Posts Tagged With: Mileage

Hike Thru-hikers Forward: Update June 2, 2021

Update from Milege

I am more than a little concerned about the online journals for Mileage and The Rothman’s (Rock and Roots). I am hopeful that they are still on the trail, but the last post form Mileage was April 28th (over a month ago) and the Rothman’s checked in on May 19th (silence for two weeks). Most of my concern lies in the difficulties in catching up on a journal as well as getting out of the habit of the daily discipline of recording the journey. It is simply not easy to journal after a long day on the trail. After you set up camp, get some nourishment in your very hungry body, and take a load off your feet, the motivation to sit down and write about the day can sometime be quite low. The after a week of silence, how do you remember where you’ve been, how many miles you hiked each day, what the weather was like, and the highlights of particular day’s journey?

Update from Rock and Roots

Now there is a possibility that the hikers have been making paper/pencil notes each evening and are just waiting for a zero day to update online. Sometimes the internet connection is weal or non-existent and the hiker needs to wait to upload in an upcoming town. There is also the possibility of a failure in technology – a broken or lost smartphone or maybe a dead battery without a power source for recharging.

All of that to say, I do not have an update this week from the Application Trail. If the journals are silent again this week, I will need to find a different prompt for Thursdays. Let me know if you have any ideas or suggestions. I was thinking about contacting some of my AT trail buddies and giving you an update on their lives, seven years after our adventure. That won’t take too many weeks to exhaust my contacts, but it would be good for me to hear from them.

Or I could tell some trail jokes. Like: How do you recognize a thru-hiker in a restaurant on the trail?:

  1. They have three plates overflowing with food. And then ask for four desserts.
  2. You don’t have to see them, you can smell them.
  3. They lean slightly forward but they are not carrying a backpack.
  4. They have a huge smile on the face, despite the drool escaping from the side of their mouth.
  5. They get eight refills on their sodas before the appetizer arrives.
  6. All of the above.

I’m sorry that is not a joke….just observation and experience.

Here’s one: Mountains aren’t just funny, they’re hill areas.

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Hike Thru-hikers Forward: Update – May 20, 2021

Let me provide a quick update on the Thru-hikers I am following this year. I started the season following eight hikers that all began their journeys in the middle of March. The eights hikers are reduced to three. One solo hiker, Mileage, and one couple, Rock and Roots.


Mileage has been silent for several weeks. She finally posted but it only provided an update for two additional days of adventure (April 26, 27)

April 26 – Blocks of Ice to Warm Toes

It was a very cold start to the day on the summit of Unaka Mountain about 14 miles from Erwin, Tennessee. Mileage began her day hiking with her feet feeling like “blocks of ice”. However, the sun began to shine and the trail descended 1200’ from almost 5200’ to 4000’. The temperatures began to warm up and the majority of the day was comfortable. Mileage stopped for water at Cherry Gap Shelter then continued to Iron Mountain Gap where she was greeted with Trail Blessing Gatorade, fruit, and Cheetos (the three basic food groups for hikers)

Mileage in the Pine Forest

After hiking 12. 5 miles, Mileage arrived at Clyde Smith Shelter fairly early in the afternoon but the next shelter was 8 miles away and Mileage was tired so she called it a day. She enjoyed a dinner chatting with other hikers at the shelter. As the sun decided to set below the horizon, Mileage comments in her journal that the moonlight was so bright that it was like daylight in her tent. No rain today and the temperature going to sleep was comfortable.

April 27 – A Scent of Pine

Mileage was out of camp at 8:00a as the day started crisp and sunny. The first 2.5 miles was a steep climb and then a descent into Hughes Gap, but it traveled through a beautiful pine forest, shaded and filled with the fresh scent of pine.

Hiking out of Hughes Gap involved a challenging, five-mile ascent of 2100’ up to Roan High Knob. The summit turned into the descent into Carvers Gap and more Trail Blessing (food, drink and even toilet paper).  Mileage experienced some wind as she hiked over two gorgeous bald (Round Bald and Jane Bald) before walking down to Stand Murray Shelter (her destination or the day – 13.7 miles for the day) about 4:30 in the afternoon.  There were several thru-hikers at the Shelter and she had a good visit around the picnic table before calling it a night.

There is an editor’s note on Mileage’s journal:

Sincere apologies on lack of updates and will post several days at a time to catch up. Mileage’s hike continues and all is well.

Rock and Roots

This couple, David and Annie Rothman, are over a week behind in their trail journal with the last post being made on May 19.  The couple have been slackpacking but their journal is not providing good information to track their daily progress. However, let me share with you what I have been able to deduce. Rock and Roots were camped close to O’Lystery Pavilion off VA 42 about 12 min. north of Adkins VA. on May 13, 2021.

My 2014 view from the mountain above Pearisburg, VA

Two days later (May 15) they made it to Bland, Virginia, and stayed at the Big Walker Hotel (a small hotel that I visited in 2014 a well). They made some arrangements at this point to do some slackpacking, but it is unclear as to where they hiked to each day or where they spent the night.  The last entry of the journal places them at Cross Avenue. Cross Avenue is a paved road also known as VA 634. This road crosses the AT at the bottom of long hill and it is located on the edge of Pearisburg, VA. It is unclear if they stayed the night in Pearisburg or if they were picked up at Cross Avenue by those who are providing the slack packing service and transported to area.

Roots records in the journal on May 19 the following insight that provide some details in their preparation for the next day (May 20): “Once we got down from the mountain Mongo picked us up and took us to food lion to pick up some dinner. We also got some food to make breakfast and energy balls in the am before we head back out to the trail and continue on the adventure.” 

