Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Blind Courage, Bill Irwin and the Appalachian Trail

 AT pic of the day:

For today:

The book, “Blind Courage” tells of his life and his super commitment to his Lord and his delivery from Alcohol.  He felt that hike would aid in his recovery.  He gave away 500 bibles to kids as he walked the 2197 miles. You will never know the number of times as WE hiked that trail that I said, “And a blind man did this with just his dog?”

Remember he did this unassisted. THAT INCLUDED Into towns to wash his clothes and restock supplies. His dog at the time was named Orient.  Their trail name was “The Orient Express.´ He was 50 yrs old when he hiked the trail and passed away at 73 in  2014.

He said he fell thousands of times, even cracked some ribs, but he persevered and hiked a solid 8 months to finish. At the peak of Katahdin he fell to his knees and newsmen and friends sang “Amazing Grace”

Bill in his own words:

For 26 years I was an alcoholic and lived my life out of control. I never even thought of God much less sought a personal relationship with Him. This is how it is now. Through my youngest son's surrender to cocaine addition, I was able to get a good look at my life the way God saw it and it was not a pretty picture. I was to the place in my addiction that I was drinking around the clock and thought that I would die without it.

God dramatically and completely delivered me from the desire to drink. Two months later He delivered me from my five-pack a day cigarette addiction. God provided these miracles without my asking for help or even having a desire to recover. Then through the love of a man that He put into my life I was led to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Then I learned that He changed me and helped me overcome all the things that prevented me from being a happy person. I experienced the peace and joy that only comes when one is willing to surrender and allow Jesus Christ to become first in his or her life.

Bill Irwin passed away on March 1, 2014.

He will be missed. ~~

 Photograph courtesy of billirwin.org


 Arms on the trail is a normal question when the AT is part of the conversation. I have never known a hiker to carry a firearm. Most will not add the extra couple pounds for gun & ammo.  We did like most hikers carried ’pepper sprayfor possible animal encounters.  Of course most carry a knife, but for camping purposes mostly.  Even with the violence of this year, It is safer on the trail than most streets of towns/cities in the USA!

Nite Shipslog


God has allowed us to meet some of the best folk on the planet. In person and here on the net.  Thank you all for being here… and being YOU!

Monday, October 30, 2023

Meeting a world famous motivational Speaker

  Photo From the AT:   

 This is Bill and Martha's car.  She says she 'SELDOM' let's him drive.  I sure liked the License Plates,  in honor of his dog Orient.

So for today:

I had a Journal with AOL. I was able to post on the trail using the Cell phone. I was privileged to be chosen as Journal of the Week once while hiking, That generated many new readers.

Once in Maine, we saw a note tacked to a tree at a trail head announcing a Church where Bill Irwin (famous Blind Hiker) was going to speak. Shucks, the time had passed.

That night I made the mistake of using that information on my journal ‘regretting I had missed the occasion’, but I misspelled or used the wrong last name. Within a few minutes I received an e-mail from Bill’s wife sorta getting me for using the wrong name. Imagine that, she was reading my Journal!!!  I apologized telling her I had his books and KNEW his name, but…. Stammering then said “Let me make it up to you and take y’all out to dinner!”

I received a message back, “Probably not, we are pretty busy, you understand.”

I turned to Sherry and said, “Can you believe I just invited an international motivational speaker out to dinner?”

It wasn’t long before I received another message. “Bill is now a vegan, but he says he would love to go to dinner with you if he can pick the place.”

I said of course!!!  She gave me the time and place in Bangor.  We had a wonderful time. He had his seeing eye dog with him and I commented on how well the dog was trained with all the food around. His reply smiling, “He is working right now.”

I could hardly believe it. I don’t even remember what we ate nor the name of the restaurant. He was so down to earth and honest about his life. They joked about being in the process of building their own house with a view of Katahdin.

What an experience, dinner with Bill Irwin and his wife Martha. He knew I had bought his books, but still gave me autographed copies.

This grew too long, continued next time as "BLIND COURAGE!"

Nite Shipslog

PS: I could never explain the feeling there at dinner, WOW  After that hike he was in demand around the world for speaking engagements.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Appalachian Trail #16 MT Katahdin, Northern Terminus

  Photo From the AT:


I am almost sure this antique coal truck was in Monson Maine, just north of here is the start of the 100 mile Wilderness, the most isolated part of the AT.
So for today:

Thinking this is too much Trail, I will slow it down with a few more photos.  I hope I don’t do too much repeating since they aren’t in order.

(Even just a glimpse of a water fall about makes me giddy!)

Hiking about 1900 miles on the trail, during which we both had some minor injuries, sore heels, strained groin muscle, Lime scare, etc. We realized  the White mountains of New Hampshire might be just too much for us, but we wanted to see Mt. Katahdin.

So on our next to last trip north we drove to Mt Katahdin. WE chose to climb Katahdin via the Abol Trail and descend the AT (or Hunt Trail). No one is allowed to spend the night on the mountain, so the trip is up and down in one day. Average trip 8-10 hours. We carried light packs and water.

