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Update - Blueberry Patch (FWD)

Here's the latest from the Kushmans...

BTW - I saw a picture in the book in Harpers Ferry of Hannibal (mentioned 
below) dated February 23 today at ATC.

Date: 14 Mar 96 21:37:35 EST
From: Richard Kushman <70304.1011@compuserve.com>


Day 9  -  Sunday  3/10/96  10.6 miles
Left Neels Gap about 10 a.m., feels good to be making progress
again. The first shelter, Whitley Gap, is 1.2 miles off the trail.
This makes for a 2.4 mile round trip just to stay at that shelter.
Low Gap shelter is only 4.4 miles further, let's see, (4.4-2.4= 2
mile hike to Low Gap). How do you like my NEW Math?
Hiking can be like driving a car. I was driving with Nexmo close
behind. We arrived at Cow Rock so I, like a man, pushed on to the
nearest trail, ignored the data book and dismissed the fact that
white blazes were missing. I descended for about .2 of a mile
looking hopefully for the next white rectangle. Well, Nexmo
prevailed, we climbed back to the top of Cowrock, followed the
instructions in the book and continued on the AT. Unfortunately I
will be reminded of this for at least a month but there is a 
bright side, Nexmo had no weapon.
 This was a long day for us  and we had to make camp and eat dinner
after dark, this will not become a habit. 
We were alone at this shelter with a pleasant babbling brook  but
it was a very cold night, even the water bottles in our tent were
filled with crushed ice in the morning.
Notes in the register by Tim indicate that the house mouse gave
birth in his pack, but no mention of adoption, also noted was that
a ranger came by during the cold spell to check on the hikers ...
they all made it. 

     We are using a Zaurus ZR-5800FX by Sharp 
     to up/dn load our e-mail. It has 2M of
     memory and I have added a 2M flash card
      for backup. Compuserve Companion is a
     built-in feature and works like a charm.
     The screen is backlit if needed and the
     keyboard is large enough to be usable.  
     There are many other good features as
      well and  so far it  has proven to be a
     good choice. Total weight 1 lb.

Day 10  - Monday  3/11/96  7.2 miles
The profile for this day was somewhat promising, no big ups. Still,
we were certainly ready to stop at Blue Mountain shelter by 3:00
p.m. Sunday had taken its toll. 
We met a very interesting group. Hannibal, Pappy, Weightless, and
Cyclops all fast and apparently professional hikers. Hannibal, a
very engaging Brit, said he had started the trail in January, got
to Pennsylvania, turned around and  has now started over because
there were no other hikers and he missed people. Pappy, a trail
hardened 60ish Lithuanian took delight in demonstrating, with a
walking stick, the killing techniques the U.S. Army taught him
during the Korean War. Weightless and his dog Barney arrived about
4:00 p.m. after doing 20 miles from Neels Gap (fast hiking), Barney
though looked exhausted. Cyclops said he had thru hiked in 1993 and
was just doing a section for fun. Hanibal claimed in some areas he
had done 30-35 miles a day, traveling light - except for the
camcorder and battery charger he carries.
Pleasant night, starting to get warmer but still to cold to linger
outside after dark. The sun's going down, time for the sleeping
I tried leaving my pack in the tent vestibule for the night. The
mice thought it was a carnival ride and made such a racket
exploring every pocket they kept me awake. Bringing it into the
tent helped quiet the night.

Day 11  - Tuesday  3/12/96  7.7 miles
Two big ups today, Rocky and  Tray Mountains. We headed for Tray
Mt. Shelter, and the pros headed for Deep Gap shelter, which is
twice as far, so we don't plan on seeing them again.
Arrived at Tray Mt. Shelter about 4:00 p.m. and had our choice of
several pretty overlooks. The Georgia hills are spread out below us
for miles but, it is still too cold to enjoy the view after sunset.
So it's into our bags as the lights below twinkle on. 
The immediate shelter area here is strewn with trash, there is no
register and the privy seat has been broken. Conditions like this
have not been typical and certainly are not the results of thru

The trail is quite muddy in places and sliding is very easy. We
will continue to take it slow, like we have a choice, until our
mountain legs arrive.

********   BLUE BLAZE ABOUT FEET  *******
Looks like we chose boots wisely. No blisters, no black toes.
DOWNLOAD  - I use Thorlo trekking socks and Vaseline all over my
toes. When I tried a thin liner sock it really raised havoc,
probably too much heat.
NEXMO uses Thorlo light trekking socks and a thin liner sock, also
a few patches of moleskin.
The secret, I think, is to stop as soon as you feel any twinge and
fix the problem. Don't wait until after the next hill.
 Day 12  - Wednesday  3/13/96  10.6 miles
We are on our way by 9: a.m., which is a new record. Breaking camp
each morning starts off with the most difficult task of the day,
simply standing. My goal, if not Nexmo's, is to reach Deep Gap
Shelter by 2:00 p.m. This would give us a choice of staying there
or continuing on to Dick's Creek Gap, another 3.5 miles.
We reached the Shelter area at 2:03 p.m. and the profile showed no
big ups. Reaching Dick's Creek means a motel room, shower, regular
food, and calling home, we pushed on.
There we are, standing next to Rt. 76 with our thumbs out and
trucks and cars whizzing by. Now, here is where luck enters the
picture. Gary Poteat decided to put his van back on the road.
Naturally he wanted to take a test drive and, God bless him, he
turns right out of his driveway. Might as well see if any hikers
are up by the trail. Well, we were, and the angel with the ATC
patch on his cap brought us to his home, The Blueberry Patch. 
Gary and his wife Lennie are just wonderful people. Providing a
friendly place to stay, a great breakfast, and a ride back to the
trail. The Blueberry Patch Hostel is well known among hikers.
Remember the three girls?  Yoda, Turtle, and ET,  affectionately
known as the "Cheese Girls" (they carried a 5 lb. block of
mozzarella We caught them at the Blueberry Patch. Meg (Yoda) had a
garden of blisters on her feet so they stayed an extra day.
Hopefully she used the prescription antibiotic ointment we gave her
and is on the mend.

We know you are watching ...
They are delightful, courageous young women doing just fine.
The Patch was our first mail drop and it was great to receive other
mail as well, including goodies from Eleanor (Nexmo's sister). We
did not sleep at the Patch but only because we wanted the privacy
of our own motel room. David Shakespeare (Shakespeares' Taxi)
brought us to Lake Chatuge Lodge. Very nice modern accommodations
about a mile walk to town. The lodge is new and not listed in any
hiker guides we saw. A washer and dryer are also on premises 
All the people at the lodge have been very helpful They picked up
a pizza for our dinner.

Day 13  - Thursday  3/14/96  layover no miles
We got a ride into town, mailed a package of extras to Franklin NC,
and shopped for supplies. Now we have to stop at Franklin and check
out the motels.
The taxi is picking us up at 7:30 a.m. Friday and bringing us to
the Blueberry Patch for breakfast. Gary and Lennie have only three
hikers staying the night and have made room for us to join them. 

Next update  from North Carolina - Goodbye to Georgia.

"Download" & "Nexmo"
AT - 1996 GA to ME