Chapter 2,
AT Journal of the Old Gray Goose
April 30 to May 31-
Gee, here it is the last day of April.. In some ways it seems to have passed quickly but in other ways it hasn't. I sure miss Pop a lot and you all too. Well, had only had about an 8 mile day today but the next shelter is almost another 7 mile and passing hikers (other direction) says that there is lots of heavy mud and also snow between here and there so the fellow I'm hiking with agreed it sounded pretty nasty to try and tackle that today. We did get here pretty early, 'bout 2p.m. or so and we had stopped at the State Line Store for icecream for our morning break. Tenn. state line Took at least 40 minute talking to store lady, country corner store like Bennetts, and eating our icecream before starting out again. It's almost 5p.m. now and it's thundering. Wondering exactly what it's going to do?? Sounds vicious anyway, glad I'm already here in the shelter! We started out this a.m. hiking in a light sprinkle but not for too awfully long. Did see the sunshine for half an hour or so late this afternoon and that sure did seem nice. I'm hoping that tomorrow will be nice. If it's storming I'll stay here till it lets up or stops. Not going out in a STORM if I don't have to. I'm real glad I'm not tenting tonight. The fellow I'm hiking with today is the same one I left out of Hot Springs with. He's in his 60's and retired. He's faster on the uphills but then I'm faster on the downhills. We tend to end up with the same distances. I met him clear back at Neels Gap and we have been running into each other off and on since then so it's not like he's a stranger. He is Runner-of-the-woods. The passing hikers also told me that my friend Damascus had caught her old hiking partner. That puts them out ahead of us by about 2 days worth of hiking. Wonder if I'll catch up to her before we get to Damascus Va.? Well, it's about supper time so guess I'd better get my little stove out and put some water on to fix my "din-din". Love you all and miss you. Mom.
May 1st-Friday
Hello again. Well, the thunder rolled and the wind blew and most of the rain fell someplace other than at the shelter! The wind kicked up off and all night but by morning it was calm, clear and the temperature was pleasant. It was a beautiful hiking day today. We came 12.6 miles to the second shelter away. Got here a little after 4p.m.. The sun is shining very brightly and there is barely a breeze. It's very warm and nice here but my feet sure are tired. Didn't get anymore liniment at Hot Springs to put on them either ooooh, gonna miss that. Boy, I can't believe how fast the time goes when I get to the shelter. First thing I do is take off my boots and sox and rub my poor feet and hang my sox to air and put on clean (well, almost clean) sox. Get water. Check out the privy (yuk). Put my bedroll down. Look at the shelter register (almost every shelter has one) and then write this. Before you know it it's time to fix supper and try to wash up a bit and write my entry in the register and, if it's cold out, as soon as the sun starts to go down ya have to jump into your sleeping bag to keep warm. Sometimes someone will start a campfire or sometimes we just all sit and chat a bit before going to bed (when it gets dark). I think before I fix supper tonight I'm going to heat some water and treat my feet to a nice hot bath! Love, Mom--p.s. I found the spatula with my tentpoles ha ha. Glad I found it.
Sat. p.m. May 2nd
8.7 miles today with a couple good hills to climb before getting to this shelter. Did rather well but did take a couple rather long breaks to rest a tad bit. I dug some ramps today again. They sure did taste good in my potatoes. Passed lots of beauteous flowers today. Blue violets, purple violets, yellow violets and some that smelled real sweet, tall white violets with yellow throats mmmgood. Larkspurs, or at least it looks like it. Trilliums, jack-in-the-pulpits and even saw lily of the valley yesterday. Lots of burgamot growing , no flowers yet of course. Would like to be able to identify all the flowers I've seen. Today was another gorgeous day. Really got hot. I actually have had two days that I have not had my "long johns" on under my shorts while hiking. May 1st was my first day . Looks like we may have a full shelter here tonight. Even have a couple of people tenting. Have one fellow here with a rather "anti-social" black chow--don't think he's a thru-hiker. Well, maybe it won't be full. A few have already decided to go a few miles ahead and tent whereever they find a good spot. The water is 1/4 mile down and even has switch-backs! Think a couple of the fellows are just going to tent down there tonite. I've been hearing a lot of people having problems with their boots. Thank goodness mine aren't coming apart. Maybe I should throw a "yet" in there, ha ha. Actually I haven't had any trouble since my stove had it's little "glitch" a while back and Dream Catcher fixed it. Well, have 9.3 miles planned for tomorrow. If we get there rather early and feel good, may go a bit farther and camp out. That depends on the weather of course too. I'm a fairweather camper these days-don't like putting up the tent in the rain. Actually not too keen on taking it down in the rain either but ya don't have much choice on that part!!! Well, it's 7:30. Guess I'll unroll my bedroll and go out and sit by the fire a bit. Sure would be nice to have Pop here to enjoy this with. Love, Mom.]
Sunday nite-May 3rd====Cool!
