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

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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 74 Leaving Front Royal

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

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 71 Heading To Elk Wallow Wayside Mile 951

After yesterday’s late late start!
I was Hoping that I would maybe on the trail earlier.My first alarm went off. I silenced it. Then second went off st 6 am I meant to snooze it but cancelled it. I lay dozing try g not to sleep.
Come on get up.
I emerged and did a huge horse wee, before collecting my food bag. I stripped off my fly and then fired up my stove for tea.
Whilst that heated I stripped down the rest of my gear and then my tent. although I struggled with my tent as o. the bottom. or group sheet it was covered in slugs .and these little buggers were not easy to remove. s d them. I had to repeat the process on the footprint.
Okay we are done. I hoisted up my pack and set off back to the store. I hoped for hot coffee and Danish, but the sign said open from.9 am and it was only 7.30. Oh well.
I made. y way back up the path and re-joined the trail.
Again, it was a nice cool morning as I made my way along the trail. Occasionally there was a viewing point for me to look.

as the morning moved on the fog descended again. so, the views become hidden in mist. And then an hour later the so. returned. I pushed on until 12 when I decided to take a break. I crossed a road and you’d a suitable log to sit on. dropped my pack and opened my snack bag.

Whilst I sat chilli g I checked Gut hooks I had done 9.7 miles COOL. I should be able to do the same and get to the hostel. As I began a steep downhill part, my legs suddenly disappeared, and I lay in a heap.
A voice asked if I was okay and helped me up. I was good but embarrassed.
The guy was part of a 10-strong team who were out pulling invasive plants from the trail.
I thanked him sheepishly and continued, with his words of “Have a great hike” echoing in my ears.
On the next switchbacks. I. Met the rest if the crew
I felt good and happy as I pounded down the trail. I soon noticed somebody behind me it was Dog a hiker I had shared a room with in Waynesboro.
He was slack packing so raced past me. Although I eventually caught him getting water at the next stream…
From here the hostel was 7 miles away and mostly down apart from one small climb.
I have got this and took off after Dog. the trail indeed goes down and I crossed out of the Shenandoah Park.
I circled down until I came to a hut / shelter. I decided to visit it and at least sign my name.
It was very clean, tidy and empty. Although I didn’t stay long as I had a target to meet.
Down and down switchback after switchback. I eventually came to a large creek. Okay let’s try and cross this and stay dry!
Once across I sat on another log and checked my phone which promptly died Bugger.
I grabbed my battery and plugged in my phone. before starting theses climb. As I climbed four deer walked out in front of me. It made me laugh as I hadn’t seen any for a while.

Once over this hill it was another long downhill until I hit the main road.
I took.my time enjoying the view. When I got to the road there was another hiker sat chilling. Which way to the hostel I asked
To the right., He replied
Thanks.
I found the hostel and checked in $30.
Dog was already here.
I found a bed. Dropped my pack and jumped straight into the shower. Then Dog and I got a lift to town.
We had planned on visiting the Brewery, but it was closed due to a private party, it was the Harley Davidsons woman’s chapter   could have been fun !!
We quickly found another bar, the beer was good, and I had decided to try ribs again. They were really tasty but not the best, I followed the ribs with cheese cake before calling it a night.
On the way back we stopped to get beer and snacks. Once back I sorted out laundry whilst enjoying a few more ales before Bed

Start 933
Finish 951
mileage 20 miles
Remaining 1260 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