Progress Report

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Webmaster's Note: Kathleen is returning to Florida and she certainly has my congratulations on getting as far as she did. I was pleased to catch up with her while she was at Harpers Ferry, and it convinced me that I couldn't possibly have done it. This site contains only a small sample of her pictures, but the originals will all be with her in Florida, so if you want a full size copy of any of them, contact her there.

[13th Aug] (By e-mail and phone) I have decided that it is not sensible to try to resume the AT this year. Many well-wishers have told me what I know from experience - hiking over 1000 miles with a tent on my back has been quite an achievement, and although I am sorry not to have finished all in one season, I am quite content with what I have done. I plan to return to Florida by car, and will take my time so that I can re-visit and properly admire some of the sites which I stomped by on foot with my head down earlier in the year!
Will I return next year? Watch this space! Any voulnteers for short sections?

[1st Aug] Boston (By telephone) My legs etc are not getting any better, and I have decided to seek medical advice from a Trail specialist doctor, if I can find one. As I have fallen way behind my schedule I may be forced to call a break for this year, with the opportunity to continue next year.

[30th July] Boston (By telephone) I know that Boston isn't on the route! Amtrak and I did our leap-frog successfully, and hiked  from Pawling, NY to Salisbury, CT. However, my legs and hips are still very painful and I have decided to take another break, staying with Tim in Boston for a while. Amtrak has continued on the trail and I will keep in touch with his progress. I am keen to get back on the trail, but need to be stronger. Hello?

[15th July]  Harpers Ferry (By interview) We have realised that at our present rate we cannot reach before the park closes in September. We have therefore decided to leap-frog up the trail to Pawling, NY, continue from there to Katahdin, and then return to fill in the gaps. The webmaster is ferrying us to Rockville where we pick up a car to drive north.

[12th July] Harpers Ferry. (By telephone.) 1000 miles walked - not too bad! I have been hiking with Amtrak and his beautiful dog, Hayden, for a while and we have decided to have a few days rest here, at what is more or less the half-way point and has a major AT office. (Foreign visitors may not know that it is also a historic town, which featured heavily in the civil war and is where John Brown's body lies mouldering..) I am awaiting the arrival of the webmaster so that I can urge him to work harder!

[8th July] Front Royal. VA. (By telephone.) I have slipped a bit further behind schedule, and am starting to contemplate 'flip-flopping' - transferring to Maine, and walking South. That way I would see many of the friends who I met earlier and who are now well ahead of me. Or I may decide to keep going and accept that I have achieved more than most, even if I don't make it all the way to Mt. Katahdin. My feet are giving me problems, and my shoulder/neck is also painful - as a result of my weight-loss, my pack no longer fits properly. Next stop is Harpers Ferry, and then I reach the half-way point. After that, it's all down-hill, mentally at least.

[16th June] Troutville, VA, 707 miles from the start. (By letter) Good progress since the last report, and I am beginning to wind up the daily mileage. I seem to be about 11 days behind schedule.  Although the mileages (15 - 20 miles per day) may not seem too difficult, there are regular climbs and descents to master, and the trail itself is rarely as smooth as you would like. Incidentally, the trail maintenance in Virginia has been generally excellent, and that helps a lot.

[10th June] Pearisburg, VA, c. 616 miles from the start. (By cell-phone.) EJ and Jodie have decided to give up for this year, as Jodie's knee was too painful. They may try again in the future. I am pressing on doggedly, and getting well into my stride. Having torn myself away from the luxury of the Iron Mountain Inn, I had an excellent time at the Damascus trail days, staying about a week but making progress by slack-packing (aka freedom hiking) each day. I am now on the trail proper again, and making good progress, although I am about 12 days behind my schedule. I am getting faster, and my pack is getting ever lighter as I discard all those unnecessary extras. I have swapped my tent for a tarp., saving 2 lbs in the process. Unfortunately I am now so healthy and strong that I have personally put those pounds on myself, plus a little interest!

I understand the web-master is getting very lazy - why does he complain about processing a mere 200 photos? Anyway, if you ask him nicely he may keep changing the pictures, but eventually you'll have to buy my book! 

[15th May] Butler, Tennessee, c. 360 miles from the start. (By e-mail) I am staying in the lap of luxury at the Iron Mountain Inn, Butler. (Check out their web-site to see what I mean!) Things are going well, although the mountains are high and the trail is still very long.
Unfortunately, EJ and Jodie have had to return home again, as Jodie has decided that she can't keep going with her injury. EJ is undecided what to do. I am slackpacking from here for a few days, then I will go on to Damascus, Va for Trail Days. I will return to Butler next week and pick up the trail from where I left off. I am now about ten days behind schedule.

[6th May] Hot Springs, 270 miles from the start. I am staying at Elmers, the "in" place to stay in Hot Springs, and I have been buying even lighter-weight stuff to replace what was already light-weight! In another gamble, I have sent my tent back home and am using a tarp-loke shelter instead. I hope this isn't a big mistake. Today EJ and Jodie have rejoined me, together with a dog, 'Kira' who has apparently always wanted to walk the trail.
Since Fontana Dam I have had all sorts of weather, rain, cold, wind, mist and sun. I have been attacked by chunks of ice falling from the trees. I have been alternately cheerful/happy and exhausted/demoralised. I have made many new friends and had some good laughs along the way. Although we come from such different backgrounds, out here we are all doing the same, fighting the same climbs and weather, trying to consume enough calories, and talking about the trail, the other hikers, and most of all, about food. Everyone is thinner than when they started. We see each other at all the same places - outside the laundromat and inside the outfitters!

[20th April] I reached Fontana Dam (172 miles from the start) on 19th April. I have acquired a trail name ("Lady Kat"), some new friends, and loads of aches and pains in places I didn't know I had! 
Unfortunately EJ and Jodie have had to return home because Jodie has hurt her knee. They hope to rejoin me in three weeks time, and will do the missed section after the end. 
The trip has been much harder than I expected, and the trail through N Carolina has been very tough. Several times a day I contemplate stopping and spending the summer "having fun", but so far every time something really nice has appeared to help my resolve. Do keep your letters coming everybody, they are a great source of comfort! I am about 5 days behind schedule, so bear that in mind when posting mail.

 

 

 

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