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May 30, 2008
Harpers Ferry, WV: The Earth Expedition

ATC.jpgDifficult things take a long time, impossible things a little longer. (Author unknown)

1,000 Miles:  Today I hit 1,000 miles.. I am almost at the halfway point of (1088) with I will reach within the week. I am in Harpers Ferry,  West Virginia at the moment but will be in Maryland by nightfall and in a few more days after that will find myself in Pennsylvania for a little over 200 miles.  My feet are feeling like they should after 1,000 miles and morale is great.  Maybe because I had a host home (Thanks Shelly)  that picked me up from the trail yesterday and treated me to a feast and a soft bed! Doesn't take much anymore to make a good day a great day.

Bear count! My Black Bear count is up to 5 at the moment. Here is another picture of the beast that rule the forest.. this one was sleeping on a Rock by the Appalachian Trail when I walked up on it. I woke it up...and we stared at each other for about 60 seconds... then I walked  back about 30 feet.... Clacked my Leki Poles together and heard him slowly move into the forest. It gets my adrenaline going every time!  I love it!

Black_Bear_2.jpgThe Snowball is Rolling: I am finally starting to feel like The Earth Expedition and its mission is starting to get out there.  Here are some magazine mentions this month:

Blue Ridge Outdoors Mag:


Men's Health Mag


Host Families: I am not going to lie... I love meeting new people and getting off the trail from time to time so if you are going to be close to where I am walking though I would love to meet you.  Here is my route.... If you are close and are interested you can write Sue Powers and she will make it happen. I look forward to meeting you.  Thanks you Joe and Kate Dunnivan, Tom Overcasher, and Shelly Herily for hosting me these past couple of weeks!

Salamander.jpgSomething to Chew on: People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are.  I don't believe in circumstances.  The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them.  ~G.B. Shaw, Mrs. Warren's Profession, 1893

"Life to the Fullest"   My prayer is that you find yours......Daren Wendell




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May 22, 2008
Madison, VA

Mile 920:  Madison, VA.

Black_Bear.jpgHey friends, I am doing well and the Expedition is moving right along. I am at a Host house tonight and having a great time. They took me kayaking down a river for I have never been before and at the last rapid I sunk the kayak.... I then portaged the kayak back up before the rapid and tried it again.. this time I shot it successfully!  Good times!

I am in the Shenandoah National Park at the moment and will be in Harpers Ferry, WV. by the end of the week and in two weeks I will be in Maryland followed closely by Pennsylvania! So I will be rocking through the states over the next 3 weeks as well as coming up to the halfway point of the Appalachian Trail  (Mile 1088)  I look forward to this next month for there is going to be many physical and psychological victories!

I am starting to see a lot of wildlife on the Trail. Yesterday I was getting ready to meet my host family at 9:00 am and 3 minutes from the car I ran into 2 small black bear cubs and momma bear.  I stopped and momma bear and I looked at each other for a little bit but she didn't seem too concerned that I was there... good thing for me... I took a video of her and snapped a few pics from about 20-25 feet away and went on my way. .. at a much faster pace than usual.

Trail_Days.jpgTrails Days:  Trail Days... Well.. I can honestly say that I have never experienced anything like it. I guess I can say that it was quite the hippie experience.  Here are some You-tube video's of the last night around the fire at "Tent City" I was one of 7 that were on the drums (Drum Circle).  Here is also a link to a video of some fire breathers at the fire that night. I just never know what I am going to run into to!

I could write all day... unfortunately I don't have all day.. I've got to resupply for the next 4 days   "Life  to the Fullest" Daren



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May 15, 2008
Waynesboro, VA.... 850 miles

850 miles down! Right now I am in Waynesboro, VA. I walked the 5 miles this morning to Afton, VA, where I got a ride down the mountain. The coolest thing about this morning was that I saw my first Black Bear. I basically saw his furry butt as he booked it through the woods but none-the -less I am counting it!

Mcafee_Knob.jpgThe last 10 days I have been up on the trail with one quick resupply down into town. My friends "Peak-Axe" ,"Rocko",  "Shadow Cast" and "Tangent" have been rolling at about 15.2 miles a day with a couple short days and some very long and rocky 25 mile days. But I promised my feet that I would give them a rest once I arrived at Waynesboro. I am going to let my 4 blisters heal up because they were getting pretty bad.... For those of you who didn't see the last pictures then check the Blog Archives.

The trail is starting to bloom! Everything is starting to green and with that comes all of the Ticks, mosquitoes, and bugs!  I have already had to remove 2 ticks so far. I am sure that there will be more in the near future as I head into Northern, VA and the Shenandoah's.  Can't wait... pray I don't get Lyme's disease!....seriously

I am headed to "Trail Days"  It is a  3 day festival that celebrates the Appalachian Trail Hikers of the old and new. There are an estimated 25,000 people there as well as some of my sponsors so I decided to go and grip and grin with the folks. My next post will be filled with pictures I am sure.

Shootings on the Appalachian Trail: I have been told that there was nationwide news about shootings on the A.T.  I am fine... I was in Pearisburg two weeks prior to the shootings. The guy responsible for the shootings ended up dying in the cell the following morning. The two fishermen were released after being shot in the head and back. Crazy Stuff!

Sun_bathing.jpgPeople have been asking me some common questions so I compiled a list of some of the answers:

Pack Weight: My Backpack Base Weight is around 23 pounds

Body Weight: I started at 165 lbs and now I am at 164 lbs. But that could fluctuate with a stop at the all you can eat Pizza Buffet.

Calories Burned:  with my pack weight I will burn around 1,000 calories an hour. Depending on the topography I will burn between 8,000 and 10,000 calories a day. There is no way I can keep up with that amount of calories which is the reason I stop into towns and destroy the all you can eat buffets.  (Peak Axe ate 22 pieces today at the buffet today...he is a machine!)

Weather:  I just wanted to thank all of you who call my cell phone to check on me when you see a storm that passes through the area I am in. I appreciate your concern...I really do, but I just want you to know that I am doing well. I might be wet, cold, and miserable at times but thanks to my Corporate Sponsors I have all of the adequate gear that I need to brave the weather.

Footwear: I am on my second pair of Boots. Each pair will last around 600-700 miles on the AT.

Questions?:  If you have any specific questions that are not covered in the FAQ then feel free to ask them and I will answer them in my next Blog.

E-Pals: I am excited to say that I am connected with various schools and classrooms around the country that are following The Earth Expedition. If you are a teacher and would like to become E-pals with The Earth Expedition then please contact us through the Website.

Swim_Time.jpgSpecial thanks to those who supported The Earth Expedition financially! You are all a Godsend!

Thank you: Brooke Mertz, Aaron and Tana Molesky, Steve and Peg Stamen, Lizzy Richardson, Janet and Kelly Powe, Sherry Metzger, Angie Miller, Mark and Shelly Notter, and Luke Menke.

"Life to the Fullest"    Daren Wendell  (Vagabond)

<-----swim/shower time   ( Vagabond, Peak-Axe, and Rocko)


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May 4, 2008
700 miles down

Here is a little update of The Earth Expedition:

Blister.jpgBlisters are not my friend.... Here is a picture of 1 of the little guys that let me know that I am alive every step. I take my "vitamin I" (Ibuprofen) just about every day for the past 3 days. It is the only way that I can put in the miles I need to put in. I bought some Epsom salt for a good soak tonight. After tomorrow's hike I am taking a day off to nurse them before I head back out on the trail. I hope this didnt make you gag....but if it did then let me know :)

Things are going well... I have walked over 700 miles so far and I will be coming up on the halfway point for the A.T. in a few weeks. I can't wait... my friends and I have been eating Morels (mushrooms) from the forest and all of the flowers are coming out now that I am walking into spring. I am on my way to Troutville, VA tomorrow.  Morale is very high. I am walking with 4 other people. Peak-Axe, Shadow Cast, Tangent, and Rocko (pictured below). We are having a blast

 I just wanted to follow up with my last blog about the details of care packages. A lot of people have been asking me about what to pack and where to send it. Here is the skinny:

The_Gang.jpgLetters can be mailed first-class, regular mail.

Boxes MUST be mailed via Priority Mail through the US Post Office. DO NOT use delivery confirmation.

All of the boxes are routed through my base of operations out of Ohio. If they are sent "Priority" then they can be forwarded to me at no cost by forwarding them to my next drop. Please keep the boxes under 7 lbs....my feet can't take it (refer to picture)

What should you put in a box? Stuff I can eat. I like cookies. And brownies. And rice-krispie treats. Candy that I like: resees, butterfinger, , snickers, nutrageous, plain M & Ms. I love Nutella! I like honey-nut chex mix, plain ruffles potato chips,Dorito's, puffy cheetos, fritos. Notes from you, funny newspaper articles.Basically anything edible. Be creative! Care packages don't have to be huge. When the clerk at the post office asks you if there is "anything perishable or hazardous" in the box, tell them NO. They don't need to know that there are cookies in the box.

What should you NOT put in a box? Anything that I would have to CARRY. Don't send cute little stuffed animals, or toys, or books. I'll have to turn around and mail those home, cause I can't take them on the trail with me.

The Address that all of the boxes and letters should be sent to is: Yellow_Bus.jpg

Daren Wendell

The Earth Expedition

2360 Pebble Beach Dr. SE

Massillon, OH.  44646

 Until next time....find your life to the Fullest!   Daren (Vagabond)


Ok.. I have been shamed for my food list.... Here is a more healthy list that wont develop diabetes!  Thanks Amie... you are too funny!

Now in our most recent blog, Daren wrote out his "Junk Food Wish List" that could quite possibly out-do any 9 year-old's wildest fantasies, LOL. I will mention that terrible list down below, but I thought I would also list some things that might actually prolong his lifespan and not shut down his kidneys in Leg 1 of his expedition:P He's quite the oversized kid! Someone has to keep him in lin e:)

Okay...here's some healthy ideas to combine with his sugar cubes....

-Muselix or loose Granola
-Nuts, (cashews, peanuts, mixed nuts, pistachios....)
-Kashki cereals, Mighty Bites, anything!)
-Noodle meal kits
-Dried fruit (banana chips, dried cranberries, dried strawberries, anything fruity)
-Dried veggies (he says they exist at health food places)
-nut bars
-Fruit bars (but he doesn't like granola bars)
-Kellogg's yogurt bars (cereal Isle)
-Premixed instant Tea pouches
-Beef Jerky (but not the kind from the Pet Isle...LOL..No Beggin' Str ips:)
-Carnation instant breakfast packs!
-Hot cocoa or cider pouches (okay..that's not healthy, but I thought I'd throw him a bone:)

Thanks, Amie

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