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Troutdale Update (fwd)

The latest from the K.'s...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: 03 May 96 08:09:58 EDT
From: Richard Kushman 
To: Kathy Bilton <kathy@fred.net>
Subject: Troutdale Update

"Thunder (Kate) & Lightning (Riley)" have left the trail. We very much enjoyed both our hiking and our days of rest with Kate and Riley. Their wit and charm will be missed.
Kate's boot slid on a root going up Unaka Mountain and she fell, breaking her leg in two places. The Unicoy rescue team did a great job locating and evacuating her from the mountain. She has undergone surgery which includes the insertion of three pins and two plates. Kate fows to return next year to complete the trail.
All our best to Thunder & Lightning !!

Day 59  4/29/96  Monday   11.8  miles
Finaly walked out of Damascus at 10:45 a.m. for a taste of Virginia. Godfather and Turtle would stay another day. The weather was sunny and very warm with rain expected by nightfall. There were a couple of good ups and the heat really bothered Nexmo. She is quite concerned about her ability to hike in hot weather. She does not perspire nearly enough to get properly cooled and heat exhaustion is the result. Our plan is to start early, keep the pace manageable, and take a long mid day break.
The heat prompted a long quiet lunch break next to a rushing stream with Chameleon and October Dawn. We then headed for a campsite under the pines near a small pond and bypassed Saunders Shelter.  We might have visited the shelter but our maps were on their way to Troutdale and we were not aware of the blue blaze loop. 
Bronco and Puddin joined us at the pond for dinner and a rainy night. It felt good not to be camped alone.

Day 60  4/30/96  Tuesday   12  miles
Today was one of the longest and highest climbs in Virginia. Breaking camp in the rain meant heavy packs and the cold weather meant shortened breaks. By the time we reached Lost Mountain Shelter for lunch the rain had stopped but it remained cold. The shelter register revealed that many hikers over the previous few days had taken the Creeper Trail instead of the AT, making this shelter an easy first days hike. We simply hadn't thought of it. 
Climbing White Top Mountain was tedious and boring. Pleasurable views were spoiled by the wind and cold. We sought shelter in the woods and gladly descended to Elk Garden. The campsite was near a road (Rt600) but when BJ joined us there were three tents and we all felt safe. Bronco and Nexmo kept a good fire going as I crawled into my sleeping bag cursing the return of winter. Thankfully it did not rain but water bottles again developed ice during the night.

Day 61  5/01/96   Wednesday   15.2  miles
A beautiful hiking day began with clear skies and a bright shinning sun, in fact, Nexmo said "The best day yet." She liked the diversity of terrain we experienced. The temperature was cool but warm enough for breaks. We met "Long Haul"  hiking South. He is hiking the trail using two vehicles, a car and a camper. Long Haul leap frogs the cars North and slackpacks each section South. He says he is warm and comfy in his camper every night.
The pine studded climb up Mt. Rogers, which is the highest point in Virginia, proved quite enjoyable and a visit by several feral ponies at Thomas Knob Shelter was a highlight for Nexmo. She enjoyed feeding and petting them and they knew who's legs to lick.
The trail through Grayson Highlands State Park was a little too rocky for me but certainly interesting and the wind on top of Stone Mountain pushed everyone sideways. The final climb over Pine Mountain brought us a rocky descent to Old Orchard Shelter.
Three girls taking a weeks hike, Lobo's Pet, Chameleon and October Dawn, Bronco and Puddin, BJ, and ourselves filled the area. Bronco could not find the reported privy, apparently it is missing. Lobo's pet reported the remaining Cheese Girls had stayed an extra day in Damascus for a hiker sponsored barbaque and that Blister Sister was again visiting Zak. We miss all the fun. The wind subsided for a calm and restful night.

Day 62  5/02/96   Thursday   10.2  miles
Our maps were coming to Troutdale along with some spending money, making this a necessary stop. The terrain included only two medium ups, the weather was beautiful, and a hot shower at the Fox Hill Inn was in our thoughts. We arranged to meet Bronco and Puddin at the Village Motel, which is right on the AT near Atkins, for pizza and beer Saturday night. Chameleon and October Dawn might join us, but it would mean their slowing down.
TRAIL MAGIC DELUXE is what happened next. Just as we were arriving at Dickey Gap (Rt16) Lobo's Pet was being shuttled back after a visit to the post office. He asked the driver to wait one moment and would he take these arriving hikers back to Troutdale. The driver turned out to be "Full Moon" husband of "Celestial Spirit"  both AT hikers from 1995. Mark and Janet  Holmes, in fact, manage the Fox Hill Inn. Mark took his new customers to the post office, the grocery, and then to the lovely Inn. 
The Fox Hill Inn is a bed and breakfast that is modern, roomy, and clean. Call from the store and Mark will pick you up and provide a shuttle back to the trail in the morning. The walk from the store or post office is quite a hike so make use of the shuttle.

"Download" & "Nexmo"