We just finished day 12 and it’s been awhile since I’ve had service to update everyone… so I decided to do the good, the bad & the ugly from the past couple days.  Here goes:



*  Four Pines Hostel….awesome stay and Hosts Joe & Donna were great, as was Man Friday Eddie.  We all had pizza, chips, cupcakes, soda, ice cream (and that got us warmed up.  Donna hooked us up with sausage and blueberries and I made breakfast for Shrek, Greyhound and I.

*  Dragons Tooth was a solid hike with beautiful weather


Greyhound loosening the Dragons Tooth

*  Greyhound saw a bobcat!  That’s a rate sighting…

*  We did a 16.1 mile hike Wednesday/our 1 day record

*  While the fog and ice limited our vision on Tinker Cliffs, the ice on the pine needles was beautiful and the deep fog eerily cool

*Weather the past 3 days has been exceptional..til today

*  We’ve had a fellow hikerwith us for the past 3 days.  His trail name is ‘MeDa”.  What family member does he remind you of?


* Easter Sunday will be a short day and a stay in Narrows

*  The Captain’s zip line across the river and free sodas



*  The 12 mile hike right after the 16 sucked

*  The rooster at 4 Pines, as warned, doesn’t know time

*  Neither do the free ranging chickens

*  The AT the past couple days has been CRAZY ROCKY!  Tough hikes

*  The water at the last shelter was way down hill and not easy to get to

*  The last shelter was .4 miles down hill from the trail & those miles don’t “count”

*  When it’s warmer, the mice come out at night (in the shelters)

*  Greyhound is 1 breakfast short for her resupply this week

*  Chopper has an extra 1 of his NASTY breakfasts to share


*  The .4 back up the hill after our night in the hollow

*  Lately, cell service

* The last 3 days of intermittent rock scrambles.  Billy Goat Shrek is the only one that does really well with those

*  The careless hikers who don’t know what “Leave no Trace” means…especially TP!

Today’s hike is History, tomorrow’s hike a Mystery. Right now is a gift…it’s why it’s called the present!

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Comments 16

  • Brother Blood : Mar 26th

    Sounds like you’re getting your hiker legs !!!

  • Duke Conrad : Mar 26th

    I’m not there yet Brother Blood, but working on it! Easter Sunday is your start day and our short day to resupply and chow down! It starts with malts tomorrow at DQ

    Good luck with your start tomorrow and say hi to the “Legal Eagles”

  • Aarron Robinette : Mar 27th

    We hope you enjoyed your malts a DQ. We made it off the mountain about 11:00 am which wasn’t bad considering the night my son had. He didn’t complain and just pushed on. I know men with combat patches and campaign medals that couldn’t soldier up the way he did. He’s in bed resting right now and I’m making sure he’s hydrated. All in all we had a great 2 day trip and I’m glad we got to meet you guys. Have a great trip and we will keep checking in on you.

    • Duke Conrad : Mar 28th

      Aaron, thanks for the kind words and we enjoyed hanging out with you guys at Rice Field Shelter. We’re packing up at McAurthur Inn and heading for Woods Hole Hostel this morning. The malts were awesome as was the Pizza for lunch at the laundry mat and Chinese Buffet for Easter Dinner. Thanks for the additional foods you gave us that we scarfed up! Good to hear your son is in recovery mode! Take care & thanks for following.

      Chopper, Shrek & Greyhound

  • Garett Smith : Mar 28th

    Keep pumping, Duke and Co.! It sounds and looks awesome and even though I know it’s tough, I am extremely jealous reading this behind my desk at work. You guys are doing great!

    Garett Smith

    • Duke Conrad : Mar 29th

      Thanks my brutha from a different Mutha…we did 15.4 today and ended up at Virginia 606. Spring break is coming up for you….make sure you enjoy it! Bobbi will be coming to visit as well as my brothers wife and we’ll take our 1st zero mileage day and rest up!

  • Lynn : Mar 28th

    We are all here cheering you on – Just keep climbing, just keep climbing!

    • Duke Conrad : Mar 29th

      Thanks Lynn,

      Share with the others my appreciation for following our adventure! Drop by and let Jacqueline and Pat know that the newest location pin should go where Va. RT. 606 crosses the trail. We camped tonight at Trent’s Grocery, .5 off the trail and resupplied for the next 3 days.

      Duke, aka, Chopper

  • Jackie Johnson : Apr 1st

    Enjoy reading all of your blogs… I’m writing your book! 🙂

    • Duke Conrad : Apr 1st

      Thanks Jackie, I’m glad you’re enjoying them! Keep my favorite wife in line when she comes through on her way to see us tonight!

      Your favorite Brother-in-law/Chopper

  • Susan : Apr 3rd

    We met Meda at Petite’s Gap Road (Blue Ridge Parkway). We talked a while; real nice guy. We wondered where he was now, so I googled Meda Appalachian Trail and saw his picture. It would be nice to know when he finishes his hike. Though we met him only once for a short while, we think of him and wonder how and where he is. Glad to see him moving on through Virginia and getting closer to his goal Georgia.

    • Duke Conrad : Apr 4th


      From what we can tell, MeDa is 2-3 days in front of us at this point. We just finished a 15.4 at Settler’s Museum in SW Virginia. We travelled several days with him and really enjoyed his company as well. He promised some friends he’d run in some crazy long relay of some sort and is on a tight time schedule to finish the A.T.. Thanks for checking in!


      • Susan : Apr 7th

        Glad to hear you are doing well on the A.T. Best of all to you as you hike. I understand your “ugly”. We last hiked down to Apple Orchard Falls. Though it was the shortest of miles we have done, I will remember it as the one that was the most strenous to me (coming back up from the falls). My heart rate was about 160. Hiking is much like having a baby – strenous in the travail, possibly some thoughts of never doing this again…then after a child is delivered, joy causes the travail to be forgotten (at least at that moment, and even the thought of having another baby is possible). Much like hiking – once up the hill or pass the strenous part, joy of hiking returns and planning the next hike is already beginning! By the way, we met Meda on St. Patrick’ s Day!!!! Irish Luck!

        • Duke Conrad : Apr 9th


          Made it to Damascus and we’re spending the night at Woodchuck’s Hostel. Turns out that MeDa was here a couple days and just left out southbound yesterday morning. That puts us 2 days back with him in some pretty cold weather. Tomorrow sanity is due the region and we should have some good hiking days!


  • Susan : Apr 10th

    Glad to hear you made it to Damascus. Glad Meda is moving onward to. Maybe I’ll know he made it to Georgia if you finish soon behind him. Wish you well as you hike.

    I spelled strenuous wrong three times in my last post. I could cover my mistake by saying it was a cryptic way of saying I hope “u” will not have excessive strenuous days…”u” (you) left out of strenuous (so strenuous spelled “strenous”!!! )
    Yeah, that’s it. lol

    The summit pictures makes me think of ” Race to the End” sung by Demis Roussos. Best to you as you “Race to the End”.

    • Duke Conrad : Apr 11th

      Thanks for the best wishes Susan……were in Tennessee and MOVIN…..18 yesterday, 16 today and another 16 tomorrow!


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