Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike, Virginia

Written by Afterburner. Added on May 16, 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 Troutville and hiked 18.5 miles to Bobblets Gap shelter. Met up with Turtle D, Trurtle M, Gus, Gray Eagle, Stinkey, Matt,and Urangatang at shelter. Urangatang is an Eagle Scout. It was a good day hike, as the rhodadendrons are all in bloom, along with the mountain laurel, wild azalias and the countless other wild flowers. The forrest is all in bloom and it is great walking thru the “rhodadendron tunnels,” as everyone calls them. Following day hiked 18.3 miles to Cornelius Creek shelter, again in the rain. Had lunch at Bryant Ridge shelter. It sleeps 20 and is the most elaborate shelter on the trail, there is none like it as it was custom built. Looks like a 2 story fort! Saw my first yellow lady slippers today and my first timber rattler. I prefer looking at flowers, not snakes.

Folowing day, hiked 21.6 miles to Johns Hollow shelter. Hiked across the James River and over the longest footbridge on the trail, across the river. Hiked over two more mountains, past an old US Air Force radar station on Apple Orchard Mountain, and under a rock formation called The Guillotine; easy to see how it got its name. Next day hiked 8.3 miles to Blueridge Parkway and called Earl at the Dutch Haus B&B to pick me up early so I could call home and talk to Harry Jr. That was a great place to stop and get my mail drop, I had the whole place to myself the first night.

Sunday, hiked 18.2 miles to Maupin Field shelter. Everyone told me to make sure that I didn’t hike over Three Ridges, a 4,000 ft. climb in 3.5 miles, in a lightning storm. Well guess what, as I got to the start of the second climb, the sky turned black in 19 minutes and then came the lightning storm, with rain & hail. I hunkered down between two big rocks on the trail and waited one hour for the storm to pass, then hiked 5 miles in the rain to the shelter. Met Dudley, Bushwacker and Maverick, another Eagle Scout and on Philmont staff for 5 years.

Next day, hiked in the beautiful sunshine, 21.1 miles to Waynesboro, Virginia. Saw some great views from high on the cliffs about 12 miles from town. In the valley are some perfectly maintained Menonite farms. Next day, slackpacked 16 miles that I missed before, was dropped off at the trail head and picked up later.

Have hiked 847.9 miles so far and am still feeling good, hope my luck holds up. By the way, got my first haircut and shaved off my beard, was getting long and scruffy.

Well,that’s all for now, will keep you all informed on my progress.

Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike