Saturday, June 6, 2009


The following is a random list of thoughts that I have about my hike.

1- It is very difficult to leave family and friends for 6-7 months.

2- I loved the experience, the people I met, the support I received and the hike itself.

3- I learned more about family and friends then I could have believed. The support I received from them was amazing and fantastic. Their concern for my safety was overwhelming, but often not well founded. Those afraid of snakes knew the snakes were going to get me. Others said it would be the bears. Did I not know what could get me if I was alone in the woods?

4- I was carrying to much weight. A couple days I probably started the morning with 45 lbs. It must be reduced to 35 lbs or lower for an old person like me.

5- I am glad I started April 1 in Damascus, VA and not March 1st at Springer Mt., GA. Cold weather is not to bad if you have the right clothing, but winter clothing adds more weight.

6- By starting in Damascus I missed the hoards departing Springer Mt. and had access to shelters if I wanted to use them.

7- The really strong hikers that left Springer Mt. around March 1st caught and passed me, but I got to spend a night or have lunch with several of them.They were really hiking machines, both physically and mentally. Advice they gave me was invaluable.

8- Of the 720 miles from Springer Mt., GA to Daleville, VA(near Roanoke) I have hiked all but approximately 15 miles over the years. In the future I will probably complete those three sections and then section hike the AT from Daleville to Maine over the coming years.

9- I will miss the unlimited eating now that my energy output has dropped dramatically.

Day 27 - April 27

Day 27 Journal Entry: Betty called at 6:30 am and said that our brother-in-law had been taken to the hospital by ambulance. A couple hours later I decided it was time to return to regular society and got a limo home.

Day 26 - April 26

Day 26 Journal Entry: It was very warm last night. I would guess the temperature was in the upper 50's when I got up. When I arrived at the Howard Johnson in Daleville at 1pm it was 88 deg. The air conditioning feels great. Tomorrow is a down day and Betty, Lucy and Ben are coming to visit. I talked to Lyle, Darlene, Lynn, Betty and the Gerhardts today. I talked to a trail volunteer that had seen a black bear. He said it was the third one he had seen in his lifetime living around here. I saw and talked to numerous weekend hikers. Most of them were locals and I enjoyed their info about the local area. It is time to sleep on a real mattress and bed. Goodnight.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Day 25 - Apr. 25

Flowers enroute to McAfee Knob - McAfee Knob - Roanoke Airport from McAfee knob - Views from Tinker Cliffs(2 pics)

Day 25 Journal Entry: Had a good start for the day when a gentleman gave me a 1.0 mile ride from the Catawba General Store to the AT. I then hiked the 10.4 miles to the Lamberts Meadow Shelter. It was a hot, about 85 deg., so I drank lots of water. Today's visibility was excellent so the views were great from McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs. To the west I could see beautiful valleys and to the east I could see Roanoke and the Roanoke airport. Shelter has one other thru hiker and several people hiking for the weekend. Two hikers that got here early watched the resident black snake catch a mouse. YEA SNAKE! Daleville tomorrow and a down day on Monday. Betty is suppose to visit. Can't wait. Good night.

Day 24 - Apr. 24

View from Dragon Tooth - General Store Sign - Catawba Valley General Store

Day 24 Journal Entry: I got up this morning and it was 48 deg. That makes getting going easier. However, this afternoon it was up in the low 80's. I hiked 12.6 miles today with a .8 mi. side trip to VA Hwy 624. Today there was a lot of up, down, up, down and rough trail. With the heat it was a draining day. Good news is that I got a ride from the AT to Catawba, VA and that I ate at the Home Place Restaurant. Meals were family style and I had fried chicken, roast beef, biscuits, potatoes, gravy, green beans, mac and cheese, and peach cobbler. Tonight I regained my appetite. The Catawba Valley General Store lets you pitch your tent in a small field or sleep on the floor in the garage/rec building for $3. What a deal. Sweet dreams.

Day 23 - April 23

Eggs in nest at Trail register(2 pics) - Red buds blooming - Me at Audie Murphy Memorial - Audie Murphy Memorial

Day 23 Journal Entry: Highlight of the day was"Trail Magic". 1 & 1/2 miles after I left the Niday Shelter there it was. I had 2 miniature 3 Musketeers and a Sierra Mist. What a lift for the spirits. I only hiked 10.1 miles, it was sunny and 72 deg. so it made for a good day. At the halfway mark there was a memorial to Audie Murphy. Murphy was the most decorated US serviceman of WW II, the highest honor being the Medal of Honor. He was killed in 1971 when the plane he was flying in hit the mountain near the memorial. Tonight Sunny and I are the only two in the Pickle Branch Shelter. Tomorrow to Catawba for the Homeplace Restaurant for the buffet. Goodnight.

