Dulcigal

Dulcigal is a Thru-Hiker

Dulcigal

Dulcigal in Georgia

Dulcigal, Karla Redman, has completed her thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail!

Dulcigal began her journey on March 19 and hiked to her finish line on October 29 for a total of 231 days. I have never personally met Karla, but my admiration of her character, faith, and determination grew with every post of her journal. I counted her “out” at the end of June when she suffered a serious bout of kidney stones on the trail. She landed in the hospital including two days in the ICU with kidney and liver failure and septic shock. An additional three days were spent in the hospital before she was able to travel back to her home in Georgia.

But Dulcigal was not done with her dream. After a short two-week recovery, she returned to the trail. With her two sons at her side for a few days, she continued hiking with praise to God’s faithfulness and provision. It became apparent to her that she would most likely not make it to Mount Katahdin in Maine (the northern terminus of the AT) before the threat of winter closed the mountain, so she decided to attempt a flip-flop. She hiked to the Pennsylvania/New Jersey border, then caught a bus to Hanover, New Hampshire. From Hanover, she hiked over the White Mountains, through Mahoosuc Notch, and across the Hundred Mile Wilderness in Maine. She summited Katahdin and stood atop the brown sign on September 22. She then traveled back to Hanover and hiked south-bound

Dulcigal on Top of Katahdin

Dulcigal on Top of Katahdin

to Delaware Water Gap on the PA/NJ state border. Her finish line was a hostel in Delaware Water Gap located in the Church of the Mountain.

I have included a few lines from the last post on her online journal. Karla writes,

“2,189.1 miles — I’m still trying to digest it all. Today was fantastic…better than I ever expected. The weather was beautiful, the walk was extremely easy and relaxing, and the fun with my 2 sons, Danielle (a family friend), and a few thru-hikers in the area, was phenomenal. The joy of actually finishing the trail is indescribable, but I can understand the bittersweet thoughts as well. It will take some adjusting to adapt to “normal” life again, I am sure….. Though this has been the most challenging life experience, it has been the most rewarding. The question I was asked most often was, “Are you hiking all by yourself?” I was never alone. Other than the many other hikers and trail volunteers I had the privilege to meet and socialize with on the trail, my Lord and Savior was with me every step of the way. I never felt alone. I cherished my talks with God and fellowship with the trail community.”

Karla, the Thru-Hiker

Karla, the Thru-Hiker

I sent Dulcigal a short note of congratulations and my standing ovation for her diligence and bravery. I was surprised to get a response back from her so soon after her completion. Her kind response reflects her humility and the character that enables a person to hike for over 230 days and 2,186 miles through fourteen different states:

“Hi David.  I’m in the lost phase of just getting home and figuring out what to do next….it will be an adjustment for sure.  Although I was so excited about finishing, I’m already missing the woods.  😦  I plan to get out and do some short hikes nearby to feed my desire to being out in nature.  Yes, the reward of being able to complete such a journey is the ultimate gift.  You understand because you have been there, done that.  Thank you for following the journey and your inspiration as well!!   Karla”

My congratulations to Karla Redman – Dulcigal.

Categories: 100 Mile Wilderness, Appalachian Trail, Delaware Water Gap, Dulcigal, Mahoosuc Notch, Maine, Mount Katahdin, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, The Whites, Thru-Hike | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ducigal Still on the Move in October

Dulcigal

Dulcigal

Dulcigal from Georgia is still on the Appalachian Trail. She decided to attempt a flip-flop, leaving the Appalachian Trail on the Pennsylvania/New Jersey border, catching a bus to New Hampshire, hiking from Hanover, NH to Katahdin in Maine, traveling back to New Hampshire, and hiking southbound (SOBO) back to Delaware Water Gap: the PA/NJ border town where she started the flip. She is close to completing her journey. Let me share a summary of the two posts she made in the last ten days.

On October 14th, she was about 207 miles from her finish line, having hiked just under 2,000 miles of the AT. Her adventure through Massachusetts exploded with the beauty of fall and she embraced the magnificence of the mountains and the tranquility of the lakes. Her evenings are getting colder, but she is finding refuge in bunkrooms, shelters and lodges along the way. Dulcigal spent the night of the 14th in Salisbury, Connecticut after resupplying, washing clothes and resting some tired legs. She was projecting a completion date of October 29th in Delaware Water Gap, PA.

