Part 1 of my AT Journey is now in the books!
This is the dividing line of my journey. Since I was just over the half way mark by mileage and it was timed perfectly with my extended time off the trail, my AT journey will be in two parts. Here’s my stats on May and on Part 1. I’m ending Part 1 on Day 89 – May 27th since that was the last day I did any hiking. And my first day back will be called Day 90 because that is my actual 90th day on trail.
Total Miles Hiked this month = 341
Average miles per day with Zeros = 12.63
Average miles without Zeros = 15.50
Nights in a tent = 5 May – 31 total
Nights in a shelter = 13 May – 28 total
Nights in a hostel = 2 May – 11 total
Nights in a house or hotel = 6 May – 18 total
Days hiking in rain = 18 May – 28 total (Since I only hiked 22 days in May – this is almost everyone of them. Rain, rain go away!!)
Days hiking in snow = 0 May – 14 total
20+ mile days = 9 May – 23 total (Think about that… 18 days in rain and 9 days hiking over 20 miles. Can you see why I am tired of rain and walking a lot in the rain)
30+ mile days = 0 so far but watch out June and July!
Zero days = 5 May – 13 total
Showers taken = 11 May – 37 total (this is actually really good and now that it’s hot, everyone picking me up appreciates that too!)
Bears seen = 0 – and let’s keep is that way!
Total miles on trail = 1,130.7
Total miles left to go = 1,060.2
My extended vacation June 1st – 17th: June 1st – 5th I was at home in Georgia just sleeping, resting and enjoying my family. June 6th – 10th I was in Virginia at a wedding. June 11th – 13th I was back at home, June 14th – 16th I was in Chattanooga to be a Groomsman in a wedding. June 16th I came home one last time and early on the 17th I flew back to Newark to make my way back to Carlisle, PA to restart the trail and Part 2 of this amazing experience.
May 30th and 31st I helped my Mom in Brooklyn with her client, went to Manhattan for an errand and then walked around a lot. We saw Washington Square Park, walked the whole High Line and stopped at the Beer Garden on the High Line. Then we took the subway and train back to Brooklyn. We had a fabulous dinner with Kirby, did errands in Brooklyn, did some organizing, cooked a great dinner and hung out part of one day because it was raining. And this time I didn’t have to walk in the rain, I could watch it from inside. The start to my time off the train was perfect!
May 29th – Today I woke up and decided I just didn’t want to walk anymore right now. My body is really tired, my skin is waterlogged from all the rain and my feet are still in bad shape from the poison ivy. As luck would have it… My Mom is in New York City working. I was supposed to fly home in 6 days to start a 2 week home stint to attend 2 weddings, attending the 1st and in the 2nd, before returning to the trail. I haven’t spent any time in the city and think now is as good a time as any. There were two issues – how to get the 2 hours to the city and changing my flight. Finding a rental car in Carlisle was easy. And Delta was AMAZING. I explained to them who I was and that I was a thru hiker on the AT who got poison ivy and needed to fly home soon rather than wait 6 days. The waived ALL change fees and got me on my Mom’s flight on Friday home and then changed my return flight to be into Newark and not connecting thru LaGuardia. This made it possible to extend my time off, get off my feet and out of the rain and see NY all at the same time. It really was the best of all things. Yes, more time off the trail but a win for sure in everything else. Thank you Delta!! So I rented a car and was in Brooklyn in time for dinner. It was really a great time with a great solution.
May 28th – Today I woke up with a bad headache and swollen feet. Seems in all the rain I somehow got poison ivy on my feet. I think the oils from the plant must have been on my clothes or skin and run down into my socks and gotten my feet pretty thick in poison ivy. This was so NOT fun. The other people I am hiking with also took zero’s since they aren’t feeling great and it’s raining again and no one really wanted to hike in the rain again.
