|04/14/1998||Amicalola Falls State Park||-8.5||2168.5||Arrived in parents RV at 4.30PM. Registered at hotel. Occupied Site #3 in campground. Walked to top of falls. Highest in Ga. 729' Walked to AT approach trail. Wife says looks steep, Dad says he is already too high. |
|04/15/1998||Stover Creek Shelter||11.0||2.5||2157.5||Left at 9:30 after goodbyes and pictures. Walked past Little D and met Alex from Wisconsin who proudly announced he is on his first backpacking trip ever. Saw Joan who was having a hard time getting up the hill.struggling under her 65 pound pack. (Inever saw these two again.) Raining hard when I got to the top of Springer Mountain. Abruptly came upon the plaque marking the start of the trail and almost missed it. Made a short entry and returned log to its stainless steel container. Walked on to Springer shelter in downpour with the trail now a stream. 2/10 mile to shelter. Took off wet clothes, made some hot grits with tobasco and cup of milk. Ate some peanut butter someone had left and had a power bar. Alex and Matt two 70+ hikers were giving it up and going off the trail. Sun came out for the rest of the day W-NE-25Knots. Walked 2 1/2 miles to Stover Creek shelter. At shelter were - Lucy (Little Moon) Matt - (Sunshine) #25 picture - Sunshine, Little Moon, Rocket Bride and Max the dog. |
|04/16/1999||Gooch Gap Shelter||13.6||16.1||2143.9||Bad night- 4 hours sleep. Not comfortable. Black beans heard from frequently. Up at 7/15 Mistakenly used someone else's old towel to wrap up a bottle that had dissolved with the diluted DEET I had put into it. Offered to replace the towel but was graciously refused. Difficulty starting ESBIT fuel tabs till moved stove to sheltered area out of the wind. Found moss covered log - great toilet seat. Granola Bar and Tang for breakfast, packed and off at 8:30 Beautiful walk through rhododendron and hemlock along Stover Creek. (#26) Stopped at Long green falls (#27 -28) Began series of climbs up mountains and down gaps. Reached Hawk Mountain Shelter at 11.00 Stopped for lunch. Difficulty getting the tabs going in the wind again. Moved to shelter and was OK. Left 12.30 for up and down walk in the afternoon. 2500' up for the day. Had planned to stay at Gooch Gap but it was crowded and no tenting area. Went on to Gooch Gap with Rocket Bride and found wonderful grassy area between two perfectly spaced trees for my tarp. Took off my shoes and walked around barefoot. That felt really great! Black beans for supper plus finished off Rocket Brides' mac & cheese in return for washing her pot. Later Mala showed by car with Trail magic of sodas and oranges. He is up from Key West where he sells jewelry to the tourists off cruise ships. In summer he hangs with thru hikers. old hippie type. real nice guy. (Big Dead head). |
|04/17/1999||Woods Hole Shelter||10.5||26.6||2133.4||Awoke at 7:15 after much more restful night. Leisurely 10 miles today so started at 8.15. Walked one hour and then stopped on SE facing cliff overlooking the piedmont. 40-50 mile visibility today. Sun feels good. Some between the thighs rash where my legs rub together -put on some vaseline. Woods Hole Shelter at 3/30. 6 hrs. for 10.5 miles. New shelter 1/2 mile from the trail. 9 people here by 5.30. May snow tonight. Forecast rain tomorrow. Thinking of short day. |
|04/18/1999||Low Gap Shelter||Groceries||14.7||41.3||2118.7||Tang and onion soup and off at 8:45. Nice climb of 1500 ' to Blood mountain the highest on the AT in Georgia. Arrived at 10.00 Walas Yi Center in Neel's gap at 11:45 1300' decent of Blood Mt. made left knee sore, otherwise all well. Picked up some food and will use their facilities and then onward. Left Walasi Yi at 12:30 and headed up 700' climb. This trail was gap after gap- all along the ridge. The walking was tough-calculate 3000' of elevation gain and as much loss. Started small blitster on left heel.Stopped to dry socks Arrived Low gap shelter at 6:30. Set up tarp up from shelter which was dark and unappealing. Mac & cheese for dinner but it was not Kraft and so not very good. |
|04/19/1999||Tray Mountain Shelter||14.9||56.2||2103.8||Awoke at 6:30 to see someone headed up the trail. Got up at 7:30 Breakfast of Granola Bar, milk, Tang- on trail by 8:15. Stopped at 10:30 to fix blister with moleskin and duct tape. Arrived Blue Mt. Shelter at 11:50 -7.2 miles. Stayed for 1 1/2 hrs. Dried sleeping bag and ground cloth in sun. Had Taboulli for lunch- not good. Took one hour to hydrate. Steep long decent from shelter to Union Gap. Arrived at 3:00 stopped to fix blister again. First patch didn't work very well. Got to Tray mountain at 5:00. Great 360 degree view. Into camp at 7:00 Set up tarp on edge of cliff expecting beautiful sunrise. 3AM thunder and rain till 5:00. Two pegs pulled out from same side of the tarp so it was lucky the whole thing did not come down. My fault for not properly siting and setting the tarp. No sunrise as hoped for.|
|04/20/1999||Plum Orchard Shelter||13.9||71.1||2088.9||Awoke at 6:30 Packed up. Some animal stole my spoon which I had left under my shoes. My shoes got drug into the rain. An accountant from Atlanta staying here gave me his spoon to replace my spare (I carried a spare spoon, the only redundant piece of equipment I had. I never needed it for the rest of the trip!). He was on his last day of a one week section hike. Morning weather cloudy, misty and cool. partly cloudy by midmorning. Around 5 yesterday ran into Trail Angel who had set up at the cheese factory and was giving out hotdogs to hikers. This morning Gordo was cooking breakfast for any hikers coming by. I had eggs, cheese and pineapple. Spent 10:30 to 11:30 with Gordo and several other hikers. I had missed the big party last night with steak, potatoes and beer. I carried the empty kegs up to the car for Gordo. Sorry to miss that dinner! All this was at Addis Gap. Made it to Dick's Gap at 3:30 and considered going on to the Blue Berry Patch for overnite but deceided to go on to Plum Orchard Gap. Very nice shelter with two lofts and large sheltered tables.(#34&35). with the Happy Hikers, Don and Pat. Pat has blown out his knees and is taking several 0 mile days at this shelter to try to get them going again. He is consuming Ibuprofen by the handful and applying cold water compresses with his Camelbak water bag. I have now equaled my longest ever backpacking trip. Only 4 and 1/2 MONTHS to go!|
|04/21/1999||Standing Indian Shelter||12.2||83.3||2076.7||Awoke 7:15 after OK nite of tossing on the hard floor- under way by 8:45. Feet, blister and achilles tendons still sore. Good walking but all uphill. Ran out of gas about 1:00 PM and had to stop to cook some grits. Spent 1:15 fixing and eating lunch. Went very slowly and quit early. Had a bath in the stream- lots of gnats at the shelter. Two week-long hikers in the shelter with me. Also Happy Hikers (Pam and David) from the last shelter. Still windy and cool but clear. Don must have gone on.|
|04/22/1999||Big Spring Shelter||14.4||97.7||2062.3||Happy Hikers up at 5:30. One of the other guys, out for two weeks, stabbed a poor mouse with his knife last nitght. It is impaled on the table this morning with the long blade of the biggest Swis Army knife I have ever seen. That sucker must be 3 inches thick with evry device known to man. Only a short distance hiker would carry a knife like that.. Up at 6:45 and on the trail by 7:45. Nice gradual grade up Standing Indian mountain to the top at 5499'. Highest point so far. Walking thru tunnels of rhododendron with the wind on the mountain passing overtop and all was quiet below. Later the sun dappled the leaf covered path thru the rhododendron on a long six mile gradual decent. Very pleasant. Achilles tendon and blister still hurt but I'm in better spirits. Will do 14.4 miles today to Big Spring shelter. Arrived at 3:45. Cooked up Lipton rice and broccoli, did some wash and aired feet. Bed at 9. Mle 97.7 Flora Day # 1 Wild Iris, violets(purple and yellow) Day 2 Colombine,Purple trillium, dasies,blood root. Day 3 Buttercups Day 4- Bluets Day 5 White trillium Day 6 Bleeding heart Day 7 May apple. |
|04/23/1999||Wine Spring Campsite||Groceries||17.3||115.0||2045.0||Up at 6:30 away at 7:45. Blister looks good but legs still stiff. Good walk through easy grade. Made road crossing at Wallach Gap by 10 :30. Walked 1 mile on road to Rainbow Springs campground. Bought and ate two tins of sardines. Packed summer sausage, three Lipton dinners, 2 qts. Tang. and stove top stuffing. Ate 1/2 box chocolate chip cookies. Decided not to shower as it looked like rain, muddy soon anyway. Laundry would have taken an hour to do so that can wait too. Walked back up the road to trail. Passed Happy Hikers on the way down to the campground. They plan to spend the nght. As they walk slower, I will probably not see them again so said goodby. Will miss them. (Saw them again in Gorham, New Hampshire after the flipped.) Hiking the rest of the day felt good. Legs starting to feel better. Blister not a problem today. Saw lots of chipmunks scurring across the trail with their tails standing straight up in the air. Shopping list for Wallace Gap |
1-six Granola Bars
2- three Lipton dinners or Stove Top.
3- one small cheese
4- one hard salami
5-one lemon mix
6 - one Bic lighter.
|04/24/1999||Nantahala Outdoor Center||19.1||134.1||2025.9||Left 7.45 from Wine Spring. Beautiful view from Bald Tower. Took pictures but probably will not show well as they are panoramic. Cleared up by 10. Bright blue sky good even trail. Felt good till about 3.00 when trail went up to Wesser Bald then began a 3000' descent to Namtahala outdoor center. No rooms available, no dinner seating, takeout only. Still looking for a place to stay. Had a shower and some conversation in the bunk house. Saw five wild turkeys on the trail. They ran ahead of me for almost 15 minutes Finally two of them took off through the trees their wings beating and thrashing the branches as they flew out of the thick woods. Spent afternoon trying to keep up with 2 girls who were doing a 35 mile slack pack and with Don Boyle who was also trying to stay with them. One of them is the owner of the Walasi Yi center who was so interested in my shoes. Went further than I planned in order to get to "civilization"|
|04/25/1999||Brown Fork Gap Shelter||Groceries||16.0||150.1||2009.9||Left 7:45 from the dining room of the bunk house where I spent the night on the floor. Other hikers there also Don Boyle, Gipetto, Firefly and Opie. Long uphill section 3400'. Expecting nearly 5000' climbing today. Arrived at shelter at 4:30. Very tired as did not get to sleep until 1 am last nite in Wesser at the Nanatahala Outdoor Center. Planning to cook and eat two dinners and go to bed as soon as it gets dark. Don showed up about 8:15. Ferribosai here already with 3 local Georgia hikers.|
|11.6||161.7||1998.3||Awoke 6:30 away at 7:30. Lots of PUD's (Pointless ups and downs). a term created by Don Boyle. Many flowers in bloom especially trillium (#11 ) Arrived at shelter at 11:30. Started to rain as we left the shelter and continued for the nxt several hours when the trail began it's sharp decent into Fontana. It was quite muddy and slippery. One foot slid in the mud and then collapsed the side of the trail leaving me with one foot on the trail and the other three feet below. My walking sticks saved any major disaster. Arrived Fontana marina a 2 pm. On a notice board was a telephone to call for a shuttle up to the Fontana Village Inn where the hiker special was $25 per and $5 additional for another person. Don and I decided to share a room rather than use the hostal at $15 each. All you can eat buffet for $10.95 featured meat loaf. I had five plates, long shower and to bed at 10. |
|0.0||161.7||1998.3||Layover Day Awoke at 6:30 - went to breakfast at 7:10 but not open till 7:30. Back at 7:45 for 3 servings of egg omlet, 7 pieces of bacon, 4 sausages, 3 french toast, 2 helpings of fried potatoes,and 3 orange juices. $7.95. Should reduce the caloric defecit for this week significantly. Will stay here and hit the buffet again and also tomorrow morning. Hopefully the rain system will pass by then. Plan to do laundry, phone call, mailing etc. and be ready to leave on the first shuttle available at 9 am. First day in the Smokies. Looks like an all day climb uphill for 2500' with a day of 15 miles. Should be thru the park in 5 days and in Hot Springs in a week. Achilles tendon still sore. Hoping this day off will return it to normal. Otherwise all is well. |
Met and Talked with Fireboss a retired coal mining operations for PEabody Coal. He managed all of the eastern operations for Peabody as it was taken over by Hanson and then retired early when Hanson sold the company to Texas Utilities. He retired to Hilton Head and just bought himself an Egg Harbor 42' boat. I hear that he is a champion snorer that several other hikers are avoiding.
|04/28/1999||Russell Field Shelter||14.7||176.4||1983.6||Up 6:45 Breakfast 7:30 Eggs, bacon, sausage and toast. Mailed drift box and notes and film from P.O. and got shuttle at 9:00 back to Marina. Got to Fontana Dam and into Great Smokies National Park. (GSNP). Climbed 3400' to Russell Field Shelter, took picture from fire tower on dam (#14). Lots of bugs swarming at the shelter. Wore my mosquito head net. Gipetton, Firefly and Opie arrived late as they decided to push on to this shelter since Fireboss was staying at the previous one.|
|04/29/1999||Double Spring Gap Shelter||16.0||192.4||1967.6||On trail at 7:45. Weather turned totally miserable. Worst day yet. trail full of mud. 19 hikers at the shelter (which holds 12). I fell getting out of the top level of the shelter when I slipped on Gipetto's tyvek ground cloth. Smashed the middle toe of my left foot |
|04/30/1999||Icewater Spring Shelter||13.8||206.2||1953.8||Middle toe is now a bright purple and hurts considerable. Dusting of snow on the trees. Took picture of the trail when leaving the shelter (#17). and further up the trail (18) Three miles and 1100' up to Clingman's Dome where rime ice is accumulating on the tower. (19). Down to Newfound Gap at 5049' and then back up to 5900' at Icewater Spring. Shelter is full with 13 occupants in a 12 space shelter. I sleep on the floor tonite. |
|05/01/1999||Cosby Knob Shelter||Groceries||20.3||226.5||1933.5||Not much sleep due to heavy snoring on both sides. Beautiful sunrise however, which inspired the below poem. It is very cold this morning. Made 7.5 miles in 3 hours. Day remained clear. In to Colby Knob Shelter at 6:30. This makes my first official 20 mile day.|
The dawn breaks clear and cold
The clouds do not remain
Perhaps I am not too old
And my plans are not in vain
So up and out and be bold
Ignore last evenings pain
Stride on to Autum's gold
On that lonesome peak in Maine.
