The Spirit Journey

September 1, 2010

Before I get to Tony Angel, there are some things I’d like to share with you:

NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg recently suggested that taxes on the rich (just ending the Bush tax breaks, not actually increasing taxes) will hurt the economy; despite hard evidence to the contrary. When New Jersey instituted a “rich tax”, the tax flight that was widely predicted never materialized (only 0.2% of the richest residents left the state, a total increase of out-migration from 1.6% to 1.8%), resulting in a net gain of over $1 billion to the state’s coffers, despite fraudulent and increasingly strident claims to the contrary by Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, The New York Daily News, et al.

Harley Davidson posted record profits on declining sales; the result of cutting 1,600 jobs. (The New York Times)

Mountaintop removal along the West Virginia/Kentucky border has residents campaigning for mountaintop wind farms.

Bob Herbert reveals that the true number (or the nearest thing to the truth that statistics will allow—(“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”) of the unemployed in The United States is 30 million, and I suspect the actual number is much, much higher.

Bob Herbert has also written extensively about the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, pointing out that the unholy alliance of business and government continually puts peoples’ lives at risk for the sake of profits for a few—profits which have yet to “trickle down” (and which never will).

Last year, Ed Koch and Robert Weiner pointed out that while some stimulus funds were directed at preventing foreclosures, the nearly one-third of Americans who rent housing have to date had no help from Washington, and that these are the Americans most likely to become homeless.

Finally, the huge egg recall is having reverberations. Not content to have caused many to become ill, and unwilling to accept a loss, some of these eggs are now showing up in dollar stores here in New York. A local dollar store has Hillandale Farms eggs on sale, 18 for $1.00. Unbelievable.

There are many more links I would like to share with you, links to brave homeless people who are beating the odds, a link to a blind man walking the Appalachian Trail, but unfortunately, I am pressed for time. The picture that emerges, however, is that the people of America are being sacrificed in order to ensure profits for large corporations—multinationals that have no allegiance to America, nor to any other country. They threaten that the economy will worsen if they do not get their way, and government typically caves to their demands.

The most valuable resource this nation has is its people, and this resource is being squandered through the standard practice of giving corporate interests and shareholder returns greater prominence than the average citizen’s well being. The time has come to put people before profits. This is the United States of America, the land of “We The People”, and it is high time each and every one of us remind our legislators of this fact.

So, what does all of this have to do with Tony Angel?

These are some of the many issues that Tony wanted (and wants) to address with his Spirit Journey.

Tony has struggled to complete his Spirit Journey, but has decided that he is unable to do so at this time, for several reasons. First and foremost is his health—Tony has a torn meniscus, and is just now recovering from a bout with pneumonia, thanks to antibiotics. Second, I had agreed to post and link for Tony, but due to unforeseen family and other emergencies, I have been unable to do so with any sort of regularity. I had hoped to get Columbia, The North Face, and other outdoors suppliers, and even the Appalachian Mountain Club to help sponsor Tony’s walk, to provide better equipment and perhaps meals, but I have not been able to do so. Despite the wonderful support and encouragement we’ve received from the Beacon Sloop Club, particularly from Pete Seeger, Victorio Roland Mousaa, Rosemary Thomas, and Alan Thomas, this lack of promotion has resulted in Tony’s being under-equipped and to his suffering undue hardship.

Tony fully realizes that he is much better off than many other homeless people. Many homeless people suffer from malnourishment and lack of medical care, and they are all ineligible for food stamps or Medicaid, as they have no residence (and how is that just?). At least Tony has a large group of people rooting for him, a bank account, support from Family of Woodstock, and many other blessings, and he and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support. We have not succeeded as well as we would have liked in our original aim of bringing attention to the plight of the homeless, the environment, and Native American issues, but we have not failed, either, as we have gotten the attention of many, and will yet bring wider attention to these important issues.

