Monthly Archives: March 2014

Upcoming maildrop locations!

Hi folks,

Thanks for showing interest in helping us out along the way! The support we have from our family, friends, and our online community has been amazing and inspiring. Here is a list of places we are sure we are going to pass on the AT. If you send a drop to any of these places, they will hold it until we get there for us. Oftentimes, proiority mail is your best bet in terms of guarenteed delivery dates (two days)  and you can stuff as much as you want into a box for a flat rate.

To send a package to a business for us, use this format:

Kristin and Eric Ingellis
C/O [Name of business]
[Street addresss]
[Town], [State] [Zip code]
Please hold for AT Thru-Hiker
ETA [date]

Make sure to include our names and the “c/o”.

The next place we are staying is the Hikers Haven in Hampton, Tennessee. We should be there around April 1st. The address is:

Kristin and Eric Ingellis
C/O Hikers Haven
703/707 Hwy 321
Hampton, TN 37658
Please hold for AT Thru-Hiker
ETA April 1st

After that we’ll be going through Damascus, Virginia around April 4th. The trail goes right through the town so you could send to an outfitter that does maildrops. Their address is:

Kristin and Eric Ingellis
C/O Mt. Rogers Outfitters
P.O. Box 546
110 W Laurel Ave
Damascus, VA 24236
Please hold for AT Thru-Hiker
ETA April 4th

Another place we will certainly be staying is the Woods Hole Hostel:

Kristin and Eric Ingellis
C/O Woods Hole Hostel
3696 Sugar Run Rd
Pearisburg, VA 24134
ETA April 15th

The types of stuff we need/want are listed below! We don’t need replacement gear yet, but when we do, we will let you know. Probably in the next email /post about maildrops after we pass woods hole hostel.

-homemade brownies, cookies, bread, other homemade delicious things!
-candy of various kinds: almond snickers, dark chocolate covered almonds
-dried veggies we can put in our meals ( https://www.harmonyhousefoods.com/mobile/home.asp?cat=19&#page-78)
-clif bars
-nuts
-dried fruit
-pictures, notes, letters, inspirational quotes
– emergen-c packets

Lots of love,
Icicle and Quailman

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(Quailman and Icicle) Questions and Answers

Day 34: Campsite near lookout tower to Jerry Cabin Shelter, 18.1 miles

Day 35: Jerry Cabin Shelter to Hogback Ridge Shelter, 14.7 miles

Day 36: Hogback Ridge Shelter to Spivey gap campsite 15.8 miles

Day 37: Spivey gap campsite to Uncle Johnny’s Hostel in Erwin, TN, 10.7 miles

Day 38: Zero Day at Uncle Johnny’s Hostel in Erwin, TN

Our mileage has been increasing! We feel healthy and strong. Today we decided to zero to avoid the cold and give our bodies a chance to rest. We’ve recieved a lot of similar questions from family, friends, section hikers, and our supportive online community while we have been hiking away. We will do our best to answer them here!

Question 1: How is it being in a relationship on the trail?

Icicle = Awesome! It seems that whatever type of couple you are off the trail is probably what you are going to be like on the trail. We rarely argue, are best friends, and love spending time with each other off the trail and so it’s the same on trail. Spending 24 hours together for over a month has only brought us closer together and we are so happy we have 5 more months like this left. A whole lifetime isn’t even enough.  So that’s us on the trail.  Simply put,  we enjoy each others company.

Quailman = Amazing. Being together for this adventure makes the experience so much better.  It really amplifies it. Being best friends with Icicle in addition to being married means I have the one person I would want most on the trail with me. It also means I get to share every experience, making them even more amazing.

Question 2: I’ve noticed you’ve done x amount of miles. How will you make it to Maine on time?

Icicle = It’s all about the average. We should average something like 15 miles per day by the end of the trip. So as our miles increase, the average will rise. We are right on track for finishing in six months total!

Quailman= We’ll walk normal for about 5 and a half months and then just sprint the rest. Or use skateboards.

