The Appalacian Trail
Our first backpacking trip was on the AT, a forty two mile trek
from the Fox Creek trailhead on Virginia State Road 603 to
Damascus, Virginia. For the first two days, Janet was doing
well, but I wanted to be helicoptered out. However, the last
two days, I caught my wind and was feeling pretty good. Most of
the hiking on the AT is done from the South to the North,
especially by through-hikers, but we did our segment from North
to South so we could finish up in Damascus. We had never done
any backpacking except for our Alaska mountaineering course and
the Mt. Rainier trip, but although they required some
backpacking, hiking and camping, they weren't really
backpacking trips, so this was really our first time and also
the first time on our own. Our packs weighed 45 pounds and it
didn't take too long before we realized that was a lot of
weight. After the trip, we took a look at everything we carried
and bought a lot of new gear with weight in mind. We took 15
pounds off the total pack weight. That's a huge deal when you
are carrying it on your back all day.
Trailhead at Fox Creek. We have to WALK back to the
Note the survey marker next to my right foot. It marks the
top of Mt. Rogers, highest point in Virginia at 5,729 feet.
Mt. Rogers is in Grayson Highlands State Park on a spur off
the AT. The summit of Mt. Rogers was completely different
from any of the forests we hiked through on this segment of
the AT. It was more like a temperate rainforest in the
Northwest, misty, damp and very thick.
One of the shelters built for hikers on the AT.