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

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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
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Day 78 Washington Dc

my alarm beeped

I rolled out of bed and headed for the bathrooom

I got my stuff together as quietly as I could then went to the kitchen .Someone had put coffee on but god it was strong far too strong for me.

I grabbed the rest of my stuff that I may need and set off to the station .

One the far side of the tracks were several people . I guessed that this was the side I needed so crossed over. There were several other hikers that I had met but didn’t remember their names. So we chatted a while as we waited for our train.

Then there was an announcement saying that our train was delayed for 25 minutes. and so the next train through would be the freight train.

The freight train appeared 10 minutes later .and here in the US they are so long it seemed to be rolling pasts for ages the screeching and squealing of the wheels was deafening.

At last our train arrived and I border it has 2 decks so I went upstairs .. It was about a dozen stops till I reached the Capital.

Once off of the train I headed to capital hill and looked around the building. Then I decided to walk down to the mall. There seemed a lot going on there was a Spanish festival and one from Estonia.

I ignored these for now and headed to the obilisk. wow it was tall I admired it for quite a while

fore moving on to the Lincoln memorial.. On the way I passed through a very large and well designed war memorial..I walked around it several times before continuing.

A great great deal of the gardens and grounds were fenced off. and so I had to double back a few times . I was just getting near when the heavens open I managed to get inside just in time but then so did every ome else. so it was difficult to get a good photo

When the rain stopped I decided to visit the White house It had hoped to get closer but again every thing was fenced off. I was just about to take more photos when a policeman appeared yelling me that this path was now also closed. so reluctantly I did as I was told.

My tummy began to rumble informing me that it needed food. I googled pubs and found one to visit. hit directions and flowed the directions.

so ordered up a hippy IPA and found a seat and plugged in my phone

There were numerous yellow shirts wearing people, then I realised it was Brazil playing in the 2018 world cup.
I ordered some loaded fries and another beer one called “Too young to be a werewolf”. This one was good, tasty and refreshing.
As I sat enjoying my food and beer the rain was chucking it down outside. so, I decided to stay for a 3rd until it stopped raining.
When the sun came out it was roasting so I headed to the nearest museum which was natural history museum.
I really liked how it was laid out so mooched about for a while.
I exited out of the other side back into the Mall . As I walked along everything was in full swing . carving exhibitions , basket weaving . food shows etc. In the middle were 4 huge characters as I got nearer music started and they began to dance. I watched amazed for a while .
My next stop were some gardens .I wandered through , enjoying the aromas and the colours . There are so many things to visit that I was tight on time so headed for the Air & space museum. This was my thing and I liked looking at all the exhibits. They had a lunar module.

Several capsules part of one of the booster rockets that is huge. There is also a good selection of rides. You can pay $8 and go in as simulator, it looked fun but not today . as my time was almost up do headed back to the station almost running the last bit just in case.

At last I’m. On the train heading back to Harper’s Ferry. yes, I’ve had a good day.
Once back I thought I would grab a quick bite before walking back to the hostel.
I walked upstairs created the bar lady again and went to sit outside
It was nice to see Kanye
She was on her own, so I joined her. I ordered a beer and a Ruben’s which was tasty.
The waitresses accidentally poured a beer by mistake, so she gave it to me for free
Jayne and I talked for ages before I needed to leave.
I enjoyed the walk back  to the hostel , I watched several  deer trot along the road and  the 100s of fireflies  doing  their thing.
Once back,  I sorted out my gear then jumped into the shower, then relaxed

Start 1024.8
Finish 1024.8
Miles ZERO. Still!

Day 70 Leaving skyland resort

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 67 Shenadoah mtns

Sunday

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.

Bear

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.

Oh well.!

