Brian Vaughan's Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike

Phone calls from the Trail Pennsylvania

05/19/98 - South Mountain, PA Brian has hiked 1051.2 miles now. When I said that it was all "downhill" from here (since he's almost halfway) he said "that sucks, that means it's almost over". SO, I guess Brian enjoys the trials and tribulations of thruhiking after all. Once again, I have been lax about the mail drops, and sending them late means sending them for more money. I got a lecture about "planning ahead" from my 18 year old son who has never planned ahead for anything. [My schedule has been awful - three jobs and working toward a master's degree] Anyway, I found some really interesting stuff my first weekend out of school on break. Cliff and I went to a Chinese market (Ming's) in the South End of Boston on Washington Street. There I found powdered WHOLE milk which saved me from having to order it. They also had a snack that consisted of sesame seeds, honey, and tofu, and a large flat sesame seed cookie made with peanuts, sesame seeds, and honey. The other find was sweetened condensed milk - for the seven layer bars - for only 99 cents. To cut down on costs, I'm sending regular store brand fruit punch instead of Tang (Brian is taking a Vit. C supplement) and Ovaltine instead of instant breakfast. Brian sent his stove home for the time being.

05/23/98 - Duncannon, PA Brian says this is where the rocky part will begin, and last through Delaware Water Gap. A group of thru hikers have caught up with him, including Magaroni and Fool on the Hill. Brian shared a hotel room with them, and I think he's glad to see so many other hikers catch up with him. Less than a month now till Cliff and I pick him up to go to orientation at UMass Amherst. Now THAT will be culture shock, I think!

05/30/98 - Brian called today - the first time in his whole trip it's been a entire week before a phone call. I wasn't too worried at this point, however. Brian's been doing excellent miles and while not hiking with anyone in particular, is in the company of a good number of others on the trail. Magaroni and Fool on the Hill have gone ahead of him. In the last week he's hiked 114.2 miles. He's staying in the "Jailhouse Hostel" in Palmerton. The rocks have not been too difficult - his feeling was that "the Whites are worse." He's asking me to send ramen noodles - even though he's not packing a stove. He said he'd just eat them dry. Ugh. He might try to get his boots resoled while on orientation at UMass. We are hoping to have Kodak pictures developed on a disk ready on Monday, to post on the web site. I hope the new camera was worth it! If all goes well, Brian will be into Massachusetts or at least Connecticut when we pick him up. I can't wait, and even Cliff is quietly excited. Finished Phaedrus, and wants Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, but I can't locate the paperback copy he had in his room, only the hardcover. I'll keep looking. Ran into Waldo of "Waldo takes a Walk Fame. He said Waldo thought he'd fractured his foot again, but was getting along on Motrin and keeping a good pace.

06/01/98 - Delaware Water Gap - Only 890.3 miles to go now. Some recent photos are really very interesting. Once again, Mom has screwed up - I forgot to mail maps to the last mail drop. I keep telling Brian that I am not doing this again for the PCT! One of my biggest worries before this hike was Brian's weight. He has always been quite lean, so he didn't have much weight to spare. However, the trips to AYCE restaurants plus the nutrition information he got from Zeb must have helped a lot. He's GAINED 7 lbs. and is up to 172 from 165 when he left. Not carrying a stove seems to be working out OK as well. Thanks to my friend Julie, who made the latest batch of 7 layer bars for Brian!

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This page is being maintained by Brian's mother who will be updating and adding pictures as soon as Brian sends them.

For more information about Brian and his thruhike, you can email his mom at or his stepfather at
Last revised June 4, 1998.
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