_____________________ End of Part #1 – See above info for explanation ___________________
Day 89 – 5-27 Today I hiked 11.9 miles – it was again raining and the going was slow. Pennsylvania is rocky and they say it only gets more rocky as you get farther north. I stayed at a hotel in Carlisle that is really hiker friendly. Total miles on trail = 1,130.7
Day 88 – 5-26 Today I was able to run into some friends that I have known since back around Damascus, Virginia. We have just been leap frogging back and forth as we all head north. After a few, longer than planned stops to catch-up, I did some night hiking with one of them to make sure I got to where I wanted to go tonight. You guessed it, it’s also raining. Hiked 25.2 miles and stayed at Alec Kennedy Shelter. Total miles on trail = 1,118.8
Day 87 – 5-25 Today I hiked in the rain, again. It rains a lot. But I have learned to just keep moving North. Hiked 14.7 today and stayed at Birch Run Shelter. Total miles on trail = 1,093.6
Day 86 – 5-24 Today I only did 8.5 miles. I woke up super early feeling great but decided it was too early to get up and start moving. When I woke up again I felt awful. Lesson learned – when you wake-up, get up and start moving. I stayed at South Mountain Hotel because they were offering free camping and that sounded good to me. Total miles on trail = 1,078.9
Day 85 – 5-23 Today I hiked into the town and got some supplies and compression shorts to help my legs with all the wet clothes issues. I also decided to mail home more gear and test out hiking with very limited supplies and gear. I sent home my rain jacket because it’s too warm to want to repel the rain and feel like a steam back with a rain coat on. I sent home my stove – who needs hot food anyway and I sent home my tent. I haven’t used it since before Washington, DC. I have just been sleeping on the shelter platforms. It’s warm enough that you don’t need the shelter and warmth that a tent provides in the cold. This saves me from carrying the tent as well as the time and effort to set it up and break it down each night. With hiking in and out of town for supplies I was still able to hike 14.4 miles on the trail. Fun fact… I happened to be on the phone with my parents when I was really close to the state line so they pulled me up on GPS and watched me cross out of Maryland and into Pennsylvania. See ya Maryland, another state marked off the list. I stopped at Deer Lick Shelter. Total miles on trail = 1,070.4
Day 84 – 5-22 Today I hiked 24.9 miles and stopped at Ensign Cowall Shelter. It was a huge wash-out and I hiked in total downpours. I ended up really sore with a rub mark on my leg from wet and wadded up clothes. Total miles on trail = 1,056.0
Day 83 – 5-21 I visited the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and got my picture made and signed the thru-hiker book in the morning and spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon in a coffee shop planning for the top half of the trail. I got hiking mid afternoon and covered 6.5 miles before stopping at Ed Garvey Shelter. And for those that don’t know, Ed Garvey Shelter is in Maryland. Another state checked off the list. Welcome to Maryland! Total miles on trail = 1,031.1
Day 79 – Day 82 5-17 to 5-20 This was my planned zero weekend to Washington, DC. I have never been there and didn’t want to miss the opportunity of being so close and not going. The train from Newport News to DC is super easy… Until there are issues on the track and you sit for almost 2 hours while they get fixed. But no bother, I had all weekend. So I got to DC later on Thursday than planned. The rest of the weekend I was able to see all the things on my list. The National Mall, the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Vietnam Memorial, the National Portrait Gallery, Air and Space Museum. Eat lots of great food and stay in a great Marriott in Crystal City. My legs felt great walking on flat concrete, which is great news as I was concerned it might hurt my knee. By Sunday afternoon I was back on the train from DC headed to Harper’s Ferry. Once in Harper’s Ferry I slept in the town near the train station to get ready for the “Top Half” of my trail adventure starting Monday.
Day 78 – 5-16 After being up all night I got to Newport News, got picked up and really did nothing but shower, laundry and take a very long nap.
