Greetings from Central VA

Posted in Hike '09 at 1:24 pm by segue

or yes I am still walking despite the VA blues

I am currently 813.4mi into this year. That puts me at Fish Hatchery Road in VA. For the past two years I have been hearing from Sir Boy Floyd about Earl and Lois that run the Dutch Haus B&B in Montebello VA. “You Must stay here!!! they are Fantastic!!!!” he would say. Well know I know just how fantastic they are. They have taken us into their home fed us and shuttled us all over this state so we can slack pack.

There has been so much going on so many miles walked. I have no internet access so there haven’t been regular updates. VA is a beautiful state to walk through, although very long some 540+mi. It seems like it will never end. The only real way to gauge distance is when you finish one map and move onto the next. I am about 274mi from my goal of Pine Grove Furnace PA the mileage half way point of the trail. My friends have come out to spend days or weeks walking with me. Allgood met me at War Spur Shelter and walked for five days with me till Dragons Tooth, till we met up with Boy Floyd. Then Boy Floyd took over in Daleville and will be keeping me company till we both reach Katahdin. His knee recovered from fluid and growing to the size of a grapefruit. His joy, humor and happy go lucky attitude are a welcome addition. I have been feeding off his energy to help motivate me.

I have been meeting lots of incredible people this year. Frank-n-Foot, Willow, Phoenix Rising, Maui Bob, Rocky (from the next town over in Maine and also lived in Mobile for a year. How weird is that?) Narly, Houdini, Jungli, there are more I know I’m forgetting. Houdini joined our walk just south or Daleville, at route 641. Floyd and I got a ride from the HoJo back to the road crossing where Allgood jumped off. There was Houdini, whom I had met prior at the Fellowship Theater (I have for some reason started calling shelters, “theaters”). She was having a bad time and needed someone to walk with for a while. She is a great addition to our friendship we welcome her and shes just so darn adorable. Plus now Floyd and I have a new person to share and rehash all our old stories with.

I have walked lots of long days and lots of short days that that all seem to blur together. It is after all just walking. But it was great and amazing to be up on McAfee Knob with Floyd who had never been to the edge before sitting out there with me. Despite having been up to that spot on several prior occasions. I also found a beautiful campsite just passed Rice Field where I spent one glorious night watching an amazing sunset. Then stayed till 1p the next day chatting with every hiker that came by before I realized I had 20mi to walk to meet up with Allgood at War Spur.


Thoughts and Ideas

Posted in Hike '09 at 12:20 pm by segue

or Catching up from Bristol TN.

I finally have some internet access from Boy Floyds friend here in Bristol, Uncle Mike. So I will attempt to play catch up with dates and miles to the best of my Lyme riddeled swiss cheese memory. We made it to Dimascus Va for trail days on Sat the 16th of May. Floyd is now joining in the walk North to The Pine Grove Furnace in PA. Dimascus is about the half way point. The next 540mi are all in VA.


April 24

Posted in Hike '09 at 1:03 pm by segue

11mi to Mollies Ridge Shelter

Stayed at the Fontana Dam Hilton shelter with about 30 people. More then I had seen on the trail up to that point. Hometown and I got a good early start. DId I mention that Hometown joined the walk! Great company, good stories, somking bears (and thats when I first noticed the bear) and vending machines.

 Walked across the dam and into The Smokies. went from Fontana Dam at 1775′ to Mollies Ridge 4570′ in 11mi.


4 days to Fontana Dam

Posted in Hike '09 at 1:03 pm by segue

It was a race to Fontana to met up with Hometown!

April 21 6mi to campsite got out of Franklin much much later then I should have. I had four days to do about 70 miles and this wasn’t a great start but at least I was able to leave. Its hard once you get a zero under your belt to want to really get back on the trail. Esp leaving good friends. Black Betty drove me back out to the trail head, opened the door and told me to get out! LOL just kidding.

April 22 18mi Cold Spring Shelter. Met Moe, Red Lion, and C.J.

April 23 20mi Very hot day stopped a lot for breaks. First 13mi feeling good. When I got Down into the gorge at N.O.C. there is an outfitter, resturant and hostel there. Took a long afternoon break to get out of the heat and then at 4:30 pushed on. What Hometown said was an “easy” climb. 7mi uphill with a elevation gain of about 4,ooo’. I was expecting to get a few more miles in this day but it was getting dark and the shelter was there.

April 24 22mi – 14mi = 8mi Did the 8mi into Stacoah Gap got in about noon. Only had about 14 mi to Fontana Dam to meet Hometown, but couldn’t get there in time to get my mail drop. So Hometown and Black Betty picked me up on the way. It was great to see them again and catch a hitch.