As of May 19th, Rock and Roots (David and Annie) have been on the trail for 64 days and have traveled 631 miles of the Appalachian Trail. They are in Virginia and will be in Virginia for a while – they must hike another 386 miles before they walk their last mile of the Old Dominion State. Yes, there are over 553 miles of the AT in the state of Virginia! Some hikers experience the “Virginia Blues” while hiking so many miles in one state. I actually divided the state into three sections and pretended it was three separate states: Southern Virginia, Middle Earth Virginia, and Doah Virginian (for the Shenandoah National Park). Just that crazy idea helped me tackle the 550 mile challenge without discouragement or the blues.

I hope I will have a better update next week as I prayerfully follow this amazing hikers from Georgia to Maine.

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Hike Thru Hikers Forward: Update – April 23 – April 29

Over a month on the Appalachian Trail and the thru hikers (who I am following) are making progress. They are through the state of Georgia, they have completed the Great Smoky Mountain Nation Park, and they have climbed Clingmans Dome. But the original number has diminished from eight hikers down to three. Let me give you a quick run down (or maybe that should be a hike-down) on the progress of those still on the trail.

The Five Hoots (five female friends – nice alliteration?) that began the thru-hike on March 21 are now down to one Hoot: “Mileage.”  From this point on, I will change the title of the updates to the solo hiker: Mileage. Mileage is doing well, although her online diary has been silent since April 25. Let me provide an update with the details I know.  

April 23 – Uneventful but Productive

Mileage grabbed an early shuttle back to Sam’s Gap to continue her thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. The morning was cold, crisp and sunny, but the weather quickly turned to gray and windy. Before lunch, Mileage began hiking with two ladies (Gourmet and Fidget) who she had met at an earlier stay at a hostel on the trail. One of the ladies was born in same town as Mileage in Massachusetts. The three hikers stopped at Bald Mtn. Shelter for a quick, chilly lunch. The afternoon brought snow flurries!

Upon arrival at Spivey Gap and a welcomed water resupply, the hikers all concurred that it had been a long, hard day and they would seek out the next possible camp site. Within a mile, a flat area was found and camp set up ending the day having hiked 14.2 miles.

April 24 – Erwin, TN

Mileage, Gourmet, and Fidget were on the trail by 7:00am with the trekking goal of 10 miles in front of them and the destination of Erwin, TN in their sights. Thirty minutes into the hike, the unwelcomed companion called “rain” joined the adventure and remained by their side for the duration of the hike. They stopped about 9:00 at No Business Knob Shelter for a chance to get out of the rain and to grab a quick bite to ear. By noon, they arrived at the bluff above the Nolichucky River which provided a great view even on such a dreary day. Coming down off the bluff the three hikers (and the rain) found themselves at a popular place in the trail: Uncle Johnny’s Nolichucky Hostel & Outfitter. First items of business: laundry, showers, drying out shoes and warming up, followed by a walk to the grocery store and a burgers from Pals.  

April 25 – Solo Again

Fidget and Gourmet decided to take a zero in Erwin, so Mileage bid them farewell and started from Uncle Johnny’s at 9 am on a solo day of hiking. Another gloomy and chilly day greeted Miles as she hiked across the bridge over the Nolichucky River and headed into the woods. The first three miles followed a gentle stream with water crossings, a few small waterfalls and peaceful sounds of gurgling water.

Around mile 4, the terrain changed and the trail offered some strenuous ascents and the calming stream was left behind.  The trail did dip down into Indian Grave Gap and Trail Blessing awaited Mileage – cookies and drink; and then a mile later The Ice Cream Guy appeared providing ice cream sandwiches as well as bananas. If eaten correctly and with some imagination the treat tasted a bit like a banana split.

More up terrain ended the day at a camp site on the summit of Unaka Mountain. The summit topped out at 5180’ and promised a cold night, so Mileage enjoyed a quick dinner and then an escape onto her warm sleeping bag.

13.2 miles completed today. Total miles on the Appalachian Trail: 357.5 miles

Rock and Roots (David and Annie Rothman)

April 23

This hiking couple started the week at Hogback Ridge Shelter, about 315 miles into the trail. They walked down the mountain into Sams Gap and US 23. There they met a Trail Angel named Tiger, who offered to provide slack packing for the couple for the day. They loaded their heavy stuff into his car and took off hiking with a day bag. They hiked 15 miles and encounter some snow on top of Bald Mountain. Tiger picked them up at Spivey Gap and drove them to Miss Janet’s home for the night.

April 24

Rock and Roots took the day off from hiking and enjoyed the hospitality of Miss Janet. The rain continued all day and the rest was welcomed.

April 25 – 28

The Rothman’s did not post online again until April 30. Their online journal was not very detailed but here is my summary of the adventure. They continued to use Miss Janet’s for a home base while slack packing to Beauty Spot Gap (11.2 miles). They then hiked from Beauty Spot Gap to Cherry Gap Shelter (about 5.3 miles) and the next day to Clyde Shelter. They took a short hike the following day and camped along the trail.   

April 29

Rock and Roots hiked about 8 miles from the campsite to the highest shelter on the AT, Roan High Knob Shelter (6195‘). It is also one of the few shelters that has four walls and two stories. It is designed to sleep 15 campers. It is located at mile 376 on the AT. This is Day 44 of their adventure and they are averaging 8.55 miles per day.

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