M&M’s + instant mashed potatoes = Happy Hiker!

Finding foods out here that are light weight, yummy and have enough fat in them to keep me going is tough! I’ve been making my own trail mix which consists mainly of M&M’s, gummies and some nuts. I eat so much of this stuff and it really weighs down my pack.

For breakfast I try not to eat anything that requires cooking because I want my stove gas to last me a long time. This week I am planning to eat pop tarts with peanut butter spread on them. Gross! You may be thinking, but honestly, I’ve tried oat meal and I want to gag, I’ve tried granola and its ok, but not enough calories, I’ve tried beef jerky but it costs too much, and I am running out of ideas. My friend was telling me she was eating beef jerky for breakfast and I said, “Hmmm… that’s odd.” to which she replied “Well… Shit gets weird out here.” Which I think pretty much sums up the trail in one sentence.

Usually about 2 hours after breakfast I am hungry again and I end up eating most of my allotted trail mix for the day right away. The M&M’s are the first to go. Gummies second, and of course peanuts and other seedy type things are left for last.

For lunch I have a block of cheese, a German hunter sausage (Thanks Dad!), more trail mix, a bar of some sort, sometimes more chocolate and perhaps some crackers or flat bread. This week I also bought some peanut butter, although it is very heavy and I’m not really a big fan of it. Everyone keeps eating it with a spoon and says it is full of calories, so I hope it serves me well. Lunch seems to be the heaviest foods that I carry, but as I hike more, I get hungrier, and I can’t stop eating!

Dinners are pretty easy to plan. Quinoa, ramen noodles, side kicks, soups, tuna, and my favorite, Instant Mashed Potatoes! They are so warm, fluffy, salty and fast to make. I could just eat potatoes every day if it would give me enough energy. Every dinner I make is in one pot only. I don’t have a bowl or cup, I just eat out of my pot. For most of my dinners I simply boil water, add the food and let it sit for a few minutes to cook. When dinner is done, I usually sneak more trail mix. I usually brush my teeth early to prevent myself from eating more of my food.

Any suggestions of low cook time, light weight, high calorie/fat semi-nutritious hiking food?

The rain in Maine is such a PAIN!

Some days hiking a is joy, but the last few days I was forgetting if I was hiking the Appalachian Trail or the Appalachian River. We’ve had so much rain that water pours down the mountain ankle deep for miles and miles. My boots are soaked and my feet look like raisins. The other day I hiked 8 miles to a shelter to stay the night and ended up staying for another waiting for the rain to stop… and it didn’t. I had to hike out the next day in a crazy down pour over Saddleback mountain and across quite a few rivers which have swelled up from all the rain. But who am I kidding, I couldn’t tell what was the river and what was the trail. It all looked the same.

Today I am taking a Zero in town, which just means 0 miles will be hiked today. I think I got a chill yesterday on Saddleback, so I am taking a day off to rest up and hopefully I will feel better tomorrow. I looked at the weather and it seems that rain is in the forecast for the next 10 days or so. I am not thrilled. Good thing my brother lent me his Gore-Tex rain coat. So far its saved my life 3 times. 🙂

Maine with my Mom

When I got to Stratton I had a plan to meet my Mom on the main street. We didn’t really have a meeting place because neither of us have been to Stratton. I got a ride in with a couple in a pick-up truck but they made me ride in the back, I guess they could tell I looked sweaty and smelly…

Once in town I got a ice cold Arizona Iced Tea and was looking for a shady spot to wait for my Mom. I was passing by a motel and I saw a tone of crazy hikers and they all called me over and we all had a good laugh about some trail stuff. About 45 minutes later I saw my Mom drive by and I chased after her and knocked on the window of her car, and 25 seconds later my ribs were being crushed by the tightest Mom hug I’ve ever been the recipient of. It was good to see her.

We drove to the next town and settled into our Bed and Breakfast, I showered (of course), changed into some clothes she brought for me and we went out for Thai food. I got some broccoli and chicken thing and ate A LOT of broccoli. I haven’t been eating much healthy food the last week or so, just really crappy light weight food like ramen and pop tarts.

