Wednesday, April 29, 2009

View heading to Atkins VA. Songbirds everywhere. The trees have really greened up the last couple of days.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

We had a great day it Grayson Highlands. Leify had a food drop in Troutdale so we caught a ride into town. A local church has a hostile so we got dropped off there. A group was having a bday party at the church and they had leftover food they gave us. I am here with Leify, Zen, Duddly, and Rocket.

View from elk gardens

Monday, April 27, 2009

Hello Everyone

Hello everyone. I am in Troutdale having breakfast and will be back on the trail in a few mins. I have a few pictures and updates to send as soon as I have cell service. None of us had service in the Highlands, but I hope to be back in service later this afternoon. Talk soon.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Slept great last night and finished reading Crossfire Trail. I got an early start and plan to camp at Elk Garden tonight. This is the view from Buzzard Rock.

Apr 24 update. Hiking out of town via the Virginia Creeper trail. This is one of the most scenic rails to trails programs and has been a favorite of mine for a while. I set my hammock up right on the creek and plan to sleep without the tarp tonight.

Friday, April 24, 2009

April 24 Update

Well I am about to leave Damascus and head into the Grayson Highlands. The next section is my favorite area of the trail (remember I have not done any of the trail in the Northeast). Backpacker magazine picked this section as the best 3 day section on the Appalachian Trail. So in other words I am pretty excited about it. I should have phone service and will be able to post pictures via my phone.

Mom - I sent some of my winter gear home so be looking for it. Please keep it all together because I will need you to send it back to me when I reach New Hampshire.

Appalachian Trail April 23 Update

Sweet---- thats the only way I know how to describe it. After picking up new trail runners in Damascus and slackpacking (well ok actually I wasn't even wearing a pack), I did the 21 miles in about 6 hours. I ran most of the ridgetops and walked anywhere it was rough ground or very much slope. The weather is fantastic. I did not take my camera with me because I wanted to go without a bag, but the views were great as well.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Damascus, VA has been like heaven to us.

Well after turning a 3 day hike into 6 days with the sickness, etc we were all low on food and honestly had no interest in eating what was left in our food bags. We were 33 miles from Damascus, but arranged to be picked up 21 miles away to be shuttled into town. We will head back out tomorrow morning early to do the 21 miles into Damascus. Snooze and Ziggy stayed on the trail and are going to try to hike the 33 miles into town. I expect them to arrive around midnight tonight.

I had hoped to make it to Damascus before having to buy a new pair of trail runner and I just did make it. Today the bottom of my soles have torn so the timing was nearly perfect. Mt. Rogers Outfitters were great, as always, and I picked up a new pair of Montrail Trail Runners.

Damascus is a cute little town and is known as Trail City USA and is known to be the friendliest town on the Appalachian Trail. They host Trail Days in May where the town of 900 becomes home to about 15,000 past hikers or people who are thinking about hiking the trail. Every vendor will be there. It is hosted by Backpacker Magazine.

Well now I am off to Subway for the meatball sub I have been craving for two days now. BTW, my phone is charging so I will be able to post more often.

Finally a night where no one got sick. We are heading out today. Catch you in Damascus.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The saga continues. Two more

The saga continues. Two more are out for the count today. They are going to try and get some food down now and hopefully get out of here Wed.

Monday, April 20, 2009

What's going on? That's what we would like to know. We all cooked out at Watauga and later that night three people got sick. Four people left on the 19th and Pokey, Glowworm and I stayed behind to help. Later Glowworm got sick so it was just Pokey and I. Everyone else was sick for most of the day. Today we moved on and 7 miles later we ran into 3 of the 4 that had left the day before and they were all puking. Two others we stayed with at the hostile are sick as well. We all just want to get to Damascus at this point. I still feel fine and the others seem to be able to keep food down. Glowworm is heading back to the hostile. We still are not sure what it is but at least everyone is getting better. We all use hand sanitizer often so it is weird everyone has gotten sick. Pokey has a degree in community health from Princeton so I am just sticking close to her till this is over

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Watauga Lake. Cell Batt is low so will not be able to text much till Damascus. I feel great now by the way. I think I am going to swim for awhile.

Back on the trail and heading to Watauga Lake.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Well I had my worst day on the trail. We did 18 miles yesterday and when I got to camp I took two Ibuprocein before eating anything. I started feeling sick right away but tried to make myself eat anyway. After a couple of hours I turn i n. About 11 last night I feel it and throwup in my hammock all over sleeping bag and clothes. I couldn't stop. I got out and put on what few clothes I had left then went to the fire. I stayed there till 3am then figured I would hike the six miles to kincora hostel. I made it to the hostile this morning and washed my bag, hammock, etc. I feel ok now just tired and no appetite. 24 miles without sleep so I imagine tomorrow will be tough.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Jones falls. long day today.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April 14 Update. Well another day in the rain but it was a super day. On hump mtn the clouds would open up for twenty seconds or so to expose a view of the mtns and then it would close again. It was a pretty easy hike to Hwy 19 where we are drying our clothes out. I am with coach again and two girls I met my first day on the trail. Maggie, someone else I met early on the trail is here as well. I have been hiking with redbear for a few days as well and his dry sense of humor is always entertaining. We are all at the Mountain House hostel and are all planning to get out early in the morning for a long day. We think tomorrow is supposed to be nice.

April 13 Update. Well this is my home for the night. It is an old barn converted to a shelter. Most everyone has damp gear and with all the fog hanging it only makes it worse. This barn supposedly has a fantastic view, but as you can see I couldn't tell. I meet three new people known as the MD3. They are three girls from Maryland and are fun to be around. I was also surprised to see Coach again. I thought he was off the trail but he only had to go home for a short time to do a few things and is back on the trail.

