I finally got to talk to Michael yesterday. We talked for a long time. He and Branden are still hiking with Hawk, Wiffle Ball, Polaris and Blues Clues. They were spending the night with a relative of Wiffle's. In order to get the free bed and a hot meal they had only hiked 8 miles. They were planning to do 26 miles today. They are only one day behind schedule. The pacing schedule Michael drew up did not allow for zero days or nero (near zero) days. Of course there have been some down days so they are doing well.
They are midway through Virginia. They had just went over the Dragon's Tooth and were heading to McAfee Knob today. He said they are traveling up and down mountains two and three times a day that are the highest, steepest mountains he has ever climbed. They have had lots of rain. They all walked in the rain in the dark other night and had loads of fun. He said they laughed all the way.
Wiffle Ball bought a burgundy sport coat at a Goodwill and starting wearing it everyday on the trail. Michael decided Wiffle looked like a politician so now they have a campaign going...Vote for Wiffle Ball for Mayor of the Appalachian Trail in 2012!!! They are asking other hikers for votes. LOL Hawk is wearing a white tuxedo jacket with tails. He cut the sleeves out of the jacket. These guys are a lot of fun. We all met them when we were in Hot Springs.
He met two ladies on the trail. They are sisters, "Under His Wing and "In His Feathers". They are from Pike County, Kentucky. They have been section hiking the trail for years and are trying to complete Virginia this year. They are 70 and 80 years old!! I had already read about them on Gumpy and Peepers trail journals. When Gumpy and Peeper met up with them the ladies told them they wanted to complete the trail before they die. They said their church supports them but the other parishioners think they are crazy but they don't care because "those people have a hard time going up the church steps and look at us."
Michael said one of them is married to Bernie the Whittler. He whittles while they hike and then passes out his artwork as trail magic. I am amazed at the strength and drive of some of these hikers, especially after hiking a few miles myself. I wish I were as strong willed.
I am going to hike with Michael again next week. My son, Tyler, who lives in Memphis, TN will be coming home and he and I will join them in Waynesboro, Virginia. We plan to hike about a week. Our destination is Front Royal, VA. This section of the trail is 107 miles. I have been excited and not too apprehensive since people have told us Virginia is flat. Michael said now that he has traveled about 230 miles in Virginia he realizes those must have been the same people who said the Earth was flat. Obviously Virginia has it's fair share of mountains. Branden told Amy they had two climbs in one day which were both over 2000 ft elevation gains. Oh, well, I can do it. Just one step in front of the other....."Hike your own hike".
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.