Day 12 - Pemberville


I hiked 21 miles today to Pemberville. Today was all road walking except for a quarter of a mile of gravel path. I don't have many nice things to say about the hiking today. What today lacked in trail features the town of Pemberville sure made up for.


I crossed to the east side of I-75 today. I crossed on an overpass in Sugar Ridge. I would not call it a ridge since it is so flat here.


A few miles later I could see the campus of Bowling Green State University off in the distance. I spent four years at BGSU so it was nice to see it. It was the best and most fun four years of my life and I even managed to get a college degree. I spent many miles reminiscing about my days at BGSU.


It is still cold and windy today. Unseasonably cold.


When I was 10 miles from Pemberville I called the village office and requested permission to camp in their city park. They said yes and suggested I camp next to the fire station. It felt good to have a legal campsite destination ahead of me.


When I got to town two guys were leaving the local opera house. One of them, Jim Fields, is the house manager and offered to give me a tour. I got the grand tour of this beautifully restored building and even went back stage and saw signatures from over 100 years ago. Check it out at http://www.pembervilleoperahouse.org/


Jim suggested I camp in the stables of the American Legion. The stables are empty and would provide cover from the wind. He took me there and made a telephone call to secure the necessary permission. My tent fit fine in a hallway of the stables. The guys at the Legion brought out a small electric heater and extension cord so I could stay warm. They even invited me inside for some beverages but I declined.


Pemberville has been such a friendly town. I never had this kind of hospitality from strangers on the Appalachian Trail in all my 7,400 miles on it. Chalk one up for Pemberville and the Buckeye Trail.


I am feeling a bit exhausted. I feel a zero coming on.

Day 11 - Haskins


I hiked 27 miles today to Haskins.


It was a cold morning. The temperature dipped into the 20s. I stayed warm in my tent but got a little chilly towards morning.


I enjoyed a cup of coffee along the river and watched the sunrise. The sun was out only briefly then went behind the clouds.


The hike today was mainly on the canal tow path. I took the new Buckeye Trail as far as I could but I had to walk along US-24 for three miles. The guidebook says US-24 is busy, dangerous, noisy and generally unpleasant. It was right. Once the new trail is completed this will be eliminated. This new section will replace 16 miles of road walking with trail hiking.


I stopped at a diner at the Route 109 crossing. It is a small place and everyone was very nice. The waitress/cook asked me if I was that guy in the paper. I said yes. She encouraged me to write a book about my journey.


The trail from Grand Rapids to Waterville is along the tow path and within park boundaries mainly Toledo MetroParks. It was a nice hike even though it was a cold, windy and cloudy day.


In Waterville I said goodbye to the Miami Erie Canal which I had following off and on since Piqua. I had a few hamburgers at Koral's and headed for Haskins.


I am camping on the Wenig Family farm. They are listed on the map as a camping spot. Bill and Julie are very nice. They let me camp in one of their buildings where I will be warmer and out of the wind.


It has been a long day. All I want to do is sleep.

Day 10 - Napoleon


I hiked 21 miles today to a few miles outside of Napoleon.


The trail today was entirely along the Maumee River. The Maumee River is quite wide and beautiful.


Most of the hiking today was on soil foot path on the canal tow path except for the towns of Defiance and Napoleon where I walked on roads. The trail went through Independence Dam State Park.


While almost to Florida I met Denise who was taking a walk on the canal tow path. I caught up to her and chatted with her for a few minutes. It was nice to talk with her and not have her be afraid of some guy carrying a backpack.


In Napoleon I opted to hike on a new portion of the Buckeye Trail. I am continuing along the Maumee on the tow path. The current blue blazed route goes away from the river on is on roads all the way to Grand Rapids. The new route is part of the North Country Trail and is not blazed blue yet. The map says Buckeye Trail hikers can take either route. I chose the route with less road walking.


