Hiking Trail Journals
Appalachian Trail 2003 -
Entry #51 - May 19, 2003
9:00 PM - OK, I fell asleep while in the middle
of yesterday's journal.
We got into town and eventually made it down
to the campground, about a mile or so out of town, or on the edge
of town, rather. The "tent city" was starting to crop
up. A few gear manufacturers were also setting up booths.
After setting everything up, we headed back into
town to check things out. Ran into Mellow Yellow. His and Blink
Blink's parents were up, and mentioned he was going to go to see
The Matrix Reloaded in Abingdon if we wanted to go later, which
we did - the 7:00 show. Sidewinder and Parkway came too. Mellow
Yellow was glad to have a car to chauffer us around, hee hee...
It was fun to do such a normal thing. Afterwards we stopped @
the store to pick up some beer and then headed back.
were a fun place to be - the atomosphere of some kind of big
outdoor event, with the people and the partying. We met alot of
new people an stayed up late a couple of the nights. Up in one
area there was a big drum circle every night with a huge fire.
Went there a couple times to check it out and found people getting
Friday during the day we ended up buying a new
tent - an MSR Zoid 1.5. It is labeled as a 2 person, but it's a
tight fit. We like it though. Plus, it's about 3 lbs lighter than
our other tent - also got lightweight rainjackets. When we got
back and set everything up, it was kind of scary, how small the
tent was. Using our rainjacket for the first time made me worry,
too - were they going to be warm enough? We'll find out, I guess.
We had quite a box of stuff to send home - 16 pounds! Our packs
didn't seem much lighter, though.
Saturday was the big hiker parade. All the thru-hikers
march down the main street in it - it was quite a sight. It is
also tradition that there is a big waterfight - a bunch of kids
watching have squirt guns, water balloons, etc..., to "clean
off the hikers," hee hee. We wore our rainjackets - only got
squirted a couple of times. It was a fun time.
There was a a bunch of stuff set up at the park
- vendors, food, hiking gear stuff, etc. The whole town had a "fair" atomosphere.
Actually made it out on Sunday, after 4 days/3
nights. Hiked only to the top of Whitetop Mtn, about 4-5 miles
from where we had left off Thursday. Got going before 9 this morning.
Today was a great hike-probably our favorite
part of the whole trail yet. After we got to the "top" of
Mt. Rogers, the sky cleared! It was brilliant blue, and the grass
was a deep dark green all around. It was beautiful! Stopped by
the wonderful solar composting privy @ the Thomas Knob Shelter
for a break. At the shelter, a deer came right up to us. We just
sat and watched, but people muust feed them for it to come so close.
After the shelter we ran into a bunch of wild ponies. There were
all kinds of mares & foals of every color. It was a fabulous
walk through the rest of Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area. More
ponies, beautiful landscapes and a blue sky above.
Also went through Grayson Highlands State Park
today, but the skies were gray and the fog had come in by that
We're now at Old Orchard Shelter - tenting. The
wind is really picking up and I'm hoping there is no major storm.
Did about 17.5 miles today - back on track.
Tomorrow we'll be in to Troutdale to pick up
our mail drop.
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Preparing to Hike
the Appalachian Trail?
Commonly used guides by A.T. thru-hikers
include the Appalachian
Trail Guides (published by the Appalachian Trail
Conference), the Appalachian
Trail Thru-Hiker's Companion, and the Appalachian
Trail Data Book. The guide series includes a guide
for each section, along with a series of trail maps. The
Thru-Hiker's Companion has helpful info on towns, shelters,
and water. The Data Book has basic distance info for road
crossings, shelters, and other features. All are excellent
tools for use during a long distance hike.