Day 77 – 5-15 Well today was a day for the books, blog rather! I hiked 20.3 miles and made it to Harper’s Ferry, WV. That’s almost the geographical half way point of the trail but because the Appalachian Trail Conservancy headquarters is here, it’s definitely the psychological center of the trail. So I hiked into the town and then promptly realized that because of my slower progress in the storms I was in a bind for the next 2 days on the trail. I could keep hiking Wednesday and part of Thursday before my planned zero weekend (more about that later) but… the distance would land me in the middle of no where Thursday when I needed to hop a train for DC. That meant that I would have to pay $40 for a ride to a train station Thursday and then again to get back to trail on Sunday. That’s $80 total at a minimum. If you know the prices of hostels, well, that’s 3-4 nights in a bed. I just didn’t want to give that up. I decided to stop in Harper’s Ferry and not travel north to just come back for the train. I wasn’t due in DC till Thursday so I found an adventure instead. I got a free ride to Belmont, MD from Harper’s Ferry with the plan to take the early morning train to Newport News because I know people there. That meant spending the night in the Belmont train station. Easy… Until 11:30pm when a train at the Belmont station derailed and trains got canceled for the next morning. That meant I had to take an Uber 36 miles to the Shady Grove Metro Station to catch the 4:30am train to DC to connect to Newport News. I didn’t sleep the whole night and it sure was an adventure. Total miles on trail = 1,024.6
Day 76 – 5-14 Today I intended to be done with Virginia but then huge thunderstorms caught me and forced me to stop at a hostel. I did pass the 1,000 mile mark and that sure was a good feeling. I hiked 9.9 miles and then weather didn’t cooperate. Winds and hail came and I was forced to stop at Bears Den Hostel. But, as you can see from the pictures, it was pretty cool. Total miles on trail = 1004.3
Day 75 – 5-13 Today I had breakfast with Gigee for Mother’s Day at Waffle House. She is awesome to go somewhere like Waffle House just for me! After breakfast she took me back to Manassas Gap where Cassey got to run around and pretend to hike. I started hiking about 10:00. I hiked 15.4 miles to Rod Hollow Shelter. Total miles on trail = 994.4
Day 74 – 5-12 And so starts the last section of Virginia, the state that never ends. Section 4 – Northern Virginia. This section is from mile 970.8 – Front Royal to mile 1,018.5 – Keys Gap. Legs hiked the 3.2 miles into Front Royal for supplies and then to our destination, Virginia 55 / Manassas Gap. So he did town and supplies in the morning and hiking in the afternoon. I hiked in the morning to reach the destination and then left trail for the rest of the day and night. I hiked 11.1 miles today today. We will meet back there in the morning and continue on. Why did I leave… Gigee is driving back from her trip to Maine and able to stop, get me for the rest of the day, great food, a few showers, more food and a night in a hotel with a bed. We are staying in Winchester a few miles north of here. I eat a lot on trail and love when I can get good fresh food, take showers and sleep really well in a bed with a pillow. After breakfast tomorrow morning I will be back on trail at Manassas Gap and will keep on walking north. Total miles on trail = 979.0
Day 73 – 5-11 Shenandoah National Park Day 6 – Final Day. The park has been beautiful, fun and a once in a lifetime experience, like this whole trail journey. Today was the last day in the park. My thru-hiker group is down to one as people have taken zeros, stopped early or kept walking. It’s all part of life on the trail. So, Legs and I hiked 23.6 miles, which landed us at Tom Floyd Wayside Shelter, which is about a half mile outside the northern boundary of the park. Here’s a picture from just before we stopped for the night. Total miles on trail = 967.9
Day 72 – 5-10 Shenandoah National Park Day 5 – Today I hiked 15.3 miles. The last 4 miles were done at almost a jog and in just over an hour in a huge thunderstorm. The biggest I have seen on the trail. Not so much fun hiking in a bad storm, but also fun at the same time. Because it’s warmer, getting wet is actually refreshing. Made it to Pass Mountain Shelter. This was a rock shelter and made it pretty cool in the storm. Total miles on trail = 944.3
Day 71 – 5-9 Shenandoah National Park Day 4 – Today I hiked 23.9 miles. The awesome thing is my knee is feeling great. Those out there saying prayers for me. Thank you so much. It’s working. Please keep praying for my safety and health along this journey. I am loving it so much. Total miles on trail = 929
Day 70 – 5-8 Shenandoah National Park Day 3 – Today I hiked 21.4 miles to High top Hut. Each night we have to try and reach a hut or shelter since the park really doesn’t like you making “camps” and pitching tents any place than around the designated huts and shelters. It helps to preserve the natural footprint of the park and prevent unnecessary erosion. Total miles on trail = 905.1
Day 69 – 5-7 Shenandoah National Park Day – 2 Today I hiked 13 miles. I only stopped because I met a group of thru-hikers and they were stopping. They were nice and it was fun to walk with them so I wanted to stay with the group. We stayed at Blackrock Hut. Total miles on trail = 883.7
