Thursday, July 26, 2007

~: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.


Anonymous said...

A magnificant tribute to an adored brother, Thomas. I will put this copy away after reading and rereading it, for future rememberances. Love, Aunt Joan

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this, Anne. I forget how well he could write. Definitely was the happiest part of his life.

Anonymous said...


Wonderful! Thank you for sharing.