Monday, June 30, 2014

Updates from First Stop - Buena Vista

Had problems blogging earlier, so here is info from the previous stop.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Craig S Barnhart" <>
Date: Jun 25, 2014 7:39 AM
Subject: Buena Vista
To: "" <>

6/20 - Drove to Doyle River trailhead in Shenandoah National Park. Don and Jean Marie (from Waynesboro) met us there and gave us a ride to Jennings Creek after Starbucks. They offered us a future ride and place stay when we get to Waynesboro. Hiked to Bryant Ridge Shelter, where Nancy (aka, Lighten Up) wanted to revisit after our 3 month trip in 2012. She spent a lot of time sketching architectural diagrams during this stay. No-see-ums were biting a lot, and Craig (aka Kilt) barely slept as it was too warm to be in the sleeping bag and too buggy to be out. But we were happy to be under roof as there was a major thunderstorm that evening.
6/21 - Today is hike naked day but we didn't see any nudists. Arrived at Cornelius Creek shelter and met Ronin (again) and Gun runner, who saw some naked hikers. Sock fat, who is from Harrisburg, came later. Gun runner said he would steal the roof idea for his own. Lighten up said you can't steal a gift; Kilt said Karma will get you.
6/22 - Made some calls from Thunder Ridge from Kilt's phone as Lighten Up's was dead. Must have accidentally turned on in her pack. Stayed at Matts,Creek shelter. Met a local couple with a large pit bull. He was friendly after you "met" him but a intimidating to some hikers. Met Mailman and Ismael (again), who is 71 years old and thru hiking!
6/23 - Lots of nice views and some pretty serious climbs (for VA anyway). Stayed at Punch Bowl shelter. Water was flowing out of pipe thanks to to rain the last couple days. Started a fire and enjoyed the evening, which was our first without rain.
6/24 - Nice hike along many streams. Soaked our aching legs in one of them...natural icepack. Spent some time at Brown Mountain shelter as our previously arranged shuttle will not arrive until 3:30. Got to route 60 and a few hikers were looking for rides to Buena (pronounced BYU-na) Vista, which was were our shuttle was taking us. Arrived in town at the Bluedogart Cafe, got a shower, shuttle for resupply, and will get a shuttle back to the trail...all for $20 each.

Test Blog

We're in Waynesboro.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Blog Conclusion, One Week Later

Although we are home, we decided to finish the blog for anyone who would enjoy reading the story to the end.

