Thursday, May 17, 2012


Tarping at Hog Camp Gap at mile 807.4 after 1.5 zero's in Buena Vista. My ankle is not getting better. I need some real time off. I'm thinking I should listen to my body. I'm probably going to be going home for an open ended amount of time. I'd like to say for certain that I'll be back on the trail soon but I really don't know, and it hurts to admit that. I want this. But every step hurts.
So 10 mies up the trail I have arranged a shuttle to Wynesboro where I'll make my final arrangements/decisions.
This campsite is really cool. There's a swing! Easy Strider and I built a nice fire and Odd Bird and Yappy hang around too.
E.S. and I ran into Yappy on our way out of town, where she had already found a ride so getting back to the trail was pretty easy. We made it a whole 6 miles when we found this awesome campsite and couldn't pass it up.
Crossed a nice bald today, in good weather too! what a treat.
I'm interested to see what the dutch haus will be like tomorrow (they are doing my shuttle). I think Bat is there tonight.


I left the "shelter" this morning and headed towards the bank so I could call for a shuttle and actually have money to give the driver. But on my way there, an SUV pulls over in front of me and the driver asks if I wanted a ride. With no need to go to the bank now. I readily accepted and off we went. Turns out he is a trail maintainer and was headed my way anyway. What Luck!
20 trail miles today brings me to Brown Mountain Creek Shelter. Currently at mile 799.3. First thing tomorrow morning I'll be celebrating 800 miles down. I'm proud of myself.
 I had another nose bleed today. Pretty bad, but at least it wasn't raining at the time. But it was raining pretty much the entire rest of the day. Which is unfortunate, because there were a few overlooks that greeted me with nothing but a grey slate. But overall very moderate trail today. We'll see what tomorrow brings.


15 miles today to the town of Glasgow Va. There's a shelter in the town (on 9th street specifically) for us to stay in. I have the whole thing to myself and its a shame because its really nice. There's a shower and everything! Needless to say, tonight is a good night.
I was actually able to get my camera working again, but it is on its last leg for sure. The screen is doing all sorts of funny stuff, but it should last me till Waynesboro, where I might be able to buy a new one.
Today while hiking nature called, and she had a lot to say. So I dropped my pack and headed into the woods to do my business. Not 2 minutes after I dropped throu, Sterling comes strolling by and sees my abandoned pack sitting on the trail. Of course he does what anyone else would do and starts looking around for the owner. And then he spotted me. Squatting up against a tree. I appologised for him having to see that and he said everyone does it as he averted his eyes and moved on as quickly as possible.
There's a hiker box in this shelter, it gave me tonights dinner of minestrone soup, and tomorrows breakfast of raisin bran. I'm loving the cereal for breakfast.
There were also a few candles here, and I've been burning one of them, it gives the shelter a nice glow now that it's dark out.
I came around a corner today and there was a deer standing on the trail 30 feet or so up ahead just staring back at me. We locked eyes and I turned sideways like you would to show a dog that you are not a threat, and it worked! She started approaching me untill she was maybe 15 feet away then walked off of the trail and stopped not one body length from the trail and let me pass. As I walked past her at the closest point I could have reached out and pet her with my hiking poles. So I just stood and watched for a minute before passing on. Too bad at the time my camera was still FUBAR.


The 10 miles today got me to the shelter at around 3p.m. with so much time I think 3 dinners are in order.
My ankle is still acting up. I really hope I didn't do anything serious to it.
Tomorrow I'll be doing 14 miles to Glasgow VA. Apparently theres a shelter in town, so we'll see how that goes.
As I was writing that, a guy came up and introduced himself and has now gone back to his car to get me pancake, eggs, and sausage. Mayb 4 meals tonight.
The weather has remained cold. Enough that there is still snow on the ground.
[2hours later]
I'm So full! John fed Socrates and I untill we had to tell him to stop cooking. It was fantastic. He even topped it all off by giving each of us a bag of peanut M&M's. Perfect.
I saw an FAA tower and "the guillotine" but alas, no camara.


Bryant Ridge Shelter tonight at mile 754 with Yellowtail, Sunroof, Steevies(now Kermit), and Green Thumb.
FINALLY had a full on snow storm today. It started just after I left (late) this morning, and lasted t'll almost 1p.m. It was so great, everything looked so different coated in white. Very cool. It also makes me very happy that I decided not to switch to a lighter sleeping bag. I was super warm in this 15 degree bag.
Somewhere between the rain, the cold, and the snow, my camera broke. The LCD is white and gives no response now. Oh Well. I'll have to craigslist a new one.
If I keep moving at this pace I'll be in Waynesboro on Saturday, and have to wait t'll Monday for the Post Office to open. So I'm taking a half day tomorrow, which should get me there Sunday so I can stop by the P.O. Monday morning on my way out of town.
Time to turn in for another chilly night. Kermit has her tent set up inside the shelter. She also an't use a lighter, so she carries matches. Something about not being able to commit to being that close to the flame.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Just shy of 14 miles today. Made it to Bobblets Gap Shelter with Yellowtail and Sunroof. We were warned of a guy who had walled off half of the shelter and was staying here for about a week. But it was empty when we got here so he must have moved on.
Since the rain started last night it hasn't really stopped. With it came the fog, so today was pretty viewless.
Crossed the Blue Ridge Parking for the first 3 times, I'll be near that for the next 200 miles.
My ankle is still sore so tomorrow will be another 15 or so, but after that I'll be pushing for 20 again. Also, there was a bottle of poison ivy wash at the shelter I stopped at for lunch. What luck.                                                      


Here at Fullhardt Knob Shelter, having our 1/3 completion party. Rum, whiskey and cookies. It's perfecct with Yellowtail, Sunroof, Easy Strider, Evo and myself.
I may have contracted poison ivy, nope. I HAVE contacted it, on my Ankle. Both of them no biggie.
Went into town and got supplies and pizza, Evo bought me a beer at the 3 li'l pigs BBQ what a great guy.
Last night we were warned by SoBo's that the water cistern here was locked. They must have been too high to realize that the actual faucet is 10 yards down the hill. Idiots.
I saw my first bear today! It was running away from me (it heard me singing) and 2 turtles.
Too much writing foor tonight. More drinking! Celebrate.


Today was an easy reintroduction after my few days off. 12 miles has landed me here at Lamberts Meadow Shelter, no meadow to be found. There is a nice stream out front though.
Retwisted my ankle earlier on today. It hurt, but went back to "normal" after a while. 2 nosebleeds to contend with. I'm getting anoyed that they keep happening.
There's currently a deer walking along the stream in front of the shelter. Doesn't seem to mind us at all.
Went over both Mcaffee Knob, and Tinker Cliffs today. Both provided astounding views. I think I liked the cliffs better.
I finally met Easy Strider today, after seeing his name in shelter registers. And I'm now having a hysterical conversation about the different techniques to poop in the woods with Evo (a section hiker), and Hatchet (a sobo thru-hiker finishing up his attempt started last summer).
[2 hours later]
Sterling showed up after dark, he is doing the Florida trail, to the Pinhotee trail, to the Benton Mckaye trail, to the Appalachian Trail and is continuing on through the International Appalachian Trail. Sounds amazing.
The group here is so funny tonight. Loving it.


