Saturday, June 28, 2014


Just got into harpers ferry via train. I had planned to hike out the next day but unexpectedly ran into my old friend Garry "Walter white" and he is taking a few zero days and I've decided to join him and go into DC and enjoy the free museums and company of one of the coolest trail friends. We will then hike out together. The other cool thing is he doesn't do huge miles and always plans very we'll and gets into and at places on very good time. Kinda bummed that Jessica and Jeff basically blew me off. I had the idea that I would get into harpers ferry and meet up or get picked up by them but that never really happen they basically told me to just hike out and that they would catch up. But I feel like if I hiked out I would be 50+ miles out by the time they would be just getting on. But either way I've got new plans now and I'm sure I'll run into them. Hopefully I do. I miss them both because they are also super cool people. For now I'm just catching up with other old friends and did a 6 small miles today around harpers ferry and walked around and went into some museums. Time to relax and get to know some of the new faces. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The phrase ‘real life’

     Then New York was, well it was New York. The busiest place in North America overrides the senses and the mind. Millions of people, traffic, noise. I’m fond of that place, but after a few days there I had a realisation that this wasn’t simply another city that I’d become adept at ‘just passing through’, rather it marked the end of my Thru hike.

      There was a mental conflict. Between stress and simplicity, and reality and over-ambition. Life on the trail is not stress-free by any means, but it is simple. You’re on your own for the most part. Inevitably that means a lot of time in your own head, with nothing but your own thoughts (or very loud music in an attempt to drown them). You don’t have many choices to make or people to answer to. Decision making is often selfish and it’s easy.

      It’s a blessing and a curse. Being solo has a strange effect on idea-generation and confidence. It’s not like a brainstorming session where everyone throws their hat in the ring. There is no risk of mediocritising your own thoughts by watering them down through a but-they-mean-well people filter. There’s no pessimism. The ideas, the motivations, the next moves are all 100% pure.

      But here’s the conflict – maybe that purity leads to a false sense of how realistic, or valid, those thoughts actually are. They are untreated, untested, without feedback. To get a true sense of how realistic they are, we need feedback. It’s there to lead to things that are at least a bit grounded and semi-achievable. Is realism the enemy of optimism?

    On the trip, and especially when reaching the wonderfully awesome ‘zone’ – that place where hours of hiking puts you into a meditation-like state – creativity and clarity flowed. Next steps seemed obvious. Projects were formed. It felt possible that single-handedly, mountains would be moved and maybe, at last, a secure horizon wasn’t far away. But a week or so after finishing – all goals, all creative thoughts, all positive thinking, halted. I hit a wall. Unable to concentrate. Unable to make stuff. Unable to have decent conversations. Unable to follow up on those ambitious ideas. After such an epic time away that had ended in being glad to make a dent in ‘real life’, what had gone wrong?

      In the two weeks following the final day of hiking, I began questioning how removed from reality some of the next moves generated on the trip might have been. And I couldn’t stand that. Being conscious of the realization that maybe all the ideas, the concepts, the guarantees, were nice in theory but potentially worth little. So I ran in an effort to ignore it. Screw reality. For a while it seemed like the best thing to do was to keep moving, stubbornly grasping on to the ways picked up over the previous year, forming new ideas and ignoring the potential that they might merely be worthy of getting knocked over. 

    Upon hearing about the bumpy transitions back to normality that others had experienced, I thought it would be nothing, but now the opposite seems obvious. Of course there’ll be transition pains. How would there not be, I understand I was only out there for two months but two months of something can really change and do a lot to a person.

     In these most recent days, a desire to stay put for a little while has become appealing. To embrace the long-forgotten noise and bustle of normality and to remember how to crack the productivity puzzle in conditions that unlike ‘the zone’, don’t make it as easy. Day by day the transition glitches are getting less. It’s been a while now but finally the better ideas, and next moves are rising to the top of the pile. They’re surviving feedback and getting stronger, and the pieces of the puzzle seem less scattered than just a fortnight ago. One of the things that has survived intact is making something epic from the stories collected over the trip, and those wheels are now starting to turn which is exciting.
The phrase ‘real life’ is as vague as ever, but it’s certainly providing an adjustment.

     I've got forty eight hours left before I head back to Florida. The plan so far is to get into the doctors office and make sure this ankle is healing. I do plan to get back on the trail, I miss it dearly but I do not know when exactly that will be. My trail friends are thinking some place around Harper's Ferry. But for now my journey ends early but will continue once again. 