Hello again. Well, it rained last night. Slightly sprinkling this morning when I left the shelter. Had Big Bald to walk over today. That was a round mountain top that was bald of trees. By the time I arrived there it was beautifully sunny and clear but very windy. It was really neat to look all around-some farms and houses on one side- new homes and maybe condos on top of the hill on the other side. Just mountains on another side and back toward the area we had just hiked out of. Actually had a couple of hikers stretched out in back of their packs (blocking the wind) enjoying the sun and view up there! The same "Rat Patrol" that had food at one of the road crossings about a week or so ago was here at this shelter when I arrived--only one tuna sandwich and some chips left and I ate 'em. They had started out to paint blazes but had gotten rained out so they just hung around with free food for the hikers. Not a whole lot of it, about ten sandwiches. As usual old slow goose kinda brought up the rear ha ha. Data book says 9.3 miles today, like I said yesterday. Didn't change plans and go on to a tent site so that leaves two days to get to Erwin and the Nolichucky River Campground and hostel. Tomorrow 9.6 and Tue. 6.9 miles and should get there fairly early so I can get everything done and leave the next morning on my next section into Damascus. Guess I'll look at the map and figure a little on that now before it gets cold and I have to jump into my sleeping bag or it gets too dark to see. Love, Mom.
Monday A.M. 7:30-Temp. 38 Burrr
Kept warm last night. Glad I brought my wool sweater and the poly-tec jacket. The jacket in the foot of my sleeping bag makes great bare feet enclosure, better than sox. Long johns are still a must! Sun is out nice and bright but it's still windy here. I expect when we get lower it will warm up. xo Mom.======= Monday Afternoon+++What a beautiful day this has turned out to be. Sunshine and nice breeze. Got here at the shelter before 3p.m. but to get into Nolichucky Campground is another 7 miles. Too far to add on today for my poor old feet. Oh well, got almost 10 miles today so I guess I should be happy I could do that! By the way, check with your library and see if you can find a reply by Chief Seattle (Puget Sound indian) in 1854 when he was asked to sell a large area of land in what is now Washington state. Maybe you can get a copy of it made for me. Quite a statement!home note-found that is is not authentic I've dug ramps again (and again) quite a few times along the way. Still have a few to put with supper tonite-yum. Speaking of food, the Rat Patrol from yesterday left some goodies at the bottom of the "hill". By the time we got there , there was a note with pop crossed off, veggies crossed off and sardines left for whomever (those we got-will use the ramps with 'em! tee hee) and a little note from the couple that got the veggies saying they'd share and left a can of carrots. Well, there were some people there who were more or less day hikers (or two or three days, but not thru-hikers) and they asked about the food and did we want MORE? Well, the standard reply is, "a thru-hiker never refuses food" so we added a couple more goodies to our supply that will add to supper. Feast tonight!!! By the way, those little black flies still like me. Have a whole line of bites across the back of my neck-like the kids get playing outside!.. Well, I guess since it's so nice and sunny I'll go wash out my sox before I start thinking about supper. Love, Mom.
Nolichucky Yes, made Nolichucky before Noon. Left about 10 to 8 from No Business Shelter to head here. Made good time today but had a lot of down hill. Had a nice HOT shower and washed my hair. Feels GOOD! Have to wait for the store here to open to get my mail and food drop. Expect a hard 9 days ahead of me to get to Damascus for the 3 day trail days celebration. Sounds like fun there. xo Mom.
Wed. 5-6-92-I think, ha ha.
Well it was a Long day today. Started from the nice warm bunk house hostel, with wood stove, about 10 to 8 a.m.. Walked in fog, then rain, then sleet, then snow! On top of all that I did 15.1 miles. Finally got to the shelter about 5:30 p.m. and found my friend Damascus here also. The place should hold 8 but the foof leaks! Already 4 in but I am across the foot of Damascus and Maverick. Found that preferable to putting up a tent. It's raining again. Boots are wet, long johns are wet, sox are wet. Yuk.... Got my dry stuff out and on and am now in my sleeping bag. Cooked supper before I took off my boots but got the rest of me dry.
Thur. 7th. A.M.===Almost 10a.m.
I am still in the shelter in my sleeping bag! Rain turned to snow last night and it's snowing now. Need to get my long john top and polor-tec dried out. Will put it in my sleeping bag with me and hopefully by tomorrow I will be able to at least start out for the next shelter (about 9 mile) with dry clothes, other than boots and sox of course. With the tempurature down and getting wet, there is a real chance for hypothermia. I would rather not take that chance so I have decided to stay put. Damascus and Maverick and Steamboat are also staying. The fellow I have been hiking with (Runner of the woods) and a couple of others are going ahead and then phoning a fellow that runs a hostel and shuttle service to pick them up and a couple other fellows are just movin right on for another 14 miles. I really didn't finish my note last night 'cause Maverick and Damascus moved over and invited me to move in with them. Which I promptly did and then I just crept into my bag and pulled it up to my ears and got warm! One of the fellows is heating water, guess I'll fix a cup of coffee or something. Maybe more later. Mom.
Friday A.M.====Been raining all night.
