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Kushmans' Pearisburg update (fwd)

(Below this paragraph is the latest from the Kushmans.)

Yesterday I attended the dedication of a new Ridge to River Loop Trail in 
West Virginia.  It's on a tract of land which has been under negotiation 
for several years among the ATC, the Niles family which owned the tract 
and the Rolling Ridge Foundation, as well as the NPS which purchased some 
of the acreage closer to the AT.  Only the first half of the loop is 
completed so far.  It's 2 and 1/2 miles long and takes one down from the 
AT (not too far from Blackburn Trail Center) down to the Shenandoah 
River, where a campsite will be established.  The area along the river 
here has the most amazing amounts of Wild Ginger that I have ever seen.  
And it looks like a few days earlier it had a very nice display of Virginia 
Bluebells.  The rest of the trail - which will probably be about 3 or so 
miles long will be established over the next year or so.  The recent fire 
along the AT in that region has hindered the plans for selecting the 
exact  route of the rest of the trail.

--Kathy  Kathy@fred.net

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: 13 May 96 18:16:13 EDT
From: Richard Kushman 

Day 63  5/03/96   Friday   14.6  miles
The breakfast at the Fox Hill Inn was above and beyond the call of duty for any B&B. Eggs, bacon, hot cakes, juice, coffee, all cooked to order. What a great way to start the day. David, the owner of the Inn, brought us to the post office and back to the trail. 
The day was lovely, sunny and warm, Nexmo worked at keeping her pace and suffering down during the mid day heat. The flowers along the trail are now popping out sharing all their pretty colors. Soon the leaves will wrap us in the emerald green tunnel of Virginia.
A few medium ups but generally an enjoyable section of trail ending with our arrival at Mt. Rodgers National Recreation Area Visitors Center. Over the last two miles my mind was occupied with the thought of a cold soda. Unfortunately we arrived after the center closed... but wait ! Trail magic again. A workman, not quite done for the day, opened the foyer to the soda machine and rest rooms and we had access for the next three hours.
Chameleon, October Dawn, and Lobo's Pet shared the center's porch with us, Pizza Hut delivered food, the skies were clear, and the moon was full and beautiful. Roughing it? Not Really.

Day 64  5/04/96   Saturday  11.5  miles
Beautiful sunny weather with a slight breeze to keep us cool marked the entire day. Up and over Brushy, Locust, and Glade Mountains made arriving at the Village Motel in Atkins and opening a cold beer very enjoyable. The motel, restaurant, and convenience store are right next to the trail and tough to pass up. Bronco and Puddin stayed the night as we did. Chameleon and October Dawn, and Lobo's Pet after refueling, continued to the next shelter.

Day 65  5/05/96   Sunday  13.7  miles
After breakfast, a quick stop for a Dairy Queen started our days hike. This section to Knot Maul Branch Shelter kept us going up and down as usual and wondering why many claim Virginia gets easier. We were out of water when we arrived so Bronco and Puddin volunteered to fetch the water, which at this shelter was no easy task. They had been using our water filter when ever possible because their Sweetwater filter works so poorly. They have ordered a PUR Hiker to be delivered to Pearisburg.
Chameleon and October Dawn had set up their tent in the shelter, Bronco and Puddin also used the shelter, Lobo's Pet and we tented. The thunder and lightning show during the night was very impressive and a little threatening. Rain fell for much of the night and at times was quite heavy but we stayed dry huddled in our tent.

******* BLUE BLAZE - GUARANTEE ********
I mentioned the poor performance Bronco and Puddin were getting from their water filter, which is a key piece of equipment. Their efforts to return the Sweetwater or swap for a PUR Hiker were refused by the dealer (NOC).  They ordered a PUR Hiker filter from REI, which they expect to receive in Pearisburg. The point being made here is, buy your equipment from a dealer that will stand behind the product and will really give you the support needed on the trail. 

Day 66  5/06/96   Monday  15.2  miles
Fortunately the rain stopped soon enough and the tent was dry for packing. After a short downward portion we climbed Lynn Camp Mountain which was just the appetizer Next, over four miles of up - up - up to Chestnut Knob Shelter should have been enough for any day, especially considering the threat of rain. Nexmo somewhat reluctantly wanted to continue, so we headed for Davis Farm Campsite.
Before leaving the shelter we had the pleasure of meeting Pipsissewa. This older generation section hiker clearly impressed us with her spunky  get going attitude. 
We proceeded down to Walker Gap and back up onto the ridge overlooking God's thumb print, Burkes Garden. Half way along the ridge thunder storms arrived and convinced us to pick the next campsite available. That turned out to be a level area next to Virginia road 623. What fun - pitching camp in the rain. Bronco and Puddin soon joined us after their own lightning filled ridge walk. Rain continued without let up through the night. This had been a difficult day and both Nexmo and I clearly felt it.

Day 67  5/07/96   Tuesday  no miles
We had no reason to leave early. The rain was steady and going through the packing up drill could wait. The next motel and a mail drop were 15.6 miles to Bland, VA. Tired legs and poor weather would not let us make that in one day. We hatched a plan.
THE PLAN: Wingfoot lists the James Burke Inn located in Burkes Garden which we would walk to and arrange a slack pack into Bland the next day. This would keep us out of the rain and avoid loss of time.
THE REALITY: We walked about three miles down the mountain before hitching a ride to the inn. There was no one there. The inn was not in business. Luckily the Big Walker Motel, in Bland, gave us the phone number of Jim Aliff, who picked us up and delivered us out of the rain. The plan was back on track, Jim would also slack pack us the next day.

NOTE: Godfather and Turtle also visited the James Burke Inn and found it occupied. They had a nice stay and a fine meal. Apparently the inn will be fully operational sometime in the future. 
Burkes Garden is a beautiful valley with picturesque farms but no hiker services are available. The inn would be a pleasant stop and hopefully will prosper.

Day 68  5/08/96   Wednesday  15.6 miles
Jim delivered us back to VA623 and we started our hike to Bland. The rain had finally stopped so the day was pleasant. The walk along this section of ridge was actually easier than the profile suggested, which is very unusual. We met Bud Blister at Jenkins Shelter and we all took the high road past Little Wolf Creek as is  suggested after heavy rains. Believe me, Little Wolf Creek wasn't so little. 
Arriving back in Bland we called Jim, he brought us to the grocery and back to the motel. News awaited us about a family member.  Nexmo's father was in intensive care at the UCONN Medical Center suffering from congestive heart failure. Nexmo would go home and, for now, I would continue on the trail alone. Hopefully all would be well and she would soon return. 

Day 69  5/09/96   Thursday  18.5  miles
Thanks to our local shuttle, Jim Aliff, I was back on the trail at 11:10 a.m. and  Nexmo  was on her way to the Roanoke Airport. This was the first time I hiked the trail without Nexmo, I missed my Nexmo.
My pack had to be as light as possible. The tent, of course, was too big and heavy for just one person but was a necessity. I trimmed anything I could and left with minimal food for Pearisburg. The only other hiker to cross my path this day was Lazy Boy. He was jumping around to different sections and hiking North.
The only really difficult part of the trail was the last six miles, but then again, it was the last six miles. Bronco had left a note at Jenny Knob Shelter letting me know they would be at Trent's store on VA606, just off the trail. Camping with friends would be quite enjoyable, so I pushed on. 
Trent's store offered a small deli and cold drinks. There was an adjacent field for camping and hot showers were available. Bud Blister, Screamin Knees, Cajun C, Zamboni, Bronco, and Puddin all greeted me with an outstretched beer. I was home for the night.

Day 70  5/10/96   Friday  13.1  miles
With Nexmo off the trail, Bronco and Puddin adopted me as a hiking partner. I was honored and now not so alone. They are younger and faster requiring a certain amount of hustle on my part, but I tried to keep up or perhaps they went a little slower.  
I left Bronco and Puddin as they finished a phone call, thinking a head start would help. We met again for lunch at Wapiti Shelter. The Concord College Mountain Lion Trekkers from West Virginia had paid a visit and left the shelter clean as a whistle. Good job by the Trekkers and dully noted in the register.
The only big up of the day was Sugar Run Mountain, but for some reason the hike seemed to take a very long time, considering the distance covered. There were a few sight seeing breaks on the ridge that may have delayed us. We met Mad Monk, Dancing Bear, and a father and  son team, Ole Swamper and Grasshopper also Jester came limping by complaining of sore feet.  Finally, we arrived at Woods Hole Hostel about 7:00 p.m. where we found Zamboni relaxing. Jester soon arrived as well, making a total of five in residence. Tilly, who runs the hostel, explained the rules and signed everyone up for breakfast except Jester, he wanted to leave early.
Woods Hole Hostel is clean, roomy, and far far better than a shelter. Definitely a good choice for a restful night.

Day 71  5/11/96   Saturday  9.5  miles
Tilly rang the bell at 7:00 a.m., just as promised, meaning breakfast would be served at 7:30 a.m. Eggs, sausage, grits, juice, coffee, and bisquits were all presented at her dinning room table. The first eight hikers to sign up can pay three fifty each for a delightful morning start. There were four of us this morning to enjoy the food and stories ala.Tilly. We highly recommend stopping at Woods Hole Hostel where you will be lulled to sleep listening to the sound of love, Tilly's very own babbling brook.
Zamboni was the hero today. Well, actually Zamboni's parents were the heroes. Woodstock and Peppermint Patty were the trail names affectionately given them. Woodstock planned to slack pack with his son to Pearisburg and Peppermint Patty agreed to take all our packs to the motel, not just her son's. Trail Magic again thanks to Zamboni's gracious mom and dad.
Without packs the ridge walk to Pearisbug went quickly and even the afternoon rain could not dampen our spirits. After a little slipping and sliding coming off the mountain we made our way to the Holiday Motel. The rest you know - shower, real food, good company. Only Nexmo was absent - and I missed her.

"Download" & "Nexmo"