Saturday, April 30, 2016

Back on the Trail - posted by Hikey Wifey

Mike has received some really great news! Bone scan and MRI have revealed no structural damage to his hip. His doctor has given him the okay to get back on the Trail! His good friend Keith will be driving him back to Pennsylvania on Tuesday and he will resume his hike. Thanks to everyone for all your prayers and words of encouragement. We'll keep you updated!

Life is Good!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

PTSD Town Hall Meeting Announced

Press Release
Vietnam Veterans of America  click to view flyer

Immediate Release                               
Contact: Allan Perkal (808) 383-7877
VVA to Hold PTSD Town Meeting AB Tech Asheville
Campus, Saturday June 11, 2016 11:00 AM-6:00 PM

There is one thing that those who have served their country in the
military share, a profound sense of how traumatic experiences have
impacted them and their families throughout their lives.
Since 1980, when PTSD became an official diagnosis, a lot has happened regarding the diagnosing and the treatment of PTSD. It is very important to learn about PTSD so you can understand why it happened, how it is treated, and what you and your family can do to help.
Vietnam Veterans of America, NC State Council will be presenting the first PTSD Town Hall Meeting in the State of North Carolina at AB Tech College,
Asheville Campus, Mission Health/AB Tech Conference Center, Asheville, NC. Saturday, June 11, 2016 from 11:00 AM-6:00 PM.
Panel experts Raymond Scurfield, DSW, Vietnam Veteran, Alan Brett, MA, Vietnam Veteran, and Eleanor Krassen Covan, Ph.D, Vietnam Veteran Spouse
will be presenting an overview of PTSD, associated issues, and the impact PTSD has on the family.
Town Hall Moderated by Brandon Wilson, Iraq Veteran, Deputy Director,
NC Division of Veterans Affairs
The goal of the Town Hall Meeting is to educate those exposed to traumatic events while in the military and broaden understanding of how those events may effect individuals and family members.
We invite military veterans, active-duty personnel, National Guard, Army Reserve, and their families to attend the PTSD Town Hall Meeting.
In keeping with VVA's founding principle, "Never again will one generation of
veterans abandon another." Vietnam Veterans throughout the State of North Carolina and across the nation continue to fight for the welfare of our nation's
veterans from all wars.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Speedbump! - posted by Hikey Wifey

Unfortunately, Mike hit a little speedbump on the trail. He has injured his hip, so is taking a break to get treatment for it. We will keep you updated!!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Making Progress- posted by Hikey Wifey

Finishing up the Maryland leg and heading into PA! He will pick up his first resupply box in Waynesboro, PA on Friday.

Seriously rocky trail

First campfire

First overnight in a shelter

Bear Poles vs. Hanging your food in trees

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

New routines at home - posted by Hikey Wifey

Home Sweet Home!!

It's been several decades since I have lived in our home without Mikey. So glad I have the company of cousin Ed and friends to hang out with!

The first week has been trying to establish routines and understand my obligations for helping make Mike's hike a success.

Day 1 was scrambling to get his resupply box organized and ready for mail! We have been preparing for months, but I still needed to get to the store for some of the items needed.

Organized chaos on my dinning room table!

Day 2: I got it all organized and to the post office before 9 am!

Resupply box 1 - Check!

Shuffling into Maryland - posted by Hikey Wifey

Mike's been able to send a few photos so far! When he gets a chance to send his media cards back, we should have several photos and videos!

Pretty blue flowers on the AT in Maryland

The first monument in memory of George Washington

Obvi not the one in DC!

View from Washington Monument Maryland
WV on left, where Mike came from
PA on right, where he's headed

Footbridge over I-70 in MD

Climbing up the rocks to Annapolis Rock MD

Day 3 on the AT
Life is Good!

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Journey of 5,000,000 Steps has begun!!! - posted by Hikey Wifey

Mike sent me his first night photos!

Home away from home for about the next 6 months

Keeping the food away from the bears!
And hopefully the bears away from Mike!

Thanks to all the amazing support, we passed the halfway point of our $25,000 goal before the first step on the trail yesterday! Please follow along at We're trying to be accurate on names, let us know if I missed including you on the list of donors.

We also have a Facebook page to follow. Search for Walking off the War!

Flip Flop Festival - posted by Hikey Wifey

We had a fantastic and informative weekend in Harpers Ferry, WV at the send off for the Flip Flop Thru hikers! (Flip Flop is the term for the type of hike Mike is doing. North from HF to Maine, get a shuttle back to HF, then south to Georgia) Hats off to the organizers and volunteers at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy!

Red Tail Hawk - A raptor rehabilitator was at the 
festival with some beautiful birds.

A Barred Owl giving the stink eye to a curious dog

Pack shake down! "Bear Bag (trail name) suggested
 all the stuff on the right was to be left out!

He's in the Appalachian Trail Conservancy's official year book!

B&O Railroad Bridge Ruins from the Civil War in Harpers Ferry

Taken from the AT, the convergence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers

Seen from the trail in Harpers Ferry

Mike and one of the producers of Trail Magic,
the story of Grandma Gatewood, first female thru-hiker of the AT
(She was from my hometown, Gallipolis, Ohio)

Two of the many volunteers at ATC that did a 
fabulous job organizing the festival

Sending off the hikers who started Sunday morning

A memorial to the only Marine casualty,
Pvt Luke Quinn, in John Brown's Raid 10/18/1859

Day hike to Weaverton Cliff

Views of the Potomac from the cliff

It was rocky! I stubbed my pinky toe!

What am I getting myself into?

Family love and support

I got this!

Send off day April 18, 2016

The four fellows putting in Monday
Rod (on left) and Mike met at the festival 
and plan to start out together! Godspeed!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Farewell to Charlotte - posted by Hikey Wifey

Thanks to the fine PR skills of our kids - Rob and Rachel, Mike had the opportunity to be interviewed on the local news station!

He also was on WBT Talk Radio with Keith Larson!! Who knew he is such a natural speaker!?!

Mom's cremains are making the hike as part of her ongoing Fabulous Traveling Funeral!

She's got her hiking boots on!

Of course we had to have a night on the town before leaving! We had a send off dinner at our favorite Charlotte restaurant, Dresslers.

Ready to head from Charlotte to Harpers Ferry!

Flip Flop Festival here we come!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Base Camp 2 Reporting Ready

Somewhat primitive but highly serviceable, the root cellar door is now HQ. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Crowder's Mountain - posted by Hikey Wifey

We're at Crowder's Mountain so Mike can get some legit practice setting up and breaking down camp!

Here's Hikey Mikey explaining his type of hike.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Positive energy, bundles of love and support, and prayers from Base Camp 2 - posted by Hikey Wifey

You will see this photo popping up frequently. It's the front of a sweet booklet sent from sister Nan.

Nan called it "Not my Hike" for several reasons I'm sure. Hike your own hike is a mantra of AT thru hikers. As much as she and  I would love to offer brilliant words of wisdom, we need to constantly remind ourselves - it is not our hike!

So beautifully written and shared with permission, here is the booklet. Thank you Nan - love you! (Grab a hanky for the prayer at the end!)

Nan has also invited people to participate in creatively supporting Mike through Centering Porch - a gathering place, guesthouse, and contemplative retreat at their Full Circle Farm. Here's the invite: