June 5th, 1983
My day started at dawn. Visions of Pizza Hut flashed before me as
I sped toward town. I did stop at the overlook known as Angels Rest
to take in the view for a brief time, but was more interested in
getting to town. I arrived at the outskirts of Pearisburg at 10:00am
and made a bee-line along the blue-blazed trail for the hospice.
The hospice is a barn-style structure complete with a shower, kitchenette,
library, weight scale, and sleeping area in the loft. Nice setup
with a decent view to the side over an empty field back toward the
mountains that I had just come from.
I have met many people here, but the most interesting is Paul. Paul
is hiking the A.T. from Washington, DC. To Georgia and then plans
to hike from Georgia to California. The proposed hike in itself
is amazing, but add in the fact that he is deaf and it becomes almost
heroic. Paul could read lips quite well and being able to talk,
told us his story. He had a loud voice, so it would have been hard
not to hear it in the close confines of the hostel. I dont
know if he ever finished. We were going in opposite directions,
and his journey on the AT was only a part of his complete journey.
Monday June 6th, 1983
Much of today I spent writing letters, and going to the post office
on the other side of town to mail them and a package. On each town
stop, I sent forward a package with items that were hard to find
or things that I might need later. At some point after the Smokey
Mountains, I exchanged my winter bag for my summer bag. It may have
been here in Pearisburg, but Im not sure exactly.
I feel mellow. Because of the rain lately, my boots have been soaked
to their core, but leaving them off today in the sun they are finally
drying; and I'm ready to bail out of town if the rain holds off.
June 7th, 1983
Unfortunately, I woke up to a grey day with a rainy forecast so
I went to the library, filled my fuel container, and generally just
hung around. Oh! I was bored! The worst part is that it didn't rain
- so rain or shine, tomorrow its back on the trail!!
remember where I ate today, but there was an all you can eat special
at the Pizza Hut, so I probably spent a good deal of time there.
Part of the day I went to the library to read, and just kill time.
I began feeling a bit guilty about hanging around, and was concerned
that I would get complacent here. I was always keen to leave town
a.s.a.p. for I knew that Katahdin loomed far away, and I was not
a particularly fast hiker. I relied on persistence rather than speed
to get there in time. Many had succumbed to the town trap, but I
was determined not to let that virus kill my quest.
Wednesday June 8th, 1983
Beautiful hiking today. The weather was sunny, cool and breezy,
so I did about nineteen miles to Pine Swamp Branch Shelter. That
does not include the few miles back to the trail on the other side
of town from the hostel. After crossing Senator Shumate bridge,
the trail ascended Peters Mountain then followed the ridgeline for
several miles with little change in elevation. Along the way I saw
lots of wildlife including many rabbits (but not bugs bunny), a
grouse, a box turtle, and even an albino deer. I have never seen
a white deer before, and I'll bet few people have. The grouse have
a little game that they play to protect their young. When a predator
gets too close they fake an injury to draw the predator away from
the babies. They'll walk in front of you feigning a broken wing
while screaming in mock pain until you follow them away from the
babies. If you get too close to the adult, it flies away. At the
time, the grouse behavior was puzzling to me, but I later discovered
the rouse that was perpetrated on me. I fell for it hook, line,
sinker and bait.
(A friendly box
June 9th, 1983
Had an easy hike today. I did only 11.8 miles all day - on purpose
- because I was told that the next shelter, Big Pond Shelter, had
no water. You would think that with a name like that there would
definitely be water, but the fact is that drinking out of something
called a pond is not too appealing and sometimes down-right dangerous.
In addition to that, the nails that hold my sole to the boot are
beginning to poke through the inner boot, and it's starting to hurt.
In desperation, I put a piece of mole foam rubber pad over the offending
nails, but it did not cure the problem. The problem was that the
nails were in the toe section so I couldnt get in there to
peen over the offending perpetrator. Hopefully there is a cobbler
in Buchanan, Virginia where I will stop and check.
The shelter I am at tonight, WarSpur, is nice. It has a large stream
100 feet in front of it. The day seemed long today, even though
it was not, because my foot is hurting from my boot problem.
I notice in the guide that there is a relocation tomorrow that takes
ten miles off of the trail mileage reported last year, thus making
it possible to get to Niday shelter tomorrow night.
Friday June 10th, 1983
Last night at dusk and early this morning I had a visitor. She was
a very young doe that was quite curious. Early this morning she
came sniffing at the entrance of the lean-to as if to wake me.
I redressed my wounds this morning; this time putting two rubber
backed moleskins, one over the other, in my left boot over the nail
tips, and hiked all day without it bothering me. I was not bothered
by people today either, as I never saw a soul on the trail.
The relocation on this section involved some hard climbing, but
knocked ten miles off of the old route. Today I saw many deer and
Today was a 17.5 miler and I'm staying at Niday Shelter.
Last night I slept alone and it looks like the same tonight, fantastic!
(View from Wind
(A field in Southern
(View of Sinking
June 11th, 1983
Hiked to Pickle Branch Shelter today. Only 8.0 miles - but it was
a nice shelter, and today I am celebrating two months on the trail.
Pickle Branch was off of the trail and I lost some elevation getting
down to it. Fortunately it had a good water source. Ramen noodles
and two helpings of pudding today - and why not!! I had been breaking
personal goals and was beginning to feel that this journey just
might be doable. The trail was my home now and I was comfortable
with this vagabond existence. I had washed and shaved at Craig Creek
around noon, which made me feel good as well. Saw a three foot long
black snake and even got a picture. I guess I am getting more in
tune with nature too, as I heard many deer in the forest today.
I wish Dia was here.
A hiker came into camp later this evening, and offered me spaghetti,
pudding, and fig bars! I gobbled it all up in seconds. This was
to be his last day on the trail so he was dumping all of his spare