I slept well in my location and awoke to a lovely morning
my fly was a bit damp due to condensation, but it wasn’t soaked.
I put on a brew and then had a bowl of instant oats before getting ready to hit the trail.
I was soon packed and hoisted up my pack.
I knew I had a few climbs early well that’s as far as I dared look.
I was soon back on trail and continued my way. It wasn’t long until I arrived at some pylons which is where one of my fellow hikers was aiming for.
It was a great view if I could only erase the pylons out of the picture.
I pushed on and began climbing, it was already warm and so I was soon puffing and panting as I struggled up my first climb
eventually I emerged out into a lovely meadow , Wow so pretty,
I went to take a drink and nothing , dam I thought my hose must be kinked , and one I start hiking I do not want to stop but I was hot and thirsty so had to .
I dropped my pack and checked the hose which yes was kinked.
I adjusted it then threw my pack up onto my shoulders but FUCK !!!
As I slung up my pack I had been standing on the end of it, ripping off my bite valve which shot into the air. Immediately my precocious water began to leak all over the ground. I moved quickly to stem the leak and dropping my pack. Once that was done I began a fruitless search for the bite valve. After 20 minutes I gave up.
Losing my bite valve was a complete pain as I like to hike without stopping but without it I will need to stop often to refill my water bottles Arrrhhh.
But what is done is done , maybe I can get another today I thought ……
I hiked on and to my next climb , I was a bit concerned as I was fairly low on water and it was 5 miles until the next, Oh well I thought I just need to take it easy , I had just started climbing when I came across a hiker named Brear Rabbit.
Did you see the water, He asked?
No I hadn’t,
Its just across the road he said ,
As I didn’t think could do 5 miles in the sun and whilst climbing I though it only wise to go back and get some.
I thanked him and made my way back down the mountain.
I soon found the water that I hadn’t spotted earlier.
I topped up my bottles then set off back up the mountain.
I soon caught Brear Rabbit as he was elder and slower than me, I thanked him again for the Info and pushed on
As I came over the summit I noticed a tree that was decorated, it was a shrine of memorial to a young lad who had died very young. I paused to read the tribute’s, which were very moving. While here I took a 10 min break too > While resting brear Rabbit appeared we chatted some more.
I pushed on and was soon in my stride my goal was Cherry Gap shelter which was about 6 miles away .
but I was now slow as I had to keep stopping to top up with water, which was a complete pain .
At 12pm I decided to take lunch as I was struggling , but that was mainly because I kept stopping to chat to people ,
After lunch I was in a better mood as I came to Cherry Gap shelter, but I wanted more miles so continued.
My new target was nowc5 miles away, as I began to drop down I met another hiker going southbound, He was a professor (teacher) we chatted a bit and explained about my Bite valve.
To my amazement he said well I don’t use mine your welcome to have it, It’s in my pack somewhere. He rummaged about for 5 minutes and produced the bite valve.
thank you, thank you so much I was so grateful.
and continued with a huge smile on my face.
The rest of the day was a roller coaster of ups and downs and ups and downs.
Eventually the Clyde Smith Shelter came into view,
as i arrived Bumble Bee and her Hubby were here, another hiker called nopoles haned me water as i looked very warm.
i thanked him and drained it , Thanks so much i said .
I then went and found a spot , as i walked past the shelter i spotted handstand , and several new hikers i didnt know .
I set up my tent then went to get water , whilst here i washed my socks and myself before heading back. One of the girls was cooking dinner on a log so i went and joined her, Then another Girl called Amy joined us ..
After dinner i hung by back then hit my bed
Considering the day i had i was pleased to get here
mileage 17.8 miles
Remaining 18 Miles
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 .
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
Miles left. 210
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.
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.
Miles. 11 miles
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
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
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?
My Video Blog And Written Blog are out of sync
here is the days Video
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
My videos seen to be out of Sync