 (So many places we would see stacked rocks)

Climbing was steep, with chances of sliding, BUT very few ‘dangerous ledges or drop offs’. WE reached the top and took pictures then 

..........started down the AT on the Hunt Trail.

At one point on top of a boulder about 4-5’ across and pretty much straight down 50-100’ on one side. Sherry appeared frightened for the first time. “I can’t do this!” she said as she sat on the boulder. 

“Honey we have no choice, we must head on down.” The down trail side was only about 8 to 10 ft down. With some steel rebar about halfway.. I threw the packs down, dropped down and held my hands over my head to get her feet as she slid off on her belly.  That was the toughest thing we encountered. But we had already been on the trail about 14 hours.  We wondered what had happened to that 8 hours round trip. LOL

On down the steep trail, I turned to look at Sherry and she had just slid down easy on her butt and lay back on her pack. I started to help her up and she asked, “Can’t we just lay here for the rest of the night?”

“No Babe, that trail mix you have just might attract a moose or bear, we gotta go.”  So we did.

The trip took us mid 60yr old people 22 hours.  Fortunately, we did have lights in our packs. LOL

So we may not have finished the whole trail but we did get both ends and most of the rest. ;-).

Thanks for reading, and remember, this whole AT backpacking thing, was HER idea.  But I had a ball and it opened our eyes to another world.

Nite Shipslog

PS: Thank YOU ALL, YOUR visit means a lot and  makes us smile. You make our day better to know you have visited.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

The Appalachian Trail , maps & books.. #15

  Photo From the AT:


Sherry met some interesting hikers outside one Post Office.

So for today:

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has complete detailed set of maps for the trail.  There are MANY maps but very helpful, if you have the extra room to carry them. The maps show the topography of the area and always keeps you abreast of the altitude.

They also publish a couple books and the hiker actually needs at least one of them. One is more detailed , but both give details as to where the next shelter is and how far off the trail it is. They give the areas to find water along the trail and the distances to food resupply places at each road crossing.


A group of Boy Scouts on a day hike, taking a break.

The books give the miles to the next shelter + nearest water.. The books are updated every year to cover any changes or detours on the trail. There are emergency numbers and the locations of the nearest medical facilities.

Some hikers use a ‘bounce box’. They forward it to themselves, general delivery, at the next town where they plan to stop. That way they can have that complete set of maps and only take the one out they need for the section coming up. Personal items and clothes, like heavier clothes as they get further north, are also in the box. Some are very ingenious in using the bounce box, i.e. Putting something from their pack they are sure they will not need until they see the box next time.

Others have someone back home and have already planned and packed numbered boxes of things they have prepacked and will need on the trail. They meet the box at a predesigned town.  Most, like us, try to pick small towns to have mail and boxes forwarded.

Well, there was once in NY we made a mistake.  Sherry remembered WRONG and we went to the wrong P.O.  She got it right and we found our mail. ;-)

Sometimes you just cannot pass up a chance to soak your feet!

Nite Shipslog

PS: Thank YOU ALL, YOUR visit means a lot and  makes us smile. You make our day better to know you have visited.


The Appalachian Trail #14 (And lost things)

  Photo From the AT:


Sherry taking 'pack on' break.
Above is one of the thousands of hill side paths of the Trail.


So for today:

I hope you have enjoyed the notes and pictures from the trail.  YAYA on her blog asked if readers have ever been so upset you could kick something? (she had lost her camera card) I smiled instead of saying a bad word, because I switched from a PC to a small laptop.  The technician assured me he could copy my files and hard drive exactly as they were. Well besides trying to get used to this keyboard and correcting all my mistakes (most made by sliding over a key to add a letter in the middle of the word)  My files are NOT EXACTLY as they were..... AND YES, I do feel like kicking something or yelling.  LOL so I will laugh (and cry)

Explanation, “You went from Windows 8 to windows 11 of course there will be some adjusting!”  LOL  Man oh man was he ever right. It has been a year and I still ain't ADJUSTED!

I have been unable to find all my hiking pictures, with ID of where they were taken.  So many times I must guess.

These were in Vermont, or was it New Hampshire! LOL


The trail passes several grave yards, showing  at one time folks lived in the woods.

Above is a fence crosser for a Farmer's fence on public lands
This is one of my favorite shots of Sherry ahead of me with another great farm  setting for a back ground.

Nite Shipslog

PS: Thank YOU ALL, YOUR visit means a lot and  makes us smile. You make our day better to know you have visited.

PS YAYA who had lost her computer card with pics found it. Or her hubby Jack did…… in the dryer (she has clean pictures)! Jacks' are handy to have around.. LOL

Thursday, October 26, 2023

The Appalachian Trail #13

  Photo From the AT:


 I ran across this photo I shot of students from Dartmouth Running the trail near the university.

                    So for today:

Going thru different states you add some to your knowledge of the world.  For example I remember reading of Maple trees being tapped for the sap they contain and that becomes one of my favorite flavors, maple.  Mostly in the form of Maple Syrup.

