Thursday, August 30, 2007


This morning Kel was wakened by a bear sniffing and grunting around camp 10-15 feet from him...

...too close for me. He thought that it was pretty cool. Yikes! He thinks as he made his way back to the trail he pushed another one out ahead of him...or a deer. He is in Falls village conn today picking up a package or two at the post office and hopefully cleaning up a bit. He called from the top of a small mountain, just beautiful. It is very hot and humid right now which makes hiking a challange. He talked about his experiances in Great Barrington and how helpful the cobbler was at the Eagle Shoe and Boot Co there and his wonderful diner experiance at the neighborhood Diner meeting Tim and Pop and the other regulars. And, Nate and Tim's friend Tim that both gave Kel a ride to and from the trail. Thank-you sooo much. We heard from David's family last night and he is in the area of Greenwood Lake N.Y right now. His hike is going well. It sound as though he has met some helpful people on the trail with few mishaps. He warned Kelly about all the poison ivy coming up in N.Y and PA. Thanks Dave!. Looks like in a day or two Kel will be hitting his 6th state! New York.

STICKMANS' JOURNAL...8/29/07...Wednesday... I got a bit of a late start out of the Hemlocks, as we spent a lot of time talking. I had a very good hiking day, although it is still very hot and humid, and I am exhausted. I didn't see many hikers going NOBO, but got to talk to all I saw. I have seen four groups from Yale, doing freshman orientation trips. I got to talk with many of them, also!

I ended my day after 17.5 miles of hiking, stopping at Limestone Spring Lean-to. I am here by myself, and it is a little lonely. I wish and pray that I would see more hikers.

Oh, yeah... add 1/2 mile to that daily mileage! It is a VERY difficult 1/2 mile downhill hike from the Trail to the shelter. I don't really look forward to the climb-out hike in the morning! But, on the sunny side of things, I DID get to walk some very beautiful ridges today. It kind of reminded me of some of the rock-walking in the movie, "Last of the Mohicans".

I'm a little sad to see the condition of this shelter, and the grounds around it. It is a VERY beautiful area, but has felt the impact of those who can't appreciate it... It is dirty and littered, and some clever folks chose to burn the "Fires Prohibited" signs...

I think, as I settle down to sleep, that I will dwell on the beauty I DID see, and on the possibilities that come with the dawn...

God Bless,


STICKMANS' JOURNAL...8/30/07...Thursday... Lions and Tigers and BEARS! OH, MY! Yes, BEARS!... Or one, anyway...

I had the pleasure of being woken up at Limestone Springs Lean-to this morning, at about 5AM. I heard a noise, and thought that it must be a porcupine, trying to get at my hiking poles, and eat them. They are attracted to the salt that is deposited on the handles by sweating hikers. I switched on my headlamp, and swung around to try to catch the critter in the act. To my surprise, it was a bear walking by the Lean-to, about 15 feet from me! I grabbed for my camera, that was stored behind me, but he had walked on, giving a couple of grunts, before I could get a picture. I was a little scared, but also disappointed, as I wanted a picture of a bear so badly. Well, maybe next time, and hopefully, not that close!

Later in the day, I did get a good set of pictures of a rattlesnake, that was not more than 2 feet off the trail. He was 3 1/2 to 4 feet long, and very fat. I know that I couldn't have gotten my hand to close around him. Can you find his head and his rattle?

I had to go into Falls Village, CT., for my mail drop, then ate at a little restaurant before going back to the trail. I didn't see a lot of folks today, and only two NOBOs. I also didn't cover many miles today,. what with the town stop, heat, humidity, and steep terrain. Only 15.7 miles, then arrived at Caesar Brook Campsite for the night. No shelter here, and it is getting late, so I am sleeping on the ground. No one else is here, it is not a real nice area, and there is heat lightning all around... kind of spooky and pretty at the same time. I will sleep under one of the big pines, in a bed of pine needles. I should stay reasonably dry if it only sprinkles, and will have fair warning of a full rainstorm before it penetrates the canopy and soaks me.

Although my meetings were few today, I had great encounters with the folks that I did meet. I ask God to Bless them, and to Bless you, also.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Blow Out, Great Barrington, Hemlocks Shelter!

Kel hiked almost 40 miles with a boot blow-out! He got into Great Barrington and found a cobbler to do a repair....what an adventure. LLBean is shipping a new pair to his first drop in NY so I hope his boots last until then! We spoke only briefly and he said that he would call tomorrow with some stories but it was late and he was in the shelter and didn't want to disturb anyone. He is having a great time...enjoying the scenery and the people, having a great hike. Still wishes he could lighten up his pack some more(it is running around 30-35 lbs). More tomorrow!