I found an excellent campsite on a bluff overlooking the Maumee River. It is a beautiful site. It has a makeshift bench made of boards and concrete blocks. There is a bit of noise from nearby roads but this is to be expected.


Resting In Florida

I am taking a break in Florida. Florida, Ohio that is. Not the state. Florida is about the midpoint between Defiance and Napoleon on the Maumee River. It is located on the site of a former Native American village and was once called Snaketown.

Today is psychologically important for me. I have hiked over 150 miles which means I have completed one-tenth of the Buckeye Trail. Plus I am now starting to hike eastward instead of straight north.

It has been said that spring travels northward at 15 miles per day. I feel like I have been hiking ahead of spring since I started this hike. The daffodils are still just starting to push out of the ground and the silver maples have yet to drop their maroon bud shells. Now I can head east and let spring catch me.

The more I hike on the Buckeye Trail the more I realize what a precious asset it is. I am thankful for all of the volunteers who have worked hard to make this trail a success.

The Defiance Crescent News had a nice article and photo of me in the paper today. I was able to get a copy all the way here in Florida. :-)

Day 9 Update

Check the Tuesday, March 29, edition of the Defiance Crescent News newspaper for a photo of Captain Blue.

Online at www.crescent-news.com

Day 9 - Defiance


I hiked 15 miles today to Defiance. My cousin's son, Paul Rammel, dropped me off in Charloe at 10:30am. I resumed hiking with a fully loaded pack.


The weather as better today. The temperature was in the 30's, ample sunshine and the winds were not too strong.


The trail today was mostly on roads. Some of the roads were dirt/gravel roads but mainly they were asphalt roads. A few of the miles were along the canal tow path. This meant the trail was in the woods or along farmer's fields. Walking in the fields is not real easy. The ground is lumpy and muddy at times. But it was a nice change of pace.


Today was shocking, literally. A farmer had erected a fence over the Buckeye Trail along a portion of the canal tow path. I didn't realize it was an electric fence until it was too late. When I straddled the fence I felt the surge of electricity on my inner thigh. It was quite jolting. Instinctively I dove head first to the ground to get over the fence. I was a bit shaken.


A bit later I realized I would have to climb the electric fence again to get out of the enclosure. I opted to walk around to a part of the fence which was not electrified. I guess the farmer who erected the fence claims the canal tow path land as his. About a mile later the Buckeye Trail crossed the canal.


The path goes from one side of the canal to the other. However there was no bridge and the water in the canal was knee deep. I hiked forward and backward to find a place to cross without wading in the water. No such luck. I decided to build a bridge of logs and crossed at a shallow point without getting my boots wet.


I arrived in Defiance around 4:00pm. I explored the park at the confluence of the Maumee River and Auglaize Rivers. This is the site of Fort Defiance which was built in 1794 under orders from General "Mad" Anthony Wayne. It was a base of operations in the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 and also used during the War Of 1812.


I am spending the night at the home of Dr. Bill and Angie Lorenz. I met Bill and Angie in Dayton on several occassion when they were hiking in our MetroParks. They are a delightful couple and wonderful hosts. They hosted Niblewill Nomad on his NCT hike a few years ago.

Day 8 - Charloe


Today I hiked 17 miles bringing my hike total to 128 miles. Not bad for 8 days with one zero. I hiked from Charloe to Ottoville southbound or counter-clockwise as the map calls it.


I am not camping tonight. My cousin Tom decided that is was best if I stayed another night at his house. It is too cold and windy for him to let his cousin spend a night outside. I agreed. It will be nice to be inside again during this cold snap.


My hike began on the banks of the Auglaize River. The Auglaize River flows north to the Maumee River. Soon I was at the confluence of the Auglaize River with the Little Auglaize River where Fort Brown once stood.


Fort Brown was a wooden stockade fort used during the War of 1812. It was built by William Henry Harrison or Colonel Brown depending on what sign you believe. The fort was used in the campaign against the British and the Indians. Today nothing remains of the fort. Several markers and flags indicate where it stood.


Today was mainly walking on roads that aren't traveled much. It made for pleasant walking. A few miles were on a soil foot path on the Miami Erie Canal towpath. The sun shined brightly today but it was still cold and windy.


In one area of the canal tow path an adjacent landowner must not like the Buckeye Trail. Someone had erected a "No Trepassing" sign where the trail leaves the road and follows the canal. Two small boards were nailed over two blue blazes so hikers would not see them. I double checked the route with my map and took the boards down.


At 6:15 I strolled into Ottoville. My Uncle Don Schwieterman was there waiting for me. He drove me back to St Marys.


Tomorrow I resume hiking with a full pack. My destination is Defiance. I will be staying with Bill and Angie.

Day 7 - Ottoville



Today I hiked 20 miles to Ottoville. It was a cold and windy day. The temperature was in the 20's with 10-15 miles sustained wind. There was not much cover to block the wind. It was cold but I stayed warm as I bundled up. There wind was steady all day.


The first nine miles to Delphos were on the canal tow path. But the canal tow path trail ended here. It was a very enjoyable hike alone Miami Erie Scenic Trail from Fort Loramie. The rest of the day was walking on roads.


At a road crossing just before Delphos a fellow in a pick up truck stopped and said "Are you Captain Blue?". I said yes. His name is Sam and he lives in the area. Last weekend he hiked in the Delphos section with a group from the Buckeye Trail Association. He knew I was hiking through the area.


Ottoville is due north of Delphos on the canal. But for some reason the Buckeye Trail goes northeast to Fort Jennings before going to Ottoville.


Traffic was light. People are friendly and wave to me to from their cars. Lots of discarded bottles and cans lined the road out of Delphos. It appears people going into town want to discard their empty adult beverage containers before getting inside the city limits.


Ottoville was founded in 1845. It is named for Father John Otto Bredeick, a Catholic priest, who brought a group of German people to the area. There is a beautiful Gothic, twin steeple, church in town. You can see it from miles away. Ottoville is a neat town.


I am spending tonight again in St Marys. But tomorrow I am camping in my tent. The weather is not the greatest for camping but I will do my best. I hope to find a spot out of the wind.


If you know of a place I can camp or stay between Ottoville and Defiance please let me know.




This photo of me appeared on the front page of the St Marys Leader newspaper on March 25, 2011.

Day 6 - Spencerville


I hiked 17 miles today to Spencerville. The route today was entirely on the canal tow path and will filled with lots of canal artifacts and history.

Just north of SR-219 is Lock 8 North. It is probably my favorite canal lock. It has not been restored and is in pretty good shape. It is a forgotten majestic relic in the middle of farm country.

In St Marys while in Memorial Park I was approached by well dressed gentleman. His name is Kraig Noble and he is the law director for the city. He asked lots of questions about my journey. Then he took me across the street to the offices of the local newspaper, the St Marys Leader. They took a photo of me and asked a few questions. Look in the Saturday paper. There may be a photo of me.

While leaving St Marys I was stopped twice by city workers. Both asked "are you Tom Rammel's cousin?". My cousin works for the city and told them to be on the look out for me.

I found a catfish laying in the trail. He was still alive. With a quick flick of my hiking pole he was back in the water. He swam away. I have no idea how he got on the trail. The bank was three feet high and steep.

The Buckeye Trail passes Bloody Bridge. The marker at Bloody Bridge reads:

During the canal years of the 1850s a rivalry grew between Bill Jones and Jack Billings for the love of Minnie Warren. There became hatred by Bill because Minnie chose Jack. On a fall night in 1854, returning from a party, Minnie and Jack were surprised on the bridge by Bill, armed with an axe. With one swing, Bill severed Jack's head. Seeing this, Minnie screamed and fell into a watery grave. Bill disappeared, and when a skeleton was found years later in a nearby well, people asked was it suicide or justice?


