Talked to Michael today. They were in a fire tower on top of a mountain
in North Carolina overlooking Fontana Dam. He said he has been to
Fontana Dam several times but was never able to see visibly until today.
His word was "Beautiful"!
Before they left for the hike Michael and Branden had not decided on
trail names. They really were undecided if they would even choose a
trail name. I guess as it turns out, the trail named Michael...he is
All Smiles. That is a good name. Branden borrowed a name from my
brother-in-law's father. He is now Skeeter. A little story about the
original Skeeter...he made Michael some apple pie moonshine. I wrote
"Skeeter" and his phone number on top of the jar so Michael could
remember to call and thank him. Michael decided instead of calling
Skeeter he would just send back the empty jar for a refill. When
Branden came to visit he thought it was funny I had the man's name and
number on the jar. He said, "Oh, well they will never find him". We
would have a few evening drinks and discuss the trail while we packed up
food and supply boxes and weighed all their gear. Well, Branden really,
really liked the moonshine. So much so that he has chosen the trail
name "Skeeter". Michael said it has just stuck. I think Skeeter 1 will
think it is great there is a Skeeter 2 hiking the AT.
So long for now,
Michael called today from Robbinsville, NC. He said they are doing
great and having fun. They have run into some rain. I would hate that
part of the trip. I hope it doesn't rain on any of the hikes I am doing
with them. lol He said they should be at Clingsman Dome in the Smokies
by Sunday afternoon. They hope to meet a couple of hiking friends
there. I will keep you informed.
Hey, all! Sorry I haven't sent out an update in four days. I have had
to work way too many hours lately plus I really didn't have much news.
I do appreciate everyone's interest.
I didn't hear any news on Sunday.
On Monday, I received the SPOT message, "Yo, we're alive.". They had
actually sent it at 11:23Pm on Sunday.
I received another SPOT message on Monday at 8:49PM. It is always
comforting to receive these "alive" messages. I stayed home Monday and
was working down at the farmhouse when Michael called. He didn't leave
a message so I worried a little. I need to remind myself if anything is
truly wrong I will find out soon enough. Worrying doesn't help.
Branden called back later. He asked me to bring his telephone and
computer when I go to hike with them in Hot Springs, NC. on the 13th.
He wants to update his iPod music. Michael then got on the phone and
asked me to bring his 410 rifle and one bullet so he could shoot Branden
in the ass. They were laughing and giggling like little school girls.
They are having so much fun.
Michael told me another story worth repeating...A couple of weeks before
they left Branden came here to stay and help us out with chores on the
property. (I need to add that he is great to have around. He is like a
son to me plus he is a little handyman.) Dennis, Branden's father came
down one day. He was telling Michael about a guy who used to work with
him in Jackson, TN that is walking the trail. I'm sure you know where
this is going. That's right, Michael and Branden were somewhere or
another on the trail and this guy walks up to Branden and says, "Aren't
you Branden Mesescher?". Michael said he almost ran away because it was
so freaky. Just goes to show what a small world we live in. Michael
agreed with this comment except he added, "Our world is only about three
feet wide but it is real long." He said the guy's trail name is
Firewalker. I don't believe Michael and Branden have trail names yet.
Michael said the weather was in the 80"s on Monday. He said this made
it harder to walk, though.
I got another phone call yesterday morning. They were at the Nantahala
Outsdoors Center getting ready to ask if they could rent
"duckys" (inflatables kayaks) to float down the river. Michael, Tyler
and I did this once. It was a blast. Hopefully it all worked out for
them. I am glad they took a half day off to enjoy themselves. He said
he would call me back after they finished but since he didn't they made
have just had to move on down the road without their river ride.
I received another SPOT message yesterday at 5:31PM.
Kyle Elliott sent me an email today. He said they have traveled 144
I will try to do better on getting these updates out daily.
Thanks again for your support and interest.
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.