Tuesday, July 31, 2007

~:TBD Appalachian Trail Journal: 10.4.87:~

9:00 am

I awoke at 6:00 am to find SNOW on my bag. SNOW! It's only October.

I had definite mixed emotions. Half of me was excited to see the 1st snow. The other half kinda depressed at the thought that I still have 429 miles to go before I finish this quest.

I just returned from checking out the trail. It's very difficult to follow. White everywhere.

Trees are felling at about one every 45 seconds. This has been going on for about 2 hours. One tree has already hit the shelter.

Should I stay or should I go. That appears to be the question of the morning. Given all the factors. Snow, lots of it. Many, many blow downs, or should I say snow downs.

Every three steps I take, I slide back one. I've got plenty of food and I'm dry. I think I'll stay for today.

I think the trees have stopped falling. It's still snowing.

I shifted the down feathers in my bag to the top, hoping that will keep me warmer. As long as I stay dry, I should be okay.

As I sit here stuffed in my bag, my mind keeps flashing back to Kaija. Kaija Volckening. I met Kaija in Great Barrington. She's beautiful, but not just on the outside, inside also. I've never met anyone like her. I think I love her. Only time will tell. I have yet to finish this trip and she has to finish hers. She is so strong.

I must stop for a while. My hands are getting cold.

11:45 am
I was wrong. Trees are still falling. Another one just hit the shelter. I hope this shelter ias as strong as it looks. Snow is still falling at a heavy rate.

2:00 pm
All I hear on the radio is "Rain, rain, rain," It sure ain't raining up here. There looks to be about 8 inches of snow accumulation. If a tree hasn't broken in half from the weight of the snow, it has slumped over. I say about 30% of the trees up here are downed. Which means even if it does stop snowing and the snow melts, the trail is gonna be hell from the snow-downs. My guess, to the reason and number of downed trees that have fallen: I don't think they were ready for snow in October. The cold air probably not so good either.

As for me, it's gonna take a lot more than this to drop 'Ol Darling Boy.

3:00 pm
I see a spot of sunshine off to the East. Looks like it might blow over.

4:25 pm
I've awoken to the dripping sound of melting snow. I see blue skies and sunshine in the trees. The snowing has stopped with about 10 inches of snow on the ground.

5:15 pm
The trees are no longer filled with snow, but the ground still has a 10 inch blanket on it. I don't think it will melt by a.m.. It will probably freeze which means a crust, which will be good. Maybe I won't slide so much tomorrow when I try to leave.

It has to be close to freezing, ice is forming in my water bottles. Where the hell did Fall go? I still can't quite believe this. Snow on October 4th with 429 miles to go. YEAAAAA. Oh well. It makes interesting reading.

My feet are cold. I never did have terrific circulation in my feet.

6:00 pm
Another tree has hit the shelter (a big one.) A branch of which has driven itself through the roof of the shelter. Scared the shit out of me. I find myself singing Jingle Bells. And to think, only 2 weeks ago found me swimming in a pond.

7:15 pm
I find myself drifting again. Back to Kaija. She is so beautiful.

It's getting colder. I wish I had a thurmommetor (I can't spell.)


Getting out wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. Continuing south from where I was was an impossibility. I went about 1/2 a mile. It took 45 minutes. The trail was obliterated. I turned back and followed my footprints back to the shelter. The only thing left for me to do was to hike back to the last road I crossed and then try to hitch a ride.

I made it back to the road and got a ride into town. There were fallen trees everywhere. I decided to make a small jump south to try and pass all the snow and fallen trees.

So here I am, Greymoor Monastary. I must say it's good to be here. I'm clean and warm and well fed. I just got off the phone. I was speaking to Kaija. It was soooo good to hear her voice. I will write her tonight. A relationship with her is definitely worth working for.