STICKMANS' JOURNAL...8/28/07...Tuesday... What an interesting day! I got to the road, eventually, and tried to hitch-hike into Great Barrington. As I sat there, I had the pleasure of sharing my water with another hiker, a fella named Joel. In return for my kindness, he offered up great conversation, then proceeded to entertain me for a while with his guitar. He was, indeed, a fantastic guitarist! After blessing me with a private concert, Joel eventually decided to strike off into the woods, and I stood there.... for a very long time, trying to decide if I should continue to attempt a hitch, or to admit defeat, and start walking towards town. Indecisive, I leaned back on a big rock, and shortly after, a vehicle wheeled over to the side of the road to rescue me from making a definitive choice. He also saved me from a fairly long road-walk. The wheelman was Nate, a kind and likeable young man. He was so kind, depositing me in town, near several restaurants, and within 4 or 5 blocks of the cobbler! I trekked down to pay a visit to the cobbler, first thing, and was a little dismayed that he felt that the boots were "done for". OK, I'll admit it... I felt terrible! These were my faithful "Crestas"! They had been loyal to me for many, many miles! What he was suggesting, I couldn't accept... it was like putting down "Old Blue", or some other well-loved companion! I stared at my boots, then looked, pleadingly, into the eyes of the cobbler. He was a very busy man, and had a whole bunch of shoes and boots to work on. Footwear that he KNEW he could save. He appeared to be unwavering in his diagnosis. Suddenly, I heard his wife speak. "Isn't there anything you can do, couldn't you try?", she said to him. He glanced at her, then back to me, and said that he would try. He quickly turned back to his work. I smiled at the wife, and she returned the same, and offered to charge my cell phone while I went off to find something to eat. So, I killed some time by treating myself to a nice dinner at a local diner. I took my time, and eventually it was getting late enough that I was beginning to worry that I might get "stuck in town". Back to the cobbler I went, to find him still working on them. All went well, though, and he only charged me a small sum for the repairs. Happily, I was on my way! Outside, I met the young man who had waited on me at the diner. His name was Tim, and he rented an apartment from the cobbler. We talked for a bit, and when I said I was trying to get back to the trail, Tim promptly flagged down a van

that was passing by. He said to the driver, "Tim, this is Stickman. He needs to get across town, so he can get back on trail. Can you get him there?". Sure thing! So, Tim, and Tim, and I, talked for a bit, then off we went. I was still looking at 8 more miles of hiking to get to the shelter, and Tim and Tim were saving me a couple of miles. All of a sudden, I saw Joel on the road! He had not had a very good day, and was exhausted! Tim pulled over, picked him up, and I got him rehydrated again. A decision had to be made as to how much more hiking was going to be done that day. Very little... Tim and Tim were very kind in bringing us further up the road, where we were able to pick up the trail very close to the shelter. (If anyone is keeping track on mileage... IF I am able to make it to Springer Mtn., I would STILL have to come back to do these 6 miles to be considered a real thru-hiker!). After a hike of about another mile, we arrived at the "Hemlocks" Lean-to.
A young lady, "Sweetness" was there, and we talked for a bit, had a nice meal, and then enjoyed the musical desserts of Joel, playing several tunes on his guitar. What a wonderful night!

I also was able to call my wife, Cari, tonight. It is always so nice to hear her voice! She told me that she has been in touch with L.L. Bean, and they have new boots on the way to me. They will be at Falls Village, CT., when I get there.

With that, I will close. Love to all, and God Bless!


Monday, August 27, 2007

Upper Goose Pond Cabin

Kel called Sunday night from Upper Goose Pond Cabin. It was about a half hour hike off the trail. The cabin and facilities are owned by the national park service and has a caretaker,real bunks,spring water,opportunity to canoe,and a pancake breakfast! Kelly was enjoying great company and great views of the pond, and a dip, and was looking forward to a great night's sleep. The walking is going well, the swelling in his leg is normal and no redness. It was a less humid walk today, and he is in good spirits. He has hiked approx. 642 miles of the trail. About 1533 miles to go!

STICKMANS' JOURNAL...8/27/07...Monday... MMMMMM! Pancakes! Pete, the caretaker at the Upper Goose Pond Cabin didn't disappoint! We all had our fill, and there were actually leftovers... hard to believe! I think I ate a dozen or so, all by myself. Wow! The only thing missing was the blueberries... which was my fault. By tradition, incoming SOBO hikers stop to get blueberries for the pancakes before they hike to the Cabin... I'll remember next time!

