The following is a collection of reports on Larry Huemmler as he thru-hikes the entire
Appalachian Trail this year.
Jim Ellis – Editor Back to The Soul of Adventure
9/21/03 Done! Larry called from Woodstock, VT, the place he jumped to last year
to try to beat the weather up north and thus marks completion of the trail for him.
Victor and Evan Sherbrook joined him on the 20th for the weekend to do the last 20
miles together. Congratulations Larry!
9/18/03 Larry called from the summit of Killington, VT. He said it was cold and
breezy and he was making dinner. He has only 28 miles left and sounds completely
9/14/03 Larry called from Spruce Peak Shelter near Mancester, VT with 74.4 miles
to go. Larry said it is a nice shelter with a wood stove and there are several south
bounders staying with him in the shelter. He has a slight cold but he says it is
getting better. He stayed at Stratton pond on Friday, it was beautiful.
9/11/03 Mount Glastonberry, VT. Larry called from the tower on the summit.
He is in the home stretch now having cruised into his last state. Congratulations
Larry for reaching Vermont.
9/7/03 Mount Greylock, MA. Marge and I drove to the Greylock Sperry Road
Campground with our trailer and met Larry right on schedule last weekend. Marge's
friends, whom she had met on a bike trip to Holland, were there. The husband was the
campground manager. Perfect weather, good site and great scenery. We stayed two
nights; Larry took a zero day Sunday and checked out the old Conway Suns [Newspaper]
we brought him and we took a nice hike where there was a great view and four gliders
soaring. The Mount Greylock summit is impressive with great views, and a World
War I memorial and tower at the top. We put him back on the trail in North Adams
8/31/03-9/1/03 Upper Goose Pond cabin, MA: David Ellis, Betty Ann Sharp and I meet
up with Unc at this most wonderful pond side cabin stopover for thru hikers. I hadn’t done
any backpacking since I bulged a disc in my back this winter so I was nervous about the
hike. But we picked an easy hike and we all did fine. It was a very pretty hike in across
some scenic bogs and along the pond. And once we got to the pond it was all worth it.
We had wonderful company of other A.T. hikers and a picture perfect afternoon, with
nothing to do but sit on the dock and soak up the sun. Aah, true relaxation! The next
day we hiked out with Unc and took him to Lee to re-supply and get lunch. I want to
thank Unc for providing the catalyst for getting us out on an overnight backpacking trip
and experiencing its wonders at its best.
Jim Ellis (aka Giardia Jim)
8/29/03 Unc called from the East Mountain Retreat in Great Barrington, MA. A hiker hostel
where he was able to clean up and charge his cell phone. He was planning to hike some
20 miles tomorrow to make it to Upper Goose Pond cabin, where we will meet up with him.
8/25/03 Unc called from Pine Swamp Brook len-to, he is now carrying a cell phone. He
says he is half way through ct. At RPH shelter the water had a lot of iron and turned black
boiling it. He saw a rattlesnake in CT.
8/17/03 Unc is back on the trail. I dropped him off at South Mountain Pass near
Peekskill, NY. It was his desire to start out slow to get used to the pack again. So
he planned on doing 4 miles his first day back on the trail. I hiked with him for about
2 miles then left him to continue his trek north on the AT while I returned to my car.
When we parted, thunderclouds loomed and the sound of thunder was off in the
distance. By the time I got to my car, it started to rain and I counted 5 seconds
between the lightning and thunder which was coming from Unc's direction. He
probably finished up his 4 miles that day on the wild side.
Tuesday, December 3, 2002, North Conway, NH 1850.6 miles complete, 317.5 to
go. After finally leaving Vernon (on Tuesday morning actually) I hiked through the
remnants of quite the ice storm over the weekend - lot's of ice coated trees, many,
many blowdowns to be negotiated, and numerous fast flowing streams. I bumped
into the last pair of flipfloppers - two hikers that I had met at Shaw's in Monson,
ME - that were still on the trail. I hiked right past the shelter that I was headed to,
the sign must have blown down, and camped at a nice spot just before the New
York border. I crossed into New York on a beautiful sunny clear day and had
excellent clear views along rocky ledges. Just north of the New York Thruway I
entered Harriman State Park. Here I went through the Lemon Squeezer, a natural
rock slot passage, and ran into lot's of Boy Scouts. One group of Boy Scouts were
sort of lost, so I helped them figure out where they were and where they were
going! The following day I missed a right hand turn and hiked quite a bit out of the
way and had to backtrack to get back on the A.T. Oops! After crossing the
Palisades Parkway I hiked up to West Mountain Shelter in the dark. The views
of the city lights to the south from this shelter were spectacular. The next day the
trail went across the ridge of West Mountain and up and over Bear Mountain.