Question 3: What do you eat?

Quailman and Icicle = Here’s a sample of a typical trail day and a sample of a typical town stay for one person.

Trail Day (most days are trail days)

8 am, First breakfast: Two honey buns and coffee mixed with hot chocolate plus creamer

930 am, Second breakfast: A whole bag of dark chocolate covered almonds

11 am, “11sies”: Clif bar and handful of dried fruit

1 pm, lunch: tuna on tortilla and fritos

230 pm, afteroon snack: almond snickers

4 pm, second afternoon snack: ziplock bag of cheez its and handful of dried fruit

4-7pm: probably should eat but we are almost to camp where we can make dinner so we keep hiking instead

730pm, glorious dinner: snack on anything left over from the day then whole box of mac and cheese with single serve spam 

Town Day (every 4-6 days or so)

FOOD! YAY!

Arrive usually around lunchtime

Lunch: Big salad, fried pickles, Burger, Fries, locally brewed beer of some kind

Snack: Naked Green machine Juice, bananas, strawberries

Dinner: Pizza, icecream

Question 4: What is the best, worst, weirdest, and/or grossest things you’ve experienced so far?

Icicle= One of the best things is getting to see everything in slow motion. We have been watching the leaves on the groud slowly decompose and become soil. Have you ever seen how snow leaves tree limbs? We get to see them slowly shed the snow. At home, it kind of ‘just happens’. One day there are leaves on the ground and then its soil, one day there is snow and then the trees are bare. We love watching this all happen since we are outside 24 hours a day. It’s beautiful to witness.

Quailman= Weirdest thing I think we’ve experienced so far was a case of mistaken gear theft. We were at a shelter having lunch and a couple of women came up hiking the opposite direction. They began asking a few normal questions, like “when did you start?” and “how far are you going?” We had only started to answer when one woman began talking over us about her thru hike attempt, current plans, plans for the future, and her about to get high. Which she then did while we watched, somewhat stunned. After a brief disscussion with her hiking partner regarding not wanting to hike a few hundred feet for water, they packed up their things and our water bladder and moved on. It was, of course, an accident. They simply thought it was theirs and we didn’t realize it was ours until too late. Moral of the story? Keep your gear separate from the gear of high hikers.

Question 5: What animals have you seen? Bears! Wild things?

Icicle= One snake, tons of birds! Birds are so funn and interesting! We love birds now. No bears, but it has been winter.

Quailman= Really loud and absurd-sounding birds. This ranges from birds that sound like arcade games being played to birds that make a long, monotone yell. If I was going to write the sound out, it would be something like “Waoooooooooooooooow”. Birds are weird.

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Photos from “The Mountains and Valleys” and beyond, Part 2

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Photos from “The Mountains and Valleys” and beyond, Part 1

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(Icicle and Quailman) The Mountains and Valleys

Day 19: Sassafras Gap Shelter to Cody Gap campsite, 12 miles

Day 20: Cody gap to Fontana Village, 8.7 miles

Day 21: Zero in Fontana Village

Day 22: Fontana village to Mollies Ridge Shelter, 12.1 miles

Day 23: Mollies Ridge Shelter to Derrick Knob Shelter, 12 miles

Day 24: Derrick Knob Shelter to Double spring Shelter, 7.2miles

Day 25: unexpected Zero at Double Spring shelter

Day 26: Double Spring Shelter to Icewater Spring Shelter, 13.8 miles

Day 27: Icewater spring shelter to Tri-Corner Knob shelter, 12.6 miles

Day 28: Tri-corner Knob shelter to Cosby Knob shelter, 7.7 miles

Day 29: Cosby Knob shelter to Standing Bear Farm, 10.7 miles

Day 30: Standing Bear Farm to Max Patch Road stealth campsite,  13.3 miles

Day 31: Max Patch stealth campsite to Deer Park Mountain Shelter, 17 miles

Day 32: Deer Park Mountain to Laughing Heart Hostel, nearo (nearo means ‘near zero miles’) into town 3.2miles

Day 33: Laughing Heart Hostel to campsite near lookout tower, nearo out of town 8.3 miles

The Smokies, wow. The Smokies are what have transformed us into the hardy hikers we now are. We feel like we were put through a grinder, all the soft bits taken away, and put back together in a slightly hardened form of our previous selves. We had every type of weather you can imagine: a beautiful 70 degree day where tons of water was consumed and sunscreen applied, a 10 degree day where we were truly tested in grit and endurance, cold rain pummeling us encouraged by 40 mile per hour winds, and snow and ice galor. Icicle got a very bad head cold in the middle of this part of our adventure. Having a severe head cold with out any medicine to dull the symptoms is aweful if you are at home sitting on your couch. Having a severe head cold without any medicine while hiking is HORRIBLE CRAZY CONSTANT TORTURE. Imagine you are drowning, roughly 40 miles from the surface of the ocean. You sometimes catch a little bubble of oxygen that gets you a mile closer to the surface of the ocean and it feels good to breathe in that bit of oxygen. You manage 10 miles with these bits of oxygen, but your exhausted because you can’t ever take more than one deep breath every 5 minutes or so. Now you have to sleep. Sleeping without cold medicine, hence a completely clogged nose is like now turning upside down in the water and trying to sleep. Basically, those 4 days were just Icicle and Quailman getting the hell out of the smokies and to the glorious convenience of over the counter drugs.  But! The amazing thing is that even while Icicle was a walking torture chamber, we both still had moments of awe. When the clouds broke and a ray of sunshine lit the landscape in front of us or the snow glittered or the people around us showing such support and kindness.

Two other hikers, Cheeze it and Ramen Shaman, were a big part of lessening the misery Icicle was feeling. They are a fun loving couple we have been hiking with for much of the trail. Ramen Shaman boiled hot water and put it in his own Nalgene bottle to keep Icicle warm at night (you put the Nalgene bottle in your sleeping bag to generate warmth), Cheeze it offered a consoling hug when Icicle had her first break down on the trail, another thru hiker named Blaze gave Kristin a sleeping pill so she could get some rest. Quailman carried half of Kristins pack weight so she could get more miles in. The sense of community we experienced in the Smokies was heart warming and made everything so much better. 

Icicle has seen what she is made of out here and we have both come out the other side feeling stronger, more confident, and more appreciative of the little stuff. Our new favorite phrase is, “at least its not the Smokies!”

Now we feel like we are in an entirely new world. The weather has been kind and Hot Springs was an oasis. The community was so friendly! When we entered Hot Springs, food was our primary mission. We talk about food all the time while hiking. Almost every conversation amongst hikers now inevitably turns to food. We stuffed our faces with salad, fried pickes, a burger, fried fish, fries, and two pints of locally brewed beer. We felt happy and stuffed. We thought there was no way we could eat more that day, but alas, hiker hunger has kicked in for us.  An hour later we found out the comunity sponsors a potluck for hikers. We decided to go to , ‘just socialize’.  Well, that turned into eating our faces off. We thought we were full, but there seems to be no such thing anymore.

While watching a movie with other thru hikers at the hostel and eating two pints of ben and jerrys, the Smokies seemed oddly distant.

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Phase Two Photos

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(Quailman and Icicle) Phase 2

Day 8: zero at Blue Mountain Shelter
Day 9: Blue Mountain shelter to Sassafras Gap Campsite, 12.8 miles
Day 10: Sassafras Gap Campsite to Hiawassee Budget Inn, 6.3 miles
Day 11: unexpected zero at Blueberry Patch hostel for cold snap
Day 12:  Blueberry Patch Hostel to Muskrat Creek Shelter, 11.8 miles
Day 13: Muskrat Creek Shelter to Carter Gap Shelter, 12.5 miles
Day 14: Carter Gap Shelter to Rock Gap Shelter, 12.1 miles
Day 15: Rock Gap Shelter to Franklin, NC, 3.8 miles
Day 16: Franklin, NC to Wayah Bald Shelter, 11 miles
Day 17: Wayah Bald Shelter to Wesser Bald Shelter, 10.6 miles
Day 18: Wesser Bald Shelter to Sassafras gap Shelter, 12.6 miles