Day 22 - Apr. 22

Iris type flowers along trail.

Day 22 Journal Entry: I started the day with light snow and a temperature of 34 deg. As I walked to the first shelter for lunch, heavier snow and sleet was added. One of the thru hikers that I lunched with had no long pants and no gloves. Those people that started hiking in Georgia in Feb. and Mar. are tough. By evening the sun was shining and it was 48 deg. when I arrived at the Niday Shelter. Days total mileage was 15.4 miles. I feel pretty well except my feet ache. After I get my boots off and my Crocs on and then go to bed they get better by the hour. It is suppose to warm up tomorrow and be sunny. Hooray

Day 21 - April 21

Burros at a farm along the AT.

Day 21 Journal Entry: I hiked 15.5 miles and tented where the AT crosses VA Hwy. 601. Probably need to to add a couple extra miles for the time I was temporarily disoriented. Started the day with some rain, then some sleet and finished off with some hail. By late afternoon the sun came out and it was cool but relatively pleasant. My tent site was not great, but I was tired and it was time to quit. I feel pretty good for having hiked the miles that I did.

Day 20 - April 20

Privy at Pine Swamp Branch Shelter - Fireplace at Shelter - Pine Swamp Branch Shelter

Day 20 Journal Entry: It poured down last night at the Rice Field Shelter, but Pen J and I were in the shelter so we slept well. The rain stopped about daybreak, so we were able to get up and go. Pen J left about 45 min. before I did. For the first couple hours it was foggy, but then we had broken clouds most of the day. I hiked the 12.5 mi. to the Pine Swamp Branch Shelter in about 5 & 1/2 hrs. I should have slowed my pace. When I got to the shelter it took me way to long to recover. I need to slow my pace, take more breaks and eat more enroute. When I got to the shelter Pen J was there, but after 20 minutes he headed to the next shelter. It is 8:30 with no other hikers so it looks like I will have the whole place to myself. I have cell phone reception so I got to talk to Betty. Good Night, John Boy

Day 19 - Apr. 19

Flowers on the trial while hiking to Rice Field Shelter

Day 19 Journal Entry: Hiked 1 mi. to the AT and then 6.8 miles to the Rice Field Shelter. Had one climb of about 1,200 ft. in less than a mile. After that I recovered pretty well. Met Pen J and the two of us are here for the night. It is raining now and the sound on the tin roof is good. Suppose to rain all night and then stop tomorrow. Showers for a couple days and then clear. Hope to make 12-14 miles tomorrow.

Cookymann-Regular Society

I am back into the regular world and will update my blog with the last week of hiking that I did. Thanks to everyone for their support of Betty and I during the month of April. Larry

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cookymann Is Off The Trail

I came off the trail on Monday, April 27. My brother- in-law is very, very ill. It was time for me to get back to regular society. I will update the blog with my last week of hiking activity as I get time. Thanks to all of you for all the support you have given Betty and I during my hike. Cookymann

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Map of progress

(Click for larger version)

I'm sure there are better ways to do this, and googlemaps isn't showing this by AT route, but here's an idea of how far he's gone to this point. 
Day 1 was Point A, Damascus VA. 
Day 24 was Point B, Catawba, VA. 
Distance between the two points: 236 miles. 

Day 24 - Catawba

Cookymann made it to Catawba for the buffet dinner. Heading out on Sunday to make it to Roanoke by Monday... Mom will meet him there for a down day. 

The distance on the Appalachian Trail between
VA311-Catawba, VA and
Baxter Peak-Katahdin, ME is
1,479.5 miles.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Day 23

Dad called around noon today and was 5 miles north of Niday Shelter, and was aiming to make it to Pickle Branch or further towards Catawba. There's a buffet dinner in Catawba that he might try to make tomorrow. Good motivation, I suppose. 

The distance on the Appalachian Trail between
Pickle Branch Shelter Side Trail, VA and
Baxter Peak-Katahdin, ME is
1,492.1 miles.