The observatory on top of Bear Mountain was closed but I still had quite the view
of the Hudson River. That night - Monday 11/25 - I treated myself and stayed at
the Bear Mountain Inn which is right on the trail. Had a nice dinner there and slept
in a real bed! Tuesday I walked through the Trailside Zoo - which the AT goes
right through. This is the lowest point on the AT - 124 feet. This zoo was very,
very interesting with many live native animals and plants. They also had fascinating
displays on geology, history, birds, reptiles, etc. Spent a lot of time there looking
at things. I then crossed the Hudson River on the Bear Mountain Bridge. This is a
huge suspension bridge and it was quite an experience to cross. Next was up to
the top of Anthony's Nose. From here was a spectacular view looking straight
down on Bear Mountain Bridge and the Hudson. I hiked a few more miles north
and then decided to get off the trail at South Mountain Pass because a big snow
storm was expected that night (it snowed about 8 inches!). I walked from there
into Peakskill. David Ellis (Jim's brother) picked me up that night and we got back
to his place in CT before it started to snow. I celebrated Thanksgiving and my
parent's 50th anniversary at their house in Danvers, MA. I am now back in North
Conway and have decided to finish the Trail next summer - probably in July. It's
been quite the journey and I can't wait until next summer. Please join me on the
Trail. Got to keep following the white blazes!
(Did you enjoy the Larry report this year? Let me know. Follow the link at the
top of this page to the soul of adventure home page where you will find a link to
email me. Look for the adventure to continue next year. Next year I hope to join
Larry on multiple overnights as he works through Connecticut and my home state of
Massachusetts. Also look for additional pictures from this year to be posted soon.
Hopefully I will find some time over the holidays. Sorry Larry but everything this
year is behind schedule, but Larry you of all people, should understand that.
Peace on Earth! - Jim)
Monday, November 18th, 2002, St. Thomas Episcopal Church Hiker Hostel,
Vernon, NJ - 1802.2 miles completed, 365.9 to go! Well it's now Monday
morning and I'm trying to get organized and hit the trail. The weather seems to
be improving yet it's still windy. The last month on the trail has been fun, cold,
warm, snowy, rainy, sunny, rocky, smooth, exciting, challenging, etc. I have met
a lot of very friendly folks along the way. Accommodations have included the
Ironmasters Mansion Hostel, the basement of the Borough Hall in Palmerton,
the Church of the Mountains Hostel in DWG[Delaware Water Gap], and the
St. Thomas Episcopal Church Hostel here in Vernon. My journey northward
will continue until Thanksgiving (or the weather forces me off the trail!) and then
I will decide what to do. Got to get cruising - New York and New England
look out - here I come!
Unc No Light
11/16/02 Larry called from Vernon, NJ. He is in a hiker hostel in the basement of a
church. Larry was recounting to me over the phone some of the people he has meet
on the way. Stories of people who essentially just keep hiking. Like one guy named
Roy, who doesn’t even keep track of how many times he has thru hiked the trail.
Larry should be in New York by tomorrow. He is going to hike until Thanksgiving
and then spend the holiday with his family and assess.
11/9/02 Larry called from the AMC Mohican Outdoor Center in New Jersey. It’s
Saturday night there is a large group there and live music. Sounds like a great stop
over along the AT. He stayed in the basement of a church in the town of Delaware
Water Gap, PA last night and did 10 miles today. His feet are killing him. The foliage
is past peak, it is getting dark too early, and he is getting up too late. He hopes to do
16 miles tomorrow. He ran into south bounders Hank and Bucket(who’s trail name
comes from the 5 gallon construction pale on their pack they keep all their stuff in)
11/3/02 Lehigh gap, PA. Larry called from Palmerton where they let thru hikers
stay for free in the basement of the town hall. Went into town with some south
bounders he meet up with and had 50 cent drafts. Larry says the conditions are
getting winter like. He has had ice in his water bottle, freezing rain, and snow.
