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Appalachian Trail... photos and journal

Spring of 2002... In the upper south...


(Page 5 of 7 pages)


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A natural snowball as made from a white cluster of flowers.


From my journal(May 19th) Day-33..."I believe that last night was the coldest yet with temperatures at wake-up in the low 40’s F. Sure glad to have my ultralight warm clothing and Western Mountaineering sleeping bag! Likewise I was a bit slow to get up and moving. It was a steep climb out of the valley, but a nice early morning walk following the creek up to Maupin Field Shelter where I checked out the register and enjoyed a short talk with a New Dominion youth group.

To Rockfish Gap I walked several sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoyed another conversation with a NPS ranger at the 1800’s mountain life museum and exhibit at the visitors center. At the gap I quickly caught a ride into town where fresh food has never tasted so good! Unfortunately, the fire station no longer allows hikers to camp in their yard, which was a highlight of my ’94 thru-hike so I instead decided to get a room at the Comfort Inn. "


Looking north from the Blue Ridge Parkway where Humpback Rocks can be seen in the distance.

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It was a nice historical break from the trail to visit the Humpback Rocks Pioneer Exhibit which highlighted a typical mountain homestead from years past.

The National Park museum at the pioneer exhibit had a wealth of photographs from those tough mountain days before the Appalachian Trail was even thought about!

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Way back during a time when the American family was a much tighter unit and when neighbors depended on one another.

I suppose that this is what a sun dried red newt appears to be when unfortunately flattened out on the Blue Ridge Parkway :-)


Into Waynesboro, Virginia


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Hitching a ride was fairly easy from Rockfish Gap into Waynesboro and I definitely needed some down time. Unfortunately the fire department no longer allows hikers to camp on their lawn so I broke down and got a room at the Comfort Inn.

I always get my moneys worth from the motel plumbing!


From my journal(May 20th) Day-34..."Had a great conversation early this morning while eating breakfast with a 2001 AT thru-hiker, and then hurried to the post office to get my float box and new shoes. Check out time was noon so I hadn’t any time to waste sorting maps and replenishing various supplies. I then go to the grocery store and buy enough food to get me to Linden and also buy food for two maildrops to Linden and Harpers Ferry. Somehow I managed to get all that done with just enough time for a final shower.

I was then able to spend some time at the library with my email, then buy a nice lunch and hitched a ride back to Rockfish Gap where I see Brawny cutting across the grass median down to Highway 250. I begin yelling to my ride to please stop right here and let me out as I excitedly yell out her name. It is so great to finally see Brawny. Hoosier soon walks up and we all talk for a full 20 minutes then depart our ways. Brawny was talking about taking a layover day in town which sounded like a good idea, but I was already back on the tail and so it will be!

Entering Shenandoah National Park I walk the trail for the first seven miles then realize that from getting my park permit that Memorial Day is next Monday and the post office will be closed. Somehow I must do 161 miles to Harpers Ferry by noon on Saturday or it will be Tuesday before I can get to my maildrop. I then took to walking on the Skyline Drive with plenty of determination! "


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When leaving town my ride though I'd gone crazy when I began yelling "STOP, STOP, STOP!" just when we rolled into Rockfish Gap. I knew that it was none other than Brawny from her trademark black clothing. I first met Brawny and Rainmaker from last summers PCT hike and her homemade ultralight gear is definitely worth a look, which can be found at Trailquest

A cold and windy evening at Baldface Mountain overlook on the Blueridge Parkway.


From my journal(May 21st) Day-35..."Was anxious to be moving so I was up and hiking at 6:30 a.m. The morning was cold and it never warmed up all day as radio reports record cold temperatures in the south with tonight’s low expected at or near freezing… once again, sure glad to have my warm bag! Saw so many deer today and several wild turkeys while enjoying all the overlooks and history of the Shenandoah’s. Need to get some rest… Good Night! "


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A fine gentleman and his wife pointed out this rare and unusually beautiful plant know as Yellow Ladies Slippers.


From my journal(May 22st) Day-36..."The sounds of deer hoofing woke me up too early this morning in addition to a full strength sunrise. I was glad to get walking again and I’m always amazed at how much the human body heals while asleep… I go to sleep feeling crippled and then awake to walk another 35 miles without complaint. There are no clouds today and I contend with full sun as I continue to weave in and out of the AT and Skyline Drive. It appears that this will be my last night in the Shenandoah’s. "


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When my hike started about 36 days ago the heat and humidity was setting records and now a cold front dropped in and suddenly there was frost on the early morning leaves and it was almost June!

Here I am sporting my warm 8 ounce Frogg Togg jacket at the highest point on the Blueridge Parkway.

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Home Sweet Home!!!.

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