Friday, June 20, 2014

2nd half of May pics and journal entries

Camp to Sarver Hollow Shelter
Todays Miles = 15.9      Total Miles = 666.5     Miles To Go = 1507.6
Today we had some trail magic - Super Dave! GA-ME '01. 2 coolers of beer, soda, organges, tons of candy bars, graham crackers - it was great!! Not as tired feeling today but not happy with the trek to this shelter. We hoped to tent it when we got here. First off, it was straight down hill about 1/2 mile off trail to get to the shelter. Which means starting tomorrow with straight up hill to get back on trail. The....around the shelter is all rocky. tent sites. Have to stay inside full shelter. So, im sitting here in the shelter about to go to bed - mosquitos are loving me. All in all the shelter is nice though. New, so it smells like a cabin, niced covered porch to cook on. Hope mice aren't too bad. UGH.
Met 83 year old hiker man. Talk about desire! 83! It is never too late. He is really sick though, I hope he feels better.

MAY 16, 2004
Sarver Hollow Shelter to Pickle Branch Shelter
Todays Miles = 15.9      Total Miles = 682.4     Miles To Go = 1491.7
Well didn't sleep a wink last night. Annoying guy came in late while we were all asleep and was telling us stories as if we were all awake or cared. Then he lit his stove and almost lit the shelter on fire. After that, mice were running across my legs, smelly guy sleeping next to Sean and annoying guy with loud farts all night. Not to mention the snoring and the mosquitos. I couldn't sleep at all. I missed my tent.

MAY 17, 2004
Pickle Branch Shelter to Pigs Farm Camp
Todays Miles = 16     Total Miles = 698.4     Miles To Go = 1475.7
Today was neat. Late start again. Fun scrambles in our hike today. Almost felt like we were rock climbing. It was a nice change. It was a hot day. In the middle of the day we got a lot of rain. Wet and cold again. Sean loved it - cooled him off from the heat. It wasn't bad since it is hot out. I just wish at the end of the day there would be a dry warm place to go. Oh well. I will appreciate home more when we are done. We ended our day at McAfee Knob. One of the most beautiful sights yet. Since we were only 1/2 mile from camp, we decided to stay there to watch the sunset and eat dinner. Oh what a night!
May 18 Tinker Cliffs, looking over to McAfee Knob

May 19th & 20th Smitty joins us, 40.3 miles from Troutville, VA to
Blue Ridge Parkway #76.3

VA was super hot so the beard had to go!
Ofcourse without the beard, it gave sure notice
of Sean's weight loss. Now looking like he is truly a

JOURNAL ENTRY - may 24, 2004
Todays Miles = 13.6 Total Miles = 817.7 Miles to Go = 1356.4
Here I am at the Tye River sitting on a rock sticking out of the
middle of the rapids, writing in my journal. Life doesn't get better
than this. We were going to camp a little further up the trail, but
we just couldn't pass up this spot.

May 21, James River, Day of Haunted Hike
another rainy day!




pictures, 1st half of May 2004

AT hikes around a lot of this finger lake, reminded me lots of home.

April 30th- Good Bye Tennessee HELLO Virginia!
456.3 miles down / 1717.8 To Go!
May 1st-6th, Bernie joins us in Damascus VA.
75.3 miles
Mt. Rogers


Laundry & Bath Time in the Holston River

cow traffic

approaching the wild ponies
beautiful long break at the falls for a swim to cool off on a hot day


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

10 years ago! May email update #3

Subject: Haunted Hike
Date: Thursday, May 27, 2004, 11:11 AM
Haunted Hike:

Hey!   Before I forget. We arrived in Waynesboro, VA on Wednesday May 26th. (Rockfish Gap). We are very excited to get a visit from Kathleen, who picked us up at the gap to take us to a friends cabin in Wintergreen. Our bodies have been going strong and have not had a day off since Hot Springs (Mid April), so we are enjoying a “ZERO” (no hiking/miles) day today, Thursday. Of course, we had to leave the trail  with a bang….. 20-30 minutes before getting to rockfish gap, the thunder rolled in, a nice refreshing rain started, but it didn’t last. It soon turned into this monsoon rainstorm with hurricane like winds. We walked fast to get to the gap. The winds were so strong I couldn’t walk straight and the rain hurt so bad – it felt like hail. Luckily, we knew we would be able to shower and get dry clothes on and sleep in a warm dry bed that night. PHEW!!!!

Ok, so we left Smitty and started hiking on without him, miss having him with us. The backpacks were feeling heavy, we certainly didn’t miss those for the 2 days. That afternoon, we were up on a ridge hiking north, of course. This ridge was kind of desertish. The path was full of pebbles, the trees spread out, the sun beaming on the rocks making it really hot. Sean went up on the ridge a bit higher to see the clouds and what was coming since we were hearing thunder in the distance). Major dark clouds! As he came back down and got closer to me, a step a little to the side of the trail to tell him to go in the lead….The haunted hike began…..The loudest rattle noise ever heard. A RATTLE SNAKE, under the leaves of this small bush on the side of the trail – right by my leg. Sean was about 10 feet back as we heard it and he started yelling “get back get back run back”. I think my face went white, and Sean I think was having heart problems (just kidding). I saw the rattlesnake and ran back. It took a while before we could get by it, but as soon as we did, the winds whipped up and it started to drizzle. So, we ran ahead to get way away from the snake and put our pack covers on our packs. At this time the winds got extremely violent, another hurricane like wind. The trees were sideways.  We were both pretty afraid. We continued to walk fast and hope no limbs would come down on us. Got through it and eventually the storm passed. That night, nice evening, we set up our tent and went to bed. Same storm came in again, lightening and thunder, limbs were falling in the distance, heard a tree fall near by. Luckily above us looked like good solid trees. We still were afraid though. The next morning, it was funny, leaves and limbs all around our tent but never on the tent. Man – someone is looking after us. And that is why this 24 hour period was haunted for us.
We have continued to really enjoy the VA mountains. We have crossed the Blue Ridge Parkway many times, what an incredible drive that would be – beautiful!

We have had a lot of thunderstorms/rain this month. As I’m sure all of you have had on the East coast. 18 out of 19 days it rained somewhat with thunder. Not always a bad rain, in fact, most days it was a very refreshing rain. The heat continues, but looks like it will be cooler the next few days.
We have more to look forward to here in VA/MD. Our friend Gregg will be hiking with us starting this Sunday to the following Sunday. And during the week we have family coming out to take us to dinner on Tuesday at Thornton Gap. We hope that many of you can come out and see us on the trail. Again, you don’t have to hike with us, you can just come out and say hello. If not that then we hope to see you in Alexandria at the BBQ. 
As we say each day…..”Life is Good!”
Live Life! Be Happy
Sean & Jen           

10 YEARS AGO, 2nd May email

Subject: Troutville, VA (Daleville)
Date: Thursday, May 20, 2004, 7:02 PM

McAfee Knob
Hey Everyone! Sorry my last email didn't give much of an update. I am feeling much better and have myself back together to type our happenings. Since i didn't write much of our hike out of Damascus VA, i will start there. As you know our friend Bernie started hiking with us there. It was also the beginning of our hike in Virginia. We can't tell you how excited we were to hit VA. Many hikers dread the length of Va (it is 25% of the entire AT). But we have been thrilled since we have so many friends and family that live here and want to come see us. (starting in Damascus and all the way up to New York where many of my friends are). Bernie got to experience every kind of weather with us: Sunny Hot & humid, Hot and rainy, Collllld and rainy, Cold and windy with ice forming on the trees etc... It was great ;-) We realized how great the club that maintains this portion of the trail is...beautiful shelters and they believe in Privy's :-) (TN did not :-(. We had "traffic jams" on the trail due to the cows. A few spots they would be around and we wouldn't be able to walk any further until they "mooo"ved. We hiked by wild ponies and their babies. Cute as can be. Went over Mt. Rogers, our last big elevation until we get more north. Bernie also got to experience the blisters and muscle aches that we have been for 2 months. (hope you have recovered Glyda). We enjoyed his company tremendously. The energy he brought to us was so helpful to get us to this next stage of the trail. We said good-bye to him in Atkins, VA (where he drove us around some so we can get real food, resupply at the grocery store and do our laundry), then we set off for a few more miles to end the day.

