Day 48 Heading to Trents Grocery Store 600 miles

Monday 28th May I really slept so well and was amazed to find that my tent was dry as I had  rained during the night. I quickly packed up, retrieved my food bag then made tea, love my tea in the morning, once drank, I  stamped on the beer cans and I was ready. It was about a mile-ish to the Grocery store/ restaurant. I pushed on laughing to myself as I passed numerous tents shoehorned into tight spaces. A little way down the trail I came to Happy feet and Bob Marley who were packing up. Morning Guys , see you for breakfast. I said as I passed by I pounded down the trail passing through a large burn area. It looked like a controlled burn and seemed recent as the smoke still hung in the air. A little further I spotted a wild turkey, then another but they kept hiding behind trees. I pushed on, eventually exiting onto an asphalt road. signs warned me to be safe as it was busy. (I saw nothing) I followed the road until I came to a huge Electric pylon. The pylons stretched down the valley to the highway. I kept walking until I began to see houses then I saw the grocery store and Bob. Morning Bob. I left my pack and entered. the owner was busy cooking breakfast, so I grabbed a soda I will pay in a minute I said sitting down. I ordered the breakfast plate, which consisted of two Biscuits and gravy 2 fried eggs and bacon. Biscuits are like British scones covered in white sauce. and it’s rather tasty washed down with coffee. They also do a good range of foods to resupply Bob ordered the same as me. as we sat eating a stream of other hikers began to appear  and  soon the little  store restaurant was packed I polished off my breakfast, grabbed another soda and a few bits then I was ready. Bob was complaining that his tent was soaked but he has put his near the pylons and  it was fairly Dewy Happy feet, Fish and I said  well ours ours are  dry. Outside we  adjusted our packs and one by one headed back to the trail  all happily fed . It was a road walk for about a mile then the trail headed back into the forest and up I was feeling good, but the first climb was steep and endless and really sapped my energy plus I had a big breakfast inside me I chugged up the first hill, god it was steep., the next few hours were the typical rollercoaster up and down up and down. I eventually reached the first shelter, but as it was off trail, I decided not to visit it so pushed on. The rest of the day was similar ups and downs with not much to see. It was then that I decided that I wasn’t going to rush today and that I would stop at the second shelter put up my tent and relax. Yes, a short day and an early night. Happy with my plan I pushed on feeling happy and then began screeching at the top of my voice (singing) I was miles away when I emerged onto forest road. and there were several hikers congratulating me. Why? It took a moment for the penny to drop … I was at the 600-mile mark. Whoop whoop. We were still congratulating each other when a car pulled up and asked us if we fancied a beer. God yes so, we all grabbed a beer while we had our photographs taken. The lady driver had started hiking but had to stop and so she was giving away all her resupply boxes of food. as well as cakes and doughnuts more, food and more beer Again, thank you so much I was just enjoying another beer when Bob arrived. Where are you heading today Snail Bob asked? I am going to the next shelter 2.5 miles away. I replied There is a grocery store 9 more miles away that serves food and beer. Bob said Well Bob, if my feet can do it I will be there. I replied. We finished eating and drinking and headed back to the trail, Bob soon past me as he is fast and was soon out of sight I pushed on I hadn’t gone far when the heavens opened. It chucked it down. I pushed on splashing through the water.  I zoned out and just pushed on, weirdly I enjoy hiking in the rain . Up and down the trail I pounded until I reached a sign for the next shelter. Naw not today I laughed to myself pushing on I crossed a road and bridges, splashing and sloshing through the rain. I was shifting down the mountain until the trail became a muddy mess and I began slipping and sliding everywhere, I was scared that I may face plant. The rain had made the decent treacherous, I was grabbing hold of tree branches to slop me slipping and was worried that I may bend my poles.  At last it evened out as I entered a wide meadow and could hear rushing water. Eventually I arrived at a suspension Bridge, I crossed over staring at the murky waters below. as I crossed the bridge began to sway which was scary Once across I saw a hiker and tent. Which way to the store? I asked Take a left it’s a 1/2-mile walk I headed along the road, it was a busy road and   not a huge edge to walk along. after 10 minutes I crossed over as the path had vanished and I didn’t want to get mushed. At last I could see the store in the distance. at last I arrived at the garage/ Store. I dropped my pack and went inside I entered and ordered a   chicken tenders and fries.   then asked about camping it was $7 and I got a towel  and soap . When my food  arrived, I went outside as it was freezing inside with the aircon. As I walked up to one of the picknick tables I noticed Bob and sidestep. Hi guys I sat down with them and began to devour my dinner. They had decided to push on and were heading for the waterfalls to camp I finished my dinner then went to look for the campsite. I walked down the farm track before   noticing another tent, so I set mine up nearby. The site was basic but had a washer, dryer and showers. I sorted out my gear and then dumped my stinky clothes into the washer squirted  in some shampoo that I found and hoped for the best. The shower was next. They were a bit tatty, but the water was hot, and it felt so good to be clean. I airdried in the summer evening before walking back to the store to get some beer. I grabbed a six-pack, ice cream and gas before heading back to my tent. When I got back I swapped my cloths into the dryer, the other hiker named xxxxx had now appeared, He had a great southern accent., I shared a few beers with him as we chatted about life and the trail etc. As It gradually got dark and I was amazed to see all the fire flies whizzing around lighting up the dark Start Finish 611 mileage 22.6 miles Remaining 1579 Miles
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Day 72