Six days later (October 20th), Dulcigal reported that she had logged 2, 078.9 miles on the trail – just 110 miles left of dulcigal-on-katahdinthe trek. She hiked through Connecticut in three days and was posting from New York. She was looking forward to the zoo tomorrow (the AT goes right through the middle of the zoo and all thru-hikers get free admission to the park) and the climb over Bear Mountain. Her spirits are high as she traverses the last leg of her “hike of a life-time.”

Dulcigal, Karla Redmon who has dreamed of hiking the AT for 10 years, is experiencing the thrill of the end. Her posts are short but her enthusiasm is cautiously building as the Pennsylvania border approaches. “It looks like I am still on target to finish on Oct. 29th in Delaware Water Gap. I am counting down the miles and the days!! We are having a celebration for sure…Lord willing, if nothing happens… Can you tell I’m getting excited??? :-)”

I will be anxious to share Karla’s posts and her celebration on the 29th. It won’t be a climb up Katahdin, but there is a great bridge leading from New Jersey to Pennsylvania that should make a great photo finish.

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Connecticut, Dulcigal, Georgia, Mount Katahdin, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Thru-Hike | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Update from the Trail – Hen, Dulcigal, Peas

Let me provide a quick update on my three remaining thru-hikers of the Appalachian Trail that I have been following since day 1 of their adventures: Fat Hen & Rooster Talon (Dano and Beckie from New York), Dulcigal (Karla from Georgia) and the Two Peas: Big Cypress and Animal (Robert and Shawn from Florida).

Fat Hen in the Whites

Fat Hen in the Whites

Hen and Talon, Dano and Beckie last posted on September 13. They do not post very often so it was good to hear from them just last week. They have completed the White Mountains and have crossed into Maine. They shared that the weather through the Whites was almost perfect. With the exception of a little fog, their days were gorgeous and the mountain vistas took their breath away. They seem extremely excited about still being on the trail and having conquered 13 out of the 14 states of the Appalachian Trail adventure.

Dulcigal hiking up Mahoosuc Arm

Dulcigal hiking up Mahoosuc Arm

Dulcigal posted from Monson, Maine on September 14. Kara is making a flip-flop thru-hike, so once she reaches Katahdin, she will go back to Hanover, New Hampshire, and finish walking south to Delaware Water Gap on the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey to complete the journey. She is about to enter the 100 Mile Wilderness. She and several other hikers have arranged a food drop about half way through the wilderness so food should not be a major factor for them. Dulcigal should arrive at Baxter State Park and the brown sign atop Katahdin within a week.

The Two Peas (Big Cypress and his son, Animal) have continued the hiking experience after Moonbeam broke her leg and needed to “retire” from the trail. Shawn has taken his mom spot as the second pea and the two men are booking it through New England. The boys had a tough go of it over Mount Washington. The weather was too severe on the day they reached the summit to continue [dense fog and 85 mph wind with gusts and as high 102 mph], so Moonbeam, who is supporting her men by following the hikers in a truck,

The New Two Peas in Gorham, NH

The New Two Peas in Gorham, NH

drove the scary, foggy road to the top and “rescued” them. After a nail-biting but successful road trip down off the summit, the trio arrived at Gorham, New Hampshire. They zeroed the next day in Gorham and then drove back the following morning to the summit of Mount Washington.  A two-day hike from the summit allowed the two men arrive back at Gorham on September 18th.  The Two Peas are now about a day’s hike away from entering the last state on the trail, and 283 miles of rugged trail in Maine.

The weather forecast for Millinocket, Maine, (the nearest town to Katahdin), seems very good for the next 15 days – mid 60’s during the day and low 40’s at night. This is great news for those trying to finish before winter makes the trek very treacherous.

Categories: 100 Mile Wilderness, Appalachian Trail, Class of 2016, Dulcigal, Fat Hen, Florida, Georgia, Hanover, Hiking, Maine, Mount Katahdin, New Hampshire, Rooster Talon, The Whites, Thru-Hike, Two Peas | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Class of 2106 Continues to Hike

20140924-194204.jpg

Rowdy in 2014

I’d like to share an up-date on the thru-hiking class of 2016 as they attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail. I have been following the online journals of thru-hikers posted on trailjournals.com. There are now 214 thru-hikes that I have been able to loosely monitor throughout this hiking season. I have included in my personal research those who started their journey between January and July 2016.