April 13 Update. Well I wanted to make it up and over Roan in one day and not camp on top of the mtn for this reason. It snowed overnight and the winds on the bald were the strongest I have faced to date. I was being blown all over the place and there were a couple of people that were literally blown over. You have to remember with a rainsuit and backpack you have alot more surface area and the impact from the wind is considerably more. It seemed to take forever to get off the balds where you are less exposed. It is still a mystery why the balds exist. Some say that indians burned the ridgelines and others say that there was always to much grazing taking place for trees to be established.

April 12- It is great to be back on the trail but I am not going to get in many miles. We have some weather moving in and I do not want to get caught on Roan Mtn. I want to be able to get up and over in one day. Roan Mtn is my last mtn over 6000 ft until I reach New Hampshire. It is considered the coldest mtn on the southern half of the A.T. trail.

Monday, April 13, 2009

App Trail April 11- I had a nice weekend with family at Safe Haven Farms. We went up to Roan Mtn for a short hike in the fog and wind then drove over to Elk River Falls. The weather was much better at the lower elevations. It was a great weekend off the trail.

Friday, April 10, 2009

This might not appear to be a good view but it is pretty nice from where I am sitting. In a few hours my bro in law, sis, mom, and three nephews will be pulling up. They have a cabin rented for the weekend. After hiking... I mean slipping and sliding all the way down the mtn in rain and sleet (or it might have been small hail) I am at least out of the weather for now.
I am starting to get used to the mud. It is almost like rollerblading except instead of your foot moving forward you know it will slide downhill. I think I am starting to account for it now without thinking.

April 9 App Trail Update. With the snow and mud the condition of the trail was pretty bad. Unfortunately one of my favorite hikers slipped and hurt his knee today. A section hiker called 911 when he got to the road and the EMT's arrived shortly afterwards. There were about a dozen volunteers who walked or came by ATV with them. We want to wish Jbird the best and thank the volunteers for their help.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

This is known as the beaty spot. I could tell the are actively doing controlled burns in the area to restore the grassland habitat.

Apr 8 App Trail update. Most of the hike out of town wasn't bad as far as snow, but once we hit the top of the ridge it was slick and very deep in spots. A few places had about ten inches but most of the balds were exposed to the sun and were not bad at all.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A few more pictures from the Appalachian Trail

This is the first butterfly I saw this year and it landed right in front of me.

Appalachian Trail Picture Updates

Pictures of flowers taken along the Appalachian Trail

With the storm I decided to stay in Erwin for another day which gave me time to go by Walgreens and have some of my pictures burned to CD so I can add them to my blog. I hope you enjoy.

This is the view heading into Erwin TN. It was sleeting so it was a welcomed site to see the town. The hostile was full with hikers either sick or waiting out the storm so I got a ride into town and got a hotel. It turns out mudflap, railroad, critter, and murta are staying here as well. We can not get a good feel for how windy it is going to be tonight so I think we are staying an extra day. It looks like the mtns will end up with about 4" of snow but it will not last long.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Hello from Erwin TN

Hello everyone, I will write more later but I have a few things to do before dark. I am in town so I did not want any of you to worry. I will see what happens with the storm tonight and I will either head back out tomorrow or the next day. It is kind of nice to be in town and able to watch the game tonight though. Today was a rather easy hike. I did just over 11 miles in about 4:20. Oddly enough it was the downhill section that slowed me down. I still think I would rather go uphill than downhill. Don't get me wrong, some hills are killer, but my feet take such a beating on steep downhills. I shouldn't complain though, still no knee problems or blisters. Talk soon.

Apr 5 App Trail Update. View from big bald mtn. Meet a local on the mountain that gave me a little history on the area. It was nice to have a sunny day on the bald. Loretta has family nearby so they are going to drive us to town for groceries and let us shower, do laundry, and sleep at there place.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I wish there was a way to describe the number of songbirds out this morning.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Apr 4 App Trail update. Well after a chilly night the sun came out and it turned into a nice day. I crossed another interstate today, I26. We had several nice climbs today and everyone is tired. I am reading in my hammock while the rest of the crew are sitting by the fire and singing. It is a nice peaceful night but I need to to turn in so I will write more tomorrow.

Friday, April 3, 2009

April 3 App Trail - This picture is a good representation of what we have been hiking in the last couple of days. This picture was taken on the approach to Big Butt Mtn. Big Butt Mtn is well known because it is also the 300 mile mark on the A.T.
We are staying at Flint Mtn Shelter tonight.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I was asked about water conditions and bathrooms. Water has not been to scarce. About every 3 to 5 miles we have a spring, creek, or other water source. This is an outhouse taken at a hostile. Most shelters have a privy which is basically a toilet elevated a few feet off the ground. with a few boards around them for privacy. You are supposed to throw leaves in as well to speed up the compost process. I have taken several pics of them with the cam to make a bathroom book(idea i stole from meg and jenn). I will take a pic soon with cam to post. I usually just end up going in the woods and usually just before a large climb to carry less weight. jk

April 2 App Trail - Short day today. We started at the spring mtn shelter and hiked down about three miles to Allen Gap. We had all heard about a couple that opened their house to hikers and feed them well. We arrived to waffles and beef stew and finished with a choc sunday. Of course I had to have a root beer float to wash everything down. It really was great and I hear they fed over 500 hikers last year.
With weather moving in we decided to only push another five miles to the shelter. We did not want to stay on the ridge tonight with weather moving in.
I am told that tomorrow has some great views so I am hoping the weather cooperates.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Rich Mountain fire tower. And yes the dog did climb the stairs up the fire tower.
View leaving hot springs.