Posts Tagged With: Thru-hikers

Hike Thru-hikers Forward – Update: September 8

Finally an update from Rock and Roots.

The last time we heard from the David and Annie Rothman (Rock and Roots) was July 31 and they were in Great Barrington, Massachusetts about 1,517 miles along the Appalachian Trail. The most recent update starts on August 4 and runs through August 12. The details are a little sketchy but let me provide a synopsis of their journey.

Rowdy with the Cookie Lady in 2014

From July 31 to August 4, Rock and Roots hiked 38.6 miles They walked along the mighty Housatonic River and the calm and peaceful Upper Goose Pond. I stayed at the Upper Goose Pond Cabin during my thru-hike, but I have no idea if Rock and Roots did the same. On August 4 we find the couple visiting the Cookie Lady (mile 1555.7), a wonderful trail angel that hand delivers homemade cookies to the thru-hikers. Her home is just 100 yards east of the trail and serves as a common rest area for hikers. They continued on to Dalton, MA, where they enjoyed a free shower at the rec. center. They extended their hike to their destination – Crystal Mountain campsite (mile – 1569.4)

August 5 – Roots fell early in the day and injured her heel. She was able to continue hiking but it was sore throughout the next few days. The couple hiked up Mt Graylock  (1582.4)and climbed the 86 steps up into the observatory for a great view of the surrounding area. They continued their hike and ended camping at Mount Williams (1584.7) for a 15.3-mile day.

Observation Tower: My Graylock

August 6 – Rock and Roots traveled through Williamstown, MA, (1588.7) and into Vermont (1592.8) and beyond the 1600-mile marker. They camped near the Congdon Shelter (1602.8) for an 18.1-mile day.

August 7 – Very few details for today. They stopped at the Melville Nauheim Shelter and visited with fellow hikers Goose Bumps and Hot Springs. They enjoyed a dinner near a mountain brook (1610.3) and made camp at Porcupine Ridge (1611.3), for a daily total of 8.5 miles.

Stratton Pond

August 8 has no entry and August 9 shares that Roots had a slow start to the day. I am putting two and two together (low mileage on the 7th, no entry on the 8th, and a slow start on the 9th) and am wondering if Root’s heal is hurting and slowing the progress a little bit. Today’s hike included a climb up Stratton Mountain (1700 ft assent) and then a descent (1300 ft) to Stratton Pond. They commented that the lookout tower on top of Stratton Mountain (1633.5) was covered in clouds, and they enjoyed their lunch beside a nice stream. They made their way to Prospect Rock (1642.3) and a great view of Manchester Center, VT: their destination for August 9. They camped at Spruce Peak Shelter (mile 1644.4).

Ski Lift on Bromley Mountain

August 10 has no entry, but the assumption is that Rock and Roots hiked the 3 miles into Manchester Center in order to resupply and rest.

August 11 shares that the couple left a hostel around 9:00 am and continued their hike of the AT. They hiked up Bromley Mountain (1650.2) and discover that the mountain is a snow skiing location with ski lifts. They walked over Styles Peak (1654.3), Peru Peak (1656), down to Griffith Lake (1657.8), back up to Baker Peak (1659.9), and ended their day at Lost Pond Shelter (1662.0) for a 14.8-mile adventure filled with ups and downs and beautiful things to see.

Minerva Hinchey Shelter

August 12 was the last day recorded in this recent post. Rock and Roots started their day at Lost Pond Shelter (1662.0). They had traveled another 14.9 miles as they made camp at the Minerva Hinchey Shelter (1676.9). This shelter was built in 1969 and then renovated in 2006, this shelter is named in honor of the late Minerva Hinchey – longtime recording secretary of the Green Mountain Club, who served for 22 years. The shelter is designed to sleep 10.

Rock and Roots are in my prayers as they continue to hike NOBO toward Maine. They have another 66 miles in Vermont and then they enter New Hampshire and the White Mountains.