-Sean Knowles

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Text Msg From Garry Aka "Walter White"

"Call me Mr Noro, I had a rough one last night.  I'm currently at double spring shelter which is 20 miles south of Damascus, woke up at 10pm with a sour stomach and just knew this was the real deal.  Got dresses grabbed the shovel (no privy) walked up the hill dug 2 good holes and waited.  I spent between 10pm and 6am on that cold miserable hill until there was nothing left in me.  I re-entered the shelter after everyone left and slept about 4 hours.  I'm drinking water and my appetite is coming back as I ate 2 snickers.  Plan on being on the trail tomorrow, in the rain, hopefully I will be good to go.  As for those who have to go through what I went through, I have pity on them!
Later dude, hope the ankle is on the mend.-Walter White"

My poor dude! The struggle is fucking real sometimes and this is a great example. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Update / Notice

So I figured I will slow down with the blog posts because I'm not hiking and me posting every day about sitting around in my sister apartment watching movies and tv shows for 2 weeks isn't going to be much of a read other then a list of movies Ive watched. So for now Ill just update if anything cool happens in New York and how the healing process of my ankle is coming along. But right when I get back on the AT I will continue to list days and locations along the way and get back into the groove.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Day 35

It's 1:20pm on Friday. I've been in this bus since Thursday 10pm. I should be getting into Newyork within the next few hours. I'm gunna be a lost little boy limping around. The plan is to find a taxi and just go straight to my sisters place and probably crash and get some we'll needed sleep. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Day 34

Basically just sat around a hotel for the majority of the day. My brother got into and came by and chilled for a while. We got a shuttle and went and had some Mexican food. Which was beyond amazing. We had some solid time to kill before my greyhound bus arrived. We chilled outside the Mexican place and one of the hikers we met had got a rental car and was driving people all over so he have us a ride to the store and said he would pick us up in about an hour. He picked us up and dropped us off at the hostel my brother was staying at and the majority of everyone was at the hostel chilling. My shuttle for the greyhound got me at 730pm and I said my goodbyes and handed out many hugs and told the group I would and will be back! My greyhound bus is leaving at 945pm. But It didn't leave till 10:30 so I'm sitting here writing this and I'm in a completely packed greyhound bus on my way to Richmond VA  and I will switch onto a bus that will head into New York 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Day 33 (Long break / End of thru Hike)

Woke up after an amazing sleep. Got a ride into Erwin and went into the clinic and got my ankle looked at. The doctor said I ripped tendons that run along the ball of the ankle and I wont be able to hike for 1-3 weeks. SO I'm sitting here in a hotel and I just purchased my Greyhound bus ride to New York and Ill be hanging out in New York with my sister for a while. I will be getting back on the AT as soon as I can. Guess it wont be a thru hike this year. Always have time another year!

Day 32

So I kinda woke up because technically I didn't sleep at all last night. I have no idea why but I couldn't get any sleep and was just laying in my sleeping bag all night eyes wide open. The hike right off the bat was actually kinda hard. We had a big 16 mile day today and most of the really hard stuff was later in the day. Once I finished the starting up hill it was back to some rock climbing which I don't really like doing. I finished that off and hit this dirt road that the AT went along for a good 3 miles. Once I finished that we had a very steep down hill that was all small and big rocks. About half way down I planted my left foot down on a rock and my ankle gave out towards the left. I have done this plenty of times on both my ankles but this time was different. Right when I replaced my foot this immense amount of pain that I have never felt before shot into my brain. I knew right off that bat that something really bad has happened. I sat down and realized that I was completely fucked. I had 1.4 miles of down hill and .8 miles till the next shelter. Jessica came across me and was saying she had a feeling she was about to come across me really hurt and she definitely did this time. So I had to hike down this hill which I did and it took me forever and was super painful. I sat in the gap which was .8 from the shelter. Jessica went ahead to see if she could find some help. So I started slowly going up the mountain so I could get to the shelter and rest. I got to the shelter and not a single person was there so I was kinda confused and pissed at the same time. I checked the shelter log and Jessica said she got to the shelter and no one was at the shelter and she kept on going ahead which I was totally fine with her doing that because there really wasn't much she could do. I checked the hiker guide book and managed to find a road gap 2.8 miles away from the shelter which had a hostel 2.5 miles down the road. I took some serious pain killers from my emergency pills and started the hike. It took me almost 3 hours just to do 2.5 miles. I was literally crawling and using my hiking polls as crutches. Got picked up at the gap and crashed in the hostel. Cool owner who right when I got there made me a cheese burger because he said "You sure look like you could use a cheese burger and a Gatorade" in his country accent.

Here is a picture of what my ankle looked like right before I went to bed.


Well my original plan was to stay in Hot springs and party it up for my birthday but I'm out here hiking. Today hike was super easy when it started, we hungout at the first shelter to rest and take a nap for like 3 hours. It was amazing. So many people wished me a happy birthday and gave me trail magic it was awesome. My asshole brother decided not to tell me or anyone about the rock climbing we had to do after the shelter tho. So the 6 miles to the next shelter that we thought would only take us 2 hours ended up being 3 hours because I kid you not I had to take my pack off sometimes and throw it up rocks and climb on the edge of mountains looking down too my death. One little slip could have been a really bad time for anyone. But we finished and got to the shelter and ran into Amy and her sister whom hitched up and were hiking south to catch back up too the group. The night was awesome everyone started singing happy birthday and Jessica carried a brownie for two days and put a match in it and made me blow it out like a birthday cake.