|05/02/1999||Max Patch||24.0||250.5||1909.5||Big snorer on the top level of the shelter last nite. Awake from 2 till 4:30. Up at 6:40 on trail by 8:15. Lots of elevation lost coming out of GSNP, 5500 down to 1700 at Davenport Gap. Most hikers at last night's shelter are going to Mountain Mama's for overnite and cheeseburgers. Don and I are going on because our drops are at Hot Springs. Arrived at intended destination at 4:00. Too early to quit so we headed on to campsite another 3 miles along the trail. The water source and the campsite were both very bad. Decided to go on to Max Patch Summit. Fortunately, found water just before the Patch. Climbed to the summit arriving 6:45. Max Patch is a large grassy open top on a 4900' peak. Cooked dinner and watched an awesome sunset. Set up tarp and watched lights on the Tenn. plains and the stars coming out. In sleeping bag by 10:00. Windy and cold all nite. Woke up at midnite to bright almost full moon shining in the front of the tarp. A beautiful night after a 23 mile day. |
|16.6||267.1||1892.9||Up at 6:15, walking by 7:15. Good trail and easy walking for first 5 miles. Next 15 miles into Hot Springs was hot and dry, up and down but mostly down. Hot Springs is 1372' so lost 3100' today. Checked into Alpine Motel, sharing with Don. Chopped sirloin, mashed potatoes, corn bread and salad. Got -----? bar at the deli. Will pick up package at the P.O . tomorrow, soak in the jacussi and prehaps a massage. Looked at profile map - walked down 5000' and up 2300' today. Walked down 5000' and up 6000' when we did 23 miles, Wow!|
|0.0||267.1||1892.9||Day off in Hot Springs. Had Hiker Special breakfast. 3-10" pancakes, 2 eggs, sausage, home fries. Did laundry, picked up food drop, picked up 3 Lipton dinners, 2 mashed potatoes. Need to pack for 9 days of hiking. Sewed a new buckle on my back pack hip belt as the velcro won't hold the entire weight of the pack (30#). Did not get to the hot tub or the massage because of the time it took to sew and repack the back pack. Don went to the Medical Clinic and was told he broke a bone in his left foot not just sprained it. Hhe will have to stay another day for rest and not hike as many miles on it. So we are parting tomorrow after I mail my package and check for letters. Plan to do 15 miles with my once again heavy pack loaded with 9 days food supply. |
|05/05/1999||Little Laurel Shelter||22.8||289.9||1870.1||Left Hot Springs 8:45 - after mailing film and notes and sending drift box to Damascus. Got letter from Mom and Dad and Uncle Dan. Trail following the French Broad river for about a mile and then started up the mountain for about a 1000'. Light to moderate rain fell in the morning ending with misty drippy fog about 1:30 as I arrived at the first shelter. This is where I had intended to stay at 11 miles out of Hot Springs but things were going well and it was very early. Went on to the next shelter (mile 290). This will put me off my Itinerary as to where I am staying so the web entries will have to be adjusted. Met Sunshine on the trail today. He is a black American from Waynesboro, Va. He worked in a Pizza Hut. He was waiting for someone to come along so he could hike with them. While we were walking along, we walked by an older white man in his pick-up. We both said hello and he just glared back. "It's nice to see that bigotry is not dead in the South" Sunshine said. Someone stole his sleeping bag at the Hostel so he is without one. He stopped at the first shelter. He started April 2nd. and clearly is not going to make Katahdin in time at his present rate altho he did not seem to realize that. I would have liked to talk with him further but he is going very slowly. Today is another 20+ mile day. Climbed up 3700' today and down 1700'. Forecast is for T-showers tonight and tomorrow. |
|05/06/1999||Hogback Shelter||21.6||311.5||1848.5||T- storms started at 2:45 and lasted till 7 AM. Waited for trees to stop dripping before getting up. Rain kept me awake from 3 to 6. Lots of splash in off the rhododendron leaves at the open end of the tarp. Top of the sleeping bag wet. On trail by 8:45. Light drizzle and 20 knot breeze. Mid 50's. Trail rocky, muddy and slippery. Got to the first shelter at 11:30. Rain had just stopped. Arrived second shelter at 2:15. Decided to eat two hot meals and go on to the next shelter. Other hikers here. Discovered GORP bag got wet in the rain last nite. All ruined. Will dump it at an appropriate place. Took picture #16 - orchids. Steep climb up from NC 212. Took picture #17 of waterfall. Been hiking south most of the afternoon and crossing ridges.|
|05/07/1999||No Business Shelter||20.3||331.8||1828.2||Up early and on trail by 7:30 Good smooth trail. Sky looms threatening and I heard thunder. Winds SE 10 - temp 50's. Trail heads south and then east, seems to be hopping ridges to get to the eastern side of the Appalachians. Need to look at someone's Topo Map. Big Bald at 5500' No view all fogged in and SE-15K. Cold so kept going until Bald Mountain shelter. Stopped for hot lunch at 11:45 - 10 miles in 4 hours. Very good time. After leaving shelter with partly sunny skies started to hear thunder at 3:00, clouds to the SW. Made 5 miles before rain and hail at Spivey Gap. Stayed under a rhododendron bush growing under a hemlock while pea sized hail came down. Continued walking up canyon with stream tumbling down. It was incredible how quickly that little rivelet became a torrent. The rain stopped before I crossed the canyon. The sun glistened off the drops hanging on the leaves. very nice. - was almost dry when the thunder started again. For an hour I raced for the shelter. I was within 400 yds. of it when the sky opened up and I was soaked again. Very nice shelter at No Business Knob T- storms all nite with heavy lightning and rain. Dry cinder block shelter with white paint is very bright. Did not have any mice either. |
|05/08/1999||Unaka Mountain ||Groceries||20.2||352.0||1808.0||Left No Business Shelter at 8:10. I was the last one out. Some others left at 6:45. I guess the lure of the town Erwin, Tenn. got 'em going. Smooth downhill for 7 miles and 1200' down to the river. Stopped at pavilion and dried clothes in the sun. Walked another mile to Nolichucky River campground. where there was supposed to be supplies available. Couldn't find any. Started the 2500' ascent to Unaka Mt. trail. Followed a stream which was very full. Most crossings had bridges except one which had to be forded. Got shoes wet so took time to wash them. Stopped just before trail left the stream and had two meals for lunch. In the 1 1/2 hours that took, most of my clothes got dry in the sun as well as my shoes and socks. Continued on up the mountain to Beatuy Spot at 6:30. It was windy and cold and looked at if it would not be a pretty sunset so I pushed on for the next campsite. Arrived there to find it was right next to a road. Told a couple there that I did not think it was safe and that I would not stay there. Started the final slog up Unaka Mt. (5500) and found a camp at about 8:00 PM. Had just finished settingt up when the couple from below appeared - a weird guy was making dog calls so they packed up and moved |
|05/09/1999||Roan High Knob Shelter||17.0||369.0||1791.0||Woke at 6:30 after tortuous nite of cold and turning. Up at 7:00 - on the road by 7:45. 500' climb to top of Unaka and then 1200' decent to the next shelter. Lots of PUDS ( pointless ups and downs) until next shelter at 12 miles out. Took long lunch with two meals and then walked 4 miles to start of 3.5 mile ascent of Roan Mt. (2500) up to 6150. Staying at the highest shelter on the AT. |
|05/10/1999||Campsite 2 miles short of Morland Gap Shelter||25.5||394.5||1765.5||Up at 6:20 and on trail by 7:10. Planning to make big miles today. Clear and cool (46deg.) No wind. Decended 750 to Roan Mt.Pass and then several hour walk over Roan Mt. Highlands, a series of bald peaks with great views - looked a bit like Scotland. Heavy descent of 2500' into U.S.19 at Roan Mt. Then a very disagreeable section of the trail going up and down thru cow pastures and laurel covered stream valleys. Calculate cumultive up and down at 9,000'. Tried to make Moreland Gap Shelter but ran out of daylight and had to stop about 2 miles short. Made 25 miles today. Tired but everything held up well.|
|05/11/1999||Dennis Cove||Groceries||7.0||401.5||1758.5||Up at 6:45 and on trail by 7:30 Continued the short ups and downs of the previous day with an additional 750' up and down. Did the 7 miles into Dennis Cove by 11:06. Feet were feeling sore. I was hungry and smelly and tired so I decided to go to Laurel Creek Campground and Hostel. Had shower, did laundry. Ate a big cheeseburger and a chili dog. Dried all my gear, did a manicure and pedicure, washed and dried my shoes. Our hosts Dennis and Mary were in the hotel and convention business in Miami but were bought out by a large company. Got tired of just" playing" and bought this place last Nov. What a nice pair, so very friendly and helpful. All hikers of the AT should consider this stop. |
|05/12/1999||Campsite past Vandeventer Shelter||23.6||425.1||1734.9||Awake at 6:30 - continental breakfast at 7:00 - on the trail by 8:10. Stopped by Laurel Falls and took a picture The trail skirts by the edge of the stream only a foot or two above the water. There is a Blue trail that provides an alternative in case of high water. I saw my first rhododendron blossom on a ridge above the falls (picture). The only other laurel in bloom are the orange blossoms and the large 12" white blossoms of the mountain magnolias. Good grade on the 200' climb to the Pond and the 2000' down grade to Watauga Lake. Stopped at the lake for lunch. Saw someone pass that looked like Don - but he did not stop. Crossed Watauga Dam - an earthen dam about 200-250' high.Began 2500' climb up to the ridge that would bring me to Damascus. Once up on the top there were good views to the east of Watauga Lake. Reached Vanderventer Shelter at 4:30 which was too early to quit. Decided to continue to the next campsite at the 21 mile mark. When I arrived there was Don setting up his tent. It was he who had walked past at noon. I set up my tarp and since this was the best job I had done with it so far I took a picture of it with the fire that Jim and Bill , two local hikers who left Florida for a simpler life in the North Carolina mountains. ( from Boca Raton and Pompano, respectively) To bed about 10 after the fire burned out. |
|29.2||454.3||1705.7||Rain started about 4:00 and continued until 6:30. Got up at 7:00 and started the level trail in a moderate fog. This day was long at 29 miles on a good mostly downhill 2500' into Damascus. Found a spot to pitch the tent in back of "The Place" a hostel run by the Methodist Church. Took a picture of my tarp and a "small number" of the other tents set up in the town. Walked to a restaurant for a cheeseburger. Made it just as it started to storm. Had to walk back in the rain. It rained till about 5AM. |
|0.0||454.3||1705.7||Awoke at 6:30 Got a ride to the egg and sausage breakfast given by the Emergency medical team . Came back to"The Place", picked up my back pack and went down to where the manufacturer had set up the tents and was adjusting and repairing equipment for the hikers. Got a Mountain Smith rep. to sew on a new buckle for the waist back of my pack. The velcro band I had on there picked up leaves and dirt on the hooks side. This buckle will make the belt much easier to put on and get off. Went to a seminar on lightweight backpacking and videos on Earl Schaffer, the first thru-hiker. Picked up my drops at the postoffice, selected what went home and what went into the drop box. Those go into the mail tomorrow (Saturday morning). |
|0.0||454.3||1705.7||Layover Day - Trail Days A very friendly hiker town. Went to several slide shows after mailing my drift box and extra food back home. Decided that drift box was too expensive and not as practical as getting the few things I really needed from the local stores. Unfortunately the Postal Service could not use my credit card so I am now low on cash. Joined the hiker parade through town and took severa pictures. Went to the park and listened to the band for awhile. Had a kielbasa with onions and peppers. Went to the Earl Schaffer's 1948 Thru Hike Slide Show but left after the first set of slides. Walked around town and tried several restuarants but they were all full. Finally got an 8 piece chicken buffet, large fries and a chocolate shake at Dairy Queen. Back to the tarp and asleep by 10 pm. Don has decided to leave the trail for a week and perhaps come back after his foot heals and he has some time with his wife.|
|05/16/1999||Campsite near Whitetop Mountain Road||21.7||476.0||1684.0||Left Damascus 7:45. Along the Virginia Creeper Railroad bed until the AT went sharply up about 1000' to the top of a nondescript ridge and then back down again to parallel the Creeper for about half mile then back up the 1000' again to a shelter and then back down to actually go on the Creeper for about a mile. Very pleasant day in the 60's with a blue sky and low humidity. AT. finally leaves the railroad bed for good after crossing the river on a high tressel bridge and begins a 2500' ascent of White Top mountain. This 4+ mile climb is nicely graded. As the trail approaches the summit the trees become progressively shorter, finally giving way to treeless grassy fields. After going over every minor rockpile in the last three states, the AT does not go to this fir topped mountain but skirts its flank. There is no flat ground at the designated site with three tents were already set up. I pressed on till 8 pm. when I located a really nice "stealth" site about 300' off the trail. I set up my tarp as rain and wind seem unlikely on such a clear night. I took a picture of the set-up as it was especially comfortable. |