Day 9 April 19

Posted in Hike '09 at 4:47 pm by segue

15.4mi Beech Gap to –> Rock Gap

Woke to, wait for it, wait, you guessed it, rain, cold cold rain. Packed in tent again, I’m getting good at that, ate a cold breakfast. Headed out to Carter Gap Shelter 3mi. to have breakfast out of the rain. Legs felt good and strong lots of energy, I think it was the draw of trying to make Franklin NC to see Hometown and Black Betty.

Climed Albert Mt 5220′ first hill so far that reminds me of a real trail and home. Was a good climb into the misty mountains. No view from the top with firetower. Down hill fast. Trying everytime rain would break to make contact with Hometown and let him know I was close. Finally just above Big Spring Shelter I found a cell and let him know I was coming in fast wet and cold. He let me know that Black Betty would be in the parking lot just below the shelter in 20!!!!! Thats 20min to you and me! Now it’s not easy to run with a pack and bad ankle but I kept up a stiff pace.

There she was Black Betty calling my name, it was love at first sight. Dry warm car and good friends. Made it! got to take a great hot shower wash clothes and share a good dinner with friends. The trail really does provide. Thank You Hometown and Black Betty!


Day 8 April 18

Posted in Hike '09 at 4:34 pm by segue

16.6mi Plumorchard –> Beech Gap

Slept till 8:30 got a slow start to a beautiful hot day. Still felt a little weak but ate a big breakfast and drank a lot more water before getting started. Legs weak but taking it easy. Made the GA/NC border in 4.3mi Waaa-Hooooo! One down and five to go. NC really wanted to let you know you were no longer in GA. Trail maientance changed and two big steep climbs as soon as in NC. Made it to Muskrat Creek Shelter for lunch, “Come for the Muskrat stay for the Muskrat Love”. after a good long lunch headed out 4.9 for Standing Indian Shelter.

Note to self stay away from shelters during the weekend!!! All the sudden there were people everywhere. Boy Scout Troup and weekend Nancys. Somehow I missed the shelter and ended up on top of Standing Indian Mt. 5498′. Well I was away from eveyone now I just needed to find a water source. Three miles downhill to Beech Gap and a “water” source which was a muddy trickle but better then nothing. I made it into camp by dark cooked good hot dinner and crawled into my bag.


Day 7 April 17

Posted in Hike '09 at 4:29 pm by segue

8mi Deep Gap –> Plumporchard Gap Shelter

Beautiful hot day! Just couldn’t get any energy. Felt tired and weak all day. Don’t know if I was dehydrated or just worn out from long miles. Was hoping to get to GA/NC state line. Listened to my body and stopped at the first shelter early. Drank a ton of water set up tent made dinner and went to bed early.

Sometimes you just gotta do what you can do. On to NC tomorrow.


Day 6 April 16

Posted in Hike '09 at 4:28 pm by segue

15.3mi Blue Mt. –> Deep Gap

Woke to a beautiful day for a walk, cool and brisk but sunny. Legs feel stronger, very sore from 18mi yesterday. Lots of PUDs Pointless Ups and Downs. Till Kelly Knob 4275′ last hill climb of 1000′ in 1mi. Also climed Tray Mt 4930′. Still shooting for Franklin NC on Sunday and Hometown!


Day 5 April 15

Posted in Hike '09 at 4:22 pm by segue

18mi Neels Gap –> Blue Mt Shelter

My first 18mi day, legs felt good and strong till the very last mi uphill to Blue Mt. 4029′. Got started early up at 5a and on the trail by 7:30. Very cold overcast 40 and wind gusts to about 40mph. Turned beautiful about noon, by then had already but in 11mi to Low Gap Shelter. Ate lunch and decided since everyone else that stayed in Neels Gap that night would be staying there to push on to Blue Mt Shelter.

Beautiful sunset from the shelter while cooking dinner and meeting three new through hikers. Seems also people this close to the start haven’t chosen trail names yet.


Day 4 April 14

Posted in Hike '09 at 2:45 pm by segue

3mi Woods Hole –> Neels Gap

Short day into Neels Gap. Woke to rain still falling so packed inside tent when I came out had to play “Where is my food bag?”. At camp we hang our food bags from branches about 15′ up for they are not as likely to be gotten by bears or other critters. Well something small got mine a squirrel or racoon ate through my bag. I found a nice neat pile of what was left about 20′ away. Since I was going into Neels Gap the next day I only had a couple bars left. But they also ate my honey and soap. I collected what was left and headed out.

Short steep climb 4461′ to the highest point in GA. Blood Mt. totaly socked in fog so no views. The shelter is an old one made of stone kinda spooky. Made even spookier by the mist and clouds. Headed down hill into Neels Gap.

The Walasi-Yi Center is the only building on the AT that the trail goes through the breezeway. Its also an outfitter and hostel. Traditionaly where through hikers get there first equipment shakedown. I had my first drop box sent there and was looking forward to a hot shower and warm dry bed for the night, and as Terrapin Flyer said “I’m probably the only person to go into Neels and not buy any new equipment.”

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