Thursday, July 28, 2005

Rest and Relaxation

Well..... we're in our home town of Cheshire, CT! The southern contingent of the 'Joe's Hole Posse' is taking a short break from the trail to meet w/ family and friends in Florida. Mike and I decided to take equal time off the trail to relax, eat some real food, and hang out w/ family n' friends.

We will be returning to the trail next Friday, right where left off at the CT/NY border. We have fully completed Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Mass. and Connecticut. That's a 1/3 of the trail. We are really proud of our progress and we have made so many wonderful friendships and memories. The trip is shaping up to be far better then any of us ever imagined it would.

Thanks to everyone who has signed our guestbook. We really look forward to reading the entries because they certainly help to keep us going on the hard days. so thanks!

A belated message of thanks to Frank who we met in Manchester Center, Vermont. We were stunned by your hospitality, kindness, and generosity. It's not every day that we get to meet good people like you. The stay at your cabin was a terrific stop on our Appalachian Trail journey, and it won't be soon forgotten. Count Mike and I in for the MS bike ride next summer.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


I'm proud to report that Mike and I are in our home state of Connecticut. We did a huge 24 mile day to break out of Mass, crossing the border sometime around 7 p.m. Right now we are in the internet cafe' in Salisbury Connecticut.

Salisbury, CT

It feels wonderful to be in our home state. We will probably make quick work of Connecticut as well.

Oh how the luck continues to follow us! We were able to climb over Race Mtn (mass) and Bear Mtn (CT) in PERFECT weather. Clear skies and great views. It was really exciting to stand on top of Race mtn and look out in to the Connecticut valley, knowing that we are almost home.

Watch out for the Joes Hole Posse in the nutmeg state!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Not long for the state of Massachusetts

Blake's Dad Reporting: Heard from Blake at 8:20 p.m. on Sunday night.. In his words, since leaving Bennington, VT on Wednesday the 20th, they have been "Kicking Massachusetts Ass -- 20 miles in each of the last three days!" For those who know the area (or have maps) they are south of the Mass Turnpike -- I-90.. They will be in northern CT late tomorrow or Tuesday morn at the latest! Blake (Super T) called via cell from the Tom Leonard Lean-to on the trail just out side of Great Barrington, MA and asked me to make a journal entry. The entire posse will be taking a 4 day respite once they reach either Kent, CT or the NY state line -- whichever happens by the 28th.

Friday, July 22, 2005

On the wings of trail angels.

Blake here checking in from the public library in Dalton, Mass. It's great to be in town and even better when you come across some amazing trail magic. We happened to pass by 'Tom' on the trail in North Adams, Mass. Tom is a legendary trail angel on the AT. He offered to meet us at the bottom of Greylock Mtn and take us in for the night. Sure enough we called him from a local church and he was there shortly. He took us back to his house, gave us cokes and fed us a HUGE and DELICIOUS pasta dinner. We watched tv and fell asleep on his living room floor. The whole 'Joe's Hole Posse' was there and it was really nice to kick back and relax. Thousands of thru hikers have stayed at Toms place over the last 20+ years and he had plenty of good stories about some of the crazier hikers he has met on the AT. Toms place in Dalton Mass. Thanks for everything Tom!
The climb up Greylock was spectacular. It was steep and rugged but the Joe's Hole Posse made quick work of the winding trail. We hit Greylock w/ great weather and the views were incredible. We feel so lucky to have had Greylock, Washington, AND Katahdin on perfect days. The chances of that are so slim but somehow we've lucked out.

Today we woke up and Tom drove us back to the trail head. We did a quick 11 miles into Dalton, Mass. We have to do some errands tonight, mainly laundry and food and we've got our eye on a cool Irish bar where we plan to watch the Red Sox game tonight.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Mt Greylock in Mass

Blake left a phone message on our machine at 11:46 a.m. to say that the posse was in North Adams, Massachusetts with plans to cross over Mt. Greylock this afternoon.

(Click on Pic to enlarge)

Info on Greylock: Mt. Greylock (3,491 ft.) is the highest peak in Massachusetts. Located in the Berkshires near New York State, Greylock is part of the 12,500-acre Mt. Greylock State Reservation. There are two notable landmarks on the summit: Bascom Lodge and Memorial Tower. Built in 1937, Bascom Lodge accommodates 34 overnight guests, serves meals, and sells products related to Mt. Greylock and the outdoors including a great map of the Reservation. Its new operator in 2001 is Nature's Classroom, a non-profit organization that provides environmental education programming services to schools throughout New England and New York. The 92-foot, granite Memorial Tower commemorates casualties of all wars. Its beacon can be seen blinking at night 72 miles away. The Appalachian Trail passes over Greylock's summit on its way from Maine to Georgia.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Southern Contingent of Joe's Hole Posse

Samoa and Gills in Bennington, VT on a day to rest up, re-stock, and call home.

