Day 75

Sat 23rd June

It was a good choice not to walk yesterday especially with all that rain
I woke at 6 am as Tree hugger was up and was having an early cooked breakfast then he was going to slack pack the next 2 sections
I should meet him later today going the other way.
At 7 I got up and went downstairs. Scot thought I said 7 but 7.30 also worked.
I sat on a stool in the kitchen and chatted to Lost & Found and Onion as they finished their breakfast. I poured myself a coffee and chilled.
Scot was running Tree hugger to town then he would cook me breakfast (included in the room rate)
I ate the same as yesterday. Fried eggs and toast. Scot makes his own jams and I loved the BlackBerry lime and pineapple bloody good. I polished off my breakfast drained another cup of coffee followed by a large orange juice.

I was now trail ready. I went back upstairs and grabbed my pack. before returning to the kitchen, where I put fresh water into my bladder.
Okay all packed, Scot suggested that I weigh my pack
My pack weighed in at 46lb that’s far too heavy for most hikers, but it’s always been that weight. It’s mainly food and so it should get lighter.
But tomorrow I must tackle the. “Roller coaster” Yes that is its name several miles of straight ups and straight downs. I am so looking forward to that.
I thanked my hosts, had a group photo then I was off.

I walked along the road heading back to the tail and was amazed that several cars stopped to ask if I needed a lift to town even though I hadn’t had my thumb out. I thanked them but said I was re-joining the trail.

As soon as I was on the AT it began to climb   and was still very wet from all that rain. There was a river running along the trail and occasionally spilling out across the trail as it tumbled down hill. I desperately tried to keep my feet dry, so I was constantly crossing back and forth to avoid the deep parts. I arrived at a fast-flowing creek, but there were enough large rocks for me to keep my feet dry.

I spent a few hours climbing then as the trail evened out it became all soupy again so more fun to manoeuvre around it and painfully slow.
As I was descending into another forest I met a familiar face it was Tree hugger.
Dam I said I was hoping to meet him much later in the day
He must be really flying as he only had 7 miles to do to get back to the hostel.
He told me the condition of the trail ahead and then he was gone.
That’s the advantage of slack packing over me carrying .my stuff.

Oh well. I still thought that I was doing well and should be able to reach at least 18 miles.
I debated with myself whether to stop for lunch at 12 or 1pm.
I decided to reach the next shelter then I could get water at the same time.
Again, it was so humid that I was completely soaked and could wring out my shorts and top. maybe I will change at the shelter
The shelter sign then appeared so I stopped. as I was thinking another hiker was coming up from the shelter.
How far is it I asked?
50 yards. he replied.
So, I needed down the Blue Blazed trail. When I reached it there were 8 people there? I said excuse me and grabbed and signed the book.
Are you all Japanese I asked?
No, we are Koreans. I chatted for a while took pictures of them with their own cameras before they left me in peace to eat. I sat down at the table and ate my snacks in my wet soggy clothes.
Maybe it’s the salt? But as I sat munching several bees began to dive bomb me and then there were more on my poles.
This wasn’t fun, so I hurriedly packed up and set off.
I passed several more Koreans going South then. several other day hikers.
Soon I emerged onto a bright open meadow. Sat on a bench were a couple. any nice views they asked ..No sorry only mud. I continued and crossed over railway tracks then under the freeway.
I then found the trail again and continued. I crossed several bridges before starting one of many climbs.
I looked at my watch. It had just gone 3.30…. I will walk to 6 I decided that should give me miles.
I pushed on passing the next shelter, I paused to check my map and see she. water was 3 miles. Yes perfect, although I could hear the rush of water nearby. It was a very wide creek that rushed over many rocks. But that made it much easier to cross. I managed it without getting wet hurrah.
The next part of the trail was very soupy, and I struggled to avoid the mud. . I then came to the junction and the next. shelter but I wanted those extra miles so pushed on.
I was slipping and sliding through more mud when I came across a group of scouts they were just put for the night. a little further on I came to an ice chest. but it was empty apart from. Water. I grabbed a gallon and glugged some down then filled up my bottles just as it started to rain.

It was for cash heavy rain and storms at 3 it was an hour late!
I quickly walked on and luckily found a tent space. I quickly got out my poles and set up.my fly. put down the footprint then assembled my tent. It was down now a huge downpour and I hurriedly got my stuff inside. I stripped off my wet things and chilled. I was just about to cook. when the rain stopped, and the sun came out and then it was hot. Bloody typical ….
I got out and sat on a rock then began to cook. . I was annoyed that I had stopped too early.
but it was nice to have an early night. I finished cooking and hung my food. then had an early night
I will try to get up early tomorrow. as I will start the “Roller coaster” a series of large climbs and decent. for 17 miles I am so looking forward to it ha ha
Start 971
Finish 987
Miles 16

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Day 74

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 .

Miles zero

Day 70

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.

miles walked 17

Day 71

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.

miles 17