Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Pearisburg, VA

May 15 and 16

Another small, poor Appalachia town. The people were very helpful and friendly however. I was able to arrange a slack pack shuttle with the owner of the Rendevous Motel. This gave me a 21.7 mile jump on the 93 mile stretch from Pearisburg to Daleville/Troutdale. It was also my first official 20+ mile day on the trail!

By doing this I was able to cut a 7 day leg down to a 5 day leg – much better.

May 17 and 18

1st day out of Pearisburg featured two tough climbs of 1,500+ feet of elevation gain. But it was a nice sunny day and my energy was good, so I knocked it out even though it took me nearly 11 hours to do the 16 miles carrying 5 days of supplies.

2nd day out of Pearisburg was only 12.4 miles, but in many ways a harder day. It rained all day long, was cold too. Temperatures were around 50 degrees. And windy to boot! A truly miserable day weather wise. Also had to cross some very treacherous cliffs in the afternoon that were very scary in the wet weather. I was very happy to get to camp in one piece tonight!

May 19

Did a short 10.1 miles today. Enjoyed the day very much. Observed two deer grazing by the trail for about 15 minutes. They watched me, I watched them – it was cool! I also saw my first rhododendrons in bloom today – also very cool. Nice weather today. Sunny.

Oh – had a very awesome thunderstorm last night that lit up the sky, rocked the mountains, and boomed the shelter. Very cool show to observe from a warm, dry shelter. Even better was the full moon that came out later in the night when the storm passed.

Bland, VA to Pearisburg, VA

May 12-15

Really not much to report here. Scenery was so-so. Weather was so-so. Most interesting thing was I found myself in a pack of about 20 northbound thru-hikers all headed for Pearisburg at the same time. We’d gotten bunched together by a sever storm that caused almost everyone to take a zero day at the same time in Bland (when I was there with Jen and Evie). We then were all on the same 2 ½ day plan to get to Pearisburg. It was a fun group of people, most of whom I’d met along the way before, so I enjoyed traveling for a few days with a large “herd”.

The Big Visit

11 & 12 May

Had a wonderful visit with my daughter, Jennifer, and my Granddaughter, Evelyn. What a special treat! We had dinner at Ruby Tuesday and went shopping for various supplies I needed at WalMart.

Evelyn talks much more than when I left, though much of what she says is in Evie-speak that only she understands. I love her so much! She walks much better than she did 2 months ago and also has many more teeth. Otherwise, she is the same beautiful golden child I left at Neel’s Gap. She cried when I said goodbye, and it broke my heart – again.

Oh well – this time it will be less than a month until I see her and Jen (and my wife) again.