Some say the bridge is haunted. One legend tells of a headless man who can sometimes be seen on the bridge at night. Another says that sometimes when you look off the bridge into the dark water, you can see Minnie Warren’s face looking back. I was glad I was not there at night!



Just beyond Bloody Bridge is the stone aqueduct over Six Mile Creek. The canal had to cross many creeks and rivers along its journey. Aqueducts were built to elevate the canal over the body of water. It is still in remarkably good shape.



Around 3:30pm I rollled in Spencerville. My cousin arrived a few minutes later and took me back to St Marys for the night.

Day 5 - St Marys (SR-219)


I hiked 19 miles today in six hours plus a two hour break. Rick dropped me off in Newport at 7:45am. It was cold, windy and overcast. A light coat of snow covered some areas of the ground. It made for good hiking as I had no desire to dilly-dally or take breaks.





The hike today was almost entirely along the Miami Erie Canal tow path with the exception of about 2.5 miles of road walking. The road walking in farm land country was quite chilly with nothing to stop the brisk north wind.


The canal tow path makes for enjoyable hiking. There you generally don't have to worry about losing the trail. You can hike along and let your mind wander. The trail was well blazed. No need to stay focused on navigating. No scavenger hunts.




I took a two hour break in New Bremen. I took a brief tour of the reconstructed lock tender's house at Lock 1 North and spent the rest of the time at the New Bremen Coffee Company coffee shop. I had an excellent lunch and lots of hot coffee at a reasonable price.


I highly recommend the New Bremen Coffee Company to those passing through. The staff was so polite to me even though it was clear I wasn't "from around here" and I tracked mud into the place. I sat in a lounge chair in a corner by myself. But not for long as a group of five people joined me. The New Bremen Chamber Of Commerce Executive Director, Scott Frey, was one of the folks who sat near me and struck up a conversation. So did Annette Thompson. All five were very cordial and welcoming. Thank you Scott, Annette and Pam Sager for making my visit memorable.



So far New Bremen gets my vote for the Friendliest Town On The Buckeye Trail!

I hiked across the Loramie Summit today. The summit is the high point between the Ohio River in Cincinnati and Lake Erie in Toledo. South of the summit the canal water flows to Cincinnati. North of the summit the canal water flows to Toledo. I climbed roughly 200 feet in elevation from Dayton. Technically speaking I will be hiking downhill from here.







At 3:45pm I arrived at the Buckeye Trail crossing at SR-219 just south of St Marys. There my first cousin, Tom Rammel, picked me up and took me to his house. He lives just a mile from the trail. I will spend the next two nights with Tom. Of my 60+ first cousins I spend the most time with Tom. We are the same age and have always enjoyed hanging around each other.

Buckeye Trail History

Lee Kreider writes ....

40 years ago (more or less) Wood Ensor of Fairborn and myself argued for a trail extension of the Buckeye Trail along the western side of Ohio. At that time the trail extended from east of Cleveland to Eden Park in Cincinnati. After a bit of wrangling (with the BTA) our proposals were accepted and we started work.

My oldest son, Mark and I hacked our way through stinging nettles, vines, poison ivy and thick underbrush carrying a can of Buckeye Trail Blue paint to blaze the route.

Since that time the trail in Montgomery County has morphed into a bike path as well as the Buckeye Trail. It is now paved. There have been a few minor route change over the years, but it remains essential the same route that we proposed between Yellow Springs and Lockington, Ohio

Today I strolled about 2 miles of the trail south of Taylorsville Dam and Reserve...a section that Mark and I worked on. I was experimenting with some photo ideas on a very cloudy day.

It found great satisfaction in the number of walkers, runners and cyclists using this route we had pioneered so long ago. However, the best part of the day is when I met Andy Niekamp who had left Dayton that morning with the goal of backpacking the entire trail which now circles the state of Ohio. I believe the system now involves about 1,400 miles of trail.

