NWES was recently contacted by Open Country to review their recent article on thru-hiking for beginners. After looking it over, this is a great resource for folks who want to get into thru-hiking and don’t know where to start. Checkout their article: Introductory Guides: Thru-Hiking 101.
The club met on Sunday, August 11, 2019 at the Boyd’s house. Present were; David Sweeney, Allyson Sweeney, Mattie Claire Sweeney, Stephanie Cunningham, Tim Boyd, Patrice Boyd, Jane Williams, Walker Boyd, Terri Moore, Matt Moore, Michael Wesp, and Ashley Wesp. Tim Boyd, Patrice Boyd, Jane Williams, Walker Boyd, Terri Moore, Matt Moore, Michael Wesp, and Ashley Wesp.
Officer elections were held with the following results;
President – Allyson Sweeney
Secretary – Ashley Wesp
Treasurer – Stephanie Cumningham
Wrangler- Mattie Claire Sweeney
The budgets from the summer AT hikes were distributed and reviewed.
There being no further business before the club, the meeting was dismissed.
Please leave comments on these designs for our 2019 crew shirt. – David
NWES convened their Spring meeting at 1830. Members present included; Irais Castellon, Luis Contreras, Terri Moore, Matt Moore, Stephanie Cunningham, Ethan Cunningham, Kara Taylor, Walker Boyd, Michael Wesp, Ashley Wesp, Hannah Sweeney, Allyson Sweeney, David Sweeney, Mattie Claire Sweeney, Austin Sweeney. Robin Murphy attended as a guest.
Item 1: Appalachian Trail, 2019
The club discussed the upcoming summer hike on the Appalachian Trail this summer. David Sweeney opened with two suggestions for the AT hike. First, that crews be limited in number to make logistics and skill levels easier, and second, that the crews consider separate itineraries. These suggestions were discussed and adopted, yielding the following decisions for the upcoming hike.
This year’s hike will consist of two separate itineraries:
Trek: Springer to Unicoi Gap
Date: July 16-26, 2019
Crew: Michael Wesp (CL), Kara Taylor (S), Stephanie Cunningham (L), Ellie Cunningham, Matt Moore (G), Terri Moore
North Carolina Crew
Trek: Hot Springs to Irwin
Date: July 7-18, 2019
Crew: David Sweeney (CL), Allyson Sweeney (L), Irais Castellon (G), Luis Contreras, Mattie Claire Sweeney, Hannah Sweeney, Walker Boyd, Robin Murphy, Jane ?
Commit date for this hike will be Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 7pm. Next meeting is Friday, May 17, 2019 6:30 at the Sweeney’s.
Good morning from Mountain Brook, Massachussetts.Somewhere deep in the forest away from cell service and roads, on a stream named “Mountain Brook”, I pitched my tent at the end of my fourth day of my fall 2018 hike. My first message was one of “golly, this is hard!” This message is one of “count your many blessings.”It’s a truism that the AT gets harder each state that you progress north, and my first blessing has been to take a new look at the experience. To enjoy it and not hold each day up against the day before, to do my best but not become so “OCD” about mileage that I cease to see the beauty around me. There’s a message in that approach that fits life, isn’t there? We can move so fast and set so many goals and objectives that we actually miss the living in the process. It’s certainly true on the AT.A second blessing that I’ve encountered is that, just when you think you have reached the end of your rope, God drops a source of refreshment into your day or your situation. You can focus on the hard stuff and miss this little gift, or recognize the gift for what it is and be uplifted. As I climbed Cobble Hill outside Tyringham, MA, I was gifted with the most amazing experience. Exhausted and with no idea where I’d spend the night, I sat down on the summit to call Cindy and check in. Her voice and her encouragement reinvigorated me… blessing number one. Then, at the strike of 6 PM, the old white church in the valley, from a tall white carillon steeple, began to peal multiple traditional hymns with its old bells. “The Old Rugged Cross” and “Holy, Holy, Holy” and others serenaded me for fifteen minutes. I was awestruck by the beauty of the moment. My worries vanished about finding a place to pitch a tent (no camping allowed in the Tyringham Cobble) and I charged down the mountain humming the refrain of “Holy, Holy, Holy” over and over.At the bottom of the hill I hit a road where a young boy manned a stand titled “AT Snack Stand”. The fellow sold me two soft drinks and we spoke about the cows that a neighboring farmer had allowed to wander into the road. That boy and his Mug Root Beer was blessing number three.I kept walking, sure that there would be a place for me to pitch a tent before he approaching sunset. And sure enough, a hundred yards after I’d wandered through the cows and crossed two fence stiles, I landed in a deep fir forest by a burbling Brook. Blessing number four.Some count all of this sappy story up as chance or happenstance. I don’t. I was exhausted at the top of Cobble Hill, but God “rang my clock”, so to speak. He does this very often in life and we miss this movement of the Holy Spirit who is saying “don’t give up yet! I haven’t ever… and won’t ever… give up on you.”I’ve been blessed by many encounters with neat people, too. “NOLA” (New Orleans) and “Purple Streak” (hair died purple) were two ladies I shared a shelter with two nights ago. Vibrant interesting ladies of my age tackling the trail late in their lives. “Royal Canadian” (flaming red beard, from Canada), “BillyBong” (Aussie with a huge smile), and multiple encounters with other South Bounders (SOBO) have kept me engaged with people. I see about 7-8 SOBO’s each day. Every one has a new story and a new outlook on what he or she has just finished, a section that I have ahead of me and yet to tackle.I am re-inspired with a new look on trail life, dropping the mileage chase and making the most of what I have. I am reinspired to see God’s hand in events and situations where I might have missed it. And I learn something every day by the chance encounters with people that are on the same path as me, all of them going in the opposite direction. What blessings have been sprinkled on your life that you might have ignored? What people, on the opposite path, have you encountered whom you might learn from?Have a wonderful weekend. I will arrive tonight in Dalton, MA for my resupply stop. Then on toward Vermont!Blessings,Austin Boyd (“Hawkeye”)
Good morning from Mount Bushnell in southern Massachusetts. The peal of thunder rolls across the auditory landscape in the dark of predawn morning as I sit in a tent During the rain. Today is the second morning of my fall 2018 Hike.A personal car, two planes, six trains and a taxi delivered me to the trailhead in Salisbury, Connecticut on Monday evening. After repacking to fill up my water and add the propane that I could not carry in the airplane, I was hiking about an hour and a half before sundown. 3.5 miles to the first shelter seemed easy enough on the map. In reality, during a rainstorm And fog, climbing up Lions Heart in the dark of a moonless foggy rainy night turned out to be more challenging than I’d planned. I fell in on two sleeping southbound hikers at 8:30 pm in the Mount Riga shelter and Slept fitfully through a cold rainy windy night.The sense of aloneness and being a tiny creature in a big creation was overwhelming during that night hike climbing up Lions Heart. The fog wrapped me in silence, broken only by the moaning of trees as their branches rubbed together. I was reminded of the Ents in the Lord of the Rings as the trees spoke to me. It’s very easy to get yourself lost in foggy night woods and I won’t be doing that again soon. Nevertheless, the awesome sense of dark and human frailty was an amazing experience as, headlamp turned off, I stood on the open peak at Lions Heart and immersed myself in the dark swirling fog. Everyone should experience that once in life.Up early the next morning, My first full on the trail was an exercise in frustration. I’m used to making 16 miles of progress a day, but yesterday was 11.5 miles of slick rock climbs and descents along the spine of a mountain on the southern end of Massachusetts. Climbing Mount Racer and Mount Everett would have been more rewarding with a view but I was wrapped in a cloud. I camped last night at the northern end of the chain on Mount Bushnell. These are short mountains compared to what is coming in New Hampshire. Only 2800 feet or so, but quite challenging for their rocks.Many hikers met me in their sojourn to the south. The southbounders (SOBO’s) are moving through, through hikers who began in Maine in July. My daughter’s fiancee was one of these SOBO’s a few years ago. I am the only northbounder (NOBO) whom I’ve seen. All of the SOBO’s are happy for the easier hiking as they go south. Nevertheless, I am learning Day by day that it gets progressively harder each day as you go north. Life is like that. We all pass through the same trials and for some people each trial is a little less severe as you move along… or at least it seems that way. Others of us encounter increasingly tougher trials as we progress. Yet in many cases we are each climbing the same mountain. Keep that in mind sometime when you feel like like a “lone ranger” in overcoming life’s challenges.Today I walk off this mountain and cross the Housatonic River valley and scale the next line of peaks. More rain today with even more headed my way in the approaching hurricane and low pressure system. It will be a wet week or so. My goal is Rutland Vermont. We will see how close I get, one slick rock at a time.Remember that, when wrapped in the fog of a rainy night, you are not alone. When scaling a painful peak and faced with a daunting challenge, remember that others have climbed this mountain too. Every step of the way, you are in God’s hands, whether you see Him there hiking beside you or not.All my best to each of you,Austin (“Hawkeye” trail name)