20 Aug 2013 – Beeman Buzz

I was allowed back into the USA on the 5th of August ….. arriving as a passenger in Rosemary Sullivan’s car from Quebec to Vermont . The next day John Andrews put me back on the AT outside Dan & Witts store Norwich Vt. and over the next 12 days hiked northwards  up through the White Mountains….. these as predicted, proved a formidable     challenge….. at one point near the top of Mt. Jackson I really thought I was defeated ….by a rock climb so steep I could not  quite believe it. At this point the words of that ancient  and special childrens story came to mind ….. ”Turn again Dick Whittington’ … and so I did as Dick Whittingdon apparently did …..and somehow managed to hauled myself over the top of that mountain.

There were some awesome views which more than compensated for the steep struggles of the AT …..descending the south side of Mt Moosilauke it took me 2 and a half hours to comedown just 1 mile …..to be greeted by two wonderful women offering Trail Magic ( ie; FOOD and DRINK)  in the car park at the bottom …and ultimatle a bed in an apartment in North Woodstock nearby…before continuing  refreshed on my  hiking travels once again.

Throughout the White Mountains there are huts operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) and it is a great tradition that through hikers are offered ‘work for stay’ instead of the quite high fees charged to stay at these huts and I was able to take advantage of this as I made my way north…..through the Whites….just added to the positive experience of the whole adventure.

 

On the other hand it was a disappointment not to be able to walk along the Franconia Ridge… the very day I was due to walk this 70 to 80 mph winds were forecast and as I discovered on reaching the top of Mt. Lafayette (at one end of this ridge)   the cloud was so thick one couldn’t even see ones boots …. mind you

Iam 6 ft. tall!

then the weather improved and a few days later I was rewarded with awesome views of the top of Mt Washington as I approached from the south over Mt Pierce and Mt Franklin. The final ascent of just over 1000 feet up from Lakes of the Clouds Hut where I cleaned a few dishes  as my Work for Stay contribution were taken in lovely clear weather …. and a fitting end to a wonderful summer spent hiking about another 900 miles of the Appalachian Trail.

Next year It is my intention to walk the last 362 miles from Arden Valley Road, New York to Dan & Whits Store in Norwich Vt. thus almost completing an epic adventure. ( After this there will be about 25 to 30 miles left to do in odd corners of The White Mountains)

With many thanks to dozens of friends and well wishers who helped me along the way both this and last summer ….. I could not have done it with out all your wonderful Trail Magic.!

Beemanx

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 17 – Beeman Buzz

Sent by Beeman or Quentin in person….

 

Between April 30 and July 12 (2013) I continued my hike NoBo (northbound) along the Appalachian Trail between Woodshole Hostel 10 miles south of Pearisburg, Virginia, and Arden Valley Road adjacent to the NY State thruway (I-87) a distance of some 759 miles.

 

I apologise for not keeping you more up  to date with my progress buth there were dificultie that I encountered with this regard—-
1) Lack of signal for my handheld Verizon PC

 

2) No easy way to  charge this device. (There is no electricity in most of the AT shelters.
3) The telephone aspect of it became uneconomic to use, particuarly from a foreigners point of view .  I could not afford to waste money.
I arrived in Charlotte SC direct from St Kitts & Nevis on 27 April and following an entertaining (but sleepless) night in Charlotte bus station found my way to Pearisburg by bus and hitch ~hiking in the pouring rain, where I sort shelter in the Holiday Motor Lodge Motel.

 

Eventually I made my way to Woodshole Hostel where I had left the AT on July 7 /2012. From here I continued on foot NoBo for more than 700 miles across parts of six states of the USA.
Neville and Michael who own Woodshole hostel are memorable characters in that like me they are beekeepers, and also at meal times at their beautyfull hostel the tradition is to hold hands, give our Trail Name, and a thought for the moment.

 

Appalachian Trail hikers all have Trail names other than their legal names . Trail names can be weird; whacky; or just plain simple, just as one prefers; or maybe one name will refer to two people such as the Iowa sisters (two young women hiking together  from Iowa; and they were friends not sisters.)

 

or M&M ….referring to a brother and sister whose Christian names just happened to start with the letter M.
My own Trail Name was simple and predictable ….”Beeman” sometimes qualified as ‘Nevis Beeman’ or ‘Beeman’ from Nevis.

 

A wee happening early in my 2013 hike portrays to you the way many people think about us AT hikers. On 4 May I was following 2 other hikers as we crossed a minor tarmac road somewhere  in Virginia.They crossed over and I waited for an approaching car which had the right of way.This vehicle slowed and stopped and I was waved across in front of it, almost as if I had the right of way.

