Feeds:
Posts
Comments

This is the journal I wrote for this year’s Appalachian Trial hike. Forrest went with me and we hiked 81 miles in 8 days. We took two days off for rest and it took us 4 days to drive to New Hampshire and back.

July 4, 2014

Forrest and I are sitting in the common area of the Hikers Welcome Hostel in Glencliff, NH. It is raining today so we are going to chill out here and do some sightseeing. We just finished a 2 day, 25 mile hike from Rt. 25A to Three Mile Road. It was a hard hike for both of us with the first day having to hike about a 4000 feet total ascent. The hike started off very hot and humid and then we got rained on for about 3 hours. There was lightning and thunder which we tried to ignore. We saw a few non-poisonous snakes on the trail and in one section lots of moose droppings. The last 6 miles on the second day we ended up slack packing, hiding our gear near Goose Pond Road. After we got to my truck at Three Mile Road we drove back to pick up our gear. After this we ate dinner in Lyme, NH at a restaurant called Stella’s. We both had spaghetti and meatballs. The restaurant was buzzing with lots of people and since there was a 15 minute wait we decided to eat at the bar. Forrest said he thought we were underdressed but there were others in t-shirts. They did have some pricy items on the menu but the food was good.

July 6, 2014

We just got off the AT. We hiked from Kinsman Notch to Franconia Notch, a 16 mile hike taking us two days to hike. Last night we stayed at the Eliza Brook Shelter. The shelter was a beautiful log structure built in 2010. The logs all fit together perfectly. It was right next to a large brook where we could get fresh clean water. Counting us, four hikers stayed at the shelter. One was a south bounder and one was a north bounder named David who we had met at the hostel a few days earlier. His trail name was Problem Bear and he started his hike on January 1 in Key West, Florida. He was from Sacramento, California, age 60, two years older than me. This section again proved a hard hike, especially today. We had to climb up 2000 feet through rocks to the top of South Kinsman Mt. at 4358 feet. Coming down was practically straight down through large rocks and rock slides. It was pretty crazy and a long day. It took me 2 hours longer today than yesterday hiking eight miles both days. People say most hikers only average about 1 mile an hour through the White Mountains, I believe it.

July 7, 2014

We took a day off today. Forrest’s knee was bothering him and he wanted to see what a day of rest would do. Last night we found a great campsite in the White Mountains National Forest. Someone at the shelter the night before had told us about it. It was a first come first serve and as we drove through all eleven sites were taken. Signs said, “no camping anywhere else.” At the end of the forest service road we turned around and stopped at a bridge to consult our maps for another possible place to camp. We hadn’t really come up with a place and as we were driving out one of the sites was empty. When we had driven past we thought the couple were setting up their tent but they must have been taking it down. Not 2 minutes after we pulled in another car drove by slowing down and asking us if we were camping there. We felt blessed to have a spot to set up our tent and we ended up staying there two nights. Tomorrow we are planning a 3 day 27 mile hike. We plan on getting a shuttle with AMC from Crawford Notch to Franconia Notch.

July 10, 2014

Forrest and I just got back from our 27 mile hike. We first climbed Mt. Liberty, a 2700 foot ascent, then on to Little Haystack Mountain, another 700 foot climb. Then we got above tree line to reach the summit of Mt. Lincoln, height of 5089 feet. We followed the Franconia Ridge trail to reach the summit of Mt. Lafayette at 5249 feet. This was a wonderful hike above tree line for over 3 miles. We then descended Mt. Lafayette and set up our tent near the Garfield Pond. Someone had told us about the site where the old shelter was located behind the pond. He said, go clockwise at the pond. We found the old trail, found an Ok place to set up our tent, and after getting water and eating we were in our tent by 8:30 pm. About 11:00 the rain came with thunder and lightening. It rained until 2:00 am. The wind was howling for most of the night but thankfully most of the wind blew above us. In the morning the sun was out as we climbed Mt. Garfield. From the top of Garfield we could see bright sunny green mountains as far as you could see. We then stopped and ate lunch at the Galehead Hut where we got a bowl of potato soup for two dollars. It wasn’t that great as it was made from a powder. We then hiked up South Twin Mountain and ended up camping past Thoreau Falls. We were going to camp past the Zealand Falls Hut but it was only 5:45 and we decided to hike until 7:00. This made our hike the next day only 5 miles instead of 7 miles. Today we rested at a campground and drove into North Conway for lunch at the Moat Brewery and stopped at Hannaford’s for groceries.

July 12, 2014

My knees are shot, they need a rest day. Coming down Webster Cliffs yesterday was steep. At one point I was rock climbing and didn’t even know if I was still on the trail. Yesterday, Forrest dropped me off at the top of Mt. Washington and I hiked the 12.5 miles to down to Crawford Notch and Rt. 302. It was a beautiful hike until the steep descent. I hiked on Mt. Washington, Mt. Monroe, Mt. Franklin, Mt. Eisenhower, Mt Clinton, Mt Jackson, and Mt Webster. A lot of the hike was above tree line and you could see in every direction hiking along the ridges. Coming down Mt. Washington to the Lake of the Clouds Hut is one of the most scenic scenes you will see on the trail. It sits next to two small ponds on the edge of an open cliff. This was our last day of hiking for this trip and I now need 82 miles to finish the whole AT. It is amazing to think I have hiked all the way from Georgia to Maine, almost the entire east coast of the US. I am glad Forrest was able to go on this trip and wanted to go. Even though he said it was very hard at times he said it was a rewarding experience. We were going to hike the other half of Mt. Washington today but there was a bike race there today and they said we could not got on the Auto Road until after 1:00. That was too late for me to start our hike and changed our plans, plus my knees needed a day of rest, ha! We ended up hiking 81 miles for this trip. On our way home we stopped in Boston as Forrest needed to talk to his old boss about working on some other projects in Haiti.

hike28

I am sitting here at Jenkins Shelter with three friends from Bluefield. We are out on a day hike from Burkes Garden to Laurel Creek in Bastian. With me are Dale Vance, Dan Trent, and Peter Romano. This is Peter’s first time hiking on the Appalachian Trail and he is having a blast. Today’s hike is about 9.6 miles and it will be the third time I have hiked this section. The last time was probably over 15 years ago. We are eating lunch at the shelter and when I opened my pack to get my tuna fish sandwich I found a bunch of rocks in my pack. Boy was I mad! I had been hiking the last 5 miles with 15 pounds of rocks. Of course Dan, Dale, and Peter were laughing their heads off wondering when I would notice the extra pack weight. To say the least, I did not think it was funny and hardly talked with them rest of the day. In fact, I just ate quickly and headed back to the trail. That just ruined my day.

Well I am really just joking about not talking to them and being mad but Dan did put rocks in my pack. I will get him back one day when he least expects it. Ha!

We have seen lots of wildflowers today and the mountain laurel in the lower elevations are in full bloom. I love their pink umbrella shaped blooms. It reminds me of the time when I hiked at Bear Mountain State Park in New York walking on a carpet of these fallen flowers. There were a few rhododendron plants blooming and the wild azaleas were in full bloom with blossoms from bright yellow to dark red. We have not seen a lot of wildlife, just a few frogs on the trail. The birds are singing like crazy as I sit here at the shelter. I hear them along with the crumpling of plastic and gravel crunched under hiking boots. It is a beautiful day out with temperatures in the 70’s and partly sunny skies.

Our hike is finished. It is 4:30 and we started at 10:30 this morning. We had a great refreshing time in the woods. I am now sitting on a rocky shoal at Laurel Creek. There is a little falls here that the AT footbridge crosses. When I arrived I dipped my hat in the water and placed it on my head letting the cool water drip down my neck and face. Ahhh, that feels good. The sound of stream is tantalizing, mesmerizing, and healing. There is nothing like a cool mountain stream to finish the day at. Dan is sitting on a small island of rock surrounded by flowing crystal clear water. His legs are hanging over the falls and he has a big smile on his face. During our hike Dale told us some great funny stories. He always makes us laugh and helps us get up those steep mountains. I haven’t hiked with him in over 16 years. At that time he told us Margaret was pregnant and they were starting another family. They already had two children who were almost finished with high school. He said the kids were each 18 years apart. Caitlin is now 16 and Andrew 14.

I love hiking the Appalachian Trial and you can’t beat good friendship and Dale and Dan have been gems for me.

 

 

hike.jpg

Another Watercolor

This is a watercolor I just finished of my Grandmother, my mother’s mother. The stamps I used were from my fathers collection and I picked out some old ones that related to her. Two are of Eleanor Roosevelt since she lived through the depression, one is a campfire girls stamp (my mom was their only child) and a register to vote since she would have been a young woman during the woman’s suffrage movement in 1920. I also included an Atlanta Braves envelope on the watercolor since she loved Dale Murphy and the Atlanta Braves. That also is addressed to K and H Royal Tires. Charles Kitchen is my godfather.

Image

Recent Watercolor

This is a watercolor I just finished of my Grandfather, my mother’s dad. The stamps used were from my fathers collection and I picked out some old ones. Several are 3 cents, an air mail one is 6 cents, and a special delivery one is 16 cents. One postmark says 1940.

Image

Ceramic Chess Set

Ceramic Chess Set

Recently I finished my half of a chess set I am making with a student. Here is a photo of the finished pieces. The are glazed a light purple using a Meloy Stoney glaze underneath and a blue celadon on top. The complete set will end up being about 36 inches wide.

Pawns

One of students named Tony wanted to do a collaborative project over the summer so we decided to do a chess set. Today I threw 10 pawns for one side of the chess board.  I used 1 pound of clay and the base is about 3 1/2 inches wide and they are about 4 1/4 inches tall. I made two extra in case there is a crack, glaze defect, or other irregularity.

Image 

I recently made 42 small bud vases, 14 medium size bowls, and 50 wide bottomed coffee cups.

 

Image

42 Bud Vases

Image

14 Medium Bowls

Image

Getting ready to glaze some bowls and coffee cups.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.