Spent ALL DAY yester day huddled in my bag trying to stay warm and dry. This shelter is the pitts! The privy isn't good either. Making tree runs instead, that's bad ha ha. More came in yesterday. Some very wet and miserable. Have one in the shelter and some tents again. Had some that went to the next shelter yesterday. Oh, guess I did tell you that already. Makes me wonder if I made the right decision to stay here with Damascus instead of plunging on with Carl. Today doesn't seem to be looking any better. Radio report last evening (someone does have a radio) said there was 7 inches of snow on Roan Mountain. I found that my gloves are worthless if wet. Ok for cold and snow but once they get wet it's bad news. I ended up wearing my spare pair of sox for mittens. Don't know about today, May put wet sox back in wet boots. Not sure actually what we're doing today. Talked of going the 9 miles to the next shelter but also talked of getting off the trail a couple of days 'till this weather front goes past. Guess whatever the group does I'll go with them since at least the speed of hiking is close with Damascus and Carl is somewhere either ahead or in a hostel somewhere. Don't want to push on alone in this weather with snow on the mountain a day away. I guess I don't have enough confidence in my cold and wet weather abilities and I'd rather be safe than sorry!!!!!
Friday Afternoon
Hi Guys. Here I am in a hostel in the community of Roan Mountain. There is indeed much snow up ahead on the mountain. Talked to several who had gone thru and they had a difficult time. Drifts were very deep also. I talked to the fellow I had been hiking with and the other fellow that had been with him and they both said it was really nasty so, I feel that I did make the right decision to stay with Damascus. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to be doing this but we are going to get off this section for a bit and then come back when the storm breaks and hike thru then. I must say, that does sound more logical. Weather here seems to be setting records! I'll surely be glad to get my boots dry!! Damascus has her car IN Damascus Va. , not too far a drive from here and a friend who will come down and get us. So, for the next day or two, I expect to be taking a "snow break". Going to get this mailed and have supper at the hostel dining room. Large supper for $5.00-splurge! Love you all and sure do miss you. I'll keep you posted on what I'm doing and where I'm doing it. Mom.
SUNDAY 10th.
Well, hello again. Guess I'd better fill you in on Sat. and actually Friday night after I put that last note in the maildrop. Our ride to Damascus Va. showed up on Fri. night instead of on Sat. a.m. so we all packed up quickly and were soon on the road headed north. On Sat. a.m. I went to the hardware store and bought a can of scotch guard to make my pack cover a bit water proof. Damascus Va. has started their Trail Days celebration already. Sat. was yard sale day. Church had ham and buiscuts for breakfast-yum. Then, we went to the next town (Abingdon) in Damascus' car to the grocery store and K-mart and Taco-Bell (lunch)! Ben & Jerrys is a brand of ice cream that seems to be very well known and a "must" for hikers to check out. A pint made supper! Some different flavors, very yummy. Then, Steamboat, the older fellow that Damascus started her hike with, found this place at the fairgrounds that was advertizing "Bluegrass" so, he talked Damascus into driving out there and paid our way in. They also had square dancing. BUT, not in squares. You and your partner joined a large circle and then went from there. Made it simpler that way. We had a fun night anyway. It sure beat sitting here at the hostel. By the way, the hostel here in Damascus Va. is called "THE PLACE". It is a large house behind the Methodist Church. 8 room house. It has bunks in 5 rooms . Has 3 bathrooms also front room and dining room and kitchen with enclosed porch to use your campstoves to cook on and a front porch with swing! It has been a full house here the two nights we have been here. Bunks all full PLUS people sleeping on the floors on whatever floor space available. A lot of us in for the same reason-weather. Today, the sun is finally shining on us. We are going to go north by car to take a girl (Jessica) ahead to catch someone and then tomorrow we are going to start our hiking on the trail area we missed. We are going to be "slack-packing". That is, just using a day-pack and meeting the car at the road crossing for lunch and night of camping. That way we can cover more area and make up the days we've lost time on because of bad weather. We were fortunate it was in this area and we had access to a car. Soooo, all of the trail WILL be covered and I can say I have not missed any white blazes!! Well kids, gonna close this and get myself ready to head out for our Sunday excursion. Love, Mom. p.s. Nice talking to you on the phone, Larry. Tell Linda to tell Dad about the picture I took for her at Jersey Johns (the hostel at Roan Mtn.) so he can send 'em when they get there.
5-11-92 Monday A.M.
Thank you, thank you. I ran down to the post office to see if Pops note had been forewarded and hit a jackpot! Easter cards for Mothers Day (tee hee) and letters, not Dads though.
5-12-92-Tue. A.M.(for Mon.)
We got on the road and headed out for another town to pick up Damascus and Maverick's mail and then headed for Roan Mt. to hike the first 11 mile section of the part we avoided There must have been some deep drifts, 'cause there were still 2 foot piles and the sun has been out for a couple days. Glad the snow piles and patches were just here and there! The trail was a bit muddy right in that area but for the most part it was pretty good walking (no mud, I mean). It felt strange hiking with only a rigged up fanny pack. Carried some snacks, water, jacket and long john bottoms (in case) and camera. It was a very nice hike. The sun was out all day and it got pretty warm. We actually got started about 12:30 and along about mid-afternoon stopped at one of the shelters and resupplied our water bottles and ate our snack. Lunch, kinda. Took about half an hour there and then went on to finish. Got to the car a little before 6 p.m.. We drove back up to Roan Mtn. (as, on top of) and set up our tents and cooked supper. It was getting dark when we finished that. The lights of Elizabethton looked really neat. ( Like a lot of boats all lighted up way out on a lake.) Large town it looked like. It's now 7 a.m. and I'm here in my tent getting this caught up and waiting for one of the others to get up. We took our food bags back down to the car so we didn't have to hang them. We.., I hear zippers so that means our day is about to begin. Must get my stuff packed up and fix breakfast and then it will be time to repack our "daypack" and head out on our second section 12 mile. Love Mom. p.s. Found some spray stuff to buy for my boots so, I'm waterproof on the feet again. Hooray.-------------Hmmmmmm. Water running down the legs under the gators and into the sox (read-WET BOOTS) during the heavy rain/hail storm doesn't keep the feet as dry as rain pants but, much cooler. We had a magnificent day! Actually had a great start out. Then we had a large bald mountain to go up and over later in the afternoon. It has iron ore deposits across the top, they say, and it gets real lively when there is lightning! Iron Mt. As we started up, there was an ominous cloud off to the side with "rumbles" sounding off and on. It was another day of "ok Lord, you've protected me so far, Keep us safe up THIS mountain!" My friend found some feathers at the bottom and asked the "Great Spirit" to help us up the mountain and put the Thunder Beings and Lighting Bolts back in their cave. So, we each in our own way gave thanks for being protected as we made our way up. As we got to the top, it started to sprinkle and as we made our way across and DOWN it rained harder and hailed but, NO lightning until we got down into the Rhododendrons and were headed well down from danger. We probably walked a couple miles in some pretty heavy rain with occasional hail thrown in for good measure. Had my raincoat on but the bottom of my shorts (yes, actually hiking in shorts) were soaked and the water sure made it's way down into my boots. We finally got out of that and the woods was the prettiest shades of green and smelled soooo good, and then the sun came out! By the time we reached the highway, my shorts were dry. It really was a great hike today!! Steamboat found us a campground with a "shelter", a rec-room building with cots no less! Hot showers, ahhh. So here we sit, with electric lights and a roof over our heads, drinking hot chocolate. We have the double door open and are listening to the river and the "peepers". Wonderful! It's been an awesome day. Love, Mom p.s. Kids, I'm sorry but my chain you got me has got to come home with Dad. I broke it this morning, at the latch, and it is such a fine chain it seems to twist up at night. I've not taken it off since you gave it to me and I feel real bad having to take it off BUT; hope you understand. xo Mom.
14th Thur. P.M.-also for Wed. 13th
Hello again. Well, I didn't write last night as I was pretty tired when we got done fixing "din-din". We got re-united with our packs and hiked thru the only known UNFRIENDLY area-13.6 miles- and it sure seemed like a very long day. Up a hill, over a creek, up a hill, and over a creek and on and on and on!!! Then we had about 5 mile this morning to meet up with Steamboat and the car. He greeted us with goodies for our morning snack. Fruit and sweet rolls and milk and ICE CREAM! A real treat for our break. Dropped my pack off in the car and proceeded to hike almost 10 mile over Pond Mountain. First went thru a gorge with a real pretty water fall. Mountain laurel are starting to bloom here, also saw some bleeding hearts, orange azalea, even a few berry bushes in bloom. The last two days have been very warm and kinda muggy. Have been hiking in shorts and halter top and still sweating like a horse. Tonight we are tenting beside Watuga Dam Lake in a campground. I'm sitting here in my tent and it's getting too dark to see. Flashlight broke, hope Pops brings me another when he comes down to see me this week-end at Trail Days. Had a short but hard rain after I finished my hike and Damascus and Steamboat had the tents all put up and on the way to the store. Had a feast tonight, "manwiches" and beans and coleslaw. Can't see anymore, gotta stop. Love, Mom.
Fri. P.M.
Hi. Had a great 11 mile "slack-pack" hike into town. Easy walking and beautiful weather. Hooray, Pop got here about 1/2 hour after I did. He's amazed at all the hikers. We have the truck camper down by the river with about 100+ tents down here plus the hikers at "The Place" and the front, side, and back yard there are full of tents! I'm finding old friends that have gotten ahead of me and still looking for Bill and Maggie who are behind me. Actually I still have about two days worth of hiking to finish up the section between where I got off because of snow and here in Damascus Va.. Well kids, gonna take Pops on a little tour. It looks like rain so I don't know if we'll get up to the park to check out all the concession stands they have but, we'll eat something even if it's trail food! Love you all, sure enjoy getting the mail and I'm REAL GLAD to see Pop! Love. Mom.
Sunday 5-17-92 2:15 P.M.