Day 72

I woke up early as my alarm was telling me to get up, so I quickly switched it off.
I eventually woke at 8 am got up put on the coffee and stepped into the shower .
After stepping out I watched garbage on the tv and then decided to write some postcards.
Eventually I managed to pack up and leave. I walked back to reception and checked out They also took my postcards so that was a result .
I was just about to hike out when
“Hey snail have you had the breakfast?
So about turn and  I headed to the restaurant .I dropped my pack and then I was shown to  a table.
What would you like to drink sir asked the server
Orange Juice and Coffee please  I replied .
I then made my way to the hot  counter and loaded my plate  before returning to my table.
I drained my  Coffee and juice before ordering more .
Time for seconds  so I headed back to the counter .Okay one more juice then I must go as it was  already 10am.
Omg it’s late and I want to visit the next town and post my tourist stuff to my friend in Texas.
At last I was leaving the Compound , I pushed on it was  7 miles to the road and then I need to hitch.
The morning seemed to whizz by,  maybe it was a good night’s sleep in a real bed .
Ping went my phone. cool I am  doing well, and the  miles were falling. occasionally I stopped to get a view of the countryside
Eventually I reached the road or rather the main entrance to the park. I walked out and to the Ranger booth to ask which way I needed to head.

I walked to the road and held out my thumb. Soon I was heading into Luray.
The couple dropped me at the post office. I thanked them as they drove off.

Once inside the post office I had to almost dismantle my pack as the stuff that I wanted to post was typically at the bottom. I choose a box then put all my excess gear into it and posted it up the trail.
Once done I really needed a pee so visited the  train museum as it was the nearest. It  was really interesting .
I asked if they had a AT  stamp but sadly not
Okay chores  done; I need to get back to the trail . As I  walked back to the. freeway  the rain returned   Bloody  great.
I walked to the on ramp and held out my thumb.
I was lucky as I was picked up by a Ridge runner and so I learnt a great deal on the journey back.

She was off to the first shelter to do some maintenance and had her saw and secateurs.
we walked together for a while, but  I was faster and  so said my goodbyes  and took off.
I was heading for  Elkwallow wayside . I was Hoping to get there by 4.Have supper and hike on .  As I pushed,  I began to hear the distant  rumbling of thunder occasionally I got a light sprinkle of rain even though the sun was shining with all its might.

I began to hear voices, but I couldn’t make out what direction they were coming from .Then two hikers appeared from  behind me . One was Bob Narley, but I  hadn’t seen  the other before
Hey man how are you doing .
See you at the wayside.
It was about an hour later that I arrived at Elkwallow wayside.
I dropped my pack and went inside . I ordered the chicken strips with fries, a lemon soda, milk shake and 2 beers .
I went outside to eat my dinner, I had just sat down when the sky turned black .I quickly devoured my  food  and just as I had finished  the heavens opened  and it threw it down.
I sheltered under the veranda., hoping it would soon stop .
It rained and it rained . and it just kept on raining

FUCK FUCK I can’t put my tent up.in this.
I sat in despair staring at the rain  Bob and his companion appeared
“This is not good Snail”
I totally agree, I wanted a few more miles I replied
They had planned on hiking to the  next shelter at least another 6 miles away. They are fast but it now so dark .
We watched as they shut up the shop and locked everything up .including the rest rooms (toilets)
So we cant stay in the loos  then, we all laughed .
I really wanted to camp right here but it’s prohibited (Naughty lol.)

The rain eased a little, so I left my pack with my fellow hikers  and went for a recce.
Just to the right was a picnic area  that’s perfect  for me .
I went back and retrieved my pack,
I’m going to crash just up there” I said ,
I then said my  good byes  and headed back to  my campsite

I found a good spot and managed to put up my tent quickly without everything getting too wet.
I hung my food bag, as I had eaten loads, there was no need to cook so straight to bed .

Mileage 17 miles .

Day 144

Friday 31st

Paul had put an extra sleeping bag in my tent as it was predicted to be cold . So, I was so toasty last night and there was no hurry to get up.
But my body clock woke me at 6am so I dozed listening to the pinecones dropping on the tarp above my head.
At 8 I finally emerged visited the porta loo then wandered back to my tent. It was like my pack had exploded in my tent there was stuff everywhere.
my new buckle had arrived from Osprey, so I fitted that and adjusted the hip belt . glued on my hiking patches .then began to pack. My new tent stuff sack had arrived, so I swapped that over.
Again, I seemed to have a ton of food . one day I will get that right. I wandered back to the main area there were a few hikers moving out. I sat at the table while money penny (English gal) cooked me breakfast while I waited, I grabbed a brownie made by local lady . which are fantastic.
I drained my coffee and grabbed another. then scoffed my breakfast. It was a gorgeous morning as I sat in the sun. I really didn’t want to move.
Paul came back from shuttling and said you guys are going to have great views on the summit’s today.
It’s no good I need to move. I went back.to my tent and finished packing. Then I hoisted up my pack Omg it’s heavy . I said my goodbyes and walked up the drive and back to the road. it’s .3 back to the trail . I passed several hikers going the other way

One asked me about the Hiker hut. I said that I liked it and that it worked for me and that he does do shuttles to town.

I reached the trail head crossed over and began to. Hike it has just gone 9 am .
It was nice and cool as I headed into the forest . it was going to.be several large climbs but oddly I was really looking forward to them

My first was going to be Saddle Back mountain, the biggest climb of the day The start was gentle., passing several lovely lakes . I met many sobos and short hikers. crossed several bogs then the climbing started. then Kaleidoscope and her man came through . Fuck am .I that slow . we gave each other abuse laughing see you guys up the trail.

It was just over 3 hours till I submitted Saddle back and wow the views were totally amazing .Wow it was a great day to hike a clear day so I could see for miles. Kaleidoscope and ahem were just finishing their lunch as I arrived.

So, as they got up. I took. Their spot. I enjoyed some on a is but really, I could have sat here all day as the views were just breathtaking.

eventually I hiked on as I had my next mountain to climb named the Horn, but of course I must go down first. From the top of Saddleback, it was easy to see my route and in the distance was Kaleidoscope. Wow they got there fast but yes, they are fast.

