March 10, 2001
Elevation on the AT

Francis turns 31 years old and we're is debating between doing the Appalachian Trail (AT) or the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Currently, we're leaning to do the AT because:

  • A few weeks ago Lisa had knee problems. It came after a particularly grueling backpacking trip in Henry Coe State Park near San Jose, CA. Since the AT is 25% shorter than the PCT, we will have more time to complete it in case Lisa's knee has problems on the trail.
  • The AT would be a good warm up for the more challenging PCT and the Continental Divide Trail (CDT)!
  • We could get back sooner to earn money again! Yes, we have bills too! We would do the AT in less than three months vs. the PCT's four months.

March 20, 2001

We're most likely going to do the AT, and save the PCT for a May 15, 2002 departure. Now the question is: where should we start the AT?

90% of AT hikers start in Georgia in March or April and take 6-7 months to get to Maine.

We're going to take the road less traveled: start in Maine June 21 (Summer Solstice) and walk south to Georgia in less than 3.5 months, arriving by Sept 30 in Georgia, which will still have passable conditions. We note the following observations:

  • The hardest part of the journey will come first: Maine and New Hampshire feature the most challenging terrain, ferocious bugs, lingering snow at higher elevations, high water at stream crossings, wet and muddy trail. Reminds me of Costa Rica's jungles!
  • The days will get shorter throughout our journey, but our miles per day will increase as the terrain becomes easier.
  • Our ultimate goal is to hike the Triple Crown: all three major thru-hike in the US.
  • We plan to do the AT this year, then the PCT, and finish with the CDT! By doing it this way, we expect to encounter harder trails each season!
  • Each trail is about 500 miles longer than the next, and each is less developed than the next!

March 30, 2001

Good news for our sponsors: We've had over 200 page views this March - our first month online! We expect to double this each month as we get listed on search engines.

Also, we just added two new sponsors: XTerra QE3 and Aquavie! Aquavie is a beverage company specializing in lightly sweetened water for those trail days that we get sick of just drinking plain water! And XTerra delivers drink powders and energy bars! We're extremely excited to have both of them helping us out!

April 30, 2001

Canon has become the 8th sponsor by loaning the team the lightest camcorder in the world: the Elura! Weighing a stingy pound (with battery and tape), it is lighter than many conventional still cameras! We can document the adventure in full motion video and sound, and have the benefit of grabbing any frame thanks to its progressive scan feature. We're very excited!

May 1, 2001

We have finalized our schedule! If you want to send us something while we are on the trail, look up the closest supply stations.

May 20, 2001

After going to Henry Coe and Big Sur, we're headed for a 4-day 80-mile trip into snow-filled Yosemite! Armed with our new 9 oz ice-axes and our new GoLite gear, we're looking forward to pushing the limits of our abilities like only Yosemite can!

June 7, 2001

GoLite features us in their Newsletter! We're proud to have their generous support.

June 23, 2001

We are writing to you from Mr. Magoo's alma mater: Amherst College! Here's what he writes.....

We're taking a break in Boston before we start the trail. Lisa hasn't been to East Coast before, so she's really enjoying it.

I'm soaking up the memories of Boston (home of my business school) and Amherst. It's great to be back and I admit to having a lot of nostalgia. It was a wonderful time period of my life, especially Amherst.

Walking around, seeing all these kids with such life and vigor, reminds me of when I was there age. Fortunately, I feel that I still am strong (I better be if I'm going to finish this thru-hike!).

I almost want to relive it all, although I don't have any regrets from that period. But it would be fun to relive or do it again, minus the homework!!! I never liked the homework!

Anyway, enough of old memories, we're heading to Cape Cod tomorrow! I hope we will have time to go to Nantucket! I've never been there.

But our tourism will change to hardcore backpacking on Monday when we fly to Maine for the real start! We'll camp near Kathadin and start heading southbound for 2,163 miles on Tuesday!

We miss you all and thanks for reading!

June 25, 2001  - 11 AM

Lisa writes:

After a bumpy ride from Boston to Bangor on the smallest plane I've ever been on (quite possibly the smallest plane on the planet!), we finally touched down in Bangor, Maine (Phew!).

Francis asked the flight attendant to announce that we were interested in going to Baxter State Park to see if anyone knew how we might get there.  Of course, Francis knew where it was all along.  He was just trying to bum a ride, of course.

Unfortunately, no one really gave us any useful advice nor did they offer to take a skin head and a white chick with braids for a two hour haul.

However, while outside the airport talking with a taxi cab driver who wanted to charge us $150 to get to the trail head, we were approached by Dave who happened to be on the plane and was on his way to Millinocket (approximately 1/2 hour outside of Baxter.

Woo hoo!!!  Francis's PA announcement worked!

Dave had to make a couple of sales calls before he headed out, so we took advantage of the 3 hours to eat at the only vegetarian restaurant in Bangor, called Little Lads. There we had a delicious whole grain waffle with almond butter fruit soup and sweet cream!

It was amazing, but probably not as amazing if I were to have it 200 miles into the trail. :-)

Thanks to Dave and a little trail magic, we should be on our way to Millinocket in about an hour and on the trail by dusk!

Mt. Kathadin here we come!


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