"Darling Boy"

Appalachian Trail Journal


Tom B. Dusenberry
2340 Leisure Lane
Atlanta, Georgia 30338

Monday, July 30, 2007

I love this man. I spent the weekend working on a massive calligraphy job and watched the Godfather 1 - 3 TWICE while doing it. When they're aired, I can't help but to watch. Every time. I get sucked in.

So I did a little research on Pacino and found this lovely quote:
"I don't understand the hatred and fear of gays and bisexuals and lesbians...it's a concept I honestly cannot grasp. To me, it's not who you love...a man, a woman, what have you...it's the fact THAT you love. That is all that truly matters."
~Al Pacino

Sunday, July 29, 2007

~:TBD Appalachian Trail Journal: 9.19.87 - 9.20.87:~


I sit here in this cozy little cabin, which has a stove, (the first shelter I've come to with a stove). I am warm and full.

A Prairie Home Companion just came on the radio. What could be better?

This is the second night on this trip that I've had the pleasure of listening to PHC. as I sit here I think back to when I heard the show last. It was in Virginia. A lot has happened since then. It seems long ago.

I listened to the show, loving every second of it. It lasted till 8:00 pm. I wanted it to go on all night.

I was so warm. I had that stove crankin'. It must have been 80 degreed in there. It was cold and drizzly outside and inside I slept on top of my sleeping bag.


I made a real short day today, only 7 miles.

I didn't leave the cabin till about 10:30 am.

Tomorrow I'll probably stop after 13.5 miles. There's supposed to be a lodge with good prices.

A lot has happened since I wrote anything in my journal. I'll try and fill in a little bit.

I left Rainbow Springs Campground after spending 8 days there, trying to heal 2 infected heel blisters.

I was a little worried at first about being lonely. The first night I spent alone. It seemed so tough. That was the night I was awakened by a skunk.

The next night it seemed as though I'd be alone again, and then about 8:30 pm (when I was just about asleep) in walked 3 hikers, 2 girls and a guy. It was dark so I couldn't see them that night.

It turned out, from there we hit the same shelters all the way to Wesser, NC. we partied together (along with another girl who caught up to us) that night. Their names were, Nancy Tremblay (Marshmallow), Linda Bennett (Gal Youngan), Lauri Peele (Mountain Laurel Springer Chicken) and John Vincent (Happy Grapefruit).

My pack weighed toooo much so I sent back a bunch of stuff including my journal and my new $309.00 Northface Westwind tent (it weighed 6 lbs.)

All together, I had dropped 10 lbs. "Northbound" I said as we all left together - our next goal, Fontana Dam. We seemed to be somewhat of a team. We didn't always hike together but we'd meet up at the shelters at night.

We made it to Fontana Dam, the foothills of the Smokey Mountains and partied again. This time we crowded, (all five of us) into one small motel room. It was sooooo much fun, and great to get clean again.

Next it was off into the Smokey Mountains. John and Lauri left a day ahead of us, (Nancy, Linda and I). So now I was hiking with 2 girls. It was great fun. They sure kept me moving. It was kind of like tying a carrot to a stick and putting it in front of a horses nose to make him go. It worked and I hiked over 600 miles with these girls.

In the Smokeys, we saw many deer and yes a bear, who ate my breakfast.

After the Smokeys was Damascus, VA. The first town in Virginia.

Since then I had met 6 other people, (thru hikers). I made friends with 5 of them. The first couple were Tom and Lynn (Thing 1 and Thing 2), Russ and Elizabeth (just Russ and Elizabeth) and Emily (Cheshire Cat). And let's not leave out George the Jerk. We spent too much energy trying to keep away from him.

We had great fun in Damascus, VA. Our next stop, Pearisburg, VA. We stayed at a Catholic church youth hostile. My beard was really long by then.

Weeks before I had thought of getting my ear pierced again. this time I had a purpose. it would symbolize my AT experience. I purchased a gold earring in town. That night we had a big ceremony, followed by nancy piercing my ear. we then ate dinner followed by the Passing of the Peace Pipe.