Photos: Rock and Roots – https://www.trailjournals.com/journal/photos/24535; Minerva Hinchey Shelter – https://www.downthetrail.com/hiking-the-long-trail-vermont/minerva-hinchey-shelter/; All other trail photos – The Rough Collection

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Hike Thru-hikers Forward – August 19

I am following two online journals of current hikers attemping a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Sadly, there is no word from Mileage or from the Rothman’s (Rock and Roots). Both of their online journals are silent. I am still hopeful that they are still hiking NOBO and, if nothing else, maybe they will post a final entry from the big brown sign on Mount Katahdin in Maine.  

Robert Sanchez

Since I have nothing from the trail in 2021, let me share some past news from the AT. Two years ago I wrote a couple of posts about an event of tragic violence on the Appalachian Trail. Recently, I discovered the legal conclusion to the murder that occurred on the Appalachian Trail in 2019. I have a close friend who was thru-hiking the AT at the time and was involved in helping the injured hiker to safety.

On May 10, 2019, James Jordan, aka Sovereign, murdered a thru-hiker (Robert Sanchez), attempted to murder another thru-hiker, Kirby Morrill, and threatened several other hikers along the Appalachian Trail. On May 11, he was captured, arrested, and held for trial in Smyth County, Virginia. James Jordon was charged with one count of murder and one count of assault with the intent to murder.  

James Jordan

The judge ordered that Jordan be detained for a psychological or psychiatric examination to determine whether he suffered from “mental disease or defect” that would make him unable to understand the charges he faces or help attorneys in his defense. After this initial examination, Magistrate Judge Pamela Meade Sargent agreed to give the Bureau of Prisons 120 more days in the “period of restoration.” She also stated that: “…the treating psychiatrist or psychologist shall report his/her findings to this court as to the following: a. Whether the defendant is suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to the extent that he is unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him or assist properly in his defense; and b. If so, whether there is a substantial probability that in the foreseeable future the defendant will attain the capacity to permit his trial to proceed.”

On April 22, 2021, a federal judge accepted a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity from Jordan. Both the prosecution and defense reached an agreement for the plea after a sanity evaluation found that he suffered from schizoaffective disorder and concluded that he was “unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of his acts.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Schizoaffective disorder symptoms may vary from person to person. People with the condition experience psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions, as well as symptoms of a mood disorder — either bipolar type (episodes of mania and sometimes depression) or depressive type (episodes of depression). Although the development and course of schizoaffective disorder may vary, defining features include a major mood episode (depressed or manic mood) and at least a two-week period of psychotic symptoms when a major mood episode is not present.”

The Mayo clinic website also cites the following signs and symptoms of schizoaffective disorder:  Delusions: having false, fixed beliefs, despite evidence to the contrary; Hallucinations, such as hearing voices or seeing things that aren’t there; Impaired communication and speech, such as being incoherent; Bizarre or unusual behavior; Symptoms of depression, such as feeling empty, sad or worthless; Periods of manic mood, with an increase in energy and a decreased need for sleep over several days, and behaviors that are out of character; Impaired occupational, academic and social functioning; Problems with managing personal care, including cleanliness and physical appearance

James Jordan was committed to a psychiatric institution and “will not be released until a court finds by clear and convincing evidence that his release would not create a substantial risk of injury to anyone else.” His lawyers attorneys Juval O. Scott, Lisa Lorish, and Matthew Engle say that Jordan is now “deeply remorseful for the profound sorrow he has caused” and that he has suffered from lifelong mental illness.

Man Who Killed Hiker on Appalachian Trail Found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity | PEOPLE.com

The disturbing case of James Jordan – The Appalachian Trail Murderer — StrangeOutdoors.com

James L. Jordan Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity in Murder of Ronald Sanchez (lawandcrime.com)

Schizoaffective disorder – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

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Hike Thru-hikers Forward: Update August 12

No updates from the Appalachian Trail. Both the online journal from Mileage and virtual postings from Rock & Roots are silent. I have heard nothing from Mileage since July 1. I posted a concern on her site, but I have received no response. Either she has abandoned the journal, or she has abandoned the trail. My hopes and prayers are with her. It would be great to hear that she is out there still hiking north.

