Monday, April 29, 2013

Let them eat

Sourdough and Anne twisted our arms for a very memorable night in Chattanooga for pizza, beer and cake!


View from the Chattanooga Arboretum site of this years GET annual board meeting.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cosmic Brownies

The official trail food...


No hiker caption needed!

Busy minds

GET Board members hard at work: Levonn, Lloyd, Tom, Jim and wife Pat, Marty, Pat, Shad and Pete. The view is distracting.

A visit from Camp McDowell

Kudos to Fiskars & Alandika for driving up to Chattanooga for a quick visit, a ridiculous resupply, & a long hike in the rain! Fiskars got to visit Spot... I got to visit Izzy. Thank you ladies! You were sunshine on a cloudy day!


The Humphrey House at the arboretum was perfect for the GET board meeting. Chattanooga TN is friendly and beautiful. A perfect trail town.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hidden Valley B&B

The Great Eastern Trail goes right past Hidden Valley Bed & Breakfast. Our stay here was nothing short of magical. One can't help but relax and unwind in this homey atmosphere. We feel so lucky to have had the chance to hear (some of the) history and enjoy the surroundings. This is a do-not-miss stop on the Great Eastern Trail! Thank you for a wonderful stay!

Bath County VA

Bath County is lucky to have Maggie and so are we! Thanks to her, we were able to spread the word about the Great Eastern Trail, meet some fabulous people, and enjoy a delicious supper at Cucci's! We were able to see parts of Bath County that we otherwise wouldn't have seen - what a piece of heaven this area is. We're excited that our 1000th mile will be in the area. Thanks to Bath County for welcoming the GET (and us) - it is obvious that a lot of hard work has gone into planning and maintaining this section.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A day of misadventures

Someday we will look back on today and laugh. Not today - it is way past hiker midnight. The short version is today we lost each other!  Oops! Tomorrow we enter the Headwaters Section.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Yep- HillBillBart enjoying Pinot and Peanut butter at the Graham Shelter on the Allegheny Trail.

Allegheny Trail beauty

The view and shelter has been much enjoyed by us thanks to the Graham family hosting it and hikers on their land. Matthew Bordas earned an Eagle Scout rank building it. Thanks to all private land owners for letting hikers pass through. Lots of trail would not be possible without your generosity.

White Sulphur Springs

White Sulphur Springs WV! Love this town brings back memories as a kid riding through for our annual squirrel hunt stopping to view the trout at the hatchery. Our stay at the Village Inn was delightful. We were soaking wet when we arrived.

Friday, April 19, 2013

roadwalk into White Sulphur Springs

Jo comin through the train tunnel near White Sulphur Springs. Water diverted on right and further up out of view a man made concrete water fall from the top.

Allegheny Trail gap

Moncove Lake WV to White Sulphur Springs WV. 17 miles of ominous weather but cool view of the Tuckahoe Dam.

On to San Francisco!

Out of cell service for last 3 days. That is why the calm smile. Jo made me a dandelion head band. Looks cool but don't soak up sweat like a bandanna.

Route 100

Between Narrows and Pearisburg VA on rt 100 on our way to link up with the AT.

April 17th

Hello from Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory! No picture can do this place justice - 360 degree views of what seems like all of Virginia and West Virginia! Today we left the Appalachian Trail and headed out onto the Allegheny Trail. 16 miles later, we have the best supper spot ever. Today on the ALT, Bart saw a mama bear and 2 cubs. Yesterday on the AT, I saw a red-spotted purple. I think we were equally excited. Huge thanks to the West Virginia Scenic Trails Association volunteers for the excellent blazing - I felt like we were following the yellow brick road to the Emerald City!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Friends in Narrows

Jo, Jo and Judy hanging out at the coolest shop I've been too in a long time. The Narrows Gift Shop and Art Gallery that hosts local artisans. Posts cards and ALPACA SOX left the building with us.
Another big hug to Jo for putting this all together and her efforts to make Narrows shine.

Thanks MacArthur Inn!

Allen owner of the historic MacArthur Inn housed us tonight and hosted a luncheon for our arrival in Narrows VA. The MacArthur Inn is a hiker friendly haven.

Narrows 2

Narrows is a lovely small town. Perfect for hikers.


A potential GET town. Our 6th state is VA.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A "rest"

OK I had to take a day off to -well- to do stuff. Not like I took a day off. Hard at it!

Hinton, WV

We didn't get a picture of both of us here, because Jo was melting into a puddle when we took this photo.
Hinton, WV is the last trail-town we hiked through in southern West Virginia.  It did not disappoint!  What a beautiful part of the world this is.  
 When we got to the dam, we knew we were close to town.  It was about 900 degrees outside, and so we stopped at the best Dairy Queen I've ever been to.  The view from there is spectacular.

While there, we met a local who shared stories with us and whose son we'd once met while we were on a TuGuNu Hiking Club mission. . . it's a very small world.  Mr. Maddy, it was nice to meet you!