Next big step was Waynesburough, VA. The foothills of the Shenandoah NP. A lot happened in that stretch from Pearisburg to the Shenandoahs. My trail name got changed from Pig Pen to Darling Boy because of a little song my mother used to sing me: "Tommy Dusenberry, he's my darling boy, he's my sugar, he's my sweetie, he's my good sweet darling boy!"

Thing 1 and Thing 2 got off the trail. And I was getting tired of hiking with Nancy and Linda.

We started hiking alone and just meeting up together at night. One day while hiking along the Blue Ridge Parkway I missed a water spot. I was out of water and had about 10 miles to go before the next sure water. It was sunday and I decided to get out and hike on the parkway itself and maybe someone would give me some water or something. It worked. I even got some juice and cookies.

The next day I decided to be a non-purist again since I was so well treated the day before. Sure enough, this time a lady stopped and asked me if I wanted to go to D.C. for the weekend. Yesssssssssssssss, I said.

When I got to the shelter that night I told the girls what had happened. They weren't too thrilled that I hiked the parkway instead of the AT. I wasn't too thrilled that they were coming down on me for hiking the Parkway.

So off I went to DC and had a BLAST only now I was at least a week behind Nancy, John, Linda and Lauri.

Off into the Shenandoah's I went ALONE. I wasn't alone for long, I soon met up with sunshine and Daydream, a newlywed couple from Conn.

We hiked together all the way through the Shenandoah's along with Russ and Elizabeth and Emily. It was oooo hot, in the high 90's with the humidity. A 10-miler felt like a 20. I started to consider a flip-flop.

We arrived in Harper's Ferry, noon in late July. Another stifling hot day. Russ and Elizabeth made the decision to quit the trail there. I made the decision to do a flip-flop. I didn't really know why, I just knew it was right.

Luckily Russ and Elizabeth live in Main and offered to drive me there. I accepted.

A week later I found myself at the base of Mt. Katahdin in baxter State Park. It was breathtaking. It almost felt alien. This was truly wilderness and I was totally alone. The wilderness head rush lasted about 2 weeks.

I started to become very lonely.

A week later I got off the trail with the intention of not returning.

I talked to my father on the phone and for the first time ever he spoke up, like he has never done before. It was such a shock that I listened.

He said, "You can't quit now, you must see this through."

I had never seen him this serious.

You know, he was right.
I have to finish.
That's what I came out here for.

A week later I made the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer. That gave me a good push.

I made it through the wilderness of maine and into the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

The Whites were tough but boy, were they beautiful. I began to see NBs (Northbounders). I met up with Low Gear (the guy I started with) and Sunshine and Daydream. We worked together at Misba Hut for our stay. We had great fun seeing each other again.

The Whites of New Hampshire are now over as with the wet soft mountains of Vermont. Massachusetts and Connecticut went by quickly.

The weather is colder now. The day's shorter. All the Northbounders are ahead of me, north. All the Southbounders are ahead of me south. I am truly alone. This is my test. This is what I came out here for. To do it myself. To be totally independent.

I have discovered I am strong. Stronger than most. I am smart. With these two elements, I can do anything. Dealing with the loneliness is difficult, but I am doing it.

"Darling Boy"

Appalachian Trail Journal


Tom B. Dusenberry
2340 Leisure Lane
Atlanta, Georgia 30338

Saturday, July 28, 2007

~:S O R R Y • B U T • S M A R T:~
My grandfather was a very, very funny man. The best kind of grandfather out there - one who really played with us. His name was Harvey Thomas Anderson, but we called him Bopie (pronounced bah-pee). He had a history of playing practical jokes with a masterful sense of humor.

Now, I can't remember the whole story here, but Bopie did something to really miff my grandmother. So bad that they had one of those silent treatment fights that lasted for a while. To charm her back to him, he spelled S O R R Y out on the lawn with fertilizer or grass seed (I can't remember which) but whatever it was, it was enough to change the look of the lawn for an entire growing season.

Smart, huh?

Friday, July 27, 2007

~:TBD Appalachian Trail Journal: Days 5-21:~

Day 5

Today was an extremely rough day. I hikes 11 miles from Neels Gap to Low Gap shelter. There was only one spring along the way and it was 2.2 miles from the start. The temp was in the 90's. At about 8 miles I started getting heat rash and feeling lightheaded. I was in such a hurry (because of the water situation) to get to Low Gap, that I didn't stop for a "good" lunch. (Only ate a candy bar). at 9 miles and only 2 cups of water left I thought I was getting heat stroke. I stopped and ate a couple mouthfuls of honey. It saved me. I got to the shelter around 6 pm. It was nice and big with plenty of water. Three people (good people) were there. we had a good relaxing evening.

Tough day.

Nice evening.

Day 6

Yesterday evening at the shelter I met Bill, a 57 year old retired Floridian and gary, a 36 year old psychologist, photographer, antique dealer from atlanta. Good guys.

We SEPARATELY hiked the morning 7 miles to Rocky Knob shelter. I was the first one to arrive.

As I was approaching the shelter I saw two whitetail deer. Good size, too. They were both does. They stopped and looked at me, then leapt off over a ridge. These were the first deer I've seen this trip.

Tomorrow will be a rough day. So I better rest.

Day 7
5:30 pm

Today was a fairly tough day. Very hilly. I hiked 9 miles. My blisters are still somewhat of a problem.

I'm now at Montray shelter. It's above an above average shelter.

Saw my first porcupine today. He didn't even stop and look, just took off.

You'll be happy to know I'm sleeping with two girls tonight. Joni, a 35 year old from new Hampshire and anne, a 49 year old from Virginia. Both thru hikers.

I don't hink I have any right to complain about the pain, after the people I've met so far.

Bill just walked up. He looks really tired.

I've just met some really neat people so far. That's important.

Anne's a 7th grade science teacher. She's been teaching for 25 years and says the reason she's doing it (she says) "I want to do something crazier than teaching."

Joni works for the Red Cross. I don't know much else about her. They're both good people.

This place is amazing.

Day 21

I've spent the last 8 days at Rainbow Springs Campground, recovering from my badly abused blisters.

Buddy and Jencine (owners of the campground) made me feel very welcome. They are really great people. They go out of their way to help hikers. I shall like to go back there someday.

You know, I will really miss the people I've met that have passed me. I know there will be more.

I'm alone tonight with the shelter all to myself, not much fun. I've found that I like to hike by myself, but at night I enjoy the company of others.

Today was a tough day. It was like starting all over again. Too much food and beer last week I guess. Oh well. You know what they say; such is life.

My blisters have almost totally healed but they're still kinda sore, shot - everything's kinda sore. You know what they say....

Felling' kind of down tonight. but I know I'll feel better tomorrow. I'm still glad I'm out here.

Someday soon the aches and pains will be no more and then you'll hear me complain no more.

"Darling Boy"

Appalachian Trail Journal


Tom B. Dusenberry
2340 Leisure Lane
Atlanta, Georgia 30338

Thursday, July 26, 2007

~: I • S U C K:~

~:A P R I L 2 0, 1 9 8 7:~

This year to remember Tommy I thought I'd post his Appalachian Trail journal entries in small sections from beginning to end.

Tommy took his life in August 1997. He was 34. A father to his son Nathanael Dusenberry Volckening. And while his depression was severe enough to end his own life, this journal was proof that he did have the ability to create goodness and self fulfillment.

Hiking the trail was the happiest time of his life. As I read his journal, I see metaphors for life's twists and turns on every scale. I see my brother at his best. It is a satisfying way to remember and honor him.

I share it with you all.

I share him with you all.

~ Anne


"Darling Boy"

Appalachian Trail Journal


Tom B. Dusenberry
2340 Leisure Lane
Atlanta, Georgia 30338

April 20, 1987

I'd really rather not go over what went on the first two days, but since I've got a full stomach and feeling no more pain for the day I guess I will.