Day 68 – 5-6 Shenandoah National Park Day – 1 I hung out in Waynesboro for the morning and lunch and got a late start on the trail since it’s the last town I will see for a week. I also had to resupply my food. Today I hiked 7.4 miles. I hiked from the Waynesboro exit, into the park and stopped at Calf Mountain Shelter. The park stretches from mile 863 – Waynesboro to mile 970.8 – Front Royal. Total miles on trail = 870.7
Day 67 – 5-5 Still don’t understand my knee but I’ll take it when it’s good. Today it was feeling solid and the hike was good. I hiked 23.3 miles to the shuttle for Waynesboro. Yes, I have been here before. It’s 4.5 miles off trail and a super hiker friendly town. It’s the town where the city park let’s you camp for free and the YMCA let’s you shower and work-out. I stayed here on Day 59 between Glasgow and Harrisonburg a week ago when I took the weekend off. This time I stayed at Stanimal’s 328 Hostel. Not only did I want a shower, I wanted to get laundry done too. This also marks the finish of the 2nd and longest park of Virginia. Tomorrow I will be heading out to start Section 3 – Shenandoah National Park. Total miles on trail = 863.0
Day 66 – 5-4 There is no rhyme or reason to my knee issues. Today was harder terrain than the previous days, lots of downhill, which should be harder on my knee and guess what?!?! My knee felt really solid and good. Maybe the lower miles this week have helped. Hiked over 20 miles – first in a week and it felt great. Total for today was 24.9 and I camped at Three Ridges. Total miles on trail = 839.7
Day 65 – 5-3 Today was another day where I really wonder what is wrong with my knee. Spent some time getting advice from people including my sister’s orthopedist, Mom’s chiropractor and a massage therapist. Stopped a bunch to rest and just give my knee some rest. Hiked 6.8 miles and camped on Tar Jacket Ridge. Total miles on trail = 814.8
Day 64 – 5-2 Today didn’t see lots of miles but fun playing in the creek and hanging out with great people on the trail. It’s what some days on the trail are all about. And my knee was back to hurting so soaking in the cool creek felt great. 1.8 miles covered and stayed at Buena Vista Campground. Total miles on trail = 808.0
Day 63 – 5-1 I feel a bit more myself today and got in a good hike of 16.5 miles. That means I also crossed the 800 mile mark. Stayed at Brown Mountain Creek Shelter. Total miles on trail = 806.2
Day 62 – 4-30 My second full month and my third total calendar month is coming to a close today. It’s hard getting back into things after a long weekend off and my knee was not feeling good again. So many factors to determine why. I took it easy and only did 3.7 miles today. Camped at Fuller’s Rock Campground. Total miles on trail = 789.7
So here’s my fun stats for the month of April and my graph…
Total Miles Hiked this month = 361.8
Average miles per day with Zeros = 12.06
Average miles without Zeros = 14.47
Nights in a tent = 15 April – 26 total
Nights in a shelter = 4 April – 15 total
Nights in a hostel = 3 April – 9 total
Nights in a house or hotel = 8 April – 12 total
Days hiking in rain = 5 April – 11 total
Days hiking in snow = 4 April – 14 total (I think the snow is done and rain will soon take the lead)
20+ mile days = 8 April – 14 total
30+ mile days = 0 but watch out May!
Zero days = 5 April – 8 total
Showers taken = 13 April – 26 total (this is actually really good)
Bears seen = 0 – and let’s keep is that way!
Total miles on trail = 789.7
Day 60-61 4-28 and 4-29 This was a planned Zero weekend split between Waynesboro and Harrisonburg. A beautiful weekend off the trail and beautiful weather to enjoy the rest and relaxation. More great food, beds and showers. Monday will come and I will be back on trail again.
Day 59 – 4-27 I slept in a bit and was slow moving today and my knee was bothering me too. Don’t think it has to do with miles on trail, more terrain and weather. I met the shuttle driver that does shuttles from Glasgow to Waynesboro and he gave me a discount if I went today and also agreed to bring me back, so I took an unexpected zero and went to Waynesboro today. It’s considered to be one of the friendliest towns on the trail. https://thetrek.co/appalachian-trail/best-appalachian-trail-towns/ According to The Trek, it’s the #3 town on the trail. You can camp for free in the city park and across the street is the YMCA where you can work out and take free showers if you are on the AT. I had really good food and a great time. So i’ts a zero but I walked a lot around the town. Total miles on trail stays the same = 786.
Day 58 – 4-26 I made a push for Glasgow today and made it. And since Glasgow is a town, you guessed it, I am in a shelter again and had another shower. I hiked 26.7 miles today. That’s 51.8 miles in just 2 days on trail. That’s a lot. Total miles on trail = 786.
Day 57 – 4-25 Cell service is awesome. Today I hiked 25.1 miles and ended up staying in a place called Wattstull Inn. http://wattstullinn.com/ So, another bed, shower and fresh food. Total miles on trail = 759.3
