The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply the AT, is a marked hiking trail in the eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. It is approximately 2,181 miles long. The path is maintained by 30 trail clubs and multiple partnerships,and managed by the National Park Service and the nonprofit Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The majority of the trail is in wilderness, although some portions do traverse towns and roads, and cross rivers. The Appalachian Trail is famous for its many hikers, some of whom, called thru-hikers, attempt to hike it in its entirety in a single season. Along the way, the trail passes through the states of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Call from Daleville, VA - 6/11

Ryan called this morning at around 7.   He was about 2 hours outside Daleville and trying to make it into town to get his package before the post office closed at noon.  As anticipated, he’s had an interesting and off beat week.  His map progress just did not seem to be adding up and he’s missed a few days sending his GPS location.  He had raised some curiosity from those on this end.
He and Kipper ended up spending around 3 days in and around Pearisburg and Woods Hole.  They decided to take their time through that area and let Ryan’s ankle Kipper‘s shin splints heal up a bit.  After leaving Woods hole they decided to move on into Pearisburg and stay at a hostel there to get cleaned up and rest.  He reported that the hostel was not to their liking so they decided to hike out at night due to the 100 degree heat they are having.  They hiked though the night with head lamps and found a place to camp. Just before dawn they set up their tents to get some rest. (This must have been the night he sent a GPS location at 4:10 in the morning.) After about 10 minutes sleep they discovered that they had set up camp a few hundred feet from the railroad.  Their location was near a road crossing where the trains sound their whistle.  He described the awakening as violent. He also said the track was heavily traveled because a train passed almost hourly.  Too tired to move they endured it for most of the morning but got little sleep.  
The next leg was another hike into the early morning and a stay at a location where the owner allows hikers to stay in their barn.  It was near dawn when they crashed only to be jolted awake an hour later by a flock of roosters and chickens  I didn’t get all of the exact details, as I was laughing pretty hard, but I believe that was last night.  They got a couple of hours sleep despite being overrun by chickens.   
I’ve had a hard time with the exact time frame and locations this week.  He has covered around 100 miles.  He’s had an extra down day and a few short days and/or nights.  Ryan described the past week as brutal on two fronts.  This part of Virginia has not seen rain for several weeks and the temperature has been in the high 90’s and 100. The humidity was also extremely high.  Much of this section of Virginia is through open fields with full sun exposure. They have found that ¾ of the water sources listed in the trial guide are non-existent.  They ran out water a couple of times. Ryan’s issues were exacerbated in that his water bladder was leaking. 
He called again from Daleville to ask about me handling one of his equipment exchanges.  He got his package and was at the outfitter that was going to replace some of his gear.  He got his water bladder and sleep pad replaced but wasn’t able to get the issue with his pack resolved.  He has decided to go back to a lightweight mid-height hiking boots to support his ankle better.  As soon as they picked up a few supplies they were headed back out on the trial. 
The trials and tribulations of the week were described with humor.  He feels his ankle is slowly getting better and the mid boots would give him added sense of security. They will be moving into Shenandoah in the coming days. The trail and campsites are reported to be sparse but nice.  Most of the trail is back under tree cover. The weather is forecast to cool down.  He’s got some new equipment.
He still seems to have his will but described the past week as humbling. 

No comments:

Post a Comment