Or should I say Tim and I started out 3:30 April 18, 1987 (Tim only going as far as we get the first night). Not realizing the pain and panic I would soon be feeling we pressed on towards Hawk Mountain shelter, where we would be spending our first night. The conversation was good until we hit our first hill. I now realize how out of shape I really am. 7.7 miles later we reach Hawk Mountain shelter only to find out it was full. NO PROBLEM, we've got a tent. The night ended with more carefree conversation. Only later in my thoughts before sleep did I start to worry, asking myself why am I out here.

Day two started out a little stiff. But well.

As we were breaking up camp a thru hiker I had met the day before strolled into camp. It was about 11:00 am. He broke for lunch and asked me it I'd like to hie with him. His name was Lo-Gear, by the way. I said great. We set out to hike Gooch Gap shelter which was 9.5 miles down the way. I shouldn't have tried to keep up with him, half way to the shelter I discovered 2 quarter sized blisters, one on each heel. That's when I realized I didn't have anything for blisters except moleskin. (Great help NOT.)

We finally got to the shelter. It was 7:30 pm. I was in pain and the blisters looked bad. I ate dinner then went to sleep (in the shelter this time.) I tossed all night, my heels were killing me.

Back to Day 3

I awoke around 7:00 am. The 3 other people I shared the shelter with were aready up and eating breakfast. I was somewhat stiff but not too bad. My heels on the other hand looked bad and felt worse.

I was the last one to leave the shelter. I didn't know how far I could go on these feet. Before I left the shelter I noticed a sign speaking of a backpackers clinic in the next town in Suches, GA, 4 miles down the trail.

I figured I better get them looked at before infection set in.

I finally reached Woody Gap. I hitched a ride into town and had the blisters looked at. The Doc. cleaned 'em up and gave me some second skin (Tegaderm.) I was off again.

Somehow I got off the trail as stupid as it may sound. My guess is I'm about an hour away from where I last saw a white blaze. I started getting REALLY TIRED and hungry. So i set up camp in a clearing, by a creek.

Now back to the beginning.
I'm a little concerned about finding the trail again.

I've left it in God's hands now.

Mr. Sore Feet

Day 4, Tuesday

Things are looking much better.

I left camp at 8:30 am. my feet were really sore, I found where I got off the trail. i must have really been tired to miss that one.

Back on the trail I see my first snake around 9:30 am. She was a beauty. A 4 foot king snake. I figured she would scurry away, not this Mama. She took her time moving out of the way.

My goal was to reach Woody Gap, where I'd pick up my first food drop.

I reached the top of Blood Mountain around 1:30 pm. I noticed a sign inside the shelter for a thru hiker's hostile, (Wahalasi Shelter) open 9 to 5 (that's where my food was.) GREAT. I hurried down the mountain as fast as my feet would let me go. And yes they had room for one more hiker.


I took a hot shower. Gave them my dirty clothes to be washed. Just ate a wonderful dinner. Spaghetti, fresh salad, home made bread and ice cream. I'm very content. ((smiley face)) breakfast is served at 7:30 am. all this for under 20 dollars.

The lord has been with me every step of the way. He is and will be teaching me a great deal.

It's 7:30 pm. I'm stuffed and happy. I don't now how far I'll go. i plan on letting the Lord handle that, too.

God is good.

Till tomorrow,

The Student

Read the Next Entry.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Well. The well behaved students got jealous of those who wore the wig - so we all partook in the fashion show. Next week I'll bring in the blue dress. Any takers?

Monday, July 23, 2007

~:B O I N G!:~
Boing boing goes Anton in Daddy's arms. I'm new at this video editing stuff - so please excuse the poor slices - still, I think I really overplayed the suspense thingie. Were you at least satisfied by the energetic ending?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Last Quarter if you were late, you had to wear my flower apron to present your ideas. This quarter if you're missing your assignment, you must wear the blonde wig. :)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Lunchtime with Anton is always fun. Making him laugh is very tasty. For some reason, "Mushaboom" makes him laugh his chubby little cheeks off.