Day 56 – 4-24 Today was a ton of rain and I had some technical issues. My rain jacket stopped repelling rain and started soaking it up and leaking it to my layers underneath. It was so bad that I got soaked and cold I had to stop at a shelter early to dry out. I even called Outdoor Research and they are sending me a new one. https://www.outdoorresearch.com/us/en Thanks to Outdoor Research for getting it to me ASAP. So I hiked 5 miles and then stayed IN Fullhardt Shelter. Total miles on trail = 734.2
Day 55 – 4-23 Today I woke early and hiked hard to finish my miles by 2:15 to meet Gigee in Daleville. I hiked 15.4 miles. We went for lunch at Three Little Pigs BBQ http://threelilpigsbbq.com and then stayed in Roanoke for the night. I took a long shower and ate a big dinner at Longhorn. I slept in a bed, had another shower, a great breakfast and was back on trail by 10:00am. Thanks Gigee, can’t wait to see you in three weeks! Total miles on trail = 729.2
Day 54 – 4-22 Today I crossed the 700 mile mark. That felt good. And I got to finish the day at McAfee Knob – that was huge and high and I can’t wait to post pictures. I hiked 18.2 miles and camped outside Campbell Shelter. Total miles on trail = 713.8
Day 53 – 4-21 Today was a much better day. I felt like I was moving forward instead of feeling so sluggish and making no progress. I hiked 21.3 miles and camped at VA 620 and Trout Creek. Look out 700 miles, I see you. Total miles on trail = 695.6
Day 52 – 4-20 Today was another day with almost zero cell service. In fact, all updates from today forward are actually being one on 4-25 due to such poor cell service. Today I hiked 9.4 miles and stayed at Laurel Creek Shelter. The weather has been either really cold or really hot and I didn’t feel well again today. Total miles on trail = 674.3
Day 51 – 4-19 Today I had almost no cell service and could barely update progress. I hiked 20.3 miles and camped in my tent on the ridge by Lone Pine Peak. Total miles on trail = 664.9
Day 50 – 4-18 Today I really enjoyed the slow pace of life on the trail. I actually hung out a bit at the hostel in town and then took some time to read a book before heading out on trail. Then I found a bench on the trail that was very inviting. I sat and was able to catch-up on several phones calls since, on the bench, I had great cell service. Then, I hiked 8.2 miles and pitched my tent at a campsite on Peter’s Mountain Ridge. Total miles on trail = 644.6
Day 49 – 4-17 I finally finished going south today. I made it back to where I finished on day 46. Then I took the shuttle to Pearisburg and set out to find my food box that Mom sent. It was supposed to go to the Holy Family Hostel. It’s a mission of the Holy Family Catholic church in town. BUT… The hostel is on church grounds and not really “open” in the sense we think of. I did find the caretaker. After helping him fix the hot water heater he gave me a ride to the post office where my box was. I realized this box was bumped from Gatlinburg where it sat because I never went there, I had enough food and kept on going. Back before Gatlinburg when I packed that box, I really didn’t know so much. I pack better boxes now. I wanted to make sure the hot water heater, now fixed, had plenty of time to heat water for my shower so I went out to Mexican for dinner. I hiked 13 miles on trail and then walked a ton in Pearisburg too. Tomorrow I will be so glad to be starting north. No more leap frog for me. Total miles on trial = 635.9
Day 48 – 4-16 If the trail has taught me anything, it is that the only thing that is constant is change. Don’t make set plans because they are sure to change. Today was really cold, rainy and snowing. Conditions weren’t great and making super good time was impossible. By early evening there was no sense in walking more, the best way to stay warm was to pitch my tent and get in my sleeping bag. As you can see, there was a small covering of snow and night time temps were in the 20’s. I hiked 20.5 miles. Total miles on trail = 623.4
Day 47 – 4-15 It was pouring down rain today and conditions were not great. I walked 11.7 miles from Woods Hole Hostel into the town of Pearisburg. Then I shuttled back to Woods Hole. Tomorrow I will walk back to where I got the first shuttle yesterday. That way I have walked the whole section, just out of order. So tomorrow I should be back in Pearisburg and ready to leave from there on Tuesday and going only north from there on. Tomorrow concludes my 3 days of leap frog. Total miles on trail = 602.9
Day 46 – 4-14 I am better today but still not 100%, however, I did get in more miles. I think the next few days will be a bit of leap frog back and forth. Today I walked 18.9 miles and then split a shuttle with a friend to Woods Hole Hostel 33 miles north of where we stopped walking. I slept in a tent near the hostel. Total miles on trail = 591.2 Look out 600, here I come!
