Thursday, July 17, 2014

No job and a little bit of savings... Hike another trail!

Well friends, I'm boarding a train from Chicago to St. Louis on Saturday. JC will be picking me up and we are driving through the night to Denver. As of now we are planning on hitting the trail Sunday July 20th. I posted about this hike on facebook and our friend Yappy said she will be starting on the 21st. JC and I hiked with her on and off from Virginia to New England. It'll be a great reunion.

As many of you know by the lack of updates on this blog, I don't blog much. A month ago I turned in my flip phone for a smartphone. Hopefully I'll be posting photos on instagram and my twitter account. So check those out for updates. The blogspot app seems a little clunky.

Quick facts about the Colorado Trail

  • 486 Miles from Denver to Durango
  • Only one shelter on the entire trail
  • Shares 234 miles with the Continental Divide Trail
  • Many opportunities to climb some of Colorado's 14ers, including Colorado's High Point, Mt. Elbert. 
  • Average elevation is 10,000 feet. 
  • Over 89,000 feet of elevation change
  • Violent thunder and lightning storms may ravage the afternoon sky, then quickly give way to warm sunshine and cloudless skies.
  • Much of the CT is above tree line
  • Trail is open to hikers, mountain bikers (with the exception of Wilderness Areas), equestrians and pack animals. 
Check out PMag's End to End Guide of the Colorado Trail for more information.

While hiking from Denver to Durango will be lots of fun. JC is taking it up a notch. He hits the Western Terminus of the CT he will hope on his mountain bike and had back to Denver. He could not find any blogs, or accounts of a adventure like the one he is planning. This is not to say it has not been done, if he completes a hike/bike yo-yo of the CT he'll have some serious bragging rights. His newly recreated Instagram account is one to watch, with a great handle, JCfoundtheinternet.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Let me dust this this off.....

In case you have not already heard. My hike on the LT was a great success. We launched from the US Canadian Border on October 18, 2013 and stood at the Vermont-Massachusetts border on November 6, 2013. It was a trip of reunions, cold challenges, and nearly deserted trails. I took the train from Chicago to Rutland, VT. I then hitchhiked 60 miles up Highway 100 to Waterbury, VT. Once in Waterbury I met up with JC and Sherps. We zipped around Vermont caching food that we would pick up along our hike.  

Sunroof (AT '12) and Grumpy (AT VT-ME '12, 1,200 PCT miles '13) met up with us along the way, this hike had a reunion feel to it at times. Hell even the trail was an old friend. The last 90ish miles of the Long Trail are coincide with the Appalachian Trail. 

All in all it was a wonderful trip.

Only took me to hitches to get from Rutland, VT
 to Waterbury, VT. Gotta love Vermonters
Starting off the hike at the US-CAN
border with a little night hiking! 

JC, Sunroof and I packing up at Spruce Ledge Camp.

The Long Trail is blazed with 6x2 white blazes, just like the Appalachian Trail. 

Nothing beats a great spring! 
This is where Vermont's world famous maple syrup comes from. We saw the last bit of fall color only at lower elevations.

Sherps whipping up some amazing dinner in Taft Lodge.

Mt. Mansfield. Highest Point in Vermont.

A little UNO by candle light, thanks to Grumpy!

Mt. Abe! 
The LT after a nice dusting.

Maine Junction, where the LT and AT meet. Quit your job, sell your house, rent out your car, lose the spouse, come walk with us, we're going to Maine. Life is never going to be the same. -- Rabbit '09

Vermont is still recovering from Hurricane Irene. There was once a bridge here.

This is Mount Snow's North Face from the Glastonbury fire tower. My dad's side of the Family grew up skiing those slopes.

Sky blaze!

Another trail completed. We maybe hung out for a 10 minutes and high tailed in to North Adams for free Mexican food! 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Getting the Band Back Together on the LT

The Long Trail is a 275 mile footpath through the Green Mountain State. It's the trail that inspired Benton Mackaye to dream up the Appalachian Trail. The LT is also America's first long distance hiking trail. On October 19th, 2013, Aaron "Jerusalem Cruiser (JC)" Knapp (AT Thru-Hiker '12), JP "Sherps" Krol (AT Thru Hiker '10) and I will be headed from the US-Canadian Border south to the Vermont-Massachusetts state line. Between the three of us we have over 6,500 miles of long distance backpacking!

Sherps visited JC and I on the AT in 2012
with some epic trail magic in New York!
My travels to Vermont will start in Chicago on October 14th, I'll take the train to thru the night to Schenectady, NY. I'll have a five hour layover, however I will get to spend that time with my sister! From there it's back on the train to Rutland, VT. Sherps lives in Waterbury, that's where my plans get a little more interesting. I will be hitch hiking from Rutland to Waterbury! When I arrive Sherps will be finishing up his last few days of work. Over the next few days we will be shopping, going over LT maps, guide books, dropping our food caches at road crossings and taking care of any last minute things. We'll stay the night at the US-CAN border on the 18th and begin our hike toward Massachusetts state line on the 19th.

