Twig Adventures

AT Trail Angels & Trail Magic Recognition

This is a free-flowing list recognizing the many instances of trail magic and trying to thank the many, many amazing Trail Angels I met along the way. I apologize in advance if I missed mentioning anything or anyone specifically; it’s not intentional, just a casualty of my sometimes faulty memory. First, thanks to all the hostels owners, shuttle drivers and support staff at the cool places I stayed…the AT has an outstanding network surrounding it, catering to the needs of so many hikers. Such folks really make the experience unique and sometimes even life-changing. Many of my best hostel experiences were in New England, particularly Maine (Green Mountain House in Vermont, AT Lodge, Shaws, Maine Roadhouse). There were also some[…]

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AT Summary & Stats

It took a long time to collect my thoughts and summarize my stats for the AT. In reviewing the details of my journey, it’s striking to me just how many events occurred every day. My experience was not monotonous at all, with plenty of diversions to keep me entertained and on my toes. Some parts held a lot of nostalgia while other parts were quite a surprise in terms of their difficulty and enjoyment. The AT is not much of a wilderness experience but it’s a fun adventure through a diverse region of the US. And the trail itself holds some of the most physically demanding terrain of any I’ve yet hiked. While it doesn’t rank as high in my[…]

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AT Day 2022: Updates

I wanted to follow my belated final AT day post with a few updates and pictures. After the trail, I submitted my thru-hike details for recognition by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association (ALDHA). Both are great organizations, one with a focus on preserving the AT and lands surrounding it and the other on providing support and community for long distance hikers. They honored me with certificates and some nice stickers and patches. In kind, I’ll be make donations to such organizations to further their causes. I like having these official ‘records’ for my scrapbook, hoping to one day make a display showcasing all my trail paraphernalia. It’s nice that such organizations recognize thru-hiker achievements.[…]

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AT Day 103: Nothing Lasts Forever, Even Cold November Rain

Thursday Nov 4th 2021, 0710-1730Gooch Mountain Shelter to Amicalola Falls Visitors Center, SOBO AT mm 2193.1 plus approach trail24 miles (15.8 miles to Springer Mt, Southern Terminus, then another 8.2 miles on the approach trail)5030 gain, 5997 loss Well, this journey finally had to end and unfortunately it took me months later to compose this last daily entry. Sorry for this incongruity, dear readers. It’s now 2022 and I guess I’ve just been struggling to get over some severe writers block. I ran into a blog follower at a holiday party, who thought that I hadn’t even finished the AT based on this missing post. Rest assured, I made it all the way to Springer Mt, plus the end of[…]

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AT Day 102: Penultimate Pizza

Wednesday Nov 3rd 2021, 0710-1730 Low Gap Shelter to Gooch Mountain Shelter, SOBO AT mm 2177.327 miles6450 gain, 6650 loss The mice left me alone all night, or at least were stealthy enough not to wake me. As soon as I retrieved the food bags from the cables in the morning, they resumed scurrying about in full sight. I was happy to leave them behind. I had only one thing on my mind this morning and that was getting to Neel gap so I could eat a freshly re-heated frozen pizza. A hot, salty, greasy pie never sounded so good. Especially since the day started off so cold and dreary. The sun looked like it could make an appearance early on….there[…]

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AT Day 101: Commitment to the End & Acrobatic Mice

Tuesday Nov 2nd 2021, 0715-1830┬áPlumorchard Gap Shelter to Low Gap Shelter, SOBO AT mm 2150.331.2 miles8060 gain, 8020 loss I left the shelter in the dark, having a hard time finding the scant side trail. I must have wondered around in the dark for nearly 10 minutes before I finally found the correct path. I watched a nice sunrise from atop the ridge. The trees were sparse enough to allow a few views, the colors framed and enriched by the remaining colorful leaves. Some clouds rolled in and the sun was mostly obscured the rest of the day, making for some cooler temperatures. It was good for hiking but not for stopping. Something about the cold and the relentless ups[…]

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AT Day 100: Georgia for the 100th

Monday Nov 1st 2021, 0650-1850┬áRock Gap Shelter to Plumorchard Gap Shelter, SOBO AT mm 2119.432.1 miles6266 gain, 7090 loss I didn’t get an early enough start to make it the 6 miles to the Alberts Mountain fire tower for sunrise but I still got incredible views…perhaps some of my favorite photos from the whole trip! The tower happened to be unlocked and I was surprised to find 4 women backpackers cowboy camping inside. We shared the epic vistas together, while I turned them onto the PeakFinder App…I ought to be getting some kickbacks for all the customers I’ve sent their way. We were able to pick out Clingman’s Dome and other highlights of the Smokies, as well as Siler and[…]

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AT Day 99: Wayah Miracles

Sunday Oct 31st 2021, 1030-1840 Tellico Gap to Rock Gap Shelter, SOBO AT mm 2087.523.2 miles5260 gain, 5280 loss It was another slow start. Sofie made delicious cinnamon rolls and eggs… a real hot breakfast for the 3rd morning in a row. From the Fontana Hilton to Franklin, we’d had a luxurious stretch on trail but it was time to get back to business. There were a total of 137 miles left and I planned to go all the way to the end staying on the trail, no more hostels, resupplies or trail angel stops. It was time to get this done. I’d just realized that I could make it to Georgia, the 14th state, on my 100th day and that[…]

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AT Day 98: Franklin Friends

Saturday Oct 30th 2021, 0945-1200┬áNOC to Tellico Gap, SOBO AT mm 2064.37.9 miles3210 gain, 1060 loss I slept so well in Donna’s warm and cozy upstairs loft bed. The idea of getting up to hike through another cold and rainy day was unappealing, to say the least. But I had more trail angels lined up for the end of the day, so what was another day of walking in such conditions? A goal of 23 miles quickly turned into 8. Since I’d already hiked these sections, I didn’t mind pushing through and missing the views. But Mud would be short-changed. Wesser, Wayah and Siler balds all had such nice vistas, it was a shame not to see them, especially given[…]

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AT Day 97: NOC

Friday Oct 29th 2021, 0800-1800  Fontana Dam Shelter to NOC, SOBO AT mm 2056.429 miles7680 gain, 7730 loss I woke to the sound of semi-heavy rain. This was expected but still a bit demoralizing. I didn’t want to walk 29 miles in such conditions, but this is what it would take to stay in a warm and dry home by the end of the day. Sure I could have just stayed put at the Hilton, but not if I wanted to make it to Franklin for the weekend, in order to visit friends. Walking all day in the rain is a part of thru-hiking, a testament to our dedication to the cause. Speaking of dedication, Fresh Ground had insisted on serving[…]

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