8/6 Nancy liked the trail name pack lizard, but Mark suggested shortening it to Izzy. Funny he's the second person to suggest Izzy as a trail name but for a different reason. Mark was packing up and almost left his hammock tie downs on the tree. Nancy reminded him of this, and Packman called him a Jackass. Mark responded, “Don't you worry Packman, I'll make it thru this.”  After stopping at Wilson Creek shelter, Craig took a long nap because he wasn't feeling well. Kayenta was not fully recovered either, so we decided to stay the night. Packman showed up and told us he saw Mark walking the wrong direction, and he would be here soon. Mark arrived about an hour later as it was raining and just stood out in the rain shirtless for about an hour. Packman though he was crazy. Mark later pulled a 3-pound crap shovel out of his pack and we all responded, “You didn't show us that yesterday!” He later decided to leave the shovel at the shelter.
8/7 Met Rerun and Mattie Bear who were hiking south. They had been a day or two behind (and sometimes ahead) of us going north and had been reading our journal entries since Erwin TN. They were hoping to meet us at the end of their trip, but didn't think it was possible based on our mileage. However because Kayenta and Craig slowed us down for the last couple days, it was possible. We talked for 40 minutes on the trail to this father and daughter hiking 400 miles together. We later realized that Rerun was the hiker who wrote the very touching journal entry about the death of Whitey and Red Headed Stranger at Laurel Lake. Nancy really wanted to meet the man who wrote this entry, and so it happened. Rerun and Mattie Bear mentioned that they had not seen any other hikers in over a day, and so we told them about Mark, Felix and Packman who would cross their path soon. We stopped at a shelter for a break. Mark arrived and said he met a father and daughter on the trail who asked, “Hey Mark, how is Felix doing?”. Mark thought, “Oh brother, I'm a goner.” They then admitted that we told them about him and his dog. We all decided to hike to the next shelter but Mark left first because he was slow. Packman could see that Marks dog Felix did not want to do anymore hiking, but Mark said he would make him.  As he was hiking up the long switch back trail away from the shelter, Packman was yelling potential trail names for him. As Mark neared the top, his dog Felix appeared back at the shelter, and settled right back onto his sunny rock where he had been enjoying his leisure time. Packman yelled, “Hey Mark, your dog is down here!” Mark replied, “Yea, I know”. Mark hiked back down and placed Felix in the top of his backpack and hiked out. We laughed the whole day about that until arriving at Cove Mountain shelter. Packman said he was going to eat and hike out about 2am to the next shelter...he never did. Bats flew threw the shelter as we slept.
8/8 Left early in the morning and came to an open vista where we could see that we were hiking above the clouds; beautiful view. Stopped and dipped our feet in a swimming hole at Jennings Creek. Stopped at Bryant Ridge Shelter which was an architectural dream. The shelter was reminiscent of a Japanese Tea House.  It had miniature Tibetan prayer flags hanging across the front.  Nancy did not want to leave but we had to walk to the next shelter (Cornelius Creek-which was the normal 3 sided lean-to) to make it to Waynesboro in a reasonable amount of time. Called Jean (Nancy our supply sending helper's sister) and Don, who live in Waynesboro, to tell them that we could attempt to hitchhike up the Blue Ridge Parkway and see how close we can get to their house. They responded that  they really wanted to pick us up despite the 140 mile round-trip. A bat flew above our heads in the shelter all night.
8/9 Nancy saw a large snake on the side of the trail; Kayenta and Craig were oblivious. It didn't rattle or hiss so we guessed that it was non-poisonous. Having arrived home and looked up snakes, we now think it was a poisonous cottonmouth.  Arrived at the Thunder Ridge Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway; this is our ending point and we are DONE HIKING. Jean and Don met us there, took our final photo picture and drove us to the James River Visitor center, Food Lion and to their house. Craig felt sick again for the rest of the day and into the night; he may have caught something from Packman who shared some hot tea.
8/10 Craig felt better as Jean and Don dropped us off in downtown Waynesboro. Enjoyed the day and drove the southern part of Skyline Drive. Camped that night at Creekside Campground in Edinburgh VA...cannot get enough camping!
8/11 Ate breakfast at Denny's and drove the rest of the way home. THE END.





We thank all our friends and family for your support, help, thoughts and prayers that made this possible for us to do.

Confessions of a Neatnik Backpacker

Nancy started this trip determined to keep her things Clean, Neat, and in Order. Only Order seemed to be achievable to a decent degree. Nancy can't believe how much she has lowered her cleanliness standards to be able to live out in nature as a fast nomad.  Craig also stretched his definition of cleanliness.

Here are some things that we experienced that one would never do until he/she backpacked for more than a month:

1. Dirty and Sanitary have two different meanings.  Clean your hands after you do number two, everything else is just dirt.

2. Licking fingers saves the weight of napkins. Even if there is more than just food on your fingers….

3. You don't need 3 cleanup bowls for bathing, urinating in tent, and trash. One will do.

4. Licking dinnerware is a good substitute for a dishwasher.

5. The 3 (or 5) second "eating after dropping food" rule no longer seems to apply.  If you are hungry, eat it. And all backpackers are hungry.

6. Cutting garlic bulbs with your teeth is more efficient than using a knife because you don't need to clean the knife.

7. It is much more efficient to dig one hole for two people doing number two.

8. You will use your bath bowl to fill your drinking water bottle if desperate. Of course you will treat the water before drinking.

9. If chocolate melts on the inside of a Snickers wrapper, you can place the wrapper in your mouth and suck out the chocolate to keep the used wrapper from soiling your gear.  This is important because bears are strongly drawn to the scent of chocolate.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Made it to Waynesboro (by car anyway)

We're done hiking and making our way home. Here are some updates and will make it more current later.