Friday, July 20, 2007

This is a lovely photo of my cousin Barb's family: Mike, her husband and their daughters, Meagan and Katie. I've spoken a lot about fighting cancer lately. Dad fought 2 battles and won, and now Mike is fighting brain cancer and winning! He recently had a few tumors removed and is now treating the remaining with chemo and radiation. Everyone say a prayer for Mike and his family. So far he's doing splendidly. Three cheers for Mike, Meagan, Katie and Barb!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Monday, July 16, 2007

~:T H E • R I G H T • S I D E • O F • T H E • O D D S:~

Well it seems there are more things to be grateful for around here. A few weeks ago, DougieFresh had an endoscopy thingie done to take a closer look at his stomach because of acid reflux disease. It was sa routine kind of thing to see if there were any other causes for his discomfort. The stomache Dr. found this lovely little bump in his tummy, with a 95% chance of it being benign. Because we had been on the wrong side of the odds before, like being on the high risk pregnancy floor for 2 months with all the other 1 percenters at Northside Hospital, Doug worried. For 2 months he worried, as we waited for news through another procedure and biopsy.

We got the news of a benign tumor on Friday. Today I found this lovely image on the fridge with Doug's sharpie note added.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Here's my latest finished knitting project: Knitty.com's Dashing fingerless mitts by Cheryl Niamath. Knit in a beautiful cable pattern with Blue Sky Alpaca, these fit so cosily around your hands and wrists - the cables hugging in all the right places.

Next I'd like to knit Fetching.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I took Anton to the doctor for his 9 month check up this week. He's looking' fine and everything's great. Every time I go, I get a little lesson on what kinds of changes to expect within the next couple of months.

"He'll start to crawl soon, if he hasn't already" says the doctor.

"...and then he'll begin walking. Bare feet have the best traction - so don't put him in shoes just yet. He's really too young for them."

Then he shakes his head, "Honestly. People who put their babies in shoes..."

And I just laugh nervously with him, checking to make sure Anton's $50.00 red leather sandals Nanny bought him are hidden deep within my purse.

Behold. These are JUST a few of Anton's shoes.

Another masterpiece of Cousin Barb's. This time of Peter and Mia.
Aren't they cute? The latest portrait of Mom and Dad/Tom and Nancy/Nanny and Baba.

Monday, July 09, 2007

My cousin Barbara does some amazing work with photography. Above is a picture her daughter Meagan took of Anton out in Stowe. To see more of Barb's photos, click here!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Saturday, July 07, 2007

~:D R E S S I N G • U P • O U R • G E N E S:~

So Dad, as it turns out, was quite hurt when no one asked him to put on a dress at the reunion. He felt left out. Tonight at dinner, the costume box with all the pretty pretty dresses and fantastic wigs arrived at their front door. Dad rushed to open the box. "Tom!? You don't have to OPEN the box. Just put it in the closet!" Mom says.

We just hear the ripping of tape and the soft, alluring rustle of taffeta and lace. Then in walks Dad a few minutes later, sauntering into the kitchen like he's Sophia Loren's thick-boned sister. "Take my picture, please. Take my picture."

Snip snap. Click goes the camera.

Dad's feeling better these days. Gone are the old excuses of feeling tired from radiation, nausea and every other side effect you can dream up when fighting cancer. He's a trooper. The most patient man I've ever met. And the silliest. Oh, how I love him this way. Healed and even funnier than he was before.

Next comes Anton. We slip the wig onto his head, He's tinkerbell with a thyroid problem. Barbie on a binge. Stepping out into the brave new world of the Dusenberry family, where all things inappropriate make you laugh, as they should. In spite of life's unfairness, its game of chance, its unfair odds.

I'm learning to live in the moment.

Thursday, July 05, 2007