We have offically changed from “weeks” to “phases” now. For one, phases are cooler than weeks. They sound more important. For another, sometimes the posts will constitute more than a weeks worth of time. Like in this case. Our service out here varies a lot. We rarely have 4g and if we do, it occurs in spurts of 2 minutes at a time. We aren’t sure if it’s normal or because we have a tablet.

This experience has been amazing. Being out here is really the adventure of a lifetime.  There hasn’t been a moment where we have considered not being out here. It’s not all roses to be clear. There are really demanding days and it’s hard climbing multiple mountains a day. But there is usually something  along the way that makes it worth it. Its the type of fun you earn.Here are some of the highlights from the newly-named phase 2:

-We crossed our first state line! After taking a zero in Hiawassi, GA to rest up and resupply our food, we crossed the border from Georgia into North Carolina. It was an amazing feeling having walked our way from one state to another. The boost of energy we got from seeing the sign was enough to propel us over the massive and steep climb that North Carolina greeted us with. A small, understated sign represented our first real accomplishment out here.

-While in Hiawassi, we stayed at the famous Blueberry Patch Hostel. There, we met a bunch of other awesome thru hikers and were treated to an incredible homemade breakfast. The owners, Gary and  his wife  , even made biscuits and gravy from scratch. This was Eric’s first experience with biscuits and gravy and, needless to say, he was thoroughly impressed. This was a once in a lifetime experience. They made us feel like we were at home.

-We did our first resupply while on the trail in Hiawassi, the town mentioned previosly, and then another in Franklin a few days later. This was an experience and we certainly learned a lot about what to buy. On every hikers shopping list should be dark chocolate almonds. Not only are they delicious, but they have sugar and protein to boot. Did I also mention they are delicious? Kristin usually eats some of Erics since hers are gone in .2 seconds. Town is almost as busy as the trail. You usually do a nero into town, which means its ‘near zero’ miles. So you hike a few miles, hitch into town or take a shuttle if offered, find a place to stay, eat your face off,  do laundry, resupply at a grocery store, then its bedtime. The next day you head out early to get in a normal hiking day. For us, that’s between 10-13 miles now.

-It turns out that the trail has a mind of its own. We’ve discovered that it will actually eat gear and then decide if you need it or not. If it determines you do, it will return the items. If not, its gone forever. Example: Eric found a glove was missing, not long before the state line. Moments later, the glove was returned by a hiker behind him who had happened to stumble upon it.

-Kristin has earned her trail name, “Icicle”. She got this after a shocked outfitter who, after trying to find a way to keep her warm during the cold nights, told her he had no more ideas for what she should do besides gear meant for mountain climbing. He said this while laughing 🙂 Kristin has taken to wearing every article of clothing she has in addition to the sleeping system involving a down sleeping bag and 2 sleeping pads, and was still cold. After more than a week of this, eric and the other hikers in our group determined she must simply be made of ice. Hence, Icicle. Not to worry though, we got Icicle an extreme sleeping pad with an r-value of 5.7. Its basically an inflaitable heater.

-We feel like we are starting to get our trail legs. We felt like real thru hikers for the first time today after going straight up a mountain range, uphill out of the NOC, for 6 miles. We will never complain about a little one mile up again. We felt good for most of the climb. We highly recommend the ‘sherpa’ dish at the NOC. That lunch may be part of why we hammered out those miles. Oh, maybe the gazillion cherry cokes too.

We’ll upload some pictures from Phase 2 this weekend when we get to Fontana Dam. Next on the agenda: The Great Smokey Mountains! Woah.

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