Headed Back to the Trail

August 25, 2017 will mark my return to the Appalachian Trail.  I’m starting in Gorham, NH and hiking for about 300 miles north through Maine. I’ll finish the hike on Mt. Katahdin, the northern terminus of the trail around September 15.  Updates to follow!

Success at Davis Mountains State Park

A great time was had by all on our Thanksgiving week at Davis Mountains State Park.  I needed a little time in my hammock, so I built a modified turtle dog stand (thanks HammockForums.net).  We had a great hike from the campgrounds to Fort Davis National Historic Site, then a stop at the Drug Store in town for lunch.

I posted the hike video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfStICtKvTA.

davis mtn



Back to the Trail

The family is meeting up at Davis Mountain State Park for Thanksgiving.  Looking forward to loading up the backpack and heading for a night or 2 to the park’s primitive camping spots, then popping off the trail for a full turkey meal.  I also built a hammock stand so I can hang in the regular car camping sites without perfectly placed trees.  Come back to see a video of the hammock set-up.


All down hill from here, but not literally

Mt. Collins shelter to Derrick Knob Shelter.   13.8 miles

 I was up early and on the trail by 7:00. Headed to Climgman’s Dome, the highest elevation on the entire AT, at 6,655 feet. 

 As I walked up to the observation tower, I overheard a lady in her 30’s complain to her male partner,  “I just walked up a mountain, I’m not walking up a ramp to see more trees”.   Add a few popular swears for exact quote. I had to chuckle since they probably woke up at a hotel with a continental breakfast, drove up the mountain in their rented Sentra, were they walked uphill from 5 minutes from the parking lot and I literally walked up the mountain. 

Just before I reached the shelter, I saw a line of about 40 wild turkey in a hurry to get someplace.  I was surprised they didn’t answer my world famous turkey call. 

  The rest of the day was a great long walk with sunny blue skies. Made it to the full shelter at 4:00, set up the hammock, ate some cous cous and butterscotch pudding and crawled into my bag. 

Blue turns to grey

Cosby Knob Shelter to Tri-Corner Knob Shelter. 7.7 miles.

 Did a few less miles today and will make up the miles tomorrow since today was another 1500 foot climb.   Had rain all morning , but embraced the coolness.  The rain stopped about 1:00, and gave way to the clouds blowing through making the ridge I was on look like a background for a Scooby Doo caper.

Made it to the shelter by 3:00 and the sun came out. We are expecting a storm tonight, so I’m sleeping in the shelter.  My goal is to hit the trail by 8:00 and knock out the miles. The trail looks like a bunch of ups and downs, nothing too steep.

No Room at the Inn

Standing Bear Hostel to Cosby Knob Shelter.  10.7 miles.  3,589 feet elevation gain.

Woke up in the tree house, ate breakfast in the kitchen of the hostel, then started the long climb into GSMNP. Inside the park, thru hikers are required to sleep in the shelters, unless they are full, then we can set up a tent or hammock within eyesight of the shelter. Since we have 13 tonight in a shelter for 12, I volunteered for hammock duty.

There are new privies at the shelters. Just in case you could get here in a wheelchair, the privy is accessible.

Great day of climbing, looking forward to the rest of the park.

Tree House

Groundhog Creek Shelter to Standing Bear Farm Hostel. 6.9 miles.

Gave myself a shorter day today so I could spend the night in a tree house at Standing Bear Farm Hostel, pick up a box, wash some clothes, and gear up for a 5000 foot climb into the Great Smoky Mtn Nat Park (GSMNP) tomorrow.


Went through a second bald this morning, Snowbird Mtn,  great view, flowers, critters, and an alien looking pod that hummed. It is some kind of FAA radar. I put on my foil hat as I passed just in case.


I will enjoy the rustic pleasures of this place, along with the drinkable water, hot outdoor shower, and plugs for recharging the phone.

I’m not bald…

Walnut Mtn Shelter to Groundhog Creek Shelter. 13 miles. 

Another long mileage day. Not too much climbing.  Really enjoyed Max Patch, a mountain that is bald in top,  it is just grass covered. The views up there are stunning. I wished I could have stopped for a nap. Lots of folks up there on this beautiful day enjoying a picnic and some very happy dogs running around. Pictures to follow soon when i get to wifi. 

I’m the youngster in the shelter tonight. Sharing the space with 3 section hikers in their mid-60s.   I have the hammock set without the tarp so I can see the stars twinkle. 

Can’t forget the mashed potatoes and salami and butterscotch pudding for dinner. Yum Yum 

Blue Sky Smiling at Me

Hot Springs, NC to Walnut Mountain Shelter.   13.1 miles, 3,126 feet elevation gain. Total trip miles 57.1

Got up early after a great night in a bed after a shower at the hostel. Had a great breakfast in town with eggs, potatoes, and this brown goo they put on a biscuit. Stopped by the outfitter for a new tip for my hiking pole. I hit the trail at 9:30. It was a long mileage day with a 3000 foot gain in elevation with a pack full of food.   The elevation worried me, but I’m getting my hiking legs and moved right through.  It was a great sunny day with a bright blue sky. Enjoyed hiking on the trail covered in a carpet at Autumn leaves. Made it to the shelter at 6:00 with time to set up the hammock and cook dinner. Enjoyed some peppered turkey jerky my wonderful wife bought for me with some dressing.  On to Max Patch tomorrow. 

 Hot Springs in the morning 


Here comes the sun

Spring mountain shelter to Hot Springs, North Carolina 11 miles

Up and out of the shelter by 9 o’clock had a restaurant meal on my mind the trip was mostly downhill into Hot Springs, North Carolina.   The sun was out it was a beautiful day for hiking. Although I was pelted with acorns and Chestnut blown from the trees. 

The numbers are getting smaller. Springer Mountain is zero.   

The view into Hot Springs   

A raging river from all of the rain.   

The first sunshine on the trail.  I am currently at the laughing heart hostile, Enjoying a shower and a bed tomorrow.  Up early for a town breakfast stop at the outfitters grabbing a sub to go for dinner and I’m off on the big climb tomorrow.

My town dinner   

A T blaze in this on the sidewalk 

Laughing Heart Hostel, a great place to stay