 

About this time I met a hiker named Jack Harbaugh a regular visitor to Nevis who had climbed Nevis Peak with the late Jim Johnson ….. Jack was just one of a handful of hikers I met all summer long who had been to Nevis. Another named ‘Sunshine’ may never have been to St Kitts & Nevis but she certainly qualified as a citizen of this Nation being the daughter and grand daughter of citizens of St Kitts & Nevis.

 

The month of May on the AT in Virginia can be pretty chilly at higher elevations especially at night and I was thankful for Mark Ray s Guernsey sweater/jersey given to me by his wife Penny (Mark Ray a great friend is confined to a nursing home suffering from Alziemers) I have carried this jersey throughout my Appalachian Trail hiking adventures,and when not being worn I tie it around my middle by its arms or used as a pillow.It has become very special to me ….

 

A typical day would involve walking from AT shelter to AT shelter (setting out about an hour after first light having been awoken by the dawn chorus of the birds….) usually 12 to 18 miles daily, occasionally more, sometimes less. Personally I preferred to sleep in the shelters although the majority of AT hikers preferred their tents.

 

I did carry a tent of course and one place I did camp was in the tiny town of Glasgow VA (about a half hour vehicle ride from the AT)
from where I posted mail to friends and relatives in the well known City of Glasgow,Scotland and about 100 times the size of Glasgow VA…..! !

 

At 548 miles the State of Virginia is the biggest state that the AT crosses and it is a great psychological boost to ones spirits to be finally out of Virginia and into West Virginia ( the AT goes through less than 10 miles of West Virginia) and this section centres on the historic town of Harpers Ferry at the confluence of two great rivers ….The Shenandoah and the Potomac. Harpers Ferry is the headquarters of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the 78 year old  organisation that was founded by private citizens to make the dream of the Appalachian Trail a reality.

 

From West Virginia one crosses into Maryland, as one walks across the bridge over the Potomac River and some 41 miles later   one crosses the ‘Mason Dixon’ line into Pennsylvania,at 229   miles  the third     biggest state that the AT crosses.

 

Pennsylvania is noted for its exceedingly rocky footpath, the more so the  further North~East one hikes towards New Jersey.
The rocky trails of Pennsylvania are much talked about by hikers the length of the AT ……usually  greatly exaggerated but demanding to deal with none the less. Some of the AT in this State is covered in sharp looking rocks which really tear up your boots, (My Keene boots included), while in other areas the rocks or boulders are larger and one can rock hop from one to the next with relative ease …..Nevertheless all this rockyness slows you down and hikers walk with heads bowed (like monks in perpetual prayer) constantly watching the trail way at their feet. It  is remarkable so few serious injuries occur.

 

My summer was memorable too for the wonderful and interetsing people that I met along the AT that I hiked this summer.
Some meetings were in fact reunions with old friends I had not seen in decades.

 

Rev Ellen Stratton a Presbyterian minister was just one of several. We had met as teenaged volunteers working at the Abbey on Iona about 40 years ago and had not met since. On 3rd July at the Presbyterian Church of the Mountain by wonderful coincidence a church hostel for AT hikers at Delaware Water Gap PA we enjoyed a tearful reunion that was so special to both of us, and thank you ”L’ill Engine” for catching this on film..

 

At another reunion I met with Mark Freeman and Sarah Cuthbertson both VSO on Nevis when I first arrived (1 September 1987)

 

Both now live in Virginia USA ….we had not seen each other in more than 10 years. But these reunions were planned. Quite unplanned was meeting a hiker named ‘Momo’ whom I’d met while coming down through Maine last August. We enjoyed each others company and shared wee adventures at that time. Rounding a bend of the AT in the northern Shenandoah Valley VA, there she was most unexpectedly walking up towards me.Having recovered from the shock (by sitting down on a stone at the side of the AT)

 

Momo deftly brewed up a cup of tea in celebration, for us both, and there we sat blethering ”19 to the dozen” for the next 2 and a half hours….bemused hikers walking up and down the slope  sat on …..observing us with some curiosity.

 

Added to these reunions (and I met at least four other hikers I’d met last year on the AT) there were countless others who helped me along the way all of whom  I am very gratefull too ….THANK YOU. True Trail Angels as the AT hiking community call you.

 

Kind people who gave me lifts or occasionally accomodation or who assissted me and other AT hikers in our travels.
One such couple were Steve and Jean Struharik , parents of Mike a scientist I know on St Kitts. They took me in; ”cleansed” me and my clothes and fed me as well as introducing me to their friends one of whom a beekeeper of note, and then enabled me to ”slackpack” the next day…..Steve bringing my 30lb rucksack from Turners Gap to Wolfsville Road MD by car.

 

Iam indebted also too the Paradis siblings and Max who helped so much when I came off the AT in New York State helping me with accomodation and finding a bus to Ithaca.
And of course Dave Bev and Laura Robinson who are just allowing me to ‘unwind’ at their Finger  Lakes home …Sheldrake (near Ithaca) where i type this wee report now before heading to Canada.

