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

Friday, July 30, 2010

Thursday 7/29

PTD was out and early again today.  He goes to bed by 7:30 most nights so that is why he is up early.

Clear day but windy. Traveled over lots of ups and downs today. Some rough terrain.

Today he crossed Rte 4 in Rangeley, Maine. Climbed Saddleback Mountain (4,120) and was at “the Horn” about 3:30. He was heading to the Redington Stream Campsite to get more water before pushing on to the Poplar Ridge Lean to.

Says when he was on “the Horn” he said he could see this mountain standing alone in the very far far distance. Could it be “the great one” Kathadin.

Stayed at the Poplar Ridge Lean to

20.1 miles today

Top of Saddleback Mountain
View of "the Horn"

Wednesday 7/28

Enjoyed his hike today. Old Blue Mnt – beautiful, blue sky, little haze, lots of scrub pines at the top, later on he sat on the bench near Rte 17 viewed Long Pond and Moxie Pond. Got to see a huge body of water called Mooselookmeguntic Lake (the name if for real).

Haven’t seen any animals other than chipmunks and birds.

Says lots of south bounders passed him today. He spent the night at Sabbath Day Pond Lean to. 2 section hikers and some south bounders spent the night too.

16.7 Mile traveled 1,948.8 miles to date 229.5 miles left
Mooselookmeguntic Lake  in a distance
View from Old Blue Mnt

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tuesday 7/27

Fantastic views from sitting on top of Wyman Mnt early in the morning.  He sat for a bit and just took in the views and the nice fresh air.  Saywers Notch had really nice views too from the ledges.  Moody Mtn was very woody and steep. 

Going to be a short day because he needs to resupply in Andover. His mail package should be at the hiking lodge by the time he gets there mid afternoon.

He is stayedat the Pine Ellis Hiking Lodge. They were very nice. His box was there when he arrived. Only 2 more mail drops to go. 

Aftter opening mail, taking a shower and doing laundry , he went downtown and had pizza and a chocolate milkshake. 

So, after eating PTD went back to the lodge and hung out on the porch w/the Traveling Circus (Ring Leader, Monkey and Lighting) and Snickers are staying at the Lodge tonight too.

10.9 miles today
Pine Ellis Hiking Lodge
Steep down Moody Mnt


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

4/21-5/21 5th set

Monday 7-26

Early early morning PTD woke to wet feet. He had hung his pack in the corner of the shelter w/his 2qts of water in his platypus bladder like he usually does. He does this so he is ready to go in the morning and doesn’t need to waste time to go get water and treat it. His bottom of his sleeping pad, sleeping bag was socked. His platypus had sprung a leak.

There was room to move in the shelter so he just scooted over a bit out of the water and went back to sleep till daybreak. Then he would deal w/it.

When he woke he says it was 46 + wind chill. He bets it was in the high 30’s. He hung out his things to dry in the wind on an old birch tree that was down. The wind was strong. They dried in no time. The leak in the bladder was at the top near the screw on top. So, he now puts it in his pack right side up (instead of upside down) so that the water won’t leak out till he gets to an outfitter to buy a new one. Since he can’t use the water hose he has to fill keep re-filling his water bottle by pouring it in. No biggie. Just extra time.

Grafton Notch in Oxford, ME - (1495) – steep climb down from 2,500 1st thing in the morning. Then it was back up to Baldpate Mnt West(3,662) and Baldpate Mnt East(3,810), both had magnificent views of Sunday River and other mountains, rock faces, he followed the cairns. Said wind was blowing so hard it would blow him sideways. at times. Needed to keep steady footing.

Beautiful day. Low 70’s (perfect hiking) but very windy, almost 30 mph guests.

He stayed near Dunn Notch and the falls. After he set up camp he was going to check out the falls.  A bit later in the evening Moose and Tetherball showed up. Cool! More friends to camp with.