In the morning we did my laundry and walked around the town looking for lighter hiking shoes, but I didn’t find anything. We must have looked at 8 stores, but my darn feet are so big I couldn’t find anything. I settled on thinner, shorter socks and new insoles. We also went food shopping and Mom loaded me up on some tasty healthier foods that I am really looking forward to eating. The grocery bill this week was a lot bigger than last week. I didn’t find anything in the hiker box in this town.

Despite my sore, stiff legs and the 188 miles I’ve hiked in the last few weeks, we decided  to go for a hike. We ended up on an easy trail through a wooded area lined with wild strawberries. It was really nice until we suddenly entered this really buggy section and before I knew it Mom took off running to get away from the bugs. I ended up chasing her and swatting mosquitoes as I went. We sloshed through a swampy section and made it back to the car just before it rained. At the grocery store we bought salads and ice cream and went back to the B&B and ate on the porch just as it started to rain, ice cream first of course.

After lunch and the rain had stopped, we drove to the next town where they were having the Maine Moose Lottery, which apparently is a big deal. There were crowds of people there all waiting to see if they’re name would get drawn so they could hunt a moose this year. We didn’t really know what to think of it all since neither of us hunt.

On the drive there we saw a field of Lupines, which are tall purple wild flowers. We pulled over to frolic in the field of flowers an take some pictures. Mom got some good ones of me and someone else pulled over to take a picture of the flowers too, and we got her to take a few pictures of us.

We had a great visit and Mom tried to fatten me up as much as she could in 3 days. I’m sure I’ll have another teary hike up my mountain tomorrow when she drops me off. I’m going to miss her!

I have only 93 miles left in Maine and will be in New Hampshire before I know it.

Sweet like Strawberry Jam!

On my last morning in Monson we bought about 40 eggs and a massive loaf of bread and we cooked scrambled eggs and toast for everyone in the restaurant kitchen downstairs from the hostel. You can bet we ate them all. I am learning that hikers are very hungry people. We eat anything we can get our hands on, and love to get free food.

In most towns there are these things called “Hiker Boxes” where either hikers or generous people can put food or gear that they don’t want or need so that someone else can use it. I love these boxes (as most of you know I go crazy for free stuff…). I found pop tarts, ramen noodles, pepto-bismol tablets and zip lock bags in one box at the hostel, and Q-tips in another box outside a post office. There are so many random things in these boxes, from extra fuel, water-proof matches, and duct tape to knee braces, mystery food in zip-locks, and bug spray. Its always a good day when I find something useful in a hiker box.

After my time off in Monson I had 5 days to hike approx. 70 miles to the next town to meet my Mom. At the second trail head after leaving town we came across our first “Trail Magic” which I was thrilled about. “Trail Magic” is when a random stranger does something nice for you on the trail or leaves something for the hikers, mainly food or drinks. This day we found a cooler of cold drinks! I had orange juice which was great because although I love to drink fresh mountain spring water, I miss juice when I am on the trail, plus it was a warm day and the cold drink was just the ticket.

At the first shelter I met another girl who is hiking by herself. I haven’t met many girls on the trail so far, and no others who are hiking alone. She was funny recounting her first experiences hitch hiking in the last town. A kid in the back seat of the car said to her “So… how do you like being a hitch hiker?” I also woke up in the middle of the night once with her feet in my face. Somehow she shifted 90 degrees in her sleep and booted me awake.

As I pass by shelters I usually stop in to see if anyone is there and to read the trail registers while I rest. At one shelter I stopped in at I met up with two friends, Apple Jack and The Count. They were really excited because someone had left a full jar of strawberry jam in the shelter. They had very jammy peanut butter sandwiches and I had jam on crackers. Free jam in the woods that we didn’t have to carry, what could be better? 😛

The terrain this week had some really flat sections compared the last week, and there were a lot less roots and rocks on the trail which was easier on my knees and made for faster hiking. But don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of ups and downs. One day I hiked up a mountain and found an older man sitting at the top, so I said hi and sat down beside him to enjoy the view. He offered me half his sandwich, to which I said “YES PLEASE!” and just as he handed it to me he said, “It’s Spam.” I have always avoided Spam, never wanting to eat it. But at that moment, I was too hungry to care and didn’t want to be rude, so I choked it down, a Spam and cheese wiz sandwich. It was ok in the moment, but I doubt you’ll ever catch me eating one of those again.

