Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hooray hooray for the 12th of May

31 May, Thurs: The celebration of our one year anniversary and Ron's birthday for a month ends tonight!    See Trail for the updates of the past few days hikes.  Today's four hour hike past Thundering Falls was spectacular.

30 May: Dropping Yogi off at the Mountain Lodge, we returned to do some computer work before hiking for four hours north bound. 

29 May: Continued hiking from Gifford Woods; but what a day and what a hike!   We witnessed the reunion of Blue Grass and two of his hiking buddies who had been separated.  A short while later we ran into Yogi - a hiker we met in Waynesboro, VA who was on her way to evening lodging.  By the time we reached the car we realized ..."Why didn't we invite her to dinner???"  And off we went to Yogi's Inn to take her out to eat.  She was only too delighted to go with us since the place she was staying did not have a restaurant.  She hopped in the car and stayed at the Inn at long Trail.  We had a great meal at the Garlic in Killington.

8 May: continued hike from Gifford Woods northbound

27 May, Sun:  Today's hike was very challenging albeit short; we hiked the NB AT starting about a mile S of the Inn at Long Trail - right across the road from where we started SB yesterday.  The difference today was walking the mile to the trailhead.  Trying to locate the trail was the next challenge.  Two pseudo trails led into the woods through a swamp; they were NOT trails but false leads.  Ron blocked one false entry to prevent others from making the same mistake a hiker made just this morning.  This was a good hike!  We enjoyed the 4.5 mile trek despite rough terrain and steep incline.   OH BOY were we  delighted to see campers at Giffords Woods State Park.  Cynthia boldly marched up to a group of rock climbers and asked for a ride back to the Inn (another two mile journey).

AT NB Katahdin soon?

26 May, Sat: 10:30 AM the loop hike from the AT trailhead about a mile south of the Inn at Long Trail!  The car parked, one of us was slathered with sunblock, mosquito repellant and into the netting hoodie while the other gave sage advice about where to step to avoid the ticks that carry lyme disease.  Off we went following the white blazes on the AT to the junction with the Sherburne Pass Trail then blue-blazed down to the Inn at Long Trail.  The 7.4 mile hike was accomplished in five hours. Congratulations are deserved for achieving the same distance/time when we left VA after the three week hiatus to the Keys and into GA.  The  Vermont trails are more challenging: more incline, boulders and tree roots.   After dinner Ron puzzled while Cynthia enjoyed a delightful Scots-Irish fiddle and singer duo who reside in Canada.  The female was the strongest fiddler.  The Inn at Long Trail has a rich history of being the only authentic Irish pub in Vermont.  The furnishings are from Ireland.

25 May:  The Inn at Long Trail opened at noon; we had a delicious lunch with a super nice section hiker after a shopping spree at Dollar General, Price Chopper and Wal-Mart.  Ron hiked to the top of the Sherburne Pass Trail and back (6.4 miles).

24 May:  We hiked a mile RT up to Long Trail and the AT on Deer Look Overlook Trail.  It does not pay for Cynthia to have a five hundred calorie deficit a day like yesterday.  She was one tired cookie today.   Ron rested while mending socks.

23 May: Rain is forecast again, but Ron is dying with curiosity to see the effects of rain on the recently maintained parts of the trail.  We  hiked 6.5 miles.  Cynthia's stamina was amazing.  She had more energy than Ron.

22 May:  Opening day at the Inn is getting closer.  We got out of bed early and out of Sugar & Spice early and got gas, food, and more bug repellent before hitting the trail for an hour up and an hour down.  Now it is late afternoon and rain is imminent.  The trail is much improved by the several days of dry weather and by Ron's continuing stream-bed maintenance.  A 75-piece round dinosaur jigsaw puzzle at the Inn was enough challenge for Ron today.  He is enjoying the freedom stemming from finishing the edits to Volume 6 of the Colonial Swedish Church Records, the Wrangel years.

21 May: We slept oh so late.  Breakfast at Sugar and Spice followed Cynthia's eye-opener protein drink, and then we hiked six miles.  Ron did trail maintenance and is really improving the Sherborne Pass section of the Long Trail besides feeding Cynthia jelly beans.  (Unfortunately he forgot that responsibility in the excitement of uphill trail maintenance, but Cynthia motored to the open viewpoint, drank water, and ate a mini cliff bar to restore her vitality.)  The bug netting is a crowd pleaser although it is surprisingly effective as a thermal layer.  Salmon for dinner at Garlic's was wonderful although their menu was restricted because there was no chef.  The Inn at Long Trail can be viewed at this link:  or look closely at the bottom of the white rocks in the photo taken today:
View from summit of Sherburne Pass
Best hiking gear: Netting

20 May, Sunday:  A Zero mile hiking day.  We breakfasted at Sugar and Spice again before driving to the Mall to shop at Eastern Mountain Sports for DEET-free bug repellent (Natrapel uses 20% Picaridin).  We also found Cynthia a jacket with hood & mittens made of netting (see glam photo above).  Rave reviews ever since!  I shoulda knowed better than to take Cynthia shopping; we spent a wad on bug repellent shirt, light knickers, sports bras, undies, BodyGlide, hand warmer packs, a number of other items.  Oops, the single most expensive item was new shoes for me (on clearance), the Vibram fivefingers variety in sky blue w/ golden toes.  We lunched at the 99 Restaurant and returned to the room for a nap before going to Choice's for dinner.

19 May:  Cynthia hiked six miles towards the top of Sherburne Pass fighting bugs and flies.  Ron did trail maintenance.  J.B. Rambo Rabbit provided yellow, green and pink droppings. Cynthia's favorites.(J.B. stands for jelly bean.)  Cynthia managed to impress a mud puddle impression on the left cheek of her jeans.  We picked up Achilles at the AT trailhead on Route 4 and dined royally at Choice's Restaurant in Killington.  (Cynthia was delighted to order a filet mignon after Achilles agreed to finish it.)  Achilles reports that the AT north of Rutland shows a lot of damage from hurricane Irene with many sections washed out or rerouted and lots of storm debris.

18 May: Poor Cynthia had zip energy and spent most of the day in bed recovering from the fly bite and a sinus infection; Achilles arrived near Rutland; we picked him up at the trailhead on Highway 103 south of Rutland and treated him to dinner at Table 24.  Food is good but the dining room was way too noisy.  The next stop was Ben and Jerry's so Achilles could have a milk shake and Cynthia could have triple caramel chunk in a waffle cone.  Both Cynthia and Achilles too much over-filled their tummies.

17 May:  We checked in at the Inn at Long Trail;  Achilles arrives tomorrow. We hiked two hours and did NOT enjoy the black flies.  Cynthia was bitten in the eye lid, and her eye swelled nearly shut.  YUK.

16 May:  Not a lot accomplished but another good hike enjoyed.  

15 May: We hiked about three hours if you count getting caught in the rain and spending half an hour in a lovely screened in gazebo.  The day was joyfully capped off with Marjorie and Richard as our dinner guests.

14 May: Arrival at the Chesterfield Inn near Brattleboro was a treat!  Immediately we phoned Beanie and Eddie who IMMEDIATELY jumped into their vehicle and IMMEDIATELY drove to the Inn to have dinner with us.  They have good news that a kidney donor has been found and a replacement operation is tentatively scheduled for June depending on tests.

13 May:  Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers in your lives.  After a great egg white veggie omelet (Cynthia ate two scoops of French toast casserole) we hiked seven and one -half miles along an old canal onto a road and a state park.  Instead of choosing the State Park to continue the hike towards Cranberry Lake we opted for Waterloo Village a mile and a half further on an asphalt highway.  By ignoring the No Trespassing sign that warned of 24-hour video surveillance and skirting the locked gates, we were able to tour a mock Lenape Indian Village maintained by the Lenapes.  Further on was a farmstead and a Colonial village marketplace.  The grass was mowed but the villages were not maintained.  It was a long, hot walk along the roadways with different threats (poison ivy) along the canal path.  After showers we walked to Bell's Mansion again to enjoy dinner with champagne and wine.  Upon returning, our host innkeeper, Roz, and her daughter, Nikki, entertained us in a relaxing conversation on the front porch.  The jacuzzi failed to jet, but Ron enjoyed a good soak anyway for more than an hour.