Rock and Roots posted on July 31 from Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Great Barrington is about 15 miles north of the Connecticut/Massachusetts border with another 75 miles in MA before Rocks and Roots step on the trail in New Hampshire.

Sorry that I have no words, photographs, smoke signals, emails, or coded messages from the thru-hikers this week. I will keep checking their journals and update you when I hear any news.  

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Hike Thru-hikers Forward – Update July 31

Bad news: good news: bad news.

Bad news – The online journal of thru-hiker Mileage remains silent. Her last post was over a month ago, July 1.

Good news – Rock and Roots have updated their journal and brought us up to July 31st .

Bad News –  The journal of Rock and Roots is not very specific on the destinations and mileage accomplished each day and there two big gaps in their journey. However, let me share what I know for sure and leave most of the speculations alone.

July 11 – Rocks and Roots arrived a Delaware Water Gap on the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. During the next five days they hiked through New Jersey (73.6 miles) and entered the state of New York on July 16. During this trek, they experienced the blessings of trail magic (free food offered by trail angels) three days in a row. They also experienced a major issue with mosquitoes to the point of packing up their stuff inside their tent before dropping their tent and breaking camp. They reported seeing two porcupines along the trail. They also visited the Mohican Outdoor Center (1300-mile marker) and enjoyed some vegetarian food.     

RR Platform on the AT

The next six days are blank in their journal, but they report arriving at the Appalachian Trail Railroad Station (mile 1444.8) on July 23 with plans to take the train on July 24 into New York City and Manhattan Island. They pitched their tent at a camping area behind the Native Landscapes and Garden Center just down the road from the Railroad platform.

Three days later, July 28, is the next journal entry. Rock and Roots shared that they woke up at Caesar Brook campsite (mile 1476.0) in Connecticut and trekked to Limestone Spring Shelter, also in Connecticut. They ran into a trail maintenance crew working hard building rock steps. Later they encountered a lovely waterfall and soaked their feet in a cool pool. This was a 15.6-mile hike. The journal also shared that Roots has unfortunately been struggling with stressful emotions this week.

Wachy Chad

On July 29, the couple left Limestone Spring Shelter, walked to Salisbury, CT (which is just 0.5 miles off the AT), enjoyed some time in this quiet, upscale community, and then continued to hike into Massachusetts camping at Glen Brook Shelter. They summited Bear Mountain, the highest peak along the AT in Connecticut.  They were thrilled to enter the state of Massachusetts, cross over the 1500-mile marker, and complete an 18-mile day.   

Rock and Roots planned a short day on July 30. Their 8-mile trek ended at US 7 which crosses over the AT. They were able to get a free ride into the town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts. They also took a zero day in Great Barrington on July 31, as they focused on refueling, resupplying, and refreshing. They took a trip into town and were entertained by street performers. They mentioned be enthralled with Wacky Chad and his performance. I have included a picture of Wacky Chad and encourage you to check him out on YouTube.  

So, Rock and Roots have hiked through New Jersey (73.6 miles), New York ( 88.3 miles), and Connecticut (another 50.6 miles) for a total of 212.5 miles of trail. Rocks and Roots hiked this distance in 20 days, averaging 9.92 miles a day.  

Photo: NJ/NY border and the NY/CT border – The Rough Collection; Railroad Platform – The Appalachian Trail Rail Station | The Zen Hiker; Wacky Chad – kickin’ it elmer style: Wacky Chad (elmer-family.blogspot.com)

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Hike Thru-Hikers Forward: Update July 29

I wish I had a better update on the three thru-hikers that we are following, but silence continues to be the norm on their online journals.

Bridge-walk to New Jersey

I have heard nothing from Nancy, trail name: Mileage, since July 1st.

Rock and Roots have only made one entry since the last update. They did post on July 11, so let me catch you up on this huge hiking day for them, realizing that it is 18 days old. Their hiking adventure on July 11 involved a marathon. They logged in 26.2 miles, ending their day in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania. The Delaware Water Gap is a true water gap on the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania where the Delaware River cuts through a large ridge of the Appalachian Mountains. The thru-hiker is only a bridge-walk away from leaving the rocks of Pennsylvania and discovering the rocks of New Jersey.

