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Last Thru Hiker, Patches and More

The last thru hiker of the 2017 Thru Hiker Hurricane, Mei Ling Liber completed the Whipple Section today.  Tomfoolery and Mei Ling were given patches for The Wilderness Loop.  They were for completing the trail when Road Fork and Whipple Sections are routed on OH-26, which is a total of 2,006ft.  This was on October 28th.  Road Fork and Whipple are about 117 miles combined, so it's the best we can do for now.

In the month of September in 2017, I assisted 2 day hikers, 1 multi-day and 3 thru hikers.

The BT use to publish the on and off-road footprint for the entire circuit.  As it's been changing a lot, it's hard for the map team to keep up with, but generally it's understood to be about 50%/ 50%.  However, what many don't understand is that the off-road number does include multi-purpose right-of-ways and towpaths.  Some of these can be paved.  It might also include sidewalks.  I state this because the maps do.  You might ask why include those?  The answer is that at some point, somebody will, or already has mentioned that the sidewalk is technically off-road.  And the BTA might have to cover itself from what I like to call "reverse harassment" and mention those in the numbers.  I've got the right GIS/GPS data that might do this project.  But doubt that I have access to the information concerning some surfaces?

My foot gear has never had a problem on-road.  I wear tactical boots.  In fact, I'm more efficient there.  But from what I've learned from the thru hikers these past 2 months, they're having a terrible time on the pavement.  My going theory is that it's either my infantry training, or these hiking shoes and boots aren't engineered with the roads in mind.  And I don't think that my BT colleagues and I have ever had reason to question it.  But to me it makes sense in how our gear is sold.  It always has darker colors that blend in, while here on the Buckeye and North Country Trails, we don't have the number of hikers that could be disturbed by lighter colors.  In fact, we have hunting here and I don't think that a blaze orange vest and hat is enough.  I think that our back packs need to be that color as well.

But they're not.  And that's because this equipment is designed for a different audience in a different place.  Take the Appalachian Trail for example... that's where the market it. BT and NCT... not so much.


My Own Resupply, Thru Hikers

Today, I resupplied myself and I filled up the gas tank.  I'm in St. Mary, WV. So, when I'm going up towards Road Fork Section at the top of The Wilderness Loop, I like having 2/3rd a tank of gasoline. But I can get away with having less on the Whipple Section side.

In case I haven't stated it before, there were obstructions in the Little Muskingum River Flats between the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country National Scenic Trail that were impossible to get around when Preston Hudson came through on his thru hike. I was also under the impression that there was devestating erosion at the time.   Given that those were the conditions at the then, it my determination that this segment would have been a threat to the life, limb and eyesight of these hikers.

I am the current Section Supervisor of the Whipple Section. Under Buckeye Trail Association bi-laws, it does infer that I have jurisdiction over the section (if that helps).

I have then since fixed the area and Tomfoolery hiked through there.

If it comes into question, for thru hikers  Preston Hudson, Mei Ling Liber and Tomfoolery, I was their water resupply for eastern half of The Wilderness Loop. That took about 5 days each. I did this in locations that were convenient to park my car.  So, I did see them near a road, but I'm a distance hiker myself and each came though those days with the appropriate signs of exhaustion according to their water consumption and their abilities.  All that was right on par.

While the roads are shorter, apparently their footgear isn't designed for it. The BT is 50% on-road and the rest still consists of several towpaths and multi use right-of-ways.  I believe that their footgear was designed more for the Appalachian Trail, which frankly, isn't this one.


Buckeye Trail Talk and Thru Hiker Update 09/19/2017

Tomfoolery arrived in Marietta to give a presentation at the Buckeye Trail Talk, which was held on the second floor of the Marietta Adventure Company.  There were about 20 people there and the room was a perfect size.  Before today, I can count how many supporters were in this area on two hands.  Now, I probably need a third.  I'm trying to start a chapter here, so the more, the merrier.

I do know the location of Warrior Expedition #2.


Trail Angel: Female Hikers

With female hikers when I'm a trail angel on The Wilderness Loop - Buckeye Trail (North Country Trail partially concurrent), the practice that I think that I'm going to adopt is that when reporting their locations to anything other than their own profiles, I think I'm going to keep their locations vague?


Fliers Up In Marietta

I put up fliers for Tomfoolery's "Buckeye Trail Talk" on the 19th in Downtown Marietta and the east end lodging.  I'm afraid that I'm not very organized about it.  The thought of everything everything usually slows me down.  I'm not even sure what I'm doing tomorrow?


Trail Promotion - 09/11/2017

When posting to unattended trail promotion sites, there's a bunch of things going on.  And what need to be ascertained are places with limited hours, such as some country post offices. We're currently getting ready for the circuit hiker "Tomfoolery" to come in and perform a "Buckeye Trail Talk."  The circumstances are that Road Fork and Whipple Sections - Buckeye/ North Country Trail have never been fully developed.  We're unsure that there's an audience in this area.  Getting a following here in Marietta/ Parkersburg, WV is one of the reasons why I'm out here.

Under ordinary circumstances, lets say that we had a chapter in this area.  And we started having fliers in places like post offices and libraries year round.  When a special program like is scheduled to come into the area, all those cork boards will go from the general flier to the event's (not enough room for both).

I am here.  I am the man on the ground.  Tomfoolery isn't a volunteer here.  He's something extra.  On the Whipple Section, sometimes things just fall into your lap.  This is a good oman, so you'd be wise to ride this wave.  There's no promises about what's going to happen on the 19th.  But I'm pretty sure that if anything comes of it, it's going to leave us in better shape.  And I can comfortably say this because we should pick up more supporters, or just I'll know about more people.  Right now, we have 7 that I know of.  Three live in NE Ohio, four of them are maintainers, one is a volunteer.  Volunteer recruiting has priority, but we still need greater hiking numbers, too.  And there things that we can do with hikers with those latter interests only.  For those of you who don't know me, I'm very immersed in the internal side of the trails.  Internal vs External, I generally see both.


Adventurer's Project - Weather Band Radio Station - BT/NCT

The weather band radio station for Road Fork and Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail is WNG734, transmitting on a frequency of 162.4MHz (Channel 2) out of Marietta.


Log 09/02/2017

- I just dropped off 14 gallons of spring water resupply to my personal Whipple storage depot.

- My tent needs some Scotch Guard. I've been in a hotel last night and tonight.

- The plan for tomorrow is to make sure that I have the chainsaw's side adjustment on correctly

- With a federal holiday being in two days, I suspect that the weed whacker won't be out of service until Tuesday afternoon. The technicians diagnosed it as having loose carburetor harware that necessatated it getting some new gaskets.

- I'm hoping to get Whipple 05 - 06 cleared and reblazed while I'm still at Lane Farm.  If I do, I should be able to get the Little Muskingum River Flats rigged for winter navigation.  The trail down there is like tracks in a record where Buckeye Trail "skips" parallel every now and then. In order for winter navigation to be possible, the blazing will have to keep a close account of every time it does this. That may be more frequent than more normal navigation requires.