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June 28, 2008
Vernon, NJ

Vagabond here.... I dont have much time to write but wanted to give an update on the progression of the expedition. Right now "Pigeon" and I are in Vernon, New Jersey. We will be hiking out tomorrow and crossing state lines into New York. The last few days have been quite interesting from Giant Black Bears, Staying at the Mayors house, and illegal hitchhiking that ended up at a house that had a pool, hot tub, and Bar-B-Q. (Thanks John)  Things are going great and morale is high. It is good to have a friend out here to laugh and talk with. It has totally turned my expedition around. Other than that..... it is blazing hot outside! My feet are doing great... they actually stopped hurting.... but on the other end of the coin..."pigeon" has about 9 blisters. So out mileage is around 10-12 miles a day until she gets her "Trail Legs" under her. I am looking forward to New York. Sorry no pictures this time... The clock is up.  Until next time..."Life to the Fullest"   Daren (Vagabond)

 

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June 22, 2008
Philadelphia, Pa (Mile: 1,300)
 

 

The greatest oak was once a little nut that held its ground.  (Miles to Date: 1,300)

Genos__Dan_Reichel.jpgI just reread my last post and I have to say that "man...that is kind of depressing"  I guess all I needed was a small hiatus from the trail and some familiar faces. I have spent the last 4 days with some college friends (Dan & Megan Reischel) that treated my friend (Erika) and I like gold for the last couple of days.  I feel refreshed and ready to hit the trail again tomorrow... but I have to say that the traditional life is quite the temptation. But I must move on... The trail calls me as well as the passion inside of me to raise awareness and money for wells for Blood:Water Mission and the people of Africa. 

My friend and I are getting ready to leave Pennsylvania which I have to say may be the best news I have heard in a long time. PA is notorious for being "rocky" . I actually met a girl back in Pearisburg, Va that was finishing up a thru-hike that she started back in 2007. She was finishing it up for she had broken her leg on the rocks in PA in 07. So... I am glad that they are behind me. I heard that Jersey is pretty much a cake walk... we will see about that... I have also learned that a "hiker report" on what the trail is like is like the weather report.

Erika_n_Daren_Rocky_Pose.jpgErika_n_Daren_Rocky_Pose.jpgThings are good and morale is back to where it should be. In the next couple of weeks I am projected to be travelling to New York City to meet for interviews and with a nutritionist. I hope that works out for I need to get a tighter hold on nutrition for I project it could be a problem. Since my body fat percentage is low I have low energy reserves which results in well.... All sorts of problems.

 

Here are some pictures of when I travelled downtown Philly this past week. We visited Genos (Famous Philly Cheese steaks), The Liberty Bell, and Independence Hall... and yes... I did run up the art museum steps like Rocky!

 

"Life to the Fullest" Daren (Vagabond)

 

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Aaron Molesky

Jun-27 8:35am

Uh, D, you better watch out, it seems as though Erika has some massive guns!


June 18, 2008
Delaware Water Gap, PA Mile: 1,300
 

DWG.jpg"Naturally we are inclined to be so mathematical and calculating that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing....Certainty is the mark of a common sense life; gracious uncertainty is the mark of a spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all of our ways, we don't know what a day may bring forth. This is generally said with a sigh of sadness; it should rather be an expression of breathless expectation" ( My Utmost for His Highest)

The trail has become monotonous... root.... Rock.... Rock.... Rock... rock... trees....ticks....rock....root.....lather, rinse, and repeat. I guess it has been this way since "Peak Axe" ended back in Harpers Ferry and "Rocko"  went off trail for a couple of weeks to fill in temporarily for her old job. So my days have been filled with walking between 20-30 miles a day with nothing but me and my mind. I don't know if you have ever been in a situation where there is nothing to distract you from your own mind but now being over 100 days into the expedition I am pretty sure I am on my way to insanity. Ok... not really but I tell you what.... It would be nice just to not think for just one hour.  I told my Father last night that I need a vacation from my mind!  With all of that said I have to say that I believe that help is on the way.. in about 2 hours I have some friends from Indianapolis that  are going to pick me up from Delaware Water Gap, PA. and take me to a hotel for hopefully some mindless activities.... Like TV, movies, and if I am lucky a hot tub for my body (which by the way has filed for a divorce from me) Then I actually have a friend who is going to be joining me for some time in Philly with other friends and then the Appalachian Trail. This should throw a wrench in the monotony funk I have been in for the states of Maryland and Pennsylvania! I have high hopes for New Jersey!

