Brian Vaughan's Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike

Phone calls from the Trail Central Virginia

< br /> 04/21/98 - Catawba, VA, 687 miles. As a mother, I have to say that Brian sounds tired. He says, however, that he won't quit! He wants to get all the way to Katahdin. One of the Leki hiking poles snapped when he fell. He's hoping to be able to do something about that in Waynesboro. More trail magic - it never ceases to amaze me - at a road crossing there was a cooler filled with ice and cans of soda. At one of the shelters, someone had left two apples - finding fresh fruit is a real treat along the trail, I guess! The people he's seen or read about in trail registers are: Paisa, Squanto, Hungry Bear, Wrongfoot, Jackrabbit, and Filou.

04/22/98 - Daleville, VA. Spending a night in an Econolodge, splitting it with Zeb. Will call from Big Island. Mistakenly sent home his first aid kit at last mail drop, I will mail it back to Waynesboro.

04/27/98 - Big Island, VA - stopping to resupply groceries here. Big news is recent photos are up on the web! (Mom finally got them scanned - the winter ones will be up in a few weeks). Check out Brian standing on the edge of a cliff - Paul Magaroni had something funny in his thruhiker journal about moms everywhere being nervous about pictures like this one. There's also Brian with a pony, a nice picture of a shelter, and a picture of one of the staircases that go over fences when the AT goes through private property. Someone commented to me "doesn't Brian ever smile?? Well, look closely. In the photo on the cliff he is very happy, and in the one with the ponies he thinks this is just hysterical. You have to know him to see this! I suggested that he take some "light" reading - I just ordered "Bored of the Rings", the parody of the trilogy, but he prefers to keep reading Phaedrus by Plato. Go figure.

05/01/98 - Traveled an average of 17 miles per day into Waynesboro, AKA Rockfish Gap. Total miles to date:836.8!! Staying at a Comfort Inn. Picked up mail drops - thanks to Jonathan and Cheryl for the Rice Krispie Treats! - Brian was eating them as soon as he opened them. Leki sent a new hiking pole for Brian, and for Zeb also. Bought new socks at the outfitter, and a new (lighter) pack, and a 20 degree down sleeping bag. Planning to send stove home at next mail drop (Harper's Ferry, W. VA 25425 - expected arrival approx. 5/10/98). Highest pack weight so far was 48 pounds, Brian thinks he will have it down to around 30 pounds without stove and with new gear. With lightened pack, hoping to have an easier time hiking through rocky Pennsylvania. Has decided he prefers being comfortable while hiking, rather than being comfortable while camping.

Heading into the Shenandoah National Forest for 106.9 miles. I'll be checking the weather frequently - there seems to be a lot of thunderstorm activity. I can't imagine what it's like to be wet day after day after day.

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This page is being maintained by Brian's mother who will be updating and adding pictures as soon as Brian sends them.

For more information about Brian and his thruhike, you can email his mom at or his stepfather at
Last revised January 10, 1999.