Appalachian Trail at mile 628 | High Sierra Topix  

Appalachian Trail at mile 628

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Appalachian Trail at mile 628

Postby Hetchy » Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:25 am

Howdy my friends!
I have reached mile 628 on the Appalachian Trail. This brings me to the town of Pearisburg Virginia this fine day.
I have to say that the AT is definitely physically the toughest trail I have ever hiked. It's true that the elevations on the PCT and CDT are twice and sometimes four times higher than here but the treadway here is steep.. I mean STEEP! Roots and rocks abound and switchbacks are a rarity. In fact they are only just beginning to install water bars and swales as erosion control measures on the AT.
So far the hardwood forests only show signs of spring up to about 2000 feet elevation but that is changing fast. Snakes, salamanders and songbirds are beginning to be more frequent. They have a bright red salamander here with scarlet red spots that looks just like the ones we have in the Sierra.
This is a beautiful trail despite it's toughness. What it lacks in high mountain scenery it has in thick forest and abundant springs and streams.
The one funny thing about this trail is how difficult it is to get cell service or even find computer time in towns during resupplies. Anyhow I lucked out here in Pearisburg and they have not booted me out of the computer lab yet.
I have lots of photos over on my journal on Postholer.com I am Matt Edwards.
This is quite the experience having hiked the length of the PCT and CDT between Mexico and Canada and now being on the AT.
There really is no way to compare them directly but what another hiker named Mags said fits: The PCT and CDT are wilderness experiences.. the AT is a wild-ness experience.
Some funny quirks on this trail are the three sided structures known as shelters they have every 8 to 15 miles.
I rarely use them since my MLD patrol shelter is so awesome and I am so used to our western way of hiking. However when I do stay in them it is always a fun social experience.
It is wetter than heck out here. I mean it is truly humid most of the time and I get one sunny day per every two foggy or rainy ones. I am very glad I brought a synthetic quilt (MLD spirit 30) with climashield. It's crazy how wet I can be and both my clothes and quilt are dry from body heat every morning. My Montebell thermawrap turned out to be a great choice as well. I walk in the rain with it all the time and it gets wet for sure but never holds much water weight and always dries quickly.
Anyhow I hope you all are getting ready to hike this season! I really miss the Sierra but the AT is a great eye opening experience for me as well.
Cheers Y'all :D
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Hetchy
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Re: Appalachian Trail at mile 628

Postby The Other Tom » Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:30 am

Thanks for posting, Hetchy. Sounds like you are making good time on the trail. Slow down and enjoy it a bit :)
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Re: Appalachian Trail at mile 628

Postby maverick » Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:40 am

Thanks Hetchy for the update, I liked the "Morning frost on the Rhododendrons" pic.
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Re: Appalachian Trail at mile 628

Postby quentinc » Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:31 pm

Hetchy, sounds terrific and I envy you. Personally, I would love the no-switchback extreme gradients. One of the things I can't stand about the PCT (at least in So. Cal.) is the absurd number of switchbacks, which I figure is part of how they managed to stretch 800 air miles into 2700+ of trail.
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Re: Appalachian Trail at mile 628

Postby hikerduane » Fri Apr 15, 2011 9:18 pm

Thank you for the report, good to know.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Appalachian Trail at mile 628

Postby maverick » Sat Apr 16, 2011 4:20 pm

Happy Birthday Hetchy!
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Re: Appalachian Trail at mile 628

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:19 am

Wow! You have already done over 600 miles. I am impressed. Steep hills and rain- sounds brutal. I wish you the best for the rest of your trip.
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