Oh My…YURI!?!?!?!

At noon today, I went out to get our mail. Expecting the usual junk mail, I almost had a heart attack upon opening the mailbox door. There in all his glory stood Yuri.

To those who don’t know about Yuri, he has been hiking with me for the past few years. Last year when launching my epic journey on the AT, Yuri went missing. I was on day 1 of the hike. Yuri was right beside me on my pack.

At about mile 6 I sat down for a break only to discover Yuri was no longer riding high on my backpack. Heart break are the only words that come to my mind at the moment I realized my hiking partner was no more. I posted an article on Appalachian Trials of MIA Yuri. (http://appalachiantrials.com/first-days-of-trail-life/) I kept hoping someone would come across him and let me know of his where abouts. But alas, this was not to be.

Now it is March 29th, 2016 and low and behold he shows up.

He had this fantastical tale of where he has been. I myself wonder about some of the details. (He tends to exaggerate a bit.) Here is the tale in all of it’s fine glory:

YURI. “So, there I was bumping along on your backpack enjoying the sights when out of no where there was a crash & the lights went out!!  I don’t know how long I was out but when I woke up…WOW!

Everything was white & I was in an unfamiliar place; white towels, the feeling was so soft & warm. Then this lady asked what kinds of treatment I wanted. Treatments!?! I thought, what the heck is this place. Then the woman explained to me I was at a Resort SPA! A SPA! I told them to give me the works & figured you’d be there soon to join…

But you never came…maybe spa’s aren’t for you. (ME. A lot of eye rolling)

Anyway after waiting a year, I figured I better get in the first box out of here and head home…and…HERE I AM!

ME. Unbelievable!

YURI. I know, RIGHT!

ME. Well, you are going to be so happy in a moment, I have big news.

YURI. You do?

ME. Yes, I got hurt coming out of the Smokies and had to get off the trail at mile 309.

YURI. Oh my…that is bad news. Not big news, but bad news.

ME. Oh, that isn’t the big news. The big news is that we leave tomorrow morning to head back to the AT.


ME. AND, I figured a great way to make sure you don’t jump, oops I mean fall off of my backpack again!
Story by Andrea & images by Sookie

Quick note from Andrea

image Today was my last day having to go to my job. Not just one job one of the 3 I had been working. Yay! Now I’m all done with the work part. Right now I’m loading up an iPod shuffle so I have some tunes when I want to drown out nature or my own thoughts or whatever other reason. All I have left to do now before we head out Wednesday morning is clean my room. Ugh. It was pretty well clean until I sold my car ( crying face emoji ) and emptying out my car fill the floor of my room back up. I had everything in there from floaties for at the lake to roller blades, snow shoes, blankets, mittens, a few jackets for each season along with three bags of who knows what else. Plus 5 pairs of footwear! So yeah my room is a pig pen again ( as usual ). So just clean my room and cuddle the shit ( yes I swear and will be swearing throughout my posts ) out of my kids ( pets ). And see a few friends… Yeah then I’ll be ready to go. ( nervous face emoji )



This is How We Roll

Andrea breaking in her underquilt.

I must say it has been an interesting week. Monday morning I had my #19 molar pulled out of my mouth. The sound of cracking teeth is right up there with the nails scratching on a chalk board. Neither sound you should ever have to hear in your lifwtime. I’m just saying… Afterwards, I met Andrea at work to talk to our coworkers at Minnesota Discovery Center about our hike and have a pie social as our send off. We then headed home. Me to rest my sore mouth and Andrea to prepare for the trail by cleaning or sleeping, I’m not sure which.

So on Tuesday, I began my day laying on the couch and Andrea had a nanny job, which she told me later, that her and the baby sacked out most of the day.

In the evening our 3rd hiking partner, Andrew came out for supper and last minute trip planning. Packs were weighed pre-food and water. Andrew’s-20, Andrea-15, and mine 22. We are ready and raring to go.


Wednesday morning I woke up to snow flakes drifting down from the sky. We were about to get our first snowstorm of 2016. Another day was mostly spent on the couch, as all schools and even our place of employment were shut down for the day. Andrea also spent most of the morning sleeping.


By evening, my jaw was in significant pain. I realized that I hadn’t been rinsing my mouth with the right mix of salt and baking soda. Ugh! Pays to read all instructions. I got right on the right mix and the pain has lessoned. Whew. Considering I am allergic to most antibiotics.

It would be great to say we are physically ready for the demands of the trail. But as you can see by the picture at the top of this post of Andrea breaking in her underquilt, that would just be a lie. I guess we will just have to take our time getting up our miles in the beginning of our hike, because…that’s how we roll.


1 Month from Stepping on the Trail

It is hard to believe that Andrea a I are only 32 days from stepping on to the Appalachian Trail. For me, comes the worries of a weak ankle. For Andrea, all the fears of being new to the trail. I could try to explain to her what the AT (Appalachian Trail) is like, but I don’t think that I could do justice. The trail is just something each individual needs to experience for once self. I didn’t want the trail to keep calling my name, but somehow it does. So, it is with much excitement and also fear that we look forward to plant our feet on the AT.

I have been busy drying food for mail drop resupplies. My gear has remained the same. Andrea is going this weekend to St.Paul, MN to look for a slightly larger liter backpack. Her other backpack could probably work during the summer, but we still might have some cool days in the beginning of April.

We will be sharing this blog, so sometimes Andrea will be writing and sometimes I will be. You will always know who as we will sign out trail names at the end.  I received my name from my family before I left for the AT in March of 2015. Andrea will be receiving her trail name on the trail.

For those new to the terminology of the AT, we will try to explain as we go. We will be NOBO (North Bound) and starting from Hot Springs NC. we may do a Flipflop, or we may just turn around from Katahdin to walk 2000 miles. The decision is 5 months away and to early to make. We hope you enjoy our journey and all of our adventures to come.

We named out blog “Beyond the Range”, because we live in Minnesota at a place called the Iron Range. Iron mining and then taconite mining are a way of life, but there is always room for adventure beyond the Iron Range!

Sookie and Andrea