Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Q & A With Standing Bear 6-12-12

Mike and Brooke are making tracks!  Hiked so far - 1330 miles.

At LeHigh Gap they had to do some serious rock climbing.....

Mike taking a much needed rest after 1200 miles.....

Taking a break in New York after 1330 miles....  They look great, don't they?

Mike took the time to answer a few more questions while they are resting.

How is Brooke adjusting to the hike?

Brooke has had some physical issues.  Initially, she was using a pack with a different type of shoulder strap than she was accustomed to and her shoulder was bothering her.  She also had problems with her feet due to walking on the rocky terrain of Pennsylvania.  She seemed to be recovering and even put in a couple of 20 mile days, but then yesterday the heat and the climbing made her dizzy and she needed a nice break and a shower.  Overall I would say Brooke is off to a great start, as all hikers encounter issues along the way.  She has hiked 314 miles with me so far and I believe she can make it to Maine with me!

Explain what “trail magic” is and tell me what you like to find the best.

Trail magic is when someone who is not hiking the trail performs an unexpected act of kindness toward a hiker.  Typically, trail magic consists of finding a cooler of cold drinks and snacks near a road crossing on a hot day, but I have even been fortunate enough to have people invite me into their home, make me a nice dinner, give me a ride into town, etc.  There are some really nice people in this world and it's so wonderful to run into them after a long day of hiking!  The best trail magic is meeting a nice group of people and sharing the evening with them.  Good company is priceless!

What food do you crave while on the trail?

Fruit, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, Simply Orange juice, anything from Dairy Queen.  Brooke craves pizza!

Do you like to stop and take a break in town or would you rather just keep to the trail?

It depends on the town.  Sometimes you are just dog tired and need to stop in a town to rest or resupply, even though the town isn't that enticing.  For example, Brooke was exhausted so we took a zero day in Duncannon, PA even though the room we were renting didn't have air conditioning, a tv, or really anything except a bed, and was kind of dirty.  The ideal town to stop in includes a hotel chain such as a Days Inn and a grocery store and Dairy Queen within walking distance.  If it's a nice town and I've been on the trail a few days then it's a breath of fresh air to stop in town.  

Have you ever felt uncomfortable around another person you’ve met on the trail or do you feel relatively safe?

I have felt uncomfortable around quite a few hikers.  While there are many, many nice people on the AT, it's important to remember that a six-month 2,200 mile journey will attract some odd characters.  Sometimes you are wondering "is this person just weird, but essentially harmless?  Or should I be worried?"  Machete Mitch scared a lot of hikers, as does anyone who openly displays a weapon.  We ran into a guy bicycling the trail in PA who was openly carrying a large handgun.  Then there are people who are clearly off their meds, people who are not necessarily hiking the trail but are living on the trail, etc.  Quite a few characters out here!  That's why I've stopped using the shelters.  There are a lot of great people out here but all it takes is one oddball to ruin it for everyone in the shelter.  If I sleep in my hammock or a tent, I have plenty of privacy and peace and quiet :)

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(all photos courtesy of MikeMcLaughlin.  Do not use without permission)

1 comment:

  1. I am positive I would be someone carrying a gun. Maybe not so much for the odd people, but for the big animals. I guess the idea is relative to where you live.


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