Thursday, May 31, 2007

Injury Update

I am safely home as of 11:00am May 31 2007. The injury that I have acquired is called overuse syndrome, which is in my case is an inflammation of the muscles and connective tissue in my ankle. My body has not taken the adjustment to the terrain and mileage for one major reason. The shoes that I started the trail with lacked cushion and did not provide my feet and legs enough protection from the rock filled terrain that we have encountered so far, this factor combined with the 27 mile segment that we accomplished Monday led to severe pain in my right leg from the shin to the foot. I decided that with the doctor recommending at least 2-4 days off of my feet followed by tapering my mileage back to our planned pace that I would come off of the trail. I decided that it is more important for me to not accomplish a thru hike at this moment, but rather to not be injured or jeopardize the entire trip. I will be rejoining Spencer and Ben as soon as possible, and in the meantime will be resting my feet for another couple of days. Then I will taper in a training regimen in the time between now and getting back on trail. I would like to thank all of the people that sacrificed their time and effort to get me from such a remote part of North Carolina back home. I will be in touch with Spencer and Ben and will attempt to keep you updated during this time. We will blog more about some of the proverbial good Samaritans that we have met along the way in the near future.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Fontana Dam

Spencer reported in around 4:30PM today he and Ben arrived at Fontana Dam this afternoon after 22 miles. Garrett unfortunately has had to take a break to recover from a type of shin splints, I know this must be tough on him, hopefully he can fill us in with some details in the next couple of days.

Monday, May 28, 2007


Spencer reported tonight that they covered 27 miles today, their longest leg so far which ended at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, where they would camp by the river. So far this puts them right on schedule with the latest itinerary.

Complete Admiration

Ben, Garrett, & Spencer-
Fellas, just wanted to say that I really admire all of you for what you are doing.
This will truly will be a memorable experience in so many ways and while it may not be life-changing, you are doing it for the right reasons. We honestly do not know what tomorrow will bring so we must embrace the present, and I do not think anyone will argue that this is exactly what you guys are going.

Warm regards,
(Spencer's older brother)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Troop 301 Gulfport

When preparing to leave the parking lot at Springer Mountain in Georgia, we ran into the scout leaders of Troop 301 out of Gulfport, MS. We continued on down the trail and passed the troop out on the trail. One of the leaders of this troop, Mr. John Kelly, an 86 year old assistant scoutmaster was extremely touched by our story. He told his troop about why we are hiking the trail and told us that we are the definition of "what friendship is all about." He was very emotional and we definitely felt that we made a great example to our fellow scouts in his troop.


We have added photos from our trip and a permanent link to all future pictures that we will upload in the personal trip info section at the upper right hand of the page.

Zero Day #1

Today we have decided to take a zero day. In hiker terminology this means that we are not hiking today. On Thursday while on top of Kelly Knob in Georgia I decided to check my voice mails. I heard the news that my great aunt Evelyn became ill from an opening in her intestinal tract. She passed away later on Thursday, and this event has hit me rather hard. I never really knew my grandmother, but my great aunts have always fit that role for me on my dad's side of my family. We decided as a crew that not only did we need to rest after our first week, but that they wanted to get me to my aunt's funeral just as much as I wanted to be there myself. We are not hiking today and will be attending the funeral in Belmont, NC. We are also using this day off to recuperate after a tough week of transitioning to the trail. We have experienced a few flat tires (blisters and foot pain) but we are changing shoes and carving moleskin and should be able to continue our "blistering" pace after a much needed day off. We will blog again later on today with pictures, video, and stories from the trail. Even though we have only been on trail for a week, we have hiked over 100 miles and met a whole cast of interesting characters. More to come later...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Neel's Gap

Spencer reports that they made it up Blood Mtn. and arrived @ Neel's Gap just fine yesterday afternoon. They were hoping to be able to post a blog, so far I haven't seen anything. The only other interesting comment was they had mice crawling around their heads in a shelter on Monday night.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Their Journey begins

Watching the preparation, and spending time with these three young men has been an incredible experience. The detail with which they have approached this journey is mind boggling. The most touching elememt is the realization that this is all about their remembering Steve and fulfilling a pact they made with him. May we all keep the Harringtons close in our thoughts during this time and always.
The next needed supply package is waiting their arrival at Neel's Gap. There, they should be able to write a blog and have a little time to refuel before moving on.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Julie and I just got back to Raleigh. We can't thank you guys enough for taking this challenge on in memory of Stephen.