|05/17/1999||Fox Creek||19.0||495.0||1665.0||Woke up at 6:50 to the sun shining under the side of the tarp. Decided to sleep some more. Woke up at 7:45 and packed up. On the trail by 8:45. Trail unremarkable until I got to the flank of Mt. Rogers where it broke out onto an open meadow. A side trail went to the summit but did not say how far. Decided to stay on the AT to the next shelter. This shelter has a solar powered privy! I took a picture and used it too. It even had tp. Took a picture of the shelter as it was nicely sited. Stopped for a snack and watched a mare nurse her colt. The trail now went in an almost full circle for 10 miles through the Mt. Rogers Highlands, an open rocky meadow area at 5000'. Kept going to Fox Creek where I pitched my tarp right next to the creek. Washed up and soaked my feet in the cold water.- felt GOOD! Still had two hours of daylight but felt this would be prudent - plus it is a great site. |
|05/18/1999||Partnership Shelter||23.3||518.8||1641.2||Up early and on trail by 7:15 Long climb immediately out of camp up Iron Mountain. Lots of ridge walking. Mostly unremarkable trail except for falls on Hurricane Creek (picture) and some flame azaleas (picture). Saw both yellow and orange. Arrived at Partnership Shelter to find a shower complete with hot water and a menu from a pizza place. Unfortunately the hot water had stopped working just hours before my arrival. Probably the heater was out of gas. The privy was brand new and cleaner and more pleasant than many of the shelters I have been in. Stopped for the afternoon. Ordered a turkey sub along with the other hikers who were having pizza. Had to wait 1:15 hrs. for delivery. It started to rain before the pizza arrived. Had to help some of the other hikers eat theirs as they ordered too much. Still could not eat it all so had to suspend it from the ceiling. The mice wee probably complaining - pizza again! |
|05/19/1999||Knot Maul Shelter||24.7||543.5||1616.5||Rained most of the night but only overcast and threatening by 6:30. On the trail by 7:15 - planning a large milage day. 750 ' climb to start the morning out. Soon came smaller ridges and open fields, much of it privately owned. Saw three beagle hounds searching thru the underbrush their tails wagging in excitment. They paid no attention to me whatsoever. About ten minutes later they were "in voice" running after whatever they had flushed out - probably a fox. Continued to 181 and Atkins Va.. where I called the office and Susan. Took 1:15 to make these calls so a lot of time was lost. This will make the high mileage day very difficult. Got a milkshake at the Dairy Queen and started off again. Lots of open fields. Saw a rattlesnake going across the trail but forgot to take a picture. Had to climb over many barbwire fences on ladders. Took a picture of one. Continued walking through private meadows until 6:00 when I came upon at trail angel icebox with candy, canned peaches and water. Had one of each. Final climb 750' was rough after 24 miles and 2500' already. Reached shelter at 8:10. Cooked supper and went to sleep about 9:30 Have reached another milestone 25% done YEAH!|
|05/20/1999||Jenkins Shelter||19.2||562.7||1597.3||Expected an easy 18 mile hike today. Profile showed little elevation change after 2500' climb to Chesnut Ridge. Good views of valley ridges and the back of Mt. Rogers. Took picture, ate lunch with Grace's Son using up two hours. No decent water source here or at shelter. Next source was not marked so I decided not to look for it. However I did not check the data book or I would have seen that there was no water for eight miles on a hot day and a dry ridge. Lots of rocks made the walking slow and difficult. I put this day in the "no fun" catagory. |
|05/21/1999||Jenny Knob Shelter||24.1||586.8||1573.2||Left later than I intended -7:45 AM anticipating a 24 mile day. Still the first one to leave the shelter so I collected all the cobwebs on the trail. Crossed streams about 20 times stepping on rocks just out of water. Highly recommend the alternate "high water route" if it has recently rained. Rest of the morning spent on nicely graded sub-crest ridge , a walk of about 7 1/2 miles. Stopped for a 1 1/2 hr. lunch along the creek. Got going at 2:30 and made a very nice 12 mile hike to the Jenny Knob shelter. It was a wonderful trail all day. Well graded, smooth, and my pack is now quite light so I could not understand why my feet were hurting so much at the 10 mile mark. As it seemed to be at the tip of the heel I decided to take one gel heel cup out of my shoe. I had put them in to get rid of the sore achilles tendon problem and they seemed to do that . But since conditions would never be better than today and the heels hurt I might as well try something different. I immediately noticed that the shoe was lighter and seemed to feel better too. I took the other one out after lunch. My feet felt better the rest of the day. Although tired, they don't ache like yesterday. We shall see. 24.1 miles today The following poem was inspired by my cob webs of the morning.|
Gossimer threads barring my way
Spun anew every day
Delicate beauty full of grace
Now stretched taut across my face
Such industry ruined seems unjust
To walk this trail destroy I must
So little spiders spanning tree to tree
Catch your bugs but catch not me!
|05/22/1999||Woods Hole Hostel||19.8||606.6||1553.4||Nice walk along several streams including one called Dismal Creek - wonder if it goes to the Dismal Swamp. Anyway it was a nice clear, cold deep creek running through the rhododendrons. Took a picture of a small brook. Not sure how the flash picture will turn out. Spending the night at the Woods Hole Hostel where there are bunks, a privy, spring water, solar shower with the spring water and a refrigerator. Took a picture of the thick woods, proprietress and the porch. 19.8 miles today. Following poen, written today, inspired by thunderstorms the night I spent in No Businee Shelter south of Erwin TN.|
Voice of God.
Shadows scurry from the bluish light
And slip back into the stygian night
Quiet awaits the thunders might
Crashing down valleys lost to sight
Should we cower in mortal fright
Or marvel in wonderous delight
To see but dimly in brief insight
The glory of God at heaven's height.
|05/23/1999||Pearisburg||Groceries||11.1||617.7||1542.3||Had a great breakfast of grits, sausage, scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy. inside a refurbished log home. Began walk at 8:45 back up the road to the trail. Walked the ten miles to Pearisburg. Saw two goats on the ridge and took picture of the valley to the south of Pearisburg from the rock outcrop called Angles Rest. Walked into town with Peaceful Warior, Arrowhead, Bear Chest, Casseopia, Captain Mayo and Bi PolarDisorder. Smoking Jack left early because he did not make the list for breakfast which is limited to 8. Arrived in town to see some trail Angels serving sandwiches, friut and drinks. Had an orange and two sandwiches and two cups of coke. Walked around town which is about one mile from the trail. The three motels were about the same so I decided to stay at the Rondevous Motel as it had the best "hiker friendly" reputation and laundry facilities. Walked back to town for AYCE salad bar and a Dairy Queen shake. Checked out the local Food Lion and the Chinese AYCE lunch buffet, perhaps for tomorrow. |
|05/24/1999||Pearisburg||0.0||617.7||1542.3||Rain last night and this morning but cleasring by afternoon . Staying another day to rest the feet. Will pick up my mail drop, get some cash, eat the Chinese AYCE buffet and generally rest up. On the trail tomorrow for a ten day section of 220 miles to Waynesboro and the start of the Shenandoah National Park about the second of June. Mile 617.1|
|05/25/1999||Bailey Gap||22.4||640.1||1519.9||Left motel at 7AM and walked along AT. to Wades Market. Bought salt, Lousiana Hot sause and two dozen doughnut holes. Ate most of the donuts before I got over the bridge at the New River- the first river we come to that flows to the Atlantic.- also supposed to be one if not the oldest river in the world- not appropriately named obviously. Walked past the Celenese plant which probably employes half of Pearisburg. Good walking most of the way. Saw Smoking Jack at a lunch stop Light rain in the morning, partly cloudy in the afternoon. Saw two garter snakes sunning on the rocks along the trail.|
|05/26/1999||Niday Shelter||26.6||666.7||1493.3||Started later than intended - 7:30. Immediately started uphill climb overl large rocks. Slow and unpleasant walking most of the day. Overcast and cool in the morning Low 50's. Sunny with puffy clouds by 11.00. Saw two deer today. Planning a long walk but the rough going will make for a long day. Trail from Sarver's Cabin to Niday Shelter, (the last six miles) runs along a fault ridge with large rocks pitched at a 45 degree angle to the right. Very slow walking. Saw a group of four goats and a very small one. From the shelter I see that it is only four days old. Got into the shelter at 9.00 just at dark. Fortunately there was an early full moon. Tired but slept fitfully because of legs and sore feet. My shelter mates Pack and Angus got up at 12.30 and left at 1.00. for a night hike so I have the shelter all to myself this morning. Seems very weird. Made 26.6 miles in spite of the rough going. |
Chestnut brown has turned to gray
Laugh lines crease cheeks and stay
Lythe form once pleasing fair
Has slipped a bit here and there.
The adze of time has hewn its pawn
But deep within as fresh as dawn
A golden heart does still endure
Shining forth it's luster pure.
|05/27/1999||Catawba Shelter||23.8||690.5||1469.5||Great walking for the first four hours and ten miles. Saw the monument near the crash site of Audie Murphy - war hero - most decorated soldier and B grade cowboy actor. The mornings pleasant walk turned hot and dry with no water for six hours over an eight mile ridge spine. Scrambling over rocks to an outcrop called Dragons Tooth . The climb down from there was really hard with large rocks and poorly marked trail. Felt like personally kicking the idiot who routed the trail this way. It was 8.00PM by the time I got to Catawba Gap and the AYCE hiker feed at the Home Place in Catawba shuts down at 8.00 and there was six miles to go. I got to the road at 7:30 but felt too tired to hitch into town for the food so I continued on to the shelter arriving at 8:30. Got water from a very poor spring and started cooking at nine as the full moon shown through the trees. (Note: Later heard that 36 hikers got sick from Norwalk virus. Authorities suspect it is contracted in the Catawba area.) Finished dinner of Ramen and Lipton noodles and to bed at 10.00. Big snorers in the shelter tonite! made 23.8 miles today. |
|05/28/1999||Daleville||17.6||708.1||1451.9||Another beautiful morning, low temperature, dry, no clouds. 3.5 mile climb up 1500' to McAfee Knob and grand view north over the valley. Had picture taken and took picture of Grace's Son a fellow hiker in three of the last five shelters. Walking good to Tinkers Cliff. Took a picture of the back trail, McAfees Knob and the trail overlooking the valley . Got to the next shelter at 12:30. Afternoon walk was not pleasant - hot and dry going the wrong direstion (south) rocky and slippery. I had my first fall, slipping on loose sandy rocks going down a steep grade. No big deal. Got into town 4:30 and into a Econo Lodge. Off to the Western Sizzler for dinner after shower and laundry. (5 plates of food from the salad bar and a 16 Oz Steak) Made 17.6 miles today.|
|05/29/1999||Cove Mt. Shelter||24.2||732.3||1427.7||Up at 6:15 and into shower. packed up, checked out, had two doughnuts at the free continental breakfast and on the trail by 7:30. Crossed under I-81 at 8:15 This should be the last time for this interstate for a while as it runs in the valley west of the Blue Ridge and on up into Pa. passed mile 722 the 1/3rd. mark about noon. Walking was easy but the Trail follows a the parkway closely so there is a lot of car noise. Saw some amazing stone masonry banking up the roadway. Motor tourists never see this extensive work. Into shelter at 7:15 Trying for a long day tomorrow so to bed and up early. 24.2 m,iles today. |
|05/30/1999||Matt's Creek Shelter||29.6||761.9||1398.1||Started thinking about the' firsts' that happened yesterday.|
1 -First miles in the middle third of the trip.
2 -First mosquitos at night
3 -First night too hot for sleeping bag.
4 - First box turtle spotted.
5 - First Locust singing
Got up at 5:30 on the trail by 6:15. Planning a 29 mile day. First three miles to Jennings Creek , good speed downhill. At the creek Fannypack and Baltimore Jack had set up a trail angel station. Since it was real early, not much was going on, but I did get a banana, a soda and three chocolate cookies. A moderate ridge up and down brought me to Bryant Rridge shelter, a new tri-level shelter that can easily sleep 20. Ice Man was there just getting started. He said he had six burgers yesterday with FannyPack. Left him still assembling his gear and began a big climb (2000') up Bryant Ridge to Floyd Mountain. This was real sweaty as it was 85-90 degrees. After another substantial down began climb up Thunder Ridge to 4223' elevation. There is a radar facility and study station at the top. Took a picture. The book says this is the highest point on the AT until New Hampshire. Rest of the afternoon going up and down - final six miles which was gently down until a steep decent into the James River valley for the final two miles. Took a bracing but refreshing dip in the stream right in front of the shelter. Shared the shelter with Graylox who asked many questions about my diet and a section hiker from new Salem, Conn. whose name I have forgotten. He very kindly let me use his filter. 29.6 miles today.