DWG from Council Rock

Rocks and Roots started their hike at 7:20 am. and arrived at Delaware Water Gap (DWG) around 6:00 pm. They have been slack packing, so at least they did not have to carry their heavy packs. They walked today with three other hikers: Tinder, Hook, and Ripper. It happened to be Rocks birthday, so the hikers celebrated upon arrival in DWG with some good food and a visit to the only sake distillery in Pennsylvania. The brewery is called Sango Kura. Sango is the name of the owner’s daughter and is Japanese for coral. Kura simply means brewery. They also ordered some chips and salsa.

The Church of the Mountain Hostel Lobby

Roots found some vegan ice cream (most likely at Zoe’s Ice Cream) and grabbed a matcha green tea latte from Dunkin’ while Rock, who was disappointed in the chips and salsa, ordered a pizza. Everyone stayed at “the hiker center in town.” There is one major hiker center that I remember in DWG and it is The Church of the Mountain Hostel. This is where I stayed as well, and it has a bunkroom and showers. I remember it being very homey and comfortable, but then again, I had just completed Pennsylvania and was still thrilled to be on the Appalachian Trail.

You can tell by the details shared by Rocks and Roots how important food is to the thru-hiker. It is a thought that dominates the day, especially when a town is on the agenda. After lodging is taken care of, food was the number one concern – lots of it and lots of calories and protein (in that order).  

Photos: Church of the Mountain Hostel: Church of the Mountain hostel living room – WhiteBlaze Gallery; The Bridge: The Rough Collection; View from Council Rock: The Rough Collection.

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Hike Thru-hikers Forward

Neither Mileage nor the Rothmans (Rock and Roots) have updated their online journals this week. I am disappointed that I have no report on their progress this week. But on a more humorous note……

Last April I was driving through Virginia and noticed a Appalachian Trail Thru-hiker walking along the side of the road. He seemed like a nice guy so I stopped and offered him a ride into town. He gladly accepted and put his pack in the back seat. I introduced myself and found out that his trail name was Eagle Scout. After a few miles, he asked me if I was afraid that he might have Covid. I told him, “Now Eagle Scout, the odds of two people with Covid being in the same car are extremely unlikely.”

There was a recent report from the Appalachian Trail that a professional painter from Pennsylvania attempted a Thru-hike of the trail. He started his hike in January but died of hypothermiaafter only five days. The medics who found him said that he needed a second coat.

Last year I had the opportunity to interview Yo-Yo Man, one of the few hikers to trek back to back thru-hikes of the Appalachian Trail in one year. I asked him to share one of his secrets to his successful journey. He surprised me when he shared, “I always take 40 or 50 lighters with me in my backpack.” I asked him why he needed so many. Yo-Yo Man responded “It’s not because I needed them, but I was told that you can always use a lighter bag when hiking. And I made sure that I did not carry an odd number so that way it was even lighter.

Sorry for the bad dad jokes, but it is better than a blank post (but not much better).

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Hike Thru-hikers Forward – Update: May 19 – June 1, 2021

I still have no official update from Mileage, but Rock and Roots (David and Annie Rothman) have updated their online journey. The following post is a quick recap of The Rothman’s adventure on the Appalachian Trail from May 19–June 1.

On May 19, Rock and Roots arrived in Pearisburg, VA. They had been slack-packing with Mongo, the host of the Lick Skillet Hostel in Bland, Va. For the past 4-5days. The hostel (see photo) was an abandoned Presbyterian Church built in 1911. The members of the church built a new building and moved out. It became a thrift store and then a furniture refinishing shop. 2014 thru-hiker, Mongo found it on Craig’s List and bought it and converted it into an AT hostel. 

Rock and Roots woke up at the hostel on May 20 for the last time in Bland, VA. They spent the morning there before Mango transported them back to Pearisburg. They hit the trail around 12:45 to continue their NOBO hike through Virginia. The couple hiked about 13 miles and ended their day’s journey about 8:15 when they found some nice flat trail suitable for camping. They have traveled about 645 miles along the Appalachian Trail.   

May 21 was Day 66 of the journey and the Rothman’s walked 15 miles ending up at Wind Rock (see photo). This is a nice place for a break and a photo shoot of southern Virginia. Rock and Roots spent the night here and they mention meeting seven other hikers, including “Mileage.” I am not sure if this our Mileage (part of the Hoots) or not, but it sure could be. Mileage’s journal is still silent, but she might be going strong.

Rock and Roots had breakfast at Wind Rock on May 22 before heading down the trail. Nine miles later they stopped for lunch at another photogenic spot, Kelly Knob. Following the knob there is a section f beautiful forest followed by a meadow. Just after the meadow they arrived at Keffeer Oak, the largest oak tree in the southern part of the AT which is 300 years old and over 18 feet around (there is a larger oak along the AT: The Diver Oak in New York). Rock and Roots hung their food and pitched their tent near the old oak.

The wake-up call for May 23 was the sound of cows in a nearby farm field. The day included 15 miles of walking including some rocky ridges that provided some great views of the countryside. The arrived at Niday Shelter about 1:30 for some lunch (That would be arriving at Niday about Mid-day)  

After lunch they experienced three Trailing Blessings in 5 miles. One was a trash can filled with soda and beer; the second was subs, chips, cookies, and Gatorade served in a parking lot; the third offered grilled cheese and Oreos. Before the end of the day, they walked by a memorial to Audie Murphy: a plaque just off the trail at Brush Mountain recognizing the most decorated American soldier of WW 2, who die in a plane crash near this spot of the AT in May of 1971.  

Rock and Roots hiked 36 miles over the next two days in order to spend the night at Daleville, Virginia on May 25. They experienced the triple crown: The Dragon’s Tooth (a large stone monolith), MacAfee Knob (a spectacular outcropping overlooking the valley below) and Tinker Cliffs (a 0.5 mile cliff walk) on their way. They arrived in Daleville to a full moon and in time to watch the anticipated eclipse. They enjoyed the evening while resting in a Super Eight. A hot bath and clean laundry provided encouragement and sanity to the craziness of the thru-hike.

They next day May 26 was spent in Daleville, resupplying for the trip ahead. However, Rock and Roots took off from Daleville in the late afternoon with the goal of climbing 1300 feet in 5 miles to the next shelter (Fullhardt Knob Shelter). They accomplished their goal and spent the night at the shelter. May 27 was a 17-mile day, although the online journal does not indicate their actual destination. They indicate that they spent the night at a campsite on top of a mountain, but the actual spot is hard to verify (maybe Cove Mountain- mile 747.1)

The journal on May 28 does provide a landmark of recognition. Rock and Roots stop for lunch “at the coolest shelter on the Appalachian Trail. The craftsmanship was second to none with lots of windows and a loft balcony. It even had a porch.” This is the Bryant Ridge Shelter (see photo), a two-story shelter with space for as many as 20 hikers. It was built in 1992 and is dedicated to the memory of Nelson Leavell Garnett, Jr. It was designed by his architecture school classmates. It is located at the NOBO mile 756. The couple had plans to go to the Apple Orchard Falls but an afternoon rain helped change their minds – they camped a couple of miles short of the falls after experiencing the overlook at Black Rock. Today’s adventure = 15+ mile day.

Rock and Roots broke camp on May 29 and made their way toward the falls. They were disappointed in the water flow and decided to move on. They climbed Apple Orchard Mountain, walked under the “Indiana Jones” looking rock ball called the Guillotine, and took a break at the Thunder Hill Shelter. The morning was filled with clouds and mist. The afternoon hike was mostly all rain, and Rock and Roots stopped for dinner earlier than normal. The rain slowed down after they enjoyed three amigo stew, rolled into a tortilla with avocado, so they hiked two more miles and found a little spot to set up along the James River.