Day 45 – 4-13 So I thought I felt better after my Subway stomach issue 2 days ago. Seems it must be more than Subway. Sorry Subway for the bad wrap. I might have a touch of a bug or maybe the warmer temps means I didn’t get enough water today. Not sure but I was extremely tired and feeling drained. I was just off so I only went 9.1 miles. I pitched my tent at a campsite on the ridge near where I was hiking. Total miles on trail = 572.3
Day 44 – 4-12 Today I felt better and did 16.6 miles. I camped at the Lick Creek Campsites. Total miles on trail = 563.2
Day 43 – 4-11 Today was not a great day on the trail. I woke up at the hotel, showered and got ready to go. I ate Subway and then started feeling really sick. Not fun when your not home and don’t have all the comforts of home… Needless to say, I didn’t do much today other than feel and be sick. When I finally got on trail I only hiked 2 miles. The best news, I found a beautiful field and got to chill in my tent and see the sunset. Bears are real and hanging your food in trees away from your tent is a great way to ward off Bears. Check out my pictures. Tomorrow I’m hoping to feel much better and get some good miles behind me. Total miles on trail = 547.2
Day 42 – 4-10 My parents left me a food bag at the Comfort Inn in Atkins where we stayed over the weekend since the trail goes really close to it. That way when I was back in town I could get food and only carry food for Sunday – today with me. I was also expecting a shipment from the tent company with a part I needed and I had that shipped to the hotel too. I got the great idea to switch up my day. There is a .50 shuttle from Partnership Shelter to Marion, so I took it and went to the Walmart and then another .50 shuttle to Atkins to the Comfort Inn. I dropped my bag and got the shuttle one exit up I-81 to where the trail crosses right under the interstate. I then hiked southbound back to where I caught the first shuttle this morning. Because I did 20+ miles yesterday it made today only 11.7 miles and I was done early afternoon. Then I paid .50 and took the shuttle back to the hotel. That means good food, several showers, a soak in the tub for my knee and sleeping in a bed for me tonight. Total miles on trail = 545.2
Day 41 – 4-9 My knee feels better. When I’m hiking it feels good. When I stop hiking and walk on flat surfaces and not a trail, like the road or sidewalk, it hurts. Guess my knee just needs the trail. It felt so good today that I hiked 20.2 miles. That means a shorter day tomorrow. I stayed at Partnership Shelter. Total miles on trail = 533.5
Day 40 – 4-8 Today my family left and I got back on trail. They drove me back to Grayson Highlands to the exact parking lot where we came off on Thursday. Because my knee has been sore and I wanted to ease back onto the trail, I started about 2:15 and did 13 miles. I have to be at the I-81 where the trail crosses under the interstate by Tuesday for food and equipment so I have 31.9 miles over the next 2 days to cover. I tent camped right by the Iron Mountain Trail and Hurricane Mountain Shelter. Total miles on trail = 513.3
Day 39 – 4-7 Today was a Double Zero. We slept late, had breakfast at the hotel and then went and bought a TV at Walmart because we couldn’t use our HDMI cable to hook our laptop to the hotel TV to watch movies. We also went to the laundry and washed my clothes. It rained and snowed today and was pretty raw and cold. We watched movies on the Walmart TV, went for dinner at the Wooden Pickle and then back to the hotel for more movies. My family leaves tomorrow and I will be back on trail.
Day 38 – 4-6 Today I Zeroed. That mean no miles for me. I was going to do a few in the morning but my knee has been tender and I decided to take off while my family is here. We slept in, had breakfast at the hotel and then drove to Johnson City to a Chick-Fil-A. I was so hungry for Chick-Fil-A and it was so good. Then we went to Jos A Bank and I got fitted for my suit for my friends wedding in June. We came back to the hotel, chilled and ordered pizza that we brought to the room for dinner.
Day 37 – 4-5 Today I started at mile 485.8 and hiked to Elk Garden at mile 493. My Mom, Dad and Skyler met me there around 2:00. I gave all my gear except some water to my Mom and my Dad grabbed his small pack and changed his shoes and we headed out to hike together. It was a great 7 mile section called Grayson Highlands. We got to see Mt. Rogers and inside Grayson Highlands State Park are wild ponies. It was fun to see them and get to pet them. We ended the day at Massey Gap and the Grayson Highlands Overnight Backpackers parking lot. I also crossed mile 500 with my Dad. I got a shower, had a sushi dinner, stopped at Walmart for snacks and I got to stay in a hotel with them.
Day 36 – 4-4 Today I hiked 14.9 miles out of Damascus and stayed in my tent at a campsite on the trail. Total miles on trail = 485.8
Day 35 – 4-3 I made it to Virginia!! Bye to North Carolina and Tennessee. I hiked to Damascus and stayed at Hiker’s Inn Hostel http://www.hikersinndamascus.com/ That made 18.5 miles for the day and total miles on trail = 468.5.
Day 34 – 4-2 Today was another 20+ mile day. I hiked 22.1 miles and stayed almost at Double Springs Shelter, except I am in a tent right by the shelter. Tomorrow is a BIG day. I finish the mountains that runs along the Tennessee / North Carolina border (384.7) and enter Virginia. That’s right, my 4th state. I will be finished Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee and entering the longest state on the trail, Virginia / West Virginia has 554.1 miles in it. Wow, I’m exited! Virginia has much less elevation changes like what I have been hiking in. It will make hiking bigger miles and covering more ground possible. Total miles on trail = 450
Day 33 – 4-1 Today was Easter. It was a full moon and I was able to do my first marathon + day of 27.9 miles with a full pack. It felt great and there was even some cool adventures during my day that I can blog about. Staying at Boots Off Hostel where they did a Hiker’s Feast for Easter. Another real bed and a shower. Total miles on trail = 427.9
Day 32 – 3-31 Today was another Nero. I left the Smith’s house later in the day, after dinner actually and only hiked 2 miles into the woods and pitched my tent at mile marker 400. It’s in the middle of the woods of Tennessee and there was no cool sign to take a picture of. Today marks the end of another month on the trail. The end of my first total month on the trail. I have been out 32 total days and covered 400 miles. Seems like a huge accomplishment already. So here’s some stats for my hike so far…
Nights in a tent = 11
Nights in a shelter = 11
Nights in a hostel = 6
Nights in a house = 4 (Thanks Nana and Mr. Smith)
Days hiking in rain = 6
Days hiking in snow = 10
20+ mile days = 6
30+ mile days = 0
Zero days = 3
Showers taken = 13
Bears seen = 0 – and let’s keep is that way!
