Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike, Tennessee to Virginia

Written by Afterburner. Added on April 23, 2006.

This travelogue was written while hiking the Appalachian Trail. Every once in a while Afterburner had a chance to let us all know about what he had seen and where he was. You might want to start reading from the beginning of the log.

Left Erwin, Tennessee, Easter morning. Hiked for four miles through the most beautiful pine & fur tree forest to the first shelter. The trail followed a stream, criss-crossed by wooden bridges, the birds were singing, and it was a warm and sunny day. This part of the hike was relaxing. Then reality set in, the next 12 miles were brutal, the hike up over the next three mountains were as hard going down as it was going up. Arrived at Cherry Gap shelter in time for supper. Met Old Goat and Die Hard that night. Later Bear Can, Jet Wash and Sputnik came in. It started to rain later that night, and continued for the next three days.

The mountains of Georgia & North Carolina have nothing on Roan Mountain of Tennessee. It was a 6200-foot climb, straight up in the pouring rain. Not a fun day. As I got near the half way point, I was hit by a thunder & lightning storm—not a place to be during this storm! Arrived at the shelter after a 16.5 mile hike in a monsoon. The following day, the sun came out, what a beautiful sight! I think that I have found one of the most beautiful spots on the AT: Buck Mountain is a high grassy-top mountain, covered with the greenest grass that you could imagine. It was short, as if someone had just mowed it. As I looked over the horizon from the top, you could see for miles. It was mountain range after mountain range. I just sat there for an hour, taking in the view.

Hiked for a few more miles to a nice grassy campsite and pitched my tent alongside the stream.

The next morning, as I had just finished eating breakfast and packing my gear, it started to rain again. It stopped around lunch time as I arrived at the next shelter. I ate lunch and put on dry clothes and continued to the Kincora Hiking Hostel. The hostel was a good place to stop, as I got my mail drop there and met some of the nicest people there. Met a man called Healed, who was hiking in a kilt. He has hiked the AT seven times, and also hiked the Pacific Costal Trail, a trail that is 2600 miles long. He has hike this with Anne, his 13 year old Chesapeake Bay Retriever. She has logged over 10,000 miles.

The following morning it rained, again. Hiked 17 miles with Lancelot, a 26 year old Scout leader from Ohio. We stopped at Vandeventer shelter for the night. Bear Can and Jet Wash decided to push on to the next shelter to be closer to Damasscus. We decided to get up early the next morning and do 24 miles, so we would ony have to hike 10 miles the next day to arrive in town in time for lunch.

We started hiking at 5:00 AM and arrived at the next shelter, 8 miles, at 8:00. Arrived just in time to find Bear Can and Jetwash just leaving. It started to rain, again, and continued all day. We arrived at our next shelter at 3:00 PM and decided that 24 miles was enough. As we were laying out our gear in the shelter to dry, the rain stopped and the sun came out. Oh what a feeling! Later that afternoon, Hobbit, a young thru hiker, arrived. The next morning, we had planned on getting an early start, but during the night, we were hit with a monsoon. We stayed at the shelter until 7:00 AM, with only a light rain, and decided to hike to town. Arrived in Damasscus at 10:15 AM. Checked into the Hostel run by the local church. Nothing fancy, but it has all the basics you need, especially a hot shower. Looking forward to a down day today.

Have hiked into my fourth state, Virginia, and have now hiked a total of 459 miles. Not to bad for an old man! This is a great little trail town, with a population of 1200 people. I can’t imagine what it must be like during Trail Days next month, with approx. 10,000 hikers here for the feastival, but I will find out, as I have a ride bad here for the event.

Well, that is all for now, have to enjoy the rest of my down day. Will update further down the trail. See ya all soon,

Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike