Zero Day (31 March 2013, Sunday) 00.0 Mi_52.9 Mi/Helen, GA

This pic was taken at Betty's Country Store;
we had  sandwiches for lunch--
almond chicken salad sandwiches were great at Betty's.
Liza pumped some gas some years ago using these pumps;
she wants a pic...LOL!
Sandwiches here are great and it.
Little Germany in Helen, Georgia 
Court House...?
Liza with Pinoy Airman had fun visiting Helen, Georgia.  Helen, GA has Oktoberfest every third week of September ending in the month of October...the town of 300 accommodates from 20K to 30K visitors during Oktoberfest every year. 

Day 10 (30 March 2013, Saturday) 2.4 Mi_52.9 Mi/Unicoi Gap

...even dogs are hiking.
Pic with Father and Son team; Norman and Kabro.
Norman  was a 22 year US Army Veteran
--THANK YOU for your service!
"Sunshine" (Tammy) was injured on her first day of hike--she was planning  a Thru-Hike.
Instead she started a trail magic:  boiled 15 dozens of eggs and Easter bunny chocolates for the hikers.
Today was an easy walk of 2.4 miles from Blue Mountain shelter to Unicoi Gap.  Liza was picking me up at Unicoi Gap and will spent a resupply ran with me at Helen, Georgia.  I am running out of provisions.

Day 9 (29 March 2013, Friday) 7.3 Mi_50.5 Mi/Blue Mountain Shelter

Blue Mountain shelter; one of the niciest one so far...
Tent City at Blue Mountain Campground; we had more or less 50  hikers...
Started a campfire; it was warm and nice.  It lasted till morning...
Pinoy Airman thought 7.3 miles would be an easy hike since he had trekked 10 miles or more for the last two days; He was wrong--it was painful because of the boulders placed in the trail.  The boulders were sharper and unfriendly (placed in awkward positions). The blisters had been accumulating in the last nine days--latest count was seven.  One of the blisters was less than 2" in diameter--it was huge.  None of the blisters popped yet--THANK God!

Day 8 (28 March 2013, Thursday) 11.5 Mi_43.2 Mil/Low Gap Shelter

Pic with the "Pirate"; he is a living legend among hikers.  He thru-hiked the AT 10X; was featured in several national papers and magazines.  He gave me the trail name "Wi-Fi"; but I still want Pinoy Airman.
This was my bunk at Walisi-Yi Inn for one night
It was cold that morning; mountain spring water frozen...
Its time for dinner at Low Gap Shelter.  Can you see the stove/burner?
Trail Angels King Tut and Jim with Pinoy Airman
Trail magic provided hikers some unexpected relief from good-natured souls.  Pinoy Airman was wet from sweats and he needed to dry his fleece jacket and long sleeve dri-fit--it was cold but he had to endure it or get sick.

This one was for the record--11.5 miles was long. He hiked for at least eight hours with 30 lbs bag on his back climbing mountains and walking through boulders.  One-foot landing error and you will be out with an injury.  There were couple of missed calls on his feet but none serious--STILL ALIVE. When hiking was over for the day, muscles and joints were aching.  Just thinking you will start all over again the next day was always a mental battle.  Pinoy Airman just take it one day a time; no need to plan one week in advance.

Day 7 (27 March 2013, Wednesday) 10.6 Mi_31.7 Mi/Neel Gap

...w/ Stayin Alive before hiking 10.6 miles
...look at the antique stuff at the back.
View from the Blood Mountain...
Another view from the Blood Mtn--West side
East side of the Blood Mtn...
Blood Mountain Shelter

...almost complete; going down from the Blood Mtn
The Hostel at Neel Gap--overnight stay.
Blood Mountain Historical Fact/Marker
This was the first time Pinoy Airman hiked more than 10 miles.  Exhausted and tired; all joints and muscles were aching.  It was a long climb to Blood Mountain and coming down was not an easy task either.  For second day in a row, he had to mail 16 lbs of unneeded items back; his backpack finally weighed less than 30 lbs. He will try to surpass 10 miles on day 8.

Zero Day (26 March 2013, Tuesday) 00.0 Mi_21.1 Mi/Wolfpen Gap Country Store Hostel

This is my room at the Hostel on my second night
Sorting my bag  for unneeded items to be mailed back...
Calling Card for the Wolfpen Gap Country Store
Pinoy Airman took a much-needed day-off at Wolfpen Gap Country Store; stayed at their hostel for two days. He mailed 14 lbs of unneeded items today, which had been dragging him for the last five days. Plan for tomorrow is to go all the way to Blood Mountain--the highest pt in Georgia--and more. Hike tomorrow is about 10 miles..He hope he can make it.

Day 5 (25 March 2013, Monday) 5.3 Mi_21.1 Mi/Woody Gap

The plan to stay at Gooch Mountain Shelter had been shelved. Left the shelter at 1118 AM and has to be at Woody Gap NLT 1700. It was the will and motivation to hear from my families that kept me moving. So far, this was the hardest but was able to meet my goal for the first time. Hiked 5.3 miles/Total 21.1 miles for Friends of Santos Family.

Sorry, no pics...Day 6 will have plenty of pics.

Day 4 (24 March 2013, Sunday) 3.6 Mi_15.8 Mi/Gooch Mtn Shelter

Hiked 3.6 miles/Total 15.8 miles. Started from Cooper Gap and finished at Gooch Mountain Shelter. Forecast for WX tomorrow was snow and freezing rain and continues the following day. It was cold all night and Pinoy Airman was being squeezed from left to right and in the bottom with all hikers snoring--it was a concert musical. The shelter was full packed; loft and main floor occupied by at least 14 hikers and there were some slept below the floor (ground). I am glad I arrived early; at least have sleeping space but it was still cold and the WX for the next two days were not good--more freezing rain & wind advisory. Plan was to stay at the shelter tomorrow and let the WX pass-by.

No pics for Day 4...

Day 3 (23 March 2013, Saturday) 4.1 Mi_12.2 Mi/Cooper Gap

Hiked 4.1 miles today/Total of 12.2 miles for the "Hike for Our Heroes" project; from Hawk Mountain Shelter to Cooper Gap, USFS 42. I walked additional 4.2 miles just to get water; however, when I got back there were four gallons of water at the camp courtesy of "Survivor Dave" (trail name). There was a storm all night; my tent took all punishment from the storm and winds but came out ok.

Sorry no pics...

Day 2 (22 March 2013, Friday) 3.8 Mi_8.1 Mi/Hawk Mtn Shelter

Hoisting cables so bears cannot reach them...
Tent Location at Three Forks
Hawk Mtn Shelter which sleeps 12 people
Pinoy Airman Hiked 3.8 miles today with total of 8.1 miles for the "Hike for Our Heroes" project; it was awesome and no issues.  He spent the night at the Hawk Mountain Shelter with other hikers. It rained all night; felt sorry for those hikers who set their tent up.

Day 1 (21 March 2013, Sunday) 4.3 Miles/Three Forks

First White Blaze for North bounders
Me and My Sweetheart
EJ and I--she's growing to be a beautiful woman
My First Registration--Trail Name:  Pinoy Airman

This was a hard day--hiking in the Georgia Mountains with 55 lbs in your back.  Pinoy Airman never did this kind of physical activity in his 26 years in the Air Force.  It was worth it--helping the organizations whose goals are to help people in their time of need and helping the US Armed Forces personnel stationed anywhere in the world.  Pinoy Airman retired and camped at Three Forks.

Philippine Red Cross

Philippine Red Cross helped many Filipino-Americans in the US Armed Forces, when emergencies occur in our families.  In 2009, we were stationed in RAF Lakenheath, which is located in the UK. My mother passed and at the same time, my husband was deployed in Kirkuk, Iraq.  The Philippine Red Cross coordinated with the American Red Cross to notify my husband’s superior so that we may both return to the Philippines.  If not for the Philippine Red Cross, we would not be able to say farewell to my mom.  There are many Filipino-Americans in US Armed Forces who are grateful for the Philippine Red Cross, American Red Cross, and the USO.  Come and join us to support people like Khris who appreciate these organizations.

Specifics on how to donate to the Philippine Red Cross--for Khris Santos Appalachian Trail project...

Please send cash or check donations to the PNRC National Headquarters in Manila.  Checks should be made payable to The Philippine National Red Cross.  We can also arrange for donation pick-up.

Account Name:  The Philippine Natiuonal Red Cross

Post Area Branch
Peso Acct.: 151-3-041-63122-8
Dollar Acct.: 151-2-151-00218-2
Type of Acct.: SAVINGS
Swift Code: MBTC PH MM

Port Area Branch
Peso Acct.: 4991-0010-99
Type of Account:  CURRENT

UN Branch
Dollar Acct.: 8114-0030-94
Type of Account: SAVINGS
Swift Code: BOPI PH MM

For your donations to be properly acknowledged, please fax the bank transaction slip at nos.
+63.2.527.0575 or +63.2.404.0979 with your name, address, contact number, and memo (Pinoy Airman Appalachian Trail project)

Friends of Santos Family

Here is where it all starts, Springer Mountain, Georgia. A 2,200 mile journey that my husband, (retired Air Force) SMSgt. Crispino A. Santos started March 21, 2013. Something that made it onto his bucket list but a few years ago, completing the entire Appalachian Trail is something he wants to dedicate to the heroes of the Armed Forces of the United States. Being a retired member of the Armed Forces, he is very thankful for everything the Air Force has done for him. He wanted to give his hike purpose and thought dedicating the hike to these selfless individuals would do the trick. He wants to give back to the USO and the American Red Cross because of all the services that was provided for him during his 26 years in the service. These two organizations not only took care of him, but also his family over the years. You can donate to the organization of your choice in honor of his name.

Friends and family who are in the Philippines, you can do the same by donating to the Philippine Red Cross.