Georgia to Maine - - Please join me from start (4/1) to finish (8/10) - 132 days!!!!!

Bethlehem, NH
I have completed my thru-hike of the AT from Georgia to Maine; I started 4/1 and completed 8/10/10. I decided to do this thru-hike in memory of my brother Michael and in turn decided to turn it into a fundraiser. All money raised went to the Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country which gives year-round opportunities in sports and recreation to people with physical or developmental disabilities. My wife Pam and I got involved with this program because it allows us to help people with disabilities enjoy the outdoors like we do and my brother Michael did. Michael was born mentally challenged, and he loved to visit us in the North Country of NH and go hiking. He also loved the outdoors and did many other sports. So, to help others do this and other outdoor activities is a TRIBUTE to him, and an HONOR to us. Many of you have helped me along my journey and donated (follow donation link) directly to a secure website. All donations have gone and WILL CONTINUE to go to ASPNC – nonprofit org to help assist others to hike, ski, kayak, snow shoe..etc… Thank you all in advance for your kindness & generosity, Dave & Pam Smith

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday 6/30 - Miss you Michael

Hi All,

Today is the 3rd anniversary of my brother Michael passing, to whom this hike is in remembrance of. So, please take a moment today to think of him.

Those of you who knew Michael loved him and those of you who didn’t get to meet him would have loved him. He always remembered a face and a name. He always has a hug and a hello for everyone.

I think of him often on this journey and I am the one who missed out by not getting to spend more time with him. There are times when things plain old suck out here and I think of Michael and he pulls me through.

I love you and miss you my brother and hope you are watching and are proud of me.

Love, Dave

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tuesday 6/29 - Day 90 on the trail

5:15AM breaking down his tent in a light mist. 5:30 hitting the trail. He wants an early start on the heat.

Ponytail needed to take a 3 mile detour on a hot paved road due to an AT bridge being worked on. Not something he wanted to do in the bright sun, but he did.

Did 17 miles in 7 hrs. Our Friends Phil, Amanda and Brian picked him up in Salisbury, CT about 12:45.  They went immediately to McDonald's....lots of quarter pounders w/cheese. and pickles.

They are all going to spend the night at our friend Jerry's house close by. Thank you Jerry for letting them all use your house while you are away.

Phil had everything. Of course he would , he is Phil. Steaks, beers, olives, brussel sprouts, potatoes,asparagus... PTD should gain a pound or 2 within the next day.

So, to date on the trail - 1,489.3 miles and 689 more to go


Monday 6/28

Lots of elevations changes today. Up and down, up and down. More than just rolling hills. Super Hot. He wishes the humidity would break. He says he drank 8 liters of water today. At least he had it today to drink.

He saw some deer, the Housatonic River, crossed an old Indian Reservation called the Indian Rocks. It was once owned by the Schaghticoke tribe, went through a part of Kent, CT, the Pine Plantation (bad shape due to the insight blight), St John’s Ledges – cool looking rock cliffs,

Stayed at Pine Swamp Brook Lean to in his tent. This shelter was built back in 1989. It is known for the fierce mosquitoes . Good thing he has his Ben’s bug spray from Tender Corp, Littleton, NH.

He traveled 25.7 miles today in the heat. He is amazing!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday 6/27 - late in day, now in New England

Several miles in by 7:30am. PTD knows it is to be a hot one again today.

Nuclear Lake, the AT goes along the shoreline. "They" say it is no longer contaminated. In 1972 it used to be a nuclear fuel processing research facility. PTD splashed his face w/the water to try to cool a bit. Says he didn't glow but wouldn't drink it if dared.

The more he sweats the more those deer flies seem to like him. He swears the same fly has traveled all the miles today w/him. All the bug spray he has on and it is still bugging him.

Passed Pawling Nature Reserve. Hay fields, one which had a huge old water tower that had been restored. Too bad it didn't have a spigot on it.  He got to see the AT train. People actually stand on the platform wave down the commuter train.  It will pick them up and bring them to NYC and back for only $23.00.  What a deal.

He got to go to Ron & Holly's PURPLE house. They are right on the trail and let hikers come up to the house and get water. They are also located near the Dover Oak. Largest white oak tree on the AT. It is estimated to be about 300 + years old and the girth is 20 feet. It is larger than the Keefer Oak tree he saw down in VA.

Heard from cousin Sue. She came in 2nd in her age group for the 5K run race. Great job Sue!

4pm - crossed the state line into CT. Excited, as he should be. Now in New England and he has 5 more states to go. Way to go ponytail.

He got to the Ten Mile River Lean to and quickly went down to the river to cool off. He says he laid right down in the shallow part of the water for about 15 minutes. Says it was so nice to get his head wet. He needed to cool his body temp down. He had been traveling a ways w/a migraine.

He went set up camp and had dinner. In tent writing in journal by 7:30. Not long after that he says he will sleep.

24.4 miles today and only 5 more states to go

Dover Oak tree
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nuclear Lake
 







AT Train Station
 




10 mile leant to






Saturday 6/26

Ponytail Dave and Sue started out hiking at 6:30am. Sue got to cross the 1400 mile mark w/PTD. They had nice rolling hills to go over. No wildlife to speak of except for birds and chipmunks.

They stopped and had a very very early lunch (about 8:30), some of us not ont he trail would call that breakfast.  They also stopped at a stone watering house near one of the trail heads.  The water was treated. PTD cameled up. They had crossed several small brooks and some very small streams. The streams were almost dried up. If this warm weather keeps up hikers behind him will have troubles w/water too.

Ron came to get Sue about 11:30 near Dennnytown Rd. She had hiked only 7 miles today w/PTD because she is in a 5K road race on Sunday and didn't want to push the limits today. PTD had a very nice time hiking and talking with Sue. Hopes that the next visit won't be years apart. Hopefully we can all meet up in August in Pittsburg, NH when PTD is done the trail.

He continued up and down some rolling hills, hemlock groves, a sunken mine shaft, steep rocky area 1/2 way up Denning Hill, pretty views of Canopus lake, Clear lake and Oscawana Lake...

Ponytail moved on and came to the RPH Shelter where there was a man offering to give him a ride to the grocery store to re-supply. Perfect! Then he won't need to stop again till he meets Phil in Salisbury, CT. This man had a beautiful new Lincoln Navigator. He let Ponytail put his smelly pack in it. Guess he owns a chain of drug stores and hopes to be able to thru-hike one day. He drives by this shelter often and helps out the hikers by giving them rides. Very nice man.

Ponytail got back on the trail and continued on till around 8ish. Then set camp up near Stormville,NY. He was so close to the interstate 84 that he could hear the big 18 wheelers whizzing by. He opted for his earplugs tonight so he could sleep.

A VERY SPECIAL NOTE:
Nancy in Goldvein. Thinking about you and hoping all goes well this upcoming week. Have faith!

Today he traveled - 25.3 miles
To date - 1,422.8 miles
left to go - 755.5

Friday 6/25

Ponytail was up and on the move early as it was to be another hot day. Wishes one of these fronts would cool it down some.

He came across the William Brien Memorial Shelter and the water source was all dried up. He was ok, he had saved a little water from he night before to get him a few miles in the morning.

Now the feet of trying to cross the Palisades Interstate Parkway during rush hour traffic. Yikes! Says the cars were flying by at about 70mph. No bridges, no under paths for him to go. Only way is to cross the road. There was a lull, he ran. Made it! Guess it is pretty hard to sprint w/a 40+lbs pack on your back.

He did come across Grace & Glory who where hiking. They were kind enough to give PTD some water since he hadn't come across any springs so far today. They had extra and didn't want PTD to run out completely just in case. Very sweet of them to give him some water. Not like the lady from the facotry a few days before. About 15 minutes later he came upon a store and stocked up on Gatorade. Don't want to be without something to drink. Needs all those electrolytes today too. He says he keeps feeling whoosie due to the heat.

