I have traveled over the Blue Rigdge range and am now into the Shennendoah National Park (Skyline Drive). This is a 108 mile section and it is a very popular tourist (motor) destination. Memorial weekend, tourists, picnic baskets, and stinky thru-hikers...should be an interesting combination. I'm meeting Gumpy today for breakfast. He's a doc from NH and is very familiar with the Whites and we walked with Gump and his daughter Peeper for several days back in April. He's going to move ahead today and it will be great to see him. The trail is very physically demanding. The physical demands do not come close to the pshycological demands. People are dropping and the pack is thinning. Some people are getting rides ahead and skipping hard sections. I am walking with a good group of guys who all seem comitted to summiting Katahdin. They don't skip. Aches, pains, infections, and so on are discussed as if they are inanimate objects. For instance, one fellow, Hawk, has a problem with his foot. He thinks the best thing to do is cut it off. Skeeter thinks we should all throw rocks at the foot. I have now been in at least a dozen creeks rivers or waterfalls. The water in the mountains is ice cold and very refreshing...and numbing. I am seeing myself very differently now. I am being asked by "civilians" along the way..."why are you walking the trail, what do you expect to get out of it?" At one point in time, before I started, I thought I knew the answer. Now I just very honestly tell them..."I don't know." I am out there now, walking is just a way of staying out there. Emotionally, I climb just as high as I do on the summits of mountains, and the same goes for the valleys. It is amazing to actually be alive and experience this state of mind and body.
Many of these posts are by Shelia Campbell, Michael's wife <3
Bath County, Kentucky resident, Michael Campbell, is hiking the entire Appalachian Trail to raise funds for the not-for-profit group dedicated to protecting Kentucky’s native forests, Kentucky Heartwood. Michael, a long-time member of Kentucky Heartwood, began his hike on March 22 at Springer Mountain, Georgia. By the first of September, after covering 2,181 miles of trail by foot, Michael will reach Katadhin Mountain in Maine and complete the entire trail.