my alarm went off early as I wanted to get up early and crush some miles. but instead I switched it off. Finally emerging at 6.30. but I was slow it took me ages to strip down and pack up, so it was 8 am before my feet bit the trail. As I walked several clean smelling hikers passed me by going South. They must be up early I thought. I pushed on amazed how nice the trail was and then debated to myself if I should have gone on last night.
No, I did the right thing. In the Shenandoah national park, the signposts are concrete blocks with the directions etched into aluminium bands. so, I must look closely to see which direction I should be heading.
My main concern was water as I was out, the next shelter was getting closer, but it was off trail. several hours later I arrived at
the marker post taking me the shelter was .2 miles to the east (my right).
I followed the blue blazes down the trail. Until the shelter came into view. I expected it to be empty but there was some one here. Her name was Sierra which I really liked she was a veterinary nurse. we chatted for a while before I went and got water. It was a piped spring and so u didn’t filter. I topped up.my bladder and gulped down a litre.
Sierra went and got water but as she filtered water leaked everywhere. I explained that she had possibly over tightened the connection. wrecking the “O” ring I suggested giving the. Company a call and get a replacement. I would have liked to have hiked with her, but she was only out for the weekend and was getting picked up by a shuttle later to go home and back to work.
I said my goodbyes and retraced my steps back up towards the trail. The next few miles were up as I made my way up Black mountain, but as I neared the top it began to get busy with tourists and their dogs.
I flowed the trail around the mountain taking in the amazing views. and chatting to the day-trippers.
I spent the next four of hours going in and out of the forest crossing backwards and forwards over the same road as I climbed. I was making good time and was looking good to get lunch at the loft wayside.
I was busy pushing when I spotted it …. A bear a great big bloody huge bear. I slowly got out my camera and began to shoot. he saw me. he looked at me he totally ignored me.
omg I saw a bear. I was so so excited. omg that has made my day. A round the next corner was a fawn and mum. they walked down the trail before bolting off into the woods. but hey I’ve seen my first bear and rather close too.
Soon I came to the trail that took me down to the wayside (cafe and gift shop) it took about 20 minutes down this side trail.
As I approached I cod see Bumblebee and her fella I walked inside and said hi
Bumblebee recommended the BlackBerry milkshake and her husband said the burger WAS good. Sounds good to me. so, I ordered a burger and fries, a blackberry milkshake a d a large sprite that I drained instantly. Yes, the burger WAS good. but omg the BlackBerry milkshake was the best that I have had ☆☆☆☆☆
after I finished my plate I pottered around the gift store.
Bumblebee grabbed a carton of wine. that a good idea so I grabbed one too. I so grabbed a few cards to send home
I sat outside to write my cards, but I had no cell service so couldn’t pull the addresses.
Bumblebee then asked where I was heading. well if like to reach the 900 then crash I said.
They had planned on doing the same.
I brought I more coke that I promptly drank then I was away. back up the side trail and then back to the trail.
it was just 1pm when I re-joined the trail. the next shelter was 4 miles away, but I wanted the next one that was 12 miles. It was doable. but I’m a friendly chap and when people talk to me I chat back and so I lost about an hour. plus, some big climbs and the target became unrealistic unless I pushed on late.
Okay I will walk to 6 and see where I am as I crossed my last road I was nearing 900 miles
I knew that I needed to get water here from. The rangers station. so, followed the road until I reached the building. There was a tap. I filled up.my bottles then frank one so filled it up again.
I walked back up. The road and re-joined the trail I hadn’t gone far when I spotted Bumblebee setting up. Her tent.
Nice spot I said. and carried on but I was tired. after almost 40 minutes of walking I spotted a place that may do.
yep it’s fine. my tent was soon up. I hung my rope ready for my food bag then made my supper. I had a treat with chilli Mac washed down with red wine
A great day a bear and 900 miles
mileage 21 miles
Remaining 1313 Miles