14.1 mile today 1,920.9 to date 257.4 left to go



Sunday 7/25 -- hits 1900 miles

PTD was surprised when Inferno showed up at later Sunday night. He had traveled w/her for a bit earlier on in his journey. PTD actually got to hike w/her and her brother several times. I have met her, her brother and her father too. He says it was nice to see her. Also, Rest Stop stayed at the shelter that night too.

He hiked today w/Inferno today. Says it was a bit cooler than past days. Super windy. Gusts about 40mph. He says he worked his butt off today. Mt Success was a tough climb. Although rewarding due to the alpine gardens and the views of Mt Wash and the other surrounding mountains.

At about 9:30 am they reached the final state “MAINE” He has successful accomplished 13 states and has only 281.4 more miles to go. He felt releived a bit to go over the border, but knows Maine will not be easy.

Say there were some mucky swampy areas too. Guess Inferno fell and slipped into the mud. PTD looked back to see where she was and she was stuck up to her knees, He helped her get out. She had mud everywhere. They both laughed about it.

He traveled over MT Carlo, Goose Eye Mnt east and Goose Eye Mnt north(passed the 1,900 mile mark on the AT) to Fulling Mill Mnt then down into Mahoosuc Notch which "they" say is the toughest mile on the trail. PTD didn't think so. He still thinks the climb up Wild Cat the other day was tougher in the rain. Says Mahoosuc Notch wasn't a picnic. Lots of scrambling over, around, under, up and down giant boulders. Says he could still see solid ice down in some of the crevasses. He could see steam coming out of the caves too. Doesn't get much sunlight down there.

Overall good day just another tough one on the AT

Stayed at Spec Pond Shelter. Chilly and windy. Put his long johns and wind shirt on.

14.6 miles today


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Saturday 7/24 -- Day 115

Slept in, went to AYCE breakfast. Ponytail loves those AYCE buffets.

PTD did a scrub down of his pack once again. Wanting to make sure he isn't carrying unnecessary items to weigh him down. He still has his lite sleeping bag (hikers later in August opt to get their Winter bag back for those cold nights out on the mountain tops), but he did take along his heavier hat and gloves just in case. He has always carried his long johns. He is prepared. No worries.

Dropped him off at the trail head about 11am. Teary good bye since this is the last time we will see each other till we go hike Katahdin together in August.

He went across the Androscoggin River, and started the Mohoosuc trail over to Mt Hayes. He did say there were some nice views from several overlooks. Went through a swampy area too. He ate lunch and took pics of Dream lake. Said it was really nice. He daydreamed for a bit there. He also stopped at at Moss Pond where he sat and watched an otter play.

He will spend the night at Gentian Pond Shelter. Said there was a waterfall and a pond not far from the shelter. He will walk there at dusk to see if he can get a glimpse of any moose or other animals. Says it is looking like a nice sunset when he called.

13.7 miles today 1,892.2 traveled to date 286.1 left to go

Trying to make me laugh - he succeeded

His Dirty Girl skull gators finally fell apart and he lost one.  Need to get him another pair to wear up Katahdin.  For now cutting a pair of socks works too.

Look what I saw going home near Jeffrerson Notch

 Walking from DC to ME raising awareness for Diabetes

Friday 7/23 - 299.8 miles left (16 miles till ME)

PTD was on the move this morning. Out early as usual, 6:15. He did Mt Moriah (4,049) a few miles after leaving the shelter. There were some steep downs till he reached Rte 2 in Gorham. He was only on the road for about 3 minutes hitching before he got a ride to the Town & Country. That is where we were spending the night. He was there before me. He got there by 11:15. One last visit before he tackles the last state on his journey.

We went and did his laundry (strange T&C doesn't have it on property) and while we were waiting we had a nice lunch outside on a patio overlooking the Androscoggin River. While we were sitting there a yearling bear was on the other side of the river. Just watching us eating, perhaps trying to figure out how he could cross the stream to get some too. We went back to the hotel and met w/Kayti from the Courrier. She came to do another story on Dave. Should be in the newspaper this weekl. Then we went to relax in the pool and hot tub. Love the T&C.

After that Snickers had called and wanted to know if we could give them a ride to Wally World to get supplies. Sure, we went and picked the 4 of them up. A little scrunched in my car, but it all worked. Anything to help out. So, when we were done, dropped them off and went back to have a nice Prime Rib dinner.

Ponytail did relax today. Glad it was possible.   He is 17 days ahead of his original schedule. Impressive!

8 miles traveled today    1, 880.4 miles traveled to date   299.8 miles left to go

Thursday 7/22

Today was another hard wet day for PTD. Clouds, then rain, heavy rain, stop and then rain again. He traveled w/Snickers today.

Wildcat - peak D (3,990) over to Wildcat - peak A(4,422) then over Carter Notch and to the Carter Notch Hut(northern most hut in NH)(located between 2 small lakes). Here is where he and Snickers came upon Marianne. She was working at the hut. She had some nice hot tasty tomato soup and a variety of other foods that she offered up to Snickers and PTD. PTD said it was the best soup. They stayed to rest and dry a bit before continuing on.

Now it was over to Carter Dome(4,832), down to Zeta Pass(3,890) back up to South Carter (4,458), Middle Carter(4,610) to North Carter(4,539) and then to the Imp Shelter where he will spend the night. This shelter will sleep 16. Tonight there were a couple of SOBO(south bounders), Snickers, Lighting, Ring Leader and Monkey staying there.

After all the rain today Ponytail did get to see a nice sunset.

Ponytail says he loved the Whites. They battered and bruised him but he wouldn't have missed it for the world. Says he got a wide spectrum of weather, humidity, warmth, sun, rain, t-storms and winds. Lots of the time it was slippery and wet.

13.1 miles to day
PTD joking you really think he took the Gondola? Guess you don't know PTD if you think he did. 

Wed - 7/21 Summit MT Wash

6am reached the summit of Mt Pierce (4,312). Very nice sunrise. Over to Mt Franklin(5,001) to the Lakes in the Clouds Hut. This hut was built in 1915. It is the largest and most popular hut. The lakes were glistening w/the morning sun. Very peaceful morning.

10:30 reached the Summit of Mt Washington (6,288). Simply incredible. Big puffy clouds, blue skies, you could see for miles. Windy and about 55. Then in a matter of minutes it would change and be totally socked in and you couldn't see 50feet in front of you, then beautiful skies again. The wind kept the skies forever changing today.

Mt Wash is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River and north of the Carolinas. PTD did go over several other 6,000 + mountains in the southern states, Cligman's Dome (6,643), Mt Love (6,446) and Roan Mt (6,275)

PTD was very happy and took lots of pics. He hung out for a bit, had snacks and took in the breath taking views. He did know he needed to get moving as they were predicting bad weather coming in mid afternoon and he had a ways to travel to get below treeline.

He came to the Thunderstorm jct (how appropriate for later in the day) and on to the Madison Spring Hut and then up and over Mt Madison(5,366) where he met up w/Ring Leader,Money and Lighting. He had been reading their journals on the trail. They have only been a few hrs to a day ahead of him. They are know as the traveling circus and are doing a film. By now the skies were dark and pressure was building. Sprinkle here and there. The storm was only minutes away. He reached treeline. Mother nature let loose. fierce winds, thunder, lighting, major downpour that just wouldn't let up. Trail was very slick and muddy over roots and rocks. They all seemed to take turns taking a tumble down as they were almost running down the side of the mountain to get to the Joe Dodge Lodge over in Pinkham Notch. PTD fell twice. Temps dropped. They were all cold, very wet, some muddy (from falling) and wanted shelter. They all arrived to the shelter safely and by then the storm was letting up just a bit. Almost 6pm.

1st thing was to book the room. 2nd was dry clothes and then to get to the AYCE(all you can eat dinner) while it was still on. After that PTD went and took a very long hot shower.

Good night sleep after another tough day in the whites.

19.6 miles to day