The down wasn’t too bad, and I was soon climbing again and the up was fairy sketchy in places. As I climbed, I ran into another trail crew who were replacing some stairs (Rock steps) Great job a said puffing and panting . Before continuing

At last the trail began to get easier . thank you . And i began to climb up more of the huge rock slabs so it didnt seem.to take too long untill i was at the top of the horn whoop whoop. Again the views were incredible .okay Snail 1 more to climb today then we can look to camp .

The down from this one was fairly crappy .huge rocks to clamber over . knarly roots to trip you so I came down fairly slow in fact incredibly slow . But I don’t want to fall and hurt myself or break some thing especially this close to the end .

Eventually the trail flattened out .As I was about to head down a bit more I passed several other hikers . I chatted to them. and they said thst they were helping Pappy. This is the 87 yr Old hiking the

Appalachian Trail. The last time I saw him was in the Shenandoah’s As I continued, we met, So I grabbed another opportunity to get a photo with him . What a great inspiration you are I said . Then on to my final climb Saddleback Junior.

Again, the climb wasn’t too bad. I had to navigate over many bogs before once again I was on rock . Again, once I had submitted the views just kept getting better. I could see my whole route that I had just completed. I stood staring for several minutes before starting the decent.

As I’m about to descend a group of 10 young students puffed their way up. They are on orientation or to me Team building .

Once they had all climbed up, I began my decent. It was steep. And slippy at first . which then turned into mud.

I navigated around these until the duck boards reappeared .

The trail st last became nice allowing me to put in some spurts of speed.

I shortly began to smell that typical smell associated with Privies or rather human Poo.

I must be close I thought then saw the privy. Maybe it’s the rock or water source but they seem to be built a long way from camp.

Tents I can see tents and then. The shelter. I dropped my pack found a flat spot then put up my tent.

The other guys were here, camping nearby in the woods there were 3 others here. a lovely lady . and xxx

I grabbed water then began cooking supper. One of the other hikers has hung his hammock in the shelter .

after dinner I lit a fire and we sat chatting. As we did another group of students arrived. who were doing another orientation?

They headed a little way into the woods.

As we sat chatting by the fire I was asked if I had tried a ‘Smore’ Nope what is it ?

It’s a marshmallow that you toast so its golden then you sandwich between 2 biscuits and a square of chocolate. it’s better if the biscuits have been close to. The fire so that the chocolate is soft or melty.

Sounds yummy and I know my DAUGHTER would love it.

As we talked on . one of the guys from. The group came over to ask if we minded if they came to the fire after they had eaten. The rest of the hikers said to him this British guy doesn’t know what a smore is !!

Oh, he said then returned several. Minutes later with all the bits the biscuits , the chocolate and of course marshmallows.

Then they demonstrated how to make one.

Wow I’m. Hooked I love them. I sat a little longer then returned to my tent. I chatted. a while with the group of students then it was. time for Zizz

Start. 1970.5
Finish. 1981
Miles. 10.5
Miles left. 210

Day 134

Tuesday 21st August

I was up. And out as I needed to get to north Compton Post office as I had stupidly sent a package there and hadn’t the cell service to change it.
The slog up the side trail that I went down last night was a struggle . How I walked down it in the dark last I don’t know.
It seemed to take me ages to get back to the Hut.

I went inside got my book stamped refilled with water  then re-joined the trail.
The start was a climb up Mt Monroe, and it was rock, and it was steep. The soles of my feet were sore from yesterday so ached as I walked hopefully, I can block that out .
As I climbed the views were amazing, but it was a tough climb. I was following the Cairns, but it was still hard trying to plot my route to the next cairn. I was soon puffing and panting . But the views were amaze g and typically Mt Washington was clear in the distance.

At last I reached the summit andd wow what a view . I stood on the top for several minutes just staring at the amazing views. But I was on a tight schedule as I needed to get go the post office.

I headed down or rather to the ridge. The views were stunning . and I was just amazed at their beauty. I stumbled and hesitated my way down to a flat surface.

As I began to reach the tree line, I met an Australian south bounder  called shield maiden that made me smile as it’s a term .from. Vikings that is one of my favourite tv programs.
at last I was off the rocks. and began to head down into the trees .
I hadn’t gone far until. I ran into Passenger, Sir mix lot, bleep and Ossie. We exchanged verbal insults as they were slackpacking south as we continued our way. Next it was the commander and Wander Woman Wander Woman gave me advice about the trail.

At last the trail.be and less rocky and I was able to get some speed up.or rather I thought I was faster.

come on snail I urged my way on as I wouldn’t be at the trail head until 1.30 then I had a double hitch .
I was still heading down, but I thought I was going good on time
I crossed several creeks as I continued down from. Monroe.
Then  crossed over a large creek via a suspension bridge

I was busy stomping down the trail when I came snagged on s branch stupidly, I wrenched free, only to find that it was my tent stuff sack that’s caught so it was now ripped in two and my tent fluttered out behind me. I was more concerned that in May of ripped my tent, so I had to stop to. I investigate. Luckily not . so, had to carry out a quick repair / bodge on my tent bag then I was on my way.
I shortly emerged onto a road. shall I hitch I pondered.
as forestry can appeared and stopped so I asked the driver for advice on how to get to the post office. He recommended continuing to Pickcom Notch. Do that’s what I did. I soon began to see people which meant that I was close.
Soon I was there . I went inside to grab a soda. Outside was pippin and Sparks

I gave the normal abuse then headed for the road and to hitch to North Compton
It was 10 minutes before I had a ride .the guy was an all-round dude. hiker, surfer, skier etc. he made me feel quite dull .as he was my age May be older. but a great car companion. He ended up dropping me at the post office. I grabbed my new Snozzel bag from Xped posted my tourist stuff up the trail , then headed back to the road. my driver suggested that I walk to the next set of lights then hitch.