Crossed paths with Idaho four(see entry on 7/26/02). Took a zero day today to
resupply. It has been hard to follow the trail with the snow and leaves. Larry was
hoping to be to New Jersey by Wednesday. His boots are getting beat up from all
the famous PA rocks. At trail days a thru hiker said she still had pain from hiking the
trail the previous year.
10/25/02 Larry re-started the trail northbound in Maryland on October 13th.
Wednesday the 16th met with heavy rain and only went 6.6 miles. Nice country
through the southern section of Pennsylvania, mostly smooth firetrails and not the
famous PA rocks...yet. Was at a shelter with another hiker almost settled in for
a quiet evening when a reformed boys group (aka "hoods in the woods.") with
counselors arrived after dark
On Friday brother Andy and nephew Jack met him at Ironmaster Mansion AYH
hostel. (Bringing nephews/neices to the AT is important in order to properly maintain
trail name of "Unc".) The Hostel was a very nice old brick mansion with several
bunkrooms and common kitchen. Large extended porches wrapping around outside.
Jack commented on locale that it, "it looks like Maine." A+J from Philadelphia
suburbs arrived with groceries including Chicago deep dish pizza, danish, and the
heaviest loaf of bread available at very large grocery way down in the neighboring
valley. Leftovers tend to pack much better in the cooler weather. Saturday we
woke to 40 degrees and rain. Andy and Jack drove ahead about a mile from the
hostel to a road crossing the AT and hiked (with Larry's full pack!) not far to the
Official half-way point of the AT, where Larry caught up. The "official" half-way
point shows equal mileage to Springer and Khatadhin, but the sum of those two
equal numbers doesn't equal the "official" total length. (They probably don't want
to dig up the large marker and move it every time the trail is re-located.) There were
a few hunters in the nearby woods and several Boy Scouts. We left Larry hiking
northbound with a Boy Scout troop from Maryland around noon Saturday. It's
likely that he'll cross the Susquehanna Tuesday or Wednesday, October 22-23rd
where he'll contact his sister-in-law's sister.
Andrew E. Huemmler
10/18/02 Larry is at Pine Grove Furnace State Park, PA. Did 17 miles today with
the last 3.3 in an hour and a half. Andy(Larry’s brother) and Jack(nephew) are going
to hike with Larry tomorrow. Got soaked Wednesday and shared a meal with other
hikers at the shelter. He said it is good to be back on trail.
Jim Ellis(after taking a few weeks off after Katahdin to earn some money, Larry
against the advice of some of his outdoor friends decided to continue finishing the
Appalachian Trail from South to North instead of following the beautiful foliage and
warm weather as it retreats south. But as they say, every one has to hike their own
hike. And hike his own hike he will in the Green Mountains of Vermont in December.)
9/25/02 Summit Mt. Katahdin, ME. “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, can you say
Katahhhhhdin.” Larry, Jim, and Todd(Jim’s cousin) have the most spectacular and
picture perfect day. Katahdin, you are as your native American name says, the
Jim Ellis(It is hard to describe the absolutely perfect day we had on Katahdin.
Summiting Katahdin via the AT is very difficult and ranks right up there as one of
the more difficult single days of hiking I have done. More difficult than the other routes
I have hiked on Katahdin. There is a section of rock scrambling were the hiking poles
just get in the way and must be put away. And metal handles are drilled into the rock
to establish the best route. But when you get above this section called the Gateway and
reach the Table Land and you see the trail slowing winding its way for the next mile and
half to the summit, it is beyond words. We sat on the summit with thru hikers pondering
their accomplishment of the last 6 months. And back down at camp more thru hikers
celebrating their achievement. And what a great mix. There is the retired college
professor couple and the guy who started at Springer in the spring intending only to
hike two weeks! He hiked the whole trail straight through, start to finish. So what now
for Larry you ask? Well he is determined to knock off the section he jumped around
this year and should be hitting the trail next week down in Maryland – Jim 10/5)
9/21/02 White House Landing, ME Larry is at a great hunting camp across a lake
from the AT in the 100 mile wilderness. There is an air horn on a tree and you
blow it and they come over in the boat to pick you up. Larry was behind schedule
due to poor weather over some exposed terrain. He did 20 miles today. And would
have to do 40 miles tomorrow(our original meeting day) to meet us at Katahdin