Woody and I both served on the board of the Buckeye Trail Association for a number of years and he helped with the trail in almost every corner of the state. I have long since gone on to other endeavours, but I'm happy to see that the organization remains healthy and vital.

http://www.kreider.us/public/2011/04/index.html

In New Bremen

In New Bremen eating lunch and having a cup of coffee at the New Bremen Coffee Company. I did a "twelve by twelve" today. A "twelve by twelve" is hiking 12 miles by 12 noon.

I toured the reconstructed lock tenders house. It is very nice and is home to the Chamber of Commerce. They have nice exhibits on the history of the canal.

New Bremen is the farthest place south on the North American continent where the water flows nearly 700 miles through the St Lawrence Seaway to the Atlantic Ocean.

Translation: I will be walking downhill now.

Day 4 - Zero Day

Today is zero mile day. No hiking. I am taking a rest day to let me sore feet heal.

I did not do much today. This is the goal of a zero day. I slept in, caught up on my emails and cleaned my gear and clothes.

Both of my parents grew up near Minster where I am staying. I took the opportunity to visit the graves of my four grandparents and the grave of my father.

On the way I visited my dearest uncle Dr Don Schwieterman in Maria Stein. We had a nice chat about Buckeye Trail hiking and various topics. My Uncle Don got his Eagle Scout award along with a guy named Neil Armstrong from Wapakoneta. They were in the same Boy Scout Troop.

Buckeye Trail History by Lee Kreider



Governor James Rhodes signing a bill to make the Buckeye Trail the official hiking trail of Ohio, April 27, 1967. Pictured with Governor Rhodes (from left to right) are Kenneth D. Crawford; Merrill Gilfallan; Senator Harry Armstrong; Governor James Rhodes; William S. Miller, then president of the Buckeye Trail Association; Senator Ralph Regula and Robert R. Paton.

------------------------

Below is an email I received from Lee Krieder. Lee was active in the Buckeye Trail Association forty years ago. I met him along the trail in Dayton on Sunday.

Lee writes ...

Have you ever heard the name Bob Paton? Let me say that had there been no Bob Paton there would have been no Buckeye Trail...at least not what it is today.I have a sketchy bio in my memory of Bob.


  • He was a unique character.

  • He taught forestry at Oberlin College and almost everyone in the field of outdoor science and recreation in Ohio attended one of Bob's classes at one time or another.

  • He was Associate State Forester.

  • He founded and then edited for many years The Ohio Woodlands magazine.

  • After retirement he became one of the founding members of the BTA and was executive director for many years. See his photo at the signing of the BT bill.

That is the role he had when I first met Bob. As we worked together on the development of the BT on the western side of the state I found that everyone who mattered and I do mean everyone knew Bob Paton.



If we went to the Miami Conservancy District, they all knew Bob. If we went to the Park District they knew Bob. Glenn Helen, State Park Directors...no matter to whom we went, they knew Bob. You cannot believe how many doors he opened.


We were exploring how much of the old canal tow path could be used for the trail. As you probably have already discovered much of the canal had been taken over by squatters. Now as Bob pointed out quite frequently, "You can't take adverse possession against the State of Ohio." That meant that once the state owned a property no amount of neglect would mean a loss of title. Technically, unless the canal was sold, the state still owned it.



With that in mind and with land ownership maps in had, Bob was exploring the canal in the Newport area only to find that someone had built a fence across it. Bob was aggressive and this did not set well with him. The property belonged to the state of Ohio and he had the right to hike across it. However, the guy who had built the fence had a different idea and confronted him with a shot gun. He was alone at the time.



Several hours later he appeared in my office in Dayton and was still shaken by the event.
Nothing came of it. Although the State had the right to the land, politicians were reluctant to pursue.



