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.