Beaker Under 225 Miles to Go

Beaker AAAAA8/30/17 Destination: Stealth Site north of Punchbowl Shelter, VA   Miles Today: 22.2

Today rated up pretty high on my list of Good Days on the AT.

Beaker got up about 6:00. The sun is rising later each day and it wasn’t fully light until after 7:00. As a result, he didn’t get on the trail until almost 7:30 AM. The rain had passed overnight but fog remained and the trees continued to drip. The trail through this section of Virginia is beautiful – smooth, packed dirt moving gently along the ridgetops. To make conditions even better, the trail ran through old farmland, with lots of apple trees. I couldn’t walk past those trees without sampling an apple. Or two. Or three. Or more…

The mist dissipated around 11:00 making the hike even more enjoyable. Beaker stopped for lunch around 1:00 and by 5:30 he arrived at a lovely campsite. While filling up his water bottles to make a final push ahead he struck up a conversation with a northbound hiker. The other hiker shared that a  youth group that was headed to Punchbowl Shelter [Beaker’s initial destination] for the night. Beaker decided that 22.2 miles was far enough for one day. He took his time setting up his tent, eating dinner, cleaning up, and hanging the bear bag before sunset.

Beaker in Glasglow

Beaker in Glasgow

8/31/17 Destination:Glasgow, VA   Miles today 13.2

Town Day! Beaker had a 13.2 mile hike in to Glasgow. Unfortunately, the first five miles were a climb to the summit of Bluff Mountain. Upon reaching the summit of Bluff Mountain, Beaker was rewarded with spectacular views mountains to the east and west.

Taking advantage of good cell phone service at the top of the mountain, Beaker called a hostel and made arrangements to be picked up at 1:00 PM at the road crossing 8.9 miles away Unfortunately, the rocks appeared, loose and wobbly making the descent rather treacherous. Beaker navigated the downhill and arrived at the pick up point with 14 minutes to spare.

Bob is the caretaker at the Glasgow hostel. Beaker jumped in his old car with peeling paint and started the five mile trip over the winding mountain road to Glasgow. Bob’s driving style was a little on the frightening side, passing on the solid lines around curves so Beaker was glad that the car ride was only 5 miles in length. He completed the usual town chores of showering, laundry, washing his pot and spoon, and figuring out how much food he needed for his next segment.

Prediction of steady rain all day tomorrow, but Beaker plans to hike on assuming I survive the ride back to the trail with Bob.

Beaker.The Guiolltine9/1/17  Destination: Cornelius Creek Shelter,VA.   Miles today 19.9

Today was a nasty day to be out on the trail. The remnants of Harvey reached The Appalachian Trail in Virginia and the weather was wet, blustery, and cold. Bob delivered me back to the trail head by a little bit after 7:00 AM. The ride was calm and not nearly as scary as yesterday. Beaker crossed the 1000 foot long James River Bridge – the longest footbridge on the whole AT. The rest of the day was spent climbing. The rain held off for the first three miles; but, then the wind picked up and the rain settled into a steady, windy downpour. Beaker basically put his head down and cranked out the miles. As long as I kept moving, I didn’t get cold. So, I just kept moving all day. Beaker has also started listening to books on Audible to pass the time, so the miles went by quickly.

Beaker arrived at Thunder Hill Shelter around 1:30 and took a break to eat lunch. Heading back down the trail, he began to realize how cold he had become eating lunch so he began to hustle down the trail finally warmed up enough for my teeth to quit chattering.

Beaker passed by another AT icon along the way today – the Guillotine. It is a rock formation where you pass under a large boulder suspended above your head, trapped by the sides of a narrow passage between two rock faces.

Four people were already in the shelter when I arrived; but, they gladly made room for one more. After changing into dry clothes, eating dinner, and hanging our food bags, we are all settled in our sleeping bags for the night. It is still blustery and rainy and predicted to get down in the 40s tonight; but, I am safe, warm, and dry for the night.

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Beaker, Glasgow, Guillotine Rock, Thru-Hike, Uncategorized, Virginia | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Fat Hen and Rooster Talon Hike Over 1000 Miles

1000 Mile Marker

1000 Mile Marker

After a couple of weeks of silence, Fat Hen and Rooster Talon have posted to their journal. On June 21, they posted with the excitement of reaching the 1000 mile marker. It is only a small sign nailed to a tree but it is such a motivating sight when you are on the trail. To walk 1000 miles is quite an accomplishment and something to celebrate. This young couple have been on the trail for 95 days and are staying at the Blackburn AT Center about a dozen miles south of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Headquarters. In Harpers Ferry each of them will get his/her picture taken and receive a thru-hiker number, putting Dan and Becky into the annals of trail history.

Fat Hen GlasgowTheir June 3rd post was from Daleville, Virginia. Several days of hiking and 56 miles later, they arrived at Glasgow, Virginia, a town about 5.9 miles off trail. Catching a ride into town brought back three-year-old memories of a visit the couple made to the town while driving through the area. They remembered the fiberglass dinosaur that graces one of the town’s major intersections and the incredible fried chicken the purchased from the Natural Bridge Country Store. The also remembered giving a thru-hiker a ride into town – what a change of roles this time around. On this return visit, they took a photo with Dino and purchased a 16 piece bucket of chicken, a 2 liter of Dr. Pepper and a half gallon of ice cream from the country store. They enjoyed their stay in Glasgow at a town shelter with electricity and a hot shower.

After leaving the town with the dinosaur, they made their way north past Waynesboro, Virginia and into the Shenandoah National Park. Their hike through the SNP was filled with a menagerie of wildlife and lots of good food. During a four-day period in the park, Dan and Becky saw 12 bears, 2 rattlesnakes and 1 copperhead. They did not share the details of these animal encounters but I can image that they have some exciting stories to tell. They also enjoyed the Waysides along the trail – these are great car-stops along the Skyline Drive that are easy walking from the AT. Th389ey serve some great ice cream as well as some good food. Fat Hen and Rooster Talon specifically commented on the blackberry milkshakes!

After their journey through the national park and a quick stay in Front Royal, Virginia, they hiked through the brutal Roller Coaster (13.5 miles of tightly packed ascents and descents) that will test the calves and shins of any hiker. They safely arrived at Blackburn AT Center and now have their sights on Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Stay tuned for a picture in front of the ACT Headquarters. My hiker number was 924 when I arrived on June 30, 2014 – I am curious to see how their numbers compare.

Photos or Dan and Becky:

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Fat Hen, Glasgow, Harpers Ferry, Roller Coaster, Rooster Talon, Shenandoah National Park, Thru-Hike, Virginia, Waynesboro, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fat Hen and Dulcigal – Did They Meet?



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.


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

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