Stream campground. A huge amount of mileage for one day and far more in one
day than Larry has done before. Larry purposed delaying our meeting by one day
but that would still mean 3 back to back days of 20 miles. Instead of having Larry try
to something he has never done and then climb Katahdin the next day, since he already
completely screwed up our days off from work, we were feeling generous and gave
Larry another day(and the weather looked better for a summit attempt and it would be
easier to get a spot at our desired campsite on Tuesday. But we just told Larry we
were feeling generousJ
9/14/02 Monson, ME. Larry took a zero day today to prepare for the 100 mile
wilderness. He needed to go up to Greenville as there is no ATM in Monson. He
said he is going to be hiking with a huge pack leaving Monson tomorrow. Larry I
wish I was going with you, but that work thing got in the way this year. I guess I will
set my sights on next year. He had a great view of Flagstaff Lake from the Bigelows,
and awesome trail magic of great food being cooked for hikers right on the trail in the
middle of the forest courtesy of the Maine Appalachian Trail Club(MATC). Larry
got to the banks of the Kennebec River at 5:15pm, too bad the hiker ferry across the
river stops running at 5:00pm. He tried to find a place to cross but the water was too
high from a release at the dam. He got out in the river and his trekking poles were
starting to vibrate from the current. So he decided to wait for the boat in the
9/4/02 Stratton, ME. Larry called me from the White Wolf Inn. He did 13 miles
today from Spaulding Mtn Lean-to. Getting a ride from the trail head into Stratton
was difficult. Coming down Poplar Ridge yesterday, Larry saw a moose. Larry took
a zero day at the Poplar Ridge Lean-to to enjoy some rare solitude at an Appalachian
Trail lean-to. He had a beautiful hike over the Saddlebacks and took a nap on the
summit. Larry has been eating a lot of Lipton noodle dinners and getting really good
efficiency from his WhisperLite stove. His 22 once fuel bottle has lasted him since
Saturday, August 31, 2002, Rangeley, ME
I've been hiking consistently everyday since I got back on the trail (8/3) and now
I'm in Rangeley. From Pinkham I climbed the Wildcats and went down to Carter
Notch Hut. I was tired when I got there so I decided to stay. I did a “work for stay”
there and hiked 15 miles the next day to Gorham over the Carters and Moriahs. Met
my parents there and had dinner at Wilfred's. Stayed at "The Barn". Hiked with a
friend of the family the next day at the beginning of the Mahoosucs. Caught up to
Honey Bear, Spiz, The Weatherman, & Sparky. We stuck together through the
Mahoosucs (except for Sparky). The Goose Eyes were quite a climb. It took us
1 hour and 50 minutes to get through the 1 mile Mahoosuc Notch! Got to Grafton
Notch at about 11:30am on Monday and caught a ride into Andover. We had a
spectacularly clear and breezy day Tuesday slackpacking over the Baldpates,
Honey Bear's last day. Stayed at the Pine Ellis B&B and Hostel in Andover and
slackpacked all the way up here to Rangeley by Friday afternoon. I'm taking a
real short day today (~2 miles) to Piazza Rock Shelter. Hopefully Vic & Tracy
are meeting me there tomorrow morning to hike a couple of days. Got to keep
following the white blazes....
8/30/02 Andover, ME. Larry has been slack packing the last 3 days out of the
Pine-Ellis hostel. Thru-hiker Honeybear has left the trail to go back to school. Larry
said the Baldpates were spectacular. He paced himself well through the famous
Mahoosuc range and the famed toughest mile of the A.T., unlike what I did when I
Thru-hiked the Mahoosucs and blew out my knees. He stayed at Gentian Pond
shelter, Full Goose shelter, and Speck Pond shelter. Larry hoped to be at the Piazza
Rock shelter on Sunday. I had hoped to join him on Sunday. Plans I made months
ago to go to the Jimmy Buffet concert, however, meant the only way to get there was
to get no sleep and drive 6 hours during the middle of the night or find a bush pilot to
fly me up there first thing in the morning. And I wasn’t able to find a bush pilot on
such sort notice. Larry has been hiking with “Just Do It” who is 65 years old and
had a career with the state department.
Tuesday, 8/20/02, North Conway, NH, 1022 + 145.3 miles, 4 months 13 days
Well now that I'm the big 40 I can't think of what to write or maybe it is
because I am so tired from a long hike yesterday. Anyways here it goes.
After I left Vic, Evan, and Jim at the Eisenhower Junction I continued on to
Lakes Of The Clouds Hut keeping one eye on the approaching weather. It
Started raining just before I arrived at the hut, but I didn't get very wet
at all. I did work for stay there - set tables and washed lots of dishes.
