We are thrilled to share the sixth update from Gerry and Rex Leonard who are hiking the Appalachian Trail to raise funds and awareness of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) and the disabled veterans we serve. In this travel log entry, they highlight a few major milestones: their arrival in New York State, the physical toll of the trail, and gorgeous campsites.

Let’s show our support and wish Team Leonard our best as they continue with this courageous feat in support of the many disabled veterans whose lives will be changed as a result of their sacrifice.  

Read all their dispatches from the AT here:  Gerry and Rex Leonard Hike to Heal Veterans


Family and Friends, 

Greetings from NY…Pony Express checking in with our 6th update from the Appalachian Trail. Since our last post, my Dad and I have hiked 110 miles, passed the 800-mile mark, finished New England, crossed the Hudson, and climbed 7 mountains and peaks (truth be told, I am having a hard time telling the difference between a big hill and a mountain…the mountains of southern New England and New York do not resemble the Greens or the Whites!).  One huge difference–and a welcome relief–between New England and New York are the delis and pizzerias. In NY, it seems we pass through a town with a deli and/or pizzeria almost everyday. We love deli sandwiches and coffee…and it sure beats our field rations! With this update, I thought I’d take a different approach than my Dad’s rigid, military writing style. 

Diesel’s Bum Knees.  My Dad’s knees have bothered him since he took a tumble during a rain storm somewhere near the Maine/New Hampshire border. Well…he finally decided to see a doctor in Great Barrington, MA and discovered he sprained his knee when he took that tumble. The doctor recommended 10-15 days of rest, but Diesel, being a tough/stubborn guy, decided to continue with our plan of reaching New York by 16 August. Coming out of Great Barrington, we hiked 21 miles. The next day we hiked 23 miles, which put us within striking distance of the Connecticut/New York border. We planned to push across the border the next day, but Diesel was hurting. The constant inclines and declines over short distances, coupled with the large mile days, were not helping his injured knees. We then came up with a more reasonable plan to hike shorter miles and have my Mom meet us in New York where we could take a few zeros and give his knees a few days to rest…and give me some good ‘ole fashion lazy time. 

Wham! The night of our 23 mile day, we stayed at a beautiful campsite with some other SOBOs we met way back in Maine at the beginning of our hike. It was great to catch up! During the night while everyone was sleeping peacefully, WHAM, my hammock ripped and I crashed to the ground. Having sent my tent home to enjoy the comforts of the hammock life, I now had nowhere to sleep other than on top of hard, uncomfortable picnic tables. Fortunately, I was able to purchase a foam pad during our next resupply which made sleeping a bit more comfortable until my new hammock arrived.

Zoo Animals. One day, while my Dad was in a grocery store, I found a shade tree to lay under and test out my new sleeping pad. A short time later, my Dad came out of the store with a shopping cart full of food, popped it over the curb, and parked it right near me. He then proceeded to lay down beside me in the shade to ice his knee and escape the blistering heat. A few minutes later a car pulled into the grocery store and parked beside us. As the driver got out of his car, he stared at us and then looked at his young passenger and told her, “this place turns into a zoo this time of year!” I can only imagine what we looked like laying in the grass with our things scattered around. After a good laugh and a fantastic siesta, we made our way back into the woods (apparently where we belong) and found a nice lean-to to stay for the night. 

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Let’s show our support and wish Team Leonard our best as they continue with this courageous feat in support of the many disabled veterans whose lives will be changed as a result of their sacrifice.  

Read all their dispatches from the AT here:  Gerry and Rex Leonard Hike to Heal Veterans