This is how it was done at first, and still is in places.

So imagine my confusion when I saw this on the trail in Vermont, what In the world is these plastic lines about??  I learned something…


Now today they tap from tree to tree with the plastic hose and take the sap down hill using gravity to take it to a giant container.

Okay most of us unlearned people only see NY as New York City. So imagine my shock to discover more country folk in the back woods of NY than I could ever imagine.

And Not only NY, but also the beautiful farm country of Pennsylvania.  If it weren’t for the ‘funny accent’ if I had been dropped in Western PA or Rondout Valley NY, I would have thought I was in West Virginal LOL,  I say funny accent because my good friends and family who have never ventured over 200 miles from home DO NOT KNOW THEY HAVE AN ACKSENT.  I don’t, but Sherry does.  LOL



The trail went around this farmer's fields. ;-)


Nite Shipslog

PS: Thank YOU ALL, YOUR visit means a lot and  makes us smile. It makes our day better to know YOU  visited.

The Appalachian Trail and Ponies #12

  A picture from the Trail.


Below is another hiker NOT ME!


For Today:

On the Trail Just North of Damascus Virginia is Grayson Highlands State Park Virginia State Park. This park is famous for its wild horses.  You share the trail with some of them as you hike thru, BTW as you can understand they have the right of way! ;-)

 Oh yes, I learned a Bible Truth on the trail.  The trail halfway point is just north of Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Pennsylvania. Now if you know the Old Testament story of the Three Hebrew Men.  They were thrown into a furnace because they would not bow to an image of the dude Nebuchadnezzar. Once in the fire they did not burn they walked out in a while.  Okay I heard that story all my life. But I had never seen anything but a furnace that heated a church or big building. So I could not see how they ‘THREW’ the men into the furnace.

(When it was in use, there was a road leading up to the rear and the ore was dumped into the top)

I have never seen an iron furnace.  It is fed from the top.  So when I saw this Furnace a light came on. LOL So that is how they did that. WOW..


NOW about Ice cream, :-O LOL  the hiker is near the half-way point walking thru the Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Pennsylvania.  You can get a tent site cheap and that allows you to take a bath and clean up some before you head to the Park Store.

  It is TRADITION to eat a ½ gallon of ice cream at this stop since it is halfway of the AT. I believe Sherry & I shared a ½ gallon.

WE have not totaled all the miles we hiked on the AT, but counting the day hikes and short hikes we are well over 2000 miles.  Maybe the full 2193, if not, close.

WE do not backpack now, and we only walk about a mile a day around the parks we stay in.


PS:  Thanks for visiting here. We hope you enjoyed it and will return.  Wishing YOU the best.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

The Appalachian Trail #11

  Photo From the AT:

A Rock wall in on the trail. That normally means at one time this area was farmed because many times old farms were surrounded by rocks removed from the fields

                     So for today:

In New York at mile marker 1,412 the trail passes within .4 miles of the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center. Hikers take the Franciscan Trail and stop by for the experience and generosity of the Monks there. Hikers can camp overnight free here. At one time you could stay inside and eat with the monks. but as happens too many times the privilege was pulled.  TOO many times in life the ONE or TWO idiots ruin a good thing.

A mile or so before you see the sign for Graymoor, and just before you cross the Hudson River, you pass thru the interesting TRAILSIDE MUSUEM AND ZOO.  It is actually located in the Bear Mountain State Park there.  A nice break for the hikers also.  We thoroughly enjoyed the zoo and sites.


Bear below was in the ZOO not on the trail.

Hanover NH is another town the trail traverses.  It is here of course that you see Dartmouth College.  The Trail crosses the campus.  This university was founded in 1769.  Who would have thought that the AT would make it famous. ;-)…..  We never thought we would be IN Dartmouth College. ;-).

Part of Dartmouth campus above

AND I can personally recommend the Emergency Room at the hospital in Adams Massachusetts, ;-)  Once I got to feeling bad and because of a tick I found on myself, I thought maybe I had Lime Disease.  I saw a DR. within a few minutes.  He checked me over and said it is possible  you have Lime. I will prescribe the cure meds, take them! If you don’t have Lime, it will not hurt you, but if we wait for the results and they are positive you will suffer much more. I followed his instruction thinking to myself, that seems good common sense.

Back then your messages were on your cell. When you were out of range folks left a message, Later, on the trail, we got the message that I did NOT have Lime. 

The sights you see dsaily are breath taking. And below you see there are many places Sherry and I could hike side by side.

It is neat to peek thru the trees and see something like this.  It is akin to the feeling you get at sea when you see a ship on the horizon, you know life is there.
As you see above, much of the Appalachian Trail is just a walk in the woods.

I have experienced the ER in four states now, for me and my family. NC, GA, FL and MA,  I hope your ER experience has been much better than ours. BECAUSE of the crowds, I have waited up to an hour at the other 3 states, but MA was a breeze! I hope you have never experienced an ER!

Nite Shipslog

PS: Thank YOU ALL, for taking the time to stop by to visit. It makes us smile. You make our day better to know YOU have visited.