My first real zero. What a nice feeling. I layed around and did nothing of any value all day. It was glorious.
Eventually after breakfast the hostel owner drove us up to the gas station where I got a lasagna and mac & cheese. Made for a great lunch.
Fell asleep after putting in a load of laundry with some political thriller book in hand called "Blowback"
The majority of the day though was spent caring for my ankle (which is almost healed), and hanging out with no on watcher.
We went to the homeplace family style diner where we ran into Sunroof and Yellowtail. Now back at the hostel I'm ending the night with a few beers and a margarita from a pouch found in the freezer at the gas station. My first zero was fantastic.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Sleep did not come easy last night. The nasty water gave me no problems at all, but no metter how I positioned my leg, the result was still pain. So I found the 4 Pines Hostel phone number in the companion and called and the owner agree to pick me up at a road crossing one mile back.
I got here by 11:30 and save a shower and a trip to the gas station to get a pizza I've been sitting in a chair reading and icing my ankle all day. Moon Watcher and Short Haul showed up here as well as Stevies, a section hiker chick from Kentucky.
I passed mile 700 yesterday, another milestone! and tomorrow will be my first real zero day, as technically I did have one trail mile today.
Hopefully I'll heal quickly.


Ouch. After completing the majority of a long day it finally happened. The one thing I can never seem to escape. Injury. Mile 19 out of 24 was in the middle of a 6 mile dry section of trail with no water sources and my bottle was nearly emty. It was after 7 and th wun was setting. I took a step down onto some leaves covering the trail and the next thing I knew I'm lying on my side, face in the dirt with a shooting pain in my left ankle.
Immediately, grab it and try to assess the damage. No bones sticking out, that's good. It'snot a full on tib/fib break, so thats good. with the help of my poles I stod up. Right leg first, slowly putting weight on the left.
The rest of the night will be hell. This HURTS. But I had at least 5 miles to go if I wanted any water tonight.
Each step was a reminder that I'm not the one in control out here, but they each also reassured me that it couldn't be broken. Although finally getting to Johns Spring Shelter was a huge relief to finally get off of my hurt ankle and get some water from what was the nastiest water source i've encountered thus far.
But before all of this injury nonsense started it was a fun day, with a snake encounter, getting to go down dragons tooth (an especially steep descent down a rock face, with ladder rungs made of steel drilled into the mountain), and even a run in with a bull  of all animals. Well, actually it was an entire herd of cattle, bulls, cows, and calves. But the first thing I saw when I came over a hill was a bull, and  of all of the animals I was prpared tp face when I came out here, a bull would have ranked about as low on the list as orangutan, and giraffe.


Today was exciting. 19 miles so it was nice to actually move again, and my feet felt Great! I'm currently at Niday Shelter at mile 680.
Earler on today I found a tub of trail magic-soda and apples. It was great, and made getting going this morning easier.
The water situation today was less than stellar. I ended up almost running out completely. And on one of the hottest days i've had yet. only made things worse. I ended up following a mud puddle up a hill to there it was running down a rock with very little actual flow. So I grabbed a leaf and shoved the side of it up against the rock to redirect as much of the water as possible into my bottle which worked pretty well.
There was a mile long ridge-walk today along the "Eastern Continental Divide" witha great view of the valley.
Made it to the shelter a little after t and went and got water. Met Short-Haul, a section hiker from Ohio. Then while cooking dinner "Pro-visions" showed up. What. a. character. Carrying a monstrous externsl frame pack and not one but 2 -7 foot walking poles, His dinner was canned beef stew that he augered open with my knife as he lost his can opener and is not carrying a knife of his own. Continues to talk about some guy who gave him a hard time about getting into a shelter late at night. Talking to him about diet was an experience all on its own. Alter comparing our daily caloric intake, we moved onto the vitamin and nutrition of the food too. Especially sodium. His remedy for averdoing the salt out here? Masturbat. At least 3 times per day. Just go off the side of the trail and have a go. And here I thought I was sweating it all out. Not according to the great mind of "Pro-Visions". In passing I mentioned the trail magic 18 miles back on the trail, and being a southbounder, that was all of the encouragement he needed to pack up and head out for a night hike. He definitely has trail crazy potential, witout a boubt.
Tomorrow looks like a 24 mile day so I'll probably need to get up early, but I want to keep reading this copy of "Catching Fire" that I found a few days ago. But... sleep takes priority.


The night hike went swell, Tripped a few times, we all did. Got going around 4a.m. and made it to the shelter just after sunrise and took a long nap.
Got up and pushed another 15 miles and camped at Laurel Creek with Treeboo and shared some creepy but good conversation. Next morning was shockingly cold, and as soon as I made it to the road into Bland my mind was made up that I needed hot food. I tried calling pizza hut but they wouldn't deliver to the church that I was standing in front of. Not 2 minutes after getting off the phone with them it started to snow. So now it was time to find a ride into town. Quickly was picked up by a nice lade in a truck who also stopped for Orange Lightning and Yappy on the drive. Subway was the destination and we ate like kings.
The 2 others offered me space in their motel room and it was too hard to turn down.
Next day as we were hiking along we came across the "Suitcase Challenge". 24 beers. 24 miles, 24 hours. Didn't work out. Too drunk to do big miles so it was a LONG 24 miles.
Finally made it to Pearisburg, Va. and did a quick resupply at the food lion before qalking back out to the trail to camp. Another terrible idea. My campsite was right next to a very active train track and after extinguishing my cooking fire I walked back to town to get a motel room.
It was nice to have a T.V. asI got to watch the Vancuver(?) vs. the L.A. Kings hackey game.
As it turned out Orang Lightning was also staying at the ame motel and we decided to slackpack(leave your gear in town and walk sans weight) 7 miles. My luck being what it is, brought us the least knowledgeable shuttle driver on the trail. With no food or sleeping bags, at 2p.m. he dropped us off 27 miles up the trail. I spent the whole day walking as fast as I could and still didn't get back to the motel till 1a.m. No fun.
So today I took it easy. Only did 5 miles to the first shelter, but with some new blisters from yesterdays adventure, it's a good way to heal.
The other guy in this shelter is from Tampa, I gave him some food I did'nt need because he moves slowly, averages about 5 miles a day. His name was Moon Watcher. Good guy.


What a nice day. Started out 5 miles to U.S. I-81 where the 4 of us got ice cream and lunch, in thaat order. But on the way there we found an old schoolhouse with trail magic inside, it was great.
Kept going and made it to the restaurant and gas station for food shopping withthe gang.
Back in the woods we ran into more trail magic, a cooler full of soda! again a great treat.
There was some swimming today in a river, that I didn't take part in for no real reason at all. It was pretty chilly so I don't think that I missed out.
Now I'm at Knot Maul Shelter (mile 556.1) with plans to get up at 3a.m. and hike up to the top of ridge for sunrise. Providing that we can motivate ourselves to exit our sleeping bags. It's supposed to get down to 30 tonight so.....we'll see.