|05/31/1999||Brown Mt. Creek||22.5||784.4||1375.6||Up at 6:30 as my shelter mates were not stirring early. On trail by 7:15. Three miles moderate downhill to bridge over the James River. Took picture of the power station from the bridge. Picked up some rice, cup of noodles and instant oatmeal left by hikers resupplying at this major road into Big Island Va. Of course there is now a big climb of 2000' back up out of the James River valley and onto the ridge above. Weather still dominated by a big high pressure system so all the views were very hazy and not worth a picture. Stopped at Punch Bowl shelter for lunch. It was nice with a pond and some old bullfrogs croaking at each other. Stopped about 1 1/2 hours. Decended to Blue Ridge Parkway which we do not cross again for 46 miles. There was a car parked there from Bel Air (Jones Plymouth) but the driver was not around. I probably passed him on the way down. Rest of the afternoon uneventful. Arrived at the shelter 6:30 and cought up on this journal. Made 22.5 miles today. |
|06/01/1999||Priest Mt. Shelter||22.7||807.1||1352.9||Up at 6:30 on trail by 7:15. 3000' up to Bald Knob which was not bald or a knob. No view - just trees. Spring at Cow Camp was nice but 0.3 miles off the trail. On to Cold Mountain and then Tar Jacket Ridge which were balds. Very hazy today so no pictures. Afternoon uneventful except for scramble up and down Spy Rock for 360 degree view of surrounding peaks. Still hazy. Arrived at Priest Shelter about 7:30|
|06/02/1999||Paul Wolfe Shelter||Groceries||26.8||833.9||1326.1||Up at 5:30 and on trail by 6:30 in order to get into town for pickup of new shoes at the P.O. 3000' and down into the Tyr River Valley. Arrived at 8:15 and got hitch from the first car to pass. P.O. was in grocery store and there was only one other building in the whole town. My package was there with the new shoes. Bought some supplies and sardines, cheese, bread, PB crackers and Pepsi. sat on the porch and ate some. Left the store and had to walk back to trail as none of the three cars that went by stopped. 2500' climb up to Harpers Creek shelter followed by an unpleasant walk to Maupin Shelter. Then rocky slippery traverse across numerous rock falls and a thunderstorm that made the route treacherous. Climbed to Humpback Rock under very windy conditions over poor trail. This part of the trail was stupid. Distances to various points were underestimated. Didn't get to shelter till 8:50.It was so dark I did not see the shelter for awhile. It was a nice big two level one with only two others in it. Made dinner in the dark. Tough day and my feet hurt. |
|06/03/1999||Black Rock Hut||Groceries||25.0||858.9||1301.1||Up 6:15 - on trail 7:00. Easy 5 miles into Rock Fish Gap and beginning of Shennandoah Park. Stopped in grocery for restock and usual munchies. Tried to call Susan but no answer. On till dark. Had to walk extra half mile to shelter. Nature of the trail changed at the park boundry from narrow rocky up and down nasty trail to wide smooth beautifully graded pleasurable trail. Arrived at Black Rock Hut at 7:00. Great high volume spring almost ripped the bottle out of my hand as I filled it from the pipe. Going to do a short day tomorrow. |
|06/04/1999||PineField Hut||23.1||872.0||1288.0||Got up really late and was the last one out of he shelter. On the trail at 9:20. Enjoying the beautiful cool sunny morning in a nice 7 mile walk to Loft Mountain Campground. Saw 13 deer, a red fox, a turtle eating a dead grouse chicken, a fledgling robin and a snake. Forgot to mention that yesterday I saw my first AT black bear. He was quite surprised to see me so close and ran off in a big hurry. Had a shower, called the office, did laundry, bought supplies and ate as much as I could from ther camp store. Spent three hours there. Walked six miles to a very pretty wooded shelter arriving at 5:30. Met man who writes hiking guides in Hawaii. "Hikers Guide to Oahu" and "Hikers Guide to the Hawaiian Islands". |
|06/05/1999||Bear Fence Mt. Hut||20.8||892.8||1267.2||Got up at 6:30 - on trail by 7:10.Another beautiful day. Morning temperature 62 degrees no wind. Good trail all day. Saw a very young fawn (picture) that was unable to run away. Legs were very wobbly. Big hen turkey ran down the trail ahead of me. |
|06/06/1999||Pass Mt. Shelter||26.5||919.3||1240.7||Up at 6:25 on the trail by 7:10. Clear skies, 70 degrees. Smooth fast walk into Big Meadows Lodge where I was 15 minutes late for breakfast sitting. On to Skyland. Saw another young fawn and many deer. Also carcass of recently dead bobcat. Arrived Skyland at 2:00 for lunch.of salad, onion rings, burger, and best desert ever. - Blueberry icecream pie. Took a lot of will power not to nap after lunch. Very rocky decent from Mary's Rock 1200' into Thornton Gap. Got to Pass Mountain Shelter 7:30. No dinner - just to bed. 26.5 miles today. |
|06/07/1999||Front Royal||26.4||945.7||1214.3||Up at 6:30, on trail by 7:15. Clear warm morning. Smooth walking and easy grades. This is where Susan and I hiked last summer. At the time I didn't realize this is the easiest part of the whole trail. Stopped at Elk Wallow and had burger and two fries, ice cream, pepsi and cookies. Now hiking in hot weather but grades moderate and trail smooth. Got to Tim Floyd Shelter at 6:15. Shelter nearly full, tent sites bad and I knew there were many more hikers headed there. Decided to go on to US 522 and hitch into Front Rpyal. Thanks to Donnie for the ride. Stayed in the Skyland Motel and ate at Jalusco's Mexican Restaurant where Susan and I were last year. Made 26.4 miles today |
|06/08/1999||Dick's Dome||15.1||960.8||1199.2||Up at 8:15 and to McDonalds at 9:15. for pancakes and sausage. Had planned for a short day anyway. Really hot today. 100 degress here in Front Royal for today. Walked the ten miles to Manassas Gap Shelter and stayed two hours to let the heat pass. Smooth walking to Dick's Dome a geodesic shaped small shelter (picture). Making an early evening of it and hope for an early start tomorrow. 15.1 miles today. |
|06/09/1999||Bear Den Hostel||Groceries||18.9||979.7||1180.3||Up at 5:45 and on the trail by 6:15. Clear skies and warm morning - scheduled to be hot. Wanted to get in good miles before it really got warm. Stopped at a convenience store in Ashby Gap and stocked some granola bars. Ate a can of tuna, sardines, pear halves, half gallon of apple juice and an ice cream. Not bad for 8:40 in the morning. Called Susan. Rest of the day spent walking a series of 250-400' ridges over rockey trail. Arrived at ATC hostel called the Bear Den. Had a shower, rested and then decided to stay. Took picture of mens dorm, guest room, kitchen and exterior. Constructed by a millionaire and his opera singing wife. Later donated to the ATC. Met Wolfgang who I ran into on my hike of the C&O canal last spring. 18.9 today. |
|06/10/1999||Harpers Ferry||Groceries||20.3||1000.0||1160.0||Up at 6:45 and on trail by 7:30. Cooler and overcast with strong breeze Trail continued up and down rollercoaster bumps for 4 1/2 miles Then flattened out to a long ridge run. Arrived Harpers Ferry at 4:30 and signed register at the ATC headquarters and had my picture taken for the book. I am hiker #248 to come thru this year. Fanny Pack showed up with a cake which lasted no time with the six hikers at HQ's. Checked into Hilltop Hotel, an 1880 vintage building overlooking the Potomac Had a chicken dinner and AYCE salad bar. Turnd in 8:30 Made 20.3 today for 1000 total miles. Had originally planned to leave the trail here but now planning to continue for another two weeks before taking a break.|
|06/11/1999||Dahlgren Backpackers Camp||Groceries||17.1||1017.1||1142.9||Got up 7:30 and down to P.O. to mail journal entries and film. On to 7/11 store for breakfast and candy bars and fig newtons for the trail. Stopped by the ATC headquarters for final look around then back to the hotel to check out and take picture of Maryland heights acrooss the Potomac from the Hilltop House balcony. Grabbed pack and on the trail at 9:30. Walked through the center of Harper's Ferry and crossed the official 1000 mile mark. Took picture at the corner of the Historic Park just at the1000 mile mark. Then across foot bridge to the C&O Canal. Up canal path for 3 miles and then north and 1500' up South Mountain. Beautiful Laurels in bloom along the heights. Good walking all the way to the camp. Circuit Rider was there with friends from Michegan, Ruth, Jesse, and Danial. They had brought in lots of food from their car. They kindly gave me soda, chips and 3 burgers with cheese, onios, lettuce and tomato. Just before dark about 20 kids arrives with several adult chaperons. They were very noisy well into the night. Miles today 17.1|
|06/12/1999||Deer Lick Shelters||Groceries||27.7||1044.8||1115.2||Awoke early along with all the noisy kids. Ontrail by 6:10. I walked today's mileage as a test last year so I wasvery familiar with this section of the trail. Arrived at PenMar, the "Coney Island of the Blue Ridge" at 4:50 after 23 miles. This area is only a remnant of it former glory, once hosting 15,000 people at a Church gathering at the extensive resort and amusement park. Even the railroad lines are now abandoned. A club of line dancers. the Silver Spurs, were having their annual outing as I walked past. They were inviting hikers, including yours truly, to eat the leftovers which were considerable, pork BBQ sandwiches,salads of all descriptions, gorgeous fruit and brownies and chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Sodas to drink, They even insisted, without much resistance, that we take big bags of cookies with us. Stuffed again, it was difficut to start up the trail, especially since storm clouds were rolling in. Left PenMar at 5;45 PM in a light rain for the next shelter 5 miles away. Arrived 7:30 PM. No need for any dinner. Miles today 27.7|
|06/13/1999||Birch Run Shelters||Groceries||23.2||1068.0||1092.0||Up at 6:45 to discover mice had gnawed part of the nose pieces to my glasses stored right next to my head. Bold hungry little buggers. The walking was good and fast to New Caledonia State Park where I stopped to make lunch. After 2 hours of sitting there eating my brown rice and looking pitiful, I began to pack up for the afternoon's walk when Dwaine Martin asked me over to the nearby pavilion to share some food from their family reunion picnic. 4 hot dogs and 2 burgers with assorted side dishes and sodas later I headed up the trail. Stopped at Quarry Gap Shelter which so far is my favoraite. Two small shelters connected by a portico with a picnic table underneath, a nice grassy area out front with a stream running through it and a park bench Miles today 23.2|
Snorting terror outside my tent
Whose thin walls will soon be rent
By the claws of some blood drenched beast
That seeks me out as its next feast
From the camp store why oh why
Given the chance I did not buy
That sleeping bag with the Kevlar lining
That at least would slow this horrors dining
It paws the ground and rends the trees
Making me weak in my knees
Time to brace up and be brave
To plan a way from this grisly grave
I'll shine my light in its face
And spray it with my can of Mace
I'll jab my pole in its eye
It will feel some pain before I die
I'll kick and bite and scream and yell
And given the chance I'll run like hell
Now unzip the tent - its almost here
OH- Never mind - its only a deer.
|06/14/1999||Alec Kennedy Shelter||Groceries||25.5||1093.5||1066.5||Up at 6:15 and on the trail at 7:10. Good walk through mixed forest, some with heavy gypsy moth infestation. Arrived Pine grove Furnace in late morning and succesfully undertook the 1/2 gallon challenge by eating a 1/2 galon of vanilla ice cream in 50 minutes to celebrate reaching the half way mark.Tamarac failed to make her 1/2 gallon of Moose Tracks even with a large air bubble in it. After 2 hours at the grocery store, left Tamarac who was planning to stay at the hostel and walked on flat trails through Pine Grove Furnance park to the "official" half way marker (picture). Late afternoon was drenched by very heavy downpour of a short thunderstorm, even though I waited out some of it in a school bus stop shelter. decided to go into Mount Holly Springs to a hotel, but was unable to hitch a ride in nearly 20 minutes so decide to walk on. The trail after that is very poorly maintained and absurdly looped through 30-40 ft boulders and a ridge spine in the middle of a forest. No view, no name to the rocks, no warning in the books that it is there. This section is just stupid and ought to be rerouted. The rocks were slippery after the rain and there is abolutely no point in having the trail wander in and out of them as there is plenty of space on either side of them. The club responsible for this should be reprimanded. Met Plato and Angel and their dog Sadie at the shelter. Sadie had a very rough time on the rocks also. The Spring at Alec Kennedy was very poor. Miles 25.5 today.|
|06/15/1999||Darlington Shelter||Groceries||18.2||1111.7||1048.3||Up late 7:45 on trail 8:50 as planning short day today. Nice change of pace walk through open farm fields as the trail comes down one ridge that was ending and goes across the cumberland valley to cross several other ridges and get on the one that will go to Delaware Water gap. Spent 1 hour in Boiling Springs a nice little town with the Mid Atlantic offices of the ATC. Ate and restocked from a UniMart in town which is nicely fixed up with a large volume spring flowing into a lake in the core of the town. B7B, pool and tavern would make this a nice week end visit. Continued to walk across open fields and along hedgerows with many ripe mulberry bushes and a few wild cherry trees. to the ATC owned Scott farm where I cooked dinner since there is a dry spring at tonights shelter. Arrived at shelter at 5:30 and tailked with a southbounder named Shackleton who had fallen on the rocks a couple of days previously. He had a big dent mark on his forehead and said he had been knocked unconscious. There was copius blood streaming from his forehead when he came to. He said he had some considerable difficulty hitching to town to the hospital looking like that. We discussed the difficulty of living up to a trail name of Schakleton. He had not read South the book about Schakleton's adventures. Miles today 18.2|
