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

1,000 miles, 4 states, Spring…DONE!

Filed under: Blog Posts — chrishennig @ 10:10 pm June 23, 2009

Several milestones have been reached since we last talked:

First, I made it to the 1,000 mile mark! While this isn’t quite 1/2 way, it’s still a cool number. :)

Second, I FINALLY left Virginia and entered the 5th state on the trail, West Virginia. VA took a good long time as did the first 4 states — almost 3 months! WV will only take up a few miles of the trail, and it won’t be long until I’m out of Maryland and into Pennsylvania.

Third, Sunday marked the first day of summer! Traditionally hikers use the summer solstice as “Hike Naked Day” but thankfully, I saw none and did not partake. Jason, the producer for the “Road Less Traveled” TV show, hiked with me on part of Saturday and all of Sunday. Coming soon: a 60-second clip that previews the show for which I’m filming!

Fourth, I saw my first bear on the trail! I was hiking through the Shenandoah National Park and sure enough…he was on the trail just ahead of me. The first bear you see while walking in the woods is pretty exhilarating. Not that bears two through seven weren’t exhilarating…yes, I saw a total of 7! The first two hung around for a picture or two (we’ll call them Smiley and Sniffy) but the others were all running away from me by the time I saw them! Either way, SOOO cool! Here are their pics:

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(click pics to enlarge)

Fifth, on a slightly less fun note, new pains and old pains have really been getting me down. I bought a new pair of shoes 160 miles ago, and I’m not in love with them, even though they felt great in the store. The first and second day the right shoe felt too small. Yes, just the right shoe. Then my right arch started hurting. And it continues to hurt from about the mid-point of every day until I stop. And then, as of Sunday, my leg pain returned. Not as sharp as before, but between my right arch and left leg, it was definitely slowing me down. :( I’m thankful to have two rest days and lower miles Wednesday. Also, a first, I “slack packed” while hiking with Jason, meaning I only carried my pack, water, and some snacks. My tent, extra clothes, and sleeping bag were driven ahead by car where I picked them up in Harpers Ferry. Purists may not agree with the practice but well over 1/2 of AT thru-hikers spend some time slackpacking, and I was thankful and hoped that it would cause some of the pain to go away.

And sixth, I ended up crying again, this time in front of a total stranger. That incident deserves its own blog which I’ll post in a few more days. Great lessons learned.

Again…thank you all for your encouragement. I arrived here in Harpers Ferry with some mail waiting on me…totally unexpected. I’ll be thanking you all individually, but please accept this my collective thank you.

I was ready to quit several times last week…tired of hiking, tired of hurting, and tired of spending money that I don’t have. Because of the encouragement I’ve received from you, my friends, I’m still considering this an investment and not a waste of time and resources. But I’ve been open to the idea of quitting the trail for a while now. I feel like hiking this far has taught me many things, altered the course of the rest of my life. I’ve accomplished much of what I set out to accomplish and redirected my habits and disciplines. But I’m trusting there’s something else just around the next bend and over the next hill. Thanks for hiking there with me.

Thankful to have my sister visiting me here in Harpers Ferry for a few days! I’m going to put her through an easy 10 mile hike tomorrow (Wednesday) morning before she heads home to Ohio.

Stay tuned for the next blog…hopefully posting Saturday! Thanks again for reading.

Trail Report
6/13 0 miles! AYCE pancakes for breakfast, AYCE Chinese for lunch, AYCE spaghetti dinner at the Lutheran Church hostel. Good times…bought new shoes!
6/14 20.2 miles, left Waynesboro and entered Shenandoah NP. Thanks to Jonathan for the ride! Never been dropped off in a Mercedes before. :) Saw my first bear!!!
6/15 21.4 miles, morning started bad, backtracking because I missed a turn into a campground to resupply. Anger! Ready to quit! Right shoe feels too small. @#$%^ arch hurts
6/16 23.9 miles (+.9 blue, at least), took the wrong side road to another resupply which means extra walking, put me in a bad mood, but had I not I would have missed my 2nd bear! Wish my feet felt like the rest of me. They’re the only thing hurting.
6/17 15.3 miles, rainy, windy, cold. Everything feels wet…sleeping bag, clothes. And it’s sooo cold. Didn’t even hit 70 degrees today. Pretty miserable.
6/18 22.7 miles (+.8 blue), saw 5 more bears! All of which were running away. Left Shenandoah. Staying at a hostel to do laundry and let things dry out. Phone is acting weird, may have gotten wet :/ too expensive to replace right now…be healed, phone!
6/19 14.5 (+.4 blue), much needed trail magic…quite the God-send.
6/20 22.8 (+.6 blue), surprised to see Jason on the trail, he wasn’t supposed to arrive until tomorrow. Staying at Bears Den Hostel…an amazing castle-style stone building. I want to live in one. :( I want my own castle…this one had a piano and a guitar as soon as you walk in. It was a sign…
6/21 19.3 (+.2 blue), hiked into Harper’s Ferry with Jason. The excitement of hitting the 1,000-mile mark and entering a new state is overshadowed with the return of leg pain…
6/22 0 Miles! Decided to take two zeros in hopes that I’ll be healed and ready on Wednesday. Using my last 2 free-stays with my Marriott rewards. So comfortable.
6/23 0 Miles! Blogging, resupplying, laundry, Epsom salt-soaking, and hanging with the sis!


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