Of the 214 attempts, 142 hikers have ended their hikes short of the goal of completion (66%). There are many specific reasons for ending the journey but I tried to categorize them into general trends. Unfortunately, 62 of the 142 just stopped journaling without any reason for the absence. If a hiker has not submitted an entry for eight weeks, I have taken them off my active list. Prior to the end of the season, I will double check to see if someone just went silent for two months and then resurfaced as an active hiker. Thirty-nine hikes ended for physical reasons (ankles, knees, illness) and thirty-two hikers came off the trail for mental and emotional reason (homesick, tired of the trail, discouragement). Three hikers ran out of the time that they had available to accomplish the trek and six others posted a good-bye entry without giving a specific reason for ending their attempt.

Cheryl and Kelly July, 2016

Cheryl and Kelly July, 2016

On the other side of the coin, 21 hikers have reached Mount Katahdin in Maine and have raised their hands in victory atop the Brown sign on the norther terminus of the AT (10%). The average journey has taken 158 days. The longest trek logged in at 209 days (Slip Knot – Matt McCoy from Vermont) and the fastest journey took just 114 days (Coach – Ken Durham from San Diego, California). Of those that have completed the trail so far, one started in January, five began in February, twelve stepped out in March and three initiated their thru-hikes in April.

Currently, there are still 51 hikers maintaining an online journal. Some are very close to completion other still lack significant mileage. Weather will soon become a major factor for those headed NOBO (northbound). Katahdin will begin to experience major winter weather around the middle of October. Several of the 51 remaining hikers are SOBO hikers (those who started in Maine and are hiking south bound) or those who have decided to make a flip-flop attempt (they have interrupted a NOBO hike, traveled to Maine and are now heading back as SOBO hikers to their point of departure). These hikers have more time for completion before the weather becomes a major detergent.

Rooster Talon and Fat Hen

Rooster Talon and Fat Hen

I have been closely following several thru-hikers: The Two Peas, Dulcigal, and Fat Hen & Rooster Talon. All of them are still on the trail and putting in miles. I will blog about their progress later this week. I will also share, in the next couple of days, a story of a thru-hiker that came up 5 miles short of completing the hike.

Statistically over the years, about 25% of those who start a thru-hike complete the journey. I am anxious to see where this group of online journalists falls in this overall statistic. If all 51 current hikers reach the finish line, they will enable the group to reach the 33.6% level. For all who hike the Appalachian Trail, their lives are touched forever; for all those who will learn from the experience, their adversity turns into adventure and their lives are transformed by the power of God’s creation.

Check Out My Book

Check Out My Book

If you like my blog, and I hope you do, check out my book, Hike It Forward, on Amazon.com. Click on the book cover and it will take you to my adventure on the AT.

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Dulcigal, Fat Hen, Maine, Mount Katahdin, Thru-Hike, Two Peas | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Update on the 2016 Thru-Hikers

Wow, how the start of a new school year takes time. I have been so focused on the start of school with teacher orientation, student schedules, and administrative details that my blog had to take second place for a bit.

Let me catch you up on some of the thru-hikers still active on the Appalachian Trail. Fat Hen and Rooster Talon are in Vermont; Dulcigal has flip flopped and has just completed the White Mountains in New Hampshire; and Big Cypress (of the Two Peas) is back on the trail with his youngest son at his side and Moonbeam providing trail support.

fat hen in Vermont Cabin

Fat Hen and Rooster Talon

Fat Hen and Rooster Talon – Dan and Beckie reported in on August 22 from the Yellow Deli Hostel in Rutland, Vermont. They posted on their 5 month anniversary on the trail. Beckie’s parents met them on the trail for a gear exchange, sending home the summer gear and loading up for the colder weather in the Whites and the wilderness of Maine. Cold weather gear adds weight to the pack but it is imperative for a comfortable hike through the northern states. In addition to the needed gear, they enjoyed some good food, a Chinese buffet, a gift of banana bread and chocolate cookies from home. They were headed out in high spirits to enter New Hampshire and the challenges of the White Mountains, including ever changing weather atop Mount Washington. Today on the summit of Mount Washington – 52 degrees, 30 mph winds, fog with 100% humidity, visibility 1/16 of a mile.