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

Start 979
Finish 900
mileage 21 miles
Remaining 1313 Miles

Day 65. Beer Legs

Thursday

It was get to the Brewery day, a mere 18 miles easy right .
I finished my cup of tea and stowed my pot.
Okay snail easy day ,I  should  be there by  3pm I told myself.
I hoisted up my pack. I waved  goodbye to the other hikers as I passed by the shelter and back towards the trail. I hadn’t gone far when Bob appeared heading to the shelter that i had just left.
“Wow what time did you start Bob”.
it was a nice cool morning as  I pushed on, but the trail was not to my liking it was horrid rock. Luckily it  had been recently been cut back so was easier to walk along .
The trail now began to head down and quite dramatically . God it was steep I felt admiration for the trail guys doing down this with their weed whacker.
Every now and then there was a clearing where you could look down into the valley.
But I was in a hurry and so didn’t stop . The trail continued down and would continue for the next 3 miles. I pushed on happy in the fact there would be ale at the end of the day.
Round the next corner sat Jingle,  I stopped and said hi, He’s Japanese and in his 60,s and got his name as he carries bear bells.
I continued on and eventually came to the road, I was just checking my maps when jingle arrived.
Hey Snailtrainer you coming to get breakfast?
It did sound like a great idea but then I had to hike a 6 mile climb and with breakfast in my tummy.
I politely refused. crossed the road and began the climb
It was fairly gentle at first with nice switchbacks . Then it began to go down again . Why are you going down you stupid trail . I was busy muttering to myself when Jingle appeared behind me.
What happened about breakfast ? I asked
“No hitch” he said.
I let him pass , then followed him trying to match his pace , the trail was still decendiong  until  i  eventually arrived at a stream
A hiker named Solo was  there getting water . Jingle stopped to  get water but as i had plenty  I pushed on .
The trail now began to climb and  steeply as i passed near to  the next shelter I debated whether  to  visit and  sign the book but  walked on by  The trail  quickly became steeper and rocky . Omg I thought my arrivel at the  Brewery may be delayed. I huffed and puffed as i slowly  climbed . I heard someone behind and turned to see Solo.  I moved over to let him pass,
“No your okay i like your pace ” he said
He tracked me for some time  until I needed to stop for a break and so at the next clearing I stopped and sat down on a huge granite slab.
“Catch you later Solo” I shouted.

I was struggling today as  the long decents first thing had taken its toll . These steep decents  kill my  knees and my fuel tank was fairly depleted. I took a quick break  and  wolfed down some snacks , guzzled some water before contining on .
I hadn’t gone too far when I came across Jingle who was also  taking a break .
The trail now began  roller coaster,that continued for the next hour before becoming just a very steep climb . There were switchbacks but I was struggling, it wasnt long until i neded  to stop again and  slumped down on a log .
God this is killing me, I glugged down more water and finished off my snacks .
I just sat there staring at the green canopy above.
Okay let’s go I hoisted my pack and plodded forward, I was still plodding when Rockwall appeared and raced past me . How does he do that, I muttered to myself.
After another hour I thought that i had  reached the summit, but it still climbed but  thankfully not so steep. I  dare not  check my map, in case it was still too far.
I came to the second shelter. which meant  1.5 miles to go, Come on Snail.
The trail continued heading up , Arrhhh  I was l knackerd but I pushed on and soon  began to meet people, clean people ! that’s a good sign.
At last the trail began to decend  and i could soon  hear traffic. the beer legs now began to work and I could now clearly see the road.
When i arrived i could see Jingle who was  sat on the other side of the road.
“There’s no shuttle” he said.
“I know I said you need to hitch.”
At that moment Rockface and Bob appeared so there was now four of us . Which makes hitching harder.
But the third  car stopped and somehow we  all managed to squeeze in, including our packs.
It wasnt long until  we were driving into the Devils Backbone Brewery.  Wow what a complex,  it was huge, camping, a sound stage, the Brewery, restaurants and much more.
We thanked our ride and headed to the bar. leaving all our packs lent against the wall.

I needed lemonade first, then I was ready for beer.
I started low before moving onto a 5% I was now hungry so ordered Ribs and a stout to go with it. Wow the ribs were amazing. The meat falling off of the bone and so tender. A Big thumbs up.

Jingle had drunk 2 pints before deciding to try  the taster which was six beers of his choice. (1/3pints) It was also his downfall .
As soon as he had  finsihed his last glass he slumped to the fllor   and  his day was over .
He had to be taken to his tent, but ended up sleeping on a picnic table over night  Legend !!
Several beers later, I thought I ought to go put up my tent before I can’t!!.
I wandered over to the camp site, and found a suitable spot , i decided to take a  30 min snooze, changed  my clothes before returning back to the bar.
I was not going to be late!