12 May:  Happy Anniversary to us!  One year! OH BOY! Marvelous champagne lunch en route to the Whistling Swan B&B in Stanhope, NJ.  Dinner at Bell's Mansion. The innkeeper is a delightful lady named Roz.

11May: Archival work, drinking lunch at McMinnamin's, dinner at Scoogi's. 

Cynthia's grandson Austin, John P, Jim Z. and Kim-Eric

65th Birthday Party Surprise
10 May:  We are committed to be at the Lutheran Archives by 10am to meet John and Sally and Austin.  Thousands of our closest Philadelphia friends are invited to dinner at Avenida.  I gotta remember to show off my newly acquired button labeled "Hottest Tongue in Key West." ANOTHER SURPRISE BIRTHDAY PARTY????  What is this world coming to? 

Kim-Eric, Austin, Cynthia, Ron, Bev W. Scholarship Award
9 May:  Plan is to drive nearly to Philadelphia.

8 May: Plan is to drive to the vicinity of Front Royal, VA.

7 May:  Plan is to leave Athens "early" and drive to Virginia before dark.

6 May, Sunday:  We've had another lovely day starting with gourmet spinach and tomato omelet, followed by 2+ hours discovery hike in the woods (and we successfully returned by dead reckoning), segueing to a marvelous lunch at George's Low Country Table, and finishing leisurely with sudoku and blogging. 

3 May Thurs, lovely breakfast prepared by Col. Marc of the Colonels B&B in Athens, GA. Col. Marc was a councillor to the Belgian Ambassador to the United Nations. When he and is wife, an Army Col., retired they purchased this marvelous horse estate with an antebellum home built in 1860. After breakfast we hiked a trail on the grounds before going to the Botanical Gardens of GA and picking up at least one tick managing to avoid the gigantic poison ivy along the trails. More on the awesome adventures of the Key West Motorcycle Gang later, but here are some pictures:

2 May:  We vacated the Miami Hilton and shuttled to the airport, flew to Atlanta, and caught the Yellow Spot Shuttle #2 back to our reliable Lexus steed to resume our typical wandering.

This following needs to be incorporated elsewhere.  It was sent to the MIT Alumni magazine.
Cynthia and I had a delightful time riding rented Harley Classic motorcycles from Miami to Key West with MIT buddy Dr. Walter and wife Pam.  At least five times the scene was water horizon to horizon with only a strip of highway bridge ahead of us.  We toured the house where Audubon painted a few birds, the house where Hemmingway penned a book or two, the Truman "White House" where he worked more effectively than in Washington, and enjoyed seeing the landmark bars The Green Parrot Bar and Sloppy Joe's.

To get to Miami, Cynthia and I curtailed our daily hikes in the Shenandoah National Park and drove from Waynesboro, Virginia to catch a flight in Atlanta after staying a night at the Biltmore in Asheville and consulting a manuscript in the collection of UNC in Chapel Hill.

We started our daily hikes when few leaves were on the trees and the morning air was a bit brisk.
We suffered an interruption for a photo op with the Swedish ambassador at his residence on Nebraska Avenue in D.C.  (Pictures on the Where is Ron Now blog).  The ambassador and his wife were delightful and personable and fun.  We did our best to reciprocate.  Then we returned to daily hikes and worked up to an awesome 7.5 miles on our last hike.  It was terrific fun to see the gradual transition from winter to spring towards summer.  We departed for Atlanta before the "green tunnel" entirely obscured the distant ridge-lines.