He climbed up Bear Mnt. Beautiful sites of the Hudson River on the left and NYC on the right. He called me from a top of the mountain. He was all excited to get down the mountain because the Bear Mountain State Park has concession stands and a small zoo that is free to thru-hikers. He was so craving burgers, fries and sodas. Notice how everything is plural. He is hungry.

view of Hudson River





Well, Ponytail was so disappointed when he got down to the park. The food stands are closed and are only open on Saturday and Sundays. Bummer! He ended up having a pepperoni sandwich from his food bag.

He was so bummed out he didn't even travel through the zoo. Just wanted to get moving on. So, he did and then traveled over the Bear Mountain Bridge built back in 1923. It is used for auto travel but does have a sidewalk for pedestrians.

At the end of the bridge he found someone to take his picture w/the bridge and the Hudson River in the background. Well, this person dropped the camera(not in the water - thank goodness) but on the ground. It bounced. The guy picked it up and said sorry. PTD tried the camera. Something rattling around inside. Doesn't work but at least we can get the pics off the memory card. So, he put it in his pack. Called me and told me what had happened. I immediately went out and got a new camera. Our friend Phil will bring it to him in Salisbury, CT next week. So, PTD had a lousy lunch, now has no camera. Having a really bad day. Oh, did we mention it is still extremely hot.

He pushes onwards. He gets to the Graymoor Spiritual Center. They let thru-hikers sleep in the ball field. There is ice cold water to drink and cold showers. No hot water but that is ok, he really needs to cool down.

When he got there some of the other thru-hikers had just ordered beer and Italian Food from a restaurant that delivers. They told him to call and tag on to their order. So, in about 1/2 hour he was able to drink and have a nice Italian dinner on the picnic table of the ball park. Very cool! Things did turn around.

He called cousin Sue to tell her where he was so they could meet in the morning for hiking. She said she wanted to camp out w/him too. So, she called the Monastery and asked if it was ok. Sure! Ron came and dropped her off so she could sleep out under the stars w/Ponytail. Sue got to hang out w/other thru-hikers and hear all their wonderful stories.

He traveled about 17.3 miles today

Thursday 6/24-THANK YOU RON & SUE

Slept very well. Sat and played w/Emma(little pug dog) and all the other animals. Had a nice breakfast and then cleaned things up and took his time packing up his gear. He was in no rush as Sue didn't need to be to work till afternoon. They headed out to the drug store to get him a lightweight knee brace and some other supplies at the grocery store.

Sue dropped him off at the trail head and said see you for hiking on Saturday am. Since Dave will still be in the area and Sue doesn't need to work, they will be able to meet back up and hike.

Wants to thank Sue and Ron for all their hospitality. Greatly appreciated.

Ponytail wasn't out long on his 85th day when he started seeing the sights, Fitzgerald Falls(25 ft tall waterfall), Mombasha High Point (a spot where you can see the NYC skyline and the Empire State building),Little Dam Lake, wooden truss bridges, hemlock groves, Arden Mnt, Buchanan Mnt, crossed over Trout Brook via a wooden bridge, the lemon squeezer(a series of boulders that you need to go between), lots of jumbled rocks on steeps...

He was about 2hrs into his trip today when he got drowned. The skies opened up, yet once again. Oh, boy did the rain come down. It seemed to make it more humid if that was possible. Things got slippery. He ended of taking his 1st major tumble down some of the steep rocks. He fell sideways. He twisted his right foot between some of the rocks and got some bruises on his arms. Just said he lost his footing on the slippery rocks. He is ok, just banged up a bit.

Things turned around a bit later, he got some trail magic to brighten his day from Paddy-o (thru-hiker of 2004). He gave Ponytail some gatorades and some chocolate covered donuts.

He stopped at the Fingerbaord Shelter to make his dinner. This is a 1928 stone shelter. He knows water has been scarce so he carried some extra to get him through the night. He didn't want to use his good drinking water to make dinner so he found a good size puddle and boiled the heck out of the water and that is how he made his dinner.

After dinner, PTD had some more energy and decided to put on a few more miles. He traveled near Seven Lakes Dr and set up camp for the night. He said it was too hot to sleep in his sleeping bag, so he just slept on his sleeping pad in the tent. He so wanted to leave the rain fly off but, didn't want to chance it in case it rained overnight.

Traveled 16.1 miles today  
Fitzgeral Falls
Lemon Squeezer

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wednesday 6/23

Ponytail says the day started out dry, sunny and breezy but before you know it, it became very sticky. PTD called about 8:30am and he was already having 2nd breakfast. It was a PB sandwich. He isn't diggit it, too plain, needs jelly.

9:35am his body was 1/2 in NJ and 1/2 in NY. So, 8 states down and 6 more to go.

He came across Prospect Rock - 1,433 ft - highest point in NY on the AT. Nice views of Greenwood Lake.

He came across Bellvale Creamery where he had several homemade birch beers and 2 chocolate shakes. Tasted great going down. But lesson learned. Don't drink shakes and soda all in one sitting. Belly not feeling so good.

As the day grew longer Ponytail kept thinking,  how many more miles to get to cousin Sue's house on this hot sticky day and wondering when his belly would stop turning from all the ice cream and soda.

Around 2:30 he was coming down the trail to Lakes Rd when he came across a bear and 2 cubs. That was a nice sight to see froma distance.

It had been a tough day, hot and humid and Ponytail says he felt somewhat like he was back home hiking. Bigger mountains and rocks to scramble over. He said his 13 miles felt like he did 25. Must be because of the heat.

No cell service so he traveled a bit further so he could call cousin Sue. She lives about 5 minutes from the trail. Super! She was there and on her way to get him. Ponytail was spending the night there.

They were so excited to see each other. Haven't seen each other in several years. They got back to her house where Dave got to meet her boyfriend Ron(very nice). They all sat outside on the patio, talked and had beers.

Sue made them a nice dinner. Steaks on the grill, corn on the cob... and for dessert, brownies, hot sauce, whip cream, he says it was all wonderful.

Later they sat around and talked more and he even helped them put in their new AC. Then they got to sit in the house in the AC and chat before bed about tomorrows plans.  Ponytail was very comfortable there.

Traveled 1,365.5 miles to date and 812.8 left to go

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tuesday – 6/22

It was very hot and humid, just like days past. Especially walking through all the fields of tall dry grass. PTD walked w/the cows many times today as he crossed many fields. Here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.

He was craving ice cream and knew a farm stand would be coming up near one of the road crossings. He ended up getting a chocolate shake, 2 peaches, a plum, and a pound of cherries. Think he was craving fruit too.

Ponytail says that southern hospitality is gone. He was traveling down Oil City Road, a black tarred road. Extremely hot. He came across a factory. Great he was thinking, since water has been a bit scarce due to the hot water. He went into the office and asked if they had an outside spicket that he could get some drinking water and the lady said no and never offered him drinking water inside. How rude!

He got to hike a bit today w/Tin Tin and Melagdon. They hopscotched for a bit and then Dave ended up losing them. They must have stopped for a break as Dave moved on. He says it was nice to see familiar faces. He hasn't seen any on the trail in awhile.

Ponytail crossed up and over Pochuck mnt which wasn't very tall but it was steep. He also went over the Pochuck floating suspension footbridge. It is about 146 feet long. Then he crossed over the rest of the Pochuck swamp using a really cool boardwalk that is 3,950 feet long and was built in 2002. He also climbed up mnt Wawayanda today.








Later in the day he said he some soaking rains. Felt good, but now he is soaked. The rain had lightened a bit by the time he got to Wawayanda Shelter. This is where he will spend the night. He has been setting up his tent more now due to the bugs. They are getting to bad to just sleep in the shelters w/no protection. He made his dinner and sat and chatted w/some young kids that were thru-hiking the trail. They started the beginning of March. They aren't on any time schedule.