|06/16/1999||Peters Mountain Shelter||Groceries||22.7||1134.4||1025.6||Up at 5:30 and on train at 6:15. Very rocky walking along a ridge for 12 miles into town of Duncannon. Missed good picture of Duncannon from the ridge 1000' above the south side of the Susquehanna rver. Made call back to the office and got beef sub and chips at the UniMart during 2 mile walk through this string town. Crossed the Juniata river, a large tributary of the Susquehanna and then crossed the Susquehanna on the Clark Ferry Bridge, once a private toll bridge. 750' climb back onto the ridge then a rocky uphill walk along the ridge. Into a nice big shelter at 5:30. A local couple with an Airdale had their gear spread all over the shelter managing to take up most of it all by themselves. They even had their tent pitched inside the shelter even though there was no reason to do so. Spirit Walker, a peculiar little guy with a hearing problem. The spring was a long walk down a very steep trail. The couple kindly offered us water as they had brough a large quantity from there car which was about 5 miles back along the trail. They also let me use their stove both of which soothed my outlook on their shelter habits. Heavy rain during the night. Miles today 22.7|
|06/17/1999||Rauch Gap Shelter||17.5||1151.9||1008.1||Up late 7:30. Still raining hard. On trail by 8:50. Incrasing and steady rain all day. Trail became saturated around midday with heavy water flow down the trail. scarcity of check dams and water bars in this region made it obvious why there are so many exposed rocks on this section of the trail. Sloggin through puddles and running water very tiring. Rain makes me cold as day wears on. Have almost all clothes on, hiking hard and just barely warm. Colder than 28 degree day in the Smokies. Think lack of body fat and calorie reserves is taking its toll. In to shelter at 4:45. Neat spring in stainless steel trough right in front of the shelter. Big rat living at shelter not so neat. Miles today a long tiring 17.5 If weather like this for another day I may be taking my break one week early.|
|06/18/1999||501 Shelter||16.8||1168.7||991.3||No rain after about 8:00 PM last night. Clear and cool in the morning. Not much light coming through the hemlocks at this shelter so no chance to dry anything. Most everything is soaked and weights a ton. Up at 6:40 and on the trail by 7:50. good walk for 4 miles then stopped in an open field to dry everything in the sun. This is where my choice of black for most of my stuff really pays off as it does not take long to dry stuff out. Rest of day unremarkable except for trail magic of Bing cherries and cherry soda. Shelter is neat with a big solar roof. All enclosed with a caretaker living nearby. Ordered a turkey sub when other hikers got a pizza delivery. Unfortunatly a group of boy scouts showed up around 7:00 PM, 18 boys and 4 leaders. They filled up the shelter and were quite noisyeven after dark. Had to shout QUIET to get them to go to sleep. It worked, surprisingly enough. They hadn't walked a single mile yet, having just driven up to the parking lot onl a couple hundred feet from the shelter. Their leader said they did it in order to get an early start in the morning. Miles today 16.8 Less than a 1000 mile to go. YIPEE!|
|06/19/1999||Port Clinton||23.7||1192.4||967.6||Up at 5:45 and on trail by 6:15. Only one boy scout stirring. So much for an early start. Lots of rocks on the trail, both small and large. Very few views, weedy trail with humongous banks of poison ivy encroaching the trail from both sides. Arrive Port Clinton around 5:00 PM and attempted to get hotel romm at the Port Clinton Hotel. No luck as it was Saturday and all were booked. Had two beers, Manicotti Dinner, Hamburger, Onion rings, and salad. Did laundry in hotel basement. Met Indianna and Sunshine West (from Jackson Wy) also eating and later had a beer and long talk with Sidewinder. All of whom I had been following in the trail register. Stayed in the town pavilion, a very nice large 100'x30' covered structure with privy down near the river which the town lets hikers use at no charge. Unbelievably there is no place in town to buy any food, not even a candy bar. Bad planning had left me with no food at this point. Fortunatly the hiker box had several Ramen's and some rice so I am now set until Delaware Water Gap. Miles today 23.7|
|06/20/1999||Allentown Hiking Club Shelter||22.6||1215.0||945.0||Up at 6:00. Walked 1/3 mile to 3Cs restaurant and waited 20 minutes for someone to get off the phone so I could call Susan regarding arrangements for my pick up in Delaware Water Gap. Junker and the group of slack packers staying at the pavilion were all at the restaurant for breakfast. After phoning I walked back to the pavilion and was on the trail by 7:30. Steeo up at of Port Clinton. Collected three ticks on the way. Trail rocky with large rocks then smooth for 4 miles. Turned rocky again as trail went out to the Pinnacle where I put my feet into a crack with two copperheads. (Pictures) Passed Yogi and BooBoo who I did not recognize as the pair whose entries I had followed on the net before starting. They did not have a trail name at the time. Met another casualty of the PA rocks who had fallen onto his right eye which looked pretty gory. Strengthened my resolve not to meet a similar fate by going too fast over these damn rocks. Passed by the Eckvill Shelter with the solar shower, cokes and ice cream to a newly constructed shelter and privy which were both very nice, but the spring was 1/2 mile down a very steep trail. Sidewinder here at this shelter also with Smokey and Gumby, Orange Blaze and two young girls doing a week outing. I told them no one was allowed to go to bed until 8:00 - a hiker "Rule". I was joking of course but when I told them later it was 8:00 they both got up and went to bed! Miles today 22.6|
|06/21/1999||Slatingdon, PA||Groceries||17.7||1232.7||927.3||Up at 6:30 and on trail 7:50. Good smooth trail flat, made 4.1 miles in one hour and 10 minutes to road 309 where received trail magic of soda, apple, orande and doughnut all cortesy of Blackjack Ga => Me 98. Trail turned extremly ugly with small sharp stones buried into the trail, then dangerous ridge spine climbs over slanted boulders. Very slow going. Arrived in Lehigh Gap with Sidewinder at 4:40 and called hotel for pickup. Into Hotel at 5:30 Off to Mama's Italian restaurant for spaghetti dinne and Saausage and pepper Sub. Didn't sleep well because of the traffic noise outside the hotel and having to sleep on the old dumpy sofa as Sidewinder had the bed. Recommen that hikers go to Palmerton instead and stay in the town hall. Miles today 17.5|
|06/22/1999||Leroy Smith Shelter||15.8||1248.5||911.5||Up at 5:45, showered and cooked up omelet of 6 eggs bought at convenience store down the block. Dropped off at the trail head at 8:00 with Sidewinder and one other hiker also staying at the hotel. Saw a notice at the hotel about hikers getting sick in the Catawba area from a virus. Crossed the lehigh river on a bridge with wind driven fog pouring through the gap from the west, then up a steep exposed rocky face with hand over hand scrambling. Total climb 1500' but the really steep portion was only a couple 100 feet. Recommend that hikers with dogs take an alternative "bad weather" route through Palmerton rejoining the AT in about 2 miles. Would also recommend that route for southbounders if its raining. Would not want to downclimg that in the wet. Trail continued on ridge devoid of trees on the west side from the air pollution cvoming up from Palmerton a current EPA superfund site of zinc and lead polution. Definite proof that air polution can and does kill trees. Smooth walk on top of the ridge for 4 miles then heavy rocks the rest of the day. Stopped at a shelter at 3:45 as determined not to trash myself on these rocks. Miles today 16.1|
|06/23/1999||Church of the Mountain Hostel||Groceries||20.2||1268.7||891.3||Up at 5:45 and down to the spring. 20 minutes round trip but necessary as there is no water most of the day. On trail by 6:45 Heavy Rocks on the ridge top and along the trail continuously for 12 miles until Wolf Rocks (large rock hopping) then intermittent rocks until Delaware River. Comes ut on a high cliff above the river and then turns west to descend into the gap through hemlock trees to the town of Delaware Water Gap. One restaurant closed down another burned out and another closed for the week. Only one place in town serving food so the choice for dinner was easy. Went to the Ramada for 50 cent drafts at happy hour. Staying at the hostel which is quite crowded although no one is staying in the bunkhouse as the bunks are quit soft and the room is hot and mildewed. Miles Today 20.2|
|06/24/1999||Church of the Mountain Hostel||Groceries||0.0||1268.7||891.3||Up at 6:15 and out for a short walk around town. Swept out hostel room and reorganized the hiker box and cleaned the table. With chores done over to the restaurant for brakfast. Susan arrived at the Hostel at `0:05 right on time. Back over to the restaurant so Susan could have some breakfast. Junker there also picking up a car for one of his slackers. The hostel, which is reserving its limited resources to only non-supported long distance hikers, dows not allow any of his people to stay there. Into car for 3 hour ride back to civilization. Hard to get use to how fast and how far you can go in a car! Back to home in only 3 hours. Will rejoin the train on July 10th. See ya!|
|07/10/1999||Back Packer Site #2||4.8||1273.5||886.5||Went to thedentist in Bel Air to check out pain in tooth - nothing could be found. Back home at 10 am,. packed and picked up Mother and Father at 10:30. Arrived in Delaware Water Gap at 2.45.. Made registry entry and caught up on where everyone was on the trail.Started at 3:15, walking one mile across the Delaware River. Crossed I-80 and immediately became "temporarily misdirected". Walked up along a stream on a heavily traveled path. My cardiovascular system has not deteriorated much and the sweat glands are in great shape, but the calves were tight, the butt muscles weak and the knees stiff. The pack seemed heavy and I felt unsteady on the rocks but it was still good to be on the trail again. After two hours reached the campsite five miles in. Stopped early and pitched my tarp. Discovered it had mildewed while in the basement. It must have been a little damp altho it had not rained for severql days prior to coming home.I did not spread it out to dry. Hopefully sunshine and air will take care of it. Miles today 4.6 |
|07/11/1999||Brink Road Shelter||20.0||1293.5||866.5||Up at 5:45 on trail by 6.25. Rocky one mile to Sunfish Pond on the AT trail and one of the seven wonders of N.J. They must be hard up for wonders! Small black oaks and golden grass with views of the Delaware River to the west and N.J. plains to the east. Very rocky all day. Had planned to go 25 miles but the feet said no so stopped after 20. Several people saw a bear today just a few minutes before I got there. |
|07/12/1999||High Point Shelter||19.7||1313.2||846.8||Up at 5:30 on trail by 6:10. Clear skiesand cool. Turned cloudy and humid by noon. Stopped at bakery and got three very poor fresh doughnuts and some candy bars, mac and cheese and ate some sardines and a quart of chocolate milk. Many rocks today with few views, much like the worst of Pa. Made the highest point in N.J. but did not find the trail to the monument. (pic). Saw a decapitaed chipmunk. Speed says he scared a hawk off it. |
Miles today 19.7
|07/13/1999||Vernon Episcopal Hostel||19.0||1332.9||827.1||Up at 6:10 on trail by 7:00. Walked off ridge from high point and spent the day crossing ridges headed east along the N.J. - N.Y. border. walking through fields and along roads. Stopped at a farm store for quart of milk and an Almond Joy, ice cream in the afternoon. This was after a stop in Unionville for pancakes and a double order of home fries. About 2:30 felt faint and shaky so sat down in the middle of the trail and ate two candy bars and a banana. Arrived at the Episcopal Hotel in Vernon. Very nice, brand new. Shower and laundry. Went to Little Tony's Pizza and had Ssanta Fe chicken, huge portion of rigatoni in pasta cream sauce with chicken. Saw a bear exploring the restaurant garbage can. |
|07/14/1999||Mombasha High Point||21.2||1354.1||805.9||Up at 6:15, out of Hostel at 7:00. Got a ride from the first car to pass. On trail at 7:30. Steep rocky ascent of 750' then a series of ups and downs as trail headed east along the N.Y. - N.J. border, finally turning north into NY. 1433'. (pic). Ridge walks and rocky terrain continue until shelter at 17.1 miles. Very poor spring. Decided to go on another couple of miles in order to have chance of making a town tomorrow with a 25 mile day. Pitched the tarp using rocks and bushes since unable to place tent pegs. |
|07/15/1999||West Mountain||20.0||1374.1||785.9||Awoke at 2:00 AM to sound of something attempting to get into my food bag. After listening for five minutes decided it was not big enough to be a bear so got up and made a lot of noise shouting and rattling the bushes. Whatever it was moved out slowly. I went back to sleep. At 5 I awoke to some sound..Looked out of the trarp to see the bandit standing there, mask and all. Got up and on the trail by 5:55. Walked to the road and the six miles to deli for breakfast. Back to the trail in an hour at 7:30. Trail rocky with many ups and downs. Someone fortunately left water at the entrance to Harriman State Park as all springs and streams are dry. Walked three miles off trail for water after the Lemon Squeezer. Afternoon hot and dry. Ran out of gas and had to quit early five miles before town. of West Mountain.Miles today 20 |
|07/16/1999||Graymoor Friary||12.2||1386.3||773.7||Awoke at 5:45 and watched the sunrise from my sleeping bag. Up at 6:05 and on the trail at 6:45. Out of water so no breakfast. 750' downhill and then 750' uphill to Bear Mountain which has an observation tower and water. Descend to Hudson River and Bear Mt. Inn. Walked through the zoo at Bear Mountain . Old time zoo with the animals in cages. Lowest point on the AT at 162'. Crossed the bridge built by Harriman in the 20's for five million. (pic). Climbed 750' a ridge then six miles along ridge to Graymoor Friary arriving at 1:30. Had a cold shower and washed clothes at the picnic shelter on their ball field. Lower 90's today and forecast for uppr 90's tomorrow. |