I'm extremely excited to get to spend time Sherps and JC again. We spent a few nights on Mt. Leconte in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park this March. JC and I also spent a few days hiking the AT in Georgia as well.

This spring and summer I was doing a lot of running and developed plantar fasciitis. I'm worried if this will prevent me from doing big miles or forcing me off trail. My feet are my biggest worry at this moment.

Since I'm one of the few people holding onto their "dumb phones" the best way to follow my hike will be via my twitter page @PretzHikes.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Look What Arrived in the Mail Today

Such an amazing feeling getting my oversized envelope from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy today -- It's in the official ATC records, folks! The past 2 and half months in Michigan have been wonderful I am really enjoying my time as an Outdoor Education Instructor at YMCA Camp Pendalouan. It's a very similar job to my summer camp gigs in the past. However, it has a stronger education component to it than summer camp. My favorite classes to teach are Michigan Fur Trade and Lumber. Not a coincidence that those involve a lot of local history. 


It was recently brought to my attention that this photo never made it to the blog, just my facebook. Didn't want to leave anyone out! Another huge "Thank You!" to all those that donated this would not have been successful without your donations. 

Chicago Fire Soccer Club President, Julian Posada & Chicago Fire Foundation Executive Director, Jessica Yavitz
Accepting the donations. **The Final amount exceeded $2,500** 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Media Blitz!

Could not help but make a Mckayla is not impressed meme. See more at
Yesterday my mug and pair of beaten up shoes were on the front page of the Journal Standard! On  Wednesday, Chicago Fire staff writer Jeff Crandall published an story about my hike. Jeff's story has 15+ never before seen photos from my hike, so you have to check those out. I enjoyed both interviews and hope that they will bring in more donations to the Chicago Fire Foundation!

No challenge too big by Jane Lethlean

Matt Mason Finishes Appalachian Trail by Jeff Crandall

Tomorrow I will present the Chicago Fire Foundation with a oversized check of all my donations I have collected. If you have not donated, there is still time, donate today!

I finally have all of my photos in my possession after visiting with the wonderful Shelby Rogers this week. Stay tuned as they will be featured on the blog, soon. Just after wade thru 5,000 photos first!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Happy 75th Birthday Appalachian Trail!

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the completion of the Appalachian Trail! The trail was constructed by the hard work of volunteers and Civilian Conservation Corps. members of the Maine Civilian Conservation Corps finished building a 2-mile section of trail in the woods of western Maine, thus marking, for the first time ever, a continuous footpath from Maine to Georgia. On Saturday July 21, 2012 we passed by the final stretch of trail and paid our respects. To celebrate the anniversary I will be filling out my 2,000er Miler Application!

Just finished an interview with the Journal Standard. Thanks again to Jane Lethlean, for her stories and on going coverage of my hike in the Journal Standard. Hope to finish up my "media tour" (ha!) today with an interview with Jeff Crandall of the Chicago Fire. Speaking of the Fire, the club will be honoring me at half time this Saturday. I am very excited and anxious about that!

In other news, I will be moving to Montague, MI on August 31st to start my job as an Outdoor Education Instructor at YMCA Camp Pendalouan.

1,984.1 miles into the hike! July 21, 2012

Another photo from Katadin, flashing the NoBo "gang sign" !

JC, Roll Tide and I happy as clams on our summit day. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Blood, Sweat, Tears & Katahdin!

August 1, 2012. Katahdin, Baxter State Park, Maine.
5,000,000 steps, 2184.2 Miles, 154 days, 28 pounds on my back, 14 states, 8 National Forests, 4 pairs of shoes, 2 National Parks, 1 amazing adventure!.

August 1, 2012 around 10:30AM my thru-hike came to a very bittersweet end! It was such a wonderful feeling seeing the very iconic Katahdin sign from a quarter mile away. When JC, Roll Tide and I approached the sign there was a group of boys from a summer camp that moved away from the sign without us having to ask. It was like they knew how special Baxter Peak was to us.

I would not have been able to make this hike possible with out the love and support of my grandma, Weezie, Mom and Shelby! These three women helped a great deal, sending packages, dealing with my "estate" in my absence, and being 100% supportive of my dream to hike the AT!

The Independent Supporters Association for the Chicago Fire Soccer Club board also needs a mention! They did lots of promotion for the hike, set up the donation page and handled the money. Their support has been unwavering!


I apologize for the delay of this photo being published here. My sister Molly came for a visit and my blog was put on the back burner. In the coming days and weeks I will be posting tons of photos/video here.

If you would like to donate please wait, there seems to be some problems with the donation page. They are currently being investigated.