Mile 1538.3 – Tyringham, MA – Don's Brother, Runners, and Drop Outs

I’ve crossed path with Don’s Brother a few times along the trail. I again met up with him yesterday and decided to tag along on his AT plans. Don’s Brother, along with Pilgrim, are planning a hike of slack-packing, shuttles, and hotels. This sounds like a good idea to me. Slack-packing requires a shuttle ride to the trail and a person or place to hold the rest of the gear we’re not carrying. It means I don’t have to sleep in the woods with all the mosquitoes. With the three of us sharing costs it won’t get too outlandish.
Don’s Brother (see is walking for ALS, the disease which recently took his brother’s life. He is quite active on his blog and likely has many readers. As a former cross-country coach for 25 years he’s an active retiree and fast hiker. Pilgrim is also retired and a marathon runner. Maybe I shouldn’t say how old they each are, but the three of us have a combined age of 159 years old. I don’t feel too bad hiking with the older guys as they are trained runners and weigh 20 lbs less than me. I’m a but faster hiker than they are bu they have consistency and patience. They each have had their own troubles on the trail but hiking together is making for a big improvement in morale. Instead of thinking of the tough hiking we’re able to talk with each other. It’s great to keep my mind off hiking while still making miles.
Today was a horse of another color as walking together improved my spirit. Plus we only hiked a casual 12 miles which just took the morning and has given us the afternoon free.
We saw Pigpen (a recent division 2 cross country runner) and Puffy on the trail today. All these people who are still on the trail seem to have some kind of running experience. As I’ve told my brother “You don’t see any fat people on Katahdin pictures.” Even this far (70 percent of the trail complete) hikers are dropping like flies. (Or as I wish flies would drop) I’ve heard of 4 to quit recently. 1 with Lyme Disease, 1 with a stress fracture in her foot, and a father and son who had just had enough. At this point these drop-outs are just making me feel tougher for still being out here and oddly enough giving me motivation to conquer this beast of a trail.
Time for a nap.