Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I'm Feelin It

I realized today that my left big toe is mostly not-numb anymore. That's about four months of recoup time for a common trail side-effect.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Before - After

After several weeks on the trail, Lauren was probably right around her ideal weight, but by the end, she had gained around 30 pounds. Somewhere around the halfway point of our hike, Lauren began losing muscle tone, gaining weight and feeling bloated.

Clearly some of that gain would be expected with muscle growth, but that still didn't explain everything, and became an increasingly frustrating aspect of our summer for Lauren. While most other hikers were jumping in at the AYCE buffets, and losing significant weight, she was eating modestly and becoming increasingly concerned about her own physique.

This became a point of tension for us, both on the trail, and in the months following. Then, about two weeks ago, Lauren remembered a friend from the past who was diagnosed with Candida and that was the breakthrough that she needed.

Candida is a yeast that each of us have in our systems, typically in balance, but if it grows out of control, it can cause problems.

The more Lauren researched Candida, the more things began to make sense. Below is a list from Dr. John Dommisse of things to avoid for treating Candida, and description of how Lauren's regimen was essentially the opposite.

  1. Avoid sugars - With a name like Figgy, and her half pound of figs each day, this sounds like the perfect food for the Candida to multiply out of control
  2. Avoid starches - Hiking 20+ mile per day without starches? Not likely.
  3. Increase saturated fats - Flax oil and sardines didn't make it into our trail diet.
  4. Avoid Antibiotics - After the tick incident in New York, a two week round of antibiotics probably polished of any of the remaining 'good bacteria' that may have been keeping her intestines in check.

For two weeks now, Lauren has been eating no fruit and absolutely no sugar, wine, vinegar, yeast, coffee, or black tea. She is also taking oil of oregano and probiotics to reestablish the internal balance. After the first week we didn't notice any results, but after the second week Lauren has lost 6 pounds.

It feels good to be finally making progress.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

2008 Companion

2008 Thru-Hikers' Companion

If you're thinking about hiking the trail in 2008, you'll probably carry a data book to help calculate mileage and find services in town.

Most people carry the A.T.C. companion or the Thru-hiker's Handbook (formerly by Wingfoot, now published by Bob McCaw). I also heard a rumor that Whiteblaze is publishing a guide book, but was unable to verify that.

One very important factor to consider when purchasing your guidebook is what the cover looks like. I personally think that the 2008 cover of the A.T.C. companion looks the best, but maybe that's just me.

We carried the Wingfoot guide in 2007 and were happy with the data for the southern half of the trail, but it is common knowledge that Wingfoot has not set foot on the trail in over 10 years, and the northern half of the handbook was strewn with misinformation.

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"A.T. Thru-Hikers' Companion" is published by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, however it is compiled, written, and edited by volunteers of the Appalchian Long Distance Hikers Association (ALDHA).

Sunday, January 20, 2008

April Plans and ADZPCTKO

It was nice to hear from our friend, Clearwater, who contacted us last week. He will be hiking the PCT in 2008 ("at least California," he says), and wanted to know if we can take him to the trailhead in Campo, CA.

He booked his flight for mid-April, and will stay with us in Los Angeles for a couple days for final preparations. Then we'll drive a couple hours to the PCT monument at the Mexican border.

If it all works out, we may be able to attend ADZPCTKO (Annual Day Zero, PCT Kick Off). And if the planets are in alignment, we may actually be able to walk the 20 miles into Day Zero with Clearwater.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Wheels in L.A.

We gave away our car before leaving for our thru-hike and have been fortunate to not to have needed our own since arriving back to Los Angeles. For the last two months, we've had an unbelievable streak of car-sitting for generous traveling friends, so Lauren has been using their cars to get to work.

I've been doing quite well on my new bike, although riding a fixed gear is like learning to ride a bicycle all over again.

Tonight my friend Austin reminded me about Flexcar. Here in Los Angeles, an annual membership of $35 gets you access to car rentals on a micro level, just $5 per hour. Their locations map shows that I live just one block from two available flexcars ( a "sports car" and a "wagon").

All this convenience, and I don't even have to worry about gas, insurance, maintenance or parking. Pretty sweet deal. I'm going to have to check this out.

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UPDATE: When I checked the cars in person, the "sports car" was a Mini Cooper, and the "wagon" was a Scion Xb.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

ATJ Profile

ATJ Profile

Our friends Sally and Ellen at from the AT Boundary submitted our names to be profiled in an upcoming Appalachian Trail Journey Magazine. The brief article about our two days on the trail corridor in the Mahoosucs will run this month.

If you'd like a sneak peek, you can check out this downloadable PDF file.