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2 weeks on the AT



Hey guys!! Well I am back in civilization and will have to say it takes some
adjustment after being away from tv and radio for a while. 
         We started hiking on the 29th of March at springer and we ran into
some characters.  My friend Navigator had some problems with his feet
(numerous blisters) and we slowed down the pace to try and help him heal.
He wouldn't take a day or two off to rest so we hiked on slowly.  I had a
great time at the Walasi-Yi at Neels Gap and I met Lynn Setzer that is
writing a book on the thru hikers experience. The weather I encountered
between Springer and the NOC at Wesser was just about everything you could
ever expect to encounter.  The first four days were foggy and drizzling.
Then there was sun and then rain & hail.  We then hit cold weather 20
degrees or so and windy 25mph+.  We then had more sun and then SNOW.  We got
a foot of it when I was around beech gap and the albert mountain area.  We
had to pick and choose our way along the trail as it was difficult at best
to tell where the trail was.  The morning after the snow it was 20 and my
boots had frozen so hard I couldn't get my foot in them.  I put them in my
sleeping bag for them to thaw out but it didn't work too well so I finally
gave up and lit my whisperlite stove and in 3-5 minutes had the boots thawed
out enough to hike in.  After that the weather was not too bad.  It was cool
at night but good weather to hike in during the day.  When I left albert
Mountain I had to leave navigator behind as I had to be at NOC by thursday
so I needed to pick up the pace to averaging 12 miles a day.  I hiked 16
miles one day in 6.5 hours (from Winding stair to cold springs shelter) and
then turned around the next morning and hiked 12 miles(from cold springs to
NOC) in 4.5 hours.  I enjoyed my two weeks and took 6 rolls of film
including three of the best sunrise pictures I think I have ever taken at
the Blue Mountain Shelter.  One of the funniest people I met on the trail
was a thur hiker called lone wolf that I understand has been hiking the
trail every year for about the past ten years.  One of my pack's shoulder
straps broke right after I took it out of the car at springer but I tied a
knot in the webbing and carried the pack like that for the 135 miles to NOC.
All in all a great experience.  The hardest thing I think I did on the trail
was getting in the car with my family to go home.  I had met so many people
and didn't want to leave.  I wanted to hike on.  I wanted to say this.  I
learned that I was physically able to hike the trail and think I could have
made it all of the way if I had the time.  I was carrying the right gear (in
my opinion) thanks to many of you on this list that had thru hike before and
I carried alot of the gear you had. 
        The night before we left I had to work at the fire dept and I was up
all night running calls.  This was unusaual for my truck but I figured it
would happen since I was going on vacation the next morning.  I slept most
of the way to springer and we arrived at the amilacola falls state park at
4:55pm.  The park visitor center wehre you register closes at 5:00pm.  We
just made it. My pack at springer weighed in at 46 pounds with food and
water included.  
        I would also like to thank the person who posted the message on here
about how to adjust the internal and external frame packs.  Right before I
left I printed out the message loaded my pack and adjusted it according to
the message.  My pack  felt the best it has been.  Before when I hiked I got
a pain in my right shoulder.  This time the pack rode alot better and I
didn't experience any pain.  It was actually very comfortable.  I hope
everyone has had a good time since I have been gone and I actually got to
read some of nexmo and downloads words of wisdom in the trail registers.  I
thought it was neat to actually read some things on the trail from some
people I had heard so much about.



Dwayne "drichff@interpath.com"
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Firefighter-3 / N.C. EMT    / Basic Rescue Technician
Fire Patch Trader           / Carolinas Fire Page (Disp.701)
Appalachian Trail Hiker (Trailname "BACKDRAFT")
Ham Operator KC4ADW " Strive for Perfection, Settle for Excellence"
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