I'm at Chatfield Shelter tonight (mile 537.7) with T.C., Boulder, Treeboo, and 2 older thru-hikers whose names I did'nt catch. But they probably won't be keeping up with me so I guess that's O.K.
For those keeping track, I'm up to 15 mice on the "Rodent Retribution Roster"
We went into Marion today. After not being able to hitch a ride, we called a taxi. Got to Walmart and the doller store to resupply before hitting an awesome chinese buffet. It was awesome. Beef and Brocole by the pound. YUM.
After getting a little turned around when heading back to the trail, we found ourselves wandering around the campus of Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute. Complete with razor wire topped fences and iron bar clad windows. Imagine 3 dirty, tired, haggered looking 20 somethings wandering out of an asylum parking lot with big backpacks on. Would you pick up those hitchhikers? Neither would any of the cars driving past us. So we decided to walk and eventually a truck puled over and told us to hop in the back, which was pretty sweet.
Back on the trail we walked just over 7 easy miles, with a few pretty steep climbs thrown in. But here I am, with a full food bag and clean clothes so all in all I'd say today was a win.


Ouch. On the 5th I did 10 miles into Damascus to resupply. Ended up being 10 into Damascus, practicing for the half gallon challange, replacing my pole tips, eating pizza and beer at Quincy's with a gang of hiker trash. Then around midnight decided to night hike 14 miles. Brilliant.
Started crashing around 6:30a.m. and layed down on the ground and napped ti'll the sun came up around 7a.m. Started walking and met up with a passed out Boulder at Lost Mountain shelter and slept from 9a.m. to noon.
Woke up and ate brunch before setting out for what would end up being a 30 mile day. Made it to Wise shelter around 8:30p.m. and layed down in between T.C. and Boulder.
After a night below freezing that none of us were expecting, we layed around in sleeping bags for way too long for what was to be another 30 mile day. A very painful 30 mile day. Rocks on my feet, new blisters on top of my toes, lanced a GIANT one on my left heel from where my shoe is falling apart.
Saw an awesome moonrise(orange) last night as I was walking into the shelter, saw my first deer, playedd with horses, got hostess cupcakes.
Ended up nighthiking into camp tonight around 9 and so absolutely beat. But I'm absolutely loving hiking with T.C. and Boulder. Great times.
Currently at mile 530.6 at Partnership Shelter, there's a shower here, but that'll be for the morning.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


23 miles  today landed me at Allbington Gap Shelter. Only 4 here, which is good  because the roof leaks. Bugger, Dutchman, and myself.
I was hungrier than usual so, I ate twice this evening. As I pulled into the shelter there was some lightening  and thunder  getting pretty close, but I still needed water.An unfortunately big and steep trail led down to the spring. And the clouds producing the lightening  opened up causing the stream to flow with mud. I'm still picking dirt from my teeth, and if the amount in the bottom of my platypus is anything to go by, It  will be for a few days.
I woke up this morning to Boulder telling us to look at the view behind  the shelter, expecting a cool sunrise I was shocked to see the giant cloud that we were stationed on top of with a perfect  vantage point. She  was also laughing in her sleep last night. Not to be outdone, she pushed on the full 32 miles today to get into Damascus. Impressive.
I have this plan to cover all 540 miles of trail through Virginia (which starts tomorrow) in only 23 days. I think that I can do it. It really seems O.K. given the terrain, and aside from the few short 9 mile days  it averages somewhere around 27 miles per day with the longest being a 30.  We'll see how it goes.
I saw my first guy with a gun today.  Not hurting or anything, he just felt that he NEEDED bear protection. Pussy.


Last night stayed at Kimcorn hostel and it was a reunion! Tuna and Bojangles, Boulder, Acorn, Pretzel, Bugger, Jerusalem Cruiser. Best, hostel yet. So much fun, plus it was only a 16 mile day so I was there by 2p.m., made it in time for the town run. Little Ceasar's pizza, and resupply at an IGA grocery storel I felt so bad for Boulder, who left her food sitting outside the store.
After eating we all hung out and talked for a few hours, I seriously haven't laughedthat hard since the start of the trail, what a great night.
Today was only 17 or 18 miles so I took it nice and slow. Walked  along Watuga lake/dam for a few miles and ended up stopping at a picnic area there for lunch. There were bathrooms with running water! so I filled up my platypus and moved on.
I also made some gatorade on a mountain and with the cold spring water it was perfect.
The shelter (Vandeventer) came into view about the same time as the giant storm that's been hanging around most of the evening. Full (6) shelter tonight. Boulder, The Dutchman, Bugger, and 2 section hikers.

Monday, May 7, 2012


Woke up yesterdays still lightly raining after some sideways rain all night. No real plans for mileage gods were ever established, but I had a good idea of what I wanted to do.
Immediately after getting on the trail, the ROAN mountain climb began. The first shelter of the day was 7 miles up the trail. All uphill. On the way up I ran into Bat, Orange Lightening, and Yappy, as well as newly acquainted Hawkeye.
Got to the shelter and got out of my rain soaked shirt while I ate an early lunch. As I was eating (at the Roan high Knob shelter; both the highest shelter on the trail and the first one with a closed door but usable attic style loft) in stumbles the ill prepared Hakeye proclaiming that he is hypothermic and can't move his fingers. Quickly helped him into his only dry {thin} jacket and opened up his pack looking for food to help him warm up.
I should have recognized the signs he was giving on the ascent; the fatigue, confusion, and cold, mixed with the wet day we were having presented a prime opportunity for hypothermia to strike.
Once that crisis was averted, continued my hike down the other side of Roan into some chilly but clear weather on the other side. Across a road I went, where the weekenders were out in full force.
Stopped for a quick snack at Stan Murray shelter, but knowing that Overmountain shelter was just 2 miles away helped me move on quickly. The trail led up over a viewless summit and back down to a crosstrail where I saw a plaque.
It explained how during the Revolutionary War soldiers used this pass to avoid going over certain hills, and the farmers who owned this land would allow troops to stay there. Now, the renovated barn is used as a shelter for hikers. It was cool to look at, but I didn't want to stay there, even though this one had an attic as well.
After Overmountain shelter came a bald. A rather large, open unprotected area, on the very top of a mountain with views encompassing me. Well...almost. My luck with balds and the weather is shit. And not only did it rain, it rained sideways with winds up to 40mph. Did I mention that the bald was nearly 2 miles long? I laughed as I knew it was the last day North Carolina had to mess with me.
The find crossing of the NC-TN border came as I was headed towards the site of the now demolished Apple House shelter. I pulled in with every intention to camp there. But then I heard about the steakhouse. The "King of the road" restaurant just 0.5 miles up the road that was coming up in 0.5 miles. Half hour till a steak dinner? I think so. I drank some water and got moving. I knew what I wanted and I was going to get it. The signs were blurry at first- far away. But then I drew nearer and saw it. The stick in my spokes. The kryptonite to my eating Powers. The sign that said"We'l reopen thur April 5".
I sat in their parking lot, defeated. Pissed, that they hadn't warned us on their signs on the trail, as I rolled and ate a consolation peanut butter wrap.
Checked the guidebook and saw a dinner listed another 1.3 miles up the road
 "Fuck it, I'm going" I said as I resolved to eat something worthwhile soon.
While waling I threw out the hitchhikers thumb hoping someone would pick me up. Passing a house two dogs came running to me barking and their owner comes to get them asks where I'm trying to get to. WhenI say "just to the dinner" she offers me a ride, and on the way there extends an invitation to sleep in her shop next to her house.
After my double cheeseburger, I walked over to the Beer store and got $10 worth of snacks and one 16oz PBR to have as lunches for the next 2 days. Shoved all of it in the top of my pack and began my short walk back to my new favorite stranger's house.
Made it back, showered and slept FAR better than I expected to that night. What a treat. Truly great.
When I left this morning I left a thankyou note on her computer, with the address of my blog on it, so I hope she sees this.
Walking backto the trail I bumped into Orange Lightening who said T.C. may still be at the hostel, so I quickly walked the 0.3 mles to the house at the bottom of the hill. Sure enough his tent was outside, but talking to the (?) revealed that he had slack packed today instead. I checked the hiker box and found some hot chocolate and chewy bars whiich was nice. Then I got on my way.
Only went 9 miles today, easy terrain, but didn't want to do the 27 miles to (?) hostel in one day so here I am after walking all day with Bat and Bugger (who both kept going) at the Mountaineer Falls shelter (3 stories with a bear totem in the "master suite" upstairs loft) with Flagstaff and 2 older, but very fun, nice section hikers (one of whom is snoring right now) who gave us their extra food  like oatmeal, chewy bars, and even a home made, dehydrated chicken pad tai. Looking forward to cooking that.
Getting up early to try and get to (?) before the shuttle to Hampton leaves so I can get some real resupplydone there.


Currently Laying in my tarp near a full Clyde Youth shelter. Boulder an .C. are tenting nearby.
A long day today 22 miles even. Not terribly hard terain, but it took effort. Thunderstorms apeared up the sky around 4p.m. (?) to do the last 5 miles in the rain, could'nt be bothered to put on my raingear, the shower felt nice.
Stopped for lunch at a shelter  12 miles into the day, aw Boulder there and some section hikers.
Bat is in the shelter and a few centerpeads are sharing my tarp with me tonight.


Its my one month trailaversary! I've gone 346.2 miles so far, another big day planned tomorrow 22 miles to another shelter.
Made it into Erwin today by 11a.m. Got some fuel at the hostel/outffiters outside town where I met up with T.C. then we set off in search of a ride into town. An older guy who was a kayaker gave us a lift when we asked for directions super cool guy.
Made it to a grocery store where T.C. found supplies to make an alcohol stove, and right down the road was a pizza hut with a $5 lunch buffet. That was good. Started laundry and headed to the post office. Got ice cream and went grocery shopping while waiting for the clothes to dry. Reorganized the score and headed back out of town by 3:30.
Surprisingly short 4. something mile hike to camp, mostly climbing, but nothing terrible. GREAT group here tonight T.C., Boulder, G-Tip, a few other thrus and a father/daughter pair are tenting down by the stream. Great time around the fire tonight. Boulder Burned one of the thru's had carved "A.T".stick.


Longest day yet today. 20.7 miles. But I'm paying for it. My left shin hurts pretty bad. not quite like shin splints, maybe from turning my ankle weird.
2 miles into today I tried calling the owner of the dogs who eventually sent someone to meet us at Sam's Gap. What a monumental prick. But while he was on his way a guy handed T.C. and I a bag of apples. It was great.
The 6 miles following were a pretty strenous climb, then back down to the first shelter for my first hot lunch on the trail.
Both Big and Little bals were cool today, but it was too windy to enjoy.
Made it here to "No Business Knob" shelter around 6 with T.C. and "Boulder", a girl from Colorado who came into the shelter last night. This place is pretty crappy and we really have no business being here, but only 6.3 miles into Erwin tomorrow.


Started today with a colder than usual morning. Slept in ti'll around 8a.m. and after breakfast finally got on the trail around 9a.m. I knew well ahead of time that there was an extended climb today,  but the trail for the most part followed a level green landscape without too many ups and downs.
Stopped in for lunch at a shelter along the way and passed a few section hikers.
Soon after lunch a couple of spring breakers approached with what I assumed to be their dog. Wrong. Apparently it had just started following them and when T.C. and I headed in the opposite direction she followed us. She is a friendly beagle with a name and number on the collar, but when I called the owner, she was less then concerned that her dog was in another state.
Not long after arriving at "Hogback" shelter, a gaggle of 50-60 somethings rolls in, informing me that the "hope I brought ear plugs". Swell.
In betwen dinners one and two I set my usual mouse traps which worked faster than usual to night. By 7:50p.m. the first one went off and thanks to a fire built by the old folks he was skinned, roasted and eaten by 8:00p.m.


Yesterday Bat, Yappy, and Orange lightening told me about a trail magic breakfast today at Allen Gap. So after waking up and making mashed patatoes and  checking the mousetraps that I had set (both of  which worked), packed up and headed down the trail the 3.7 miles to where a couple who had thru-hiked in 1999 invited the Truth Commando and I into their home for belgian waffles, stew, home-made bread, and blackberry cobler. They were a religious couple and  offered us books about Jesus and when I told them I am Jewish they immediately changed their attitudes about my not "accepting Christ", and even offered me a knit beanie with "Jerusalem" embroidered into it. I politely declined. Definitely a warm home nevertheless and the great free food set off my day right.
Back on the trail for a butt kick of a climb for the first mile, but after that all was well. Relatively moderate terrain with an exposed ridgewalk for a mile or so. From there I could see for miles into both Tennessee and North Carolina, as I was walking on the state line.
The ridgewalk ended as the shelter grew nearer, finalizing my 15 mile day. Sitting here at Jerry's Cabin Shelter at mile mark 300.2! I feel like a badass for walking 300 miles, but there are still 1883.9 more to go.
I'll probably get the mousetraps again tonight if I can find some food to use as bait. I just don't have any that I really want to part with. Oh well, I've eaten already so now it's time to just relax.


Yesterday was exciting. The trail itself was pretty nice. Had 15 miles planned from baring fork shelter to deer park shelter. But when I got to the shelter I really wanted cookies and cream ice cream. Saying that I "really" wanted it is a big understatemnt. Have you ever walked 3.2 miles to town, AFTER walking 15 miles through the woods, just to get ice cream? I did. Making yesterday my longest day yet.
I got into the town of Hot Springs at 4:02p.m. and found some trail magic root beer stashed along the way. Immediately searched out the dollar general where I bought my well deserved quart of ice cream. Tore it open and ditched the trash in the can outside. Bliss.
Marched my happy ass down to bluff mountain outfitters to ask about a hikers box. They pointed me to elmers hostel (formerly known as the sunny bank inn) where I decided to stay the night.
What a place! Built in the late 1800's the hostel had mostly original furniture. For $20 I even got my own room. What an awesome place.
Checked the hiker box and found some stuff I had wanted, romen and mashed potatoes. Even some rice sides to supplement my food bag. Good stuff.
While talking with Elmer "Far East Const" walked in surprising me, as I thought he wooulld have stayed in the woods. He checked in then we went back to the dollar general to resuply. All I needed was stuff for lunch so my cost was $10 for 5 days. Still have plenty of alcohol to make to Erwin.
Dinner time. It just so happens that adjacent to the dollar general there was a diner with a 12oz cheeseburger for $7 so I had one of those with room to spare. Not bowing out early back to the dollare general I went to get yet another quart of ice cream. Also found a new water bottle there in the form of a 32 oz gateraide.
Walked around town for a bit not really seeing anything that peaked my interest, headed back toward the hostel.
Passing a convenience store a white SUV passes, then turns around and heds back toward us. Out pops a figure with a vaguely familiar profile. "Dan?!" I hear, in a voice that matches the Silouette. No way. Why would he be here? "Mitch?" I respond. My friend from home may have forgotten to mention his families property in a town that the trail passes through when I tod him I'd be hiking it.
He extends an offer of beer and a ride to his riverside house not 10 minutes away. We (Lightning, Jack, Curry, achilles and I) pile in the SUV and soon find ourselves at Mitch's farm.
The rest of the night was spent drinking and tending the fire in the fire pit, while trading stories of trail life before we had to head back to Elmers.
This morning breakfast was served at the hostel in a family style, all you can eat. Belfian waffle, fruit and granola affair. So good.
Meandered down to the oufitters again, Jacket in hand and shipped it home with a pair of gloves, as it's been pretty hot.
Back to the hostel to pack up for an 11 mile day with "Truth Commando", as Achilles and Far East Const wanted a day off in Hot Springs. The 11 miles were pretty much all uphill but we hiked out a club sandwich each, so at least lunch was good.
Sitting here at Spring Mountain shelter at mile 284.9 with 4 others. Fulll house, it only sleeps 5. 15 miles tomorrow with talk of a trail magic breakfat 3 miles in. Bedtime.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