|07/17/1999||Shenandoal tenting Area||18.5||1402.8||757.2||Mosquitoes were out last night. Got into the tarp with noseeum netting. Several mosquitoes in the netting with me. Awake till 2:30 with all the buzzing.Awoke at 5:20 to discover 30 to 50 mosquitoes on the inside of the netting. Killed many so blood everywhere. Mine no doubt. Up at 5:40 on trail by 6:30. Carrying extra water (3 qts). Small 100-150' ups and downs today. At eight mile point by 10:00 Cruised into Sahenandoah Tenting Area at 3:30. Decided not to go on to RHP Shelter which is only 1.3 miles farther because this is so nice. Will try early exit tomorrow to make up the time. Early to bed to make up for last night. Took bath at the pump. Cool and bracing. Miles today 17.5|
|07/18/1999||Willey Shelter||27.1||1429.9||730.1||Satori - Awake at 5:15 up at 5:30, away at 6:00. Passed Spud and Titanic asleep at RDH shelter. Lots of small ups and downs. Swam in a nuclear lake. Old Nuke research site. Walked with day hikers for two hours. Passed train station with line into NYC. Staying in a nice shelter by myself just short of Conn. line (pic) |
|07/19/1999||Stewart Hollow Shelter||19.7||1449.6||710.4||Up at 5:30 on trail by 6:30. Nice pump with good water. More ups and downs with slow walking. Arrived at road at 12:30. Got immediate ride into town. Walked to little store for supplies and the to bakery for burrito. Talking to couple from Minnesota who volunteered a ride back to the trail Back on the trail by 2:30 Big t-storms at Topped Calebs Rocks for 45 minutes to one hour. Very slippery coming down steep rocks. Fell once on slanted rock with no consequences. Decided to quit early at 5:30. |
|07/20/1999||Plateau Campsite||26.6||1476.2||683.8||Jersey George Awake at 5:00 - up at 5:30. on trail at 6:15. Walked along the Housatonic River for three miles, then up a hill to the east for up and down trail through rocky woods. Starting to see silver birches and white birches. although mostly dead trees. Passed Rhyhmjilebi and her partner whose name Ii forget. Trail comes back down to the river and follows it for three miles. Into Falls Village to have lunch. Had gyro with fries and fried chicken dinner (essentially two dinners). Passed Hillybilly, Patches and four more hikers on way out of town. Passed Groove whom I last saw at Dahlgren doing this section north to south. Continued on till 8:15 to a campsite. Very poor site, just a ledge really with hard packed soil, rocks and inclined. Poor spring with privy too close. There are nine other thru hikers here tonight however. Saw three newts and a big timber rattler on the side of the trail today. |
|07/21/1999||Tom Leonard Lean-To||26.2||1502.4||657.6||My birthday. Up at 5:45. On trail by 6:30. I'm only one stirring- everyone else still sleeping. Up and down trail until ascended Bear Mountain with view of the surrounding mountains. Crossed into Mass. then down a hemlock lined ravine with a stream in it. (pic). A climb up Rack Mountain, another up Mt. Everett. Stopped to cook lunch at Guilder Pond Picnic area. No water so unable to clean my pot. After stopping at a spring three miles from the picnic area began to get mosquitos in large numbers. Stopped to get insect repellent from pack. Bugs continues to get worse for several hours. Only place I have seen them as bad was the everglades. Getting tired by the end of the day with another climb up a ridge. No camping sites available (or allowed). Getting dark at 8:30 and have not yet located shelter. Finally hear voices and follow them in the twlight to shelter which is full of girls and boys with one adult leader. All tent sites taken by through and section hikers. Set up my tarp under constant assault of the mosquitos on a hard, slanted and bumpy site. No dinner as dark and buggy. THIS HAS BEEN THE WORST DAY OF THE TRIP - HAPPY BIRTHDAY! |
|07/22/1999||Lee, Mass. ||22.8||1525.2||634.8||Up at 5:45, on trail by 6:20 No breakfast as I do not have anything that does not require cooking. Water is a long way away and the mosquitos are out again. Up and down trail with swampy sections and many mosquitos for the first fourteen miles, then mercifully they decreased in number. Even though there is a nice cabin with meals for $3.00 run by AMC I have decided to go into Lee,Mass. to a motel.($60.00) and shower, do laundry and food shop at the supermarket. Back to the motel, then to Friendlys for dinner and desert. Called home back to motel, watched some TV, showered, shaved, packed my food and to bed. . |
|07/23/1999||Waywood Leanto||16.0||1541.2||618.8||Awake at 5:00 and again at 6:20. Up for another shower and milk, the remaining grapes and plums bought last nite. Onto road at 8:00. Get ride from Jay at 8:30 and onto trail. Dull trail mostly flat with brief up and downs. No cookies from the "cookie lady" but did pick some blueberries from shoulder high bushes. I did not know they grew that high. Into shelter at 4:30 Catching up on these journal entries. Will cook two dinners tonight. Three miles into Dalton tomorrow morning for my mail drop. |
|07/24/1999||Bascom Lodge||20.0||1561.2||598.8||Up by 5:45, on trail by 6:30 Overcast, hot and humid. Three miles down hill to Dalton for maildrop. Got birthday card from Susan. Had to stuff all the food into an already full food sack. Short period of light rain on my way out of town. Eight miles of ups and downs to the next town of Cheshire. Just walked right through this one, then walked eight miles to Mt. Graylock. All uphill to 3491' Mass. highest mountain. Took picture of mushrooms in the spruce forest on the way up. Staying at the lodge tonite on a mattress on the porch as everything else is taken. Had dinner at the lodge - soup, salad, rice and stirfry. Small cake for desert. |
|07/25/1999||Congdon Shelter||20.4||1581.6||578.4||Up at 5:45. Beautiful view to the SE over fog laden valley and mountains from the porch of the lodge. On the trail by 6:30. Four or five miles of slight downgrade walking to steep dropoff into North Adams.(picture). Many kinds of fungi(picture). Into North Adams by 12:20. No need to stop for anything so continued up the trail. One hour later the batteries in my radiodied. Uneventful afternoon dancing among the rocks and roots. Pulled into the shelter at 5:00. Making corn grits for first dinner and cheese and macaroni shells for the second. Got to keep the weight up! |
|07/26/1999||Story Spring Shelter||23.3||1604.9||555.1||Up late as I thought it was raining. On trail by 7:30 Steep steps on rocks to Bennihngton,Vt then 2000' up. Fire tower on Glastenberg Mountain and the view from the shelter south to Mt. Graylock and the mountains just climbed was good. Stopped at the shelter for lunch leaving at 3:00. Rained rather heavily in the afternoon. Got the last spot in the Story Spring Shelter. Smoky and Gumby were there. Rain quit right before I arrived. |
|07/27/1999||Manchester Center||21.1||1626.0||534.0||Up at 5:45 on trail by 6:20. Was 5 minutes up the trail and remembered I left my wet pants back at te shelter so actually started at 6:35. Enjoyed walking up Straton Mt. in the spruce forest. Another fire tower and a plaque about the trail (picture). There is a gondola that gives free rides to thru hikers but it is 1.7 miles off the trail. Continued on the trail to Stratton Pond which was very pretty. I collected the newts on the way up Stratton Mt. Got a very happy ride. Arrived in Vt. rt 11 at 4:45 but did not catch a ride till 5:15. so I missed the close of the postoffice. Got into the hostel at the Zion Baptist Church and found out there was a mailbox etc. in town so I mailed out the newts.This was bridge night at the church and all hikers had to be out from 8 to 11. Went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant, walked about town and called Susan. Sat in the park and then went back to hostel to see if they were done early. Laid on the sand box jungle gym until 11:30|
|07/28/1999||Big Branch Shelter||16.0||1642.0||518.0||Up at 6:30 and into kitchen for some breakfast. Cleaned up the kitchen as my chore. On the road by 7:40 trying to hitch. Got a ride at 8:15 from a questionable fellow who looked and sounded like Dom DeLouise. Not too sure of his orientation. Got to the trail by 8:30 and realized I had left this journal and the guides at the hostel. I hitched back, picked them up and started hitching again. After 30 mintues of not getting a ride I was standing outside the laundromat so I decided I may as well wash my clothes. While I was waiting for that I went over to Friendlys for breakfast since it was just across the street After that went to the FMS outfitters and bought some socks.Then back to the road to hitch. On the trail by 11:30. Beautiful day, clear blue skies, lower humidity. Nice view from the peaks, spruce trees and beautiful ice blue marble rocks. Stopping at 7:30 in the last spot in the shelter. Roasting marshmellows on an open fire. |
|07/29/1999||Clarendon Shelter||16.9||1658.9||501.1||Got up at 6:10 on trail by 6:45. Walking with Trailhead and Splinter. Warm, overcast with some spitting rain. Stopped for a swim at Clasrendon Gorge. Stopped early because of shelter spacing. |
Miles today 16.9
|07/30/1999||Inn at the Long Trail||15.7||1674.6||485.4||Up at 5:30 on trail at 6:30. Hiking with Trailhead and Splinter today. Long gradual climb 6 miles up to the top of Killington Park. Could hear the gondola coming up the ski slopes. Had lunch and then down the steep trail to Sherbourne Pass. Got a ride with Lone Wolf to the Killington post office. I had two letters there but no drop box. Went back to the Inn at the Long trail and checked there for the package with no luck. Decided to stay at the Inn for the night. Called when not able to locate the wife to find out that she was at the county fair. Finally found out my package was sent to the Trailside Lodge which was not next to the trail but four miles away. Got to sleep at 11:30, a long and frustrating day.|
|07/31/1999||Winturri Shelter||17.4||1692.0||468.0||Up at 6:30 and called trailside Lodge to only get a recording, using my 35 cents for the pay phone. Found an 800# and finally got a person at 7:15. He was very unfriendly when i explained my problem and suggested I call back at 9.00 when the office opened. So, went to the breakfast which is included with the stay. Walked the two miles from thre Inn to the State Park. Lone Wollf showed up half hour later and took moe to the Loafdge for the package. Got it all into my pack. it was heavy. The day was hot, up in the mid 90's. Lotsa of ups and downs through birch and hemlock forests. Arrived at the shelter just in time to make dinner. |
|08/01/1999||Happy Hill Shelter||20.5||1712.5||447.5||Yesterday was very tough because of the heat. Decided to cook a hot breakfast of grits. Up at 5:45 and on the trail at 7:30 . Lots of ups and downs like yesterday as the trail headed east across the ridges to new hampshire. Stoppped at Thistle Hill and took two hours to have lunch, rest and let the heat of the day pass. Stopped at the store in West Hartford for ice cream and sodas. Spent 45 minutes. Arrived at the shelter at 7:45. No water at shelter. Decided to skip dinner as had big lunch. |
Miles today 20.5
|08/02/1999||Aunt Nancy's - Lebanon||5.8||1718.3||441.7||Up at 5:38 and on trqil at 6:30 Quick 5.8 miles into hanover after crossing Conneticut River into new hampshire. Callked unt nancyand arranged a pickup at 11:30.Went down to thew Grand Union and got some food for the next couple of days. Bought a quart of milk and 36 small doughnuts for immediate consumption. Tried to find fuel for the stove but inavailable at the outfitters in this town. Walked around Dartmouth Campus. Was on my way to a harfdware store to look for fuel when I heard my mane called. Aunt nancy was chasing me down the street.She was early. Together we chedcked the True value Store with no luck. Checked out three or four more stores with no luck. Finally found it at WalMart. |
|08/03/1999||Trapper John Shelter||16.7||1735.0||425.0||Had local corn, string beans and tomatoes with fried chicken for dinner last night. Slept great afterward. Morning a cool 50 degrees and clear. Up at 6:30 and into Hanover to the post office at 8:00 Unfortunately didn't open till 8:30 Need to mail some supplies to myself in Gorham.Socks, my other stove, spare hankerchiefs. Walked about two hours and stopped to talk to Diamond (camper) for about 15 min. Mostly up and down for the rest of the day.Very little water available. There is none at the shelter. Fortunately I has heard about it earlierand had carried some from 12 miles before. Thought I was going to be alone tonight but 7 guys from Philly and 10 kids from I don't know where showed up. With the 15 through hikers I saw today and the 4 day hikers this has been a very busy day on the trail. 16 people came in two groups in about half hour after my journal entry. Two more by 7:30. The shelter is full and about 12 tents set up behind the shelter. |
|08/04/1999||Atwell Road||17.9||1753.9||406.1||Up at 5:45. Only one other stirring by 6:30. On trail by 6:30 Several climbs today. Two of 2000" up and one 1000" down Water still scarce. The few brooks still runnung are lowand the water is funny. Using idine in all of it. Good thing I bought some more in Hanover.|
Miles today 18.7
|08/05/1999||Beaver Brook Shelter||16.7||1769.6||390.4||Rained most of the night. Dripping and cloudy in the morning. Up at 7:15 on the trail by 8:30.Climb of 3750' in 4 miles up Moosilauke Mt. First mountain above the trail line. (picture) Got into a thunderstorm on the way down. Steep trail to the shelter - arrived 6:20 Shelter nearly full. Sleeping on the edge of the shelter. Rain came down so hard just before dark one could not hear the person next to you. |
|08/06/1999||Lonesome Lake Hut||15.0||1784.6||375.4||Awoke very early to a red sunrise over the White Mountains. Up at 5:45, on trail by7:10 very steep, very slippery trail down along a cascading brook (picture) down to New Hampshire 112, nearly 3000" Back up 2000' then down 1000' and up again 2000'.then 3000". Climbing complicated with lots of rocks and mud. from last night's rian. I fell without consequence this morning, fell while holding onto a tree. Began raining around 3:30. I fell again, this time pulling my quadricaps Got to lonesome Lake Hut and signed up for $44.00|
Weather forecast crappy for the next three days.