I had a slight miscalculation this week and packed food for 3 days, not the 5 it took me to get to Stratton. I was eating really small portions and was hungry all the time. When we crossed through a small town I hitched out to a outdoorsy type resort and bought about $10 worth of pop tarts and candy bars from a vending machine and hitched back to the trail. I would have gone to a grocery store but I had to be back at the Kennebec river before 11 am to catch the ferry across . Yes, I said ferry and its actually part of the trail. There’s this guy who’s job all summer is to ferry hikers across the Kennebec river in a canoe, he even has a white blaze painted on the bottom of his canoe.

The days are getting hotter and hotter and I had my first swim of the trip the other day on what felt like my own private beach in the wilderness. Good thing I wasn’t skinny dipping because 3 ladies passed by and said hi as I was getting out of the water. It was the day of the summer solstice and they said “Its hike naked day, but we could see that you were wearing clothes so we thought that we’d come over and say hi.” I swam twice that day because it was so dang hot out. I couldn’t even wear a shirt. I can’t imagine how hot it will be in July or August.

I hiked up to 4120 feet and all the way down into the next town on Thursday. The view at the top of Bigelow mountain was unbelievable. Long lakes winding around mountains, and mountains and mountains. I stopped and stared out at the beautiful view while I caught my breath, then I hiked down a few hundred feet and then suffered as I was forced to hike back up the west peak and see the same view from the same height just .9 miles away from the first peak. That was a really long and tiring day because I then hiked up and down peak after peak for 8 miles until I reached town at the bottom of all the mountains around 5 pm.

I can see why they say that Maine is the hardest state, but they also say “Its all down hill from Maine” so there is hope.

Happy Trails! 🙂


On my first night after my dad left I ran to my Lean-to and dug through all my stuff to find my book of all inspiration. I cried through every page feeling very loved and missing you all. When ever i have a hard day I look through the book and remember that you guys all love me and are praying for me and thinking of me. Thank you so much for everything you said. I will treasure that book for a long time. You guys rock! Thanks for the support!! 🙂

100 Mile Wilderness

Good news!

I made it out alive and still on my feet!

The 100 mile wilderness was crazy. It started with a 7 hour 10 mile hike up Mt. Katahdin, a 5267ft crazy mountain in Baxter State Park. I made a friend the night before and we hiked up together. Once past the tree line the wind started to blow, and we had to rock climb up to the table lands, where we walked against strong winds up to the summit. A few times I thought I would be blown off the mountain if I didn’t duck and hug a rock. But we made it! It was crazy, and I loved it.

The next day we hiked out.There were a few people at the shelter and we soaked our feet in the creek to soothe the pain. My shoulders were also killing me, so tender after such a long hike in. We cooked our dinner, chatted a bit and then went right to sleep.

Waking up is really easy on the trail. As soon as first light comes I’m usually ready to wake up and get going. I’m on the trail by 7 most days and get my best hiking done in the morning while my legs are still fresh and I feel energized from my breakfast. The temp is still cool which is nice for hiking up giant mountains.

The trail seems to go up every stinking mountain and down the steepest side. At the top of one mountain was an old tower, I climbed up it and got a view of all the mountains surrounding in a perfect 360. Sometimes when i get to the top of a mountain I can’t stop laughing and smiling because I can hardly believe where I am and that my legs got me there. After the 3rd day I noticed some pain in my left knee. The next day it got worse, and the next day worse and in the other knee. I heard about a hostel out in the middle of the wilderness so I headed there. When you reach the dock you blow an air horn and a boat comes across the lake to pick you up (which was so cool). I was there with these 3 fat old guys and my friend Johnathan. We all sawed logs that night on squeaky mattresses. It was really nice to be out of the bugs. We also had all you can eat pancakes for brekkie.