Bennington VT and Moosefest 2005


Tuesday July 19th: Joe's Hole Posse arrived in Bennington in two waves -- Gills and Samoa in the 9 o’clock hour, followed by Don King and Super T an hour or so later. They all got rides in to town by shuttle service -- authorized in the case of Blake and Mike and a friendly stranger with a converted bus for Lisa and Keith. The 4 of them were in the main downtown area of the city when Joan and Dennis arrived at about 12:30 p.m. after the two and a half hour drive from Cheshire, CT. Blake and Mike were first seen riding around Main Street on yellow bikes loaned out to thru-hikers from some of the local stores. They got to sign out a bike (and lock) and were free to use them around town. Bennington, VT is tucked into the lower corner of western Vermont about 3 miles from NY State and 8 miles above Massachusetts. It is a classical New England small city that has a history that connects all the way back to the Revolutionary War. In a matter of minutes Lisa and Keith joined the 4 Connecticut folks and there were hugs and handshakes all around. A local postman was asked for an opinion on a restaurant and in a matter of minutes, all 6 of us were seated at Karmodys -- a downtown eatery. Mike’s mom and her boyfriend were due at any minute, and just as the waitress took our orders, the two of them walked in. In an instant our table for 6 became a table for 8! The service was a bit slow, BUT for a change this was a relief as we got to visit in a comfortable environment. We had a relaxing meal with lots of catching up and questions asked and answered all around the table. With the meal over, groups went separate ways to shop, check computers at the library, and do a little historical looking around the area. Blake and his mom and dad visited the Bennington Monument (took the elevator to the top) and only the haze and humidity kept us from seeing into NY State and Mass. We also visited a local cemetery that is filled with the graves of Revolutionary era dead as well as the New England poet Robert Frost. Very cool, especially for two high school English teachers. Most of us met again around 5 and Joan and Dennis got ready to depart for CT. There was going to be a hiker’s festival in town at night…courtesy of local merchants with food, 10 Cent beers and a movie! The Posse plans to be on the trail tomorrow a.m. (Wed) and will be in Massachusetts before the day’s hiking is done. They plan to be in CT by early next week. Weather has been brutal with high temps and humidity, but all 4 looked great though. The expressions of joy, accomplishment, and pride on all Posse faces (and in their eyes) are PRICELESS!

The moose ( over 50 painted ones) are all over the town as this is a first ever Moosefest all summer. There is a link in case you’d like more info on just what Moosefest is all about:

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

3 pictures

1) Happy 4th of July: Cookout, hotdogs, cold beer!

2) Gills and Samoa with the Presidential Range behind them -- July 3, 2005

3) The Posse atop Mt. Washington July, 2, 2005

Mt. Washington Cog Railroad Traditional Greeting

On the long trail in VT!

Writing this from the Killington public library just off of the AT. We will get our first taste of the famous long trail today. Its a mountain path that runs from the mass border all the way to Canada.

Vermont is harder then we expected. Although the climbs arn't as steep and high, they take a while because the switchbacks slow your progress down. The heat has been punishing but we are drinking tons of water and swimming every chance we get.

Right now I'm off to the town pool.

Much love and thanks to Jim in West Hartford, VT who took us in, gave us water, fed us a steak dinner, a huge breakfast, and let us sleep on his porch. Wonderful trail magic!

Today we begin to hike south on the famous Long Trail in Vermont. It runs all the way from Mass. to Canada and we hike on it for 96 miles. 6 more miles of hiking left in my day so I better get moving. Go Sox!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Green Mountains of Vermont!

I'm writing this from inside the headquarters of the Dartmouth Outing Club located in Hanover, NH. In a few hours we will walk across the bridge over the Connecticut River and in to Vermont. On saturday we woke up to a terrible rainstorm and someone in the shelter joked about us hiking straight to Hanover. (30 miles) Well the idea stuck and we managed to hike the all the way in. We got in at about 830 p.m. cold, wet, and tired. Mike managed to get us a stay at a sorority house on campus. We showered and did laundry and began to watch tv in the rec room when we were asked to leave the house (at midnight!) because some of the members felt uncomfortable about us vagrants sleeping in their mansion.

Frustrated we headed back out in to the night. We finally managed to get a stay at one of the frat houses on campus. I was sound asleep by 2:30 a.m. My 3:00 a.m. wake up call came when the frat boys decided to hold a paintball battle inside their house. The war didn't last more then an hour but it certainly was epic and loud. Oh well, it's their house and we were staying for free.

On Sunday we took a zero day. Tiffany drove up and we got a chance to hang out. We went to the movies and saw Cinderella Man, I bought a book, and we had lunch and dinner together. Mike spent the day swimming and hanging out in Dartmouth with the Jersey boys.

We're about to hit a local swimming hole then we gotta get hiking. Vermont is calling! I'll try to get some pictures up soon.

The pack of southbounders are here in Hanover:

The Jersey boys: Tugboat, Bewildered, & Little Debbie
Gills & Samoa
Leroy & Turkus

Thursday, July 07, 2005

3 days till Vermont!

Checking in from a great hiker hostel in Glencliff NH. We stopped by to watch a few movies, relax, use the internet, and resupply at the local grocery store. They have a huge movie selection here and we are really enjoying just hanging out and resting up.

We are really excited to be so close to Vermont. New Hampshire was everything it was promised to be. Tough hiking, amazing views, and plenty of day/section hikers. We should be in Hanover, NH (VT/NH border)by Sunday.

We may push out a few miles in to the woods now or we may stay here. This place is so comfortable that we'll probably crash here.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Joe's Hole Posse is south of N. Woodstock, NH

Blake's Dad here reporting on their most recent progress. The group got to N. Woodstock yesterday (Tu) in mid-aft. Their plan was to stock up/re-supply and then get back on the AT. However, Mother Nature stepped in and forced a change of plans. Heavy rains forced the group to alter their plans and they decided to stay off the trail and in town for the night. They were due to resume hiking this morning. The attached picture was either taken by Samoa (Lisa) OR it's from the Mt. Washington Police Detachment on the lookout for the three "Mooners over the Mountain!" :) :)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

New Hampshire 1/2 way!

Sitting here in North Woodstock NH at the Woodstock station brewery. We escaped the thunderstorm today by ducking in to town. Not much to report, the whites were awesome and we were very fortunate to get such nice weather. We should be well in to Vermont in 6 or 7 days.

Time for a cold beer.

Thanks for putting the pictures up dad, they are great!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Joe's Hole Posse -- currently south of Lake of the Clouds Hut

Another post by Blake's dad: Sometimes you meet up with people for the first time and without knowing much about them, you get a genuine sense that you've just met some "good people." I felt that way in the short time I was with Keith & Lisa on Katahdin. Instantly, they fit right in at the top of my list of such people. My wife and I feel blessed that fate brought Blake and Mike together with Keith & Lisa.

If you click on each picture, you'll get a larger image. This note is NOT for you computer-savy people out there. Just us rookies! :) :)

1) Lisa (Samoa) at the start of the 100 Mile Wilderness

2) Keith (Gills) atop Saddleback Mountain.

3) Mike (Don King) on the descent from Katahdin back on 3June05

4) Blake (Super T) working his way -- pack first -- through one of the narrow squeezes at Mahoosuc Notch, the toughest mile on the AT.

All pics (except Mike on Katahdin) from Keith & Lisa.
Used without their permission! :) :) :)

Mt. Washington Report by Blake's Dad

I am posting this on 3July05 but the events described happened on 2July05. Mike, Blake, Keith, and Lisa (Don King, Super T., Gills, and Samoa) summited Mt. Washington on 2July exactly 4 weeks from the day they left Baxter State Park, Maine. Distance traveled was 332.4 miles at an average pace of 11 miles per day. There were some zero days in this total, so the actual hiking average would be higher.

Blake called from atop Mt. Washington at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday to report that all four members of "Joe's Hole Posse" were at the Summit Building. Blake and Mike arrived ahead of Lisa & Keith because they had hiked 21 miles the previous day and stayed at the Madison Springs Hut (hired on as "workers" in order to get their free dinner, lodging, and breakfast at the hut. That's an $80.00 per person savings). Their work consisted of washing dishes and the like. DAD'S QUESTION: How come Blake is never seen around the kitchen sink at home?!? As many of you may know, there is a cog railroad that lugs tourists to the top of Washington. A thru-hiker tradition is to greet these cog-railers with an appropriate sign of greeting. This was done by Gills, Don King, and Super T, with Samoa as the photographer. I am a little fuzzy on the details but the three "Moons-over-Washington" faced backwards away from the train as it passed by crowded with tourists. I leave the rest of the "greeting" to your imagination!

Lisa and Mike caught up with Mike & Blake atop Mt. Washington and all four left the summit in the late afternoon for the trek down to the Lake of the Clouds Hut where they spent Saturday night. Through some negotiations with the Madison hut crew, all 4 were assured of jobs at Lake of the Clouds, so again they got two good meals as well as place to sleep for free. Keith's dad -- in a Sunday a.m. email to me -- reported hearing from them early Sunday morn. Their job was to clean the bathrooms at the hut in exchange for free room and board!

They had incredible weather -- just about cloudless skies -- on Mt. Washington with unlimited views in every direction. More later. Photo of Joe's Hole Posse was taken at Andover, ME a few days ago. Photo from Keith & Lisa's camera.