On the trail

Hey everyone. I received a message on my phone this morning around 11:20 am from Garrett. He said that they had just had a short service and spread some of Stephen's ashes. The family had loaded up in the cars to depart and they were getting ready to "hit the trail". They hoped to be at their first campsite by 4:30 pm today.

Over and Out

We are about to leave for Springer Mountain, 8:00 Monday morning. Everyone is excited and ready to get started. Holiday Inn Express provided an adequate complimentary breakfast for everyone. The view out of our window is the ridge that we will be hiking later today. Our next post will most likely be Tuesday night, or Thursday night, but we are not certain. Thanks a million for everyone who has helped and will help in the future. We wouldn't be able to do this without you, you know who you are.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Raleigh to Dahlonega

We all made it safe to Dahlonega, GA. The Harrington's, My Dad, Garrett, Ben and myself all arrived to Holiday Inn Express without getting lost at about 7:15 PM. If you want to know more about Dahlonega there's a good little tune about it by Corey Smith. Just click on that and download the song. He's an upcoming artist from this area. Anyway, we are all excited to be here and have great confidence and anticipation in starting and finishing the trail. We're all heading out for an Italian dinner...load up on them carbs. Bye for now

Saturday, May 19, 2007

We're heading to Springer Tomorrow

As the title states, tomorrow is the departure date from Raleigh for our thru-hike. We will be going to Springer Mountain tomorrow and spending the night there and will begin hiking on Monday morning, right on schedule. This will hopefully be the first of many "on schedule" moments.
Garrett drove 10+ hours from Ithaca, NY yesterday and jumped right into the final preparations of our mailers/re-supply boxes. We are planning to re-supply 18 times over the course of the summer and we are up to box number 13 right now which puts us in Williamstown, Mass. Instead of making the last five boxes now, we figure it is best to wait and see how our pace/itinerary is looking and have the boxes made for us down the road (thank you family and friends!).
As we have gotten closer and closer to leaving, it is increasingly clear how lucky we are to have the people we do around us. Planning for this trip is much more than i think any of us could have imagined and it has been so awesome to have people anxious to help. So, thank you all very much and our next post should be from the trail, most likely at Neel's Gap.
More later,
Here are some photos from the last few days:

CLIF bars anyone?

Cutting toothbrush handles: every ounce counts!

Chef Spencer portioning out noodles and powdered sauces
for our dinners for the next two months.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Spencer at Sam's with his favorite item

It is Monday night the week before we leave and we are working as hard as we can to finish our planning before we hit the trail. Garrett is still up at Cornell and Spencer and I are here in Raleigh. With the three of us not able to sit down and plan together we are finding that this is yet another difficulty in this journey. Today Spencer and I went to BJs and Sams Club and priced all sorts of food items, vitamins, ziplocs, etc. in order to best shop. Tomorrow we are going to go back to each place and purchase the food for our mailers/re-supply points. Tonight, our task is to look at the itinerary that we worked out these last few days and figure out where we want to re-supply. There is so much to take into consideration here and the reality is that so much of this will change when we start hiking. But, it is important for us to at least have a plan at first. We are stoked and ready to get moving as Garrett said in the last post and are so excited to be doing this for the entire summer.

More later,

New Blog Feature - Personal Trip Info

As we are getting down to crunch time in our trail preparations, I wanted to make everyone aware of a new feature on our blog. I have published spreadsheets that display my personal gear list containing my pack's items and another spreadsheet with our proposed trip itinerary as of today 05/14/07 as well. Both of these items can be found by clicking the links at the top right of the blog. This itinerary is obviously only hypothetical, yet it will give a rough estimate of where we will be staying each night while on trail. These spreadsheets will be automatically updated when we are able to make changes to them, therefore while they will remain a rough estimate throughout the trip's entirety we will attempt to update them as we go along and give everyone a better shot at meeting up with us should they choose to do so. We will head for Georgia this Sunday 05/20/07, and are extremely excited to get some mileage under our hip belts.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Google Earth Tracking