13.1 miles today from last nights campfire to tonights Roaring Fork shelter. One of my favorites so far. Rainy night last night so my tarp is still wet. Keep me dry though so that is good. Rain again tonight, lightning too beating on the tin roof of the shelter, will put me to sleep soon.
Made it to the never ending climb surprisingly quickly, checked out an FAA tower on a bald (?) continuing pretty much non-stop all day. Took a 20 minute break to eat lunch at a road crossing then quickly pushed on.
Finally made it to the 4.629' summit of Max Patch. Took some cool pictures by hanging my camera on a post and setting the timer, couldn't stay too long though; rain was quickly on its way. I saw a wall of water pushing right  towards me, so I high tailed it back into the woods where I put a rain jacket on and finished the 2.6miles to the shelter.
I got here around 3pm so I occupied some time by altering a shirt so it fits better and I'm not swimming in it. It came out alright, the armpits are weird but eh, its o.k.
Made 2 dinners tonight to get rid of some food, I bought WAY too much in Gatlinburg. At least I wont have to buy much when I get to Hot Springs in 2 days.
Mile Marker 255.9 tonight. Bedtime.


Made it out of the smokies today. I was flying. barely stopped for breaks at all between 10am and 2pm. I sat at a road crossing with the triplets for a while and called home. The last few days worth of trail in the smokies was really nice. Today was no exception. A few good views but many had trees in the way.
A vegetation gound cover is new as it has mostly been dead leaves but now patches of green forest (?) are popping up.
Made it to Standing Bear hostel and ate lunch while waiting for Achillies and Far East Coast to show up. They made it eventually, but had difficulty navigating the I-40 underpass. A very cool little piece of a(?) could following blazes on guardrails and steel signs made getting back to the trail interesting.
Currently tarping out at Painters Branch campsite with a river on either side of this area. Bigger group here for a campsite, the triplets are here as well as F.F.C.. It was nice having some time with them, they are firmly starting to talk more, kind of. I found out for sure they are not mormons, very quiet still, but they'll come around.
Saw 3 snakes today, one near the base of a tree, one a few feet off the traile and a third directly across from the second. The second one was injured and angry. It had bite marks on it and was rattling its tail even thou it wasn't a rattle snake. Mimicking one does scare off some predetors though. First "real" wildlife of the trip. Had some more owls earlier.
One mousetrap worked last night. I didn't realize it went off, fell off the rafter and landed right next to my sleeping bag in my sleep.
Should be in Hot Springs on Sunday. Looking forward to the jacuzzi.


Laying here at Cosby Knob shelter with some trail magic in my stomach, velveeta, mac&cheese and wine. From a nice section hiker Matt who has a girlfriend who is a CPA.
2 mousetraps worked last night, one, another has triggered but none was in it this morning. Total-2
Nice level trail today, rocky but at least the ups and downs were minimal. Saw some airplane wreckage that was woefully underwhelming..
Met my first SOBO (southbound) thru hikers today. Not technically "thru" hikers, as they stopped halfway through last year and picked back up in January this year. Talked to them as I ate lunch of slim jims, inside swiss cake rolls, inside a peanut butter wrap. BLISS.
There's a fire going in the fireplace thanks to Far East Coast and Matt, and the triplets are camping down the hill.
Today was a 12.9 mile day, tomorrow will be similar, finishing up the smokies, and getting past "Standing Bear" hostel, maybe checking their hike box, then continuing to the campsites right near there.


What are  the odds that a throu hikers first successful hitchhike would be with an outdoor company sales rep? Well I just want to give an enormous THANK YOU TO "Chappy" for both picking me up and hooking me up with this sweet hat! My sunburned ears are singing your praise Sir!
Let's see how these mousetraps work! Far East Cost. and I just set 4 of them here at Pecks Corner shelter. Fulll house tonight too, here with Orange Lightning but, Halfmoon, Indy, Achilles, and a bunch of section hikers from Michigan.
The trail today was really nice, a few ups and downs but no steep climbs no descends. At one point we went to Charlies Bunion briefly as bad weather was upon us.
The thunderstorm povided little rain, but lots of electricl acticity. Thunder surrounded us as it echoed through the mountains. The worst of the rain held off till I was walking into the shelter at the end of a 11 mile day.
Yesterday was a short 4 miles into Gatlinburg, TN. Since Indy came with us the $29.95 motel room was only $8 a piece, good enough for a shower, then out to resupply. Tried to take the trolley but ended up walking the 2 1/2 miles to the "Food City".
The selection was too good, and ended up spending $50 on 10-ish days of food, not bad. But considering my next "big" town is coming in 5 more days it's excessive.
The six of us and "the Triplets" managed to catch the trolley back towards the hotel, where I repacked my meals and dumped my snacks into my now gagatuan food bag. Made a few calls while waiting for the rest of the group to get back before we headed out to find a troley to Pigeon Forge for GOLDEN CORAL!
Two trolleys and some walking later, we feasted like champions, endlesss steak, potatoes, mac&cheese, all 4 times over, then came dessert, cake, brownies, fudge, cookies AND ice cream. Took some of the cookies for trail dessert. Great Idea.
Again a GIANT THANK YOU to chappy for the ride and hat. Good Man! Now I have to decorate it with my trail name "Tommy Lee Jones" ending today at mile 217.2, over 10% complete.
P.S.....not 10 minutes after I stopped writing there was the distinct snap at the mousetrap doing its job. Too bad theres no fire, or he would be roasting right now.


What a fun day, even though it was a full 15 miles, there was a lot to be done. Today we hit Clingmans Dome - the highest part on the trail. Got a few questions from dayhihers and spring breakers. We were quite the oddity, it was a novel experience.
I sat and ate lunch and managed to get a phone call out to my friend Amanda. Long lunch, around one hour.
Found out that there is indeed a Golden Coral in Pigeon Forge, which is acceptable because a trolley will get us there. That poor buffet will have no idea what hit it.
When hanging our food bags I managed to clip the caribeener around the wire, meant to hang the food so it got stuck halfway up and I had to put Indy on my shoulders to get it down, success at last.
Tomorrow is only 4 miles to Newfound Gap where I'll be trying hitchhiking again, we'll see how it goes this time.
We also hit the 200 mile mark today, making progress!


