Day 86 Heading to Duncannon

Heading to Duncannon

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, snail that’s a great idea

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

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

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

Start 1138.6
Finish 1147.9
Miles. 11 miles

Advertisements

Day 83

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then I saw him ……… Another Big bear

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What up I asked ?

HALFWAY !!!!!! Snail

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

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

Start 1080.8
Finish 1099.08
Miles. 19

 

Day 72 Front Royal Mountain Cabin

I had to be up for breakfast but not until 8.30 so I dozed.

I had managed lock my banking, so this was my main priority. Scot was making breakfast. and outside the rain continued to fall. Most peep had decided to take a zero.it seemed such a good idea
Scot is there room for one more night. Yes, snail but we will need to bump you up to the house
cool so now I can relax and concentrate on the bank issues. The problem is there is no cell service. so, I tried my UK sim, still no service.
I made myself busy until I could shift my gear over to the house, which I couldn’t do until 12 ish. Outside the rain continued to pour and pour.
I’m sure the trail must be a boggy mess … such fun.
At last it was time for me to move my stuff.

I grabbed my pack and walked over with Onion and Tree hugger. after settling in we all decided to go into town. Dog-whisper joined us.
We asked Scot to recommend a place, so he dropped us off at the Blue Frog.
It was a smart looking restaurant there was an English chef who helping, and he was having a quick beer, his London accent giving him away.
I had a burger. rare with bacon and avocado and salsa fries. Both were delicious.

.

Whilst in the restaurant I was able to ring my bank. the lady said she had changed my security to allow me to reset my online banking

After we finished up. we decided to see a movie and chose the Incredibles 2.
Not as good as the first , but still a fun entertaining film
After the film we mooched around town I visited the outfitters as I really fancied a chair , one that’s  lightweight so I do not have to sit in the Dirt
They  had similar   although I though expensive !
Maybe when I get to Harper’s Ferry!!.

Okay we all needed some groceries so headed t the store. I topped up my supplies and  brought  a frozen meal for tea which I enjoyed later with a few beers

Then it was bed .

Start 951
Finish 971
mileage 20 miles
Remaining 1240 Miles

Day 69 Skyland Resort Mile 933

I woke early. retrieved my food from the box, packed up and was on the trail by 7.30 Good effort SNAIL.
I wanted some good Miles today as yesterday was a bit poor I headed up the trail with determination and looking forward to a good breakfast at the next wayside.

It was a good trail, not many climbs and a great surface.
Ping went my watch, wow I was really flying and should arrive much earlier, great I thought. As I came down a hill I could see a field of bee hives, but as I got nearer I could see that they were grave stones in a small cemetery. I was just crossing over the road she. I met 2 hikers coming the other way and they were both British. we chatted for a moment and they gave. e directions to the wayside.
I was soon at the wayside, I dropped my pack and placed it by the wall with my sticks before going inside and to the restaurant and found a seat. I ordered a large lemon soda and the BIG breakfast., I quickly drained my drink and as I put down the empty glass it was immediately swapped for another.
I was staring out of the window when and noticed Bumble Bee arriving. She dropped her pack next to mine and joined me at the table. My breakfast arrived, and I set to work on it.
It was good. I then I ordered another of the amazing BlackBerry Shakes. yummy.
When done I wandered through the store? brought a ham and cheese sub, a fruit salad and another box of wine for later.
I then sat in the sun for five minutes reorganizing my pack.
Omg I have spent almost 2 hours here. Dam lol okay I may not make the second shelter.
I set off leapfrogging Bumblebee for most of the afternoon, I was just starting another climb when I noticed 2 hikers standing in the trail.
Omg one was Squirrel.
“Hey Squirrel, great go sees you. I said
we chatted for a while, then Bumble bee caught us   and we chatted some more before moving on.
I was leading   until the climb started and so stopped for a break. Squirrel passed by and soon vanished up the trail. I followed on still leapfrogging Bumblebee until we arrived at a riding school. There were about a dozen young hikers sat around picnic tables.

Suddenly whoosh the heavens opened sending the hikers scurrying for shelter. I managed to get under the porch and put on my packs rain. cover on. Bumblebee did the same.
You know what Snail a hotel would be a good idea. “Said Bumble bee
I had to agree with her as the Lodge was .2 miles up the road
We made us to the lodge through the downpour and found the office. I booked a room little pricy but hey.

I then went and found the bar, Sat  inside was fish>
Hey fish   I  thought that you would be long gone
We did a few beers before I decided that I was hungry and  ordered some food Once eaten I explore the shop and brought several t-shirts and bits.
I then retrieved my backpack and went in search of my room. I should have done this much earlier as it was quite a distance away eventually I found if. Once inside I stripped off and had a lovely hot shower. I relaxed on the bed opened my wine and watched a film on the telly.