Total miles on trail = 400!
Day 31 – 3-30 Today is a nero – that’s trail for “nearly a zero”. Where you don’t have Zero miles but it’s not a hard day either. Today I went 9.5 miles and got picked up my Mr. Smith to stay at his house for the night for Good Friday. I will post about this on my blog soon. Total miles on trail = 394.8
Day 30 – 3-29 Today I hiked 17.2 miles from Greasy Creek to Over Mountain Shelter. That’s in NC. I have a two day push and then a bit of a rest up for Easter weekend. Total miles on trail = 385.3
Day 29 – 3-28 Today I made it to Greasy Creek Friendly Hostel. http://www.greasycreekfriendly.com/home.html I needed to charge my phone and charge my back-up batteries. The bonus, it’s a hostel so I got a shower! I also posted a picture. That was 20 miles for the day and total miles on trail = 368.1
Day 28 – 3-27 Today I hiked 13.1 miles from No Business Knob Shelter to Curley Maple Gap Shelter. My Middle School mentor and youth pastor, Justin Smith’s Dad lives near here and he came and got me for a resupply. It was great spending time with him. More about that later as I will see him again Friday. Total miles on trail = 348.1
Day 27 – 3-26 Today was another 15+ mile day. I hiked from Hogback to just outside No Business Knob Shelter. I prefer tents to shelters, especially when it’s cold. The tent can stay warmer. So, I slept in a tent just outside of No Business Knob Shelter. Today was also the 7th straight day of snow at some point in the day. The trail is covered in snow! Miles today 18.1 Total miles on trail = 335
Day 26 – 3-25 Today I hiked from Jerry’s Mountain Shelter and started to tick off the next 100 miles of my adventure. I ended at Hogback Ridge Shelter. That makes 15.5 miles today. Total miles on trail = 316.9
Day 25 – 3-24 Today was a big day, not because of the miles I hiked in one day but because today I crossed the 300 mile mark. In fact, I camped almost on the mark. Jerry’s Mountain Shelter sits at mile 300.1. I have also been hiking in or seen it snow for 5 days straight. And it has rained 3 days straight. That means that some of the time it sleets. You get all kinds of weather out here. I love it. So, miles today 17.8 and total miles on trail = 301.4
Day 24 – 3-23 Today I left Hot Springs and headed out north again. I only hiked 9.1 miles as I didn’t want to go for broke right after almost 2 days of rest. I thought easing back into things was best. I ended up camping on the side of a dirt road in a parking area. Total miles on trail = 283.6
Day 23 – 3-22 Today I took a Zero. In AT terms – that’s all rest and no miles. It was a great day. I wrote about it on the home page so go check it out. Tomorrow I’m back on the trail and headed north.
Day 22 – 3-21 Today I walked into Hot Springs. That’s only 3 miles. The Appalachian Trail runs right thru the center of the town down Lance Avenue and Bridge Street, which is also called The Appalachian Trail Highway, Route 209/25/70. I had boxes sent to me here at Bluff Mountain Outfitters. The store sits on the same street so it’s considered “on the trail”. I sent a box of food and also my “Bump Box”. That’s a box with a change of clothes, more essentials to resupply, larger amounts of toothpaste, etc. So today I get to take a shower, put on some clothes from my box, have great food and sleep in a bed. And I get to wash clothes too – maybe!
