Welcome. You're about to hop on the Appalachian Trail and become part of the 2009 thru-hike of Chris Hennig, whose trail name was "Feed Bag." While Feed Bag took in all the personal benefits of spending hours alone in the woods (getting in better shape, crying, pondering the meaning of life), there is a purpose greater than that for which he hiked: to make the world a better place for children. And you can be a part of this journey starting now...and help make a difference!

Start Date: 3/29/09 End Date: 9/5/09

And on the 8th week, he rested

Filed under: Blog Posts — chrishennig @ 10:23 am May 22, 2009

Well, part of the journey for some hikers inevitably involves injury and rest. After completing the first 575 miles without major injury, I thought my story would avoid that chapter. Like my last blog mentioned, my leg starting hurting, reducing my hike to a limp by the end of 5/12. And even after a weekend of rest in Damascus for the Trail Days festival, it still was sore and swelling by the end of a 14 mile day on Monday and a 12 mile day on Wednesday (with a day of rest in between them)! So before I share my rest plans, I thought I would give you a few more trail definitions.

“White-blazing” means sticking to the trail, mile by mile, not skipping any section. “Blue-blazing” is leaving the trail for a side trip, whether it’s sight-seeing or for personal matters, but the intent is to come back to the trail where you left off and continue. “Yellow-blazing” is a term for people who get a ride farther up the trail by car, thus skipping sections. “Aqua-blazing” is for people who opt to canoe or raft the nearest river to the trail as opposed to hike it. And a personal favorite, “pink-blazers,” are those hikers who are on the trail looking for love :)

With that said, I will spend 2 days of rest in the town of Pearisburg,VA, and then blue-blaze to Baltimore Saturday-Tuesday. As grace/fate/luck would have it, a group of friends from my home church in Nashville are passing by this way for the Next Conference and there’s room in the car/hotel for me! So, though it was a difficult decision to make to come off the trail, being able to spend quality time with friends at a conference like this has given me a peace about the decision. Icing on the cake: my college roommate who lives in NYC, as well as two other guys with whom I graduated, will also be at the conference, so it’ll be great to see them!

about_schmidt1So, you too can vicariously rest from hiking this week. And I’ll offer you a strange assignment while you’re loafing around the house: go rent the movie About Schmidt. (Unless you are under 18, offended by “R”eal life language, or not able to handle a scene of middle-aged, overweight Kathy Bates naked. As soon as you see “Schmidt” get into a hot-tub mid-movie, fast forward to be spared!!!) Here’s why I feel this movie is relevant to the hike and my goal of getting children sponsored. In these times of economic uncertainty, many of us are having to redefine what “retirement” will be or whether or not we’ll ever be able to retire from work. However, no matter what you “do” or how long you have to “do” it, you want to have a sense of accomplishment and purpose.

In About Schmidt, Warren (Jack Nicholson) asks these difficult questions almost too late in life to receive an answer: “I know we are all pretty small in the big scheme of things. And I suppose the most you can hope for is to make some kind of difference. What kind of difference have I made ? What in the world is better because of me? What difference has my life made to anyone?”

It’s a funny, yet sobering movie. I hope it also makes you ask the same questions. If you choose to sponsor a child, please don’t share as much of your life with them as Warren does :) but know that it’s a pretty fair picture of how child sponsorship works…a real kid who will think the world of you.

Short trail report, and I’ll see you in a few days!

5/16-5/17 “Nero” (near zero, or as little as possible) spent both days resting as much as possible and partaking of some of the Trail Days festivities

5/18 13.9 miles (+.9 blue) Leg hurt again towards the end of the day. Staying at a hostel.

5/19 0 miles. Had a foot/leg massage last night at the hostel, both caretakers are licensed therapists! Going to alternate heat/ice for a while. Hope it’s ready to go in the morning.

5/20 10.4 miles (+2.3 blue and town miles) staying here in Pearisburg for a few days, then Baltimore for a few days. Decided to leave the trail for a week and rest.

5/21 Nero. Library…Walmart…Mexican food…Subway…and made myself a t-shirt :) I’ll post the pic later!

Hello new friends

Filed under: Blog Posts — chrishennig @ 8:26 am May 19, 2009

Thanks for stopping by the site. You may have heard about me from my hometown paper, the Chillicothe Gazette, and can’t believe a Ross County kid would hike through 14 states. Or you might not even know me — maybe read a story on RelevantMagazine.com and felt compelled to learn more about child sponsorship or the AT.

Either way, welcome! Make yourself at home here and be sure to visit the Sponsorship link. That’s the heart of the hike. I really would love to see 2,200 kids sponsored by the time I reach the top of Mt. Katahdin. Please consider how you can be part of one child’s life.

Thanks for coming by! There’s more to come, so sign up for the updates to find out if I make it.


Now I’m really an athlete…with an injury

Filed under: Blog Posts — chrishennig @ 3:15 pm May 15, 2009

Well, I guess it was bound to happen. I had hiked almost 600 miles without too many major pains. Then sometime on Tuesday, BAM. Pain out of nowhere. The evening before I had a mild slip on the trail, but nothing out of the ordinary. 4-5 miles into the next day, and it was obvious something was wrong. It feels like shin splints, but it’s in the wrong part of my leg. I saw a doctor today at a free clinic here at the Trail Days festival in Damascus, VA. He said rest, ibuprofin, and heat a few times a day. (Ice if I’m finishing any type of physical activity.)

So…thankfully I had planned on being here for the festival anyway. I ended up 30 miles short of my goal this week when Jason, producer for the “Road Less Traveled” tv show, picked me up. Hopefully it heals soon!

Anyway, this will be new for the blog…a VIDEO blog! Finally, I’ve documented the gear I’ve been using these first 600 miles. Sorry it’s so long…and yeah, I goofed with the zoom for the first minute or so. I didn’t feel like re-recording it. SO enjoy the close-up of my nose :)

Trail Report:

5/6 15.8 miles, rained most of the day. Not as depressed as usual to leave town :)

5/7 17.3 miles, didn’t rain, yet the trail was mostly a river today as it continued to rain hard last night. Saw cows and ponies today. I like the change of walking through fields.

5/8 20 miles, rained all morning, then the sun came out. Most parts of the trail were still a stream.

5/9 22.2 miles, staying at a cheap motel tonight so I can resupply. Woke up to lightning and hail last night.

5/10 14 miles, got a ride this AM to church, then a ride from church to groceries, then back to the trail!

5/11 19 miles, rained all morning, foggy cold afternoon. Patches of blue sky and sun towards the end.

5/12 23.8 miles, pain all day. Nice sunny day, though.

5/13 6.5 miles, couldn’t walk any farther, leg hurts too bad.

5/14 0 miles, waiting for Jason to pick me up from Trent’s grocery. Overheard fantastic talk of a hay bale falling off someone’s trailer and crashing through an angry neighbor’s fence.

5/15 0 miles, back in Damascus, resting….

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