It worked  a lady stopped, she was retired and had just been fishing
As we drove, she said bugger my golf has been cancelled so  I might as well take you to Gorham. As originally, she was going to drop me off at the road junction.
Where do you want to go, she asked…?
I wasn’t sure so got out my phone. The Hostel. I said.
It’s right there she said pointing to the right.
She dropped me right outside the hostel.

I thanked her and lugged my pack. Up the driveway.
I pushed the bell.
Do you have a bed I asked?
Sorry we are full.
Fuck.it I thought…….Do you have tenting?
Yes, I have tenting .
Okay then that would be good, do you have a bed for tomorrow ?
Yes, I do .
Great so I booked in and paid.
I quickly put up my tent and relaxed.
Once settled in  I then walked to the Post office and picked up my
On the way back I got some snacks for tea and beer.
Once back I sorted through my stuff. The relaxed in the barn with my fellow hikers and relaxed.

Start. 1864
Finish. 1871
Miles. 7
Miles left

Day 86 Heading to Duncannon

Heading to Duncannon

I lay awake staring at the sky as I hadn’t had to put my fly on.
To my right I could hear someone packing up and so it was time to do the same. Groggily I unzipped my tent walked a few paces and enjoyed my morning wee.
I quickly packed up and then. Lit my stove as my neighbour hoisted his pack said the customary see you up the trail as he walked back towards the trail. I enjoyed my cuppa before finishing my packing .I then walked down to the shelter dropped my pack and headed towards the loo.
The loo here is known as the Taj Mahal as it’s huge . Bigger than some shelters I’ve seen
I was soon back on the trail and I only had 11 miles to get me into town whoop
It was early but still warm as made my way along the trail, but I was heading down . At last a breeze. that’s oh so nice.
The down didn’t last long and soon I was puffing up the obligatory up, but at a rather good speed and was soon catching another hiker in front . who turned out to be my last night’s neighbour.
I soon was at the top and the trail began to level out? in fact it stayed like this for most of the Day. Then the rocks arrived, and I was soon tripping over them and swearing. okay I’ll take a break in a minute I said to myself. Then I noticed another hiker in front sitting on a low. He was at the shelter when I arrived last night but hiked out. We chatted for a while then I. Pushed on a little way along there was a clearing giving me a great view of the river and town. I must be near I thought. As I carried on, I could hear voices below okay I must be going down soon . I could then see 3 people sat on a large rock outcrop. But by the time I had reached their level they had gone. The trail now dived down nut was made of rock steps. I tried to speed up slipped kicked a rock killing my toe and decided that that was not clever. I then did it again almost rolling my ankle. a string of rude words filed the air and I began to descend even slower.

At last I was standing on a road. But the trail wasn’t very clear. so, I checked my phone.
okay this way . the trail crossed a bridge then eventually would snake its way through town.
A little way in the distance I could see a garage. and a smile appeared on my face.
Oh it’s so lovely walking from heat into air con. I grabbed a basket and put in 2 lilts , a peach Snapple, 2 oranges, an Apple, a fruit jelly a pint of strawberry ice cream and a bugspray. I then paid walked across the street sat at a picnic table and ate and drank the lot . I was just tidying up when a man stopped his truck and came over to chat . although I wanted to leave. I was still chatting when three other hikers who were at the shelter last night arrived. . This man was interested in hiking so was hitting us for information and tips.
At last I escaped and walked on heading to Town . by now it was hot . But after my picnic in the park I really needed the loo.
As in was passing Doyle’s hotel I noticed a lady sat outside , who I presumed worked there so I asked if I could use the loo.
You a hiker?
Well yes I am ( Can’t you tell)!!
Come inside leave your pack. need fresh water?

I did as I was told and entered the bar.
Do you serve beer I foolishly asked.
Yes, she said pointing at the pumps?

I ordered a beer then noticed some familiar faces at the other end of the pub It was Sunshine, Mousetrap and nonproblem I think’s his trail name.

Snailtrainer they all exclaimed
So I had hugs l round whist catching upon the gossip. They were playing pool. With some locals and were losing badly. it appeared that Mousetrap and myself were next up, so I grabbed myself another beer. We played well but still lost .

These guys were staying at the local church . But already had reservations at the motel ” Red Carpet”. so, I said goodbye to my friends as I needed beer to take with me.
The Beer shop was huge and was very busy well.it is July 4th. Sadly, all  the beers I fancied only came in huge packs that no way could I carry .I was still pondering when another hiker arrived .Do you want to spit a case I asked?

Yes, snail that’s a great idea

so, we  brought a case and split it  Result. Outside we carefully put the bottles into our packs. I waved goodbye then rang the motel to organise my ride.
He arrived within 10 minutes . I put in my pack then got in. The motel was several miles along the freeway. so not good to hitch.
I checked in got my quarters  for laundry then walked to.my room it was big and spacious.
I quickly transferred my beer to the fridge, Next was laundry so I rounded up all my smelly stuff and walked to the machine, I loaded it up then returned to my room.
I stripped off  and then I jumped into the shower and relaxed under the soothing spray for 20 minutes.
OMG that’s was so good. I walked back to the laundry and transferred my clothes to the dryer.
Now it was beer time. I exploded my pack all over the room and began to sort through my gear. I made a pile of items that I wanted to Post. ( tick).
Then I wrote a letter to exchange my socks ( tick).
I drank my beer as I did my chores.
I retrieved my clothes from the dryer, the two pairs of “Holey” socks I put in a Ziplock along with the letter. I will post tomorrow.

The motel said that they would run me to the restaurant and pick.me up so I walked to the reception . A young lad drove me, but it appeared closed ( July 4th) . Okay where next.
I was now getting a burger and fries it looked huge. I grabbed my food and walked back to the motel. On the way  back I passed a hardware store.(( I should have  got gas !!)).