Prior to hiking, we installed Cynthia's grandson and a high speed scanner in the Lutheran Archives working to digitize the 250,000 pages of documents produced by early (American) Swedish Colonial historian, Dr. Peter Craig.  To me this has been the visual highlight of the year-to-date.  The flowering trees in Philadelphia this year were unbelievably colorful and abundant.  MIT buddy Joel G. ('68) pronounced the spring as unusually beautiful.  Wharton Prof. Eric C. ('68) and wife Jean also entertained us between globe-trotting trips.

Ahhh, but I can only distantly recall those days gone by when you christened me peripatetic.

Cynthia's cancer treatment was 100% successful and the Arimidex is symptom free for her. 

Last fall after her treatments were finished, we escaped the heat of Texas in late October to attend a wedding in Chicago and danced Rock & Roll until Cynthia wore a hole in her foot.  Then we crossed over to North Carolina to research her forthcoming book on the 3 older James Leas of Caswell County circa 1790. 
That done we spent a month in Atlantic Beach, NC in an ocean-front time-share.  It was marvelous to walk out the door onto the beach in 100 yards over the dunes.  Breakfast entailed a walk 50 feet to the elevator and 50 feet further at ground level.  At dinner time we could find fine food at either of two restaurants within 45 minutes walk on the beach.
We left Atlantic Beach just before Christmas and arrived in Houston in time for our medical appointments in early January.  My cardiologist shocked us both by telling me that I have two arteries ENTIRELY blocked - so I failed that test.  Cynthia had great results. 

Oh yes, I no longer use my AOL account (and haven't checked it in two years until today).

And more to incorporate from my latest trailjournals post.
Since we were heading south to the Biltmore, we opted for the shortest drive and repeated our first two days hikes. It was no surprise to me that the hike was trivial after a month of hiking nearly every day.
The surprise was the change in vegetation, especially in the luxurious new growth of poison ivy. BEWARE hikers that one post of the "turnstile" at Beagle Gap is nearly engulfed in poison ivy. It should be encroaching on the hiker pathway at chest level by now.
After today's hike, we headed off to the Biltmore, stopping overnight in Bristol, Virginia at a familiar Holiday Inn. After a day at the Biltmore with a nice hour or two hiking in the woods on the grounds, we decided to detour to Chapel Hill for a genealogy excursion. Following two nights at Chapel Hill, we hastened towards Atlanta and were surprised to get there in a day. We parked the car (loaded full) under cover at a Yellow Spot #2 and caught our flight to Miami on time. Next day we met Walt & Pam and took cab to Peterson Harley Davidson to rent out HD Classics. That is a heavy beast of a bike; no wonder so many Harley riders are hefty. The ride down I-95 to the Fairchild Gardens went without a hitch and lunch followed by a stroll through the gardens was enjoyed by all. We got back on the road about 4pm. I was amazed that we breezed through the Keys with nary a slowdown or stop light. Those of you who have ridden a motorcycle into the Keys are familiar with the "water, water everywhere" views that astound. (To the right, water to the horizon. To the left, water to the horizon. Ahead, only a narrow strip of bridge with water all around. Behind, a mirror image of ahead, distorted and foreshortened in the mirror.) Key West sightseeing is better than I imagined. My favorite was the Truman "white house" because our guide was so knowledgeable and voluble. The Hemmingway house and Audubon house are nice, but both artists were there only briefly in their careers. I earned the "Hottest Tongue in Key West" button at a hot sauce tasting bar. The Popular House (on William Street) was a delightful place to stay and the staff were wonderful. Each motorcycling couple returned to the mainland alone, which allowed each rider to travel at their own pace and style. The Miami airport Hilton again upgraded us to an Executive suite with good view and boardroom spaciousness. We've stayed five nights at the Colonels B&B on Barrett Shoals Road in Athens, GA, a very nice place where Col. Marc serves us gourmet egg white veggie omelets daily. Once we walk through the horse paddocks and into the woods, we can hike for an hour easily. So far dead reckoning has gotten us home every time. Tomorrow (May 7) we head back northward, stopping in Philadelphia on the 10th & 11th, to Rutland, Vermont for our next section of the AT. -Shakedown Cruise