Dulci on Mt Washingtom

Dulci on Mt Washingtom

Dulcigal – Karla decided to flip flop her thru-hike attempt. She left Delaware Water Gap, a small community located on the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey on August 11. She took a bus ride to New York City and then transferred buses for a five hour ride to New Hampshire. Her last post, August 27, finds her almost completing the White Mountains and looking forward to the grand state of Maine. She experienced the thrill and the adversity of the Whites. Here is a portion of her August 25th journal,

“I started off from Crawford Notch getting into Webster Cliffs and Mt. Webster. It was a beautiful morning with some winds but nothing serious. As I was climbing, the weather began to turn for the worse. When I reached the cliffs, I was faced with 70+ mph winds, dark clouds, and rain. The wind was blowing me into the mountain and not off the mountain, which was good! I was having to stay low to the trail to keep from being blown away. I was not properly dressed either. My hands and body were frozen. I finally made it down the mountain to the Mizpah Hut. The caregiver was kind enough to allow me to stay there for the night as a work-for-stay…I was very thankful to be inside out of the cold and wind! I found out after getting there that I somehow missed the “memo” about a storm coming through the area. I wondered why I didn’t see many hikers that day.”

Moonbeam and Big Cypress

Moonbeam and Big Cypress

Big Cypress – The Two Peas (Big Cypress and Moonbeam) began their thru-hike on February 14. Unfortunately, on June 27 Moonbeam experienced a serious fall resulting in a broken femur. They had just entered the state of Vermont when the accident occurred. Moonbeam had to be air lifted to a hospital in Albany, New York and surgery was performed to correct the severe break. After these many weeks off, Big Cypress has decided to complete the hike. On August 26, he arrived back on the trail with his youngest son, Shawn. Moonbeam will be providing trail support as her boys make their way north toward Katahdin. I am so glad to see the return of the Two Peas in just a slightly different pod. I will keep your posted as the hike continues.

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Dulcigal, Fat Hen, Hiking, Maine, Mount Washington, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rooster Talon, The Whites, Thru-Hike, Two Peas, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dulcigal Into Pennsylvania

Dulcigal and dulcimer

Dulcigal and dulcimer

Dulcigal, Karla Redman from Jackson. Georgia, is attempting a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Stepping out from the southern terminus, Springer Mountain, Georgia on March 13, Dulcigal made solid progress through Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. As she entered Virginia (the state with the most miles on the AT), she faced 550 miles of trail before reaching West Virginia. She entered the Shenandoah Nation Park and had conquered 469 miles of Virginia and then, it happened…. On June 19 (day 99 of the adventure) at 4:00 in the morning, Dulcigal woke up with intense pain from kidney stones – it was a debilitating case of kidney stones that resulted in an emergency room visit, two days in ICU, and a trip back home for recuperation.

Honestly, I did not think she would return to the trail, but her resolve is more than incredible. Less than a month after the episode, she is back on the path. On July 12, she returned to mile marker 932 and the trail head at Pinnacles Picnic Area with her two sons to continue the quest for Maine, Mount Katahdin, and the brown sign marking the northern terminus of this very long trail.

Dulicgal has posted several times since resuming her trek. The entry dated July 13 records that her hike through the Shenandoah Mountains was complete. She loved this part of the hike (as did I) with the beauty and freshness of the mountain canopy, but she was pretty excited, anticipating her arrival at Harpers Ferry, WV – only 54 miles away. During her time away from the trail, she lost some of the endurance and strength gained from hiking 930 miles, but she posted that each day was bringing more energy.

Dulci at the ATC

Dulci at the ATC

July 18 found Dulci at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in Harpers Ferry, WV. She got the traditional photograph taken and entered into the historical record of thru-hikers of 2016. When I arrived here in 2014, the date was June 30 and I was hiker number 924 – Dulci’s official number was 1,436. There are definitely lots of hikers on the trail this year.

Her sons (Jeremiah and Isaac) were able to hike with their mom all week to help her get a safe start back on the path. They returned home when the trio arrived at Harpers Ferry, but Dulcigal decided to stay in West Virginia a couple of days to allow a pulled muscle to recover. She had hiked 87 miles in 5 days but it was the 13.5 mile “Roller Coaster” (endless ups and downs), climaxing the end of the hike through Virginia, that tested her trail legs.

Dulci’s journal on July 20 relates a special story of receiving and carrying a dulcimer along the trail. She got the instrument in Waynesboro and began playing it some during her hike in the Shenandoahs. She shared that she played it every day in Harpers Ferry. I just love this part of her entry, “After the boys left, I carried the dulcimer with me when I went into town in case an opportunity arose to play. One of those times I came across an elderly lady sitting at a park picnic table. She was waiting on her son and his wife to finish a day hike. It didn’t take me long to realize she had some dementia and was struggling with general conversation. When I played her music on the dulcimer, her entire countenance changed. It was a blessing to me to see her enjoy such a simple gift.”

