Twig Adventures

AT Day 87: Exponentially Fast

Tuesday Oct 19th 2021, 0700-1620                  Kincora Hiking Hostel to Mountain Harbor B&B, SOBO AT mm 1797.825.1 miles5460 gain, 5170 loss I woke to the alarm clock of Boots puking up a hairball on the sofa. I reacted fast, throwing her off so she could retch on the floor next to Mud instead. Good kitty. Cats, you know? We were off early in the dark. I was eager to get miles done, while Mud wondered why we needed to leave so early in the cold if we planned just another marathon day…yes 25 miles is like an easy day for us but more realistic given the lack of daylight. I always like to get miles in the bank early because you never[…]

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AT Day 86: Hard Core

Monday Oct 18th 2021, 0700-1800                  Iron Mt Shelter to Kincora Hiking Hostel, SOBO AT mm 177324.6 miles4870 gain, 6410 loss We woke to the coldest morning yet. It was in the mid 30s. I was in no hurry to walk in the dark, so I delayed setting off. Old Army was the first to leave around 6 am but I caught up to him later. It’s always nice to have someone clear the cobwebs, though I’m not sure how active the spiders are in such cold. The wind was also strong on the ridge, which usually blows away the webs. The ridge rolled along quite a bit, with lots of short ups that served to keep me warm. I wore all[…]

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AT Day 85: They Do Exist

Sunday Oct 17th 2021, 0830-1800                  Damascus to Iron Mt Shelter, SOBO AT mm 1748.626.2 miles5850 gain, 3680 loss We had a simple breakfast of stuff from the grocery and gas station, said goodbye to our gracious host Uncle Johnny, and hit the trail feeling pretty refreshed. The temperature had plummeted after the front, bringing highs only in the 50s for the day. It was great for the climb out of town but left me feeling a bit chilled when the trail leveled out on a ridge. I wore my fleece all day and even put my rain jacket on at lunch, leaving it on for the remainder. The lows were supposed to be in the 40s and even 30s up high.[…]

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AT Days 83 & 84: The Last 500 & Damascus

Friday Oct 15th 2021, 0630-1620                  Thomas Knob Shelter to Damascus, SOBO AT mm 1722.426 miles3500 gain, 7000 loss All the guys (Brian, Wizard, All There and Bojangles) arrived the shelter after dark, so we had a fun time telling pony stories. Early in the morning, I emerged from the shelter to see the mighty light of ten thousand suns challenging infinity. Our position up high and out in the open was sure a change from most nights on the AT. Walking in the dark was thus quite a pleasant experience. We watched the light growing in the east and then sunrise. It was like being out west in the desert. It was all mostly downhill to Damascus. We dropped a ton[…]

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AT Day 82: Grayson Highland Ponies

Thursday Oct 14th 2021, 0640-1730                  Trimpi Shelter to Thomas Knob Shelter, SOBO AT mm 169425.3 miles6190 gain, 3715 loss The famous Grayson Highland ponies were on order for this day. We’d been singing and telling stories for days about how we’d catch one to ride all the way to Georgia…just as a joke of course. We had worked out a pretty catchy tune even. But first we had to do our usual hiker things of getting ready and walking in the dark. The poor guy in the shelter, who was left wondering how on earth we all got in so late, only to be up at 5 am packing. I’m sorry to say that we disturbed his 12 hours of sleep[…]

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AT Day 81: Bigfoot & More Cluck for your Buck

Wednesday Oct 13th 2021, 0620-1900                  Crawfish Trail Junction to Trimpi Shelter, SOBO AT mm 1668.828.5 miles5800 gain, 5515 loss The forests rain acorns and leaves in the fall, making a lot of noises at night. It can sometimes sound suspiciously like an animal approaching. The brain fixates on such things, trying to find patterns in what are random events. But every so often, there are patterns. Sometime after I’d just gone to sleep, hikers arrived. I figured they were Wizard, Mr Bojangles and All There but they were so quiet, I couldn’t quite make them out. I went back to sleep quickly and thus the night went, waking up a lot but in general sleeping well. I was off early with[…]

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AT Day 80: Garden Mountain

Tuesday Oct 12th 2021, 0625-1800                  Jenkins Shelter to Crawfish Trail Junction, SOBO AT mm 1640.527.9 miles6950 gain, 6745 loss We were off later than I hoped for but really, it was time to adjust my starting time expectations. It didn’t get light until about 7:15 am this morning. The trail had been traveling such a westerly course that I’d walked into an even later part of the time zone. A big climb to the top of Garden Mountain and Chestnut Knob Shelter, 4400′, was the order of the morning. The mountains just keep getting bigger in southern VA. The trail was a bit overgrown, rocky, and generally tough but there were some nice views at the top. The shelter was fully[…]

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AT Day 79: Brushy Mountain

Monday Oct 11th 2021, 0610-1830                  Dismal Falls to Jenkins Shelter, SOBO AT mm 1612.632 miles6375 gain, 6215 loss I packed a little faster than planned and was ready before Mud. Hiking with a buddy takes some adjustments to get schedules in sync. I also told him a later start time, so it was my fault. I started walking slowly and was surprised to run into 2 hikers also walking in the dark. They were All There and Mr Bojangles, up early to go to a nearby store for breakfast. It’s nice to be seeing other hikers that are walking the same crazy hours and miles that I am. I walked with them to a road junction, then waited just a few minutes[…]

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AT Day 78: Dismal Falls

Sunday Oct 10th 2021, 1300-1830                  Woods Hole Hostel to Dismal Falls, SOBO AT mm 1581.112.1 miles1600 gain, 2525 loss Mud Lantern was waiting on another hiker to bring him a new headlamp from Pearisburg, so I relented to having another leisurely morning eating a big breakfast and drinking lots of quality coffee. The spread this morning was peach crumble, eggs, grits, fruit salad, and more of that amazing sourdough bread. Even though I ate a hearty dose or 2 of all this, I was hungry again by noon. The sun came out after some lingering fog, so I went around the place taking pictures. I also fed the goats the scraps from breakfast. I stretched and foam rolled on the porch in[…]

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AT Day 77: The Gathering

Saturday Oct 9th 2021               Zero Day (3rd one) A friend asked me a week before if I was going to the Appalachian Long Distance Hiking Association (ALDHA) Gathering. It was being held in Abingdon Virginia near Damascus. I knew I wouldn’t be that far along the trail but I would be within driving distance. I told her if the weather wasn’t great and I could find a ride, I’d try to make it for a day. Well, turns out it was another rainy morning and Neville of Woods Hole was going to give a presentation on what it’s like to run an AT hostel. She offered a ride to any hikers that wanted to go. So I guess it was meant[…]

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