Raining Mountains and Mice on the A.T.

Andy on Max's Patch

Andy on Max’s Patch

We continued our section hiking of the Appalachian Trail this May going north just after the Smokey Mountains. Driving great distances to spend many days in a row walking gives me and Andy a time to clear our minds and be ready to take in new experiences when we return home.

In the car, we had a lot of time to study some music new to us that we checked out from the Grand Rapids public library: Elliot Carter’s new concertos (Boston, cello and ASKO); Boulez’s Messagesquisse, Sur Incises, Anthemes; Vijay Iyer’s Blood Sutra; and John Adams piece El Dorado.

I had a personal breakthrough listening to Carter’s concertos. All four on the CD were written in the last five years, and all of them were written while in his 90s! I realized that Carter is someone that REALLY knows what he is doing. His cello concerto especially helped me to understand musical gesture and shape that can really come to life through someone that understands composing on such a deep level. In other words, Carter understands how to bridge that strange gap between music as it is in our imagination and music that is written down for someone else to play off of a score.

Andy and I pondered this while we hiked in total downpours through most of our 35 mile hike along the A.T. The rain was so loud on the top of my rain jacket that it created a kind of white noise that put me in a daze for hours.

Luckily it stopped raining by the evening and we were able to pitch our tent and cook dinner without the rain.

Much needed warm dinner:

Mac Wheels with Veggies and Cheese


  • 1 ½ cups Kamut wheels
  • 1 cup havarti cheese, chopped
  • ½ cup TVP (textureized vegetable protein)
  • 3 Jerusalem artichokes, chopped
  • 2 small potatoes
  • 3 radishes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1tsp dill
  1. Sauté the veggies with the olive oil until soft, add dill and TVP and ½ cup water. Boil until TVP is soft. Set aside and keep warm.
  2. Boil wheels in water and drain. Add cheese and veggie sauté to the noodles and eat!

The second night of our trip we were bombarded by mice at the Walnut shelter. One of the other hikers sacrificed a bunch of his toilet paper which he stuffed into the side of the shelter just to keep the mice distracted for a while. Needless to say Andy had to stay on watch all night as he kept trying to shoo them off of our hanging backpacks.

The last night out we met a hiker whose trail name is Manamal. He was a Pendelton, Oregon native who had just gotten out of the Marines. In one day, he had hiked the 30 miles from Standing Bear to the shelter before Hot Springs, NC that took us three days! He had been walking 20 miles a day and this was his first 30 mile day. The best part about his journey was that he had cut off the backs of his boots just to survive the walk. With the backs of his boots off, his new slipper-like shoe-boots kept him free of the wretched blisters that all the rest of developed on the backs of our ankles as a result of the rain soaked weather.

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