Monday, May 25, 2015

Hogback outlook - Nobo 949

This post is from May 25,2015.  The GPS tracking of this hike can be found at:
Great last day in the South today.  An easy 7 miles including rattlesnake #2:

Here are some videos of snakes I have seen on the AT over recent days:

And then being joined by Leslie who did her first post-op hike on the end of my hike with me.

I have now connected with the section I did from Hogback outlook to Carlisle, PA last October. Woohoo!! 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Neighbor Mt Trail - Nobo 942

This post is from May 24, 2015.  The GPS tracking of this hike can be found at:


Hiiked well though 19 miles of very congested trails

 To my rendezvous with Jenny and Glenn and Leslie. I was able to hike the last 1.5 miles with my darling and very pregnant Jenny:

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Rock Spring hut SNP - Nobo 923

This post is from May 23, 2015.   The GPS tracking of this hike can be found at:

The trails on the AT in the Shenandoah National Park are certainly the easiest and fastest of the trail so far. They are generally very smooth and generally the grades quite gradual. This leads to days like today: an 8am start and the 24 miles to this camp done by 6pm. I'll take that any day.

I am very excited about my lunch rendezvous with Jenny and Glenn followed by my 4pm rendezvous with Lesley and Kennedy. Then it's off to a BNB in Luray and a quick 8 miles Monday morning and them I am done with the AT in the South!!

Friday, May 22, 2015

High top hut SNP - Nobo 899

This post is from May 22, 2015.   The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

SNP = Shenandoah National Park

Made probably my fastest 20 miles on The AT so far today- 7:55 including all stops (there were 2). Am tenting nearby this shelter. Things are filling up in SNP over this Memorial Day Weekend and I could barely find a spot tonight for my tent,

Here is a shot of the view looking west from the trail at about mile 8 today. You can see Skyline Drive winding over the mountain:

I met a nice German couple this morning at breakfast at the Tree Streets Inn. trail names Mr. Clean and Pinnochio. Tonight at this shelter met Blissful, a fifty-ish woman solo hiker and Sponge Bob a recent college graduate thru hiker hiking a pace similar to mine.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Black rock trailhead- Nobo 879

This post is from May 21, 2015.    The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

 Slack packed 22 miles today through rain and cold. Everything going well. Got a shuttle back to Waynesboro  and am spending the night for the second night in a row in The Tree Streets Inn. Tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock I will get a ride back to the Black Rock trailhead and resume my journey northward with a fully resupplied and thus heavy pack. Looking forward to my meeting with Leslie and Kennedy and Jenny and Glenn on Sunday.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Rockfish Gap (Waynesboro, VA) - Nobo 857

This post is from May 20, 2015.    The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

Sailed through the predominantly downhill 12 miles to Rockfish Gap today:

I then called and was picked up by the owner of the Tree Streets Inn. I got a massage, got my laundry done as well as my food shopping. I then went for supper at the Heritage Bar and met hikers WOLVERINE (who I had met earlier and took my photo shown in an earlier post) and CHESWICK. Interesting stories both.  WOLVERINE was an ex-Peace Corps volunteer heading off for his MBA after the hike and CHESWICK was doing not only the AT but the 'extended AT' which I believe starts at the Gulf of Mexico and ends up somewhere on the Atlantic in Canada.  He was a fast hiker.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Some overlook - Nobo 845

This post is from May 19, 3015.  The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

Today's total was 22 miles but the 3000' descent down The Priest immediately followed by a steep 3000' ascent knocked me for a loop. Here is today's elevation profile:

I must be weakened from so many long days without a break. Just 5 more to go until Leslie and Kennedy and Jenny and Glenn meet me at Hogback mountain and this big push from Springer will be over.

This note was left on the trail on that big ascent (I did not see any):

This is a view looking back at the 3000' deep valley I just crossed:

This is s view late in the day on the general direction of Waynrsboro, VA,
Where I will be sleeping in a bed tomorrow night!!:

The Priest Shelter - Nobo 823

This post is from May 18, 2015.  The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:


21 miles with a 2000' ascent right at the start with my fully resupplied and therefore heavy pack. Also rained off and on. I was done and setting up my tent by 6:15 which was nice.