Dulcigal at Midway Point

Dulcigal at Midway Point

July 26 is the date of her most current post. She is in Boiling Springs (one of my favorite trail towns along the AT), having passed by the true half-way point of the AT in Pine Grove Furnace State Park and having walked over 1100 trail miles. She continues to gain strength and to make adjustments to the physical demands of the adventure. On the down side, the past week has been quite tough mentally. The hiking community she knew before leaving the trail is now 300 miles ahead of her. She is really missing her children after spending 3 weeks with them during recovery. And the heat, humidity, and bugs have made the recent days rather difficult.

She writes, “Now I understand the mental challenge piece of the hike. Getting to the halfway point sign at 1094 miles was not exciting to me. I’m ONLY HALFWAY!!! I still have 1094 miles to go!!!! That’s what was going through my mind.”

She began to reflect back on her excitement about returning to the trail. She experienced several deep conversations with herself and with God to sort through the distracting mental struggles and frustrations. She found strength in the ordeal with the kidney stones and being convinced that her journey was not over. She concludes her past journal entry with this insight: “We may not always understand the hills and the valleys in our lives, but we must still go on.”

Keep on hiking on, Dulci!

All photos are from Dulcigal’s online journal at http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=523064
Categories: Appalachian Trail, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Boiling Springs, Class of 2016, Dulcigal, Georgia, Kidney Stones, Pennsylvania, Roller Coaster, Shenandoah National Park, Thru-Hike, Virginia, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dulcigal Back on the Trail

Dulcigal posted an encouraging entry on her online journal last Wednesday, July 6.

Peach tree road raceHer entry on June 29th reviewed her severe case of kidney stones on the trail, two visits to two emergency rooms in two different hospitals, two days in ICU, followed by three more days in the hospital, and finally, a road trip back home for rest. Since then, Dulci has been enjoying some time with her family while getting the much needed rest and relaxation. She met her family at Piedmont Park as her children ran to the finish line of the world’s largest 10k…the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, GA. Running the Peachtree has been one of her favorite yearly events but this year she needed to just sit, cheer, and watch.

The post on July 6th reads, “Every day I am getting stronger, but I still have to take it easy. With that being said, my sons (Jeremiah and Isaac) are bringing me back to the trail this weekend (July 9th/10th). I will be taking it nice and slow, slack packing as well, and seeing how it goes. They will be with me for the week to hike so all is good. I am excited about getting back to the trail.”

Dulcigal.quarter of the wayDulci writes about the real possibility of doing a flip-flop. A flip-flop is a thru-hike that begins down south in Georgia and then at some point leaves the trail, travels to Maine while the weather is still good, and hikes southbound back to the spot of the flip-flop. She shares that she has several options to get to Maine if she needs to change directions.

After a recent visit to her urologist, she found out that her kidneys are full of stones, but they are too small for “invasive treatment”. The doctor prescribed lots of water with lemon juice and a careful eye on what she eats. For a thru-hiker with hiker hunger, a discerning eye on one’s diet will be no small task.

Dulci is so excited to get back on the Appalachian Trail. She and her sons planned to leave this past weekend. She has not posted since but she was headed to Pinnacles Picnic area in the Shenandoah National Park where her kidney stones forced her off trail.

Her excitement to hike again is captured in her last journal entry, I cannot wait to get back to the trail. I needed the rest and recovery and I know that I will be starting slow and will have to rebuild my strength. However, even during this difficult time, I have believed that my journey was not over…at least not yet…that God got me this far and He will continue to carry me until He tells me otherwise.”

I’ll keep you posted as Dulcigal adds to her journal.

Road Race Photo: http://www.ajc.com/news/news/road-closures-2015-ajc-peachtree-road-race/nmp5r/

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Atlanta, Dulcigal, Georgia, Injuries, Journaling, Kidney Stones, Maine, Shenandoah National Park, Thru-Hike, Virginia | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dulcigal: Down But Not Out

A View in the Shenandoah National Park

A View in the Shenandoah National Park

Dulcigal updated her journal on June 29th. She really enjoyed her hike halfway through the Shenandoah National Park. The mountain terrain was easier, the views were different, and lots of camp stores along the way made food options more appealing. She began to pick up the pace, averaging from 18 to 22 miles a day, She especially loved the wildlife including deer and bears.

Unfortunately, the hike took a different turn at 4:00 Sunday morning, June 19th. Dulci was safely tenting near the Pinnacles Picnic Area (around mile 936 on the Appalachian Trail) when she began to feel very ill. In her journal she write:

“I was awakened by a horrible pain in my back. Fortunately nearby, another hiker was tenting who had a car. He took me to Page Memorial Hospital ER in Luray, VA – the closest hospital. The doctor confirmed it was a kidney stone, prescribed pain medicine and I was on my way to hiking again. I took Sunday off and rested at a local hotel. By Tuesday, June 21st, my conditioned worsened and was shuttled back to the ER. The stone had blocked my kidney causing kidney and liver failure and septic shock. Page Memorial sent me via ambulance to Sentara Rockingham Memorial Hospital (45 minutes away to Harrisburg, VA). I was in ICU for 2 days and then a med/surge floor for 3 days. I was one very sick hiker. Family was able to come and be with me during those difficult days.”

Dulcigal.HinkerDulcigal was discharged from the hospital and has made her way back to her home in Georgia. She seems to be in such good spirits, reflecting a positive response to the trauma on the trail. She concludes her post with a perspective of hope and faith.

“It was a long 2 day ride back to GA after being discharged on Sunday, June 26th. I am slowly recovering, but daily getting stronger. I met with my Doctor today, who is an avid hiker and plans to hike the PCT some day, who believes I can finish the hike…but only after 2 to 3 weeks of proper rest and recovery. The CAT scan shows I have 2 kidneys full of stones, so I will have to be careful, but life goes on and with God’s blessings, the hike will continue. Thank you to all of you who have been praying.

Throughout the entire ordeal, I could feel God’s presence and knew that I was in His care. The fervent prayers of the Saints…God is so good. ….. I will keep you all posted as to when, where and how the hike will continue!!!”

As Dulci continues to post in her online journal, I will keep you abreast of her decision making. Meanwhile, join me in praying for her complete recovery and a time of reflection with her friends and family.

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Dulcigal, Shenandoah National Park, Thru-Hike, Virginia | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Fat Hen and Dulcigal – Did They Meet?

Dulcigal

Dulcigal

This hiking season, I am following the thru-hike attempts of several individuals including Dulcigal and a young couple, Fat Hen & Rooster Talon. These three hikers do not know each other but all three arrived at Daleville on June 3. I was wondering if they might meet and share about each other in their journals – I thought that would be so interesting. Unfortunately, I don’t think that occurred.

It is still difficult to be sure because Fat Hen and Rooster Talon have been silent for the past 15 days. Their last post was from Daleville. They are not very diligent in updating their blog. It was 19 days (between Damascus and Daleville – 180 miles) between posts last time, so I am not sure when or where they will surface again but I am pretty sure they are still on the trail. Dulcigal did not mention meeting them in her journal.

James River Bridge

James River Bridge

Dulcigal usually posts about once per week. She left Daleville, VA, and hiked to Glasgow, VA in four days (about 57 miles). She crossed the James River and a trail angel gave her a ride into Glasgow. She found a great shelter built by the Boy Scouts with a shower, microwave, and electricity to charge her cell phone. This four day hike was filled with a good share of rain making the ups & downs glisten with slippery surfaces.  Dulci is feeling good and her feet/knees are responding well to the constant strains of the trail. She is finding the quiet times of the path quite refreshing.

Dulcigal’s June 7th post mentions the thinning out of the trail, referring to the decrease in the number of thru-hikers she is seeing on a daily basis. She might be between “bubbles” or the attrition rate is beginning to take effect. Hikers tend to hike in “bubbles” – groups of hikers walking at about the same pace that move together as a loosely formed group up the trail. There may be a bubble of 15-20 hikers staying in a shelter one night and then the next night there may be no one. I personally tried to avoid the bubbles but often it is hard to do so, when you find a group that hikes your pace and has similar goals for each day.

Dulci.Buffet

Chinese Buffet, Waynesboro

Dulci just posted again on June 13. She is in Waynesboro, VA, just south of the Shenandoah National Park. She is about 161 miles away from Harpers Ferry, the emotional half-way point of the AT. She has stopped in Waynesboro for the Chinese Buffet (AYCE), having gotten a ride (3.7 miles) into town from a trail angel. Rockfish Gap is known for its ministry to hikers by providing free rides into Waynesboro and back to the trail. I ate at that same Chinese Buffet and gluttony ruled the day. I sure hope she enjoyed her meal as much as I did mine.

