Those who have been following the Mountain Valley Pipeline story know that Duncan Adams has provided extraordinary coverage for over 3 years in the Roanoke Times. He has asked hard questions, shining light on a story that many outlets ignored or glossed over. Recently, Duncan accepted a long-sought offer to edit a newspaper in Butte, Montana, and his last day at the Roanoke Times was November 11, 2107 (two experienced reporters – Laurence Hammock and Jeff Sturgeon – will now cover the story).
Like me, Duncan has the West in his bones, and the call is strong. We wish him all the best and hope Montanans know what a great gift they are receiving.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club honored Duncan for his in-depth reporting at the ATC office in Roanoke on November 13. He responded by reading the hand-written note below, which he has allowed us to share:
The rain started after my brother dropped me at the Dragon’s Tooth trailhead. On that April morning in 1978, I was 23 years old and a backpacking novice.
I walked into the woods woefully unprepared. I had not been a Boy Scout. My parents weren’t campers. I had stuffed the flimsy, exterior frame backpack, bought on the cheap from a discount retailer, with way too much stuff, including – incredibly – an array of books.
I toted a thin sleeping bag and a tube tent, a plastic shelter open on both ends.
As it turned out, my trail maps were outdated. That first night, as the rain intensified, I searched in vain for the shelter in which I’d planned to sleep. The rain gleefully sluiced in through both ends of the tube tent.
It was a long night. The next day it snowed. A few days later, I hitchhiked into Blacksburg, where I bought a decent jacket and mailed home the books.
By the time I reached Damascus I felt like a seasoned outdoorsman. I felt stronger, leaner, less fearful.
Like many people who hit the trail, I sought healing and solace on that first outing. I found just enough of both to initiate a love of hiking.
I am grateful to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy for your stewardship of this remarkable resource. And I am also grateful, and deeply honored, by this award. Thank you.