Monday, March 31, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

Damascus, VA

Yo friends,
Damascus has treated us real well. We're staying right across the street of probably the best outfitters on the trail, Mt. Rogers Outfitters. I got some new insoles for my boots, which I think'll really help out with some soreness that's been going on. The people are incredibily nice here, and we've been making some good friends.
Spring definitely seems to be on its way. As Adam mentioned, we've been picking some wild onions as we go to get some fresh veggies going on... hopefully gonna start getting some dandelion leaves too. Other than that, things aren't too much in bloom yet. At higher elevations, the landscape is still pretty wintery. I'm kinda bummed there isn't a good bookstore here in town 'cause I need a new one. That's about it for now, I gotta go start packing and get outta here before this rain that seems to be looming in the distance comes.

P.S. Adam and I decided at Kincora Hostel at Dennis Cove to give ourselves trailnames, until we get better ones. We figure it's harder for people we meet to remember us by our normal names. So for the time being, I'm going as Daddy Luv, and Adam is Ad-man
P.P.S. Kincora Hostel run by Bob and Pat peoples was an amazing experience. Bob is known up and down the trail as a dedicated trail maintainer, and supporter of hikers. He offered us great hospitality and company (he also turned us onto the wild onions which he picked up next to the sidewalk in Hampton, TN when giving us a ride to the Post Office).

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Hello everyone,

We've had a good stop here at Damascus. I got some trail shoes and a great sleeping bag for the summer months. I'm sending home that old zero degree bag that was a hefty sack of old down, and replacing it with a new one that weighs about 1 pound 6 ounces! The past few days have been amazing. It was 72 degrees here today. Spring is coming out and Phil and I even put some wild onions in with our Mac and Cheese. Yum. I'm reading Hatchet by Gary Paulson which is pretty inspiring. Its a little more chilled out than "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer. That book was awesome, and really put a few things in perspective- like if theres any discomfort out here in the woods I just say, well at least its not Everest where the climbers of 1996 experienced -100 degress wind chill and barely any oxygen.

We keep meeting all kinds of people... some fun, some really chilled out, some completely nuts. I took a shower today for the first time in a while. It felt good, but I don't really mind it either way anymore. The zero day in Damascus has made us a little restless. Can't wait to get back out on the trail and see those Virginian wild Ponies.

On the road to Damascus.

Adam and Phil should be arriving in Damascus, VA on March 27, their first landfall in Virginia. Looking forward to their comments about the mountainous terrain they travelled on.

Look here:,+VA,+United+States+of+America&sa=X&oi=map&ct=title

Hope that Adam has conquered his bugs!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Howdy from Erwin, TN

The last stretch of trail has been challenging and beautiful. I had a stomach bug for a couple days which made the hiking a little more tiring, but nothing too serious. Yesterday we made a 20 mile stretch to make up for be holed up in a shelter on a previous eight mile day becuase of severe thunderstorms. The weather in these mountains is powerful! Yesterday we passed over "Big Bald" in thick cloud/fog and 32 degrees with a howling wind. It felt more like the Scottish highlands or Siberian Tundra. We were low on food and energy when we summited this 5,500 foot heath bald, but luckily we had whats called a "trail magic" experience.

An ex-thru-hiker by the name of "wildchild" Jeff was out for a day hike with his sister and 72 year old mother. He was 6'4'', jolly, and wearing overalls. We met this crew of three under the surreal and gnarly white out conditions on the heath bald. He pulled out a sack of granola bars, an apple, and sun dried banana chips. He let us chose what we wanted. That was great.

We also had lunch at a very religous household, who were giving us Christian books as we left and asking us questions like "What is truth? and "What is tolerance?". Theres a great story to it, but my time has run out on the internet at the Erwin public library. Bye for now, and thankyou mom, for making our blogsite about 100 times better looking.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

322miles done, 1852 to go

I am guessing Adam and Phil are at or near Bald Mtn, North Carolina.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Thanks so much for all the comments. Its great to hear from you guys!

Chilling Out in Hot Springs

Yo. We're in Hot Springs, NC right now, taking our first day of no hiking to give ourselves a bit of rest. This town is real cool, caters a lot to hikers cause the trail is literally the sidewalk of the main street. We're staying at the Sunnybank; a 19th century Victorian farmhouse, run by this old thru-hiker Elmer, that makes amazing vegetarian meals for us at night. We got a great room and nice beds for only $15 a night. The weather seems to improving as well. Hiking out of the mountains yesterday I spotted a monarch butterfly and a dragonfly, symbols we hope of incoming spring. We haven't heard word of any more snow or serious cold snaps, but once you get back up to the higher elevation it's hard to tell. The country we've been hiking in the last couple days is already a lot different from the Smokies. We passed over this mountain called Max Patch; a huge bald covered only by wild grass. We had lunch near the top and got to sit around and rest in some warm sunlight. Our boots are finally getting a chance to dry here in Hot Springs as well. That's it for now,

p.s. some captions for the new pictures posted: The picture of me on the snow-covered mountain we took 2 days outside of crossing the Nantahala River and the Nantahala Oudoor Center. That morning we followed bobcat and coyote tracks along the trail. The picture of Adam in the snowy tunnel of rhodedendron I took the same day of hiking. The third picture is of Adam at an old shelter on top of Blood Mountain, GA right before getting to the Walasi-Yi Hostel on our third day. I just read through Adam's post, and he went into great detail (finally), so I'll stop writing.

