Sheltered: An Appalachian Trail Story
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Sheltered is a thrilling true life account of the Appalachian Trail. The two thousand mile trail spans from Springer, Georgia through fourteen states and ends on the summit of Mount Katahdin in Maine. A couple thousand people go out each year in hopes of completing the entire trail in one go, but few do. This story is filled with hiker lingo and weaves with the ins and outs of hiker culture. The stinky, bearded hikers, who hunger for burgers and thirst for beer, are the everyday comrades on the trail. In towns, hikers flock to the grocery stores where they are greeted with shocked townsfolk, who watch these mountain men with caution. At restaurants the waiters stare and their jaws drop to the floor as hikers gulp down burgers with a side of Mountain Dew. At first many of the hikers have no idea what they have stepped out to achieve. The total elevation gain on the Appalachian Trail is equal to hiking Mount Everest sixteen times. Starting out in the spring means waking up to snow. By the time hikers get to Virginia, winter is gone for good, and hikers have their trail legs. By Pennsylvania, hikers are zapped of energy from the heat and low water. They are attacked by mosquitoes in New Jersey. They get lost in the cliffs of New York. Vermont is beautiful, but is no rival against the White Mountains of New Hampshire, where hikers get to walk above treeline and experience heaven on clear days. At the border of Maine, it is so close and yet so far. Maine, wildest of all, is also the most brutal, and beautiful of all. Some hike it in sections and others in Thru-hikes. It's been said, "For a section hiker it’s a lifetime of hikes. For a thru-hiker it's a hike of a lifetime."
soppy steps. At the lean-to were two people, one could easily mistake them as being married, but they were just enjoying each other’s’ company immensely. They were very happy and I felt slightly like an impostor. They were even happier when it started down-pouring. I smiled as well. There was nothing better than lounging in a shelter when it was raining cats and dogs. The rain made my short day justified. I was happy to know that all the hikers that had gotten ahead of me were getting wet. The
I’d have more control. I tried to read on the couch, but instead, just decided to go to bed early. The night before we got hit with a thunderstorm and Availability talked in his sleep. Day 36 There were a bunch of signs posted in the hostel “two-night stay only.” I wanted to stay the third night, so I asked and the house keeper said I could since it was so empty. I lightened my pack by sending my hand-saw home. At the outfitter, I picked up a large map of the AT for my family to track my
keep from boredom and Fin behind me, whistled back. On the way to the shelter Llama Legs educated me on hallucinogens. He explained that people either have good trips or bad trips – similar to dreams. Fin remarked that because he had a bad trip he hasn’t had the desire to try, again. “The guy that wrote Alice in Wonderland was definitely tripping balls. And you know in the Matrix when Mr. Anderson touches the mirror and it stretches? Things like that happen. The bad trips are filled with your
became apparent that we were all headed to the same hut. People started packing up lickety split. It was a game of tortoise against the hares. Even though I was one of the first ones off, I was getting passed up straightaway. The whole way to the hut, I pushed myself, thinking, Five minutes late could make all the difference: of having food in my tummy or more miles to mosey on. And I’m running out of food, so giddy on up. I sang some songs to myself for stimulating support. At Galehead Hut, I
the edge that teetered as if it wanted to dump me down the steep side. My survival instincts kicked in and I stepped away with adrenaline pumping through my veins. The climb down from the ridge was dangerously slippery. The one man started swearing. “Forgive my French but, those f-ing rocks don’t move.” He had slipped and hit his shin on a rock. Once I got to the “flat part”, I still had miles to go. I crossed the auto road that went up to Washington. That’s weird; I was just there a day ago.