Day 3 - Newport


I hiked 20 miles today and finished in Newport. My backpack was about 10 pounds lighter by not carrying my camping gear today. Rick dropped me off in downtown Piqua at 7:45am. After a few miles of bike path walking I found myself at Johnson Farm. Johnson Farm is along the Miami Erie Canal and has a working canal boat replica. I did not see the farm or canal boat as the trail skirts this area. But I did have a few miles of pleasant hiking in the woods along the canal, looking at the remains on canal locks and listening to the frogs peep.

Next the trail went to Lockington Dam. Lockington Dam was built by the Miami Conservancy District to impound water from Loramie Creek when needed. This is one of the five dams of the Miami Conservancy District. Most people in Dayton can name four of the five dams but tend to forget about this one. This area also provided for some fine walking in the woods along the canal.

The day had a lot of road walking. One fellow in a truck stopped me and asked what I was doing. He had seen me earlier in the day while drive a school bus. He saw me again, still walking, and was curious. I gave him one of the cards I had printed up with my name and the web site address.

I took an afternoon coffee break along the canal in another wooded section. I was a little short of water so I decided to use some canal water for the coffee. Most people would find this unappealing but I didn't. I boiled the water as recommended and it tasted fine.

Following the Buckeye Trail can be difficult at times. Sometimes I feel like I am on a scavenger hunt seeking the blue blazes. I have the clues, maps & directions, but sometimes this is not enough when the blue blazes are missing. Twice today I had to ask for directions. The people did not know where the trail went but they gave me additional clues and off I went.

Tomorrow is going to be a zero day. A "zero day" is a zero mile day meaning I am going to take a break. After three days and 55 miles of mostly pavement walking I need to give my sore feet a break. My friend Rick has graciously invited me to stay another day at his house in Minster.



PS. I came across an Appalchaian Trail style overnight along the BT. It wasn't listed on the map. Interesting.


Day 2 - Piqua



It stormed last night. Lots of lightning and thunder. I was glad I was inside and not in a tent. Diane dropped me off on Buckeye Trail at 7:30am. It was a lovely morning for walk. The birds were chirping and spring was in the air.

It did not take long for my feet to hurt.

The Buckeye Trail took me though Troy where I took a break at Tim Horton's. A lady asked me if I was that guy who was walking across the country. I told her no. I said just Ohio.

North of Troy the Buckeye Trail goes on paved roads. I had a few miles of road walking today. While walking down the road a fellow flagged me down and asked if I was hiking the Buckeye Trail. He hiked the entire Appalachian Trail years ago with his brother. We had a pleasant conversaion and I went on my way.
Only one short stretch of walking on a soil footh path. The rest was pavement.

The Eldean covered bridge was closed. It is the second longest covered bridge in Ohio. There were large signs saying "CLOSED". I think I could have made it across but there was a sheriff deputy on the other side. I decided not to chance it and took the road across the river.

In Piqua I passed by the city's former nuclear power plant. I never knew they had one. I guess it was in operation in the mid 1960s for a few years. The Buckeye Trail guide said Piqua was the first city in the USA to own a nuclear power plant.

After 17 miles of hiking my feet were beat. Too much pavement walking to go on. My friend, Rick Thien, picked me up on his way home from work. I am spending the next two nights at Rick's house in Minster. Tomorrow I will slack pack the next section. I will empty my pack of my overnight gear and hike with a lighter load. Tomorrow will be mainly road walking.

PS. I developed a small blister on my left heel. Bummer.


Day 1 - Tipp City


My hike on the Buckeye Trail started at 10:30am on a chilly, but sunny Sunday morning at Deeds Point in Dayton to the sound of church bells ringing. Today is the first day of spring.

I was dropped off by my mother and her husband Jim. It felt good to be back on the "trail". There are statues of Wilbur and Orville Wright at Deed's point. I posed for the obligatory photo with them and started walking north.