Since then...the cold weather is gone (phew) but spring was skipped and summer is here. Sean is having trouble with the heat and humidity. I am loving it right now. But yes, we are sweating more than ever. We have had thunderstorms every day for 14+ days now. It is really neat to hike in and the rain really cools us off. (funny how the times have changed :-). Listed as a favorite - Town food that became my enemy and listed as a not so favorite - wind and rain which has become a wonderful relief on a hot day now.
We have come across some of the most amazing creeks and waterfalls that we have been able to take long breaks at and actually get in to cool off. We have even bathed in them. At the falls, i sat down under them and let the water just crash down on me....let me tell just doesn't get better than that. As much as we go through the rough and smell and is so wonderful and beautiful out here.
So, we hit Pearisburg, ended up having to stay in the motel after i couldn't handle normal food and threw up lots of blood. Felt much better the next day. We set off back into the woods. Since then, the hikes have been amazing with views. If you ever get to chance to hike in VA....go south. McAfee Knob was unbelievable. Think of a cliff high up in the sky with a view of the moutain ranges. The great thing about this knob too is that it was at the end of our hike, 1/2 mile before our campsite. So, after the rain during the day, the sky cleared up, we ended up cooking our dinner up on the knob on the rocky top - watching the sunset - then hiking in the dark to get to camp. It was just so wonderful. The next day our first break was as Tinker Cliffs - another amazing spot. We hiked over huge rocks - our hike turned more into bouldering. How fun!!!!! we had a blast.
We have enjoyed picking fresh mint growing in the woods and putting it in our tea or water. We hope to find some ramps again (onions) to spice up our freeze dried food and raman noodles. The wild berries are starting to come out so we will be keeping our eyes out for those to give us some new flavors to enjoy. The wildflowers in the moutains are amazing. The beauty of them just can't be put into words. And of course, on the bad side, the bugs are horrible now....the bug bites are driving us crazy. :-) as well as the stickyness and never having dry clothes or skin for that matter. Sleeping has been rough, feeling damp all night. But we have managed.
Our mood - although beautiful views, since Pearisburg, Sean and I have probably had our most down week. Our motivation was lacking, sluggish and tired and just feeling like the hikes each day were forever. Usually we have the other one to get us out of that mood, but it was rough for us to both be feeling that way. The good news, Troutville - got here on Tuesday May 18th, our friend Mike "Smitty", from Deep Creek Lake, as promised, came down to see us. His family lives near Roanoke, near the trail, and came down and has been spoiling us. He set us up in a hotel the first night, took us to dinner and a movie. It was just the perfect night and the perfect medicine we needed to get our motivation back. The next 2 days he hiked 20 miles with us (day hike) and we are staying with him and his family for 2 nights. We will be back with our large heavy packs on our back tomorrow, Friday. Again,. to see a friendly face from home, Sean and I hiked so fast to get to Troutville to see him as early in the day as possible. Again, as with Bernie, it brings us new energy to get us to the next stage. And again, he also got to experience blisters and foot pain and fatigue.... (we really are not evil, don't fear coming out to hike with us....;-) We will see Sean's family next week in Waynesboro and then we have many of you planning to see us in the days and weeks after that. So, we think we are going to be full of energy for a while.
Most of you have read this already but just in case you haven't, you should read the book "a walk in the woods" by Bill Bryson. It is a great read, and all about what we are doing out here.
That is all for now. Again, we will be starting to hike the Shenandoahs on Friday of Memorial day weekend. For those that are interested, we will be hiking over I-70 in Maryland on Monday June 7th and camping at Greenbrier state park. I know many of you are already planning to come out and camp with us...the more the merrier. Hope to see as many faces as possible.
We will be in D.C. area for a couple zero days. We will get in Tuesday night June 8th and leave Sunday morning June 13th.
So, keep thinking of us out here in the moutains. We are so greatful for this opportunity.
Again, we miss you all. and look forward to hearing from you. Your emails have been great. we have been really enjoying reading your 10 things in life you want to do. Keep them coming. And next week i will have more fun things for you to do....heeheehee!!!!
Sean & Jen