So, to date 1351.9 and 826.4 left to go

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Monday – 6/21

Ponytail started hiking a little before 6AM today due to the fact that it was going to be the 3 H’s again. Hazy, Hot & Humid. Weather has been extremely hot as you all know.

Today is the 1st day of summer or on the trail it is National Hike Naked Day. No our Ponytail did not partake in this but, he did several other hikers w/nothing except socks, boots and backpacks (well, they had some leaves stuck into the pack straps on the front in the right places 

He happened to call at noon today and he was sitting at a gazebo out in the middle of nowhere eating wild blueberries and sipping water. Beautiful countryside. I just happen to be out for a nice walk myself during my lunch break up in Sugar Hill near the Iris Farm. I was thinking the same thing. Beautiful countryside.

He came across another fire tower. He has gone up many but didn’t feel like climbing up this one today. Just too darn hot!

Wild life – came across deer, says he isn’t even taking pics of them anymore since he sees them all the time, kind of like our wild turkeys here in NH. A big black papa bear. He was on the edge of the trail and just checked him out and then milled around for a bit and left. A bald eagle near Sunrise Mountain. Very cool.

PTD saw the High Point Monument from a short distance (didn’t feel like taking the side trail to go see it up close – again, just too hot). This monument was built in 1930 and was dedicated to the NJ wartime vets.

Stayed at High Point Shelter. This is a stone shelter w/wood floors.

About 24.6 miles today which leaves 850.4 more to go and he has completed 1327.9 to date

Sunday – 6/20

Extremely hot and humid. A few spot showers. PTD crossed over into NJ today.

Passed Sunfish pond, which is the southernmost glacial pond on the AT. It is a protected area in the state due to its unique features. This pond was formed by the scooping action of glaciers during the ice age over 10,000 years ago. He got to see Catfish Fire Tower which is a very old tower that was built in 1922 and stands about 60 feet tall. He camped at Crater Lake. He did about 19 miles today.

PTD hit 1300 miles today too. So, today he has done 1,303.3 miles on the AT. Incredible! He now has 875 left
pic of Crater Lake

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ponytail & Sister Karen

They are at Karen's work - Blue Cross & Blue Shield.

Karen has a huge wall honoring her brother’s hike.

She updates it frequently for her co-workers to see.

She is very proud of her younger brother.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Quick note from Ponytail in PA

Hi All,

I'm in Pa. at my sisters talking 2 zeros and resting my foot,in the pool a beer or two and some good food.

Thanks to Karen, Robbi & Tammy for everything. Got to spend some time with my nephews Gage and Braylon. Also, great to see my mom and uncle Bobby and thanks to you both for the gifts. This will come in handy on the next part of my trip.

Pa was a very tough section, but it only made me tougher!  Glad to be done w/Rocksylvania.

As of Sunday morning I will be entering into NJ (my 8th state)and then in no time on to New England. I look forward to seeing more of you as I get closer to home.

I also continue to be amazed at the generosity of people all along the trail. Always someone there when you need a hand.

I would like to send out a big hello and thank you to everyone at Blue Cross and Blue Shield you guys are an awesome support group. I get a mental beating from the trail once and a while and people like you bring my spirits right back up.

One more thank you to all my blog readers and other supports.  I just want to say a quick hello and thanks to everone for all their support, almost 1300 miles down, more than half way home.

Can't wait to get to NH and see more of my friends on the trail.
Well back to hiking!
Talk later and hike safe,

Ponytail Dave

ps:  HAPPY FATHER'S DAY TO ALL AND ESPECIALLY TO MY FATHER -N-LAW SKIP

Friday 6/18 -- Dr went well

Ponytail went to the Dr. He is FINE!!! What happened was he developed a corn on his foot. Well, he had a reaction to the medicine he was using to remove it. That is why his foot was hurting and swelling so much. Then w/him limping everything else started to hurt. The domino effect. The Doc, gave him some salve and made him a pad to go around the sore spot and asked him to stay off it for a day or so. So,  w/the good news Ponytail can now relax and spend some time with his family.