Hi kids. Well Pop is on the road home. I have my tent set up by the community pool. They have the shower rooms open-no water in the pool as yet-so all the grubby hikers can get un-grubby.Ha "Sugar" sent down some delicious brownies and I'm munching on the very few that's left as I write this. I think Pop had a pretty good time down here. He got to meet lots of hikers and see the people I've been telling you about. Didn't do a whole lot Friday after we got the camper set up. We walked down to check out the stands for food but they all closed early. Went to Dairy King for supper and wandered thru town meeting "old" friends and then I finally sat and looked at the pictures that Pop has gotten so far. Saturday a.m. we went to a pancake breakfast-FHA sponsored at the Methodist church. Went shopping, ahh, a short sleeved shirt at last. Got a few other things I needed, fuel, bug bite balm etc.etc.. Watched a video called Trail Magic, went to a chicken BBQ for lunch at the firehall and as we are going from place to place, still meeting up with other hikers I hadn't seen for a while. Oh yes, I had laundry to do in between all this too. Had Dad walking one end of town to the other. Damascus came by the camper and asked if we wanted to go to a restaurant for supper with her and her family(we met them when we got to town as they were here waiting) so we did and then about 7:30 we all met at the Dairy King for dessert. Had a "Damascus chocolate nut sundae". Vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup then "wet walnuts" (walnuts in syrup) yum yum. Then Pop and I walked back down to the fire hall and went to the street dance! Got back to the camper between 10:30 and 11p.m.. Fun. Today, I had to get serious and do my food box sorting and my back pack packing. The weather yesterday and today was GREAT. Nice and warm and sunny. There is a hiker talent show down at the park in about 20 minutes so I think I am going to put this away and walk down and watch it. I sure did hate to see Dad leave today. I hope he has a safe trip home. Love, Mom.
Monday 5-18-92
Hello there. Well, I am really glad to be back in the woods. Last night I started down the street to go for a walk and went by the First Baptist Church and heard the choir practicing so, I went in and sat there and listened and then it was evening service time so I stayed for the singing and message. A real break from the outside world. I've been out of the woods too long, needed a quiet time. The people were extremely friendly. One fellow came over and said it was real nice to see me AGAIN?? and come to find out it was the man at Bill Erwins' table when we bought the book (Blind Faith) from him. A lady drove 1/2 a block up the road afterward to catch me, said she hadn't gotten a chance to say how glad she was I came! These are just two examples. Well, I guess I'll actually get to the post office one more time. Maybe Wed. or Thur. before we head off for Bastian and Levi Longs'. If we are at Levi's on Sun. We will be able to listen to a great bluegrass jam session. We hiked 7 miles today. Kind of easing back into it. ha ha. Tomorrow we will hike 3 more miles to a road crossing where Steamboat will meet us with the car. We will fix up our daypacks and leave the back packs in the car and proceed to tackle a 21 mile stretch to finish up this area we have been doing THEN we get to move on North of Damascus. The weather today has been really nice. It is 4:30 now and it's gotten pretty overcast but no rain yet. This shelter is called Double Spring Shelter. Yes, it does have two springs. Nice piped ones, so we can just fill up our water jars(plastic qt. jars that is) without having to filter or treat it. The walk here was not too extreme, some ups but not extreme. There were lots of May apples blooming along the trail. Even some lily-of-the-valley. Thigh high ferns, lots of lush greenery. Strange, walking on brown leaves of fall and smelling fresh sweet smells of spring. Wonderful to be out here with the sights and sounds and smells of nature! Love, Mom.
-Here I am back in Damascus again. I got off the trail about 6:30 tonight with Damascus and Maverick shortly behind me. Got our clothes out of our packs and changed into dry stuff. We had about an hour and half of walking in the rain. We had a nice treat for our morning break when we met Steamboat to drop our packs off. He brought us Icecream!!! And Cookies! Until the thunder started it was pretty nice hiking today. Saw a little bitty snake slither across the trail and a couple tiny salamanders at a spring area , a couple chipmunks, and lots of birds singing along the way. pink lady slippers It looks as tho' the area today has had spring weather for some time. There were ferns higher than my waist and the berry bushes were tall and out into the pathway and full of buds. Most of the trees had leaves out pretty full too. In some places the grass along side the trail was already knee high. We came off of the trail beside the Watauga Dam Lake. It covers a pretty large area. It was a TVA project in the 40's. The water in it is very high this year. Some of the trees look to be standing in three foot of water. There were a couple pair of geese, close to where I came off the trail, with some little ones. They were cute! I think tomorrow we are going to take a day off the trail and get our laundry done etc. and then the next day do another "slack-pack" day of about 24 miles. After that we will be back on the regular "heading north on the AT" with all our belongings on our backs or on our bodies. Guess I'll try and pop this into the mail tomorrow. Since I didn't think I'd be able to for a couple of weeks, you ought to be surprised. Love, Mom.
Wed.20th=Noon and Rain again.