Shenandoah National Park extends along the Blue Ridge Mountains in the U.S. state of Virginia. The Skyline Drive runs its length, and a vast network of trails includes a section of the long-distance Appalachian Trail. Mostly forested, the park features wetlands, waterfalls and rocky peaks like Hawksbill and Old Rag mountains. Shenandoah is home to many bird species, plus deer, squirrels and the elusive black bear.

Start 917
Finish 933
mileage 16 miles
Remaining 1280 Miles

Day 68 Heading to Bear Fence Mountain

Mon 18th June

Considering my camp spot, I had slept okay, my alarm went off at 5.30 I snoozed it. Finally emerging at 6 30.
I packed up in a hurry, but it still took me an hour before I stepped onto the trail.
I pushed on as it was already hot too hot far too hot. the forest was so humid that the water. was flowing out of me in minutes …. not a good sign.
As I made my way up towards the summit I was surprised on how little campsites / tent sites there were and thought myself lucky to have found that spot
Eventually I reached the top , Chemist was just packing up, but he would soon catch me.
After the summit I began to spiral down, but I was melting it was oh so hot. As I continued I saw an opening so went to see if there was a view. Yes, there was, and it was pretty good. I was just leaving when Batty came past
Hiya snail she said.
As I continued down the trail I met a ranger coming up he wanted to see my pass. once he saw it he was happy and very chatty
I pushed on eventually meeting back up with Chemist who was getting water, so I stopped to fill up too.
The rest of the morning was climb and climb some more. I pushed on, but I was melting so finally took a break at 12pm a. hour earlier than I would have liked. I sat on a rock sweating.
I was so HOT and wet but not in a good way. after 30 mins I resumed my hike. but with a new goal.
My plan was now to get to the campground so a 16-mile day.
I was so tired and weary with more climbs to do that I wondered if I could make that.
Several hours later I came to a marker post. I had arrived.
I made my way along the side trail dropping down into the park. I walked not sure where I was going. Eventually I asked someone. Excuse me do you know where the store is.
Up on your left came the answer.
I walked on until I spied several other hikers. and the store.
I dropped my pack and walked inside where I ordered a pint of ice cream. 2 beers and a lemon soda.
I walked over to the other hikers who were sat at a picnic table and attacked my spoils.
the ice cream was delicious, and the lemonade quenched my thirst. I was now ready for beer
Once done I went back into the store brought bug spray, a tube of Pringles, another meal and another box of wine. I also enquired about a shower.
A shower cost a buck, so I handed over money and she gave me. back 1/4s
I walked to the shower. took off my shoes and socks and walked right in shampooing my clothes before stepping out of them.
I soaped myself again then I was done. I put on fresh dry gear before wringing out my dirty clothes. I was just getting my pack ready when Bumblebee and No-poles appeared.
Good choice on the wine I said
She laughed.
I stood up  and was about  to leave when the heavens opened . I quickly  took off my pack and sat back down again
It was a good 20 minutes before the rain stopped,  I watched the pavements turn to steam as  the heat  dispersed the rain .
It was so difficult to leave but I must, the next shelter was about 2 miles away which would do me for the day.
I marched out of the camp and back to the trail and began to walk. but then was annoyed as there were other paths to the camp, much shorter than the one I came down arrh.
Okay 2 miles that’s about an hour. I pushed on until I came to  a  concrete marker post that informs you of landmarks in the Shenandoah park. The shelter or huts as they are called in the Shenandoah’s was down a side trail .1 mile the post said. I headed down and soon saw the hut. there were 4 section hikers there who I had been leapfrogging for most of the day.
They had tried to camp but got hit by the earlier rain. I went and found a tent site before returning to cook my food. I tried a new meal which was really tasty and washed it down with red wine. I cleaned up then put my food in a bear box. makes a changed not to put my food bag in a tree much easier.