Day 21 – 3-20 Today was another long day, my 4th 20+ mile day. I hiked from Groundhog Shelter to Deer Mountain Park Shelter. That’s 22.7 miles. I’m really close to Hot Springs but we didn’t add the few miles to get to Hot Springs because I didn’t want to stay in a hotel for 2 nights. Total miles on trail = 270.5
Day 20 – 3-19 Today I hiked from Davenport Gap Shelter to Groundhog Shelter. I also left the Smokey Mountains and headed into the Blue Ridge Mountains. The whole hike today was 10.5 miles. Total miles on trail = 247.8
Day 19 – 3-18 Today I hiked from Pecks Corner Shelter to Davenport Gap Shelter. That’s 20 miles. I am almost finished with the Smokey Mountains – only 4 miles to go! Total miles on trail = 237.3
Day 18 – 3-17 Today I did another 20+ mile day. I went from Silers Bald to Pecks Corner Shelter. That’s 22.3 miles. I was up on the ridge line of the mountains and it was flat and decent weather and so we just wanted to do more miles when we were able to. If you saw my home page, I was also able to see the sunrise on Clingman’s Dome today and get trail magic so it was a great day. Total miles on trail = 217.3
Day 17 – 3-16 Today I hiked from Mollies Ridge to Silers Bald Shelter. That’s 17.7 miles. Total miles on trail = 195
Day 16 – 3-15 So this is what a group effort looks like… My Gigee and Nana packing and mailing boxes, my Mom and Dad doing the same and helping to coordinate my routes. I send emails with my plan and my Dad keeps a running list of where I should be each day. My Mom updates the Progress on the blog page when I am able to text how far I got. (yes, this is sometimes Mom writing as if it were Kyle 🙂
Today I left Fontana Dam and headed into the Smokes. See my blog for pictures. I hiked 11.4 miles and stayed at Mollies Ridge Shelter. And tonight I really slept at the shelter and not in my tent. First time since the 2nd night on the trail. Total miles on trail = 177.3
Day 15 – 3-14 Today I hadn’t planned to but I Zeroed again. I needed to wait for the mail to get my package and I wanted to map out the next week on trail. I also had several phone calls and emails I needed to handle for my other life back in Georgia. By the time all that was sorted out I had used too much of the day. So, good food, another shower and I will be ready to hit the trail tomorrow.
Day 14 – 3-13 Today I hiked 15 miles to Fontana, NC where I got a room at the Fontana Village Lodge. That means a bed, a shower and a chance to air out my tent. Tomorrow I am expecting a package that we mailed back at the NOC and then I will be off. Total miles on trail = 159.6
Day 13 – 3-12 Today I did 7 miles. I sat out the morning because of weather and didn’t start until after lunch. That gave me enough time to climb the 7 miles out of the gorge at the Nantahala River to the top of the mountains at Sassafras Gap. It’s so cold, I also added a column to my spreadsheet to keep track of days and nights below 20 degrees. Total miles on trail = 144.6
Here’s pictures from today of me with Gigee and Nana at the Nantahala about to start out for the day and me starting my hike today as I said good bye to Gigee and Nana.
Day 12 – 3-11 Today I zeroed. That means I did zero miles. I stayed inside, slept, rested, ate amazing food and got ready for the week ahead. This was my first Zero, won’t be my last and I sure enjoyed it.
Day 11 – 3-10 – Total I did my first 20+ day, my first marathon day and a total of 27.3 miles. I hiked from Winding Stair Gap to the NOC – Nantahala Outdoor Center. It was a long and awesome day. I only saw one other hiker all day and climbed about 8 peaks along the way. Total miles on trail = 137.6
Day 10 – 3-9 – Hiked 12.2 miles today to Winding Stair Gap. This is the start of a great weekend. My Mom got me from the road at Winding Stair and I am sleeping at Nana’s house in Andrews, NC. Total miles on trail = 110.3
Day 9 – 3-8 – NC doesn’t have a ton of cell service. Sorry for the delay in posting. I hiked 16.3 miles today and stopped at Betty’s Creek Gap. Total miles on trail = 98.1
Day 8 – 3-7 – I made it to NC! It’s my first state line. 1 state down and 13 to go. Today I hiked 11.8 miles from Dick’s Creek Gap, Ga to Muskrat Creek Shelter in NC. Total miles on trail = 81.8
Day 7 – 3-6 – Today was lots of rain and steep mountain passes. That means – I’m going inside for a shower and a good dinner. Hiked 6 miles and am staying at Top of Georgia Hostel for the night. Total miles on trail = 70. That’s 8.5 miles left in Georgia.
Day 6 – 3-5 – Today was a 10.3 mile day from Rocky Mountain to Addis Gap. Sleeping in a tent again for the 4th night. Total miles on trail = 64
Day 5 – 3-4 – Did my first 16 mile day today!!! Made it from Wildcat Mountain to Rocky Mountain. Average now up to 10.7 per day. Total miles on trail = 53.7
Day 4 – 3-3 – Did 11.5 miles today. Starting to get my legs and increase my distance. Stopped at the top of Wildcat Mountain. My average miles per day is up to 9.4! Total miles on AT = 37.6
Day 3 – 3-2– Did 10.4 miles today and it was sunny. First night stopping and tent camping and not staying in a shelter. Stopped at Jarrard Gap. Total miles = 26.2
Day 2 – 3-1 – Did 7.7 miles in the pouring rain and slept at Gooch Mountain Shelter. Total miles = 15.8
Day 1 – 2-28 is in the books and with it, the month of February!!!