 

FUTURE PLANS
By July 24 I have (by law) to be out of the USA as strictly dictated by my 90 day ESTA visa.(Disobey this and I would be banned from re entering the USA for many years to come….computers track ones movements accuratley these days you know)

 

However, if allowed, I intend to be back on the AT by 1st August to climb through the White Mountains of New Hampshire heading north from Hanover/ Norwich..on the VT / NH border.

5/12/2013 BeeMan’s Buzz…

5/12/2013 BeeMan’s Buzz…
BEEMAN IS BACK ON THE AT

Greetings from Pearisburg, Virginia.  Beeman is back on the Appalchian Trail (AT) . I had a good trip north despite nearly being denied boarding at St. Kitts airport due to the lack of proper paperwork. I was supposed to have (due to immigration) 5 ½ hours in Charlotte’s Greyhound bus station 10PM to 3AM which was tedious and very interesting. The 2 ½ hours sleep on the bus was most welcome followed by 10 hours of hitch-hiking in the pouring rain between Wythevile and Pearisburg, Virginia. I splurged on a Super Duper motel room for $38.50 and slept like a Prince.

“I’m very thankful to be enjoying the homely comforts of the AT one again. I’m guessing it will be for 85 days about which time I hope to visit Sheldrake NY.

BeeMan “on the ground running” Starting in Virginia

Beeman Buzz…  Is back on the trail & safe on the ground running in Pearisburg Va …. tomorrow night WoodsHole Hostel 9 miles south before heading north once again.
I will sleep well to night ..all I had last night was 2 hours on a Greyhound Bus between Charlotte nc and Wythville Va.

The Beeman in 2013

I am getting ready to start updating the progress again in 2013. Will the beeman finish the Trail? I am trying to find out.  From my calculations the beeman has to go from Gorham NH to somewhere close to chestnut knob shelter in and around West Virginia/ Virginia state line… or is that the other way around… LOL

Maine to New Hampshire

Greetings folks, from New Hampshire.  I was able to re-enter the USA at Fort Kent Maine 31 July and on 3rd August climbed Mt. Kathadin, Maine’s highest peak (5268 ft.) which took me 6 hours to ascend and descend.  Since then I have been walking steadily southbound on the Appalachian Trail a total of 300 miles to Rattle River Shelter near Gorham, NH, a trek lasting 38 days with 5 zero (rest) days en route.

The scenery was spectacular, the mountain climbs magnificent, and in particular I enjoyed splendid views of literally hundreds of lakes, ponds, and browsing moose that dot back country Maine.

Hiking in Maine certainly has its challenges but lessons learned during the 620 miles I hiked northbound from Springer Mountain Georgia to Woods Hole Hostel near Pearisburg VA (April 24 – July 6th) undoubtedly  helped my northern endeavor.

The first real challenge in Maine was the “100 Mile Wilderness” south from Baxter State Park, where I walked for 9 days without passing human habitation and just a handful of motor vehicles at Forestry Road crossing places.  Signs at each end of the 100 Mile Wilderness warns “there are no places to obtain supplies or get help for the next 100 miles.  Do not attempt this section unless you have a minimum of ten days supplies and are fully equipped.  This is the longest wilderness section of the entire Appalachian Trail and its difficulty should not be underestimated.”

At one point I was able to pick up food in a sealed bucket at a pre-arranged spot beside a forestry road that I crossed, a regular arrangement for hikers provided by the hiker’s hostel in Millinocket.

On arrival in Monson, famous for its slate, I enjoyed 2 zero days, to recover from the 100 Mile Wilderness – a tiny Maine town as famous for its slate as its catering for the needs of AT hikers.

But greater challenges were to come as I headed south over the Bigelow Range of mountains, two of which (on the AT) exceeded 4000 feet where I regularly met determined mountain walkers out to climb every mountain over 4000 feet in New England.

At Cartunk, I crossed the fast flowing Kennebec River by canoe, the only place on the Appalachian Trail where one does this.  It is a special service provided by the ATC operated in memory of a woman hiker who drowned while trying to swim across more than 20 years ago.

 

After a brief rest in Stratton, I headed south over the Crocker Mountains and 4000 feet up Spaulding Mountain – other 4000 feet plus mountain peaks followed, The Horn (dramatic) and Saddleback Mountain, this section (ending near Rangeley) took 3 days.  Two days later I was in Andover, and ready for a rest at the wonderful hostel-home of octogenarians known as “Bear & Honey” – Beeman felt quite at home here…!

Then came the approach to one of the most talked of, and arguably most challenging sections of the entire AT, namely the Mahoosuc Arm followed southbound by the fabled Mahoosuc Notch, a jumble of colossal house sized rocks.