Start 826
Finish
mileage miles
Remaining 13 Miles

Day 60 Heading to Floyd Mountain Mile 764

Saturday 9th june

Considering  that I slept by the road I slept really well. At 6.30 I got up and began to pack up. when I was almost done I put on my stove for a brew and made  breakfast.
I soon woofed and drank both, stowed my stove and I was ready,  hoisted up my pack and retraced my steps back to the trail. Again it was a beautiful morning. I pushed on and was surprised that I didn’t see anywhere to camp untill  I was almost at  the shelter. The shelter was .2 off trail so I didn’t visit it but pushed on past. I was busy climbing when a other hiker came past I have met him so many times but his name escapes me. The morning started as yesterday’s finished into a forest then out into a scenic viewing layby before heading back into  the forest  then back out into a  layby . The next one was amazing, as all the mountains poked out from beneath the clouds. wow.
Then I did one more before disappearing deep into the forest  the trail spiralled down but I could still hear cars so the road must run parallel.
I could  hear water and as I came around another corner I saw  a fellow  hiker getting water  as this was  the last water for 10 miles
I filled up then drank a litre, I didnt want to carry too much as there was  a  lot  climbing.
I crossed the road and  began myfirst climb  . it wasn’t too bad and the terrain fairly tame  for my feet. Once  i  had  reached the summit  the trail took on its normal rollercoaster  of  ups and downs . As i hiked the  temperture continued to rise . it wasnt so much hot but sticky .
I was miles away when the next shelter came into view.  I walked down to it and tdecided to have  lunch when the three Germans turned up.
The  german lady asked me where I had stayed.?
About a mile back I replied.
As we were talking Fish arrives.
Hi fish .
We talk about the hotel and the zeros .  Fish then lifts his shirt OMG his tummy is bright red from the Sun bathing at the pool
“Fuck Fish,. that looks  bloody sore.”
It is snail he replied.
Didn’t shapes put cream on it (,his girl) i laughed
We decide to do a few toasts  with the burbon that i am carrying then I am on my way. I feel that I am pushing , but it’s not long before the German train catches me. and I watch them go.
The hours and miles whizz by and I am soon coming out of the forest into a road by a bridge. this is the famous  swimming hole and  there are several people swimming. it looks so inviting but I decided to walk past and start the next climb  which  is long and steep .
This climb appears to go on and on and it hot very very hot and the sweat begins to sting my eyes . Then there are these little black flies that fly just in front of your face and drive you mad as well as the big buzzy ones that fly by your ears. arhh.

I push on trying not to look up . eventually I reach the plato and decided that I need a break . I glugged down the 1/4 litre of juice that I had in the side pocket. there  should be  water at the next shelter so not far to go but i had enough . but when I came to the next stream I watered up anyway

It wasn’t long unti I reached the next shelter no name hiker was here also xxx who was sleeping and an older hiker who was section hiking.
The shelter was really nice a large 2 story building. I drank more water  and was eating some snacks when Fish arrived.

For some raeson i fancied a  coffee so  fired up my stove. the coffee was delicious. as i hadnt made one in a while. I stayed at this shelter for far too long as I wanted a few more miles.
Fish was heading to the next shelter, I could maybe make that but 2.5 miles was more  my target.
I hoisted my pack and set off , as i walked the skies suddenly turned black ,boom boom went the thunder. I had enough water  and so just needed a flat spot any spot.But now  I was climbing so not a chance. I climbed for several hours and began to regret moving on. Boom went the thunder.i stopped and checked Guthooks it says I am near and yes I’m.here.
I looked about  and chose a spot and quickly put up my tent

Although i had enough water ,there was a sign pointing to water and in Guthooks it said it was a spring so I took two bottles with me and went to  top up.
Omg it was far and not very good water either. I filled up and was on my way back when the heavens opened great I thought it st least my tent is up . once back I was ready to hang my food . I had just got it over the limb when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I turned around and a few feet away was a large rattle snake. they can strike upto four foot.
Omg  I  quickly moved away ,thinking tat was lucky !!

I made tea in my tent. I tried  out a new meal that was rather tasty.  Itwas then bed time

Start 764
Finish 764
mileage 18 miles
Remaining

NB  my Vblog is one day out !!

Day 59 Leaving Daleville.

