Happy News – March 22, 2015

Happy News – March 22, 2015

happiness news

By the miracle of technology I’m able to share a bit of happy news while I’m out hiking thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, enjoy my friends and have a happy day ~ Rev Kane

A touching thing this 10 year-old girl does each Valentine’s Day

109 Year-old man knits tiny sweaters to save penguins

You won’t believe what Taylor Swift did

Man walks 21  miles round-trip to work, people show their kindness

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AT Happiness: Trail Towns So Far

AT Happiness: Trail Towns So Far

Helen, GA

Helen, GA

A few notes on trail towns/resupply stops.

Neels Gap

A great stop as it’s the first one, the staff at the center is fabulous.  I didn’t stay at the hostel but instead next door at Blood Mountain Cabins and they were really nice.

Helen, GA

Not a typical stop for most but I loved it.  No outfitter, not really a trail town, you may not find packages of Mountain House, but the hotels are nice, the restaurants are good and Betty’s grocery store is wonderful. All that and it’s even a faux Alpine village.  It will of course cost you some extra cash but I think it’s worth it a great place for a zero day.

Hiawassee, GA

Hiawassee is a solid trail town, the Budget Inn shuttle and room deal is hard to beat. But it’s a hiker hotel so its rough around the edges. The town has what you need at a bare essential level and not a lot of great food.  Great place to shower, resupply, rest and quickly get out of town.

Franklin, NC

Franklin rocks! Budget Inn shuttle and room deal again is hard to beat. The owner Ron Haven is a really nice. The town is compact and walkable and generally seems to like hikers. The outfitters Outdoor 76 were absolutely super and highly knowledgeable, can’t say enough nice things about them. In addition to everything else I had a great massage in Franklin by Terena McCall at Therapeutic Kneads 828 371-5231 worth the tome and money.

My next stops are the Nantahala Outdoor Center and Fontana, stay tuned and have a happy day my.  – Rev Kane

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AT Happiness: Do You Love It

AT Happiness: Do You Love It

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So this question was put to me today, and it’s not an easy one to answer.  Not because I’m not enjoying hiking the Appalachian Trail, but because the experience is far too complex for such a simple answer.

Each day on the trail often feels like multiple days.  The perception of these splits can be driven by the weather, geography or the company.

Arriving in a hostel the other night Cliffhanger brought up a conversation we’d had a couple of days earler.  The only problem was we’d actually talked that morning at breakfast.  But since then he’d had a camp morning, a short solo hike, a rushed hike with a group to make a gap and get off the trail. Then he had to hitchhike into town alone.  I think you can see how the perception of time can change on the trail.

So for me, I’ve been on the trail for two weeks but it seems like at least a month. The majority of those perceived days have been wonderful, many have been very hard, a couple have sucked.

Over this time I’ve done more unsupported backpacking than ever before, stretched and pushed myself in new ways, learned a lot and met a lot of really fascinating people.

So my answer is of course complex but I’m glad I’m out here, I’m excited by the challenge, and happy that the journey is continuing and that I’m having happy days my friends. – Rev Kane

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AT Happiness: My First Blue Blaze

AT Happiness: My First Blue Blaze

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Along the Appalachian Trail, the trail is marked with white blazes to mark the trail.

happiness, appalachian trail

There are also blue blazes that mark some side trails.  Often these side trails avoid a peak or hard climb on the trail.

Purists hiking the trail are folks dedicated to seeing all 180,000 plus white blazes on the trail.  We all start the trail hoping to be purists.   We all also acknowledge that for a lot of reasons we may need to do a blue blaze at some point.

My first one came this week, I’m a bad descender and while nursing a bad knee, I blue blazed Albert Mountain. On the profile the descent looked particularly gnarly.  Turned out, as I would hear from others, that the descent was actually not bad. However, not knowing that in advance, it was the call I made.

I’ll admit there is the tiniest bit of shame in this admission and the purists will look down on me.  All I can say is hike your own hike. If I make it all the way to Maine, I’ll still be pretty damn proud of what I’ve accomplished, regardless of the blue blazes along the way. – Rev Kane

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AT Happiness: Milestones

AT Happiness: Milestones

Vista off Blood Mountain

Vista off Blood Mountain

So on the trail I am trying to stay focused on the trail, mindfully walking and enjoying each step. However it’s hard not to think about the milestones along the way.

First there was mile zero on Springer Mountain.  Next, my first night camping alone in the forest.

happinesss, camping, hammock

On the second day I took my first fall, my feet went out from under me and I landed on my pack like a giant, bearded tortoise.

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Next, was summitting Blood Mountain, the highest point in Georgia.  It provided the vista shown above.

My first resupply and zero day spent at Neels Gap and then two days later a stop on Helen, GA to rehab my first injury a knee problem I aggravated descending Blue Mountain.

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Helen, GA

Helen, GA

In the last several days three big ones, crossing into North Carolina and finishing my first state.  Then completing my first 100 miles and my first blue blaze which I’ll discuss on my next post.

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So far a great trip and I am thankful for each step I’ve taken, and many happy days my friends – Rev Kane

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AT Happiness: 13 to go!

AT Happiness: 13 to go! 

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So this week I crossed out of Georgia and onto North Carolina.   We move from smaller and sharply steep mountains, to some of tje highest elevations on the trail up to the highest pointClingman’s Dome at 6600 feet in TN. – Rev Kane

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Happy International Happiness Day!!!

Happy International Happiness Day!!!

happiness

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared      ~ The Buddha

Today is the day the United Nations has designated The International Day of Happiness, so take a few extra minutes today to take care of yourself and your happiness and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

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AT Happiness: Shaving Weight

AT Happiness: Shaving Weight

Cutting down on weight any way I can.

Cutting down on weight any way I can.

One of the obvious concerns you have while thru-hiking is the amount of weight you are carrying.  We all start out with more weight than we need.  Primarily because we are all novice thru-hikers.   One of the commonalities I found with my fellow hikers was that we are all carrying too much food.

Since everything you have to live off is on our backs you get weight obsessed.   Hence the picture of my sawed off hair brush and tiny little tooth brush.  Neels Gap is the first major dumping point for excess weight.  I dumped 5 pounds there, another hiker over 15 pounds.  Most of us are aiming for 35 pound packs including food and water, I’ve met people starting out with over 50 pounds.  I’m around 35 right now and am looking to lose a few more once I get out of the Smoky Mountains and can dump my winter gear.  That will be a happy day my friends.  – Rev Kane

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AT Happiness: My First Down Day

AT Happiness: My First Down Day

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For a lot of years I suffered mood swings and depression.  In recent years I’ve learned how to deal with these better, learned to identify the triggers that would tank my mood. One of my biggest triggers is lack of sleep, being tired just allows other triggers to get a stronger foothold.

So a mountain short of Blue Mountain I tweaked my knee on a rocky downhill.  Two downhillls later my knee was unhappy as I entered Helen.  The night before I slept in a shelter for the first time and got hardly any sleep and beat up my body even more.  Tack in saying goodbye to a great hiking friend, Backtrack, and little sun over the last few days and my mood fell in the well.

I found myself pretty depressed yesterday sitting in the faux Alpine village of Helen, GA.  I knew I needed to do something so I planned a zero day now in Helen instead of 2 days later in Hiawassee.  Walking in the rain today would not have helped.

So I slept and napped, I iced my knee and bought a knee brace.  I ate well, I had a milkshake, I’m feeling better tonight, will sleep in a little and hit the trail in the late morning tomorrow.   Grey tomorrow, rain, but the sun is coming and I move forward toward completing my first state and entering North Carolina.

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At no point in the last two days did I consider stopping, I’m enjoying this, I want this, I know why I’m out here and I still believe in what I’m doing. There will be days like these, as the Bus Question said to me in a comment, these will make the better days that much better.

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I’m still learning how to do this, Georgia on the Appalachian Trail is the preseason, things get real once we head up the NC/TN border and into the Smokies. Let’s get it on and have some happy days my friends.  -Rev Kane

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Helen, GA

Helen, GA

So bigger thoughts after some sleep tonight. My first night sleeping in a shelter was NOT good.  It was warm and dry and the company was good but sleep was hard to come by.  I got bits but would wake up and have to change position, not comfortable at all.  Of course this is why I camp in a hammock, I dont like sleeping on the ground.

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Tonight I’m in a hotel in Helen, GA a German alpine village in rural Georgia. Taking an earlier than planned zero day, I’ll swap it out with a planned day in Hiawassee. Going to try and miss a bad rain day tomorrow.

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The trail has been hard and amazing, I’ve met some great folks.  Each day seems to be composed of multiple days.  Part idealic hiking day, part rainy nightmare, part blissful trail.  The balance though is definitely falling on the positive side.

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So goodnight my friends and have a happy day - Rev Kane

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