Seems like it’s been a while since we heard from Traveler (aka Jack Dickens) out on the Appalachian Trail. I received 3 e-mails last night from his wife, and will place them in 3 separate posts so as to keep this from being such a huge post. Thankfully, we have our first pictures of Traveler on the trail with a few of the people he’s met along the way.

March 17, 2008 Allen Gap to Hot Springs , N.C. (14.7 miles)
I had a nice 3 day rest break in Hot Springs with Elaine. I took her to Max Patch on Saturday to see the great views. Today she dropped me off about 15 miles north and I slack packed (light pack) back to Elmer’s Sunnybank Inn where I’m staying tonight. Tomorrow the local outfitter will shuttle me back to Allen Gap and I’ll head north. Since I hiked south today, I met some thru-hikers. One of them was Hammer and Nail (man and dog) whom I met initially on February 29, 2008 south of Franklin, N.C. Hammer had stopped in Hot Springs for 4 days to let his feet heal. The dog did not appear to be having any problems. Another thru-hiker was a huge man, trail name Virginia Slim. He’s from Virginia and started from Springer Mtn. the first week of February weighing 360 pounds. He’s now down to 290 pounds and said he thought he could complete the thru-hike after a rough start because of his weight.
Tonight I’m reflecting on what a wonderful life God has given me. Sinner that I am, I know that I am a forgiven one through the work of Jesus Christ my Lord. Thanks be to God!!

Hammer and Nail
March 18, 2008 Allen Gap to Jerry Cabin Shelter (11.7 miles)
Back on the trail north with a heavy pack today. I have had high wind all day. My most clear memory of today will be walking an open ridge line with wind gusts blowing me to the side. I was so glad to finally get off that ridge!!
Tonight I’m in a shelter by myself. Looking for rain tomorrow although I may see snow up here on the mountain top.
March 19, 2008 Jerry Cabin Shelter to Hogback Ridge Shelter (14.7 miles)
Last night Virginia Slim hiked into the shelter about dark. He’s the big man who lost 70 pounds on the trail. I enjoyed his company. Today was a miserable hiking day.
The day began cold and windy. The expected rain began about 11am and continued all day. I got off the trail along a ridge line, but realized it and backtracked to the A.T. I lost about 45 minutes in that adventure. Tonight I’m at the Shelter with Virginia Slim, Gary from Hawaii, whom Elaine and I met in Hot Springs, and Rusty, a section hiker. Hope the rain stops overnight!
March 20, 2008 Hogback Ridge Shelter to Sam’s Gap (2.4 miles)
I woke up this morning to about 1 inch of snow overnight and temperatures in the mid 20’s. My hiking clothes were cold and wet in spite of my best efforts to dry them. My hiking socks were frozen! While my sleeping (camp) clothes were dry, I knew they would get wet if I hiked all day in them. All things considered, I thought it would be risky to press on without a chance to dry out. Virginia Slim, Rusty, and I caught a shuttle into Erwin, Tennessee, a small hiker town. I’m in luxury now at Uncle Johnny’s Nolichucky Hostel with a small (10 x 10) room and a small T.V. I plan to stay here a few days and shuttle out to hike about 45 miles over the next 3 days.
More snow is predicted for early next week. I’m encouraged that I’ve been able to hike 14-18 miles a day with a heavy pack. My legs and feet are holding up well. I pray for warmer and drier weather.
March 21, 2008 Sam’s Gap to Spivey Gap (13.3 miles)
Today was a beautiful sunny day for hiking. The view from Big Bald was comparable to Max Patch, an open bald with a 360-degree mountain view. I encountered a young thru-hiker, trail name Dr. Small Pot, who is the fastest hiker I’ve met. He passed me going up steep Big Bald and was moving so fast uphill that I was almost embarrassed to follow him! He stopped for lunch on Big Bald where I got his photo (below). He’s an archeologist who lives near Richmond, Va.

I didn’t realize that yesterday, with all its cold and snow, was the first day of Spring. Today is Good Friday. I spent a lot of time today contemplating the events of Easter. How seemingly tragic, but how wonderful the final victory!

I’ll Include a few extra pictures of hikers he has met along the way. First off, Melty and Ramen

Tyler and Leigh

Last, but certainly not least, Traveler and Privy Monster


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3 Responses to “Catching-up”

  1. Deborah Savage Says:

    I’m glad Dr. Petree shared this with me, we have been trying to keep up. Hard for me not to call him Dr. Dickens . Jack I hope that everything is going good, take care stay safe.. God be with you…
    Deborah Savage

  2. Privy Monster! Says:

    Hello Traveler! I hope and am sure things are well with you. I am still on the trail and am now at Dennis cove for at least the night. Again, many thanks for the Coca Cola at Neel Gap! Happened upon your posting here and thought it at least the thing to say hello. ~ Further, whether of interest to you or no… ‘Ramen’ changed her trail name to ‘Banjo Kelly’ – with good reason obviously as she is still the only person I have met packing a banjo… and still yet further, the only person (and female) I have met thus far that can play ‘Old Time Claw Hammer’ in such a manner as she does. So much is the skill, that I thought it worth mentioning to you as per her mutation in trail name(s).

    Take care and perhaps I’ll hear from you somewhere down the line… though I am of no overt personal inclination to this danged machines. I suppose I am very much computer stupid, but who cares…. I am trudging up and down hills everyday! HAR!


    David – Privy Monster!

  3. mixonitup Says:

    Completely Awesome that Privy Monster has made his presence known here! I’ll have to pass this along to traveler somehow! That just made my day.

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