Friday 8th June

my alarm went off at 5.30 what was I thinking, so switched it off and rolled over. at 7.30 I got up and wandered down for breakfast.  It was busy this morning. I grabbed cereal, coffee and orange juice. which promptly vanished into my tummy. I then made a waffle, I poured the mix onto the hot plate turned it over as I had seen overs do then went and sat down. I was halfway through my next coffee when Another hiker said your waffle is beeping. I went back and opened it up success, I poured the obligatory syrup over it and returned to my table. it was rather tasty. after several more trips for coffee and juice I was done. Returned to my room did one final sweep before removing my bladder from the fridge where I had left it overnight so that my water would be nice and cold. then I was out.

As I walked down the stairs a familiar face greeted me. it was Zippy, we had a big hug and she brought me up to date on the gossip and where everyone was. Bob was upstairs, Pig-pen was taking it easy etc. I gave her another hug before walking to reception to check out….
It would be so easy to take another zero here and just sit by that pool.
Okay I am out of here, I waved goodbye to my other hiker buddies. lifted my pack. Omg it was heavy, or have I just rested too much ha.
I walked down to the main road and waited for a gap in the traffic then quickly crossed, walked the few yards up the road and re-joined the trail.

This part of the trail had been recently mowed and was a delight to walk along, it continued like this for several miles before dropping down to pass under the road. as I climbed up the over side I ran into 2 British hikers going South, both were from Plymouth. I said my usual hellos before continuing my way. The trail then crossed several meadows as I was descending I came across 4 lady hikers (girl scouts) whose team was called yellow submarine I didn’t ask why. I chatted for about 10 minutes before pulling myself away.

After this the trail became its normal rollercoaster, up and down but todays trail wasn’t too steep. As I walked I began to hear music, the music belonged to Spider and his girlfriend. who soon caught and passed me but as there were now switchbacks I could hear him hi above for some time.
I plodded on at my normal pace eventually catching them both as they had stopped for a break. Fancy meeting up with you I laughed and pushed on eventually stopping at a signpost that pointed to the next shelter. I decide to I stop because my hose seemed to become kinked. As I  was  sorting out hose , spider  arrived  and  decided that he would stop at the shelter for lunch.
“You coming Snail?” he asked
“No , It was too early for me”  I replied  as  I like to walk  until 1pm
It was a gorgeous morning as I climbed up and down the mountains, I passed several tents that I guess the occupants were having a lay in.

My watch counted down the hours until it was time for lunch, typically it was a few more minutes before I found somewhere suitable to stop. it was so good that my water was still cold from being in the fridge and that in turn had kept my pizza cold.
You cannot beat leftover cold pizza, it tasted so good as I quickly woofed it down followed by a few snacks.
It wasn’t too far until the next shelter and it soon came in to view. There were two American day hikers, so we chatted for a while. they were giving me tips on where to stay. I t ha ked them as they left. I went to sign the book but sadly there was not one.

I was just chilling when spider turned up. we chatted for a while on how far we both planned to go. The. he took off just as three German hikers arrived I said hello then went back to the trail. It wasn’t long until I caught Spider who was watering up.
I stopped for water too. And was just leaving when Poppins and Peanut arrived. I spent the rest of the afternoon playing leapfrog with them until they took a break.
Eventually I caught Spider again. who had stopped by the road.
“Any magic” I asked?
“Sadly, not snail. I Checked.”

They next part was rocky, so I couldn’t get any speed up as I hobbled over the rocks this went on for several miles before emerging into a car park with amazing views of the Appalachian Mountains. This was repeated for the rest of the day. Dive into the forest then exit into another car park viewing area, after the fifth time the trail crossed. over the road. it was now 6 pm and 3 miles to go to the next shelter. I really didn’t want to walk that late so began to look for somewhere to put my tent and there was nowhere. okay May be at the top of this hill. Dam Spider had claimed the spot. Nice spot I shouted.
You’re still walking then snail?
“Yes, but  not for much longer and  you have stolen my spot” I said laughing
I heard a rumble of thunder. great I thought.
I pushed on and one looking for somewhere for my tent   Nothing
I was beginning to tire but still nothing.
I  decided that I would bushwhack towards the road ,watching where I was putting my feet in case i stepped on a snake !
As soon as I arrived at the road , there in front of me was  the perfect spot
I walked across the road ,  andd dropped my pack. I  kicked a  few sticks and stones out of the way and then put up my tent , it’s a bit close to the road but it’s up.
I found a good branch to hang my food. cooked tea. and I was done

Start 704
Finish 704
mileage 19 miles
Remaining 1486 Miles

NB  my VBlog is 1 day out !!