Start 900
Finish 917
mileage 17 miles
Remaining 1296 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 66 Leaving WaynesBoto to Shandoahs Mile 879

Saturday 16th June

I was woken by the sound of other hikers getting up and leaving. I lay awake trying to decide what to do. should I chill or hike out.
Eventually I got up poured myself some coffee then began to pack. well at least I would be ready.
Adam the owner was busy buzzing about when I asked him. if he had a pc or laptop that I could use. He pointed to a row of tablets that I haven’t noticed.
brilliant I said  and went and grabbed the USB sticks and cables from.my pack.
I backed my phone up to the tablet then copied that to the sticks It took 2 to hold all of  the data.
I was really pleased as I had been trying to do this for ages.
I was just finishing off when Zippy arrived as she had sent packages to this hostel.
We chatted while she waited for Adam to return.
When Adam returned he  asked “Who is waiting to go back to the trail?”
“Me” I said
“5 minutes”, he replied
I threw the rest of my stuff into my pack, retrieved my water bladder from the fridge and I was ready. Batty and Vauwk were also going back.
It was a short drive back to the trail head and another lovely day although it was late 10.30. the sun was beaming down as I hoisted up my pack. As I set off up the trail, immediately everything began to hurt as my body realised we were hiking again.!
Today I was entering the Shenandoah Mountains which are supposed to be stunning. After a short hike I came to the registration booth, there is no charge, but you need to fill in a permit and carry a copy.
Once done I posted a copy into the box and set off.
The morning was mainly up but it was nice to see so many clean smelling people coming the other way. I pushed on for several hours, before the trail began to head steeply down. I passed several day hikers as I began my decent.
The bottom opened into a meadow where I needed to cross the road. As I got closer I noticed several other hikers standing by a car. Whoop trail magic. I was offered a cold beer, peach and strawberries
Thank you so much. the early beer was just perfect. I stood and chatted for several minutes before moving on.

As I had just come down it was time to climb back up. It was getting warmer and the first part had no shade. Bloody hell I muttered as the trail became steep. but at last it evened out as I crested the top. Up here were several communication masts. I would have stopped and checked mail, but I wanted to push as it would be a short day. after this climb the trail meandered down a d through several meadows. I crossed several car parks and met the ranger. He didn’t ask for permit a he was busy with some farmers.

I pushed on and one until I came across xxx xxx sitting having lunch . he was sat by the shelter sign, but it was .3 so a round trip of .6 too far.
I said I have 30 mins to go before I stop which should correspond to a spring and water.

I pushed on through the forest until I exited into a bare patch then I heard the crackle of electric as standing high above me stood a pylon. I started at the dramatic view before me before moving on.

At the spring I filled up both bottles as the next water was far. It was now 2pm I had no chance of making it to the next shelter. I then decided to have my lunch I almost devoured my apple, but I wanted to save that for dinner.
okay its 2.30, 12 miles to the next shelter @ 2 miles hour that will be 8 and that’s if the trail is flat. I laughed to myself.
Okay I will walk to 5PM and then look to camp, happy with this decision I pushed on until I ran me to Peach, Mousetrap and Guinness. They were slack packing so we’re heading south. I don’t agree with slack-packing, so I will say nothing.

Hi guys. I was hoping that I would run into you guys much later in the day.
Snail make sure you have plenty of water. They advised
Yes, I’m full I replied.
What are your plans Guinness asked?
Well I wanted to get to the second shelter. But I started late. it’s almost 3pm now so maybe 14 ish.
Okay Snail see you up the trail

I must admit the trail was very good, occasionally I exited into burning sun but mainly I was hiking in shade.

Once again, I exited onto a road.  on the other side was a viewing area so I wandered over. just over the wall a dozen or so butterflies were busy flitting around. I stood and watched them so several minutes when a large pickup stopped, and a couple got out.

What are you watching? Came a voice
Theses butterflies.  I think they are Monarchs? Are you kiwis I asked.?
Indeed, they were. and in the USA on holiday. we chatted for a while then another car pulled up.
I chatted to this couple too he had competed the AT so on cue asked if I needed a cold drink.

I’d love one. he handed me a sprite and a bottle of flavoured water that tasted better than the Sprite. I soon emptied both before giving back the empties.

I thanked them then headed back to the trail, and 2 lots of trail magic today.

I had a grin on my face as I plodded on. The time was getting later but the miles seemed slow today. as I pushed on I noticed that the blueberries are beginning to appear. won’t be long.

5pm came and went okay I will hike on until 6 pm. It was still a lovely evening, but I didn’t want to hike late.
At last a flat spot. that will do nicely.

I put up my food bag then cooked tea. at 7.40 I got into my tent. I watched many other people come by.