Thanks everyone for keeping up with our updates, also thanks to our parents, especially Adam's mom Stephanie for making sure we have food to eat out here.

Hello from Hot Springs, NC

Phil and I are taking our first zero day today in Hot Springs, NC. We are recuperating in an old Southern/ Victorian style house with our host, and talented cook, Elmer. He is an ex-thru hiker and is running his beautiful home like a hostel. Its an Inn just for thru-hikers. We are staying there with our new friends that we met on the trail, Felton and Jordan.

Hot Springs is a charming Appalachian town nestled in a mountain cove. Two substantial rivers run through it, and so does the Appalachian Trail itself! We walked the strangest section of trail today down the main street to the post office. It is blazed on the side-walk with little AT symbols. We are spending our time here washing clothes, using the internet, resting, and mainly eating food. When in civilization I am constantly stuffed to the point of barely being able to walk. In general we have come across great hearty food, but I've already lost alot of weight. Phil and I both weigh exactly 167 pounds. That was so weird to find out. I just bought the paperback book, Hatchet, and some dried black beans to go with our rice dish.

So far we are still not sick of the rice, Mac and Cheese, Indian meals, fake mash potato, and trail mix, but we really overestimated the fruit. We were giving ourselves a quarter pound each of dried fruit per day. After digging one too many cat holes we realized this was way too much fruit for anybody to be eating. We have started leaving and giving away dried fruit anywhere we go. Its great quality stuff, so people are willing to trade.

This has been a much more relaxing stop than at Gatlinburg, TN where we kinda went crazy being back in civilization. Tonight Elmer, our host, is going to get us a cheap price on getting into the volcanic hotsprings here where you can bath in hot fresh mineral water that comes out of the ground. They advise bringing bottles so that you can take some home to drink. Apparently thats how pure it is. We havn't got Giardia yet, and hopefully never will. It would be pretty tough to imagine too many impurities in the water around here because there are so many pristine springs along the trail. Not like hiking out west at Pitzer.

The trail is going really well. We are doing anywhere from 13 to 18 miles a day depending on elevation and weather. The other day we got caught in a blizzard, and I had to take a picture of phil because his whole face was white with icicles and snow. It looked pretty rugged. The snow can be beautiful though, especially when walking through groves of rhodendron in the low valleys (pictured above) or Frasier firs on the peaks. The middle elevations are a bit stark because its mainly hardwoods. We're looking forward to spring so that we can avoid the sub zero nights and treacherous ice. The ice has caused us to have a few hilarious spills on the trail though.

I hope all is going well for everyone out there!


Monday, March 10, 2008

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Wassup Yall

south's great. Its laid back and chill here. Got a shot of americana when I found myself hitching in the back of a red pickup truck into the middle of no where. Had a great flute session on top of the smokey moutains. Too bad we didn't have a camera at the time. Crazy hike yesterday through about a foot of water and ice.

Gatlinburg. TN

Hey Everyone,

Glad to see we're getting some active checkers o' da blog. We're in Gatlinburg right now, taking a break halfway through the Smokies. We have a food drop here anyway, but we got a 50 buck/night motel room to thaw out, the last couple of days have been nuts. First day of the Smokies we were in t-shirt and shorts hiking through 6 inches of snow. Second day we hit a wind-storm. Third day it all accumulated into a wind, rain, hail, snow storm that really took it out of us (and added about 4 pounds to each boot). We woke up this morning in a shelter at over 5,000 ft. and my shorts were frozen like a piece of cardboard. That was our indicator to take a night off in Gatlinburg. Adam's gonna get on the comp. next (we're mooching off a bizarro-arcade in this mini-mall here in town) and will probably give you some more detail on our progress. I know some friends at Duke wanted to meet up, so to give an update, we'll be in Hot Springs, NC in a couple days... March 10th to be exact.

The pictures posted by the way are pretty much all in the Nantahala National Forest. I don't know where the one is of me hiking, the one of Adam is in some shelter, and the one of both of us is at a summit right before Mt. Albert in the Nantahala, taken by our thru-hiker Buddy Felton.

I also received some bad news, and for those of you who knew him, have RIP thoughts for our dog Banjo, who was recently put to sleep.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008