Archive for June, 2008

links for 2008-06-18

June 18, 2008 at 5:33 pm Leave a comment

Injured Henry.

Poor Henry has had a rough month. In addition to his brush with homelessness, he got two ear infections which prompted three prescription medicines. A week later, he emerged hobbling on three legs and looking fairly pathetic. That earned him another trip to the vet and one more prescription to the mix. It turns out he has a partial ligament tear in one of his hind legs. He’s on pain killers and cage rest this week. The vet will reassess him next week and see how his leg is healing.

Poor Henry (Note: This picture is actually from last March)

Needlesstosay, Henry is going to be on the sidelines for outdoor activities for at least a while. Luckily, he won’t be missing out on much this week as I am booked with non-hiking commitments. Thursday night is Gogol Bordello in Richmond! Friday I’m not sure of my plans, but I did just receive an invitation to a pool party in Petersburg! Saturday night I have a birthday party to attend at Burke Lake Park and Sunday I intend to visit an aunt in Maryland who recently had surgery. I’m going to have a busy weekend. Henry, on the other hand, will be getting a great deal of rest…and I expect a great deal of pets as well. 🙂

June 18, 2008 at 1:43 pm 8 comments

Mass Email in Regards to Virginia Appalachian Trail Plate

I just sent out a mass email to all my friends and family that I know enjoy the outdoors about the Virginia Appalachian Trail Plate.  The same goes to you, blog readers!  If you know anyone who may be interested, please pass the word on!

    I think I have “nagged” many of you before, but one last time for good measure! The Appalachian Trail Conservancy ( is trying to get an Appalachian Trail license plate approved in Virginia.  They need 350 pre-paid commitments by mid-July.  They currently only have 142. L The plate is absolutely beautiful and features Catawba’s own McAfee’s Knob (See attached)


The plate will cost $25 a year—with it one gets a FREE membership to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the revenues from these plates goes towards the conservation, maintenance and education efforts of the AT. The North Carolina Appalachian Trail License Plate has generated $150,000 that has gone right back to the trail!


Now I certainly don’t expect all of you to be in a position to hop on board and sign up for a plate.  My main intent is to the spread the word.  You and I share a common love of the outdoors and if you happen to also share that love with a Virginia resident who might be interested in an Appalachian Trail License Plate, please pass the information on!


You can read more details and fill out an application at:


Thanks and I hope everyone is well!


June 13, 2008 at 10:57 am Leave a comment

links for 2008-06-11

June 11, 2008 at 5:31 pm 1 comment

links for 2008-06-10

June 10, 2008 at 5:35 pm 2 comments

links for 2008-06-09

June 9, 2008 at 5:31 pm Leave a comment

How to Tell a Thru-Hiker

I’ve heard a some jokes that start with “What’s the difference between a thru-hiker, a section hiker and a day hiker?”  I don’t remember the punchlines which probably means I didn’t find the jokes all that clever.  I think a “cold beer” was involved somewhere.

Joking aside, there are some very real hints that a person you meet on the trail is a thru-hiker.  For example, I find the thru-hiker smell rather distinctive.  And it can be pretty potent.  There are times in the summer, where I can smell an approaching thru-hiker before I can see them or hear them.  It’s actually quite handy as it gives me plenty of time to leash the dogs…or if I’m on an ascent, make myself appear less fatiqued than I am.  🙂

Today, when I met Joe to relinquish custody of his wallet, I uncovered another hint to keep in mind. 

After our initial introductions and greetings, I asked, “Are you hungry?”

“I just had a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.” Joe said and then he added– “I’m starving.”

Definitely a thru-hiker.


June 7, 2008 at 1:00 pm 7 comments

Vicky’s Wet Nap Calculator

If all goes well, when this post publishes, I’ll be camping in Mount Rogers, Virginia. When I pack for trips such as these, I field a lot of “How many” questions. For example, “How many gigs of memory should I carry for my camera?” or “How many liters of water should I bring?”. Those aren’t down to an exact science, but the pressing question of “How many wet naps should I bring?” does have its own little formula:

wn = m + d * (p + 1)

Where wn is the total number of wet napkins I will pack

m is the number of total meals I will be eating

d is the number days I will be out there.

p is the number of daily dumps I expect to take

and then I add 1 extra napkin per day for good measure.


June 7, 2008 at 10:30 am 3 comments

The Wallet Reunion

One of my cousin‘s classmates is thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail this summer to raise money for Gilda’s Club.  He goes by the trailname “Grandpa Joe“.  In Tennessee a few weeks ago, Joe stopped at a Baptist church and accidently left his wallet and his cell phone behind.  All his mother had to go on was “a Baptist church in Tennessee”.  The search looked daunting, but she starting placing phone calls nonetheless.

“Do you have any idea how MANY Baptist churches are in Tennessee!!!!!” she wrote.

Somehow she found the right church AND they had Joe’s wallet!  They mailed them to Joe’s mother and since Joe was heading northbound that meant he was coming my way.  Early last week I received Joe’s wallet in the mail.  And today, when Joe arrived in Pearisburg, Virginia at the base of my very favorite mountain, I returned his possessions.

Joe hiked 200 miles without his wallet or his cell phone

I ended up spending a good portion of the day with Joe and another thru-hiker who goes by “Gonzo“.  I took them into Blacksburg for 1/2 pound Mike’s Burgers which they both wolfed down with ease.  We went on a brief tour of the Virginia Tech campus, but the hit of the day may very well have been…my internet connection.  Both hikers got to catch up on email, blogs and most importantly, got to upload pictures of their journeys.

Gonzo (in the hat) mans the desktop, meanwhile Joe works on my laptop

In the afternoon, I returned them where I found them (LEAVE NO TRACE!)– back in Pearisburg, Virginia.  Tomorrow they will continue on their trek to Maine.

I think I can make a solid case that I helped out Joe’s cause today.  Of course, odds are he isn’t going to lose his wallet again, so you can’t readily follow in my lead that way.  But, there is something you CAN do.  You can always make a tax-deductible donation to Gilda’s Club.  🙂

Additional Links
Gilda’s Club of Western Pennsylvania
Joe’s FirstGiving Donation Site
Joe’s Trail Journal
My Cousin’s Blog (which features regular Joe updates)
Gonzo’s Blog

June 6, 2008 at 10:54 pm 8 comments

Homeless Henry?

When I was learning how to drive, my father had a series of extra tests besides the two issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles. At our house, you also had to get certified for I-95. That wasn’t too bad. The toughest part was merging on the Interstate while Dad yelled at you. The “driving in icy conditions” certification was actually quite fun. Dad took us to an empty parking lot and had us try out emergency stops to get a feel for what the vehicle would do on ice. The one trial I despised was pursuing my Sawyer Suburban certification. There, you had to drive Dad’s giant, white, diesel-fueled suburban and he made you do stuff like back between cones and parallel park. Almost two decades later, I still have trouble parallel parking my tiny, baby, XTerra, especially when there is an audience. I don’t know how I ever managed to parallel park the suburban to Dad’s satisfaction.

Anyway, I never have to worry about my dogs driving, but I did subject the dogs to a certification process of their own when it came to camping. A number of years ago, I set up the tent up on my deck, rounded up the dogs and gave it a go. Jimmie curled up at my feet and went to sleep. Henry, on the other hand, spent the entire evening bellowing out aroos at any sound. I had no idea how “noisy” my neighborhood was at night until Henry was on full alert. Without him, I would have been blissfully unaware of twigs snapping, crickets and dogs barking off in a distance.

Here were the final results of the Dog Camping Certification:

Candidate Score
Jimmie A++
Henry FAIL!!!!

Henry failed with such distinction that I have never even given him a second chance.

Ever since then, every camping trip– Henry is always left behind with a sitter. This weekend though, I have a dilemma. I’m going backpacking at Mount Rogers. And…I have yet to successfully secure a dog sitter for Henry. Everyone is busy! Out of town obligations, golf trips, surgeries. One sitter can’t because his dog is having puppies. It’s a perfect storm.

Who wouldn’t want to watch this cute little fellow?

Aww… don’t you want to watch him?

He wants to cuddle with you.

And look at how cute he was at a puppy!

(Note: If you are actually considering it, please ignore this post and this post and this post and this post and this post and this post and oh yeah, this post, too)

We’ll see if I scrounge up a sucker Samaritan. As much as it will pain my eardrums, I may have to… take him with me.

June 3, 2008 at 4:35 pm 9 comments

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