Monday, August 29, 2005

Pennsylvania-Maryland Border

Blake's Dad Reporting: On Monday Super T and Don King crossed over the border from PA into MD.. The other half of the posse -- Samoa and Gills -- are a day ahead of them. Blake and Mike took yesterday off and hitched from the trail into Gettysburg. They looked into renting bikes to tour the battlefields but decided instead to take an organized tour by bus. They loved it! The tour guide announced that he did not believe "in having his group stay on the bus to see the sights" and while most of the others groaned at that, Mike and Blake were first off the bus at every stop! Lots of history and lots of questions and answers. They also took in the sights at Gettysburg College. In fact, at the end of the day, they headed back to the campus to find a place to sleep. After much frustration at being told there was no place, they had just about given up. Then one coed, noticing their packs (and looks) mentioned the Gettysburg College Outing Club. They have their own building on campus. In exchange for "trail stories, advice, equipment choices, etc, they had a place to sleep for the night. Supper was pizza with members of the outing club. Hitching back to the AT this a.m. proved difficult. After a two hour attempt, Mike went to a printing store and had a small sign made up (with AT/Appalachian Trail on it). Within minutes, they had a ride. They then hiked 18 miles to the MD border. Harpers Ferry is the goal (easy to meet) in two days.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Messiah X-Country, Pursuing Athletic Excellence...and feeding me dinner

I wanted to extend a big thank you to the members and the coaches of the Messiah College Cross Country team for picking me up and treating me to some great back yard BBQ. It was an amazing gesture, and will stick out in my mind when I think about my journey towards Georgia. I wish them good luck during the upcoming season, and will make sure to check up on their progress on


In Gettysburg

Mike and I decided to get off the trail for a day to check out the historical town of Gettysburg, PA. We managed to hitch a ride some 20 miles from the grocery store in Fayetville, PA all the way to G-burg. We are going to take a bus tour of the battlefields later. We had planned to rent bikes but we found that it cost $30 for two hours! Not worth the money especially in this heat.

Right now we are checking out the campus of Gettysburg college and thought we might stop in at the library to use the internet. It's a very nice town filled w/ some amazing history. The downtown area has lots of old buildings, some of which have bullet holes and damage from cannon fire.

Big Thanks to: The Unitarian church group who we met at the Ironmaster Mansion hostel. You guys were so generous and the food was incredible. Thanks for fattening us up.

and Woody! Woody gave us a ride today in to Gettysburg, real nice guy. Check out this line of energy drinks. He gave us a bunch of free samples.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Ice Cream at the Halfway Point

Blake's Dad Reporting: The entire posse (along with a few others in their group) took part in the Ice Cream challenge today in Pine Grove Furnace General Store in Cumberland County. Attempting to eat a half gallon of ice cream in one sitting is a tradition for thru-hikers to celebrate the half-way mark on the trail. From Blake's brief message the following hikers met the challenge: Blaze, Gills, Don King, Tugboat, Little Debbie, and Super T. ( Samoa made a good attempt but fell short of the mark. ) Blake reported that he had the fastest consumption time -- if there is such a thing -- 25 minutes. Within a few days all hikers will be in Harpers Ferry and many plan to take a few days off the trail.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Well it happened.......

Mike and I got sucked in to what's called to the 'Doyle Vortex' We woke up this morning feeling rested and relaxed. We loafed around all day, shot some pool, had some food....before we knew it, it was 7 oclock! way too late to start hiking, so we are spending another night at the Doyle. It's cheap, comfortable, and the owners go out of their way to make you feel at home.

The Doyle (our room is on the 4th floor, last window on the left)

We are way ahead of schedule and had already planned to cut down on our mileage. We will do a huge day tomorrow (30 miles) to catch up w/ Team America and the JHP.

We're 40 miles short of the halfway point. The thru hiker tradition at this junction is to eat a half gallon of ice cream in one sitting. We can't wait to give it a shot. We are both predicting success.


Super T’s dad reporting: On Tuesday 23Aug, I traveled down to NJ – where the New Jersey Boys are from and where Super T had been seen by doctors there last week – to pick up medicine for Super T. I then drove west out of NJ towards Harrisburg, PA. I arrived in Duncannon, PA) west of H-burg) in the early afternoon on my “medical supply mission.” Super T, Don King, and Blaze were just finishing lunch at a local pizza place, and I joined in. Later, I reconnected with Gills and Samoa (and the New Jersey boys at the "quaint" DOYLE HOTEL – a Mecca of sorts for thru-hikers. Here is the web site for the hotel -- – and the operators and owners ( Pat and Vickey Kelly )do a wonderful job of making thru-hikers feel welcome. All Sobos and Nobos have their picture taken and a few days from now, you’ll be able to see “our group’s” pictures on the web site. Make sure you start checking by the weekend.