After having a super breakfast and great conversation, I was finally ready to strike out for Tom Leonard Lean-to. Before I left, however, the conversation had turned to some hiker who had left his tent at Tom Leonard... Ooops! It happened to be Mike, one of the NOBO hikers at Upper Goose Pond Cabin. Since everyone was going North, and I was going South, I told him that I would look for it, and if I found it, ship it to him. Well, off I went, at 9:00 AM, getting into Tom Leonard Lean-to at 7:45 PM, just before dark. I put in a pretty good hike today, 21.1 miles... Unfortunately, after the first 8 miles, the sole of my right boot started to come apart. Quite a difficult hike with the front of my boot flapping. Timing is everything, and I can be in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, tomorrow. They have a cobbler there, so if I can make it just a few more miles!... Also, Mike's tent is here, so I will take it with me and get it mailed out!

It's now 9:30 PM, the bugs are biting, so I think I will turn off my headlamp, get all the way inside my sleeping bag, and get some needed sleep. Good bye, for now, and God Bless...


Sunday, August 26, 2007


Kel has hit his fourth state! He called yesterday morning to report that he made it to the post office in Cheshire, Mass before it even opened. He is getting his walking legs back and is so pleased to be back on trail. The incline out of Bennington was brutal. Mt Greylock had a magnificent view and was so worth the climb.Then, he had another incline that was tougher than the one out of Bennington. On his first night in a shelter, as he introduced himself as Stickman, he was asked if he had previously been hiking with Faithful! The hiker that had met Faithful a few days ago and had had a 15 minute conversation with Dave. She said he was doing well. We haven't heard where he is at this time, but will let you know when we know! Kel hoped to be in Dalton, Mass by evening which will mark 620 miles on the trail. Already he has met several south bound and north bound thru hikers. A few days and he will be in Connecticut

STICKMANS' JOURNAL...8/24/07...Friday... I went from Seth Warner Shelter up on over Mt. Greylock, then into Mark Noepel Shelter for the night. I hiked awhile with "Tea Leave", but he didn't go as far as me. I spent the night with two other hikers, one NOBO, one SOBO. I saw no other hikers all day. I got into the shelter at dusk, having travelled 16.5 miles. Please pray for these things, specifically... my leg continues to heal, my strength builds up, I start hiking more miles, I meet more hikers! Thanks! Good night for now, God Bless!


STICKMANS' JOURNAL...8/25/07...Saturday... I was up a bit earlier, hiking the trail by 6:30 AM. Seems a little strange not having Faithful with me now, and I pray his hike is going well. I will watch for his entries in the shelter logs to check up on him... maybe I will start to catch up to him. I did 16.7 miles for the day, ending at almost 6:00 PM, at Kay Wood Lean-to. I know I will never catch anyone if I do so few miles, but I should build up soon. I was able to pick up my maildrop today, at the Post Office in Cheshire, when it opened up at 8:30 AM, then continued on, passing through Dalton, Massachusetts, to end up at the shelter.

I only met a few people today, but conversation was good with the ones I met. I am just about exhausted, having hiked in 90(plus) degree heat today, and swimming in extremely high humidity. I'm looking for a little cooler day tomorrow... temperature has dropped a bit so far tonight, so I will rest. Lights out! God Bless!


STICKMANS' JOURNAL...8/26/07...Sunday... I left Kay Wood Lean-to at 7 AM, and ended the day at 4 PM at Upper Goose Pond CABIN... uhuh! CABIN! YAY! Depending on which data you go by, I either traversed 17.6 miles or 18.3 miles. I guess I will have to settle with 17.6 miles, in 9 hours. At any rate, my back is sore, I met only 6 hikers, and was only able to talk with 4 of them.

A highlight to the day was crossing over the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90), on the pedestrian bridge, for hikers! Then, a mile and a half later, to be at Upper Goose Pond Cabin. The place is wonderful, has bunks with matresses, good swimming, spring water, canoe, and pancake breakfast... all for NO FEE! They do, of course, accept donations, which almost all hikers are willing to give. Pete, who is this weeks caretaker, graciously shared his meal with me. He had cooked up a nice stew, complete with meat, potato, onions, and the like. It was delicious! Pete also said to expect a big breakfast of pancakes in the morning. Thanks so much, Pete, your the greatest.

After a nice swim, and helping bring supplies up to the Cabin from the dock, I sat and chatted with Pete and a couple of hikers that had come in. We sipped our fill of sweet spring water and talked of the trail, and folks we had met... altogether, a perfect evening.

Well, it is getting late, so I'd best close for now. Good night, God Bless!