May 30 presented a challenging climb from the river to Big Rocky Row (about 2.500 feet in 5 miles). They met a couple of section hikers who were excited to meet some thru-hikers. They took some pictures together and the couple gave them a bag of dried mangoes. Rock and Roots hiked until dinner time and then had a meal at Punchbowl Overlook until it started to rain. They packed up their food quickly and headed for the Shelter.  

The couple woke up in the morning by the creek in front of the shelter and started on a 17-mile trek ending at a stealth camp near Hog Camp Gap. They were blessed with lots of food today: apples, oranges, and bananas; then chips and peanut butter; then Oreos and an orange to go. They crossed over the 800-mile marker, enjoyed the views of Cold Mountain before camping about 6 miles north of Buena Vista, VA.   

June 1 was Day 77 on the trail for Rock and Roots. They started their day with some tea and mushroom coffee to have with their oatmeal.  After trekking the path for about 10 miles, they took a short side trail that led to the tip of Spy Rock where they saw a beautiful 360-degree view of the Virginia countryside. 

Five miles later, they arrived at The Priest Shelter [mile-marker 823] situated at the summit of The Priest Mountain, where it is tradition to confess your “trail sins” in the shelter log. They descended 5 miles down to the Tye River, crossed the rather bouncy suspension bridge, and made camp as the sun was setting – about 9:00 pm.   

Photo: Lick Skillet Hostel 06-21-2018. Day 107. 13.2 miles. U.S. 52 Bland to VA 608 Lick Skillet Hostel. (604.4 + 8.8 = 613.1 Miles) – Wanderings With Wayne

Photo: Wind Rock 2019 Appalachian Trail Thru Hike – Wind Rock, VA – YouTube

Photo: Bryant Ridge Shelter Bryant Ridge Shelter – Wikitrail.org

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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 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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Hike Thru-Hikers Forward: April 30 – May 6

This post was designed to provide an update on the thru-hikers of the Appalachian Trail who I am following via their online journals.  Neither of their journals have been very active, but let me share what I know.  

Mileage – far left

Mileage, is the last thru-hiker of the AT still on the trail from the group of five women called the Hoot. They started their journey on March 21 from Springer Mountain, Georgia. Five Pair (Terri O’Brien), a successful thru-hiker in 2012, led the group. Two hikers dropped out by the end of the first week of the trek and a third, JackRabbit, ended her attempted on April 1 (day 12 of the adventure). Five Pair continued to hike until an ankle injury took her off trail on April 19. The last Hoot, trail-name: Mileage, continues on with a solo hike. Her last post on her online journal was April 25. She had stayed in Erwin, Tennessee on April 24 and had hiked 13.2 miles outside of Erwin to a campsite on the summit of Unaka Mountain on April 25. The journal on the 25th promises updates to come and shares, “Mileage continues her hike and all is well.” I am hoping that update comes soon.

Rock and Roots, David and Annie Rothman, started their AT adventure on March 17, 2021. They have posted twice to their journal in the past week. They detailed their hike on April 30 and then again an update on May 6th. The five days in between are pretty hard to document. However, let me provide a summary.

Roots and Rock

 They encountered two days of major rain-storms. They got drenched including a waterlogged phone that quite working. They arrived in Damascus, Virginia on May 6. They camped the night before at Abington Gap Shelter and hiked the 10.5 miles into town on a welcomed sunny day. Rock picked up some new clothes in Damascus including some new shoes, a t-shirt, and a pair of convertible pants (the legs zipper off and on to make shorts). The couple have boxed up some of the unneeded gear and will be mailing the box back home prior to leaving Damascus.

They are in good spirits and looking forward to the next section of the trail. Three states down (Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee) and they have hiked almost 470 miles of the AT, but Virginia is ahead and it encompasses 550 miles of the trail. They commented on the growing strength in their legs which is making the hiking easier. They ended their last post with this positive statement, “I am making good memories and am looking forward to sharing them.” 

My hopes and prayers are with these three hikers as they continue to make their way north. Hopefully I will have more details next week as we chronicle the days of adventure of these courageous hikers.

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