WhiteBlaze Pages 2024
A Complete Appalachian Trail Guidebook.
AVAILABLE NOW. $4 for interactive PDF(smartphone version)
Read more here WhiteBlaze Pages Store

View RSS Feed

Dirk's Rambles

Wednesday, May 12, 2021, 5:10 pm

Rate this Entry
I am currently staying at Woodshole Hostel, at mile 625.4. We are 1/2 days walk from Pearisburg VA, which we hope to reach tomorrow. We will go into Pearisburg to resupply then get back on the trail without taking a zero. We walked 7.2 miles to get here, a shortened day for us (Calves and me). In the last six days we have covered 91.4 miles. With tomorrow's 10.4 miles into Pearisburg that will put us at 101.8 for the last week with no zeros. Not bad! We did do a couple of reduced days paired with a couple of 18+ days and a 17.

We have had some relatively easy walking during this time. The emphasis should be on the word "relatively" because there were a couple of challenging climbs. Chestnut Knob, at over 4,400 feet being one.

We passed a couple of milestones. One significant one is we passed the 600 mile marker. Seems like the 100 mile milestones are going by faster in VA and we haven't reached the supposed easy part of VA.

Another milestone that we covered 169.1 miles in Virginia, the longest state on the trail with 542 miles. We are moving tomorrow past what is called Southwestern VA into Central VA. My hope is that we can move out of VA by early to mid-June.

Trail magic has dropped off significantly, though we did run into three trail angels in the past week. We had trail magic for breakfast one morning just 100 yards from our tent site. Sausage biscuits and scrambled eggs were on the menu. This was after an all night rain. We had to pack our tents wet, which is never good, though we stayed dry. The food and especially the fresh coffee was most welcome.

Last night we stayed in Wapiti Shelter. It was the scene of a double murder in the 1980's. A local man had driven close to the shelter and approached a male and female hiker. He was dressed in raggety clothes so they offered him some food, which he accepted. At some point something went wrong and the man stabbed them both to death.

His sentence was reduced due to his limited capacity. He was released early after 10 years or so later because of his lack of capacity. Unfortunately, he went back to the same area of his original crime and shot two men, who were not thru hikers. One of them died. He was prosecuted and died in custody not long afterward.

This sorry episode is chronicled in a book "Murder on the Appalachian Trail" written by Jess Carr.

Murder and assaults are extremely rare on the AT. There have only been 13 murders in the history of the trail. Over 3 million people use the trail annually, so that is not a big number compared to its use. And certainly the AT is not exempt from societal problems. However, we are warned that most assaults and violence happens close to roadways. We are told to camp at least one mile from public access road ways.

Personally, I have not witnessed any anger during my two months, 600+ mile trek. I don't think about it at all actually. Each day is filled with positive interactions and fellowship. It has also been devoid of political talk which has dominate discussion and on Facebook for the past several years and the last year in particular. I have found that to be especially refreshing. And one of the great benefits on taking on a trek like this.

Virginia has been a series of rolling mountains with occasional weaving thru farmland. The farmland especially makes me miss home and visiting my mother and friends.

Almost everywhere has leafed out except the top of the mountains, though these places are in buds. The forest is coming alive very quickly.

New thru hikers are moving in and out all the time. It is hard to keep track of everyone. Five Pound and Mule are just in front of us. They stayed at this hostel last night. Fire Goddess is also close by.
Tags: None Add / Edit Tags