 Happy St. Patricks day! My pack is finally 4 beers lighter that were drunk on top of a bald on thunderhead mountain with a view from on top of the clouds it was a grand celebration. On top of that we we taught Victor how to shotgun a beer, he was pretty good at it for a first timer.
 I hiked exactly 12 miles today from Mollies Ridge shelter to Derrick Knob shelter. Relatively easy terrain, lots of ups and downs made more strenuous by alcohol, worth it.
 We met our first 2 ridgerunners today, first one right after we started and second at the shelter we are staying at. He'll be here wit us overnight. He gave us oreos. I like him.
I think we scared one of them with the stories of the mice in last nights shelter, they were lively. One hit my feet, one ran over Achilles' arm, and I thought I heard one getting into my pack but wasn't sure. If the shit on the floor around me and in the cracks near the wall is anything to go by, we're in for it again tonight. 
I THOUGHT that I got lost today. I popped out of some bushes onto the trail I thought that I was on. THAT was an odd feeling. I followed the trail on the ground knowing it would at least go SOMEWHERE. I kept walking not knowing for sure where I was going for a while, not seeing any signs indicating if  I made the right choice or not. What looked like a baby turkey crossed the trail and I asked it for directions. He was of no help, and I made sure to tell him so. 15minutes of walking later, just as I was getting ready to pull out my guidebook and compare elevations, I saw it. That 2"x6" white swatch on a tree. The signature white blaze that says "you are on the right path", what a relief. No backtracking necessary.
Talked to some of the weeekenders here tonight and they gave us tips for Gatlinburg. One of them gave me a few shots of homemade moonshine. It was pretty good, and really complimented my dinner of salmon and fettucini alfredo. They say we can get more in Gatlinburg without much effort will do.
15 miles in store for tomorrow so I need lots of rest tonight. My knees have been at almost 100% again so that's good. Time to start increasing the mileage. The ridgerunner has a fire going in the fireplace INSIDE the shelter. what a treat!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Not all is lost.

       Decided to push into Elk Park tonight for a good dinner today after 23 miles in the woods. Signs abound advertising the "King of the road" steakhouse, but what those signs forgot to mention was that the restaurant wont be open until April 5th. Sat down in their parking lot deciding what to do, and made the call to push on another 1.7 into town for a diner.
       Haphazardly threw out the hitchhikers thumb a few times with little luck, until a sweet lady cleaning out her car asked me where I was going. When I told her just up to the diner she quickly offered me a ride, dropping me off right in front of Betty's place, home of some killer hamburgers. How great. But making my day wasn't enough for her.
       On the car ride into town I asked about the Upholstery shop adjacent to her house, wondering if it was hers, just to make conversation. She told me that it was and within the same sentence she had offered me the use of the couch within, her shower and the computer for the night. What a nice person.
       She has asked to remain anonymous but I just wanted to give an enormous thank you the woman who saved the end of a very long day.


It was hard leaving the Fontana Hilton this morning, but I did find some granola and mashed potato mix. We planned on a 11 mile day today for our first foray into the smokies. Stopped off at an observation tower and got on the roof of that for pictures, it was great. I left my gold pole for Far East Const and Ryan to see as a signal to take the side trail that way. Great Views.
The trail today was incredibly buggy. Swarms of flies flying around anytime I wasn't moving, so breaks were missed.
Last night I tried to get Seth, from the "triplets", to hide a bottle of rocks in his sisters pack that she had actually filled up herself. It was not there this morning so I'm assuming he did it.
I made it to the Mollies Bridge shelter a little after 4:00pm and sat and rubbed my feet for a bit, they keep getting pretty sore. Made dinner and ate just before a thunderstorm rolled in. Crazy rain so I stayed in the shelter and waited it out before hanging my bear bag.
Forgot to write last night that the front part of my liner sock had a hole worn in it, and today the heel of my sock got a hole in it! But still not a single blister, I'm happy about that.
2 more days and a morning till Gatlinburg so I might replace them there, or maybe i'll just make them my sleeping socks and switch them out, we'll see.

Friday, March 30, 2012


Fontana Shelter tonight under an awesome elecrical storm. We made it into Fontana village today. Nothing at all in the hicker box, so I had to buy food. Got a hot lunch at the pit stop gas station and a sprite, my first soda this whole trip. I may have made a miscalculation and bought  fewer breakfasts than I need but with what was left over in my food bag I should be o.k. if I portion it out right.
But we did make sure to get the important stuff. BEER. 48oz a piece of Miller Light, being saved of course, for St. Patrics day in 2 days.
I found a morel mushroom on the trail today and picket it and added it to my dinner suprisingly good. I inspired Four Spoke to pick wild onions for his dinner. He's another Floridian, (?) but slower than I so we probably wont see each other much more.
The "triplets" are here too, and this is the most I've talked to them thus far, even though they are quiet and keep to themselves, I like them, they're an interesting bunch.
When I picked the mushroom  earlier I left my knife laying there, whooops. Luckily when I got to the shelter today Gur Spoke gave me one he found along the way. Nothing fancy, but still just as good.
We found a spectacular rock to jump from about 15' high into Fontana lake, our first swim on the AT. COLD water but too much fun to resist. Got pictures and videos of that.
Definitely needed this short day. Felt good, even though we walked the 2 miles into Fontana village, we got a $13 shuttle out.
The past few night I've been sweating in my sleeping bag, so tonight I'm going to just throw it over my feet, and not be inside it at all. Last night I left it open but it didn't really do anything. It's relatively warm out despite the storms passing through. The trees are howling in the woods.
I also spent the last of my first $200 that I started off with today. I'm doing o.k. at stayinng on the cheap side but could be better. Still way, way, way under budget though (??) good.


Pi day! but no pie for me. Instead we did our second 15.2 mile day. It was a long day, we used most of the daylight. Finally pulled into the shelter around 6:30. There was a section called "Jacobs Ladder" and it was a climb straight up the side of the mountain with no switchbacks, it really slowed me down but I was still flying compared to Victor and Achiles. My feet hurt a lot after today, and my appetite is negligible. I forced one pot of food own for dinner but I'm really just too worn out to eat. Not tired neccessarily, just achey. We were expecting to find City and Andy at this shelter but at their pace I'm sure they pushed on the 6.6 miles more to Fontana Dam where I'll be headed tomorrow.I'm looking forward to a short day tomorrow. We just did some planing for the Smokey Mountains. Trying to decide what shelters to stay at and whatnot. But, the best laid plans of mice and man often go awry.
I'm currently laying in the Bable Gap shelter listening to an owl coo, hoping that it will scare the mice into submission tonight. They were all over the shelter last night. A second owl just started in on the conversation, tried to record it but it did'nt work so well. They got pretty close.
While we were sitting having lunch earlier rusty, the dog, from last night showed up so we waited around for his owner, Titanium, to show up. Its been a long day but still feels good to be out here.