Day 30

Hiked out of hot springs did only 10 mines today but for some reason it was super miserable and I haven't felt this shitty on the trail ever. Ran into Noah and his girlfriend. I was really not expecting to ever see them again but I guess they started slack packing and going southbound just so they could catch up with everyone. But other than that my birthday is tomorrow and today's hike sucked super bad.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Day 29 Hot Springs Zero Day

This town is amazing, its super small and only 200 yards from one end to another. The outfitter has everything you need. The food is amazing. Staying in some shitty hotel but it rules at the same time.

Day 28 (The Night Hike)

So this day started off at Mid night for me. Me and Sweet as a Peach are about 13 miles into our hike already. Just to give you an idea on how this night hiking works. You can't see shit. You have a head lamp that lights up a cone of area and everything else is completely 100% dark. You are tripping over roots and rocks all the time. You feel like you are being followed by animals that want to kill you. Movement all around you at all times. You see eyes and hear sounds that make you want to just run. We hiked 3 more hours after are first break and stopped to eat some actual meals. We stopped right outside a shelter but did not go in or close enough for people to see us because we didn't want to wake anyone up or be dicks about it. We sat on the trail and had some food and kept on pushing. We are about 20 miles in by now and completely exhausted. We started to eat everything with sugar and energy to keep us awake. Between 3am -7am the forest/trail started to really creep us out. I think it had to do with the major lack of sleep and the paranoia that was hitting us all night. It was around 10am when we made it into town. We managed to get an extra burst of energy and hangout with people in hot springs before crashing. The town is amazing and I can't wait to hangout and take two zero days and DO NOTHING!

Day 27 Last day in the Smoky Mountains

Woke up after our long 22 mile day and was ready to get the fuck out of the Smoky Mountains. We had a easy 16 mile day into standing bear shelter and it went by very quick. I hiked all day with Sweet as a Peach and Garry it was a lot of fun. Amy was a few hours behind because we got out early. GOT OUT OF THE SMOKY MOUNTAINS! Got into standing bear shelter around lunch time so it worked out perfectly. This place was amazing and I didn't want to leave. Everything was on a farm. Showers, kitchen, place to wash your clothes and resupply plus frozen foods! Pizza, burritos and much more. Cats, dogs, chickens running around all over the place.I didn't want to leave! But my good friend Sweet as a Peach girl friend was going to pick him up 13 miles up the trail at a gap and take him into hot springs and he offered me to join him! I accepted because I wanted to be in hot springs to hangout and have fun with everyone. The day went by and Amy and Garry decided to hike an extra 3 miles and around 7pm Sweet as a peach girl friend ran into some problems and was unable to pick us up. So me and him both decided too do the crazy. It was 32 miles from standing bear shelter into Hot Springs. It was 7:40PM and we decided to hike out in the dark into Hot springs. We started off and I was super nervous and wouldn't think we would make it. 

Day 26 Smoky Mountains

This was my 2nd 20 mile day and Amy's first 20 mile day which ended up being a 22 mile day for me because I decided to go down into a shelter that was 1.2 miles off the trail. The weather was miserable and our views sucked but I made really good time and was super surprised that I managed to get too the shelter at 4pm. I hiked in ankle high mud and in rain clouds and fog that had 3 feet visibility. Was not my day.

Day 25 Smoky Mountains

Decided to hike out of Gatlinburg the weather was still really bad, I only had 4 miles too the first shelter and then waited for the weather to calm which it did but I managed to make a phone call and heard that more bad weather was about to come in so I stayed at the shelter which was a really bad idea because for the next 4 hours it was clear and sunny which would have been perfect hiking weather too the next shelter. But it was cool that I stayed because I was the only person in the shelter for a while and Amy just randomly showed up soaked and looked like she had a really bad time. I was super confused because she was a day ahead of me and she walked in and told me she went 10 miles in the wrong direction down some other trail and she just hiked back too the shelter I was at. So me and her planned out our trip too get out of the smoky mountains and into hot springs on a crazy day of may 3rd which means we had a 20 mile day ahead of us and than a 16 and a 19 mile day after. Time for sleep! 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Day 24 Smoky Mountains

Easy down and up hill into Gatlinburg had two trail magic people today and met some awesome people. Felt like I was famous all day. Probably took like 50+ pictures with random people. For now I'm hiding in a hotel from this weather that might kill us!

Day 23 Smoky Mountains

Hiking too mt Collins and over clingmans dome which is 6655ft the highest point on the AT. I was expecting this view to be amazing but it was nothing special the forest was more amazing than anything. The forest was so thick and it felt like the forest was watching me all the way too the shelter. Or bears who knows. Probably army's of squirrels.

Day 22 Smoky Mountains

Long 19 mile hike too Derrick shelter. The hiking book is a complete lie and elevations are wrong so this day sucked. Caught back up to the group and everyone was super stoked to see me. Jeff and my brother are still ahead

Day 21 Smoky Mountains

Short day out of Fontana. Crossed the dam and the views were amazing. The uphill was no joke into the smokies. Again the views amazing and I stopped early at the first camp site. Lots of bear activity!

Day 20

This day started off at 5am and ended at 7pm. I hiked 22 miles into Fontana just to catch up to the group. I was super motivated and pushing myself just because I didn't want to get stuck in the group of fucking idiots behind me. Got into town and didn't wanna resupply because everything was over priced