|08/07/1999||Cascade Hotel||3.0||1787.6||372.4||Awoke at 6:15, cloudy,cool,windy. Up for 7:00 breakfast at the Hut. Oatmeal and pancakes. Decided to take the day off to rest and let the weather improve. Back to the bunk for a nap. Up at 10:30. Walked three miles down to Franconia Notch Walked out onto the road and had not even started to hitch when shuttle bus from Loon Mountain Bike Shop pulled over and dropped me in front of the hotel.which is an OK place, clean with private rooms at $15.00 per night. Did laundry, picked up groceries, too late for the bank however. Took another nap and then out to dinner with Greenfoot for prime rib. Very good. Weather forecast calling for rain all day tomorrow. Have decided to stay here for the day. |
|08/08/1999||Cascade Lake Hostel||0.0||1787.6||372.4||Slept away most of the day. Ate as much as possible. Weather still looks poor for most of the week - so frustrating to have hot dry weather for so long and then not to have it when in the high mountains. |
|08/09/1999||Garfield Rider Shelter||15.3||1797.8||362.2||Up at 6:15, showered, out for breaskfast, saw Greenfort and Celt - were there too. Back to the Hostel, packed up and into the shuttle by 9:30. Onto the trail by 10:20. Began the 5 mile and 5000' up grade to Mt. Liberty and Mt. Lafayette. (pictures) Spitting rain and blowing 50-60 mph. Almost enough to knock you over. A good three miles are above tree line. Arrived at the shelter at 5:30 Had dinner of Ramen and mac. and cheese. Cold tonight - down in the 40's.|
|08/10/1999||Zeeland Hut||9.7||1807.5||352.5||Up at 6:15. Cold with clouds at ground level. Rest of the shelter still asleep. On trail by 7:10. Continuing downhill and then 1000' up Mt. South Twin where I made an error and walked on a trail to North Twin mountain. Had to back track for a mile. 3500' down for the day. Got to Zeeland Hut about 2:00. My knees were hurting some so I went to ask if there was "work for stay" available. There was, so for cleaning all the windows I got the leftover food and to sleep on the floor. |
|08/11/1999||Nauman Tent Site||14.1||1821.6||338.4||Up at 5:45 to get out of the dining room floor while the hot crew makes breakfast. Must wait outside until all paying guests eat, then get leftover pancakes, orange juice and two sausages. On trail by 8:30. Steep but short down followed by seven mile fast walk into Crawford Notch at Route 302. Steep ascent of 3000' up Mt. Webster (pictures) then Mt. Jackson via ridge in the trees. Rocky traverse in the trees to Mispah Hut and Naumann Tent Site. Arrived at 4:30."Work for stay" available but decided to stay at a tent site for $6.00. Ate 5-6 free pancakes then over to the tent site. Selected #3, a single tent pad. (picture). Finished a 625 page novel I got hooked on in North Woodstock and have been carrying around for several days. Will donate it to the Hut library and save half pound. Cooked up mac. and cheese with Ramen plus 1/4 of colby cheese. Quite full when finished. In the sleeping bag by 8:.00. Light rain falling as dark decends.|
|08/12/1999||Osgood tenting Site||14.8||1836.4||323.6||Awake at 5:45. Drizzle and low clouds i.e. fog. Wait 30 min to let drizzle stop. Up at 6:15. Granola, milk and raisins for breakfast. On trail by 7:30. Two and a half hour walk through heavy clouds and spitting rain, past Mt.Eisenhower - Mt. Monroe and over Mt. Franklin. Arrived at Lake of the Clouds at 10:30. Picked up some pumpkin bread from the leftover "bakery box". Spent about half hour drying out in the dining room. I am sure that there is usually a great view from here but now you can see only 50'. Depart for Mt. Washington (picture) and arrive at 11:30,. still in heavy clouds. Very difficult to make out even the large structures. Call the office, Susan and Dad from the pay phone. Get chowder, ham sandwich, coke and snickers bar from the snack bar. Cog train arrives but so foggy could hardly see it. Leave summit at 12:30. Cross cogg tracks and hear train in the distance. Wait and take pictures as it passes. About one hour and 1.5 miles from the summmit the skies clear (pictures) and I get great views of the Presidentials, Mt. Adams and Mt. Jefferson. Arrive at Madison Hut at 4:30." Work for stay " available but after talking to a crew member decide to go to Osgood tent Site. Very steep climb up Mt. Madison then very steep decent of 3000' to tent site. Arrive 7:15. Knees are sore from the downs of the day. Start dinner immediately as dark is coming soon. Setting up tarp is difficult as thiis tent site has few eyes for tying out the corners Discover that grits with jalopene chicken sause is pretty good. In sleeping bag by 8:30; Got some sunburn today.|
|08/13/1999||Carter Notch hut. ||10.7||1847.1||312.9||Up at 6:15 on the trail by 7:20. Moderate downhill across several streams. Stung by a bee . I was walking in the middle of the path. Didn't see what kind and did not wait to find out if there were any more. Ran up the trail as fast as possible. Spent the next hour checking for signs of any allergic reaction but none appeared. Maybe not the "wrong"kind of bee. Pinkham Notch at 9:30. Weighed my pack - 26#. Had a coin operated shower ($1.75) and then waited for an AYCE lunch at 11:30. Still no sign of any allergic reaction to the bee sting so figure safe to continue hiking. Very steep 2000' climb up Wildcat Mt. then along ridge until1500' descent to Carter Notch Hut. Arrive 4:30. I do not think I can make the next camp site before dark Clouds rush in about 2:00 and now it started to rain. This hut is self service so you use their stove to cook your own food. Stay is $16.00 Heavy rain during the night. |
|08/14/1999||Bruces Cabin (GAME96)||15.2||1862.5||297.5||Up at 7:05. Clouds at ground level. Drizzle. Have breakfast in the hut. On trail by 8:05 Sun out and partly cloudy by 9:00, Steep climb of 2000' to Carter Dome. at 4900' then series of ups and downs of 1000' over South Carter, Middle Carter, and South Carter Mts. Clouds develop and rain by 1:30. Heavy rain on Mt. Moriah before a 3000' descent to Gorham, N.H. Meet Bruco a through hiker in '96 who offers me a ride into town. Shelter where I was planning to stay is full of kids. It is 5:30 by the time we reach the parking lot at the trail head. P.O. is closed and it is Saturday so I will not be able to get my mail drop till Monday. Did not plan this too well but with the bee sting and the weather not sure I could have done anything differently anyway. Bruce offored to let me stay at his cabin. He is up from Boston with his Mom who lives in Kennebuckport. After shower we have a dinner of pork chops, corn, potatoes and string beans. Desert is blueberry pie! Life is good. |
Miles today 15.2 297.5 to go! and only 16.5 to Maine.
|08/15/1999||"The Barn"||0.0||1862.3||297.7||Woke up at 7:00. Addie (Bruce's Mom) fixed cereal and Bruce made an omlet with the peppers and onions I chopped up. After a very leisurely morning Bruce drove me into Gorham, about 25 minutes away. He drove all the way through towns so I could see what was there and then he dropped me off at the "Barn" a hostel with matresses in the loft of the one time barn. - next to a Victorian B & B. $7.50 to sleep, $1.50 to wash $4.50 for breakfast . Signed up for everything but the $5.50 shower as I had one last night. Saw David and Pam, the Happy Hikers whom I had not seen since the first week in May. They made it to Harpers Ferry, then flipped and were headed south. Both looked exactly the same as they did then and have not lost a single pound. - I think. I started my laundry and took off for the Chinese AYCE where I acquitted myself quite well - back to the hostel to move laundry to dryer and reorganize the pack. Then to Burger King for two double whoppers. Back to the hostel to talk to the Happy Hikers, then across the street to the Cumberland Farm store for a gallon of ice cream and a gallon of milk. Made four milkshakes and consumed same. David had two to finish off the ice cream. Up to bed at 10:00. Other hostel residents very noisy till 11:30 so no sleep till then. |
|08/16/1999||Gentian Pond||11.8||1875.1||284.9||Up at 6:00 - breakfast at 7:10 consisting of fruit, juice, coffee cake and good blueberry pancakes. Hopped on a bicycle and paddled three miles to Shaws Supermarket to pick up items I need for the next section, then to the P.O. for mail drop. Back to the Barn to sort it all out. Pack very heavy- probably 35# with ten days food. Back to the P.O. to send off package to home. Picked up pack and returned to the AT trailhead. Started hiking but after an hour stopped to drink a quart of milk asnd eat a candy bar to lighten the pack. Fairly easy day to Gentain Pond Shelter. Nice view at this shelter. (picture). Tenters here say they saw a bull moose but I missed him. |
|08/17/1999||Mahoosic Notch.||12.2||1786.3||373.7||Up at 5:45 to discover tenters had moved into the shelter during the night's rain. I did not hear them as I slept quite soundly until four AM. Still no moose at the pond this morning, so on the trail by 6:40. Up and down with many rocks. Crossed into Maine at 10:30. (picture). On to Goose Eye MT. where Bret takes my picture, I return the favor. (picture). Steep rock faceand exposure on way down to a full Goose Shelter. As I was just about to stay the sun came out and convinced me to go on. The "notch"was nowhere as bad as others made it out to be, taking just one and a half hours to go through. (picture). Camping at a stealth site on the west end with Skid and Rings tonite.|
|08/18/1999||Fry Notch Shelter||12.9||1899.2||260.8||Up at 6:45, late because the heavy rain kept me awake off and on between 11:30 and 3:20.Overcast and drippy. On trail by 7:15. Very steep climb over granite slabs. 1200' up Mahoosic Arm then 300'down to Speck Pond where I took a break. 750' up toSpeck Mt. then 2750 down to Grafton Notch by 12:30. - 2400 up to Bald Pate Mt. where the sun appeared only briefly. Clouds rolling in as I reached the summit. 1800' down to Fry Notch Shelter. 8500' difference in elevation in only 12 miles. No wonder I am tired. Rained most of the last hour to the shelter so most everything is damp. |
|08/19/1999||Black Brooke||14.6||1913.8||246.2||Up at 6:30. Some difficulty sleeping in the packed shelter. Sun out, no clouds, cool. Looks like it is going to be a good day. Nice smooth walk to road into Andover. Artful Dodger pulls up and drops off three hikers from the hostel in town. Asked if I needed a ride but I am determined to skip this town and to stay in the woods. The next 5 miles although not as pretty are good walking. Arrive at the next shelter 10.4 miles from Fry Notch at 1:30 six hours after my 7:20 start. Much better speed than when I was in Mahoosic Range. After a short stop the trail went steeply down to a stream then even steeper up to Moody Mt. Another descent to Black Brook This and the previous stream are listed as fords but the water level is low enough to rock hop across. I begin camp setup at 4:30, take off three miles down the road to a spring for water. Meals cooked and eaten, socks washed and a campfire (my first) laid by7:00. Noseeums are bad here so I put on my nylon pants, wind jacket and put some gunk on my ankels. Should see lots of stars tonight. It was a good day. |
Miles today 14.6
|08/20/1999||Sabbath Day Shelter||17.0||1930.8||229.2||Awake and up at 6:20. Heavy dew last night. High cloud this morning. No sun to dry anything. On trail by 7:25 Across stream and immediately start up steep 2200'climb up Old Blue Mt. at 3600'. The mountains are getting lower but so are the valleys. The climbs are still the same. Down 700' then up 500' to Bemis Mt. Lots of rocks and roots with big mud holes in between. (picture). This picture not the worst section just representative. Bemis has large areas of rock so stopped to cook lunch.I have been dragging and feeling poorly the past few afternoons. Spread out all my wet things to dry in the sun. Clouds ro;lled in ten minutes later and for the rest of the break. Down 1200' to the stream then back up to road (Maine #17) four more miles to the shelter. Big larches in the pond next to the shelter.(picture). Long Pond at sunset. |
|08/21/1999||Piazza Rock Shelter||11.2||1942.0||218.0||Pannning a short day today so not up till 7:00. Leisurely breakfast, some stretching exercises and on the trail by 8:45! Smooth, fast, no major ups or downs until I reach the next shelter at 2:30. Light short sprinkles from an overcast sky.- 60 degrees. Will stick with the plan and stay at this shelter. Cooked a stove top stuffing, got into sleeping bag and read a book I picked up at the last shelter. (Twlight Zone).Started to rain heavily at 4:30|
|08/22/1999||Orberton Stream||11.6||1953.6||206.4||Started raining heavily at 10:30 last night and was still going at 11,12:50,2:30 and 4:30 Stopped at 6:30 I just could not get motivated to get going. Finally got up at 8:15 and on the trail by 9:00. 2400' up to Saddleback Mt. No view because of the clouds. (picture). Down 600' then up 500' to Horn Mt. Down 500' and up Saddleback Jr. a climb of about 500'. Got into Poplar Ridge Shelter at 2:30 Made lunch and headed out at 3:30 Walked another 2.7 miles until 5:20 to camp on an old railroad bed. Plan a long tough day tomorrow into Stratton. Must get going early. Hope I sleep well and the weather is good in the morning. Rain this morning clearing in afternoon |
|08/23/1999||Stratton White Wolf Inn||18.8||1972.4||187.6||Up at 5:40. Granola bar is all that is left for breakfast.No privy so on trail by 6:15. 2500' climb up Spalding Mountain. Started out quite steep but then smoothed out and was a very plesant climb. Plaque (picture) indicated that the trail wss built by the CCC, explaining why it is so nice. Steep and rocky decent of 1750' down to the Carrabassett River by noon. Cook lunch on a big rock at the edge of the stream, soak feet in cold water and sunbathe for a hour. Started the day clear but now clouds are forming. 2000' up to South Mountain where a cloud spits enough rain to keep the stream of rain in Maine alive. Down 500' and then up 500' to North Crocker Mt. then 2780'decent into Stratton Valey. The trail used to go right into town but now is a trsaverse which puts you five miles east of town.This means hitching which I did. Got a ride from the fifth car by in only five minutes. Got the last room at the White Wolf Inn ($30). Showered and left a scum puddle in the shower. Did the best I could to clean it up. Over to the store for food only to find it closed at 6.00. Should have stopped there first. Doesn't open till 8 am so I will be getting a late start tomorrow. Went to the other store in town but it had a very limited selection and I could only get half the stuff I needed. Back to the inn and then down to the restaurant where I ordered two dinners - 1/2 # hamburger dinner and the 12 oz. prime rib special. Back to repackage the foood and wash clothes in the sink as the laundrty was closed. Watched TV and went to bed.|
Over 10,000 ups and downs today. Less than 200 miles to go!
|08/24/1999||Stafford Notch Campsite||10.4||1982.8||177.2||Up at 6:15, had another shower. tried to call Susan- no luck. Watched Wild Wild West till store opened. Bought food and repackaged it for pack. Called Susan, checked out and mailed my journal and film. 20 minutes to hitch ride to the trail. 10:30 by the time I was walking - will not get as far as I had planned. 2000' climb up to Horn's pond where the spring was dry. Beautiful views today as it is clear with white puffy clouds. Down 500' and back up 1000' to Bigelow Mt. 4100' and down 750' again and then up again Avery park 4040' (picture)/then down 1750' to Stafford Notch where I got to the tent site at 5:30. Can't make the next shelter before dark so will stay here. |
Miles today 10.4
|08/25/1999||Flagstaff Lake||6.5||1989.3||170.7||Up at 6:15. Sky clear, temperature warm, 60's at least. Plan a long day of 22 miles to get in a position to catch the ferry across the Kennebec River between 9 and 11 tomorrow. Climb of about 750' up out of Stafford Notch onto Bigelow Mt. Good views from here (picture). Then a 1000' easy decent to Flagstaff Lake the man made lake of the Dead River. (picture). As the trail briefly skirts the lake I went out on the shore to wash my face in the lake. I see this great beach in a little cove just north of the trail. Decide that the long day can wait. Take a swim off a great steep sloped sand beach, wash my socks, take a nap, have a swim. take a nap, have some lunch, take a nap, have another swim. Set up tarp on the beach, make a small fire from some driftwood. Moon and stars out tonight. What a great restful day! Don't get no better than this. |
|08/26/1999||Caratunk, Me.||19.9||2009.2||150.8||Up at 6.00. Still beautiful here. High cirrus clouds lit by the morning sun. Bush walked back to the trail by 7:10 Walked three miles and came to a sign in the road marking 2000 miles. Actually it is only 1992 but there are no roads for eight miles.(picture). Took picture of the milestone. Walked along the trail taken by Benedict Arnold in his aborted attack on Quebec which I understand is only about 30 miles away. Arrived at my intended stopping point at 2:00 but decided I could make the ferry at Kennebec that runs three to four oclock altho the traveling was steep along the creek bed. Steve the ferry man came across and we paddled upstream in an eddy then headed across. The river was much too high and swift to have forded although in the morning it would have been low enough. Steve had no room at the hostel so I went into Carratunk to the general store which is also the postoffice. Got there at 4:15 but the post office closes at 4:00. Bought some food and walked back to the AT and built a fire in the existing fire ring of a grass covered parking lot. Went back to the store at 6:30 and the postal lady (the store keepers wife) had returned so I could get my mail drop. Discovered I did not put any fuel taps in the drop. Tried to call Susan but no luck. Did get hold of my father and gave him instructions for Susan to send them to Monson. Back to the parking lot where I set up my tarp under heavy mosquito attack. Going to be a reastless night with the road noise from route US 201.|
|08/27/1999||Moxie Bald Pond Shelter||18.6||2027.8||132.2||Up at 6:00 and on trail by 7:10. Fairly flat trail to the first shelter at Pleasant Pond. Went to the privy and the door was heavily slanted and slammed shut. When that happened the simple latch on the outside turned and I was locked in. It took almost ten minutes to jiggle the door back open. I had visions of being there all day. Continued up 1000' climb to Moxie Bald Mt. which was above the tree line. with interesting views in all directions.Water was very scarce and the trail was hot and dry. Goit into the shelter at 6:00 Several loons calling at the pond. |
|08/28/1999||Pie Lady Hostel||18.9||2046.7||113.3||Up at 6:10 on trail by 7:20 Several easy fords and a trail that went up and down along a stream. The trail ended the day with a climb of about 750' Got a hitch into the Pie Lady hostel in Monson with Querlus.|
|08/29/1999||Pie lady Hostel||0.0||2046.7||113.3||Unable to get package as it did not arrive at the store. Did laundry and rested.|
|08/30/1999||Pie Lady Hostel ||0.0||2046.7||113.3||Waiting for package at store. Breakfast at Pie Lady. Package arrived at 2:45. Too late to start out today. Pie Lady having chicken dinner. |
|08/31/1999||Cloud Pond Lean-to||19.1||2065.8||94.2||Up at 5:45 and got my own breakfast. Pie Lady shuttled me and Grinder to the Maine 15 trail crossing. First ten miles of the trail was flat and fairly smooth. Second ten had lots of rocks and roots and a climb of 2670' to Barron Mt. Crossed several streams today but all were low enough to rock hop. No fording required' Stopped at one to soak feet in cold water. Achilles heel is hurting again. I think my feet are swelling and making my shoes tight. Will try to keep straps loose all day tomorrow and see if it gets better. Weather was beautiful today, 70's and no clouds. Hope Dennis does not affect the weather for the ascent of Mt. Washington. |
Miles today 19.1 less than 100 miles to go!
