Fat Hen, Rooster Talon, and Mustard Seed

Fat Hen and Rooster Talon

Fat Hen and Rooster Talon

Fat Hen and Rooster Talon

Fat Hen and Rooster Talon encounter some snow and ice

I am following several potential thru-hikers during the 2016 hiking season. In addition to Dulci and the Two Peas, who are still on the trail, I selected a young couple because they left on my birthday (March 19). I know almost nothing about them. Their real names are Dan and Becky but their trail names are Fat Hen (Dan) and Rooster Talon (Becky).

So far they are posting more pictures than written journal entries. I have posted several of their photographs in this blog and offer only this spotty itinerary to demonstrate their progress. They began with the demanding 8.8 mile approach trail from Amicalola Falls, Georgia on the 19th. Ten days later they arrived at Bly Gap just over the Georgia/North Carolina border (mile marker 78.6) averaging 7.9 miles per day. They hiked to the

Rooster Talon Camped In Snow/Ice

Rooster Talon Camped In Snow/Ice

NOC (Nantahala Outdoor Center) in North Carolina by day 16 boosting their per day mileage up to 8.5 miles and on to Fontana Dam, North Carolina on day 19 increasing the daily mileage to 8.73 miles. They entered the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and camped at the Mollies Ridge Shelter on day 21 at mile marker 176.8.  They have been experiencing some ice and snow along the way. On day 22 of their hike they arrived at Newfound Gap with frigid temperatures. They caught a ride into Gatlinburg, Tennessee, for a resupply with a plan to continue the next day. They have not posted since then (April 9). I remember having no cell phone coverage through the Smoky Mountains, so they may be trucking through the national park without being able to journal online. I am awaiting the end of their radio silence as they approach civilization.

Mustard Christian School

Mustard Seed with Students

I decided to follow at least one more thru-hiker this season. Her trail name is Mustard Seed. That name immediately caught my eye because of the possible biblical reference to faith. A little investigation led me to Central Christian School in Sharpsburg, Georgia where Michelle (Mustard Seed) teaches middle school Math and Bible. Michelle Mayne (what a great last name for a hike to Katahdin, Maine), was born in Alabama but now lives in Georgia with her husband Bill and two sons, Zak and Michael. Mustard Seed is hiking the AT with her father, Michael Williams aka, Negotiator. They began their adventure on April 1 heading NOBO toward the wilderness of Maine.

Mustard First Day

Mustard Seed and Dad, Negotiator

Mustard Seed and Negotiator appear to have done some nice physical preparation for the journey because they have averaged 12.7 miles during the first thirteen days of the hike including an 18.3 mile trek on day four. Their last post was from Fontana Dam, NC, on April 13. They were staying at the resort in order to rest up before entering the Smoky Mountains. If they left according to plan, they may be walking a part of the Appalachian Trail that makes contact with the outside world rather sporadic. They are making excellent progress but they have not taken a zero day in the first thirteen days of the adventure. I think they will soon discover the need for an extended rest.

I am interested to see if Dulci, Fat Hen & Rooster Talon, and Mustard Seed connect along the trail. Each started several days apart (March 13, March 19 and April 1) but they are all hiking through GSMNP at very different paces. I am interested to see who makes it out of the park first and who makes first contact via their online journals.

Fat Hen and Rooster Talon Photos: http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=524129

Mustard Seed Photos: http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=527226

Categories: Amicalola Falls, Appalachian Trail, Fat Hen, Fontana Dam, Georgia, GSMNP, Hiking, Mustard Seed, NOBO, North Carolina, Rooster Talon, Snow, Tennessee, Thru-Hike, Trail Name | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Fat Hen, Rooster Talon, and Mustard Seed

  1. janloyd

    What fun to hear about some present hikers. Thanks for sharing this, Dave!

    We are on our own adventure in NJ & soon in DE –all to visit family😍. Here in NJ I’m averaging about 5-6 miles per day walking up to the beach and along the edge of the waves…to enjoy the sunrise over the ocean & early morning on the beach…glory!

    • Jan – 5-6 miles hiking along the beach sounds wonderful – especially today: cool and raining in Ohio.

  2. Teresa

    Hello! Fathen is my son so it was fun to see someone following. Yes they were out of total service for quite a time. They still only text while hanging over a clearing at the top of various mountains. They have had several 20 plus days…. And as with all of the hikers, a lot of stories to tell!

    • Teresa – I am so honored that you would comment on my blog post. I am so enjoying following your son (Fat Hen) and your ‘daughter’ (Rooster Talon) along the AT. I am sure that you are proud of them and the adventure they are experiencing. I invite you to comment any time and “correct” any information I might share that might not be completely accurate. A mother’s insight will be invaluable.

      • Teresa Gottshall

        You have been pretty accurate with your postings. The kids are doing great! They do try to make the most of any opportunity. When they made it to Harpers Ferry, they hitched a ride to D.C. and enjoyed a hotel. The next day they toured around D.C. then took a train back to Harpers Ferry. Apparently, Dan had a total pack failure and contacted Kelty. Well Kelty has totally redeemed themselves and managed to get a replacement pack to the kids in time for him to switch it out and hit the trail. I am hoping that it fits and is working well. I always look for any communication

      • Mother Teresa (Sorry, I could resist that) – Thanks for your update. I am looking forward to their next post and a current up-date on their adventure.

  3. Teresa Gottshall

    Hi Drough2013! Hahaha! I don’t mind being referred to as Mother Teresa! I was very active with my children and almost always ended up with the nickname Mother Teresa. In fact, I attended college along side my children and more often than not was referred to as Mother Teresa by both the students and the faculty.

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