June 13th was Dulci’s 93rd day on the trail. She seems in such good spirits. Dulci seems very resilient with a deep inner strength. My hope is that she can continue to hike and strategize a way to complete the trail. She has not shared in her journal, but I am wondering if she is planning a flip/flop in order to avoid a late-October arrival at Katahdin. A flip/flop would involve leaving the trail at some point, traveling to Maine, climbing Katahdin while the weather is still agreeable, then hiking south bound back to the jump-off point. Time will tell as the days continue to reveal her adventure.

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Dulcigal, Fat Hen, Glasgow, James River, Rooster Talon, Shenandoah National Park, Uncategorized, Waynesboro | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dulcigal and Fat Hen/Rooster Talon – Both in Daleville, Virginia

DalevilleDulcigal (Karla from Jackson, Georgia) began her thru-hike on March 13 and on Day 83 (June 3) of her adventure she posted a journal post from Daleville, Virginia.

Fat Hen (Dan) and Rooster Talon (Becky) started their trek on March 19 and on June 3rd (Day 77 of their thru-hike) they arrived at the same trail town of Daleville, Virginia.

Will they meet? Will they show up in each other’s journal? It is kind of like an Appalachian Trail soap opera. If not in Daleville, maybe soon. I will keep you updated.

My last post regarding Dulcigal, found her in Pearisburg, Virginia (mile 631) on May 26. She submitted a journal entry on May 29 from The Captain’s Place, a camping area about 30 yards from the trail. She had just missed a big hiker feed the night before – 200 hikers were there (I would have purposely missed that huge of a gathering). In order to get to the camping area, the hiker must ride a zip line over a creek. Dulcigal commented on the fun zipping into camp. She spent the night at The Captain’s Place before moving on down the trail.

McAfee Knoc

Dulcigal at McAfee Knob

Five days of hiking and 72.2 miles later, Dulcigal posted from Daleville, VA. She commented on reaching McAfee Knob and loving the view. Lots of rain had fallen over the five-day trek and so had many hikers. Rain mixed with the rocks and dirt of the path result in a very slippery trail.  One female hiker had fallen and broken her leg. On another day, a male hiker took a tumble and fractured his wrist. It only takes a slippery step to end your adventure.

Dulcigal has heard that there is a hiker festival being held in Troutville, just a few miles down the road. She is planning on heading that way to enjoy the festivities.

Fat Hen.6.1.16

Fat Hen near Tinker Cliffs

Meanwhile, Fat Hen and Rooster Talon posted a journal entry on June 3 after 19 days of silence. They were in Damascus on May 15, they spent the Memorial Day weekend with Dan’s family (they did not share where Dan’s parents are from but they drove 7 ½ hours one way to pick them up), and then they put things in high gear, hiking over almost 60 miles in 3 days. One day they hiked until early in the morning! Only the young bucks can do stuff like this. Here is part of their post:

“We hiked 56 miles in 2 1/2 days. Two of those days were at 23.5 miles. thats a lot for us and we picked some of the roughest (and prettiest) terrain we’ve seen in a while. One day we hiked until 1:30 am. We don’t recommend it. It was all worth it though and it was fun to see the limits of our abilities. We hope to increase our daily mileage from here on out.”

Dulcigal, Fat Hen and Rooster Talon continue to be in my prayers as they hike northbound toward the incredible state of Maine. They have completed approximately 1/3 of the AT, but still have 1,460+ miles to go. Multiply the days on the trail by three and Dulci will need a total of 249 days to complete her thru-hike and Hen/Rooster will finish after 231 days on the trail. Unfortunately, the trail gets more difficult as the hikers move north. After a zero day in Daleville, I left this restful town on Day 49 of my thru-hike (and I was not a very fast hiker).

Map of Daleville: https://acornhikestheat.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/trail-report-pearisburg-va-to-waynesborova-857-miles/

Dulcigal photo: http://www.trailjournals.com/photos.cfm?id=1034207&back=1

Fat Hen photo: http://www.trailjournals.com/photos.cfm?id=1033423

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Captain's Place, Daleville, Damascus, Dulcigal, Fat Hen, Georgia, McAfee Knob, Pearisburg, Rooster Talon, Thru-Hike, Virginia | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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