Trail anecdote: a perfectly normal intelligent hiker person came up to me today and asked me if I knew what day it was. After thinking for a bit I was able to answer "Monday". He said thank you and departed. There was nothing strange about this conversation or the person in the context of living in the woods. One would think a person odd who asked such a question out in the world.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

US Rte 60 (Buena Vista,VA) - Nobo 802

This post is from May 17, 2015.    The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

I'm getting tired and sore. Made it through 24 more miles today for a total of 77 miles in the past three days. Crossed over the longest foot-only bridge on the AT early this morning:

Encountered more large snakes but nothing that I think was poisonous:

Here are some videos of some snakes I have seen over the recent days:

When I got to US Route 60 I was very fortunate to encounter an EX-through hiker who was there and his car supporting his son who is through hiking this year.  The man I met had a trail name called 5-WAY standing for the five way bypass he had before he did the trail in 2006. I am spending tonight in the budget in motel in Buena Vista and will get a ride up by a taxi service to the trailhead at 8:30 tomorrow morning to resume hiking.

This is the elevation profile from today:

Matt's Creek Shelter - Nobo 778

This post is from May 16, 2015.    The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

Today's 26 miles were more difficult than I thought when I left camp at 7:10am. I thought that was plenty early. Well with the heat, humidity and this elevation profile:

It took me until 8 pm to reach this shelter where I am totally alone and have pitched my tent. Maybe the trail is emptying out due to the big "Trail Days" festival occurring in Damascus right now,

Anyway, one of the delays was a few feet from the summit of Apple Orchard mountain (the highest point on today's profile).  I was so busy feeling miserable and cursing the trail designers that I had walked right by this fellow and then heard his rattle:

His head was only about 6 inches from my left foot when I had passed him:. His girth was about 2 inches in diameter in the thickest part. That is the first rattlesnake encounter I have ever had on the wild, I have a good video of him rattling which I will post on the site when I get home.

Here is a shot of the descent down to James River.

I have not reached it yet but will cross it tomorrow on the longest foot use only bridge on the AT!!

I met ROCKY as my campsite-mate last night - a young man from Atlanta. Yesterday and today I have been leapfrogging with ROAD RUNNER, a young man from Minnesota,

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Jennings Creek - Nobo 752

This post is from Friday May 15, 2015.   The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

Strode 27 miles today after saying goodbye to Helen when she dropped me off at the trailhead at 7:40am. Today at about mile 11 the AT begins a 100 +- section of weaving around and over the Blue Ridge Parkway. I can remember driving that route in 1994 on a family trip and seeing signs for the AT and being drawn to it even then.

The terrain was mixed today between overly steep short climbs and descents and relatively easy walking. My feet are sore all the time now but once they get loosened up it is not bad.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Troutville, VA - Nobo 725

 This post is from May 14, 2015.    The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

Today was a pleasant 22 miles, the first four of which Helen accompanied me. She then hiked back out making a total of 8 miles for herself. She hiked in those 4 miles to see McAfee knob one of the most photographed places on the Appalachian Trail.  This is a shot of Helen and me sitting on McAfee Knob:

Catawba, VA, Nobo 704

This post is from May 13, 2015.  The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

Slack packed 22 miles today. Passed by the memorial to wear Audie Murphy the most decorated US soldier in World War II as well as a famous actor died in a plane crash. This picture is the view from the ridge just before reaching Dragon's tooth a set of rocky cliffs with a very difficult descent:

This involved climbing over very steep rock which sometimes has metal rungs placed but many times without. This shot is an example of what that seven tenths of a  mile of rough climbing looked like:

I was very lucky to be slack packing over that difficult section rather than carrying my 30 pound pack.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

VA 621 - Nobo 682

This post is from May 12, 2015.    The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

Helen and I sashayed our way through 11 miles of beautiful Virginia countryside today. This is a shot of the spot where we had lunch:

After lunch we passed a marker denoting the Eastern Continental divide. I actually believe that I have been walking along this divided during a good part of my hike in Tennessee and North Carolina as well:

At the end of the day we encountered some awesome trail magic at the spot where we left our second rental car. We enjoyed talking to the hosts of the magic as well as to a couple of young hiker brothers from North Adams Massachusetts:

Helen hiked the whole day with me today which was a fairly big day for her at 11 miles. I will hike alone tomorrow for 22 miles and Helen will join me for 7 miles of my hike on Thursday. It's great having Helen's company.

Monday, May 11, 2015

VA route 42 & Helen!! - Nobo 671

This post is from May 11, 2015.    The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

Today was a hot 17 mile day but it ended with my much awaited reunion with Helen at Virginia Route 42 we are happy tonight and comfortable in our hotel in Roanoke.

No new trail names to add tonight as I met not one person either northbound or southbound in my entire 17 miles today.