Had a great dinner and then slept on one of the tables. Monday was an
absolutely beautiful day. Up to the summit of Mt. Washington - 60 F and
little wind on top! Spent about 3 hours on the summit eating food and
enjoying the view. Met up with Chipper & Jeff ( who I met at the Welcome
Hikers Hostel in Glencliff previously) at Lakes and we decided to hike
together. From the summit we went across the Northern Presi's to Madison Hut
and down to Osgood tentsite for the night. This turned out to be a long,
hot, but spectacular day. Lot's of rocks and lot's of views. Got rained on
last night in the middle of the night so my things are a little wet. We
hurried down to Pinkham Notch this morning and got there in time for the all
you can eat lunch. Yahoo! As we were finishing a huge lunch, my oldest
brother Andy, showed up to my surprise. Caught a ride here with him. Headed
up over the Wildcats tomorrow and into Gorham Thursday by late afternoon.
Hopefully it will be cooler than it has been. Gotta keep following the White Blazes....
8/18/02 Southern Presidentials, NH. Victor, Evan, and I joined Larry in the morning
at Mizpah Hut. We had a great hike together. We hiked the A.T. over Piece and
around Eisenhower. And then we went back to summit Eisenhower. The views of
Washington and the rest of the Presidentials were spectacular. Although thunderstorms
were threatening they only got active after we parted ways. Larry was going to make
a push to Lake of the Clouds and stay there tonight and try to work his stay off at the
hut. Larry looked good, his weight is down to 125 pounds, and he is hiking well.
Larry and the friends he is hiking with spent the previous night at his sister’s house
and had a meal with Larry’s parents. And before that he stayed at Zealand hut and
worked his stay off there.
Larry's parents met him at Franconia Notch yesterday (Tues. 8/13) and after a
good meal at a restaurant in N. Woodstock, he headed off to Liberty Mtn. He
restocked with food; but changed his mind about taking his winter sleeping bag
this week! His knees are no longer giving him problems. He hopes to meet
friends/relatives in a few days at Crawford (Fri.?) and Pinkham Notches, and
then Shelburne. (Fri. the 16th is his birthday)
Larry sensed that he would not make Katahdin by Oct. 15, so decided to jump to
Woodstock, VT and continue from there, leaving the center part for later. He
thought he could turn his rented car in locally for [an additional charge of] a few
dollars, but it turned out to be $1 a mile! So he drove it back to MD Thurs., took
a commuter train to Washington D.C. and caught a train to White River Junction.
Said he just made the train by 5 minutes - he lucked out as it was 40 minutes late.
He left from Woodstock Sat. and called at 4PM today (Mon., 8/5/02) from
Hanover. Everything going well. Got his repaired boots[Limmers] in the mail
yesterday. Thinks he will be in Franconia Notch in about a week. Doesn't need
a drop as he thinks he can resupply himself for a while.[great organic food
coop in Hanover]
My family and I visited Larry at his parents’ home in Maine on July 31. He was
getting ready to drive back south, however, just to return the car. He has decided
to leap frog and join a friend starting on the trail at White River Junction, VT on
Aug 2 or 3rd. From there they will head north toward Katahdin.
(Larry surprised his whole family, all 19 of them, by showing up at a family party to
celebrate his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Congratulations Marge and
Howard on this wonderful milestone. - Jim)
7/26/02-7/28/02 Campton, NH. Saw Larry at our annual college friends summer
get together. He shared stories and pictures from the Appalachian Trail. He had
been hiking with the Idaho 4 who are a family of 4 with children ages 6 and 8! As
you can imagine both parents have huge packs. Especially the father, who was a
former member of the U.S. forest service HotShot fire fighting crew and therefore
no stranger to a heavy pack. Larry told me he went to the ATC center where he
had his picture taken and was given the number of thru-hiker 667 for the year. Larry
looked good and was definitely in good shape but his knees were clearly bothering
him. The camping weekend was great. Everyone seemed to enjoy what turned into
a longer than it was suppose to be epic canoe paddle on the Pemigewasset River.
We all wish Larry the best as he continues his journey.
7/23/02 I successfully hooked up with Larry yesterday evening in Harpers Ferry,
WV. He thought he'd get there on Saturday but those last 60 miles were rough. He
made it just in time to get his mail drop package. A lot of up and down hiking plus the
heat slowed him up a bit. It has been unbearably hot here even in the mountains. I
picked him up at the ATC conference center and brought him to my house for some
R&R and a much-needed session with a shower and washer/dryer. (sorry Larry).
Larry looks a bit like Dean Miller[mutual college friend] in his hairy mountain man
stage. Who knew Larry had such nice curly hair? His beard is a bit out of control
but my dogs think its cool cause he can hide all kinds of leftovers in it!!! We are
going to spend the day doing errands and restocking his necessary items, sucking up
the AC and might even hit the pool. If he doesn't get eaten by my Jack Russell
Terrier before Wednesday, I think he will be getting back on the trail for the 1000+
trek. I hope to have a few new pictures to email in a few days.
(Congratulations Larry on getting through the never ending state of Virginia. Getting
to Harpers is a huge accomplishment. We are all very proud of you. – Jim)
7/15/02 Larry called from Skyland lodge on the Appalachian Trail in SNP. He was
hoping to do about 11 miles today. He has seen several bears over the past few days.
Including a momma bear with 3 cubs. And Larry, his brother Andy, and nephew
Drew saw 3 bears while they were hiking together. His Aunt Molly and Uncle Hank
visited Larry at Big Meadows Campground. And he explored some commercial
caves in Luray with his brother’s family. Currently Larry says he is not hiking with
anyone, but knows people both ahead and behind him. They call the last thru-hiker
of the season the caboose. Larry seems to be really enjoying the experience and is
pumped that he is almost to Harper’s Ferry and the half way point.
July 8th, 2002 - Waynesboro, VA - 843 miles - 3 months and 1 day. Well I have
hiked more than 1/3 of the way. I was hoping I would be further north than this but I'm
okay with where I'm at. I can't believe I've been on the trail for three months. My body
felt like it when I got to Rockfish Gap yesterday afternoon! The heat and humidity have
been unbelievable. I'll be glad when it ends. Patting feral ponies in the Greyson Highlands,
sunrise on McAffe Knob, a rattlesnake right on the trail, lots of deer, lizards, hail the size
of quarters, spectacular thunderstorms, trail magic, red salamanders, camping on top of
Cold Mountain - these are just some of the things I've seen or experienced in the past
month. And the adventure continues.... I am meeting my oldest brother and his family at
the end of this week at Big Meadows Campground in SNP[Shenandoah National
Park]. Should be lots of fun! Looking forward to meeting up with Kim in Harper's
Ferry. Gotta hike. Katahdin here I come.
Unc (aka Larry)
7/7/02 Larry called from Waynesboro VA On a really hot day he hit the wall of
exhaustion. He Hasn’t been getting enough sleep, but is hoping to get a good night’s
sleep tonight in the motel. Has hiked for 10 days straight. Did a 20 mile day up to
Chestnut Knob. HUGE thunderstorm came through with ping-pong sized hail.
He ate a big dinner to celebrate 3 months on the trail. And is going to an all you can eat
pancake breakfast tomorrow. Going to try to do 15 miles tomorrow. He needs new
padded socks. Saw lots of deer, a scarlet tanager, and a rabbit. Hiking the AT is as
much about attitude as anything. And Larry is upbeat. I was told by a thru-hiker once
“wherever you are is where you are suppose to be” Larry seems to have the right
attitude to go the distance.
6/28/02 Larry called from Daleville, VA north of Roanoke. Took a zero day yesterday
and hung out at the pool and drank beer with the 4 others he is hiking with. He is ready
for a 7 day stretch with no stops through the blue ridge. He did 17 miles the other day
and is planning on doing 11 miles today. He has bought a new very light weight sleeping
bag and is sending the other one home. Dragon’s tooth is a spectacular big rock ridge.
He also went over McAffe knob which is a classic big rock overhang which many
people have a picture taken of them standing on. Water is getting scarce because it has
not rained much and it has been very hot. Larry’s brother Andy is going to try to join
Larry in the Shenandoahs.
6/20/02 Larry called from Pearisburg, VA. He is at about the 617 mile mark. He did
8 miles yesterday. He did a 20 mile day with full pack last week. Which is so far the
most he has done in a single day with full pack. He plans to do 8 miles today. He
stayed at a beautiful 4 sided stone shelter above 4000 feet. He hiked though the
moonlight meadows at night with his headlamp off to get to the shelter. He went
swimming in nearby Dismal falls. He has been hiking with 2 men and 2 women. He
had to take a zero day in Bland because he had a package at the post office and he
arrived in town on Sunday. He is getting ready for a 7 day stretch through the blue
ridge next week, where there are no towns close to the trail. Although his knees hurt
yesterday, he is still enthusiastic about everything.