Once back in my room I owned another beer and stuffed my face with burger and chips.
Once full I did more chores, ordered. Tyvek, and a phone case and then relaxed and watched Tv drinking more beer.

Start 1138.6
Finish 1147.9
Miles. 11 miles

Day 85 a Day of Magic

Tuesday 3rd July
After hitting the hiking wall, I was really looking forward to a good night’s sleep………
The train tracks were miles away but when these huge long locomotives pass by crossing, they toot their horns that seemed to echo around the mountain that I had thrown my tent up on . Then it seemed that airplanes high above me hit their turbo or afterburner setting . . At last it went quite .until the sky lit up with lightening. perfect I thought as I waited for the boom of the thunder.
I sleepily got out of my tent and put my fly on . pegged it down then got back into.my pit and closed my eyes and waited for the downpour…. Which never came.
After my poor day yesterday, I decided to get up. Early to beat the heat. so, my alarm went off at 4.30. although it seemed I had only just gone to bed. It’s a fairly good idea to get up early except it’s dark and you can’t find anything.
I hit the trail just before 6 and felt really pleased with myself. Although I was amazed on how warm it was. I pushed on finally escaping from this mountain. it was good trail apart from a few steep climbs to bitch about . I walked for 30 minutes .Then saw bumblebees’ tent, I was impressed that she had got this far as she too looked knackered when I saw her. I saw movement so shouted get up you lazy cow. As I walked, I passed by 4 more tents spread out in various places along the trail. The last tent barked. I recognised it as that annoying dog that I passed yesterday.
A little further along I passed a creek so decided I ought to top up my water as I believe it was a long stretch to the next. Typically, once I had the added weight of water it was time for another climb. Once at the top of course there was nothing to see , although there was a plaque.
I soon headed down then I was in farmland. and it stretched for miles. in the distance I could make out some one walking a dog. .Around the outside of the field there were a few very nice houses. Yes, I’d like that one. Once I was across my first field the trail took an immediate right and crossed another. Barley on one side and grass on the other I . followed this for a while until it promptly stopped by a road. I looked around for the next blaze. It was on a hidden post. I walked a little way up the road until the trail dived into another field. Maize this time and again it seemed to stretch out for miles.
I am so glad that I got up early as these fields would be murder in the sun
I followed around several headland until. the trail headed back into the forest. But it was more of a hedge and I emerged out the other side by a railway track.
I crossed over and in was in the town of springs xx I walked over the bridge and was greeted with a large boating lake. as I walked around it, I noticed a white blaze. oh, so this is the trail.
I asked a lady walking her dog if any shops were open to grab a cold drink ?
The cafe is open at the end if the lake turns left.
I thanked her and set off
It wasn’t far and soon arrived at the cafe which had a Mexican theme, I asked a man seated outside if they come out or do, I have to go.in ?
You go in if your ordering breakfast he said.
I dropped my pack and walked in the air con was lovely and cool I was trying to make up.my mind when a lady began to talk to me . and ask me about my journey and the trail. She then insisted on buying me breakfast. I thanked her so much. The waitress then gave me a number I poured myself coffee from one of the numerous flasks then went to sit outside.

Come join us the lady said. her name was Sandy and she was visiting her sister. we chatted while we ate, and I was so relaxed. but it was getting hot and I needed to push on .
So, I thanked them once again and began to leave. I had just put on my pack when bumble bee appeared .She looked exhausted and hot. zits got aircon if you want to sit inside, I said. but I need to go.
I walked back towards the lake and the AT Centre , outside was Tree Hugger hello you I said . He was interested in my mileage . but I was being coy. whilst here I got my passport stamped filled up with water then I was ready.

The trail follows the road for a while then it heads back into. The Forrest. Oh, and mud, but luckily not too bad to get over and aground. Then I was back into the countryside again . God it was hot and no shade as I pushed on down the trail I then past a lad a d his dad who were out for the weekend. I crossed over a road and into another field. At the next road a voice said do you need anything cold?
It was a lady sat by her car with a large ice box .
yes, please is always the answer.
Yes, passed me can ice cold peach tea Snapple. I hadn’t had one before and it’s taste really hit the spot. oh, she said I’ve ice pops
I devoured 3 before I left .thanking her .
I pushed on crossing maize field after field . the Sun trying to set me on fire.

I crossed another road then crossed a small footbridge and there was another ice chest full of coke, iced tea water and sandwiches .
I chugged some iced tea . which was really refreshing. Then grabbed a coke and sandwich. enjoyed the moment before hiking on .

I checked my watch I was on target, but this heat was relentless. I. Pushed on more farmland .more fields at last I dropped into the forest, but I have to say that I have enjoyed the varied scenery of today.

I walked around the boundary of a farm and chatted to the cows. who were mostly lying down  sheltering under trees ? which is where I would rather be.

After chatting to the cows, I emerged onto a main road the heat radiating from it was intense
I walked quickly to  try to get out of it and back into the cooler field. After 20 minutes I crossed over another road and began to drop. Down into the valley. as I crossed a large stile my water ran out .Mm that’s not good . I stopped and removed my back I carry a pint inn the side pocket.my back us. I poured that into my bladder and repacked. I then checked my map for where is the next water .

I was just leaving when a hiker came the other way.
There’s trail. Magic by the bridge.
Where is that I asked,
1/2 mile not far.
That news urged me on, and I was soon crossing the bridge.

To the left there were several ice chests . As I walked towards them a lovely lady said help yourself there is sodas on the red one Gatorade on the blue. and snacks take what you want. I removed my pack and set in the shade for a few minutes. Then walked a d grabbed a soda. There were 4 other hikers here. 2 were waiting out the heat . I had another soda. some chocolate and some crisps.