Near Bailey Gap Shelter - Nobo 654

This post is from May 10, 2015.  The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

Gamboled 23 miles to Bailey Gap Shelter but found it empty with no feasible place for a tent and full of mosquitoes, so I kept  on hiking a bit further and found this stealth camping spot:

This was today's elevation profile:

And this was the view to the East after that first big climb:

Finally, I did not know that Peter had either a mountain OR a wilderness:

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Pearisburg, VA - Nobo 630

This post is from May 9, 2015.  The GPS data from today's hike can be found at: 

Marched through 25 miles of slack packing today and reached this town at 5:45pm with a 6:50am start.  The views from the ridge 2000' before descending to the town were glorious;

I met BEAN COUNTER today. He seems to be in his sixties and is a recently retired accountant from Baton Rouge, LA. He and. I commiserated over the dried up springs in the general lack of water these days.

Friday, May 8, 2015

VA 606 Trents Grocery - Nobo 606

This post is from May 8, 2015.   The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

Got an early start today and made it to my mail drop at Trents grocery by 2:30pm. Had awesome steak and cheese sub and fries and milkshake. Much needed after last night's supper of crackers and peanut butter. AOK.

Met COB "chief of the boat " ex navy guy at last night's shelter. Met Trail Pilgrim late fifties participant in this years WARRIOR HIKE for veterans. Met IRISH a triple crowner tonight (AT PCT CDT) repeating the AT in his sixties. He and I share the dubious fame of both having been evacuated from base camp on Aconcagua with pulmonary edema. Ah, the good times...

When I reached the end of the rainbow, my quest, my Holy Grail today - Trents Grocery:

There I found waiting for me that which I sought- my first mail drop!:

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Helvey's Mill Shelter - Nobo 589

This post is from May 7, 2015.   The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

Very humid and hot again today. Made 24 miles to tent outside this shelter at 7:45pm, there was a cloudburst at about 5pm that forced me to scramble to get my pack cover and my Goretex shell on. I now have just 16 miles to go tomorrow to get to Trents grocery where I have a mail drop waiting. Getting there for tomorrow night aligns me exactly with my schedule. I have decided to get a ride from there to Pearisburg Friday at 4pm and get a hotel. I will leave all my heavy stuff in that hotel and get a ride back to Trents grocery Saturday at 6am and slack pack the 25 miles from the grocery store trail head to Pearisburg. This means I will be in a hotel in Pearisburg Friday and Saturday nights which will be a luxury even though the hiking mileage remains high Saturday.

Crossed I-77 just 2 miles before tonight's camp:

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Chestnut knob shelter - Nobo 565

This post is from May 6, 2015.     The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

Tough hilly day today. Tougher than the last two days even though the miles were less. I am camped about 100 yards north of the shelter. It is gorgeous and pleasant here tonight:

I had to scramble over an infinite number of fence styles during the midday hours today:

I am tired but nothing hurting very bad. Things are going well.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

I-81, Atkins, VA -northbound mile 542

This post is from May 5, 2015.    The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

Today was a bit harder for me than yesterday but I still made 26 miles by 7:30pm. I have some hot spots from the new pack and my feet are a bit sore.
I am now 11 miles ahead of my schedule which good because my schedule had me doing 74 miles over the next 3 days which I can now drop to 63. Only doing 21 per day will be better.

Here is a view of Virginia looking west from the trail at about 5:30pm today:

I met BROADWAY, a young man from Lexington,VA at a spring where I was refilling water (emptying my water faster now in this heat). A few minutes later I re-met ELECTRIC LIZARD who I had met way south maybe the Smokies. She is from Tewksbury and is starting Veterinary school at Tufts in August. We actually hiked together for 4 miles at the end of my day which was a record for me hiking with anyone since GA by about 3.9 miles since I never stayed with anyone before for more than a tenth of a mile. I stopped here but she was continuing on to camp about 3 miles north. She was on a mission as she needed to meet a friend at a road in 48 hours to get off the trail for a few days to go a concert with that person. She took this picture of me in front of a historic schoolhouse right on the AT:

Dickey Gap, VA - northbound mile 516

This post is from May 4, 2015.   The GPS data from today's hike can be found at:

Back on the trail after a 13 day break. Beautiful weather, fresh legs and moderate terrain led to a 25 mile first day back. I am camping close to the trail alone in a bushwhacked-tent site. I am so tired I don't really care.

The tent site looks like this:

Walked through an extensive area today (Highlands State Park) where the park service uses wild ponies to graze the former high pastures to keep them as they have been since these parts were first settled by European settlers:

This shot above is close to the summit of Mt. Rogers, the highest peak in VA (over 5700')

New trailname : TINKERBELL, a young solo female thru hiker from Portland Maine.  Our small state has an out-sized representation on the trail