A Lesson About Buffets

heart rock

We headed into Pearisburg for a resupply and planned to take a half day rest before heading out the next day. As we walked towards the town, Christy was limping a little because her foot had started acting up earlier that afternoon. We knew that town was close (about a mile), so we didn’t even have our thumbs out to hitch a ride in (the road was pretty low traffic anyhow), but as we were walking down the hill, a red pickup drove by, then backed up and offered us a ride into town. They were nice enough to drive us to the hotel and saved Christy a lot of limping! Continue reading

The Barn

near atkins va

Since towns are not often directly on the trail (though a few are, like Hot Springs and Damascus), hitchhiking is a common way to get into and out of town. Today we had one of our luckiest hitches – we needed to get to the post office in Atkins, but we were a little confused at the layout of the trail in comparison to the landmarks we were expecting, so we weren’t sure which direction to head on the road to get to the Post Office.
Continue reading

Pizza Delivered to the Trail

new shoes

We debated whether to go all the way to the Partnership shelter or camp a few miles before, but we knew that not far from the Partnership shelter (a large, 2 story shelter with a nice porch area and, in a year warmer than this one, solar heated showers) was a Park Visitor Center, where they had a land line phone for hikers to use – often to order pizza! Continue reading

The Grayson Highlands


white mountain

While we have yet to see any bear, we knew our chances to see our largest wildlife yet would be pretty good just a couple days out of Damascus as we hit Grayson Highlands State Park. The park is open meadow and rolling hills with herds of wild ponies that roam the area. We were headed to a shelter for lunch when we passed over a hill and saw a pony walking slowly towards us along the trail, eating the tall grass beside the path. We were careful to be quiet and not disturb it as we took out our camera to take pictures before moving on to the shelter. The pony showed little interest in us and even less fear at our presence, but we didn’t know how little fear the ponies had of people until later that day. Continue reading

A Marathon to Damascus

tennessee virginia state line

There is nothing like bad weather to motivate a hiker, as we found out. As we were planning our stops to get in to Damascus, we realized that it was a Saturday when we would arrive in Damascus, and the Post Office there would only be open until 11:00. This meant that in order to get there before it closed, we would have to get pretty close to Damascus the night before and meaning that with some minor delays we’d had, we’d have to do 27 miles the last day, much longer than we’d done before. Continue reading

An AT Pandemic, Forest Fires, and A Lost Dog

early spring landscape

We’ve been hearing rumors and reports from many people about a lot of hikers getting sick with the same virus – the symptoms being described to us by those that got sick as “the worst case of food poisoning in my life.” Rumors abound in this sort of situation, and we have to pick through them to the most credible information, but the likeliest scenario is that someone picked up this virus and hiked into one of the shelters before developing the symptoms. Then they got sick, passing it on to others at the shelter who hiked a day before getting sick, and thereby spreading it on to other shelters. The word is that it goes from Hot Springs up to Damascus. Continue reading

Hello, My Trail Name Is

AT marker

Many trail names have a story or event attached to them, but I’ll start with some background information for those that are unfamiliar with the ways things work on the trial. For those that didn’t know, there is a chance of running into black bears along the trail, and the most troublesome way to run into a black bear is by waking up in the morning to find that your food has been rummaged through by a bear, leaving you with a mess and without food. Continue reading

Warming Toward Hot Springs

Ice storm

Coming out of the Smokies, we took a short walk along the road and under the interstate before heading back into the woods. It was fascinating to me to see the trail blazes (a white blaze) below signs to the interstate. After a couple days of rain, the weather cleared and it began to warm up. Continue reading