Wednesday, October 28, 2009


As I mentioned in my last update I lost a bunch of TN pictures. Here are a few of what I have between Hot Springs NC and Erwin tn

Big Bald

Big Bald

Jon on BB

Mullet on Big Bald

This is the only picture of the snow that didn't disappear. We took a couple days off when we hit Erwin. I absolutely hated it. I couldn't wait to get back on the trail. And even though I knew there was a winter storm coming I still had to get back on the trail. I also decided to switch out my nice superwarm 20* bag for a 40*. The first night back on the trail there was 6 inches of snow by the time we got to the shelter. TN shelters blow ass. So it snowed all night IN the shelter. I woke up in the middle of the night soaking wet. All the snow melted right through my down bag and if you know anything about down you know it does NOT insulate when wet. So I was pretty much screwed. The next day we had a lot more snow on the trail. I had no choice, but try and make it to the next hostel about 8 miles north. Most people decided to wait out the day inside the shelter. Jon and I broke trail and hiked north. The drifts were above my knee and the wind made it snow up hill. I hate wind. My gloves suck so when my hands when numb and started swelling I put on some wool socks. Jon couldn't see the trail so I had to break trail the entire day. Looking for white blazes in the winter is fun.
I love hiking in the snow, but I prefer to stick to a 2 or 3 mile hike where I can go home to some hot cocoa and maybe some irish whiskey.
The snow storm jammed things up and stuck a lot of people in the hostels so it was pretty cool because it was a good way to meet a lot of cool people and get to know the people you already met.

This is Connie and her fat cat. She runs the Greasy Creek Friendly and thats where we stayed to warm up and dry out. Her neighbor Bill is some crazy old man. He starts his lawn mower up at 4 am near the bunk house and bangs on metal car jacks. He screams and hollers and plays the radio loudly to scare the hikers away. He's wild. He also puts up signs on the trail saying that Greasy Creek is closed all the time. He's a bitter old man, but provides a lot of entertainment. I know it sounds miserable, but you can't really hear his nonsense unless you're looking for it. He seems pretty harmless and Connie's place is a great stop along the trail.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Southern VA

Well here are the rest of my VA pictures. For some reason my camera messed up and I lost almost all my pictures between Erwin TN and The Grayson Highlands. I'm bummed mainly because of the friends I don't have pictures of because that area of the trail is pretty much where I live so that parts not a big deal.

Lops in the Grayson Highlands

CRS with some of the wild ponies.

Cooling my feet off at the Dismal Falls. This ended up being a really eventful day. The falls were great and I spent an hour or two there all alone. Then I ran into Baltimore Andy for the first time in about 500 miles. I saw the first rattlesnake of the season and came across a pack of wild boars. Then we night hiked and got good views of controlled burning across the ridge.

Log entry in at the Waipiti shelter. You may have heard about this in the Washington Post or on Dateline. Sad story.

Andy taking in the view. Virginia farmland looks like a big green quilt spread out across the land.

I guess thats all for now. TN/NC next time I get around to updating.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Virginia is long and it takes forever to get through. Parts of it are kinda boring. Parts of it are incredibly beautiful. I left a lot of friends in VA. Some made it to the end and some ended up home. I don't really feel like typing out stories today.

Lots of VA trail is on rolling farmland. Its pretty neat, but there never is any water, unless you want to drink cow field runoff.

Climbing the Dragon's Tooth.

Climbing down from the Dragon's Tooth can be sketchy in some spots.

Typical McAffee knob picture.

Being alone on McAfee Knob for the sunset was definitely a highlight of my entire summer. There was really something special about that moment. Its hard to believe it was so long ago.

I'll leave you with this field of pink Trillium.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Shenandoah National Park

Waynesboro, VA. The best kept secret on the trail. Nobody ever knows anything about this town before they get there. You think its just another town on the trail. It doesn't have some famous hotel or hostel like Duncannon or Kincora, it doesn't have a fancy festival like Damascus or Franklin. What it does have is the nicest people in the country (well maybe tied with Delaware Water Gap, PA). The town is off trail and its a dangerous hitch, but there is a welcome center with a list of names and phone numbers of people in town that will come pick your smelly hiker butt up and give you a ride to town. And once you get to town you're hard pressed to walk anywhere without tons of people trying to drive you around.
Jon, Stunned Mullet and I where at the post office and this lady offered us a ride back to the trail. We told her we would be in the PO for about a half an hour and she said "well okay. I'll be waiting in the green suburban over there" and waited on us. Such a great town.

and they have giant pizza.

Stunned Mullet taking a lazy day with Jon and I.


Azalea making everything smell like bubblegum.

I only saw 3-4 Rhodendron bloom the entire trail. I guess thats what you get for an early season hike.

Lousewart is one of my favorite flowers and I don't know why.

The AT is kinda odd in SNP. Especially for a national park. It pretty much just crisscrosses this road the entire way through the park. You're rarely more than a half mile or so from the road. You cut through a lot of picnic areas, campgrounds, and pass some "Waysides" which sell delicious blackberry shakes, and overpriced food and stuff like that.

Terrapin Station is a nice little hostel near the end of SNP run by the Grateful Greenpeace Guy. He likes some band or something. I stayed here with StuMullet, The Boss, Spammy and Earl. It was a real nice peaceful hostel stay that I was trying to avoid. I'm glad I didn't. The problem is that The GreenpeaceGuy hiked the PCT and had some books on it. I stayed up late reading them and developed this awful desire to do that trail next....

I was at an amazing peace in SNP. Its an odd park. Everything worth seeing is off the AT so if you just stick to the white blazes you miss most of the sights and beauty (why else would you hike?). This is where I came to the realization that I was going to intentionally slow down and enjoy everything. I had an awesome day where I hiked 12 hours and only made it 13 miles. well I did more laying around and watching the birds than actually hiking.
This is pretty much also where my hiking crew changed. Some of my friends went home around this time, or hiked at a different pace than myself and I met most of the people I finished with around here.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

west virginia

WV. all seventeen miles of it. So this is the 'psychological half-way point' whatever that means. All I know is its a pretty sweet state for such a small one. You have some great Hostels and free places to stay. You have the ATC headquarters, lots of history and the only thing that really matters YOU'RE OUTTA VA.

Pretty neat place. We checked out some of the buildings and the John Brown Museum. Over all nice place to chill out.

As you can tell by the white blaze the trail goes right through historic Lowertown Harper's Ferry. These steps are hella old and hand carved out of solid rock.

No real exciting stories come to mind with WV. Next up I'll put some pictures from Shenandoah and one of the best weeks on the trail for me.