It took 6 hours to hike 5 miles.  The first 3 hours to descend Mahoosuc Arm and almost as long to clamber through Mahoosuc Notch – 9 times I had to take off my rucksack (pack) and shove it through small holes under which I wiggled between & below these house sized rocks.  I wearily finished this memorable day by climbing Fulling Mill Mountain (3395 feet).

By comparison, summiting the Goose Eye Mountains (which followed) was just a doddle despite their steel  re-bar rungs helping one descend faces of granite rock (see photo).

At 1:45 pm 7 Sept. I crossed from Maine to New Hampshire, (where psychologically my spirit was lifted high at having hiked all of Maine) and made my way along less steep paths to Gentian Pond Shelter, at which I was rudely awoken by strident train blasts between 12:30 – 1 am from a railway line far below. Civilization apparently beckoned.

 

My foot journey on this section of the Appalachian Trail ended at Rattle River Shelter just 300 miles south of Mt. Kathadin.

 

Daily throughout my hike down through Maine, I met hardened determined North Bounders (NoBo’s) hell-bent on reaching Mt. Kathadin having walked from Springer Mtn., the southern terminus of the AT, all summer and I wish I could have been one of them.  Most were young citizens of the USA,(some of whom remembered meeting me down in the southern states)  but I met Poles, Japanese, Israelis, Germans as well, whose courage of traveling so far from their home, conversing in a foreign language, and coping with the steep demands of the rugged Appalachian Trail I truly admired.

 

For now as fall approaches, the days shorten and temperatures drop, I am content to hang up my rucksack for the winter.  I have walked just 80 miles shy of 1000 miles of the AT this summer and my plan is to complete the “easier” (?) section between Pearisburg VA and Gorham NH, re-starting next March…..hopefully raising some more much needed dollars for the NHCS in the process.

 

Note: For those of you who have been concerned/ or  wondered at my long silences during the summer, I must add that hiking the AT involves living where there is no electricity, just self-catering for ones most basic needs takes time and some effort.  The AT shelters certainly have no modern conveniences and nor should they be expected to.  The humble hostels in tiny towns which one visited about once a week often had mediocre internet connection and hikers queuing to use their only computer.

 

To all my many many fellow hikers, Happy Trails and I hope you reach your destination safely.  I remember in particular (from my northern hike) BLT, Lydia, Elizabeth, Nightwalker, Momo, Kris (from Poland), Peace & Love, Brownie, & Pandora.  From my southern hike, Connor, Caveman, and We’ll See, Pokey & Codfish.  Greetings all.

Sept 5th Update

I am at the Northern Outdoor resort near Carabunk Maine with WiFi….I have had zero reception for the last week+…. Have recently posted some pics in the photo page. So… Check them out…

Throughout my hike down through the “100 mile wilderness” from Baxter State Park to Monson I experienced some difficulty with my Droid camera which only wanted to take pics in b&w …this has now been resolved…thanks to a tech savvy fellow hiker….however many other pics were taken using my regular simple old camera…and eventually I hope to add them here…

HIGHlights of the ”100 mile wilderness” hike included seeing several Moose….
enjoying walking around some magnificent lakes… some of which I swam in… and fording on foot about 6 rivers… one of which came briefly waist high…back country Maine is a real treasure cheat  full of brilliant scenery and adventure….

The plan is to travel to Gorham NH… and then to N. Conway…
I will need to get back to Nevis fairly soon.

Stand by for more Pictures… and I hope you donate to my cause…
Beeman…

August 30 update

Its 78 miles from here to Gorham NH and I am covering about 10 miles a day so the Beeman is in Maine headed towards NH.

August 1st Update

The Beeman is Back from Canada… Now in Fort Kent in northern Maine ….the whole re-entry process took about 2 and a half hours…. phone calls were made to Niagra to ”verify” that I had indeed left on the date I claimed and ….they wanted to know 3 USA people who would ”rescue” me if need be…
After this I tottered across the street to take a room at the only motel in town no matter WHAT the cost… but it was sold out … the kindly concerned manager there looked me up and down and immediately gave me a cot in the conference room….10 dollars;
 I’d been on the road hitch hiking all day since 6 am… a musician I met on the ferry across the St Lawrence Seaway gave a ride to within  10 miles of the border…
(I got onto the ”wrong” side of the St L seaway by getting a very good lift from Montreal which went well beyond Quebec City. but on the north side of the seaway)Assuming all goes well I will then drop down to Milinocket and from there enter the Baxter National Park…. I just head off down  the AT to cover as many miles as I can before the end of September. Will be checking in soon…

 

June 19 Update

At 11 : 55 am June 19th the Beeman arrived safely in Damascus….having hiked 42 miles from Hampton TN ….all is well…time for an ice cream..

Damascus Virginia

More Pics are posted in the BeeMan Walks 4 gallery on the photo page.