Ruth is On the Loose and Ready To Crush the Appalachian Snail, I Mean Trail!

On The Loose has begun her journey on the Appalachian Trail! I was dropped off at Amicalola Falls State Park just 12 days ago but it already feels like it has been a lifetime. Almost two weeks have passed since I made it up the Falls and here I sit at the Outdoor 76 in Franklin, 110 miles in. Overall I’m having a great time, so many people have been kind to me and I have met 2 other thru-hikers going north. Here is a day by day account from my journal of the past week and a half.


I got a shuttle this morning from the wonderful Tom Bazemore, he was so friendly and we talked the entire ride to the park. The falls were gorgeous but those steps, jesus christ! They were brutal, I think I should have skipped the approach trail. I may have scared a guy going up Springer as well. I had made my Mountain House then walked while I ate and was seriously serenading my spaghetti when we crossed paths. Oh well, it was delicious! I finally reached the summit just at sunset and it was gorgeous. It was made even better by the lady at the top who shared her cookies and sugar plums! I met my first friends, Unknown and Shivers at the Springer shelter. Both are sections hikers but Unknown is the only one moving on in my direction tomorrow.



Made it to Hawk Mountain Shelter in a storm but didn’t stay long after the rain stopped. The rhodedendron trees here are beautiful and make me feel like I’m walking in a rainforest. Pushed on to a campsite by Justus Creek and it was my first night alone as well as my first night hanging my hammock.



Met first thru-hiker on Blood Mountain today, his name was Levi until we renamed him Sir Scrabble, Knight of Hasbro. It was a good day. I would say great but after hiking about 30 miles with no snail fatalities, I go TWO MILES out of Neels Gap and crush 8 poor snails.


Hiked with Bandanabelle and Marmie today after Sir Scrabble sped off into the woods. I haven’t caught up yet, but oh well. Bandanabelle and her grandmother Marmie adopted me for the day and even fed me sandwiches when we met up with Bandanabelle’s mom at a road crossing.



First slack pack and even though the Navy Boys (a trio I met just hiking the Georgia portion of the trail) say it’s cheating I don’t care! Hiked with Unknown for a bit and hated every step up Kelly Knob. Looks Georgia forgot what a switchback is. Finally made it to the Top of Georgia Hostel (shoutout to Buttercup, Renaissance and Mellow!) around 4 and felt like I was entering a dream land. The place was so calm and clean, a true oasis. It doesn’t hurt that the gentleman who had slack packed me to the hostel left me two Quarter Pounders and a large fry from McDonalds!



Stayed at the hostel last night and hung out with Unknown and Homie (previously Lucas). Homie is thruhiker number 2 who I met and we agreed to head out together. At the hostel I got a serious shakedown and dropped my base weight down by at least 5 pounds. I ditched my hammock and now am using a tyvek tarp.



Been hiking with Homie ever since Top of Georgia and he doesn’t smell as bad as me because he is still wearing deodorant. Nothing extremely interesting happened. Albert Mtn was gorgeous and I found out that Homie is afraid of being high up on steel fire towers. My boots have not been treating me right and I’m afraid I got a little mad at them. I solved my hotspot problem but they are no longer water proof… Got a ride from the lovely Beverely into Franklin where Homie and I split a motel room and hit up Outdoor 76 for new shoes. They were super helpful and now we are ready to hit the trail!

Thank you so much to everyone who has given me a kindness so far! Happy Hiking!

Miles: 110

Stench: A solid 8 (10 being atrocious, 1 being lovely)

Snails Crushed: 17


P.S. A picture post will be coming out within the week.

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Comments 14

  • Lyndon B. Jensen : Jun 11th

    SO HAPPY to hear that you are alive and well and Killin It on the trail (“it” being snails, apparently). Keep on keeping on- can’t wait to hear of your continued success!

  • David Downing : Jun 26th

    Ruth, that photo looks nothing like you! .

  • Brian Seley : Jun 26th

    Hi, how’s that new batch of gorp holding out in your bucket? You go girl!


    • Loosie : Oct 2nd

      The GORP was the best I’ve ever made!!

  • Cicada Thirty-Three : Jul 21st

    Hope all is well. Post something.

  • Debbie : Jul 30th

    Hey girl, I lost your phone # a few days after I got off the trail :(… so could you please text me? Id love to hear from you! – debbie

    • Loosie : Oct 2nd

      I hate to say I don’t think I have your number anymore either! Shoot me an email though at [email protected]

  • AT-AT Walker : Aug 14th

    Hello On the Loose! I was behind you on the trail and followed your entries in the logs. The one on 7/19 from Chestnut Knob made me so sad and I wanted to reach out to you, but of course, couldn’t. So I wrote a response in the log. I took a pic of it, is there a way to send it to you? I also took a pic of your entry, not sure if you’d want that. 🙂 But as one solo female nobo hiker to another…I totally get it. You can do anything, and it has nothing to do with whether or not you do all 2000+ miles of the AT or not. 🙂 AT-AT Walker

    • Loosie : Oct 2nd

      Thank you so much!! I would love to see your response and hear about your experience on the trail, it’s so great to hear about another solo female out there! You can email me at [email protected]

  • dmdowninguc . : Sep 1st

    Ruth I met you a couple of months ago on the trail not far from Hot Springs, NC. I think about you from time to time and pray you’re safe doing well.

  • Sarah : Sep 22nd

    We met you at Dave’s Place in Damascus and again at the Wise Shelter. We admired you very much.

    • Loosie : Oct 2nd

      Thank you so much, I enjoyed dinner with you all that night!

  • Sarah : Jan 17th

    I would love to send you a few pictures we have of you from our 2015 section hike. [email protected]

  • J McClary. : Mar 29th

    Tom Bazemore is dangerous. I’m glad your shuttle went well, but his reputation is bad. I recently pulled a recommendation from for a shuttle driver for a North Georgia section of of the AT. It Tom Bazemore and his information is below. His information is below.

    I asked for a 25 mile shuttle from Neels Gap to Tray Mountain for 13 people and was quoted $750. While the price wasn’t a huge deal I told him that was “a little high” and he began cussing at me calling me a “cheap fuc*” among many other derogatory things. This is the rudest person I have ever dealt with regarding the AT in the 20 years I have been hiking in the area. I would strongly recommend removing him from your list to keep others from being put at risk. In addition, I called Neels Gap and they have said they are removing him from the shuttle list because of similar calls and issues with Tom. Tom is not stable, and will put hikers at risk due to his poor character and psychotic disposition. I want to do my part to help keep a great AT environment and Tom won’t contribute to that.

    Happy trails everyone and stay safe.


    Worst Experience I have ever had on the trail. Tom Bazemore

    Appalachian Adventure Company Tom Bazemore Dahlonega, GA (706) 265-9454 (865) 209-1827 [email protected] Atlanta, Asheville & Knoxville airports & bus stations and Gainesville, GA Amtrak & bus stations, and along A.T. anywhere from Amicalola Falls S.P. and Springer Mtn. GA through Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Can shuttle up to 10 people; can go as far north as Damascus,VA for a large enough group. Can also stop at outfitters or grocery stores along the way.


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