I checked my maps again . whoop only 5 miles to go . I was pleased with today’s progress.
But it’s up one of the hikers said and no water.
Bigger I thought so I decided to take water with me . and in the heat. But sensibly I did wait another 40 minutes before heading out.

The first few miles were nice and gentle then it was up and up and steep .Omg it was steep I was soon soaked and puffing and still it climbed and climbed. and the bastard flies began to attack. . I saw a rock chair and collapsed onto it. puffing and sweating. it was then I noticed the stunning view. I relaxed for 5 minutes. until I had the energy to carry on. At last I was at the summit and there was a sign pointing to the shelter.
I walked down the Blue blazed trail and there was the shelter.
I said hi to the occupants then went and put up.my tent.

I was pleased with my day but was tired so quickly cooked tea and went to bed

Start    1115.6
Finish 1138.6
Miles. 23

Day 84

I had switched off my alarm as there was no rush today as I had planned to call into the cafe on the park that was just over 2 miles away.
I eventually emerged around 6.30 and began to slowly pack up, retrieved my food bag.
I stripped down my tent then cooked breakfast washed down with a cuppa.
I hoisted up my pack and set off I hadn’t gone far when I crossed the 1100-mile marker.
Then a little further was the “Old ” halfway marker. I was taking photos when Bumble bee arrived .
We walked down the trail together until we came to some trail magic . Someone had left loads of Gatorade out for us totally amazing.

As we were drinking papa Smurf arrived wow he said as these bottles are about $3 each.
We moved off together, but he is fast and was soon out if sight.

As we hiked, we could hear a mower.  That  turned out to be a guy with a weed whacker trimming the trail we both thanked him and hiked on.
Bumble bee started to say
“The problem is when they do that is that it makes the trail slippy”
Then she fell over. then I did the same we both  laughed both got up and continued.
As we slowly spiralled down, we noticed several nice cabins. Some were nice.
We then came to a road it was a short road walk then we were in the park. As we walked up the drive, we could see the cafe and Papa Smurf sat outside. He was attempting the 1/2-gallon ice cream challenge. I fancied a go but didn’t want that limb sat in my tummy all afternoon, so sensibly went for a breakfast roll egg bacon and cheese & coffee.
After I grabbed a coke and an ice cream bar. As we sat chatting Curly turtle & Flex arrived . Curly Turtle also fancied the challenge so returned with her ice cream

Hurrah whoop Papa Smurf has done his.
I sat relaxing as a mother and her 3 daughters arrived. One of the girls offered to take our photos.
It’s no good I need to hike and need  that  shower so set off through the park. it’s a great picnic park with glorious lake with a beach and  showers etc.

The shower block was near the lake, I dropped my pack, grabbed my shampoo and walked in. found a cubicle. I took off my shoes and socks then walked under the shower with the rest of my clothes on.
I washed my hair then the rest of me the shower felt so good and  was lovely to be clean  if only for a few minutes
I walked out into the Sun to air dry as hikers don’t carry towels lol. As I was drying Bumble bee arrived.

See you up the trail I said hoisting my pack and setting off .
The trail, the trail wound its way  around the lake  so I could see the  families enjoying themselves .I was envious of all the kids playing.
Once out of the park, I began my first climb. so, head down and push . I seemed to make that easy so pushed on as the trail wound itself around the forest.
I was pushing when j met a friendly face coming the other way. It was Tree Hugger , followed by the father and daughter and another hiker whose name escapes me.
We wished  each other well , before  pushing  on.
It’s not long before Papa Smurf speeds past me . How does he do that!!.
I spent most of the afternoon in the forest, but it was still hot. Very hot my watch showed 90° and it was shady.
I began to feel a little dizzy .Maybe the Sun maybe I wasn’t drinking enough, So I decided to  take a break at the next water and eat lunch.
I rounded a corner and could hear water, Sat by the bridge was Papa Smurf.
“Great idea I said .
I found  a log to sit on then dropped my pack. I took my water bottles and filled them from the creek. I filtered 1 litre into my bladder then filtered another into the empty one which I then flavoured.
Lunch time, I opened up my lunch bag and slowly devoured my snacks before  glugging  down the litre of flavoured water.
I hoisted up my pack, crossed over the bridge and continued on my way
There was a shop in 2 miles . mmm  may get a cold soda.!
I pushed on melting on the  heat. Then  the flies arrived and  began to drive me mad.
Little midges that fly in front of you face and eventually into your eyes and slightly bigger ones that just buzz in your ears.
I pulled the bandana over my head to blank out the buzzing and put on my sunglasses to stop the others .
I began climbing and it was murder. Come on Snail you have got this .
I crossed over several. Roads then the railway line.
The shop was to.my right but I didn’t fancy walking down the road off trail especially .in this heat so turned left and continued.

Time for more climbing Omg omg fuck fuck fuck .Once again I had run into that  brick wall. I saw a mossy rock and just collapsed into it .Fuck this I said to myself struggling out of my pack . I then removed my shoes and socks and took a 20-minute power nap.
God that felt good and I felt almost revived. I got myself ready and hit the trail again.
There was water in 2 miles, okay I will fill up. Then find somewhere to camp. I pushed on feeling much better and most raced up the next two hills. Then I crossed a road and a small bridge over a stream. Sat  nearby was a couple and their dog who just barked at me. I filled up.my bottles then pushed on . Okay snail. You have got this go; you can hike to 5 pm. I blazed down the trail crossed. more road and then came the next climb and  no shade and it was steep and was mainly clambering over rocks . up and up I panted and puffed got it was horrid  the Rock maze I was close to bursting  into flames as it was so HOT.
I slurped water from.my bladder hoping that I had enough. eventually I was at the top. Omg it was just more rock huge chunks of rock .I just want to put up my tent!!!!

