Subject: Another letter from MIchael
This is a good letter but Michael is on his soapbox for forest
protection. Beware. Seriously, KY Heartwood is a great organization
dedicated to protecting Kentucky native forests. Without these types of
organizations our children and grandchildren may never get to enjoy a
"walk in the woods". KY Heartwood is dear and near to our hearts. If
you can spare a penny a mile for a total of $21.81, please visit the
Kentucky Heartwood website and make a pledge. All pledges are greatly
----Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2012 08:46:41 -0400
Its a little after 8 am and I'm in Sheperdstown WVA. We finished the Shennendoah three day canoe trip parallel to the AT. The river of course runs the valley and the trail runs the ridge. This is called "aqua blazing" and I agreed to do it with five other guys but only if Sheila and I can pick up the 53 miles of trail I missed by canoeing. It was very fun and extremely full of bird wildlife. Great blue herons, green herons, kingfishers, bald eagles, orioles, canada geese, every kind of duck, on and on. There was, of course, great danger as we passed through roaring class I rapids. I even got splashed a couple of times. All in all it was a good rest for the legs and feet and the travel by river is always a favorite of mine. I like my company also. I bought a kilt at good will to wear on the trip down the river and it was nice. The last section just before the take out was bad for the river because some cattle farmer doesn't fence his livestock off from the river and there were black beef cows standing in the water on the bank. But that was about a1/2 mile before the take out so the whole rest of the trip was great. There were really no places to officially camp along the river for us so we had to find our own. Made for good improvising skills. I'm going into Harper's Ferry today to the ATC headquarters and have my picture taken. 1015 miles from Springer Mt. Georgia now and the tradition is to the go to the AT headquarters at the "half-way" point and get your photo taken outside the historic bldg. there. I'm pretty ugly by now, not that I was a whole lot to look at before. But the miles are pretty brutal on an older fellow. The days off the feet in the canoe I think is going to help. I'll be heading into Maryland and Pennsylvania now. Its getting hotter and the water becomes an issue. The trail isn't a bushwack through the wilderness exactly but it also is not a walk through city park. With the heat comes the need for more water but unfortunately water becomes harder to find in this area. Around 20 % of those who start this trek make it. A good number have already dropped. This is reported to be the section where many of the rest of the people have a hard time. I wish all my fellow hikers the best through here and hope everyone stays safe. I am hoping to hook back up with Gumpy. I really like walking with him. I'm back walking with Swiss again. He weighs nothing and is a stick person with a big bushy black beard and afro looking hair. He is a real sweet guy but fearless. I don't think I've seen him eat anything but peanuts. Polaris and Skeeter, well they'll have to tell their own sordid tales about their hike thru the Shennendoah National Park. It sounds like a cross between Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and a prison escape story. I'm looking forward to the next few weeks and I hope everyone is doing well. Please spread the word about the fund raiser. We need to keep as much of this country free from development, logging, and mining as possible. Every where I look is a town with a by-pass, a dead town and a thriving Food Lion and Comfort Inn, with a MacDonald's next door. Rivers, mountains and valleys need our help...rather we need them. I've never see so much beauty so close to so much development. Its weird. The AT is literally a path of green right up the mountains of the east and seems to be guarded closely by the clubs and groups which support and maintain it along the way. We have something similar in KY. The Sheltowee Trace. It runs through the Daniel Boone National Forest from nearly the Ohio River to the Tenn state line. The main difference is that the trace seems to be an annoyance to the District Rangers and protecting and promoting it is not on their agenda. I remeber walking it and seeing the damage done by clear cuts and rampant illegal ATV use. Our USFS officials need constant pressure to keep them on the task of preserving and protecting our own National Recreation Trail. Neglecting the Sheltowee Trace seems to have been the management plan for so many years. Too many years.
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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.