Glad I got my walk to the laundry and back and didn't get caught. At least I can get my raincoat to go to the post office. xoxo. Later
Wed. May 20th
=======Hey, did I say Thur. the 20th on my last letter??hmm, maybe not??? Boy, it seems as if I know what day it is, I don't know the date or vice-versa! Just thought I'd put an add on for todays' entry:- one of the fellows in this room at the hostel SNORES. Bigtime. I mean a Major League snore!!!! Maverick and Damascus got up and left last night he was so loud. I said if all three of us that were left in there snored together the room would really rattle. The loudest fellow we kinda harassed a tad about how LOUD he was and we all got a good laugh out of it. snore sign Then when I came back up to put my pan away from lunch this sign was taped to the door.-"BEWARE, ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK. WE SNORE. Nature boy, Yo Yo, Goose. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED." Dad will really get a laugh out of this one. I took a picture of the sign and then of the two fellows and me. I don't know if I'll get an entry to you tomorrow or not since we are going to have to get started pretty early and I expect it will be late when we get back, even not having a back-pack, it still takes a bit to cover 20 plus miles with hills (read mountains with knobs, ha ha). I'm hoping for good weather and no rain. Guess we'll take what we get tho' ha . It only rained a little bit today. Walked to the post office and wore my raincoat and when I got back it stopped. Sun came out. Gotta get my little pack ready for tomorrow. Put in my snacks for lunch and breaks and raincoat and flashlight and camera. Guess that ought to do it along with my water bottle. I'll let you know how it went. Love, Mom.
Thur. May 21st.
==Hey, hey, hey, that was a 23.8 mile walk I had today! It was a beautiful day. Started off cool. Went up White Top mountain and had a great view all around the mountains. Really pretty. Had quite a variety of scenery today. Had a climb up to the mountain first and across a clear area so there was a dandy view. Through a real pretty woody area, kicked up a deer. Saw about 3 gray squirrels today too. Went thru a farmers' pasture, side-stepped cowpies, ho ho. More woods, columbine in blossom and fire pinks. One area had quite a few Rhododendron in blossom and a few mountain laurel showing color along with the lily-of-the-valley and all the others I've been seeing along the way. For a short time the AT followed the Virginia Creeper Trail. That was an old railroad that ran from Green Cove to Abingdon. It follows a real pretty river for a spell. All in all it was a beautiful day and I had a great walk. Didn't get thru as late as I tho't I might, which made me pretty happy! Well, I guess I am going to head out on my own tomorrow. Damascus can't get her friend to take us north until Sat. and I can't afford to spend any more $$$ or time in town. Damascus hurt her foot today, just a bruise but some swelling so, no slack-pack hike tomorrow. Another rest day and I must move on even though I hate to say good-bye to this group. It's 10:30 p.m. and I must get ready for bed so I can get a fairly early start tomorrow. xo's Love, Mom.
Fri. 22nd.
==Hello again. Well, I discovered I got blisters on both feet. I started out today on sore feet. Not used to that! It was a very long day today especially since I took a couple of long breaks and several small ones on the way here. I had looked in the guide book last night and roughly figured I had a 14 mile hike today. But after I finally got to the shelter tonight and looked in the data book I have done 15.2. No wonder the last couple miles seemed to keep on going and going and going. But, the day was beautiful. Sunshine all day, nice breeze. Had a lot of open area and lots of rocks, oh my aching feet. Saw wild ponies by the Grayson Highland Park. Hiked most of the day with a young fellow from Canada. I think he's going to the highway to hitch into a town further up since Monday is a holiday. Guess I'll be out and on the trail alone tomorrow. I wonder if I'll run into someone at the next shelter? Have to go filter some water and fill my water bottles so I guess I'll close for tonight. Kinda tired too. Love ya lots and miss you all. Mom.
Well, I started out with feet that felt a bit better than yesterday, thank goodness. Had another beautiful day today. The sun was out and it was a lush green going thru the woods. Not a lot of flowers today. Lots of stones tho'. I stopped by a real pretty water falls and ate lunch and took my shoes off and had a nice break. I ran into a couple of fellows who are out for a long week-end. Hiked off and on all day with them. There is a fellow thru-hiker in the shelter and a couple of college kids just walked in. Guess the week-enders are tenting. I may be hiking with them tomorrow. One is a retired Washington D.C. policeman and one a civil service fellow of some sort. Writes instructions for things like how many parachutes you put on a tank or whatever to airdrop it. Had a 14.2 mile day today but it wasn't too bad except for the rocks. Made my feet feel real tired real fast. I was ready to stop when I got here to this shelter. Don't know for sure how many miles I'm gonna get in tomorrow. Probably have to tent the 'cause the next shelter is about 17 miles away! Well, more tomorrow. Love, Mom.
Sunday May 24,1992
Tenting tonight and of course got rained on. At least it waited untill we had finished our dinner and had our food bag ready to hang. Eased up a bit so we sat around in front of my tent (I was actually sitting just inside) talking. I am with the same week-end hikers. We probably had hiked over 13 miles before we found a spot to camp. It's about 4 miles further to the next shelter. Just too far to go today. We found a protected area under some little striped maple trees and have some larger other trees above. So, we cleared our tent area with our walking sticks and got all the sticks and stones and leaves cleared and got our tents set up. Have to conserve out water, only have two quarts and that has to last tomorrow untill we get up to the next shelter so I used the one "instant in a bag " meal I had bought on sale in Damascus. It was chili and it was good AND I only used l 1/2 cups of water. I had some hot cocoa too and have some water left if I get thirsty. The other quart I'll keep on my pack to hike with. I seem to drink lots of water--and sweat a lot too! We are planning on getting an early start in the morning and just packing stuff up and hiking to the shelter and fixing breakfast there, especially if it's still raining! I do hope it stops by morning. I DO NOT LIKE TO PACK UP IN THE RAIN!!!! Had a pretty good hike today. Took a break by a river. Had a lot of phlox blooming there. Looked like there may have been a dwelling there once--a long, long time ago. Took a very long break at the Mt. Rogers Headquarters. Running water and flush things! Lots of interesting stuff in there at the visitors center (hiker friendly). That was 10.5 miles from where we left this a.m. and we've probably come 2 or 3 more miles to this place so not a bad day today. Well, it's 9p.m. and I'm all snuggled in my tent writing to you and listening to the wind blow and the rain drops on my tent! Think I'll turn my flash light out and go to sleep. Love to all. Mom
Monday 25th.--Hey, it's a holiday isn' it??!!
Same here everyday. Found out why there were so many downed trees in the area we came thru--HUGO went thru! I have seen rhododendron and mountain laurel and orange azalias. Not too much on the ground. I had a rather short day today, about 10 miles is all. Left my week-end friends at the restraunt. The young fellow from Canada was at the first shelter. We stopped there for 9a.m. break and he hiked out with us so, the week-enders bought us thru-hikers lunch. Itwas good. One of them is going to mail film off for me. He also has Dads' name and address so he might hear from a fellow named Doug. Been trying to dry my tent out since I got here at Davis Path Shelter but, it is just as wet now as it was 3 hours ago. I haven't done much of anything since I got here. Had to carry water 1.1 mile, mostly uphill, so I only got 1/2 a bag. Still heavy enough. Got a jar filtered for tomorrow and have some left to cook supper with. Since it's 7:15 I guess I'll get busy and cook! Have 11 miles to do to get to the next shelter tomorrow. The profile map looks like it may be a hard one. More tomorrow. Love, Mom.
Tue. May 26th 8:15 A.M.====RAIN, RAIN, RAIN......
Been laying in my sleeping bag listening to the rain on the roof of this shelter. I don't even want to think of hiking 11 miles in this rain. Every time I think it has stopped , it starts again. Guess I'll just have to wait and see how it looks in another hour. Had company here last night anyway. Jeff ("B" and Killington , a white stuffed bear) Trailkeeper, Skin & Bones and Tarheel and Scott with Natasha. Kind of wish I would have invested in a different rain coat. Only I didn't know anything about any others before I started. Well, I guess I'll put this away for now. Very gloomy looking but at least the trees are all leaved out and GREEN, GREEN, GREEN! xo Mom
8P.M. SAMEDAY Wow, what a day!Rhodys
The flowers today were just BEAUTIFUL. It actually stopped raining and I left the shelter LATE, like 10:15! There were lots of rhododendrons and a couple different color azalias and lots of ground flowers too. Even LADY SLIPPERS! The fellows left after I did but caught up to me at a stile at a road crossing and two local (no, one local and his father-in-law from Wisc.) fellows stopped to talk to us all and Trailkeeper asked how close a grocery store was? They offered to go to the store and buy the stuff and meet us 2 mile away at a picnic shelter at the next road crossing. So we had a grand weener roast here at Knot Maul Shelter (11.1 mile). AND, I crossed over Big Walker Mountain. Pop and I have gone thru Big Walker Mtn. tunnel lots of times and I always thought "wow, that must have been a heck of a job thru that BIG mountain". I figured it was going to be a really hard climb but, it was great! My feet even felt much better today. Well, I haven't gotten my tent dried yet but at least got my shirt and (sweaty) sox dry by a grand camp fire. It's 8:30 p.m. and I have to make a "privy-run" before it gets dark and also "do up" my feet. xoxo Mom.
5-27-92 9:20 P.M.
Hi there. I'm sitting in my tent, snuggled in my sleeping bag, listening to COWS. We have 4 tents on a very small flat area overlooking a beautious view of a farming valley area and more mountains beyond. Very scenic. Well, the first shelter today was only 9 miles,not far enough to call it a day, and the second on was 20 miles, too far to attempt. The fellows and I decided to aim for this campsite. About 8p.m. a couple came down and put their tent up also. Of course we had a big cow pie to avoid-ho ho- it looks pretty funny actually!! Today is my furthest day yet-17.1 and .5 off the trail down to this tent site. We have 14 miles to get to Bastian tomorrow. Hope the hike to town goes as well as today went. My feet are doing better. The blisters aren't all better but enough to be much better. The hills here must be a bit more gradual overall and of course I MUST be doing better climbing them too. Actually averaging pretty close to 2 mile per. hour-hooray! Saw what I think was pink azailias today. pink azalia They smelled really good!!!! Had lots of rocks today to tromp over but had a good day and pleased I was able to do the mileage. Well, it's after 9:30 so I guess I'll take my jacket off and get down into my bag and go to sleep. Love you all and miss you. Sure wish Pop was gonna meet me in town!!! xo, Mom.
5-28-92=Started on Springer Mountain Ga. 2 months ago today!