Mertz.jpgI had a friend call me this past week and he asked me how I was doing... I said ..."it depends" he knew exactly what I meant. Then he said..."ok..."physically"  I explained that I feel like a machine when it comes to walking... I could be rocking about 30 miles a day consecutively and feel relatively good. Then he asked how about emotionally and spiritually?  Well... This is where the quote comes in.  There is something magnetic about this idea of life being planned, mathematical, formulated, predictable, and explainable.  I have been married to this "explainable life" since I could remember... but now... nothing is mathematical, nothing is formulated, and nothing is predictable other than unpredictability.  Sure... there is a plan for this expedition but it is a tentative one and I have no clue how the plan is going to pan out... .there are too many ? marks floating around for my liking...  or at least for what I am used to.  I just got done reading a book that said "This control that we so desperately crave is an illusion and that the only way to live an adventure with all its danger and unpredictability and immensely high stakes is an ongoing relationship with God"    I am not even sure how to do that ..... I know how to say it... that is easy... but talk is cheap... I am convinced that time will answer the questions I have... it has in the past... and when I get the answers to the questions I have now I am sure that life will propose new ones.  Life is a dance and I don't feel like I am leading and my feet are getting stepped on!   "Life to the Fullest" Daren  "Vagabond"

                                                                                                               

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June 8, 2008
Duncannon, PA
 

Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it.  The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.  ~Earl Nightingale

Porcupine.jpgA.T. the moment:

Here I sit at the Doyle Hotel in Duncannon, PA. A very old hotel with rooms right out of a old western. Downstairs there is a bar (where I sit)  and I feel like there should be swinging wooden doors and some cowboys playing poker over at the corner table. I feel like I have walked into a different time.  I am feeling pretty good considering that over the past couple of weeks both of my parents and grandmother have visited and spoiled me to death. But starting tomorrow I will be back on trail for 10 days until the 19th where I will meet a friend that will be walking with me. It will be a breath of fresh air to walk with someone you know.

 

On the Horizon: 

Since the beginning of this whole Earth Expedition began there has been a deep desire within my soul to make a difference in the lives of people...  I didn't have to know them but I wanted to live outside of myself and use my life as a catalyst of the change I wanted to see in the world.  This is the reason that The Earth Expedition and its team exist. The original plan has been to use The Expedition as a platform in order to speak to people about the international water crisis and Aids pandemic specifically in sub-Saharan Africa. We use http://www.bloodwatermission.com/  as a partner in putting the funds to work in Africa. The plan is coming together just as we have dreamed, the platform is growing, awareness is being built, and funds are being raised.  To date we have helped raised just around $4,000 for Blood:Water Mission.  To help in raising funds for Blood:Water Mission we are in the process of creating a "Pledge for Mile" campaign.  All of the details have been slowly coming together and The Earth Expedition Team is all really excited for this to come to fruition. Lord willing it won't be too long before you will see this on the website.

Also on the Horizon

The Earth Expedition is in the process of becoming a non-profit organization! We are really excited about this shift. This way there will an infrastructure in which The Earth Expedition will operate filled with bylaws and board members. Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

 4 State Lines:

Halfway_Point_A.T..jpg

 

Since I last wrote I have walked 4 state lines! (Virginia, West VA, Maryland, and PA) I also passes the official halfway marker of the A.T.! I am moving pretty fast now... My legs are able to take me up to about 27 miles a day on the trail for a few days before I need to slow down. My health is as good as is can be for what I am doing.  I do foresee nutrition being an issue in the future and was interested to see if there were any readers out there who may be nutritionist or know of someone who is one and would be interested in lending their expertise to The Earth Expedition.  If you are or know of someone please contact me at Daren@theearthexpedition.com

 Trail Days:

Earlier this month I was able to go to "Trail Days". Trail days is a Appalachian Trail festival that celebrates the Appalachian Trail and the 10,000 hikers that have completed the Trail since its creation back in 1937. The festivities included documentaries, Speakers, Vendors, Entertainment, Camaraderie, and for many people a little inebriation. Here is a picture that my friend "Blackberry" woke up to outside his tent the last morning of "Trail Days" . You never know what you are going to come across out here. This guy I was told passed out the night before. Can you say hangover? 

Drunk_Trail_Days.jpg

 

Special Thanks:

I wanted to thank the Heartland PM Team for providing The Earth Expedition with an I-pod. You guys are great. Thanks for all you do!

I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday.   "Life to the Fullest"

                                                                     Daren Wendell: Trail Name  "Vagabond"

 

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