This is the first of three posts regarding an amazing lady of the trail. Carole “Rambunny” Barnes was the first woman to complete three consecutive thru-hikes of the Appalachian Trail. Her thru-hikes took place in 2000-01 and 2002.
In my research into Rambunny’s accomplishments I found a great interview conducted by Stephen S. Fehr on May 24 of 2002 during Carole’s journey on the trail. For a deeper dive check it out at the following link: https://sites.google.com/site/sedentarysteve/may24.(continued2)
When asked about the back story for her trail name, Rambunny responded, “I’m named after Aries and I go like the energizer bunny.” The name was quite appropriate as her energy had carried her over thousands of miles on the trail. She hoped to follow in the footsteps of Dorothy Laker and accomplish a YOYO, hiking from Georgia to Maine, touching the brown sign on top of Katahdin, turning around and hiking back to Georgia. According to Rambunny, Dorothy was the first woman to complete a YOYO back in the 1960s.
Mr Fehr asked, “I usually ask about your age and when you departed Springer.”
Rambunny smiles and answers, “I’m in my forties, and I started Springer March 3rd. I’m from Indianapolis.” She continued. “I grew up hiking with the Girl Scouts and wanted to do the AT since 4th grade. I also did the Grand Canyon Trail and a lot of trails in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Missouri.”
The interview added a little of Carole’s backstory and attitude toward the trail when she shared, “My marriage fell apart and the kids were almost grown. I paid off all my debts and was free! No trepidation’s whatsoever. I did a happy dance in Georgia.”
Her favorite aspect of the trail reflected her outgoing spirit and appreciation for the people of the trail, “Being outdoors and the volunteerism on the trail, not just the hikers but the hostel owners, the workers and trail angels.” Both the people and the wildlife of the AT seem to be the highlights of her trek. She related about a bear encounter, “last year, twenty miles north of here I had a bear encounter with a very nice bear. We just stared at each other for awhile.”
Rambunny was a fairly light hiker, “I travel light; just 20 to 25 pounds. I use a beer can stove. For supper, I mix Ramen noodles and mashed potatoes, or stuffing and I also make rice dishes such as rice and beans. I stop once a week in towns and carefully plan mail drops to towns that do not have grocery stores.” And when asked about the expense of the hike, Carole provided a conservative figure (remember these are 2002 dollars), “It costs almost $2,000 to hike the AT. I expect to spend $3,500 to do a YOYO.” Rambunny’s approach to finances often included some work at a hostel for a week or so when her funds run low.
Rambunny is a great trail story. My second post about Carole [to be published yet this week] focuses on another of her thru-hikes – this time in 2004.
[Photo found at https://sites.google.com/site/sedentarysteve/may24.(continued2)]