Day 54 Heading to Niday Shelter mile 686 (the sun’s out)

Sunday 3rd June

I was up early as I wanted miles today and so was on the trail at 6.30. it was still misty and dark as I set off down the trail but as my watch chimed 7 it began to lighten up I think it’s going to be a lovely day I said to myself.

The trail was good and so I could have gone on last night, but it would have taken 2 more hours and I didn’t want to get to camp that late. The trail spiralled gently down and soon I arrived at the shelter.
Sat at the table were Sunshine, Mousetrap and Peaches.
How’s your foot snail peaches asked?
It’s doing okay thanks
I visited the loo then got water.
It was then that I noticed speedy was still here. I thought you would be long gone I said.
She laughed.
I drank water then topped up my bladder as it was going to be a long hot day.
I hoisted my pack and set off it was flat for about 3 miles then it just shot up. I was climbing for about 2 ish hours and omg it was steep bloody steep.
At last I was at the top puffing and panting. it took me a few minutes then I was away. but it was rock, so I was being careful. then peaches and snapdragon came past I pushed on. pointless chasing them as they are all fast. seems everyone is faster than me. but I hike at my own speed and I get there. I was miles away when Mousetrap came by and vanished into the distance.
I pushed on the hours pinged by until I arrived at the 1st shelter. I decided to have lunch here and change my shirt for my vest.
I spent about 40 mins here then filled up water and attacked the trail again.
I spent a long time in the forest and with the  heat of the sun , smelt divine, i emerged  into some meadows and  the heat hit me it so so bloody hot my watch said 90 phew.
I crossed meadow after meadow then more forest then back into meadow.  As  I hiked on i  noticed that  the grass  had been recently cut  several minutes later I met the man  with strimmer or weed-wacker as they say out here.
Thank you so much I said as I past by.
I was then in another meadow but had to walk along  planks to cross it, as I  made my way  across adeer shot up making me jump!
At the end of this meadow I crossed over  a road and then straight back into another meadow. The sun was now scorching,I hoped that I would be I shade soon.
Phew at last another forest. I followed the trail that then dropped down to  follow  another river, it looked really inviting. I  plodded on untill the  trail ended at a road bridge.  I crossed over and found the trail, a little way along I met mousetrap sat in a chair drinking a soda.
A voice said ” would like a soda.”
“Yes please” I said and grabbed one from the ice box. I quickly drained it.

“Take another, as I need to go home now.” the man said
So, I grabbed another and soon drained that too.
“Do you two need water”  he asked.
“No thank you , I am fine” we said in unison.
I lifted my pack and strolled out after mousetrap.
She was fast but as I passed a small stream I noticed that there were beers in it,
I  tried to  catch Moustraps attentuion  but  she was striding away , and  as i dint want to take my pack off , I  could only carry one.
The next part was another 2 miles up. Fun.
it started gradually, as I wove in and out of cows, avoiding the cow pats then . through a few more meadows before  the trail slimbed  steeply and so  I was soon puffing.
omg it was steep,  an hour later I was at the top. Phew . Wow what amazing views.
I was still admiring them. When mousetrap sped by
I took off after her as this part of the trail was perfect for me.
I pushed for several hours then the trail took me past many cairns( big miles of rock.)
Some had colapsed but  others stood  proud  like beacons.
I pushed and pushed until I came to a sign for the next shelter but as it was off trail I decided not to  visit it, but pushed on.

The trail now becomes rockier and it begins to hurt my foot and I have 6 more miles to go. I carried on for another hour then took a break as my right foot was becoming hot.
I found a rock to sit on and took off my shoes and socks  to air and cool my feet.I atet a couple of snacks. As i am resting  a family come up the trail, although it’s not a family it’s a dozen kids who are doing trail maintenance with 2 leaders.  We chat for a while then ,Sunshine appears and we chat some more .
Sunshine  is unsure if she will make the next shelter.
I laugh “What with your legs, of course you will.
She then bounds  off down the trail.
I sit for another 10mins before putting on my shoes and re-joining the trail.
It’s really smooth for about a mile then it goes back to rock  and  its   hand over hand  climbs , as  i  make  over  my  third  i see  Mousetrap and Sunshine sitting and resting  Wow  a great  spot  guys  i say , as there is an amazing  great, so i take  a few more photos. before moving on.

Start 665
Finish 687
mileage 22 miles
Remaining 1503 Miles