Then it got noisy I looked out of my tent and there were 3 deer. I filled for a while

now zzzx

Miles 16.4 walked

Day 65A Heading to Wainsboro

Friday
I quickly packed up as the Brewery do a hiker breakfast for 5bucks.
I wandered over looking for where I had to go until  I spotted other hikers so knew I was at the right place.
I dropped my pack  wiyth  the other packs  and went inside . I paid my 5$ and received coffee, a large bowl of oatmeal followed by a plate with scrambled egg, sausage, 2 biscuits (scones) and fried potatoes, both bowl and plate were soon empty
I was then given a free t-shirt, which i though was very  clever marketing  as  hikers going south and north would soon be wearing them giving the brewet  some great advertising .
I grabbed another coffe and was relaxing , when  Bob   and  then Zippy appeared
I chatted to  several other hikers  befgore  realising that i had  miscalculated my days.
Wainsboro is where my new pack is  and so if  hike the next bit I wouldn’t be able to get my pack until Monday. that wastes me a weekend in Wainsboro and i didnt want to do  that . I was in a dilema

AS  i  sat  pondering what to do a bunch  of  hikers piled into a pick up  for  the  trip  back to the trailhead
Bugger . Okay hitch it is ,I walked back to the road and put out my trusty thumb.
Must be lucky as got a ride quickly . anywhere near Wainsboro post office please.
The journey took 30 mins ..My driver Ron offered to wait and take me to the hostel after.
As i  walked into the post office  i had my fingers crossed that it was here otherwise  this  will be another wasted day
The post office was fait empty so I was served quickly and given a large box great .
Thank god  for  that  , as this was my  pack whoop .I thanked the lady and got ack to the car.
As we drove through the town, Ron pointed out restaurants and the outfitters most of which went straight out my other ear.
We then pulled into the hostel ,  The owner   xxxanimal  showwd  me arround and gave me choices  of  rooms .
I grabbed a bunk and then began to empty my pack and put my gear into my shiny new one. I then put my old pack  into the new box. taped it up and headed back to the post office. It was rather expensive  to send home, but it’s on its way !!
As I was leaving I bumped into some freinds .
We are going for the Chinese Buffet Snail you want to come? Bumble Bee said
Yes why not
The restaurant was a few blocks away . Wow  what  an amazing place there were rows and rows of food and Coy carp swimming inside.
My first plate was spring rolls and other deep fried favourites.
Plate two was lots of different chicken dishes and noodles.
well after my 5th visit I was  stuffed, but I could still manage pudding…. Rude not too.
Afterlunch my friends  wanted to visit the outfitters , so I came along for the ride.
The outfitters had a great section of kit. I grabbed gas, a plastic cup and some energy drink mix.
Once back at the hostel  I updated some videos and cleared down my phone .
I  then decided to go shopping there was Dollar  General  a few blocks away I brought some bits , before  heading to walmart to finish off and buy beer and fruit.
Once back I decanted my food., Typically  i have brought far too much oh well I will eat it.
Once my chores were done  I sat out in the sun, ate an orange and drank a large lemonade  I was now  relaxed and ready for beer.As it began to get dark i came inside . most people were ordering pizza but I was a little tired of pizza so cooked up something from my horde of food. an spent the rest of the evening watching Adam Sandlar in a film on Netflix.

Then it was zzzz

Miles zero

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 64 Heading to the Preist shelter

Wednesday

I was up early retrieved my food bag and returned to my tent. I fired up my stove and began to strip down. I also made Instant oats as i needed energy as I had a huge climb shortly.
I finished packing drank my tea and I was ready.
Silver Back was just leaving so I set off after her. but she was soon out of sight.

it was a fairly cool morning as I started the climb. omg if went on and on . In places the grass had been cut and it l looked recent. Then I came across a trail worker. I thanked him for his efforts
As I climbed I met several snakes all the same kind but I didn’t know if they were Friendly I gave them a wide berth. I pushed on meeting three more trail workers all with their weed wackers.
So the trail was really nice to walk on I pushed on climbing phew it was warm and steep
Ping went my watch, right I said and decided to take a break . as I was resting 2 slack packers came by. Wow that was a hard climb one said.
I sarcastically replied you want to try it with a backpack on !!
I was just about to leave when Silver Back arrived but by the time I was on trail she had vanished. Wow she must be shifting.
I was now crossing some wide  meadows with great views all around
I followed the path as it wound its way across finally dipping back into the forest where I stayed for most of the day ocaiosnly popping out to get a view of the valley.
The hours where counting down as the miles fell.
But I was tired and my pace began to fade and so I was so pleased to at last see the sign that read Shelter. I followed the blue blaze untill the shelter appeared. There was a family who were section hiking.
I found a spot put up my tent  then walked back to the shelter  to cook tea.
I was joined  by the family  which was  was nice to  have the company.
As  we chatted a steady stream of other hikers began to arrive.  I was just packing  up  my  stove when  Silver Back appeared.
“I thought you had gone on” I said.
“No I stopped st the last shelter for a break ” she said.
It began to get buggy around the shelter so I retreated to my tent tp chill  and crash

Start 806
Finish 828
mileage 22 miles
Remaining 1362 Miles

My Video blog is a Day out