|09/01/1999||Carl A. Newhall Lean - To||16.8||2082.6||77.4||Up at 5:45. On side trail 6:45 and main trail at 7: 00. There were 27 people at the campsite last night. I was the second one out this morning. Cool 50's with clear skies. Trail ascended several peaks, some with clear views of nearby small mountains. Tallest one I went over was 2670'. Stopped for lunch along the Pleasant River and cooked mac. and cheese with Ramen. I actually forded this river, kept my shoes and socks on knowing they would dry during the lunch break, which they did. End of the day started a climb up the last mountain of any size before Katahdin. White Cap is just short of 4000'. Will finish the climb tomorrow and then down into the flat land|
|09/02/1999||Cooper Brook Lean To.||17.9||2100.5||59.5||Up at 5:45 and on trail by6:30 So far it does not seem like a wilderness. The first day I saw six roads, one railroad, 37 people and campers at a site with 26 other people. Yesterday I saw 34 new people. Today I saw 15. At least the trend is good. Another beautiful day. A few clouds in the morning, turning cloudless by noon. High in the lower 80's. From the shelter continued yesterdays climb up Gulf Hagas Mt. with about a 750' climb, a 500' descent another 750' climb to West peak, 250' descent, 500' climb to Hay Mt, 250' descent and then a last 500' climb to White Cap Mt. at 3600'. From there I got a really good look at Mt. Katahden (picture). Then 2500'descent to the west branch of Pleasant River where I had lunch. Saw my first moose wading in a pond (picture). I thought it was a rock but then up sprang theantlers. Last part of the day I had a nice swim at a sand beach on a 2.5 mile road bed walk to the shelter and a small cold spring. Life is good. |
Four days to go!
|09/03/1999||Nahmakanta Lake||21.0||2121.5||38.5||Up at 5:30 On trail by 6:20. Smooth walk continues along road bed at edge of Cooper Brook for a fast 6.6 miles in three hours to Atlere campsite where I took a small break. The privy here is done up like a little house, with windows complete with curtains, a wash basin, mirrir, broom, rake and back scrachers. (pictures). Normasn trail to Potaywadjo Spring, a 15' pool of water with a very strong flow. Next had a very nice view of Katahdin, Trail for the last 10 miles of the day very rocky and many roots - tedious walking. Stopped at a sandy beach just before the spring and had a swim. Spending the night at a campsite up the beach on the north end of Nahmakanta Lake. Another swim. Just short of the lean-to. |
Miles today 21. Three days to go.
|09/04/1999||Hurd Stream Leanto. `||20.1||2141.6||18.4||Up at 5:25 Ants are up already. Filled up at the lakeside spring. (picture). Sunrise over lake very pretty. Easy walking for the first half of the day. Quite humid, could not see Katadhdin very well. Stopped at Rainbow Lafe for lunch, a swim and a very short nap on a big rock at the edge of the lake. Water was really nice, cool and clear. The sun was warm with a moderate wind. After lunch a easy 900 foot climb over a dry sunny ridge with pine trees then back down and on to the shelter.. Staying at an old shelter with a cordorary floor. Hope Jean Screp is okay. Arrived at the shelter at 5:30. Water has been very scarce since leaving the lake. The stream right before the shelter is obviously a pond run out and it is low with lots of black mud on the bottom. Not very appealing looking. Considered going on to Abol Bridge camground but that is likely to be around dark by the time I get there. Decided to try the cordoroy floor altough it does seem uncomfortable.|
Miles today 19.6
|09/05/1999||Daicey Pond Campground||11.0||2152.6||7.4||The corduroy floor is quite uncomfortable and I did not sleep very well. I was sharing the shelter with two section hikers header south into the 100 mile wilderness. They had made all of three miles today from Abol bridge campground. They are just getting into backpacking and are carrying much too much weight to enjoy their hike. He has 60 and she has 50 lbs. This for a trip of 10 days. I am finishing my hike of 140 days and I am carrying just 24 lbs. |
I had to get up in the middle of the night for the usual reason and I found that my flashlight was not working. So I stumbled out into the night. It was very very dark. Under the heavy trees mostly hemlocks with cloud cover, no moon, and no light sources nearby, you could not see your hand held up in front of your face. I found a large rock right next to the shelter and it bit me. Fortunately, I did not lose the shelter.
This morning I found out that my light failure was merely some corrosion on the screws of the case that completes the circuit for the battery so my light is working again. While I was in the privy this morning I heard a moose walk by snorting and clumping along. He was nowhere to be seen by the time I got out however.
I started the next to last day at 7:00 AM and quickly walked the 3.5 miles to Abol Bridge campground at the edge of the Penobscot river. I took a picture from the middle of the span over the river, then continued on to the little grocery store where I picked up a few supplies and food treats for immediate consumption. the proprietress was very nice and considerate of me needs as a thru hiker and made me feel welcome. After a short rest I walked up the road to where the trail turned west and followed along the banks of the river. Two large rafts came floating down the river full of noisy tourists. The trail followed easily along the river for several miles until it turned north toward Katahdin (finally) along Katahdin stream. Another rafting party was playing in the falls, jumping in and floating down over smooth ledges into the confluence of Katahdin stream and the Penobscot river. The river by the way is quite swift with a large volume of water in it even in these drought conditions. The trail from the river up along Katahdin stream was very beautiful with numerous cascades and pools along smooth ledges of rock. I stopped on one for lunch, a sunbath and to wash out some socks and smelly laundry. While I was there I was startled by a gun-toting ranger who had taken some trouble to come up behind me. he was looking for someone who had stolen some backpacks and sleeping bags from some campers in the daicey pond area.
After lunch I walked on up to big Niagara falls (picture) and then on to Daicey Pond campground to register with the rangers, a short and not unpleasant necessity. In fact after I told him I was planning on talking the bus to Bangor then to Boston and then the train to Baltimore, the ranger said he had a one way ticket to from Bangor to Boston that another hiker had left with him and that I could have it. So I saved $42.00. I had hoped to be able to go on to Katahdin Stream campground to be prepared for the next days strenuous climb up Katahdin, but the campground there was full due to an Indian Pow Wow being held that weekend. So I was staying at the two reserved shelters at Daicey Pond. I spent a couple hours sitting and reading at the little library on the edge of the pond, swimming and sunbathing on the dock jutting out i into the pond and facing directly into the side of Katahdin. About 5:00 PM Indiana showed up and LongHaired Freaky People came driving up with Hyper Heidi. I had been "chasing" Hyper Heidi since Pennsylvania, had gotten within a day and a half of her in New York, but she had gained nearly a week on me through Vermont and Maine. She had come back to climb Katahdin a second time which she had just finished, She is a very interesting lady. An ex-Olympic athlete, 4th in the 1986 downhill and 16th in the Giant Slalom. She has done some interesting things and was a nonstop talker. She decided to roll her back out with Indiana and me, as she was tired of being so close to Freaky. She talked up a blue streak until about 11:00 when there was finally enough of a pause that I got to sleep. Planning an early start for the final assault tomorrow.
|09/06/1999||Appalachian Trail Lodge, Millinnocket. `||7.4||2160.0||0.0||Up at 5:00. Indiana and Hyper up also. Quick breakfast then on to the trail at 5:45 when it is finally light enough to see. The 3.5 miles to Katahdin stream campground fly by a only an hour. There seems to be wings on our feet. Hyper has offered to take our gear to the Entrance Gate of Baxter State park so that we do not have to come all the way back to Katahdin stream to pick it up. This will allow us to exit via the Knife Edge should we decide to do so. I have decided to take about half on my load up the mountain and give the rest to Heidi to take to the gate. Every one else is just using a day pack and although I could borrow one from the rangers, my pack has been with me the whole way and I can't see leaving it behind for the last 5 miles.|
Freaky has decided to climb Katahdin again today. He and Indiana take off together, as I was still arranging my load. Everyone is preoccupied with finishing their climb and in no mood to wait for anyone else. I start for the summit at 7:30. The trail continued alongside the crystal clear waters on Katahdin stream, so clear in fact that at the pond next to the campground it looked like a pool of liquid air. When I went to dip my water bottle in it, I misjudged the surface by a couple of inches, it was that clear. the trail up the mountain was quite steep and surprisingly difficult. There were many places where it was necessary to pull oneself up by hand and there were several places which would have been quite difficult to get up if not for a few strategically placed rebar foot holds. After about the first 1000 feet, Freaky decided that he didn't really feel like climbing it again today and headed back down. Shortly after that I passed a big fat guy sitting on a rock, sweating profusely, breathing in heavy heaving gasps and smoking a cigarette. It looked like there was little chance he would be making the rest of the 4000 feet that day.
The trail got progressively steeper (picture) until it finally topped out on a treeless plateau. To the northwest about a 1000 feet below one could plainly see the wind rows in the pine trees. These are rows of dead pine trees spaced out like waves on the sea perpendicular to the prevailing wind. The harsh wind conditions and marginal growing conditions combine to create these features as a row of trees becomes exposed to the wind, form a shield of dead trees and smaller trees in their lee manage to survive. These waves marched up the hillside in an orderly fashion. I should have taken a picture but I didn't think the camera would show enough to see the phenomenon properly.
The trail turned across the plateau and headed over to Thoreau Spring, Although he never made it here, and found his one hike in Maine to be much too much effort (he preferred putzing about in Connecticut and Massachusetts) this small spring on the shoulder of Katahdin is named after him. Not all reputations are deserved. From the spring one could look across the remaining portion of the plateau, up the ridgeline to the east and see the rock cairn that marked the end of the trail less than one mile away. There seem to be no effort in reaching that pile of rocks and the sign that marked the end of this magnificent journey. Indiana was already there writing a postcard to friends. A flood of emotion welled up as I approached the sign that signified the goal and the end of my journey. Indiana and I shook hands, exchanged pictures and we sat down to look at the scenery and assess our triumph. The last lines of a poem I wrote several months ago came to mind as particularly appropriate.
And on that final crest we turn and view the trail just done
We see not a journey's end but the start of another one.
And so it is now over, yet I am up on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere. It is now time to return to home, to work, to family and love ones. However I have a choice of how to go. Back over the trail I just came up, or to continue to the northeast over the infamous knife edge. It looks quite daunting so there was probably no doubt which way I was going to go. However in a half hour I am seriously doubting the wisdom of my selection. All I can think of is the James Michener literary characters who have marvelously heroic lives only to die crossing the street. I am determined not to mess up on the last piece of an otherwise safe journey. The trip across the Knife Edge with a pack, even a half full one, is really exciting. On one section I am hanging by my hands searching for a place to put my feet and a really hairy downclimb. Taking my time, I am left way behind by Indiana who seems to be flying over the rocks with his little daypack. The 6 1/2 miles down to rainbow springs campground takes all of 4 hours. Indiana is still there when I arrive. Together we Yogi a ride to the entrance gate where we pick up our gear left by Hyper Heidi, and continue on to a store several miles outside the park where our benefactor drops of off. It is only 3 minutes until we are in the back of a pickup riding into the edge of Millinocket. We walked the two miles to the Appalachian Trail Lodge, After a shower and arranging our gear, I am off to the laundromat to wash some stinky cloths then to the restaurant for some calories. Content, warm clean and full I fall quickly to sleep at 9:00 PM
|09/07/1999||Home||2160.0||0.0||Up at 6:00 the next morning and into the shower before it fills with the other boarders. Off to breakfast and then a haircut. Starting to feel civilized again. I decide that I will ship my gear back via Parcel Post. The Post Office does not have any boxes large enough for my pack, so I divide my gear into two parts and put my hiking poles into a third one. It is going to be really nice traveling without having to watch my stuff. Don Cogswell our host at the Lodge is driving us the 10 miles to Medway ($4 apiece) to get the bus, 10:5 to Bangor. In Bangor I use my free ticket to get to Boston arriving at 5:30. My train pulls out of Boston at 8:45 and I am in Baltimore at 5:30 in the morning.. In one long day I have traveled what took me 10 weeks to walk And I am home, the trail is done......|
So where do I go next??? ONWARD.