Hinton from Zion Mountain Road
We spent the night with Bart's cousins Christy and Lee, who prepared steak dinner and a bacon-drippin'-with-gravy biscuit feasts for us, which powered us up the mountain.  Thank you for your kind hospitality, and it couldn't have been on a more perfect night - the crazy rain lasted most of the night, turning the Bluestone brown and raising water levels quite a bit.  It was so nice to be inside.

The next morning we awoke and went to a reception held in the Belle Point park.  Mayor Blankenship was there and presented us with a certificate, and everyone who came was excited for us and eager to hear stories.  Thanks to everyone who braved the blustery weather to come out and say hi to us.  Bart was especially happy to see his cousin Kenna and her husband Jimmy - Kenna has been a fixture in Bart's life for a long time and it was nice for me to finally meet them.  Special thanks to Rick Moorefield who helped arrange the event, and to Jessica Lilly, who continues to follow our story (and who I also finally got to meet in person!).

Hinton, it was a wonderful time.  Thanks for being a Great Eastern Trail town!
This guy watched over us as we got water later in the day.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Virginia welcomed us with picturesque views and warm brews. Jo found them in the ditch.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Zion Mountain Road

A view above Hinton in Zion Mt Road today.


What a send off for me and Jo today in Hinton. Lots of pictures to come once we get to a computer so look for them. So stay in touch! Much love HillBillyBart & Someday Jo

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bluestone Lake

Just one view of the Bluestone Lake we were able to enjoy.

85 degrees

Me diggin on some DQ in Hinton today. The trail was too close and we were too hot.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


One of the best sections of trail ever:

Mountain Stream Section

7 stream crossings today. I have to say they felt good.

Evening on the Bluestone

My view for the night. Bluestone River. My view for the evening of the Bluestone River. The Spam is oven roasted turkey! I know- I'm spoiled.

(Jo got the SPAM in the mail a year and a half ago from her sister-- thanks, Jes!)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Calling it

One of the questions we get asked a lot is about what it's like to hike with just one other person.  Most of my long-distance hiking has taken place on the Appalachian Trail, where even as a southbounder, there we always other people around.  On the Great Eastern Trail, it's been the Bart-and-Jo show, 24/7.  Some of our friends have come to join us for a section and thankfully lots of time with Tim and Paul here in West Virginia!  It brightens our day to have company.  To folks who have hiked sections with us: for days and even weeks after you leave us, we'll still be thinking back to things you brought up. You give our brains new ideas to mull over.

So what is it like, hiking with just one other person?

In a way, it's easier: when you hike in large groups, the slowest in that group is the person who sets the pace. When one gets sick, the whole group stays behind.  I only have to worry about Bart (although that is arguably a full-time job).  I know him well enough to anticipate problems we will have (and vice-versa).  Also, by the end of this, I will have a best friend for life, because no one else will ever understand the hilarity and insanity of certain situations we've found ourselves in.  One word can set us off laughing, and wherever life leads us, we'll have to remain friends because you just had to be there.

But in a way, it's harder to hike with just one person: Especially in sections where we have to choose-our-own-adventure, this can be a pretty stressful trail.  We have only each other to discuss things with, and it can get heated.  Bart and I have very different philosophies on some aspects of hiking, and trying to make it mesh can be really challenging, and even more so because we often don't have a third party to complain to/counsel us/be a tiebreaker. 

I'm really happy with how we've been able to spend 3 months together and not kill each other.  This bodes well for the upcoming 2 months.  We've got some ground rules and we're both really good at sticking to them.  Basically, they are:
  • We connect everything by foot, even if we don't want to.
  • Either of us can "call it" - end the hiking day at any time, at any place, for any reason.
Very few times has either of us had to call it.  I called it in Georgia when our friend Ramar offered up his yard to camp in when my ankle hurt so bad.  I called it last week when my foot gave out on me after only 5 miles.  I called it a couple of times in Chattanooga when I was super sick.  And today, Bart called it.  We took yesterday off to deal with some loose ends here in Mullens, and it was a super-productive day, but some loose ends remained.  It is a beautiful day and I want to hike so badly, but I am happy that it's my turn to gracefully accept that he called it.

I won't hike today, but I will watch Sula drinking water from Bart's Camelback bitevalve:

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Water crossings

Devils Fork Creek running high and cold today. Twice we had to get wet to cross. So cold it made my teeth hurt.
Yep- my dog Sula actually loves the water crossings.

Jo, not so much.

Views near Egeria

 Take me home, country roads!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Mullens --> Devils Fork

My cousin Dylan Saunders Joined in on the hike from Mullens to Devils Fork. He's holding the map we needed to traverse this section.

My dog Sula taking a mud bath!

Beautiful day and fantastic views!

Convenience in the woods is rare here in WV. Nice find today.

Friday, April 5, 2013


Jo celebrating her car "Pippi" starting. I unfortunately don't have a pic of her disappointing reaction of its demise.


Sula after our hike into Mullens. My oh my! 13 miles tomorrow will bring more of this down time.