April 23, 1998

4/23/98 Knot Maul Branch Shelter

11.3 miles (541.9 total)

Samson received his backpacker oven in Atkins, so he cooked up cinnamon rolls for breakfast - Mmmm! Headed out a little chilly this morning. We had sun most of the morning but the sky was always threatening. We crossed one valley floor that was so spectacular. I can’t put it in words. The pictures just won’t do it justice. Samson said it was like Montana "big sky" country. It was just the combination of rolling green hills, farms, the almost fall colors of the forests and sky. If it had been a little warmer, I would have stayed there all afternoon.

Samson and Delihla on the trail

Everyone loved Delihla, the most gentle dog on the trail

The only other therapists I met on the trail
Blazing Bunions is a speech pathologist
and tAToo is an occupational therapist

Had a lot of Kenya reminders, the wet soil, cow manure smell, and locust trees. Talked to a few lady’s fishing for "horny-heads" in the North Fork of the Holston river. One laughed when she said "did I break your camera?" when I took her picture. After passing Smiley and Samson, it started to rain on and off. Not really bad except when the wind started to blow.

If I was a painter...

Came into camp with a large group of kids already there. Nine boys and two counselors from a camp for kids at risk are out on the trail for a month. So far they’re only been out for four days. They all seem pretty well behaved. So we have 4 to 5 tents up and the shelters full, and that’s without Biz and the dogs, and Smiley and Samson went on too. The sun finally broke up the thunderstorm but its still a little chilly. It’s been fun talking to tAToo about work - students, medicare, etc. He’s taking it easy to Pearisburg so his tendinitis has a chance to get better. Not really sure what to do tomorrow as far as mileage.