Thursday, October 15, 2009

Young Buck near Grayson Highlands

This young buck living in the protected areas of Mt Rodgers/Grayson Highlands obviously was not very frightened by our human presence. We saw many deer during our hike but most were quite shy (wisely so).

Mt Rodgers Nat'l Park

The weather finally cleared but turned windy and cold when we reached Mt. Rodgers (5782') State Park. Most of the area is high balds with great visibility on a day like this. By night though, the temps at Thomas Knob Shelter dropped to 30ยบ with winds howling at 35 mph or better. Brrr...

Friday, September 25, 2009

On Thursday we finally left Tennessee and crossed into Virginia here at the Mt Rodgers State Rec Area sign. Another state down. Yeah! But VA has the most AT mileage of any state, so I'll be here a while. On to Damascus!

Reaching the 400 mile mark

On Saturday, we passed the 400 mile mark on the AT just before Laurel Fork. This of course, is my cumulative mileage picking up from last year at Erwin, TN. Another nice feature of the day was the sunshine. Yay!

Jones Falls

One of the highlights of the new AT relo north of US 19E, is the side trail to Jones Falls. The video says it all.

Drying Off in Roan Mountain

After 4 days of wet weather, Harry and I were ready to dry out and clean up. We were pleasantly surprised to find the Mountain Harbor hostel just off the AT on 19E. Very nice property and facilities run by Terry and Mary. Had a killer feast at King the Road right up 19E. Just what the trail doctor ordered.

The Trail Maintainers

Here you get a better view of Overmountain shelter, but more interestingly, we ran into the crew of trail maintainers working on this section of the AT. Harry and I noticed the great work they've been doing with relocations all the way from Unaka Mtn. to north of Watauga Lake. Especially refreshing was the relo north of US 19E to Dennis Cove. What a beautiful hike! Our hats our off to these men and women performing such difficult and vital work. This day, the AT crew was striking camp due to bad weather--not a good omen for us hikers.

Overmountain Shelter

Sorry for the lack of posts over the first week or so of the hike. The wet weather has forced us to keep our toys safely stowed, so we have very little photo or video documentation of our climb over the spectacular Roan Highlands. Here, on day 4, we stopped at the famous "barn", aka Overmountain Shelter for a water break. Sadly, the fog has obscured this view a bit as it did during our trek over 6200' Roan Mtn., but even a rainy day on the AT is heavenly.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Arriving at Damascus, VA 9/24/09

Alright! 10 days and 120 miles into our hike, Harry and I reached Damascus on a warm, late summer afternoon. The ridge walk from Hampton was beautiful but we're really ready to cool our heels (literally) with some icy beverages and salads. Damascus looks pretty quiet today, but sounds like people coming in tomorrow for the weekend. I think it's good timing for a day of rest.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Starting Out Sept 15th at Erwin TN

And so it began--Harry and I suited up at Uncle Johnny's
Nolichucky Inn on Tuesday and headed out on a nice late summer morning. Even with some training and trail experience behind us, this first section of AT is notoriously difficult and beautiful. Whatever lies ahead we're both really excited and grateful to be on the trail again.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It's That Time Again

I know it's been a while, but Fall is in the air and that means time to hit the trail again. I'm planning on heading out next Tuesday, Sept 15th for a month, resuming where I left off last year. I'm hoping to make it from Erwin, TN to central Virginia near Roanoke. As a special bonus feature, my good friend Harry "Zen Pig" Siegal will be joining me for the fun.

I've been training for several weeks (though not as much as I'd like) and trying to find ways in Florida to simulate the rigors of hiking the southern Appalachians. I think once we get past Roan Mtn. it will ease a bit. Probably won't post as much video this time, but I hope to give you some good moments on the blog. Until then, wish us luck.