I brought Blaze, Super T, and Don King out of town for a re-supply mission at a large supermarket and then stayed a while at the hotel for a few Happy Hour libations with the New Jersey Boys and Joe's Hole Posse. Lots of trail-worn folks but also happy ones too. I departed for CT around 6. The group was to get underway today – Wed – by mid-morning. The next big city/town goal is Harpers Ferry, VA in a week’s time.

Writing this post from the famous Doyle hotel in Duncannon PA.

I came down w/ the stomach parasite 'Giardia' a couple weeks ago. I am feeling fine and it hasn't slowed me down one bit. Dad drove down and dropped off some meds for me yesterday and he got a chance to hang out w/ the 'Joes Hole Posse' and 'Team America' Thanks to dad for coming down!

We are going to spend the rest of the day in town and possibly catch a movie if we can arrange a ride to Harrisburg, PA.

We expect to be out of PA in just a few more days. Pennsylvania has been a very interesting state to hike through. It is 90% ridge walking which means the trail is generally flat. The terrain has been rocky in some sections and the water sources have been OK. Mike finds this type of hiking to be boring but we both agree that it is a nice change of pace from the roller coaster type trails of New England.

Hard to believe the halfway point is right around the corner!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

One Thousand Miles -- That's 1000.

Blake -- Super T's -- Dad again with a Sunday 21August05 report. Blake called at 9:30 a.m. from a grocery store in PINE GROVE, PA. The entire group was gearing up for today's segment. They did 24 miles yesterday and plan to be in Duncannon, PA on Tuesday so they will have to get in three 18 mile days to accomplish this. Mike -- Don King -- has a new pack to be picked up in that town and Lisa -- Samoa -- has a new part of a hiking pole in the same package. Advice to Lisa: Keep hitting those trees with your hiking poles...that's what they are made for! :) :) I asked Super T if it rained last night. He said, "I don't know. I was in a shelter." Ask a stupid question and you get a stupid answer back.

Super T and Don King asked me to mention the wonderful hospitality of Bewildered's parents in Room and Boarding the entire posse at their home in NJ last weekend. In addition, they wanted to thank Little Debbie's dad Mike for driving them around to the clinic, the medical lab, and the AT last Monday and Tuesday.

As I typed the above, the phone rang. It was Super T (on the move) to report that the posse had just hit the 1000 mile mark.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Port Clinton, PA -- 971.1 Miles from Katahdin

Blake's Dad Reporting ( on a request from Blake) here on Saturday a.m.: Joe's Hole Posse and the New Jersey Boys were in Port Clinton, PA late yesterday and planning to overnight there. They hiked in moderate rain most of the day (Friday), but it was certainly nothing like the wet weather experienced early on in their adventure. Noting the mileage from Mt. Katahdin, they should hit the 1000 mile mark on Sunday. Blake reports that the hiking in PA "has been a pleasant surprise. Also, elevations are fairly easy to attain and once on top, the walking is less taxing than other places. Much of the land is game preserves, vast tracts of flat to gentle trails, even some 4-wheel off-road trails and the like." The overnight in Port Clinton was at a church run shelter. Blake was out of food and the nearest "outfitter" (food store) was closed. However, a large cooler in the shelter saved the night (and today) for him. Someone had left a trail magic gift of milk, soda, donuts, bread, peanut butter, jelly, and assorted goodies at the shelter. PARENT'S COMMENT: The incredible generosity of everyday people towards my son and the others is TRAIL MAGIC of the highest order. I am constantly amazed by what others have done and continue to do for the AT hikers. A heartfelt thanks to all of them.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Lions, Snakes, and Bears oh my

Writing this post from Whitehouse Station, NJ. We are staying at the house of our sobo buddy "Bewildered" who is off the trail for a few days w/ the rest of the jersey boys. He picked us up today in Culvers Gap and took us back to his house. We met his folks who made us feel right at home w/ a huge cooler of ice cold beer, fresh fruit, and other snacks. There is a big dinner/party planned for tomorrow night. Can't wait!

We will be back on the trail Monday...Headed for Pennsylvania. Hiking in this heat has been difficult. Mike and I have been trying to wake up early and get at least 10 miles done before noon. The humidity doesn't make things any's harder to breathe and the sweat truly pours off. There haven't been too many great swimming spots lately so a mid-day swim hasn't really been an option lately. Only a few more weeks of this type of brutal heat and we should be good to go.

Last night we stayed at the 'secret shelter' located just before high point mtn in NJ. It is owned by a former thru hiker who bought and developed some land near the AT. We walked a 100 yards down a gravel road and came to a large green pasture. There were several rustic cabins and an awesome hikers shelter. It featured...a HOT SHOWER...ELECTRICITY...AND A FAN!!! Once we decided to stay at this shelter, Mike and I jumped over an electric fence so we could check out the donkeys that Mr. Murray keeps on his property. They chased us out of their stable but we calmed them down by feeding them apples and pears from nearby fruit trees. We got some great pictures and a had a couple good laughs. After dinner, we were treated to a powerful thunderstorm. We sat high and dry in the shelter watching nature run its course.

