked up by a nice man in a worktruck. We couldn't have been waiting more than ten minutes. The man was a building contractor, and chatted with us as he kindly brought us into town. We were able to pick up our resupplies at the Post Office (Thanks, Cari!), then had a nice lunch. There is no laundry in town, so I guess we will hike dirty for a bit longer. I got to talk about the ministry with several folks in town, and gave them all cards. That included the store clerks in three different stores, the Postal worker, and some folks in the parking lot who asked where we were headed. We had a wonderful time! Then, it was time to try to get back on trail. We were again blessed to have another contractor offer a ride. We piled in to the back of a Suburban, and said our hellos to Jack's wife and two children. They were so nice, and (Michelle?) said that she would contact Cari via e-mail. So nice! After we said good-by at the trailhead, we looked up and realized that we were faced with yet another steep climb. It had an elevation gain of about 1300 ft., and it was a very quick gain. Off we went, and (PHEW!), we eventually made our way to Little Rock Pond Shelter, at about 6:00PM. We had been able to do all of our town business, eat, talk to lots of people, and still travel 9.5 miles, so it really was a great day!

We were blessed with the company of a young couple at the shelter tonight, Magnolia and Dudeman, and they were lot's of fun. They were ecstatic when I gave them a whole bag of marshmallows that I had carried up from town! Magnolia proudly made her first ever campfire, and they had a fine marshmallow roast. It was a happy time, with only one moment of near-marshmallow cooking-disaster! Magnolia had one of her treats burst into flame, and as she gently tried to whip the flames out, the little puff flew off of her stick, careening through the air like a miniature meteor, and crashed onto Dudemans foot... DUDE!!! Fortunately, and somewhat miraculously, it never hit flesh, but quickly burned itself into the sandal strap, where it will remain for eternity. As the bellies became filled, the roasting slowed down. The fire had become a wonderfilled ember-glow, and we chatted a little longer. We all decided that it was time to retreat to our sleeping quarters, and I told them to take the rest of the bag of mallows with them on their hike tomorrow, so they can try it again. They said they would love to, and that they would start a tradition of bringing marshmallows to other hikers, whenever they hiked. How neat!

Well, it certainly has been a long day, hasn't it? My watch says it is now 12:02 AM, so it is really tomorrow already. Time to SLEEP! Good night to some of you, good morning to the rest of you, and God Bless to ALL of you!


STICKMANS' JOURNAL...7/29/07...Sunday... Ouch! Rough start... didn't even wake up until 9:00 AM, never got on trail until 10:15 AM. Even so, we began hiking with a mindset to get, somehow, all the way to Bromley Shelter. That was asking alot from both of us, as the distance is 18.2 miles. There were also threats of thunderstorms, but we decided to give it a shot. Fortunately, the day ended up not being about where we would end up, but about seeing and talking with people! We talked with so many people that my mind is still spinning tonight. We stopped, on trail, several times to talk, enjoyed frequent shelter breaks to talk, and enjoyed our lunch and many rest breaks to take time with several other hikers. ...WOW! I had some great conversations and gave out plenty of cards. Folks stopped to chat, share pictures, and talk about anything and everything. It was so much fun! One interesting meeting was with two women at a shelter. One was from Waterville, Maine, and the other had moved, about two years ago, to Embden, Maine. For those of you who are from away, those two towns are very close to my hometown, Madison, Maine.

OK, time to wrap it up! We never made it to Bromley Shelter, as we spent so much time talking with folks today. Good trade-off! Somehow, though, we managed to drag ourselves to the top of Bromley Mtn., which has a nice skiers warm-up building there. They are very kind folks, and leave the building open for hikers.

Although we talked... and talked... we somehow managed to still tear up 17.2 miles of trail today, and arrived here at 9:15 PM! Although the hiking was great, the hikers are better, and I can't begin to mention all that we talked with. We did run into Rambo and Dreamer, two girls we had met in Maine, between Moxie Bald and Monson. Teapot was with them, and we had a brief, but nice visit before they went on. I did get to talk more at length with Teapot, when he, Faithful, and I shared an outcropping and a beutiful view during lunch. Real nice guy! Also, a shout out to "Life Traveler", up there on Peru Peak. I really had a good time talking with you!

As always, getting a little late, getting a little tired, need to turn in. God Bless all of you wonderful people... Good night!