7/25 Slept on the porch of the bunkhouse because of the difficulty of hoisting the dog to the second floor of the bunkhouse up the ladder. Bitten by no-see-ums for the first couple hours of the night, nice the rest of the night, as we could see the stars.
7/26 Had a communal breakfast (just like dinner) where everyone helped setup or cleanup, kind of odd considering we paid a fair amount to be biggie tho. Checked into the semi-private room after a little confusion about what room we had. Neville and Michael (owners) hinted that we should give Kayenta a bath, so we did. Got our massages which were spectacular. Had a nice dinner with tourists and other hikers, including Flying Irishman from Dublin.
7/27 Left after breakfast at Wood's Hole, and giving them our "bounce" box to send home. We will do without it for the rest of the trip. After a torrential storm, caught up to Achilles on the way to Pearisburg VA. Walked to Pearisburg and called a shuttle intending to stay at the Holy Family Hostel. We got out of the car and the Priest chewed us out about having a dog and trying to stay. Craig neglected to read the "no pets" verbiage in the A.T. Guide. After Craig shouted back the priest commented on how nice Kayenta seemed. Achilles stayed at the hostel while we went to the Holiday Lodge where the person was super friendly.
7/28 Resupplied and ran into Achilles before checking out of the hotel. He seemed to appear out of nowhere...that's probably the last we will see him. Caught up to the Flying Irishman on the way to Rice Field Shelter where we spent the night. This shelter had a nice view of the town...would have been a little better in the morning if the fog was not present.
7/29 Very cool foggy morning. 16.5 mile day to Bailey Gap shelter nearing dusk. Lots of ticks in this area. Flying Irishman stayed at the shelted as well. Nancy had a rough hiking day, seemed to trip and stumble over everthing.
7/30 Stopped for some water and Kayenta followed as usual on our water run. She decided to make a bed in what turned out to be a nest of bees. She was stung at least twice if not more. Hiked to Laurel Creek shelter where we saw the Irishman right before he left for the next shelter...(days layer we read in journals that he went two more shelters, a total of 27 miles for him) He wants to get to Harpers Ferry by mid-August. Late at night Craig heard and spotted a bat hanging in the
7/31 Hiked thru sunny hot open farm fields and over many stiles where Craig had to airlift Kayenta...very exhausting. Saw the oldest and second largest oak tree on the A.T. Our hiking friend Sharon S contacted us and said she may be able to bring our car to Waynesboro; we will find a ride to the car at the end of our trip and spend the night there. We hiked a long ridge and saw views of a storm that never got to us, stayed at Niday shelter.
8/1 Kayenta was not enthusiastic in the morning as she was holed up under the shelter. However she hiked out. Hiked to a monument dedicated to Audie Murphy, the most decorated WW II vet. He died in a plane crash nearby. Found what we think was trail magic-mashed potatoes, raman noodles and tuna packs. Stayed at Pickle Branch shelter after a day of hot and very humid hiking.
8/2 Hiked to the Dragon's tooth overlook which was very scenic, but the hike out was the toughest downhill over rockfaces so far...especially with a backpack and a dog. We were elated that we chose not to do this hike at the end of the previous day. Hiked to the Four Pines hostel which is a 3 bay garage with a shower and toilet...donation only requested. We called the owner Joe who stopped up and fried some deer meat for Cushie who needs to put on some weight. Then he took us to an AYCE dinner and grocery store for resupply. The road was closed to these places, so he drove us in a golf cart thru some pretty rough terrain. It was the wildest ride Nancy had had in a long time, Craig was in the back bouncing around trying to hold down the grocery items while the cart went up and down steep terrain, through mud puddles and under low tree branches. This would be an unforgetable resupply trip. Slept at the hostel.
8/3 Hiked to McAfee Knob where we met some fun day hikers who liked the kilts and Cushie. Walked thru Tinker Cliffs which was just as beautiful as McAfee Knob. Stayed at Lamberts Meadow shelter.
8/4 Met our first SOBO (Southbound) thru hiker; he had been hiking 25 miles per day to get this far south from Maine. Stopped in Daleville VA for water purifier advice at the outfitter and for lunch. Kayenta was limping more than her usual morning "get-it-all-going" limp so we decided to stay at the HoJo in town. Kayenta rolled on the carpet in joyous celebration...well played! Craig took a dip in the pool while Nancy made some phone calls, one of which resulted in a potential ride to Waynesboro at the end of our trip.
8/5 Made the decision to hike shelter to shelter unless Kayenta loses the limp. Today was the hottest most humid day so even 5 miles was a challenge for Kayenta. Met first time section hiker Mark and his dog Felix. Made it to Fullhardt Knob shelter where we also met thru hiker Packman from Philly. It was the begining of a lot of comedy between Packman and Mark. That night a lot of rain came, and Mark's hammock fell due to operator error. He had to sleep that night on the shelter floor with no pad. At 2am Packman decided to make a large fire and check out the hammock since the rains had stopped.

Will fill in other details later.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Leaving from Daleville VA Today

Stayed in town because of Kayenta's back leg issue (think she was stung by a bee a couple days ago). We will be hiking low miles and watching her until Thursday; then getting a ride to Waynesboro where our car was dropped off by our hiking friends.