Today was a first for me on the trail. I saw my first bear! I was walking down the trail when I heard a loud crashing noise (think Jurassic Park) Suddenly a large black bear rumbled out of the woods and on to the AT. He stopped and looked at me and then bolted off back in to the woods w/ amazing speed and agility. It really got my heart pounding and I ran down the trail to see if I could get another glimpse of him. No luck but I could hear him crashing through the woods for the next 100+ feet. I really wanted to see one and I was excited to have finally gotten my chance. NJ is notorious for its bear population so it probably won't be my last. I hope not!

So far Mike and I have seen 20+ deer, a HUGE rattle snake (on the trail!) and countless hawks. Mike saw a bear cub dart across the trail in NH and as mentioned I saw my first bear today.

Things are good on the trail. We're getting closer and closer to the halfway point w/ each step.

Thinking of you Aunt Mary.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Mike and I at Fenway

We got to see a game at Fenway during our time off the trail. We got lucky and watched an awesome game that featured a big red sox comeback (to win) and a Varitek grand slam. Here is a cool picture we took at the game.

I really want to thank a few people that we've met on the trail recently that have helped us along the way....

To Julie who we met in the reststop parking lot on the Palisades Parkway (AT Crosses) who gave us a CASE of water bottles because the reststop facility had closed for the night. We were out of water and you saved the day! Thanks!

To John & Loretta who gave us a lift to the Graymoor Friary and their dinner! Thanks! The chinese food was excellant, we were overwhelmed by your generousity.

To all the trail angels in New York who put out gallons and gallons of water at the roadside crossings. You kept us alive and helped us get through the dry state of New York. Thank you so much for the support and the trail magic.


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Joes Hole Posse bites the big apple

Welcome to New Jersey! We've been fighting the heat for the last 5 days and we made quick work of New York. New York was suprisingly beautiful. It featured some amazing views and crossing the Hudson river was fantastic.

In Bear Mtn, New York the AT goes right through the middle of a real zoo. It was hard to tell if we were part of the exhibit or not! We certainly smell and eat like animals.

Tonight we're staying at a church hostel in Vernon, NJ. They offer TV, Internet, a grill, shower, and tons of other great things for hikers, no cost. You have to pick a chore out of the 'chore box.' I'll be mopping the kitchen floor after I get myself a shower.

Hope everyone is doing good back home, and thanks to everyone for signing our guestbook. We love to read the new entries. Go sox! Go pats! Ty Law to the jets? :(

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Blake's Dad reporting: Joe's Hole Posse crossed over the Hudson River today and they are now settled in at Bear Mountain State Park on the western side of the great river. They crossed the river just a few miles below the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He declared the crossing as "awesome" with "terrific views." [ State of NY picture of the bridge was taken on the western side ]

From the New York Dept of Transportation: THE BEAR MOUNTAIN BRIDGE TODAY: According to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), the Bear Mountain Bridge carries approximately 20,000 vehicles per day (AADT) over the Hudson River. In addition to carrying one 12-foot-wide lane in each direction for US 6 and US 202, the roadway has eight-foot-wide shoulders for pedestrians and cyclists that accommodate the Maine-to-Georgia Appalachian Trail. To discourage through trucks from using the bridge, the NYSBA prohibits rigs weighing more than 56 tons from using the span.

Monday, August 08, 2005

R & R in Cheshire, CT 29July

Friday dinner for the posse -- minus Mike -- at the Mannion house.
(click on picture to enlarge)

Saturday, August 06, 2005


Blake's dad reporting: As of 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 6, 2005, the entire Joe's Hole Posse is, once again, southbound from the CT/NY border. Hiking boots/shoes were on their feet for the first time in 9 DAYS! As they depart New England, they will gradually slip out of our orbit here in CT and slowly begin to enter the orbit of the good folks down south.

Big Thanks

We're leaving for the trail in about 10 minutes. It was a nice couple days off and it will be hard to start hiking again. We are anxious to begin finishing off the middle states because they are notoriously unpleasant. We should make quick work of them and we expect to be in virginia sometime early September.

Quick thanks to mom and guys are the best. Keith and Lisa had a great stay.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Helpful Hint in Viewing Pictures

Once in the Photo Gallery, select a particular grouping. Left click the first picture and it will enlarge. To view the next picture left click with the cursor on the RIGHT side of the picture. Having the cursor on the LEFT side will take you back a picture. Having the cursor in the MIDDLE of the picture takes you to the entire (smaller) page of pictures. Makes viewing a lot easier and quicker.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Photos! Photos! and more Photos

Blake's Dad reporting here on Tuesday 2Aug05. The posse has been off the trail since last Thursday. They will all be heading south from the CT/NY line on Friday. Blake took advantage of the R & R to overhaul and update the PICTURES section of the site. There are now 100's of pictures (from Mike's camera) to see -- divided by sections of their AT trek from Maine to CT. Check them out when you have a chance.