Two weeks! Today is my 2 week mark of being on the trail. I finally got my trail name today- "Tommy Lee Jones". Thanks to Skittles. I bent my hiking pole when I fell yesterday, and the outfitter at the NOC replaced it for me this morning, only problem is that it has a shock absorber in it so now one is shock absorbing and the other isn't. It's kind of anoying, but at least its straight. We had breakfast at "the rivers end" restaurant, and I finally mailed out the first installment of this journal.
We left the NOC knowing full well that the entire hike today was uphill, but I don't think that any of us were prepared for the steepness of what we encountered today. It was wild. 50-60 degree climbs with no switchbacks. Boulder trails with no solid footing, so the rocks I was walking on would suddenly shift and tilt. It was THRILLING! and the views at the NOC gorge were great from "the Jump-Up" - basically a rock cleared of trees high enough to allow a good view. Somehow we managed to forget to stop for lunch. So even though it was only 6 miles today, we were feeling pretty weak. Tried to cook some angel hair pasta, but that went to hell in a handbasket. I ended up with a solid brick of noodles, so I mixed in butter (from the restaurant this morning) and crushed up some cheese crackers to make it, well, barely palatable. Worst meal I've had thus far. I cooked Roman just so I could eat comething less awful. It's 9:10pm and I'm about to go to sleep here at the split-level Sassafras Gap shelter.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Today was unexpected. Woke up with the sun and Flip pulls up to the shelter for a late breakfast. After we ate while packing up, Victor and I realized he left his only insulated jacket at the shelter, so we spent the first part of the day trying to catch him while I was carrying it up the trail for him, seems to be a patern here. Got to the top of our first climb 5 miles up trail and went up another observation tower, kind of foggy but still cool. Saw "the triplets" not really triplets but siblings from Utah, Seth, Jenny and Matt. Kept going after "lunch" found Flip near the shelter, gave him his jacket back and he said he would buy me a beer. Decided to push the extra mile and go to the Nantahala Outdoor Center, where I currently am.  They (Victor, Flip and Ryan) got a hotel room. So on top of the free beer I got a free bed. We went and showered and got dinner. An entree as an apppetizer, a cheeseburger and tater tots for dinner and chocolate cake for dessert. $33.00 well spent. hiker box in the outfitter store yielded breakfast for this stretch, homemade granola bag, spaghetti and trail mix. good stuff. Did laundry, going to buy a few things tomorrow then a short 6 mile hike straight up. Should be fun. I fell down for the first and second times today. The first time my back hit a rock and that hurt, but the second time was worse because as I was walking the trail crumbled under me and I ended up bending a hiking pole, going to try to get that fixed/replaced tomorrow.


11.6 miles today. Spending the night at Cold Spring shelter. small ? group ?, some are asleep, its 7:50pm. About an hour after we started walking, two men were doing trail magic, cooking hot dogs and chilli, with beer or soda. It was great! Chatted with them for a bit, met Andy from Switzerland, he's FAST. The time change messed w/us, Victor has never heard of such a thing. GREAT weather today. I seem to have gotten a little sun, my face feels hot. Experienced a stone loukout tower today too and had lunch at the top. I need to sharpen my pencil, I keep putting it off. Daylight is fading and I'm not getting out my light so.....bedtime


Today starded out COLD. The condensation inside my tarp was frozen, and there was a half inch thick layer of ice in Ryons water bag. Had some dampness on the foot of my sleeping bag, but it seems to have dried up. We came across our first trail magic today. BROWNIES! a good tub full of them with a letter and journal from the trail angel that left them. There were a few road crossings today with trash cans and parking lots, so I got to get rid of some bulky stuff. We ran into gorge lightning a few times and it eventually left us behind. A lot of uphill today and my knee feels great! We made it to the 10 mile, to site Bald shelter and a sure nice group of section hikers made room for us, gave us some extra food and even made us a (hot cider and rum) great group here, bright awesome fire, they even let me use a sling shot to try and hunt a shelter mouse. I will guard my fallen food bag. Shouldn't be as cold as last night, but still chilly in the 30's. Made a few phone calls today, finally got service NOC in 2.5 days.(?)


Last night surprised us with a heavy rainstorm, and in my tarp was getting misted by splater. Woke up relatively dry. Made cinamon oatmeal with a crushed up pop-tart mixed in for breakfast, then we were on our way. NC trail is very rocky and very fun, parts of it we were actually climbing, thats how steep they were. Made it to the 100 mile mark and took pictures on our first fire tower, too bad it was locked. We wanted to sleep in the 2nd shelter after that, but there was no sign, and no blazes for the side trail, so all 3 of us walked passed it.We are currently camped out next to a river in between 2 mountains, meaning all of the cold air is pooling here, it was 34o when we were by the fire, and the temp is still dropping. Good weather otherwise tonight. Oh, and my tarp site is FAR from level.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Woke up to rain in my tarp throughout the night, got up and moving around 7:30am a little late due to weather and lack of sun. The first mile of trail to NC was BRUTAL, huge climb w/no switchbuchs. After that the trail itself was very scenic. Bright green moss growing over rocks and downed trees, but a very steep, rocky trail all day. The rocks hurt even through my boots my feet end every day sore but they feel better by morning each time so here's to YOV; feet.
Currently camping at Beeck Gap. 12.1 miles today, keep this up and we might hit the NOC a day ahead of schedule.
When we took our first break at the shelter....Aslon went to, the food bag from yesterday was still full and hanging from the ceiling. So we each ate some of it and decided to take some extra to supplement what we have. At the rate we are going we might not need to supply at the NOC.
Tomorrow is another big milestone day, we'll hit 100 miles. How crazy to think I've come this far already, and I still have 20 times as much to go. Tomorrow looks like a relatively easy 10-11 miles and I am super relaxed after a nice Are, so i'm going to sleep. it's 9:00pm.
Tonight also marks the first night I'm sleeping with my food-bears be dumned. And I also managed to get the thorn from the bush out of my eyelid.


The night before last we spent at Deep Gap shelter. Another cold one but not nearly as windy. I knew we needed an early start for any chance of making it to Hiawassee to get more food. Got up at 6:30am and had a cold breakfast and started walking. Decided to wrap a bandana around my knee as a makeshift Ace bandage it worked out pretty well. Had great weather and pretty much all downhill trails into Dicks Creek Gap where while we were hitchiking Birdman's mom offerd us homemade brownies and a ride into town. Stopped at Blueberry Patch hotel while Ryan got his maildrop, Victor and I raided the hiker  box. FREE FOOD!! I got some instant rice dinners, ramen, and an unopened jar of Peanut butter! how awesome! on our way into town, rolled up to the Hiawassee budget Inn, and got a room for $50.00 split between the 3 of us was about $17.00 each, not bad, but if Haawassee wasn't 11 milles off trail I would'nt have stayed.While checking in I saw another hiker box and got breakfast for a week,, snack boxes and tortilla rolls. Only have to buy a few things when we walked to Igles to buy food.Found an outfitter that sold fuel for a donation and we all filled up our bottles there. After dropping our groceries back off at the room we hit our first buffet at Daniel's Steakhouse. Much to my dismay it was only fried chicken and pork chops with country style sides, never the less we still did work on that place, but for $8.00 I definitely enjoyed it. On the way back to the hotel we ran into ASLON! the guy who disappeared in the middle of the night a few nights ago.
Today we caught a 9:00am shuttle back to the trail and made it to the GA-NC border. The trail was almot entirely uphill and very scenic, a little foggy and threats of rain but none came through. Around 2:45pm we reached the first state line and had a little celebration. A mile or 2 before that we ran across a food box with 3-4 days of supplies in it, so I carried it into camp case anyone came looting.After getting the tarps set up and a fire going, here comes Aslon walking on the trail. We released the food bag to him as he was going to the next shelter and we are camped pretty much at the border. Ryan got a trail(?) today he will be going by Achilles due to his hurt tendon. I'm stil yet to(?) one. It's pretty breezy tonight but at least this campsite is flat....ish.