This summer we would like for everyone that is following our progress to be able to see the trail and which shelter's we were recently at to gain some perspective of our journey. Everyone can download Google Earth for free from the Google website. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has posted GPS data on their site that are importable into google earth. Fortunately, other individuals have the same interest in the trail and have already converted this data into a centerline/shelter hybrid file for google earth. Just download the file and open with google earth and you will have not only the shelter names, yet also you will have an approximate center line for the entire Appalachian Trail. You will be able to gain an idea of not only the distance, yet also the vegetation and surroundings of the entire trail from this document. Just download Google Earth for your PC or Mac, download the hybrid .kmz file and enjoy a centerline with most of the shelters! You will find that this .kmz file orphaned some of the Appalachian Trail's shelters probably due to the sheer number of points that the GPS data and 300 shelter sites actually is. This .kml file as far as I can tell contains all of the shelter sites so that if we stay at a shelter that is not on the first document then it will probably be on here instead. Combine these shelter names and locations with the distance calculator, and you will be able to easily calculate how many miles we hiked to get from stop to stop. Hope this provides everyone with a free, easy to use solution for tracking our 2,175 mile adventure.

Here is a link to the Pacific Crest Trail .kml file from the U.S. Forest Service Data for people that are interested in that trail as well...

Nutritional Study

This summer we have agreed to undergo a nutritional-psych study, which will help a Cornell University nutrition student on her senior thesis project. We were approached due to not only the simple relatively easiness that monitoring our diet will take, yet also the unique situation. The study is focusing on our mental state accompanied with the large amount of exercise and the loss of weight that will come with that exercise regardless of how well we attempt to restore our daily caloric burn. Our goal of an average of 27 miles a day is unbelievable to most people, yet I do believe it is attainable for us due to the training that we have all been performing. This situation will definitely provide this nutritional-psych study with an optimal scenario to observe. We have been performing baseline dietary analysis before our trip, and we will perform it again afterwards. We will be weighed before and after the trip as well as during the trip as often as possible. And we are going to fill out a Beck's Depression Inventory before, after, and regularly during the trip. I think that this study may be useful to not only backpackers and adventure racers, yet all athletes so we will try to keep posting whatever we learn from this experience. Hopefully we will be able to publish the findings on here and enlighten everyone to the stresses that are placed upon not only the thru-hiker, yet also the endurance athlete in general.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Springer and Katahdin

I cannot express how fortunate I feel to be the one person who can say that they hiked both Mt. Springer and Mt. Katahdin with Stephen. It has always been a dream of mine to hike the entire Appalachian Trail and it was one of Steve's dreams too. Ben and I quickly decided that hiking the trail in honor of Steve was the right thing to do, Garrett immediately agreed as well. As we carry on this summer, step by step, mile by mile, I have no doubt in my mind that we will be able to complete this task. During this time leading up to our departure, I feel composed and adrenalized. I look forward to hearing from my friends and family via this blog when I get off the trail or through the chance of an internet cafe of sorts.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Why the AT?

Why the Appalachian Trail? Why honor your friend by hiking almost 2,200 miles through the wilderness? The answer for me is simple. Steve, Spencer, and I hiked the northern terminus at Mt. Katahdin in Maine in the summer of 2005 not long after Steve and Spencer hiked the southern terminus at Springer, MT in Georgia earlier that summer. We joked on our trip that one day it would be cool to hike the entire trail, for them, to connect the dots. When confronted with my friend's death later that year, I knew that the joke that we threw out without any thought of it being a serious goal would be the best way for me to honor him. My trip in Maine was the last time I saw Steve, and will be the moment that I hold on to during my entire thru-hike. I know that we have an ambitious goal of an 80 day thru-hike, and that this goal is half of the typical time that one takes to hike the 2,175 mile trail, yet somehow I know that we will have the extra intangibles to accomplish our trip.


Welcome to the Blog that will cover the Appalachian Trail thru-hike occurring this summer of 2007 in memory of the late Stephen Harrington of Raleigh, NC. We will be posting information covering our trip details, memories of Steve, our trail experiences, and give out whatever hiking advice we develop through our experience. We hope that this site will be a resource of hiking knowledge, will allow you to follow along with our experiences and mental struggles occurring on the trail, and serve to honor our dear friend Steve. Thanks for stopping by.