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Mighty Blue on the Appalachian Trail: The Ultimate Mid-Life Crisis

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Episode #118 - Stephanie Lorenze (Sunshine)

For many people, hiking the Appalachian Trail is the culmination of a lifelong dream. There may be issues that they don't want to face, they may be grieving the loss of somebody. For many, the trail is spiritual in nature. For Stephanie Lorenze, eating unlimited pizza was her initial motivation. Despite this unlikely catalyst, Stephanie grew to love the trail and everything on it. She faced doubters at the outset, yet she pushed on, confidence growing in her own abilities to complete the...


Episode #117 - Camino De Santiago (Days Thirty-one to Thirty-three)

With just two days and about 32 miles left, Steve and Emma just had to contend with the torrential rain to get to Santiago. While the journey proved to be a spiritual experience for many, the Pilgrim mass at the end was spectacular in its gravity and grave in its spectacle. The incense burner heightened those thoughts as it seemed to crash through the long aisles. After 32 days and nearly 500 miles, our two adventurers made it to their ultimate destination, cold, wet, but very...


Episode #116 - Camino De Santiago (Days Twenty-eight to Thirty)

It’s been a tough few days since Steve found out that he’d miscalculated the miles per day required to finish by this Friday. Emma and Steve have stepped up their mileage to make up for the mistake. The two travelers have been responding to the kilometer markers by shouting down the reducing distance to Santiago. One of the lasting memories of this trip will be the convivial meetings between pilgrims, with beers and coffees shared over conversation. Steve and Emma...


Episode #115 - Camino De Santiago (Days Twenty-four to Twenty-seven)

With almost 400 miles to their credit, Emma and Steve can hardly believe the luck they’ve had with the weather. Even where it has snowed there still seems to be a pristine path for them both. Steve’s favorite day was last Friday, when the two of them went through Ponferrada. The castle that greeted them in the early morning sun was a surprise and a treat. As the day went on, the two of them knew that they were on the verge of a 20-mile day. That prospect is made much easier...


Episode #114 - Camino De Santiago (Days Twenty-one to Twenty-three)

With Steve and Emma now firmly choosing to hike and stay at hotels as opposed to auberges, the hunt for bargains is on. Luckily, Steve is ready for the task! The weather has been threatening for several days but our hikers seem to be leading blessed lives and avoiding the worst of the weather. After several cold and potentially wet days, the weather looks set for the next five days. People continue to brighten every day with a shared camaraderie that often finds friends in...


Episode #113 - Camino De Santiago (Days Seventeen to Twenty)

The injuries continue but the Meseta is nearly done. Now, with less than 200 miles to go, there is snow on the horizon. We’ve had beautiful sunrises, spooky moon settings, and even a Cider Guy. Steve received a picture tonight of the settling snow several miles ahead, so he and Emma, even though they’ve reached León, still need to tread carefully in the coming days. The Meseta has been a dour place to traverse, so it was an excellent diversion to meet and be instructed...


Episode #112 - Camino De Santiago (Days Fourteen to Sixteen)

With about 50 miles for the past three days, Steve and Emma have been making their way through the Meseta, finding gems like the town of Hontanas and its gloriously lit church. Their middle was all about the beauty of Castrojeriz and the way it dominates its surroundings. The weather is also starting to turn, with frigid temps in the mornings and fears of snow in the near future. If you’d like to communicate with Steve, please email him at Steve@mightyblueontheat.com.


Episode #111 - Camino De Santiago (Days Ten to Thirteen)

With a need to up their mileage, Steve has set a target of 15.45 miles a day to get to Santiago. They take regular breaks for coffee and beer on the way and recently saw this charming mobile bar. The weather hasn’t been great for the past few days, though they have by and large avoided any substantial rainfall. This reduces their opportunities for longer views, though a clearing cloud revealed this on Saturday. While often hiking alongside one another, Emma’s pace often takes...


Episode #110 - Camino De Santiago (Days Seven to Nine)

This week, Emma gets stuck in an elevator, a red squirrel gets way too close for comfort and Steve continues his transformation into Old Father Time. All the while, Steve and Emma continue to get into the rhythm of their hike. They ache a little bit more and they whinge and moan a little bit more but, underneath it all, they are improving with every day and planning an even faster hike. Emma now wants to be at Santiago by November 10, so Steve has set a tougher schedule to see...


Episode #109 - Camino De Santiago (Days Two to Six)

Our two intrepid adventurers have been on the trail for six days and have fallen a day behind schedule. They have sustained injuries, aches, and pains but continue westward towards Santiago. They have met fellow travelers, shared meals with others, and spent time together over a few beers, red wine, and brandy. They even met up with their very own ghost. This trail isn’t the walk in the park that some people seem to believe. The miles still need to be hiked, and the climbs and...