Took another relatively easy day today, a little over 8 miles. No one slept much last night., winds were HOWLING pretty much all night,  had to be around 70 mph., the walls of the shelter were shaking, and it was cold mid 20's. The wind was hirling dirt on our fires all night. Easy miles today, took them slow. 2 big hills today, over 1400' each way, each one. Stopped at the gap between them to make a call. Currently sitting at Tray mountain shelter. Its 28o and breezy, small fire outside but we are turning in early (7:30 pm) to get ready for a big push tomorrow. 11 miles to Hiawassee (?) hitch in, resupply, and hitch out all before sunset. Good luck to us. So we'll be up at 6am. Speaking of being up early, Aslon got up at 2am last night and left without telling anyone where he was headed or why he was leaving, still havn't heard from him. Good trail today, saw some volunteers rerouting part of it. Much appreciated. Knee is feeling better but still not 100%, we'll see what tomorrow brings.


Blue Mountain shelter tonight. Last night we stayed at Deep Gap and camped out. We ended up pushing for a 13 mile day yesterday and my left knee paid for it, it's manageable if I go slow. All of this meant rolling into a full shelter, which in turn meant setting up the tarp,...On a 20 degree night and it was windy very windy. Met a couple next door(?) named Foster and Skittles who had a fire going and we ate with them after setting up camp. Woke up to what I thought was Ryand flashlight outside of my tarp, but it was a really bright half moon. Woke up this morning to an icy covered ground cloth. Ate breakfast with  Foster and Skittle then headed out for our short day. What a day! temperature never got above 34 degrees and the only times we had in the 40mph winds was when we were on to low side of a hill. It was cold enough to freeze the water in the ground and force it up into ice formations. Tonight's shelter is full, Ryan, "birdman", Victor, Eric, 2 others and myself. (?)sitting at 30o after a tiny snow flury earlier, we have a fire going, and I'm all layered up. Warming up my stove fuel inside my jacket pocket so it will burn and I can cook. Had to break down an almost fallen tree for firewood. Should be a good night and into Hiawassee the day after tomorrow. In good spirits and injuries are minimal. Tonights elavation is 3900 feeet.


Last night was an unfortunately eventful. At some point of the night a mouse ate through my food bag. It was hanging  in between 2 tree at aroung 20-25 feet, I'll give that to the mouse, good job. I also apparently slept thru helicopters, artilary ad machine gun fire as the army rangers were conducting training exercises near Good Mountain shelter. After hearing reports of tournadoes tonight we decided to push thru a 15 mile day all the way to Neels Gap, over Blood Mountain and past Woods Hole shelter. Lots of ups and owns today. First rain while hiking today. Made it to Neel's Gap around 5pm, got my mail drop and started re-covering my food bag when Aaron K, Ryan and I decided to get a cabin at "Blood Mountain cabins" the same place as Kelly, (firefighter), he and his (cute) daughters offered us a ride to "town" which consisted of an Ingles and a Dairy Queen, where we decided the most necessary supply was a 12 pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon!! Got back to the cabin and did laundry and hung out with Kelly & Co. for now while watching the weather about the 74 tornadoes that touched down and the 9+ dead from them. I got a new food bag, and the cabin will only cost $20.00 each, pretty damn good for how nice it is. Shitty weaher all day and night.


Last night was crazy, rain, thunder,, lightning, all night, and wind. Don't forget the wind. Fell asleep around 5:00pm and awoke promptly at 8:20pm and could not fall asleep t'ill around 2:00am. Back up at 6:30 for sunrise to a surprislingly nice day. Made it to Gooch Gap shelter 13ish mile up the trail.Currently sitting here a little drunk thanks to some matus mark  provided by Aaron, we've decided on a 15 mile day tomorrow to push thru to bee's gap. which means more food. My knees are a little sore, but nothing terrible and  my feet are sore. I'm ciijubg nt 2nd dinner was ayiahi noodles(sp) now its rice and beans. Good group of 8 of us in the shelter tonight. Got here at 3:45 p.m. 

February 29, 2012

7am wake up at the hostelfor breakfast. Got to Amicalola and signed into the register as the 2012 seasons 101st prospective thru hiker. Started hiking at 9am and made it up the 620 stairs of Amicalola Falls by 9:30. Kept going until we decided it was snack time around 11am. Twisted my ankle going over a rock that my boot got caught on. It is now 4:30 pm and I am laying in my sleeping bag in the Stove Creek shelter. 11.8 from where we started this morning. 2 shelter mates tonight, Guy, from Maine, that I have been with all day and a firefighter that I cannot remember where he is from.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Chappy, my first ever hitch hike, happened to be a sales rep for an outdoor company and not only did he give me a ride out of Gatlinburg, but he hooked me and my sunburnt ears up with this sweet hat! Trail magic at its finest. Thank you Chappy!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Obviously not a city dweller

I got off my bus in Atlanta and attempted to figure out their subway system. It only set me back a little bit when I realized I was in the southbound terminal instead of the northbound. After I finally made it to the right place, this urban explorer excitedly boarded the first train to appear. Well with planning like that what could go wrong? Yep. Wrong train. Got off at the next stop and figured out the folly of my ways and calmly WAITED till the correct train came rolling in. All is well.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

12 days!!

It's so hard to believe that after almost a year and a half of planning I'm leaving in 12 short days. My last day of work is on Monday!

All of my food for the first week is packed up, I just need to mail half of it to myself sometime next week.

I need to set up automatic billing for my car payments. As well as replacing a tire.

I've decided I'm going to bring my phone after all. Everything I read talks about how few payphones there are anymore. So I guess I'll be finding somewhere to charge it while I resupply.

From here on in its just minor details and waiting to leave. Can't wait to start! I hope I get good weather the first few days!

I'm also trying to publish this from an app on ny phone. So if it works I'll be able to update as well as sending my journal home to be posted.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

getting there...

I've made my travel arrangements. Everything is set. My bus leaves from Orlando the morning of Feb. 28th and the hiker hostel will be picking me up when it arrives in Atlanta. I'll spend the night there, then they'll drop me off at the start of the approach trail the next morning. Officially starting my hike on Feb. 29th.

I realized that I have a zero degree sleeping bag, so I need to get a compression bag for that because with my early start date I can expect some cold weather.

I upgraded my backpack, I finally gave in and got a Golite Jam (it was on clearance for the end of the year, and thats pretty much the only reason other than it is only 1 lb 14 oz). Everything fits into it, and it's  really comfortable despite the fact that its a frameless pack.

I just got some insurance papers in the mail - I need to call them tomorrow and lower my coverage so that I'm not paying crazy amounts of money while I'm gone.

I'll post more when I have more to update, but that's all for now.