In some ways it feels like a very long time but it really doesn't feel like been hiking that long. But, I've sure seen a lot and it has really been great! 571.4 miles on the AT so far. (Now at Levi Longs' Hostel.) Today was a not so fun day. I at least got my tent down before it started to rain and we walked 2 miles to the next shelter to fix breakfast. Really fixed a big one too. Had bannock bread and scrambled egg sandwiches and then threw about 3 noodle packages and some rice and cooked that up and we ate it all too. Started out in a light sprinkle to hike the remaining 12 miles to Bastian, Va. The sprinkles , of course, progressed to drops! So for 3 or 4 hours I hiked in the rain. Saw some really different ferns growing along the path. Didn't notice a whole lot of flowers today. It would have been a really nice woods walk, without the rain. Got down to the main road to where I could get a phone call made to Jan and Levi Long for a ride to the hostel and no one home at the place listed as friendly phone person. Did find a man in a garage to make a call for me but, since Jan was alone and busy in the restraunt, she said she'd be there as soon as possible. After trying to discreetly take off my wet t-shirt and put on a dry shirt and a jacket while standing on a main highway under a 2nd story porch floor, I thought maybe I'd be able to get warmed up. I was pretty shivery after standing there for about 45 minutes. A pick-up pulled up across the road and a fellow called out "are you about froze up?" I told him, just about! He said well, I just live 2 houses down and we have a fire going. It's nice and warm, come on over and get warmed up! I told him I was waiting for Jan to pick me up. He said well, we can call her and let her know where you are. So, I said ok, that sounds real good and I picked up my pack and wet clothes and hot-footed it across the road and over to his house. I walked into the place and it was then I realized just how cold I really was! Broke into tears and said Oh,this heat is wonderful, THANK YOU!!! Those great people proceeded to let me walk into their home and stand over their register --don't worry you're wet and drippy just get over to the heat!!!!!!!!!! Then they gave me a hot cup of coffee and THEN asked if I would like a bowl of brown beans and cornbread?? Not only did this nice lady fix that but she also heated up 2 stuffed pepper halves and gave me a spoon of fresh made potato salad. Plus another couple cups of coffee. By that time Mr. Long arrived to pick me up. I have their names and address if you would like to send them a thank-you card. I just can't tell you how much that ment to me. They must be very special people to do that for us hikers. They also participated in 4-H foreign exchange kids. Their son had been in Korea for a year and had just gotten home on leave so she was really happy. They are Levi and Louise Nelson--PO box 144--Bland, Va. 24315. I'm not sure they even know my name but, they know I'm from Ohio and if you use this days' date I'm sure they'll know who you are referring to. Well, I'm going to go out to the kitchen by the wood stove and take a sponge bath. oxxoMom.
Friday May 29, 1992==RAIN, RAIN, RAIN!
==Finally got away from that nice woodstove fire. Got back on the trail about 1;30 and it actually wasn't raining when we got the ride back. Glad too 'cause we were in the BACK of a pick-up truck. All good things must end and it started to rain again. It wasn't too bad except when the wind kicked up. The fellows were just starting to get their supper stuff out so I got my dry shirts on and heated water for coffee and cocoa and put in my share of the supper ingredients. We have had some really tasty meals with the three of us putting our supper stuff togeather!! ("B", Trailkeeper and myself) Not much more to tell you tonight. It's 8:30 and I'm laying here keeping warm in my sleeping bag, all 7 of us in the shelter are and at least one is snoring! Kinda hard to see what I'm writing. Boy, it sure is raining. Glad it wasn't raining this hard when I was hiking. Gonna put this away. xo Mom.
Sat. May 30th
Hey, hey, hey, not too much rain today. Actually not a bad day to hike. Kicked up a deer today and also heard and owl this afternoon. Haven't heard one for quite a while. The boys and I pooled our resourses for supper today. We had a real "germet" meal. Started off with bannock dumplings in chicken broccoli soup, mashed (instant) potatoes with chedder cheese, hiker goulash (several noodle dinners of various flavors) with 2 cans of tuna and to finish , a double layer instant pudding dish with dried apples! Washed down with a cup of hot mocha. That was to prepare us for our 16 mile hike to town tomorrow!! I had lunch at a place called Dismal Falls. The sun was not shining but it was NOT dismal. Actually it was rather pretty. Have a sore leg tonight. Guess I'll put my knee and ankle supports both on tomorrow and see if that helps.
Sunday May 31st.
Made it to town in pretty good time. Gave Dad a call before I even got a shower. We have a 2 bedroom-3 bed motel room. It seems nice to have a room all to myself. Although if I want to watch the CNN channel I have to join the fellows in their room. TV is in there. Hiked in the rain today for awaile and then it finally did stop. Pretty darn cool though. I had two deer walk out on the trail in front of me today. One had 4 white sox. I don't know as I've seen a deer with white sox before. The woods today looked more like I was closer to home, except for the azalies and striped maples. Even found some very slippery mud. Landed on my bottom! Boy, that hot shower sure did feel GOOD. Don't know what time I'll leave tomorrow. Have to get my food box and $ before I can go to the laundrymat. We get a shuttle to town from this motel and a pick up back so I guess I'll be sorting food in the laundrymat. ha ha. Well, I guess I'll see what happens tomorrow. Love you all very much. xoxo Mom.
Next, Chapter 3
Goose Nest
Hostel & Town stops