Tony is expected to arrive in Poughkeepsie tomorrow afternoon, from Rutland, Vermont. He thanks you all, once again, as do I. —CW


Very quick post

August 9, 2010

Hey everyone. I am on a public computer in Gorham, N.H. It is costing me a dollar per 30 minutes so I need to type fast. So I made it through Maine finally. Though much of it was a spirit journey and the views were gorgeous, Maine was in many ways HORRIBLE. Very rugged terrain, tough climbs and it rained alot while I was there making the trail like a river bed. Like Cameron wrote, I was stuck on top of Baldpate mountain in a thunderstorm for two days. Baldpate is a very smooth and shear rock face type mountain. It would have been very dangerous to come down it in the rain. When I did finally make my way down, the rain had stopped but it was still wet and slick. The distance from Baldpate lean-to the the main peak was the longest 1.8 miles of the journey so far. The Mahousic notch on the other hand could be summed up in two words…NASTY and fun. I have had alot of tough times-a severe lack of calories leading to muscle failure. I’m not even sure I will make it through the “Whites” at this point. The muscle damage is significant. I don’t have the time or resources to get my legs healed before moving on any further. I WILL go on, I promise you that but please, no more expectations. Don’t expect a certain number of miles a day or a definate time frame. Its pointless as well as insulting to me. Anyone care to take over so we can make this a relay? Yes I am frustrated and even embarassed. I don’t have enough support, my physical well being is in jeapordy, my knee is tore up, I have lost 20 pounds of muscle and I’m very weak now. Not to mention that time is getting short to complete this journey. The other night it snowed on top of Mt. Washington here in New Hampshire.

I apologise for this post being somewhat on the negative side but I feel that I need to express some of my feelings. On a brighter note, The Woodstock Walk for World Peace was once again a big success. Pete Seeger was there and I hear that he was very happy and all smiles and that there was a huge crowd at the Bearsville Theatre for his performance. Kudos once again to Cameron Williams who helped to set up the walk. And, of course, also to Gloria Waslyn and the Parrots for Peace who are always there for a worthy cause. I have so much more to write and people to thank but there just isn’t enough time to do so today. I do have to as always say thank you to the Beacon Sloop Club for their generous support. I could never show enough gratitude for what they have done for me.

I must close for now. Cameron will post a bunch of new pics for me when he has the time. Bear in mind that he works 18 hour days tirelessly promoting the causes and people that he supports. Pics will be posted, I promise. Just give it a couple of days. Good to hear from TurtleBack. Peace out.


New Hampshire!

August 6, 2010

I just spoke to Tony, and he’s made it to New Hampshire and the White Mountains. He spent the past 2 nights in a torrential downpour and was unable to travel due to the harsh conditions.

He said lightning struck very close to his tent as he was too close to the summit, and above the treeline. The lightning was so bright that the inside of his tent looked like daylight. Here’s the summit Tony was on:

Tony is OK, but he’s burning too many calories—he’s not eating enough, and the food choices he’s made to save money and backpack weight have not been wise—oatmeal and ramen noodles. He
ate well last night, at least. I told him to buy a loaf of bread and PB and jelly, and make the entire loaf into sandwiches. But he needs 4,500 to 6,000 calories a day to maintain muscle mass, and he’s been getting by on about 1,000 calories—so he’s lost 20 lbs. of muscle, since he had no fat to begin with.

He’s in Gorham, so he knows Alan Thomas sent him some food and he’s going to the Post Office. He’s posted thanks to Alan on this blog, and I thank Alan, and the wonderful folks at the Beacon Sloop Club, too.

Now when Tony enters the White Mountains, he will have to stay in AMC huts (no back-country camping is allowed in the White Mountains, except for extreme emergencies)—that’s both a plus and a minus. The plus is that the huts are clean and well maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Club, and that good meals are provided. The minus is that staying in the huts can be very expensive.

Tony will be attending a powwow tomorrow and Sunday, back in Maine (he’s hitchhiking), so if anyone can send him food, or secure a hut reservation for him, that would be fantastic; he’ll be back in Gorham, NH on Monday to continue his journey:

Native American Pow Wow — Gray, ME
August 7, 2010 to August 8, 2010
Representatives of several Maine and New England tribes will be at the park
for two full days with native dancers, drummers, craft vendors, singers and
traditional food booths. Special events will be presented throughout each
day. Location: Maine Wildlife Park, 56 Game Farm Road. Time: 9:30 a.m. –
4:30 p.m. Cost: adults, $7; children, $5. Information: 207-657-4977 or visit
www.mainewildlifepark.com
.

