I am forwarding the email I received from Michael yesterday. I talked
to him last night and again today. They were in the hotel last night.
They have eaten well, slept well, and Michael said he has taken 2
showers and a bath since he got there yesterday. He also said town
makes him soft. He eats too much and rests too much. I guess he also
thinks he is too clean. lol
Today he was on top of a mountain with Wiffle and Hawk. They were
waiting on Branden, Polaris and Jaybird to catch up since they had
dropped behind about a mile and a half. I'm glad Michael was waiting.
It was starting to storm but since we talked quite a while Branden
should have been arriving any minute.
I didn't find out about the new shoes he would be getting from the
Salomon company until after I had already mailed new shoes I bought
yesterday. I'm sure he will be mailing a pair back home. I frequently
receive boxes of items they have both decided are too heavy or
unnecessary. Before they left they even cut the tags out of their
clothing and off their sleeping bags. They also cut their toothbrushes
in half. Every ounce counts when you are carrying it 2180 miles.
eMail from Michael -
I am using the computer in a Comfort Inn in Atkins VA.
I love you. I got your mail drop in Atkins today and got your note. Its now almost two weeks old. I am one day off the pacing schedule so you can see that its just a guess.
I am with Wiffle, Hawk, Polaris and Jaybird, and of course, Skeeter.
We are past Damascus and into a different kind of terrain. Nothing
easy about it but its not 1,500 ft. climbs followed by 800 ft.
climbs, and so on. We are entering farm land now. Today I walked past
a one room school house "museum" and the door was open and the
schoolhouse was full of kids. They looked out the door at me so I
waived and moved on.
I'm doing 15- 20 mile days but I'm feeling tired sometimes.
I am not losing weight. I am sleeping well. I haven't
seen a bear. I have started swimming in creeks and sitting in
waterfalls to cool off.
I am sending more stuff home to lighten my pack.
I don't think I'll see much more extremely cold weather but I'm
keeping a pair of long johns and a down jacket just in case.
I crossed the Grayson Highlands the other night, the night I called, and
a terrible black and green cloud came upn the valley toward us and
hail fell on the shelter like crazy. Maybe Wiffle's blog shows it.
People are facebooking stuff, wiffle and others so maybe you can find
stuff there on the facebook.
A couple that we hike with sometimes, Hungus and Pace, hunkered down cause they got caught up in the rocks in the highlands during the lightning and they were using a huge rock for shelter and lightning struck close to them. Hungus' leg was
against the rock and she was leaning on him and they both got juiced
but nothing bad. Just scary.
Had a great camp a couple of nights ago
in a little spot off the trail and down by the spring. Perfect.
I'm guessing that you are letting people know what we are doing so tell
them about me during the first lightning storm...it was about 45
minutes before the storm that got Hungus and Pace. I was up and high
in the rocks and saw three storms moving in different directions,
never had seen that before but don't usually stand in the open at
5,000 plus feet. Figured that wasn't a good sign so I took off trail
down into a swail and put my hiking pole on the trail, covered my pack
(with metal stuff in it) and grabbed my foam sleeping pad and a rain
coat and started into as low a place as I could get. I squatted on
the pad and got hailed on and rained on but not struck by lightning.
It works. Stay away from ridges, big rocks, big trees and put
something to insulate yourself between you and the ground. I
floated down a cold creek yesterday on the same old sleeping pad so
there's a dual use right there.
Wildflowers not as abundant now, the soil is different, rocky, and the trees are fully leafed out. It was 89 yesterday. I'm finished with one fourth of the trip.
I'm treating VA as if it were six states because the trail is so long here and the
terrain changes six different times. I will be looking forward to
meeting you in Waynesboro. I got new shoes for free, Wiffle showed me
how so don't worry about all we talked about with Woody and such.
Saloman is sending them to me at the same outfitter's store your are
sending the next drop to. I think its Daleville, but Im not sure.
Make sure to tell my Mom and Dad that I'm doing o.k.
I love you and I'll see you soon.
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.