Jim Ellis and Howard Huemmler
On 6/12/02 Larry called from the phone at the ranger station next to Partnership Shelter
in Sugar Grove, VA. This is about the ¼ mark(518.9 miles) and 70 miles into VA.
The day before he had hiked 10 miles and the day before that 18.7 all with full pack.
I am going to try and hook up with him in Harpers Ferry, VA sometime in July. I asked
what food he missed the most so I could get it for him and his first words today were
FRESH FRUIT and FRESH BREAD. Fresh being the operative word. They had pizza
and beer delivered to them at the shelter last night. He was pretty thrilled by that. They
celebrated finishing the first quarter of the trail. He said it has been pretty hot and he
fell today and caught it on his forearms pretty good but otherwise is fine and in a
very positive frame of mind and seems to be enjoying himself a lot.
Tuesday, June 4th, 2002 - 7:00pm - Side Track Cafe, Damascus, Virginia, - 452 miles:
I've been on the trail for almost two months now and it's been great! I've hiked with people
from all over the country and from abroad and of all ages and professions. The trail names
of some of these people are Chim Chim, The Real McCoy, & Richman Poorman, Honeybear,
Tunaberry, Mickey-One-Sock, VQ, Gourmet Dan, Weaver the Wearwolf, W, Zeus, Skeeter,
Tin Man, Jus' Hikin, Serendipity, Jester, Philosopher, The Mad Bowler, Ashtray, The Brits,
The Good Ole Boys, Popeye & Kay Dee Did, Big Montana, Rocket, Trainwreck, LWOP,
Junebug, Space Antelope, - I could go on and on. I went to Trail Days here in Damascus two
weeks ago and saw alot of these people which was a lot of fun. Got a ride to and from Erwin,
TN to the festivities in Damascus. The past week and a half of hiking between Erwin and here
was spectacular. The Beauty Spot - a big grassy bald just north of Erwin - definitely lived up
to it's name. Roan Mt was quite the climb up and up. The Roan Highlands were quite impressive.
Round Bald, Jane Bald, Little Hump Mt., and Big Hump Mt. are all huge grassy balds with 360
degree views! Coming down Hump Mt. with the thunder rumbling I hiked through a herd of
longhorn steer. Got a great picture of one with a white face. By the time I got into Elk Park I
was soaking wet from the rain. Between Elk Park and Dennis Cove Rd I went thru pastures
with cows, and over lots of PUDs ( persistent up and downs). I stayed over night at a wonderful
hostel called Kincora on Dennis Cove Rd. Pond Mt Wilderness was beautiful including Laurel
Falls. Went swimming in Watauga Lake and went off a great rope swing. The high ridge between
Wautaga Lake and Damascus made for some nice hiking but very few views. The one place
where there was an awesome view was Vandeventner Shelter. I stayed there and I'm glad I did
because I heard that at the next shelter there was about thirty five Boy Scouts! Hiked the last
18+ miles into Damascus on Sunday from Double Spring Shelter. Hiked the last 10 miles in
3.5 hours! I'm on my second zero day here to let my knees and feet recover - both were quite
sore. Will hit the trail tomorrow. Hopefully it won't be as hot and incredibly humid as it has been
these two days. My pack weight is now down to 43 lbs with 5 days food (10lbs) and two liters
of water (6lbs). Would like to get it lighter. I am considering purchasing a new pack also. Must
get some dinner and contemplate the long trek ahead thru Virginia. Katahdin here I come.
Larry aka "Unc"
On 5/28, Larry called and said he was at the 385 mile mark and expected to
make Damascus this weekend. He apparently has made no progress for two
weeks, although he got a ride to Damascus which had a three day AT festival,
with bands, etc. He met the local premier bootmaker, Karl Limmer, who lives
up the road in Chatham! (and Larry has been wearing his Limmers but said his
feet were sore sometimes). He still sounded very enthusiastic about the
5/29/02 Larry called from Hampton, TN. He slack packed 3 days from Erwin to give
his feet a rest since they were sore. He hiked ~11 miles today. He has gone about
400 miles total. He camped out at Laurel forks, he said it was very beutifiul. He went over
a grassy bald called Hump and Little Hump south of Elk Park and it thundered the whole
time. Larry stayed at Roan High Knob shelter at 6285 feet. He switched to Carnation
Instant Breakfast and it is working out well. He is about 47 miles from Damascus. Larry
said he spent 4 days in Damascus for Trail Daze. He said it was unbelievable, tents all
over the place, thousands of people, lectures and gear representatives. They serviced his
backpacking equipment. During the parade of hikers it is a tradition for locals to throw
water balloons at the hikers.