I put $60.00 in Tony’s bank account yesterday, so he ate well last night. Thanks to all for any help you can offer.  —CW


Quick stop

July 31, 2010

Hey everyone, I am just making a quick stop here in Andover, Maine. Thank you so much to Alan Thomas for the food. What a nice treat to have good(and Light) food for a change instead of the usual ramen noodles and such. The past few days has been a challenge with the bad knee. I fell only once though and I came up unharmed. Two days ago I climbed two mountains in one day..Bemis and Old Blue. It was a good day. I felt good and my knee was fine that day. I have just 25 miles left of Maine. It is a tough 25 miles though. Next up is Baldpate mountain which is really steep requiring alot of hand over hand climbing. It will test my knee for sure but I am feeling confident about it. Then there is Mahoussic arm/notch which part of it is described as the hardest mile of the entire trail. The notch itself has huge boulders that you have to climb, go around or under to navigate, sometimes even having to remove your pack to do it. Earlier today a fellow hiker had left a bunch of M.R.E. meals behind. I scooped them up. It was a good find. I met a guy last week named Steve(Turtleback). He’s a guitarist who lives in Utah. I worked at Zion national park and I can tell you that Utah is the most beautiful place I have ever been. Steve is a really good guy. He likes how I am doing this as a Spirit Journey, keeping no schedule, sitting on peaks, being one with nature. He threw me 10 bucks and several packs of ramen noodles! I have included more pics. One of my hat and feathers..hope everyone likes them.

I don’t have much time but I want to get personal for a minute. Anyone who knows me knows that I adore and love all animals. But what are my top 5? Hmmm, some will surprise you.
1) The fox, especially the red fox.
2) (First surprise) The Box Elder bug! I love them. Its like we are soul brothers. I have some sort of kindred spirit to these little guys for some reason. When I was a little kid, our basement would be full of them. I would lay down and within minutes I would be COVERED by them. My stepdad thought it was strange but my mom thought it was awesome.
3) Rodents. All rodents including mice, rats, hamsters, shrews, I mean all rodents. This is the one of the 5 that I think I am most like. I see an awful lot of my personality in rodents. I know what you’re thinking…ewww mice. But I just love them. They are smart, playful and clever and I think downright adorable.
4) The moth. This is hard to explain but in a way he is my protector. He takes care of me. Every night when the mosquitos get at their worse 2 or 3 moths will come see me and basically clean house. Then they fly around, land on me. There is almost a silent communication. On a side note, butterflies seem attracted to me for some reason. I can’t walk down the trail without a butterfly following and landing on me.
5) Predatory birds. Hawk/Eagle/Falcon/Owl. I am fascinated by their power. They are like kings in both appearance and nature. I list them #5 for a reason. Birds in general are the one creature that I fear. I am in awe of them. And defenseless if a falcon decided to come after my head. Other animals I can see them coming and at least have a chance. Not a bird. A hawk could swoop down almost silently and bury his talons into you. One final sidenote: In the 100 mile wilderness their was an Osprey. A mother Osprey to be exact, with a newborn in the nest. This fish hawk was attacking everyone who walked through. I knew about her well in advance so naturally as I approached the attack zone I was filled with dread. Oddly enough, she never came at me. I saw her perched up in the tree and she just let me pass. Only a handful knew this pleasure.

So time is up on this public computer. Late next week I will post from Gorham, New Hampshire. The long, slow, spiritual hiking I have done in Maine will change upon arrival in Gorham. New Hampshire has alot of pay shelters and its hard to stealth camp so I will have to keep moving. The middle states are flat. Then the south is what I am really looking forward to. It will be like going home. Lastly, thanks Mike for the nice comment. Your encouragement means alot. Maybe another time we can hike the A.T. or part of it together. Peace all. Talk at ya soon.


Next stop—Andover, ME

July 26, 2010

Tony’s next stop is Andover, ME, and he can use your food donations—especially Mountain House or Backpacker’s Pantry freeze dried meals. Food donations can be mailed to:

Tony Angel
Care of Postmaster
Andover, ME 04216
Hold for pickup

Tony’s next stop after Andover will be Gorham, NH, and he very much needs meals in order to continue his difficult journey—Maine and New Hampshire comprise the hardest parts of the Appalachian Trail. Your help is greatly appreciated!