It turned out to be a warm and sunny day. I saw lots of people riding bikes and walking on the bike path which the Buckeye Trail follows up the Great Miami River. I struck up a conversation with a few of them. But others clearly weren't interested in knowing anything about me. I think a fellow wearing a backpack on a bike trail in an urban area is like waving a sign saying "I am homeless". Several people I passed refused to make eye contact with me and a few others suddenly felt the urge to make a cell phone call when they saw me coming. Ironically these same people would read an article in the newspaper about someone hiking the Buckeye Trail and probably remark how neat that was and wished they could do that some day. I guess I better get used to dirty looks.


One fellow who struck up a conversation with is Lee Kreider. Lee was active in the Buckeye Trail Association about 40 years ago and served on the board of trustees. Lee was instrumental in persuading the BTA board to extend the trail from Cincinnati northward through Dayton to northwest Ohio. At that time there was no Buckeye Trail through Dayton. Lee mapped out and created original route. Decades later that route became the Great Miami River bike path. It was great meeting Lee and sharing stories with him.


I hiked 18 miles on my first day. My feet were sore from walking on all the paved surfaces. Only about two miles of the trail was on a soil footpath - Tadmore in Taylorsville MetroPark.


My destination for the day was Tipp City where I was met by my friend Diane Brown. Diane drove me to her house in Tipp City, had a wonderful meal waiting for me and let me stay the night. Thank you Diane!


P.S. I got my pack weight down to 26 pounds!








One Day To Go!

One more day until I leave on this Buckeye Trail hike. As usual there is still lots to do. I have all the major tasks covered but there always seems to be and endless list of small chores to take care of. Some of them just won't get done. In the long run it won't matter.

My fully loaded pack weighs 29 pounds. Plus about 3 pounds of water. This is way too heavy! I need to find some items to take out. This will be task for tomorrow morning.

So far the weather for the next few days looks ok. Rain and cold are in the forecast. But this is typical for March weather in Ohio.

For the first four nights of my journey I will be staying with friends and family. It is nice to know that I have a place to stay for these nights. I will get picked up at the end of my hiking day and taken to a warm and dry home.

As usual I have the standard pre-hike anxiety. There is lots to worry about if you let your mind wander. But I feel I am prepared for these challenges.

Chatting With The Anslingers


This evening I went to Brent and Amy Anslinger's house and talked about hiking on the Buckeye Trail. Brent and Amy Anslinger are famous long distance hikers who have hiked the entire Buckeye Trail and Pacific Crest Trail. Brent has also hiked the entire Appalachian Trail.

We spent three hours together chatting and looking at their photos from their 2003 BT thru hike. They gave me valuable tips and suggestions but most importantly they inspired me. Thank you Brent and Amy!

One Week To Go

The start of my hike is just one week away. I am mostly ready. For gear I am bringing my standard Appalachian Trail backpacking gear with a couple of exceptions. I am not packing much food. My plan is to resupply along the way and eat in restaurants when convenient. So, the space I save in my pack from not bringing food bags I will use for extra clothes.

My standard backpacking gear includes a tent, sleeping bag, two sleeping pads, alcohol stove, small pot, hiking poles, rain gear, warm clothes and lots of other items. I will figure out what I really need along the way and acquire it or mail home what I don't need.

It feels weird to not have a large pile of food ready to be packed into resupply boxes as I normally do for an Appalachian Trail hike. I need to trust the advice that food is readily available long the Buckeye Trail which it is. It just feels different to me.

My Start Date

The start date of my Buckeye Trail hike is Sunday, March 20, 2011. There is no real significance in this starting date other it is the first day of spring and I am anxious to get hiking. This date is subject to change. As of today there is quite a bit of flooding in Ohio due to the recent heavy rains. Some of the Buckeye Trail is under water. The flood waters need to recede before I start.

My plan is to hike on the Buckeye Trail for as long as it is enjoyable. If I stay on the trail for weeks or longer I may need to return home to Dayton temporarily to tend to my affairs and to swap out gear and clothes.

I have friends and family who live near the Buckeye Trail. I am making preliminary contact with some of them to see if they want to hook up or help me along with my journey.