My face was the colour of a fire engine  as I looked for the  trail. Oh, course it went straight up and over this rock. After 30 minutes of clambering I had, had enough I just wanted to put up.my tent. I carried on for 20 minutes until I was spent

There that will do I shoehorned my tent into a small clearing
Once my tent was up , I felt I could relax  made tea then crashed .it was early 5pm but I was done.

As I lay dozing in my tent after I heard a familiar voice  of  Bumblebee.
“Snail is that you.?
Yes I crashed. I replied

I just need water then I will do the same she Replied

Start 1099.8
Finish 1115.6
Miles. 17

Day 81 Maryland day 2

I slept well considering and was up and on the trail by 6.30 I waved goodbye to bumble bee and then did the same to Dog whisperer . it was a cool morning as I stopped up. The trail at the road crossing there was a bag of fruit, so I grabbed an apple
I crossed the road and again there were many signs telling the history of the civil war.
I crossed through a field then began to climb again but it wasn’t a huge climb and so was soon st the top. the trail was graded well then signs began to appear telling you about the life of George Washington. st the top was a monument dedicated to him .

There were great views from here. I was just leaving when Bumble bee arrived. dis she fast today or me slow,
I took off again determined not to stop for 5 hours. I climbed I descended I avoided the bogs and sticky mud. I said morning to everyone who past and stopped to chat to others. then I came to rock and slowed to a crawl . I just can’t walk over it

At last I was back to nice soil, but it was now 11. Okay a break . I began to look for a suitable spot .Perfect
I dropped my pack plugged my phone into its charger as it was low. Then I brewed tea and ate lunch. I was still relaxing when Bumblebee arrived.
She was heading to the next shelter but would get there by 3. I may see you there. but I too wanted more miles even though that would be 18.
I watched her go then began to pack up as several more hikers came past.
I was soon back on the trail when I found a bandana, I picked it up and soon caught the last two hikers .
it was indeed hers. we chatted for a while . They were getting picked up at the road. When we arrived, their friend asked if I fancied a cold beer so joined them just off trail.

We chatted for ages drinking several cans of beer.
Then a ranger arrived he was chatty, and I told him about the inconsiderate hikers. he filled on a report and copied their photos. If they misbehave again, they could be banned from state parks.
I had one more beer .packed one out then headed back to the trail.
I was a little annoyed with myself for wasting so much time. but it was enjoyable.

I pushed on and on .But it was hot come on miles. But I was low on water so needed some . At last a creek I guzzled down a litre then topped up my bladder maybe too much. As the rest of the trail was up.
I checked the next shelter was near but dry so at the next creek I filled up again dreading the last climb.
It was steep it was long it was hot my pack creaked under the weight. Finally, a sign . SHELTER. I made my way down the side trail . The shelter was nice new. there were dad and daughter who were at the camp yesterday.
I paused for a while trying to decide whether to go on or not . then went and put my tent up.
I cooked dinner early then retreated to my tent as I needed my sleep
It was a good day, but I wanted more miles . Maybe tomorrow?

Start    1041.9
Finish 1060.8
Miles 19

My Video Blog And Written Blog are out of sync
here is the days Video

Day 83

I quickly packed up then began the slug back up the hill. What a stupid place to put a shelter.

It was almost 4 miles to the Road where I wanted to hitch to the store grab a few bits then hitch to the cafe for breakfast. The trail drops down onto the busy road, but I need to be on the other side.
I take my life into.my hands and make it across the sun seems even hotter here may e it’s the black tarmac.
I am lucky and soon I am standing outside the 5 and dime store . But it’s not open yet but it won’t be long .soon the staff began to shell out all the displays .ice boxes etc.
My watch pings 8 but I wait a few more minutes before entering. I hrB a basket and quickly tick things off my list as I drop them in. Phew all done. I buy a soda to drink while I hitch but as I cross the road to go back a car imeaditly stops.

“Are you hiking the trail.”
Yes, sir I am .
“Are you going the whole way ?”
Yes, sir I am !

On the Way back ,he then drops me at the cafe. There are several packs ready outside. I drop. my pack then quickly go through my shopping discarding the outers. Before going  inside
To my amazement Bumblebee and Papa Smurf are here.

Bumble bee moves over to make room for me.
Omg I say I thought you would be miles away. In fact, she stayed at the hostel a little way into town. We catch up gossip as I wait for my breakfast to arrive.
Bacon eggs fried potatoes and pancakes with coffee and orange juice. It looks amazing as the plate is put before me , it soon disappears into my tummy  and several coffees later I am  full.

I pay and leave, as a steady stream of other hikers arrive. Once outside I rearrange my new food into my pack and then I am ready.

We l walk up the road together Papa Smurf, Bumblebee and me. It a .4-mile road walk back to the trail. Once again, we must cross over.  Once across we  enter  Caledonian park . a very large campsite. The trail winds its way around the park before deciding to climb again.
It  was  now 10 am and it was hot, the trail was steep, and the first part exposed to  Sun and I began to melt

Papa Smurf bounded up like a goat . I puffed and panted like always. I let Bumblebee pass  then tried to follow. As we climbed numerous day walkers appeared going in the opposite direction. Up and up we climbed. I  thought that it would be easier on fresh legs. ha ha

At last the trail levelled out or rather the Incline was less steep allowing me to put in some spurts of speed. I soon arrived at  the next shelter and wow what a great shelter.
It had a swing. potted plants. games and was spotlessly clean. and had quirky decorations.
There were several hikers here.
one said to us .”only 400 feet to go, see you at the top.”

