Hike Thru-hikers Forward – Update: May 7 – 13

Mileage, the last of the five Hoots has not posted any online journal entries this week. Her last post was on April 25, 2021 and she was 13 miles outside of Erwin, TN. I will continue to check her journal for an update.

Rock and Roots Rothman (David and Annie) are still on the trail and are making progress. They have completed 25% of the trail and are hiking in the state of Virginia. Here a quick update on their adventure.

May 7 – Rest in Damascus

Rock and Roots arrived in Damascus, Virginia on May 6th (Day 51 of their journey). They took a zero day on May 7 in Damascus to rest and resupply.

May 8Creeper Day: Damascus to Campsite – 10.7 miles

As they left Damascus on Saturday morning they walked through a town-wide yard sale set up along the streets as the AT travels right through the middle of the community. Shortly outside of the town, the trail joins the Virginia Creeper Trail (an old railroad route up the mountain). About 11 miles  outside of Damascus they found a great campsite along the creek and called it home for the evening. They ate dinner on top of a massive rock on the water and enjoyed a restful night in their tent.

May 9Curly Perzel:  Campsite to Thomas Knob Shelter – 16.2 miles

As they climbed up and over Whitetop Mountain and the challenging Buzzard Rock, Rock and Roots found a spot of good cellphone coverage and made time to phone their moms on this special day of the year.  As they began the descent off the mountain they encountered a triple crown thru-hiker (The AT, the Pacific Creast Trail and the Continental Divide Trail). She was originally from Germany and she shared some of her hiking stories with Rock and Roots. The thru-hiker was Curly Perzel. My sister, Diane, is a good friend of Curly and it was so exciting for me to see this connection of the trail. Check put Curly’s story at Curly Perzel: Triple Crown Thru-Hiker, Redliner, Peak-Bagger | All About Women Magazine | wataugademocrat.com

After getting a picture with Curly, Roots and Rock continued down the trail and ended their day at Thomas Knob Shelter (16.2 miles for the day) amid some rain. They made it to the shelter in time to get a nice spot in the loft. They did not have the best sleep but they managed to stay dry and safe.  

May 10 – The Day of the Horses: Thomas Knob Shelter to Old Orchard Shelter – 11.0 miles

Rock and Roots woke up to wild horses. Thomas Knob Shelter is right on the edge of Grayson Highlands, the home of the wild horses. Hikers are not supposed to feed the horses, but just about everybody does. Rock and Roots had carried apples roots 30 miles with the horses in mind – they were greatly appreciated by Trigger, Silver, and Seabiscuit (my names for these special horses). Rock and Roots took side trial to summit Mt Roger’s, which is the highest spot in VA. They came back to the shelter to dry off as it was raining again. They changed clothes, ate breakfast and packed up. They crossed the 500-mile marker today and ended they adventure tenting at the Old Orchard Shelter (506.4).

May 11 – Trail Burritos: Old Orchard Shelter to Trimpi Shelter – 14.1 miles

The walk today began at 10:00 am. They hiked to the next shelter (Hurricane Mountain Shelter) where they washed their clothes in a stream and ate some chia peanut butter burritos (ahh, just the thought of trail food makes me so thankful for my wife’s cooking). They spotted a waterfall and decided to climb to the top. They encountered many streams and footbridges along the trail today. They ended their 14.1-miles day at Trimpi Shelter. They have been hiking the trail with a small group of hiking buddies, but most of the group will be leaving tomorrow to experience Trail Days back in Damascus, VA. Rock and Roots will continue to hike northward (smart move, in my opinion) but are thankful for the opportunity to have hiked with their trail friends.   

May 12 – Ice in May? Trimpi Shelter to Chatfield Shelter 17.7 miles

Rock and Roots packed up their sleeping bags and ate some warm oatmeal before heading out on the AT. Today’s adventure was filled with ascents and decents. To add to the challenge of the elevation changes, the temperatures began to drop. After an hour on the hike, it started to rain which then turned to ice and then to snow.  It snowed for a few hours and then it stopped about 1:00 just as they arrived to Partnership Shelter. This shelter is special because the local pizza place in Marion, VA, will deliver directly to the trail. They ordered a veggie sub and vegetable spaghetti. Other hikers at the shelter (Hook and Tinder) ordered a large pizza and it was a monster. After the great food break, Rock and Roots hiked 7 more miles (in wet socks) to Chatfield Shelter, They set up their tent inside the shelter because no one was around.

May 13 – We Got Cows – Chatfield Shelter to Campsite near O’Lystery Pavilion – 16.2 miles

Today’s hike started out with a visit to the Lindamood School and the Settlers Museum (right on the trail, just 2 miles from Chatfield Shelter). Rock and Roots did not mention any trail blessing here, but often this old school building is stocked with snacks and gifts for thru-hikers. Rock and Roots continued another three miles and came to Atkins, VA, and I golden chance to resupply and eat – they took advantage of both as they were attracted to the Mexican food at El Burrito Loco.  They hiked until 730 pm and finally stopped at a campsite near VA 42 and the O’Lystery Pavilion. They were thrilled when they passed a sign that indicated that they had reached one quarter of the way along the Appalachian Trail. After being under the canopy for most of the hike it was also refreshing to see today’s farmland and cows grazing in the fields. They both loved seeing all the cows grazing in the meadows as they navigated the fence stiles in and out of the farmer’s fields.  

This week (May 7- May13) was a good one for Davis and Annie as the couple hiked 85.9 miles and has accumulated over 554 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Good hiking! Unfortunately, Rock and Roots do not post pictures, so I cannot show you any of their visuals of the adventure.

Photo of Curly found at Curly Perzel: Triple Crown Thru-Hiker, Redliner, Peak-Bagger | All About Women Magazine | wataugademocrat.com

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