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Update from Franklin (fwd)

I think lots of folks have been waiting for this...

Date: 21 Mar 96 11:57:56 EST
From: Richard Kushman
Subject: Franklin Update

Day 14  - Friday  3/15/96  10.5 miles
What a wonderful start. David picked us up promptly at 7:30 a.m.
and whisked us to the Blueberry Patch. We formed a small "Trail
Family" with Stomper, Artemis, and Nattygann, as we held hands
around the table while Lennie asked for God's blessing. A splendid
breakfast of Lennie's very light pancakes, sausage, biscuits,
coffee, juice, and blueberry syrup (ala Blueberry Patch) was
enjoyed by all. 

Nexmo tried on a knee brace she found in the grab box at the Patch
(we left food). It was left by a friend of Stomper's and it fit
perfectly. Apparently her knee was bothering her more than she let
on and the brace may help. Stomper and Artemis are a young couple
hiking together and Artemis had good EMT advise for Yoda about
those blisters.
The contribution for lodging and, in our case, breakfast, included
a ride back to the trail. When Lennie drove Nattygann (a woman
about our age hiking alone) and us back there were at least 8 or 10
hikers waiting to catch a ride to the Patch. It was going to be a
busy day for Gary and Lennie. We also saw two of the Cheese Girls,
Turtle and ET heading back to the Patch. Where was Yoda and her
blistered feet?

Our goal today would be Bly Gap, North Carolina. There was a light
rain with thunder in the distance. We found ourselves putting rain
gear on and off. All you veteran backpackers know how to make the
rain stop ... put your rain gear on. Unfortunately the reverse is
also true.

We stopped for lunch at Plumorchard Shelter just as a T-storm hit,
complete with hail. We shared this refuge with Icicle and his dog
Angus who were doing a section. As the sky brightened, we continued
and bumped into Stomper and Artemis who had news of the Cheese
Girls. Yoda would go to Rainbow Springs Campground to recover and
await Turtle and ET hiking the trail. That sounded reassuring to
Friday was a long day for us, but we made it to North Carolina. We
settled in for a chilly night alone at Bly Gap.

Day 15  - Saturday  3/16/96   7.7 miles
Weather seemed better, faint sun, we took the mandatory pictures at
the gnarled tree and began to curse whoever it was that designed
the immediate trail North from Bly Gap. B-a-a-a-d up. We stopped at
Muskrat Shelter for lunch and checked the register. Two more hail
storms hit before we arrived at Standing Indian Shelter.

Mark (no trail name yet) an engineering graduate thru hiking, was 
at the shelter, as well as Ed Brown, and Lee Tade who were just out
for a one nighter. Ed looked at us in a peculiar way, like he knew
us. After some idle chit chat he asked, "Are you the Kushmans"? Ed
and Lee are from Chattanooga, and we have never been there. Well
then, Ed pulls out a print out of the Appalachian Home Page Trip
Report..... What are the chances?

Our tent kept us warm and cozy during a pretty cold and windy
night. Ed jealously mentioned our log sawing during the night
making me wonder about our noise pollution

Day 16  - Sunday  3/17/96  11.5 miles
Standing Indian Mountain was before us. I never thought I would use
the words (good) and (up) together. We are either starting to get
in shape or this was simply a good up. The rest of the day was very
pleasant as well, sunny, and very reasonable terrain. 
We only met one other hiker all day, Iz-R and his dog Chance, going
South, looking for the Blue Grass Boys. Very clever name, reminding
me of Johnny Mathis.
Camped alone at Betty Creek Gap. A warm evening turned into a cold
night with crystallized condensation.

Day 17  - Monday  3/18/96   9.1 MILES
Only 10.1 miles to a shower, laundry, and homemade chili. Rainbow
Springs Campground lies only one mile off the trail and because God
loves Nexmo, it is down hill. 
We played leap frog with four college boys. Coffeebean, Captain
Chaos, Plamona, and It's All Good who luckily had picked up a shirt
that I dropped the day before. "Trail magic."

Yoda was in fact at Rainbow Springs and bored to death waiting for
ET and Turtle. She visited a doctor in Franklin and he gave her a
brush for foot torture. Believe it or not her spirits were high and
she was anxious to get back on the trail. But  ... PLEASE YODA ...
not with those boots.
We rented "Rustic Cabin #4", showered, and did laundry. The chili
was very good and, in my opinion, the highlight of Rainbow Springs.
Box Car (a large 60ish man) was talking a mile a minute about
loosing 45 lbs. since Springer. With no obvious limbs cut off, that
seemed a little much. He brought news about Cookie being a day or
two ahead and Thunder & Lightening a day behind.
We met Sharon and Bronco, a young couple cursed with the flu since
starting. Sharon is resisting a trail name on principle, we'll call
her "No Name". Yoda, No Name and Bronco joined us at #4 for a warm
evening social. Staying up late and sharing our trail experiences
was very enjoyable. 

Day 18  - Tuesday  3/19/96   3.1 MILES
Cold day. The forecasters called for snow in the mountains and they
hit the bullseye. Interesting and delightful would describe our
hike from Wallace Gap to Winding Stair Gap. Interesting because of
the hauntingly beautiful blizzard like conditions. Delightful
because we were slack packing and had arranged for a warm car ride
to the Franklin Motel. Buddy, from Rainbow Springs Campground,
provided this wonderful service.
Snow continued all day and into the night. The mountain regions
were reporting very high winds as well, making the decision to stay
put very easy.

Day 19  - Wednesday  3/20/96   No Miles
Snowflakes sprinkling down, windy and cold. Was this really the
first day of Spring? Good day for napping, shopping, and eating. 
Reports are coming in about 18 in. of snow in the mountains. The
trail is really not passable at any reasonable speed. We had hoped
to continue by Thursday but as more and more hikers came off the
mountain we realized that conditions were pretty bad.

Duffbuster, Blister Sister, Artemis, Stomper, The Cheese Girls, Zak
Going North, Coffeebean, Ralph and Alice (the Honeymooners),
Thunder, Lightning, The Quiet Man, and Homebrew have all come off
the mountain and taken refuge here in Franklin. Sharon and Bronco
are at Rainbow Springs along with at least six others including a
free lancer for National Geographic taking pictures and writing a
story. Coffeebean headed North and got to the first shelter but
decided to return. He left extra food for those still at the
shelter. Ralph, had 18 inches of snow bury their Mountain Hardware
tent Tuesday night, but it held up fine. He had to periodically
clear snow away for venting.

Several of the hikers met Doctor Green and Johnny Quest at Rainbow
Springs Tuesday. They were dubbed "The Clean Team" because of their
starched and pressed appearance after fifteen trail miles. No one
knew how they did it but all were a little jealous.

       *********    PARENTS AND FRIENDS    *********
We are aware that many are watching this page for updates and news
of loved ones on the trail. We will try our best to mention all the
hikers we meet and relay any grapevine tidbits. We have heard of no
one in danger. The brave souls that have remained in shelters are
hunkered down and waiting it out. Probably quite bored.           

Snow continued to fall into the night. I thought the white
mountains were in New England.

Next Update - From Franklin before we leave.
"Download" & "Nexmo"
AT - 1996 GA to ME