I groaned and walked on imeaditly it became steep , I zoned out and attacked it , keeping my head down, not daring to look up.
As I climbed the trail had logs cut into it, to stop flooding, which were sometimes too high to step over due to erosion.
At last the trail levelled out and I began to pull away from Bumble bee. I was cruising down the trail. Now and then there would  exit out into the sun  where a gas pipe was laid or the monster power lines crossed before diving back into the forest. But once out in the open the sun hit you like a furnace . Omg I would mutter and speed up to get back into the shade.
Then the shade would vanish completely, and I was walking between the blueberry bushes which will soon have fruit on

Then I saw him ……… Another Big bear

I stopped ,he looked at me I looked at him. I was a bit close, so I began to back up down the trail. I then began to video him . But then he charged. I retreated a bit further. Then I banged my poles together and then he retreated.
I was later to find out that tis was called a bluff charge  , but it was still pretty scary

I then  heard a “Caw Caw” behind me .
I turned and saw Bumble bee.
“BEAR!!! “I said
I bashed my poles again and the bear backed up then crossed the trail into the forest.

I waited a few minutes before continuing ,bashing my poles and saying. BEAR. please don’t eat us.
Once past I had. huge grin on my face and Bumble bee was very happy too.
We carried on together until we came across several  hikers sat around a stream.

There was Papa Smurf, Reggie Rocket, Juke box and ?

There’s trail. Magic. I grabbed a bottle of water and a cookie . There was no bin, so I stuffed the trash into my pack.  I ate a few snacks while I filtered more water then it was back to the trail

There were a few small climbs, but the trail was good. But HOT. I pushed on  my watch, counting down the hours.
I then came to the next shelter and the same guys were there taking lunch, so I joined them.

I dropped my pack then took off my shoes and socks then lay with my feet in the air as my feet ached. I put it down to the trail surface being so HOT.
After 15 minutes I  went to get water. I soaked my feet for a few minutes  which  felt so good. I then ate a few snacks
This was a lovely shelter, but I needed to hike on  as it was 7 more miles to the next shelter.

Yes, that will do me for today.
I set off down the trail still melting from this intense heat. I could see Bumblebee in the distance so began to chase her down. I crossed over a road then back into the forest just around one corner sat Blaze and Bumble bee.

What up I asked ?

HALFWAY !!!!!! Snail

on the ground in stones was I deed the halfway point. I took some photos wow halfway whoop.
I pushed on another smile on my face another bear and halfway this is a great day.
I spent the afternoon with Bumble bee, and we walked on chatting  until  finally the shelter came into view.

I walked through and grabbed a tent pad and quickly put up my tent. Then I got water, before  washing my socks and shirt.
I cooked tea whilst chatting to other hikers. We chatted about our  day, the bear and other nonsense
I was just packing up when the invisible man appeared. We chatted for a while trying to find out where others are on the trail then I headed back to my tent and. bed

Start 1080.8
Finish 1099.08
Miles. 19

 

Day 80 Leaving Harper’s Ferry

Thursday 28th June

I didn’t rush to get up as there was breakfast to eat.
I walked into the kitchen and faced a huge pile of waffle. I grabbed a coffee and orange juice and sat down a d began to tuck into the waffles . first smear it with butter then sliced banana over it then pour on the maple syrup. Then devour and repeat and repeat twice more . wash down with orange juice and more coffee
Once full I went and packed up it was getting late and by the time I had left it was just past nine and already hot
I called in st the lost office just in case ..Nope nothing then made my way to town calling in at the AT Centre. several more hikers that I recognised. we’re posing for photos. I heard one day about a post card. Omg I didn’t get one of those I said to one of the staff members .
In two minutes I had 2 postcards of me one I sent to myself and the other is in my pack.
I finally made it to town and decided that I ought to buy a hat as it was getting so HOT so an impulse buy but I felt happy.
Okay where is the trail . I made my way down to. The river and found a blaze. it went over the railway bridge so after a few photos I began to cross. Once on the other side the trail follows the old canal route. So, it was flat for several miles.
On the other side is the railway and to my right the Potomac river . So, I was walking on the old towpath.

It would be lovely to see the old canal working again. but it will take thousands possibly millions but maybe one day.

As I walked along, I was fascinated by the wildlife and in parts of the disused canal I watched turtles swimming and sunbathing. Finally, the trail turned right and crossed over the railway line then imeaditly began to climb. But I’m. pleased to say the climbs seemed brief.

As I climbed, I met many families out for their morning walks. Most of the day I spent in the woods trying to avoid the muddy boggy stretches.
I pushed on until I decided to stop for a break and snacks. I didn’t stop long as I wanted. more miles due to starting so late. I began to climb another small hill when I stopped there was a huge snake lying  across the trail . I don’t think he was  poisonous  snake. But I still I waited for him to move .

The sun was now baking and there seemed less cover here.

Around the next corner there was an Australian woman we chatted for a while. I was going to Rocky gap shelter, but she said 2 more miles and it’s the campground with a hot shower.
she’s I can do that I said to myself and set off. I shortly passed my origin destination and pushed on the miles seemed to go by quickly as I soon saw tents.
I entered the campground there were several friendly faces. The tent pads are gravel with a picnic bench and fire ring . I choose the end pad and put up my tent. then went and grabbed a shower. Whilst walking back I noticed Dog whisper, so I said  would join  him for dinner.

As soon as I joined them Bumble Bee appeared  from her tent. and joined us
it was great to catch up with the trail gossip . I then tidied up and returned to my tent.
I was rudely awoken by some inconsiderate hiker whom had drunk too much and was high. He decided that he wanted to cook dinner at 11pm

The common code on the trail is at 10pm you go to sleep and shut the fuck Up. so, I wasn’t impressed. It was more that his red headlight was shining through my tent so, after several choice words he finished.
Then another couple began giggling and laughing to which  the Australian Lady told them to shut the fuck Up and go to sleep.

Oh, happy days

Start 1024.8
Finish 1051.9
Miles 17.1

My videos seen to be out of  Sync