Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lexington, VA


Hi all,
I'm here in Lexington, VA with Nicole and my parents taking a day off from the trail. I've been treated to several great meals and even a massage. Nicole is going to hike with me for the next couple of days through central VA. She's brought me a new pair of shoes which are much needed after 740 miles in my old pair. My pack weight has dropped signficantly since the warm weather has hit, despite increasing my food supply. I've sent my cold weather gear, camp shoes and other misc items home. My pack weighs about 20-23 pounds with food and water and I'm able to hike pretty fast. However, I'm planning to slow my pace (15-20 miles) after averaging over 25 miles a day since getting to VA. The 10-12 hour days are taking their toll, and although I'm enjoying putting back a lot of miles, I am beginning to feel it in my feet. In addtion to the past few days of consistent downpours, my feet are in desperate need of rest. I'm looking forward to getting to the Shenandoah's in about a week and then Harper's Ferry, WV, the unofficial halfway point! I've come over a third of the way now and am still feeling pretty good. I'm still meeting a lot of new people on the trail but hope to see some of my 'Slippery Slopers' soon. Take care everyone.

Rocket




Appalachian Treadway 2

video

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'm still alive


Hi everyone. Its been awhile since my last post but all is still well out here. Since entering VA (after Damascus and Trail Days - look for a guy wearing green childrens swim goggles!). I've been doing 25 mile days and have done a couple 30 + mile days. I'm getting tired of hiking ALL day so I'm going to slow it down a bit. Currently, I'm in Daleville, VA at mile 718.6 out of 2175 miles so that's about 1/3 of the way! Southwest VA was beautiful! I did not want to leave there but the miles kept carrying me northbound. So far I've seen 2 bears, some turkey, deer everyday and other loads of other 'forest creatures'. It's been raining for a few days straight now, so hard at times that there's no need for a rain jacket. I've been soaked to the bone for 3 days and my feet are like raisins but are finally drying out. I'm very excited for this weekend because my parents and Nicole are coming to see me again! I hope all is well with everyone. I'll update again soon!

Rocket



video

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Damascus, VA


I'm now in Damascus, VA, have been since Thursday evening. Trail Days is going on right now and this town caters to thru-hikers! I'm staying at a hostel called 'The Place' which is a ran by a Methodist Church. The Baptist Church next door is where I spend most of my time though and I'll tell you why. They provide free hot showers out of a disaster relief trailer, free internet, free coffee, a free dinner, free snacks and hiker goody bags, and the best part, free medical check ups. They did a complete blood work up, body fat test and advice to keeping my body fat higher than what it was at 12 %, foot care (a guy actually cleaned my feet and then gave me free socks) and then a consoltation with a doctor! Did I mention this was all FREE! It is absolutely amazing what this church does for hikers and bikers every single year so thanks to the Baptist Church of Damascus, VA! Today the town will have a hiker parade and I've heard that the locals throw water balloons and squirt you with water guns. Then there is the talent show and maybe music again tonight. I'm currently hanging out with the 'Slippery Slope' crew. I'm planning to crawl out of this town either tonight or tomorrow, or until they kick me out.

Rocket

P.S. Mom and Dad, I've met a lot of people that loved your trail magic and said thank you so much! Oh! And I saw my first bear and cub on Thursday! I have a video so I'll upload it when I can.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Photos

Since hanging out in Boone, NC for a couple of days I have found time to add some photos and some more videos from the past few weeks. Enjoy!

-Rocket

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Roan Mountain, NC


I just got to Roan Mountain, NC early this morning where my parents and brother Josh and cousin Casey were waiting for me. I'm taking a couple days off to hang out with them in Boone, NC then Nicole (my girlfriend) arrives on Sunday to hike with me for a view days! The past week has been pretty great, except for the rain and thunderstorms. The trail has been pretty rough going, very wet and soggy. Over the past week I get soaked to the bone in the morning then the sun usually dries me out by afternoon. I've got stuck on a couple balds and high ridges during some storms and it is no fun. Aside from the strong, bitter cold winds I was pretty nervous being so exposed to the elements. Its pretty amazing how fast the weather can change out here.

I stayed in Hot Springs, NC last weekend and actually made in time to the French Broad River Music Festival. I did about 45 miles in 2 days but I made it in time for the last night of the festival - awesome time. I've met a lot of great people so far and am looking forward to seeing everyone again in Damascus,VA next weekend for Trail Days. I've hit some big mental marks in the past week too. I past the 300 mile mark, had my two longest days at 27 and 26 miles, back to back, and next week I'll be in VA! My legs and ankles are feeling great but I plan to take my time getting to Damascus, VA...well, I may decide to partake in one of the many AT challenges. The next one coming up is about a 30 mile hike from Vandeventer Shelter, TN to Damascus, VA in one day.

I've had some people ask about my trail name 'Rocket' so here it is...I started the trail sick and was pretty congested. Instead of constantly blowing my nose in my handkerchief I would blow snot rockets. After my cold went away mountain allergies hit me and so I again was constantly dealing with a runny nose and so came my name, given to me by my friend Transition.


-Rocket

video

Friday, May 1, 2009

Standing Bear Farm, TN


I'm at Standing Bear Farm hostel today where I stopped for a frozen pizza. I'm headed for Max Patch this afternoon and then on into Hot Springs, NC by Sunday. This is the first chance I've had to use the internet since my last post so I'll quickly catch you up. I've basically gone from Franklin to the Nantahala Outdoor Center (very tough section) to Fontana Dam, and into the Smokies. Spent an afternoon at a biker bar in Gatlinburg, TN...wow, what a place. I just got out of the smokies today and am looking forward to a day off in Hot Springs, NC. Got drenched this morning but all is still good. I'll update soon. OH, I got my trail name...Rocket!

Zach