For the next few days my knees were still killing me, and I was taking a lot of Advil etc. and it didn’t quite make the pain go away, so I’ve taken a few rest days where I’ve only done 4  miles.Yesterday me and my two friends Erik and Eden hiked a hefty 16 miles to get to the last shelter before town.

At one point I missed a turn and was hiking off the trail for almost 25 minutes. I suddenly realized that I didn’t see any white blazes so I back tracked to find that my friends were gone. I started to panic because I still couldn’t find the trail and I didn’t see anyone around. I finally found it and then started hiking only to have my knees start to hurt really bad again. Long story short, I cried, I prayed, I freaked out, and then I caught up to them at the next shelter. Thank God. They thought I was ahead. Then we continued on for 8 more miles into the evening.

At the 1.1 mile marker to our lean-to that night we found a cooler of soda and candy bars for sale by honor system. We all had one of each, Erik had two mountain dews, and we motored to the lean-to hopped up on sugar. I went straight to bed, too tired to eat, and we woke up and hiked into town today to meet all our friends who were already at the hostel.

I’ve met a lot of funny, nice and interesting people in the shelters in the evenings. We’ve had lots of laughs and good stories have been told. I’m really enjoying the company out here. A few funny things that happened today are: after my shower and shave we each got to pick some loner clothes out of the hiker closet, i found some flowery shorts and a yellow t shirt to match. The guys all wore tight shorts and wacky shirts and we all went out to eat BBQ. At the hostel these 3 crazy guys were taking shots of pickle juice and whipped cream vodka mixed together. They all seemed to like it, but I politely declined. One of the hikers has her dog with her, “Riffle” she dyed his eye brows blue… I don’t know why…

The long and short of it is… pain in knees, a MILE IS A LOT LONGER THAN A KILOMETER, jaw dropping panorama mountain views, great people and lots of fun so far!

I hike out tomorrow! What else ya got for me Maine??? Bring it on!!

Bright and early!

We had a looooong drive through Quebec, but me and Dad made it to Maine today. The border was no problem getting through, and the lady working there was really interested in my hike which was funny compared to my experiences with Buffalo, she even asked for my blog. We made it to Baxter State Park where the trail begins today and we drove up to the base of Mt. Katahdin where my hike starts from the summit. I almost peed myself when I saw the size of it. Its BIG!! And the black flies are BAD. I’ve killed at least 25 and that was just in my car after opening the door to get in. I’m glad I have a bug shirt. My pack has never been so big or so heavy, but I figure, if I can make it through the 100 mile wilderness, it will be lightweight hiking from then on. This is the biggest and fullest my pack ever has to be. It just sucks that I have to start out like this.

I’m pretty nervous starting tomorrow, but my Dad keeps reassuring me in that Dad kind of way. He says “You’re starting tomorrow right? Because if I have to stay one more day, you’re coming back with me and I’m taking you home!” He also keeps trying to make me take extra stuff, like more bug spray, food and warmer clothes. I wish I could take it all, but I also wish to not break my back. Dad says hes going to cry all the way home, pretty sure I will cry all the way up the mountain and then all the way down.

Thanks for seeing me off Pops!

Georgia here I come!!

Maine in the mornin’

I am starting at Mt. Katahdin at Baxter State Park in a few days! Today I moved the last of my belongings into the garage at my Dads house and vacuumed up the dust bunnies from under my bed in my apartment, I’m all set to go. I just ate a giant pizza with my two buddies Laura and Nathan. Gonna miss those two.

I have almost everything I need for my trip now, just food left to buy for my first 10 days. I’m a tad worried that my pack will be too heavy. Just last week it seemed to still be light and have room in it, but tonight it looks really stuffed and over filled and heavy, that’s without my food or water! Well… I’m going to say it… I’m NERVOUS!!!! This is probably the craziest thing I’ve ever done, and maybe that I’ll ever do.

Laura just checked the weather… looks like rain on Sunday and Monday… 45-50mm!! (Hope there’s room in the shelter that night)

Keep me in your prayers!!  🙂

Here I go!