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
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
[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?
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
[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
[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
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
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.