The address for Gorham is:

Tony Angel
Care of Postmaster
Gorham, NH 03581
Hold for pickup


Tough Times

July 22, 2010

I have been on a rest and relax here in Rangeley, Maine for the past couple of days. Beautiful town with a huge lake and mountain views. My first night here I was picked up hitchhiking by a man named George Adams. He took me to his place to let me camp in his yard. I had supper with George and his wife, Shirley. I had corned beef hash and eggs. The following day, Shirley bought me an elastic brace(sleeve) for my knee. She then took me to her church’s thrift store so I could pick up some much needed clothing for FREE. This was very nice. I thank them both for their hospitality and generosity.

Now for the bad news. I feel that it is important that readers get a dose of reality as to what I am going through. These times are tough. I am going through sacrifice and suffering hoping to help others as well as bring awareness to some issues. Whenever I have come off the trail for resupply, my bank account has been empty. I have no water filter or purification tablets. No fuel for my stove. No rain gear. I am out of matches. And I have no way of restocking food this time. Not to mention that my knee is tore up something awful but yet I keep going. From here to Gorham, N.H. is another 90 miles…this time with no food. I am constantly filled with worry. What will I have to do to survive the next 90 miles? What will become of me when I return? All of this worry and unknown factors along with very inadequate gear and supplies is really wearing on me. This Spirit Journey has truly been a time of suffering. I often feel defeated and say to myself, "Noone cares. This journey is raising no awareness or support for a homeless fund." I get angry when I feel this way. Something has to change and soon. I don’t want to just be an example of change through suffering. I want people to care about the environment, the affects of strip mining, homelessness and the injustices which occur on a daily basis. I can’t do this alone. I can walk. I can talk to a few people here and there but I am just one person. I am climbing mountains everyday…how much more can I do than just walk, walk, walk and walk some more. I will continue on tomorrow to Gorham, N.H. where the White Mountain National Forest awaits me. I am worried to death about these next set of miles, I really am. But I must continue on for the good of others. I will somehow survive, I always have.

The 2nd annual Woodstock Walk for World Peace is coming up on August 8th. I was part of this last year. There was a really nice turnout and it was nothing but good for the town of Woodstock, N.Y. I encourage everyone to check it out. As we established last year, this walk isn’t anti-military it is about giving peace a chance. A time to come together…May peace prevail on earth.

Peace everyone and remember to let your "Soul Shine."


Spirit Journey continues

July 14, 2010

So here’s an update. I have done a lot of medical research and also spoke to a retired nurse. After explaining all my symptoms as well as specific locations to her she came to a conclusion of which she is fairly certain. She believes I have a torn lateral meniscus, which is a hard cartilage of the knee whose primary functions are to cushion the knee, provide stability and help to evenly distribute weight. So I wanted to know how serious this is. She couldn’t say without knowing how bad the tear is. There are three types of tears. A slight tear which mostly just a nuisance of light pain. A moderate tear which is very painful and may need repair. And a severe tear which is what she thinks I may have which often requires surgery to fix. Its symptoms mirror mine-excruciating pain that comes and goes, clicking sound in the knee, locking of the knee and lack of mobility. Can I still walk and climb mountains? Yes. It will be painful but yes I can do it with limited risk….EXCEPT on the downhills. It is unlikely to tear any further however there is a major consideration. With a severe tear the knee can lock up and when it does it usually means that the meniscus is moving freely and is getting hung up under the knee causing the seemingly bone to bone pain. It feels like electric shock. So what does all this mean? It means that I am continuing on back to the trail. I just have to be extra careful when coming downhill making sure to step down with the opposite knee as well as using my sticks to help stabilize and distribute weight away from the left knee. It is going to be absolutely painful and perhaps later I will have to seek medical treatment. But for now, I am marching on.

The next 32 miles from Stratton to Rangeley will be tough. I will climb at least 7 peaks within this short stretch with a cummulitive climb of over 10,000 feet. This will be by far the hardest challenge to date especially with the knee injury.

Hello to Mayleen. I read your blog as well. We are an awful lot alike, you and me. I wish you the best in your travels. Maybe we will run into each other along the way. And now I must gather up my gear and get ready to go back to the trail. I will post again when I reach Rangeley a few days from now. May peace be with you.

Tony Angel