Twig Adventures

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[…]

Read more

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’s 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 enclosed[…]

Read more

AT Day 79: Gollum vs Smeagol

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 in the morning, so was ready before Mud. I’d also told him a later start time the night before, so it was my fault. Hiking with a buddy takes some adjustments to sync schedules. I wasn’t used to needing to convey my plans. 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[…]

Read more

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 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 taking pictures. I also fed the goats the scraps from breakfast. I stretched and foam rolled on the porch in the sun while[…]

Read more

AT Day 77: The Gathering

Saturday Oct 9th 2021Zero 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’d probably be within driving distance, so I reasoned that 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 giving a presentation on running an AT hostel as part of the speaker series for the event. She offered a ride to any hikers that wanted to go. So I guess it was meant to be. First was the[…]

Read more

AT Day 76: Woods Hole Hostel

Friday Oct 8th 2021, 1030-1430 VA Rt 100– Pearisburg to Woods Hole Hostel,  SOBO AT mm 1567.6 12.1 miles3400 gain, 1900 loss My plan since Lexington was to skip Pearisburg and head straight to Woods Hole hostel, where I’d shipped a box of extra food and my dearly-needed migraine medication. But since I’d smashed so many miles in the past few days, spending a night in the cool hostel in Pearisburg was an extra reward AND had also lessened the distance I needed to walk to Woods Hole. So I was in no hurry in the morning…which was good, since once again it was raining. Twig and I had a nice breakfast together and then he went to work at one[…]

Read more

AT Day 75: Twig of Pearisburg

Thursday Oct 7th 2021, 0650-1830 War Spur Shelter to VA Rt 100– Pearisburg,  SOBO AT mm 1556.132.4 miles6150 gain, 6900 loss I slept perfectly through the night and woke to the sound of steady rain. It’s really hard to leave a warm, dry shelter for the rain and darkness, so I waited a little later to depart. All There was the first to leave around 6:30 am, so I hoped he’d scare away the coyotes. It was still too dark to see without a headlamp until 10 minutes after 7 am. What a dreary day. Thank goodness for the shelters on days like this. Rain for a week(s) on the AT is nothing new, and the shelter makers must have known[…]

Read more

AT Day 74: VA Blues Can’t Catch Me

Wednesday Oct 6th 2021, 0610-1910 Four Pines Hostel to War Spur Shelter,  SOBO AT mm 1523.733.5 miles7000 gain, 6440 loss I was out the door of the hostel early and walking up to the Dragon’s Tooth in the dark. The fog was very thick and so my headlamp was nearly useless. As anyone that’s driven in fog knows, light beams reflect and scatter. There were some slippery rock slab cliffs to negotiate along the trail. There were decent holds and ledges but long drops into the dark abyss awaited a misstep. I felt like one of those early morning mountaineers making a summit bid, except that it was 70 degrees and I was already drenched in sweat. I caught up to[…]

Read more

AT Day 73: McAfee Knob

Tuesday Oct 5th 2021, 0800-1820Daleville to Four Pines Hostel, SOBO AT mm 1488.626.2 miles5900 gain, 5200 loss I didn’t get as early of a start as I would have liked but I did get most of my chores done. I watched some morning news while I foam rolled…that was enough to get me going, just to escape all the bad news. Crossing a highway with the rush hour traffic was perilous. After that, the trail went up to the ridgelines and things were pretty peaceful. The fog was thick, so I couldn’t see down below but could hear lots of traffic noise and even a construction site. Sound seems to carry well in the fog. Or maybe I just notice[…]

Read more

AT Day 72: Blue Ridge Bliss & Lettuce Club

Monday Oct 4th 2021, 0625-1610 Cove Mountain Shelter to Daleville, SOBO AT mm 1462.825 miles4700 gain, 5300 loss I slept amazingly well in the shelter. Something about the knowing I’d stay dry no matter what made me feel that much more relaxed. I woke to party cloudy skies and an improved weather forecast for the day. I was excited to walk. Several miles passed as the light grew. I love such transitions. Then I found a tree full of chicken of the woods mushrooms. I was 95 percent sure these were the same I had seen at Open’s house. He’d collected them recently but unfortunately I didn’t stick around long enough to try them. Tasha showed me how to identify[…]

Read more