Thursday, February 16, 2012


New Requirement for Section of Georgia Appalachian Trail:
Bear Canisters

Below is a new trail update from the ATC (Appalachian Trail Conservancy) website for overnight hikers on the AT for a section of trail in Georgia:


Bear canisters required for camping between Jarrard Gap and Neel Gap

A new U.S. Forest Service rule requires approved bear-resistant storage containers for overnight camping on a 5-mile stretch of the A.T. in the Chattahoochee National Forest between Jarrard Gap and Neel Gap, between March 1 and June 1. This stretch is located between points 26.7 and 31.7 miles north of the southern terminus of the A.T. at Springer Mountain, Georgia, and includes Woods Hole Shelter, Slaughter Creek Campsite, and Blood Mountain Shelter. “Bear canisters” should be used to store food, food containers, garbage and toiletries
Unfortunately, Yogi has come to like the taste of Snickers and other hiker delicacies and has found the meals too often an easy grab. Such carelessness by some has apparently caused the need for this new requirement. The practice of bear-bag hanging from tree limbs is no longer acceptable.
Remember, there's only one creature more dangerous than a hungry bear -
a hungry thru-hiker!

Cover for 'Rethinking Life on the Appalachian Trail: The 2008 Thru-hike of "Rethinker"' For further reading on Appalachian Trail advenures:                                  Rethinking Life on the Appalachian Trail: The 2008 Thru-hike of "Rethinker"

Ebook description

Dreams of an AT thru-hike lay dormant for 30 years. After a period of rethinking life's course, Gary (trailname, "Rethinker") turned his dreams into a quest. Pages of the 2175-mile journey provide insight both into Nature's often disagreeable companionship and lessons learned from other partners of the trail. Walk along in this life-changing experience and discover the unexpected at journey's end.

Sample and purchase below - and thanks for your support!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rethinker's 2008
Appalachian Trail Journal

Saturday, March 08, 2008
Destination: Preparing for hike
Starting Location: Johnson City, TN
Today's Miles: 0.00
Trip Miles: 0.00

Dreams of a thru-hike
I'm looking out the window at a blowing, wet snow here in Johnson City, TN and wondering about the hikers just a few miles away on the AT. Even though my hike begins from Springer on Mar. 18, I'm well aware that late Mar./early April weather includes these kinds of days.
Still looking forward to it!
Thanks to all the hikers who are journaling as they journey along the trail. Their tips and experiences are helping us who are preparing for the hike. One of my "projects" while on the trail is to begin a book, "Pilgrims of the Appalachian Trail". The theme of the writing will be an exploration of the "Why did you come to the trail? What are you looking to find?" Questions.
Of course it will be the hikers who I meet along the way who provide words for the book. I'll simply record it. Again, looking forward to the experience.
Good luck to all those trudging along on this snow day. Hope some trail magic is waiting for you.

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." (Henry David Thoreau )


This was a entry in preparation for the '08 thru-hike. The journey would begin on March 17th. The eventual book would be titled "Rethinking Life on the Appalachian Trail." But a stone had been placed on the path of commitment. And Thoreau would be a constant encourager along the way. . .
Sample and purchase "Rethinking Life on the Appalachian Trail"
An ebook by Gary Bond

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

 Introduction: Rethinking Life on the Appalachian Trail

First homestead of '08 thru-hike
Exhaustion from the day’s thirty-mile hike joined a natural lullaby of tumbling waters beyond the night’s homestead. Restful sleep soon followed. Now faint light filtering through my tent combined with the birds’ chorus announcing a new day. Time to be up and hiking once again.

With urgency I slid out of my sleeping bag, gathered assorted bags of gear, rolled up the one-man tent, and stuffed it all in my pack. No time was wasted eating breakfast, because no breakfast could be found in the limp food stuff bag – reason enough for the urgency.

For the second time since beginning the hike hundreds of miles south at Springer Mountain, Georgia, I had misjudged my food supply for the distance between resupplies. As a result of this error I’d hiked an extra-long distance the previous day in order to be within five miles of Rockfish Gap, Virginia, the southern gateway of the Shenandoah’s. From there I hoped to get a ride into the friendly trail town of Waynesboro.

After a liquid breakfast of purified water from nearby Mill Creek, I made a man-on-a-mission jaunt toward the Gap. Along the way I stepped over a hiker who I’d met late the afternoon before. He, too, had been scurrying to get into Waynesboro and resupply. But his body apparently rebelled before the mission was realized, and he lay asleep across the trail. His pack served as a pillow, and a wall of rocks surrounded his torso to prevent rolling down the hillside. It’s as though exhaustion had dropped him in his tracks.

The visitor info center at Rockfish Gap was scheduled to open at 9:00 AM. When I arrived several minutes early, the kind, older gentleman who manned the post that morning opened the door and let me inside. According to my trail guide, a list of local trail angels who would provide a free shuttle into Waynesboro was available, and the gentleman promptly showed me the list. I chose at random a man by the name of Roy and gave him a call. To my relief he answered immediately and gave assurance of a rescue within twenty or thirty minutes.

“What’s your trail name?” Roy asked.

“Rethinker,” I replied.

“OK, Rethinker. I’ll see you shortly.”

While I waited, my host at the info center and I chatted about the trail, and he asked how I was faring so far. He related a story of an extremely distraught female hiker who had arrived at the info center a few days earlier. She had “had it with the trail” and had to get off “right now” and go home. After the man tried gently to tell her that no airport existed in Waynesboro and that the closest airport was 100 miles away in Charlottesville, the girl began frantically calling in search of someone to shuttle her to Charlottesville. Finding no one, she called a taxi and surely paid an extreme fare to the airport.

I assured the man that such desperation was not my case. “Just a ride into town for food and a hot shower. That’ll suit my needs just fine.”

Roy arrived on schedule and helped load pack and poles in the rear of his Outback. Just as we were ready to leave, three other hikers arrived: Shuffles, Stomp, and Stomp’s brother. I’d met Shuffles and Stomp (Jessica and Jon at the time) a few miles north of Newfound Gap in the Smokies. Our hikes now joined again and would rejoin later for a memorable time in Duncannon, Pennsylvania. Loading their gear and bodies into Roy’s car produced the maximum shuttle efficiency.

After a few trail tales on the downward drive into Waynesboro, Roy interjected, “Since I’m a psychologist, I’ve got to ask you just one question: