Back in April, I wrote about Alex Baumgardner’s plan to hike the Appalachian Trail. The 31-year-old son of Douglas and Margaret Baumgardner of Washington began his hike April 6 at Springer Mountain in northern Georgia, the southern terminus of the 2,185-mile trail. Carrying a 37-pound backpack with a tent, sleeping bag, water, food for five days, clothing and more, he planned to take about six months to reach the trail’s other end – in Katahdin, Maine.
Several people have asked for an update, and here it is: Alex left a message on his mom’s phone last Friday (June 21) saying he’d reached Skyline Drive – specifically at Elkton, where U.S. 33 crosses the Appalachian Trail, and that he planned to be near Skyland or Thornton Gap (U.S. 211) by late last Saturday (June 22) or Sunday morning.
“We knew he was getting close when he called from Waynesboro earlier in the week. He plans to be here at home for at least two nights, maybe even three,” said Margaret Baumgardner.
When he reached Thornton Gap, Alex had traveled more than 930 miles on the trail. So far he has carried his full pack the entire time (which is now stocked with summer gear and weighs a little more than half what it did when he started).
His mom says Alex has continued to receive mailed supplies every five to six days at predetermined towns along the trail. He was in Damascus, Va., for the annual Trail Days weekend in May, a festival and gathering of trail hikers, when a tragic out-of-control car accident occurred that injured around 60 hikers participating in a parade. Thankfully, Alex wasn’t injured, although he did give his parents a scare when they couldn’t reach him on his phone.
He has hiked around 12 to 20 miles a day; his longest single day so far is 27 miles. Whenever he goes into a town to pick up his mailed supplies, he usually takes the day off from hiking to rest a bit. He camps in his tent or sleeps in designated shelters and occasionally stays in hostels, campgrounds or inexpensive hotels, often sharing them with other hikers.
Let’s keep wishing Alex a successful trip and praying for his continued safety.
Happy days to Richie Burke, who celebrates his birthday today (June 27), Mary Gochenour, whose special day is Sunday (June 30), and Caroline Parrish, who celebrated on Tuesday (June 25). Birthday wishes also go out to my brother, John Wayne Burke, who celebrates his special day on July 5, and to my neighbor, Ginger Miller, whose special day is July 13. (Roger, make sure you take your wife out for a nice dinner and don’t forget the flowers.)
Anniversary wishes go out to Doug and Beverly Exline, who celebrated their 18th year of marriage on Monday (June 24). May you have many more to come!
Dr. Kevin Jones, the newest addition to Washington’s Rose Hill Veterinary Practice, graduated from Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in May with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, and did his final clinical rotation with Rose Hill Veterinary Practice, where he’ll now be working as an associate.
Jones grew up up on the Chesapeake Bay and his hobbies include fishing, hiking, going to farm auctions and relic hunting. Kevin, his wife, Kimberly, and their two-year old son, Richard, are living on a farm in Washington. Stop in the clinic with your pet and welcome Dr. Jones.
The Ladies of the Auxiliary are planning a midsummer $5 Bag Sale at the Washington fire hall July 9-13. The sale runs from 10 to 5 p.m. July 9-12 and 9 to 3 p.m. July 13. (To prepare for the huge sale, the Thrift Shop will be closed July 6.)
The shop has more inventory than it can hold, according to the ladies. Stop by the fire hall, at 10 Firehouse Lane in Washington, to stock up on summer clothes midseason.
Stay cool and have a great week!