Video: My Triple Crown Experience

It’s been over a year since I’ve returned from completing my 2,500 mile thru-hike of the Continental Divide Trail. In October, I was fortunate enough to focus my experience, step up to the plate, and give the Keynote presentation at the Midwest Winter Camping Symposium.

While attending there, I was interviewed for a series of instructional videos produced by Don Kivelus, of Four Dog Stove.

Here’s the video ( 9 minutes) that was just released yesterday by Four Dog Stove:

Published on Feb 16, 2015
“Triple Crown packpacker Tom Jamrog reveals some realities of long distance hiking with Don Kevilus of Four Dog Stove. Tom talks about overcoming obstacles and surviving winter camping.”

[Disclaimer: Four Dog Stove was Tom Jamrog’s primary sponsor on his Pacific Crest (2010) and Continental Divide (2013) Trail thru-hikes. ]

Snowshoeing up Bald Rock Mountain

Snowshoeing.  It’s where it’s at right now.  At Camden Hills State Park, I enjoyed a quick loop up to one of the best lookouts around these parts-  Bald Rock Mountain, elevating itself a mere eleven hundred feet above adjacent Penobscot Bay .

Here’s the map of the loop. screenshot  I had originally planned to head out to Frohock Mountain, but that trail had not been broken out, and I wasn’t sure I had the time to head out there and back before dark. There is a lot of snow here. Several places in Maine broke the all time record for 10 day snowfall totals- approaching 6 feet. There is three to four feet of snow out here and it is still powdery.

Frohock is the hill just northeast of this loop.  I would like to get out to Frohock, but want someone go with me so that we can take turns breaking trail.  I just got this crazy idea to snowshoe all 27.5 miles of trails here.

I hiked right up the Multiuse Trail, then took a left a half mile out to veer toward Frohock. I made it all the way to up the summit of Bald Rock Mountain where no one had yet broken a trail from the lower lean-to up to the summit. Here’s the second (upper) lean-to, a place where folks like me can stay the night for a quick local adventure.

After I hit the shelter, I slogged up the steep granite ledge to the top, which was buried in snow today. I was alone, but had dozens of islands to communicate with from the top.

This hike is so good. After you take in the view, it’s really all of two complete miles of downhill to the Steven’s Corner parking lot.

Descending Bald Rock

Descending Bald Rock

I like completing this hike in the late afternoon, when the sun is starting to set.
Frohock from Multi-use Trail

Frohock from Multi-use Trail

I plan to journey out to Frohock this coming Saturday morning at 8:30. If any one else wants to help me break trail to Frohoc before the next blizzard comes in Saturday afternoon with a foot or more of new powder, come on by.

Having fun with the Dark Sky weather app

I have a new weather app on my iPhone-Dark Sky

I first heard about it on a music blog that I subscribe to- Bob Lefsetz’s blog.  Here’s his own introduction to Dark Sky.  This is an interesting read in itself.

Dark Sky is highly interesting.

We’ve had almost daily snowstorms in Maine in February, totaling over 4 feet of accumulated powder since Jan. 29.  For this last storm, Dark Sky was the only weather program initially forecasting snow on Sunday ( yesterday)-  we got a total of 5 “ here.

I’m not aware of any announcements like this on other weather apps:  “Snow starting in 14 minutes ,” and even more amazing is that it actually comes true-most of the time.  I want to be outside every day.  I now plan my bike rides and hikes around Dark Sky.  If there’s a break in the weather, I get an announcement about it.

Her a good example:



No only does DK let me know how much snow is going to fall today, it’s telling me when and how much at differing times during the day.

The maps are stunning.  You toggle back and forth between precipitation and temperature. Here’s a screenshot of the temp today.

Cold coming this week

Cold coming this week

What you don’t get with this pic is that it’s a video clip with the actual movement of these large radar progressions pulsating for the upcoming week.

It’s a heck of a snowy sub zero ride this week in Maine, but I’m digging charting it with Dark Sky.

The bad news for some folks is that it’s only available for the iPhone-sorry, no Android.

[Disclosure: I paid the $3.99 ]

Forests for Maine’s Future – Fresh from the Woods Journal – Wood: an enduring energy source

The sometimes mesmerizing look of a fire blazing in a wood stove. (Photo: The Rankin File)

The sometimes mesmerizing look of a fire blazing in a wood stove. (Photo: The Rankin File)

Forests for Maine’s Future – Fresh from the Woods Journal – Wood: an enduring energy source.

I have my energy source at hand, and plan to keep it that way.  Small house, highly insulated, southern exposure, and 5 acre plot of land, mostly wooded.  I’m good with wood.

Good read here- it’s surprising how few garner the most accessible fuel there is- “As late as 1940, 53 percent of Maine homes were heated with wood, according to U.S. Census data. By 1970 that had dropped to 2 percent. After the oil price shocks of the 1970s it shot up to 15 percent. By 2000 it had dipped to 6.4 percent and in 2009 stood at 8.7 percent.”

Go pho it! Will Vietnamese soup keep me lean and avoid statins ?

Today's spinach/ tofu pho

Today’s spinach/ tofu pho

Pho. I’m still unsure about how to pronounce this Vietnamese soup, but I am getting pretty good at whipping up a big bowl at lunchtime.

My cholesterol numbers from blood work done last October are a concern, specifically my LDL of 140. Given my family history and the new guidelines, I was prescribed Lipitor by a local cardiologist. I filled the prescription, but decided to let it sit on the shelf until April, when I’ve scheduled a visit with my primary care physician. I’ll get another lipid profile blood test and check the new numbers.

I asked for options, so the cardiologist gave me a dietary recommendations protocol to lower LDL. He told me that some of his patients had lowered their LDL by 40% by following these guidelines.
In sum, I am avoiding all deep fat fried foods (no more fried clams), and high fructose corn syrup, which pretty much eliminates most of the food sold in a supermarket.
Meat, bread, pasta, and potatoes are on my “ Reduce” list.
Let me introduce my “Include Daily” dozen: plants, psyllium powder, a handful of nuts ( mostly walnuts and pistachios), fish / fish oil capsules, a bar of dark chocolate, 1 cup v8, 1 cup yogurt, extra Virgin olive oil, red yeast extract capsules, soy/soy milk or almond milk, and a glass of red wine.
I am taking this grand nutritional experiment seriously. There are already immediate benefits-like weight loss. I have always carried 212-215 pounds on this 6’2” in winter. Right now, I’m down to 199. I like that.

I think the pho is responsible for the weight loss, and I am banking on it even helping the blood work results in April.

Pho is a traditional hot soup, primarily served with noodles, beef, and vegetables and herbs. I have tweaked it. It’s typically 500 calories for a 22 oz. bowl. More commercial bowls are prepared to yield 300-800 calories. I have kept track of the calories of the ingredients. This lunch nets me 400 calories, maybe some day as much as 500.  There is no oil in the soup-it has low carbs, and no fat, except when I occasionally make adaptations, like this kielbasa/ sweet potato pho.

kielbasa pho

kielbasa pho

Here’s my new daily lunch recipe. It’s really tasty. I vary it with different veggies, and protein. :

20 oz. well water
vegetarian broth ( powder) 30 calories
2 ounces wide rice noodles 180 calories
assorted sliced veggies- e.g., green onion, broccoli, carrot slices, mung bean sprouts 50 calories
miso 30 calories
herbs-1 slice fresh ginger, basil,
vegetarian protein source- tofu, Quorn, chickpeas 100 calories
lime juice
Lan Chi Black Bean Sauce with Chili
I have yet to add hoisin sauce, buy may work that in too.

I start eating with chopsticks and finish with a spoon.

Here are a couple more pics of my gustatory creations.

standard bowl with Quorn

standard bowl with Quorn

This lunch takes about 15 minutes to prepare. Go Pho it!

fresh mung beans in this one

fresh mung beans in this one

advice for the beginner Hiker on the Appalachian Trail


Just when winter turn to bitter cold, the snow deepens , and we dream of spring. Thoughts turn to the possibility of a long walk. Here’s some sound advice for those of you who are considering a walk in the woods, from my friend Joe.

Originally posted on Joe's Junk Drawer:

the dawn of time

I have backpacked since joining the Boy Scouts ( 1966…) and many of the things that I take for granted seem to fade into my own psyche until I see somebody else struggling with the obvious elements of how to have a successful trip. Yes, folks, at present I am old and fat, but I still know how to have a good time and to feel comfortable when hiking….. I suppose this is because I have had my share of terrible camping experiences, and learned from each time.


On this present trip I got up close and personal with a few hikers that were totally new to this sport. I could have stayed my distance, experiencing the schadenfreude of their trip, but I tried to be useful without being too directive. I do have some advice, before you go.


first and foremost, if you have…

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