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
Trailhead at Fox Creek.  We have to WALK back to the car?!?

vista

mist

Mt. Rogers
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.

shelter


One of the shelters built for hikers on the AT.