Episode #108 - Camino De Santiago (Days One and Two)

This is something of an experimental podcast. We're trying out several ways of doing this so the sound won't be perfect but it should be listenable. Steve is on his way and finding it far tougher than he had ever imagined. Things can only get better!


Episode #107 - Deanna McGregor (Mary Poppins)

This is a kind of crossover episode that keeps many of the "usual" parts of the Mighty Blue show but incorporates and transitions us over to the Camino show. Deanna McGregor hiked the Camino in 2017 as a truly spiritual experience and returned this year with her sons, 12-year-old Daniel and 16-year-old Jonathan. We speak twice with Deanna; once prior to her setting out, when she tells us about her evolution as a hiker and her experiences on the Camino last year. Once she had returned...


Episode #106 - Tenny Ostrem and Claire Wernstedt-Lynch (Aspen and Eleven)

For Claire and Tenny, hiking the CDT had been an ambition but they soon decided that they needed to do something else. Between the two of them, they hatched a plan to walk the entire length of the Southern Border of the US, stretching from San Diego in the west to Brownsville and the Gulf of Mexico in Texas to the east. Here's Claire. With no defined trail, the two of them set out to make their way and learn about the issues on both sides. It was an eye-opening experience for both...


Episode #105 - Cindy Ross

As a writer, Cindy Ross must be feeling fulfilled. She has published seven books about hiking and educating in the outdoors. However, it is as a hiker that she established her bona fides to write these books. She has completed the Triple Crown and realized the value of educating her children while on these trails. Memorably, Cindy and her husband, Todd Gladfelter, spent five summers completing the Continental Divide Trail with their two children–on llamas. Cindy's bio says "Cindy and her...


Episode #104 - Ben, Kami, Dove, Seven, Eden, Memory, Filia, and Ranier Crawford

The story of the Crawfords has been one of the most prominent Appalachian Trail stories of the year. Their seemingly quixotic adventure didn't seem in the least bit strange to them. After all, they had been hiking as a family for some years so the AT appeared to be a natural extension to that as they tried to capture one last hike together before the children started to leave home. As YouTube viewers, this adventure divided us, with some critics castigating Ben and Kami, while others...


Episode #103 - Jennifer Pharr Davis (Odyssa)

Jennifer Pharr Davis is a woman on a mission. She wants to get people into the outdoors and, not only does she want to do it, she actually gets it done. Her Blue Ridge Hiking Company provides guided trips into the woods and over mountains, bringing many people who would never have considered going onto a trail before they came to her. She has hiked over 14,000 miles of long-distance trails all over the world, including what was then the Fastest Known Time on the Appalachian Trail of 46...


Episode #102 - Will Ransom (Bear Spray or Ever Changing)

I met Will Ransom at Trail Day in 2017 and was impressed by the bond that he shared with his dog, Rhetta. I'd hoped to interview him for the show but lost his details, only to find them recently when I moved home. Will was a fascinating guy to talk with as he had strong views on how to care for your dog when on a trail. He had told me at Trail Days that he intended to summit Katahdin with Rhetta, but experience, other people, and his good nature prevailed. So, Will had to flip up to...


Episode #101 - Pat Coate (Tee Bird)

For the second week, I'm reminiscing with the two people I was closest to on the trail. Last week, Ken Hall closed out the first 100, so the NEXT 100 shows start off with Pat Coate, or Tee Bird. I met Pat earlier than Ken. I was nursing an injury after about 1200 miles and ran into her and her fellow hikers. We started chatting and all felt the need for a beer, so we hitched a lift in a fruitless search for one. We just found ice cream but I found a friend. Pat was then often hiking near...


Episode #100 - Ken Hall (Lighterknot)

For our 100th episode and, indeed, for our 101st, I have two friends with whom I finished the trail. Next week, it will be Pat Coate, or Tee Bird. This week, Ken Hall, or Lighterknot, joins us to tell us how the Class of 2014 affected him. We have a wide-ranging and definitely nostalgic chat about the time we spent together. In the interview, our laughter was incessant and proved how easily we picked up with one another again. Ken was supported on his 2014 journey by his wife, Deb, who...


Episode #99 - Stephanie White (Ultra Runner)

Stephanie White is new to hiking, yet she is already an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker. Her main discipline is the seemingly crazy sport of ultra running and, with three 200-mile races to compete in this year, she looked around for something to prepare her for the races. Choosing the Appalachian Trail as a five-month warm up may seem excessive to some, but Stephanie discovered far more than her endurance once she'd immersed herself in the trail culture. If you'd like to read Stephanie's...