Thursday - 6/17

PTD is excited to see his family. He hasn't seen his sister Karen and parts of the family since Christmas.

Early to rise as he has many miles to put on today to get to the gap.

About 6:30pm Karen and Dave's nephew Robbi picked him up at the Delaware Water Gap. He was glad to see them and to get off his feet.

He has now finished PA. Super!!! Another state down.

He has done 1,283 miles to date and has 894 left to go. He has 7 more states to go.

He will be taking a few zero days to spend w/family. He should be back on the trail in NJ on Sunday.

Wednesday - 6/16

Cloudy, damp and spotty showers. Not much to report today. Ponytail is just trying to put on the miles so he can get to the Delaware Water Gap to see his family on Thursday night.

Today he got a pretty cool video of some deer.  Passed one the the original PA shelters that was built in 1940. He also passed an area that is still suffering from heavy metal contamination from the zinc smelting plant in Palmerton. In 1980 the EPA shut down the plant. They have cleaned the area. The mountain is slowly coming back to life.

His foot is still hurting. He will go to the Dr on Friday in Plains, PA.

He camped around Danielsville, Pa on the side of the trail. About 27 miles today.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tuesday – 6/15 - THANK YOU JOHN GUTOWSKI

Today it is hot and humid. PTD started the morning out right by going to this great breakfast joint in town. He was stuffed. Of course to get out of town it is always a steep up. This town had it too. Hard to do on such a full belly.

Ponytail says he came across this pond today w/bunches of brownish colored salamanders. He also saw numerous chipmunks on the trail. PA seems to have oodles of them. Hopes he keeps seeing them because that means less snakes.

Shout out to 5HC's (5 Happy Campers from Jersey) - they were out looking for a special box. They are part of the North America Letter Boxing Club. They were out looking for a clue in a box in a Boulder Field. Dave helped for a bit then needed to move on. Not sure if they found their clue or not. Hope they did.

Dave saw an ammature astronomy place near Pulpit Rock. He also ran into Willey Wonka again. Thank you for the choc chip cookies and fresh apples. Willey Wonka is the father of Megladon traveling w/Tin Tin who are currently thru-hiking the AT. He is support for his son on the trail.

He came across the Pinnacle. People say it is has the best views on the trail in PA. Says there were gorgeous panoramic views of the surrounding farmlands.

Hawk Mt Sanctuary is located on top of Kittatinny Ridge. It is a visitor center. If you go, you are able to see exhibits of Raptors/Hawks that fly by the mountain during the migratory season.

TOO COOL!!! Dave was walking w/his head down (due to all those wonderful PA rocks) and came upon a gentlemen. He says Ponytail, is that you? Dave looked up and it was John Gutowski from Twin Mnt. He was on his way back from FL and wanted to find PTD to give him some trail magic. He knows Dave from Franconia Gas. He is one of his customers that he delivers to. John had tracked him down by following the blog, talking w/other hikers and to some people that were doing some trail maitenance that Ponytail saw earlier in the day. It took John awhile (as the blog is usually a day or so behind) to locate him but he did it! Way to go John! He brought PTD some trail magic. Some Dove ice cream bars, cookies, candy and gatoraide. Perfect! They walked a bit together on the trail while they talked and caught up. John needed to leave as it was getting to be dusk and he still had a ways to travel to get off the trail and a ways to drive home to NH. That was AMAZING that he found him. THANK YOU VERY MUCH JOHN!!!

PTD stayed at the Allenstown Hiking Club Shelter this evening

He did 22.6 miles today, has done 1,229.8 miles to date and has 948.5 miles left to the end of his journey

Random pics 4/21 - 5/21 4th set

Random pics 4/21 - 5/21 3rd set

Random pics 4/21 - 5/21 2nd set



Random pics 4/21 - 5/21 1st set