5/14/02 Larry called from Erwin, TN. He is at Miss Janet’s Hostel. He and Tunaberry
did a 25 mile slack pack(day packs only) day yesterday from Sam’s Gap to Erwin. The
rain was unbelievable yesterday and they got completely soaked. His boots were completely
filled from the rain. It was also very cold and windy. They were shuttled to and from the
trail head by the hostel. He has lost 18lbs. He needs to add more fat to his diet. He saw
several planets in alignment as he hiked through the Smokies Larry took two zero days at
Hot Springs. He plans to get a ride with others to Damascus, VA for “Trail Daze” this
weekend. He is hiking with a great group of people. The hiking poles really help with
balance and his knees. He took a zero day today. He is planning to do 22 miles to the
next hostel tomorrow.
5/7/02 Larry called from Hot Springs, N.C. He is at the 268 mile mark. Meet up with
fellow hikers to enjoy the hot springs. They were going to the only pub in the entire
county tonight for dinner. Larry stayed at a wonderful old Victorian home (with lots of
porches and rooms to explore) that is being run as a hostel/bed and breakfast. The
flavorful food was all organic and vegetarian. Reliable drinking water has not been a
problem on the trail with all the rain they’ve been getting!
Betty Ann Sharp
5/4/02 Larry called from Davenport Gap. He went through the Smokies beating his
planned time of 7 days and hiking 17 miles yesterday. He said the northern Smokies
were spectacular. He had thunderstorms for 3 nights. He is feeling fine and everything
is going well, except that he is sick of oatmeal. He really appreciates the hiking poles
his parents sent. He stayed at a hostel last night. Today is very windy and he plans on
doing 9 miles. He is planning on getting to Hot Springs on Monday and taking a zero
day there to enjoy the springs.
Betty Ann Sharp
4/27/02: Larry called from Fontana Dam in N.C. Larry said, “He is having a blast”
and “that there is a real sense of community, all the thru-hikers look out for each other.”
Larry said he took his first zero [mile] day, as he prepares for 7 days straight through
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He has picked up the pair of hiking
poles his parents sent for him. He said hiking through the forest fires was intense.
Although the trail was not closed they walked right behind a bunch of fire fighters
making a fire break and several times watched as planes dropped the red fire
retardant near by. On Friday, 4/26/02, Larry did his first on-air report for the
radio station he works for.
4/24/02 PM Larry called and said he was in Wesser NC at the Nantahala
Outdoor Center. He is about at the 130 mile mark (did 13.7 miles yesterday).
There has been good weather and things are going well. He picked up his first
Marge and Howard Huemmler
4/20/02 PM Larry called, said he was in Franklin NC and had just passed the
100 mile mark. He and two others hitchhiked into Franklin for a night in a
motel and a hot shower (are they going to try to hire a couple of sherpas or
llamas there???). A little behind schedule but all going well. Went thru
two forest fires. His trail name is Unc. Expects to be at Fontana Dam
Marge and Howard Huemmler.
Spoke to Larry yesterday(4/16/02) afternoon. He was at the Blueberry Patch Hostel
in Dick's Creek Gap, GA, 12 miles south of North Carolina. Sounded very
good. Has cut his pack weight down from 65 pounds to 45. Has had a lot of
rain and fog, but also some beautiful days. Camped out for 1st time the
night before atop some mountain; hasn't been sleeping well in the shelters.
Has been hiking with one other guy since the beginning; say's that's
working out well. Many hikers. Going slower than expected.
Andrew E. Huemmler
I got a call from Larry today(4/11/02). He is in Neels Gap, Georgia(31
miles North of Springer Mtn., 2137 left to Katahdin). He is hiking
with a group of about 15 from shelter to shelter. He says he is having
a blast and everything is going well. He couldn't talk long because
they were all heading out to dinner and his ride was leaving.(I know how
that is, when you are in town all you want to do is find the "all you
can eat buffet" and go crazy)
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