A Short Day in the Rain

Well, about seven miles into what was supposed to be a twenty-six mile hike we decided that the saying about “If you wanna get to Maine, you gotta walk in the rain” did not apply today. The weather conditions were miserable (at least as bad as yesterday) and we just weren’t having that much fun.

So at the Catawba Mountain parking lot on Route 311 I called Homer Witcher who is listed in the guidebook as a 2002 AT thru-hiker who shuttles hikers and helps maintain the trail as a member of the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club. Homer said that he was available to come get us and would be there to pick us up in twenty minutes. We were really relieved and happy!

While we waited under the roof of a trail information kiosk we noticed a nice display of local students’ art work. As it turns out the art work was done by students of Chip Donahue who is a teacher in Roanoke, Virginia and is following my blog. So to Chip and his students…Thanks so much for lifting our spirits! – from Walker, Whiskers and Rocket. One bit of advice that we learned from your art is to always take a Clif bar on a hike. That’s a good one and we’ll do our best to comply.

Homer pulled into the parking lot right on time and we loaded our gear into his trunk, hopped in the car and immediately fogged up his windows so that he had to turn the defroster on full blast. We were pretty chilled and didn’t mind at all. Homer is an interesting guy. He and his wife and two children, who were eleven and eight at the time, thru-hiked the entire AT in 2002. We talked to him a lot about that because none of us can imagine taking two young children on such a long and arduous hike. It’s an amazing story! The children carried their own packs which weighed about twenty percent of their body weight. That’s a lot – my pack weighs about fourteen percent of my body weight.

Homer shuttled us back to my car in Daleville and we thanked him profusely for helping us out. We started driving back to Lexington, made a brief stop in Buena Vista to pick up a mail drop that Whiskers and Rocket had sent to the Blue Dog Art Cafe, stopped in at Uncorked to talk to the owner, who coordinates support services for AT thru-hikers, then drove to my house. We had a big lunch, did laundry and caught up on e-mail and other things we needed to do. In a little while Whiskers and Rocket are going to tour downtown Lexington and have dinner at The Bistro on Main and I am going to the Suwanee vs. Washington and Lee lacrosse game.

Tomorrow we’ll finish the hike from the Catawba Mountain parking lot to Daleville and if we’re lucky the weather will be nicer and there will be a good opportunity for photos at McAfee Knob.

Here’s a photo of Rocket and me with our new friend Homer…



About The Man in My Shoes

Since retiring in 2012 I am enjoying the freedom of being able to make my own decisions about how I spend my time and am taking advantage of the opportunities that I have to spend more time with my family, explore, learn, and pursue my dreams and goals. I look forward to writing about these pursuits and hope you enjoy reading about them.
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3 Responses to A Short Day in the Rain

  1. Chip Donahue says:

    Wow! Thanks so much for your kind words. I have been reading your blog with the kids, but you should have seen the looks on their faces when you started talking about them and their kiosk pictures. They are so proud of their community service.

    Make certain to eat at Three Little Pigs when you get to Daleville. One of my favorite spots on the AT is just before the Daleville parking lot. You will cross Tinker Creek, made famous by Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard. Wonderful book for late night tent reading, btw.

    We should contact Clif Bar with this blog post!

    Best wishes!

    • Chip – Thanks for the tip about Three Little Pigs and ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek’. I’m interested in the book and I know Whiskers and Rocket will be too. They’re both educators and read a lot.

  2. Homer thank you for the idea of thru hiking with your young sons in 2002 ours are 10 and 8 and we are 50 and 51. We also have a 4 year old and you have inspired me to hit the trail !!!

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