Day 77 Washington Dc

my alarm beeped

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

I grabbed the rest of my stuff that I may need and set off to the station .
One the far side of the tracks were several people . I guessed that this was the side I needed so crossed over. There were several other hikers that I had met but didn’t remember their names. So we chatted a while as we waited for our train.
Then there was an announcement saying that our train was delayed for 25 minutes. and so the next train through would be the freight train.

The freight train appeared 10 minutes later .and here in the US they are so long it seemed to be rolling pasts for ages the screeching and squealing of the wheels was deafening.
At last our train arrived and I border it has 2 decks so I went upstairs .. It was about a dozen stops till I reached the Capital.

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

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

fore moving on to the Lincoln memorial.. On the way I passed through a very large and well designed war memorial..I walked around it several times before continuing.
A great great deal of the gardens and grounds were fenced off. and so I had to double back a few times . I was just getting near when the heavens open I managed to get inside just in time but then so did every ome else. so it was difficult to get a good photo

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

My tummy began to rumble informing me that it needed food. I googled pubs and found one to visit. hit directions and flowed the directions.
I ordered up a hippy IPA and found a seat and plugged in my phone

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

Several capsules part of one of the booster rockets that is huge. There is also a good selection of rides. You can pay $8 and go in as simulator, it looked fun but not today . as my time was almost up do headed back to the station almost running the last bit just in case.
At last I’m On the train heading back to Harper’s Ferry
I’ve had a good day.
Once back I thought I would grab a quick bite before walking back to the hostel. I walked upstairs created the bar lady again and went to sit outside
It was nice to see Kanye
She was on her own, so I joined her. I ordered a beer and a Ruben’s which was tasty. The waitresses accidentally poured a beer by mistake, so she gave it to me for free. Jayne and I talked for ages before I needed to leave.
I enjoyed the walk back  to the hostel , I watched several  deer trot along the road and  the 100’s of fireflies  doing  their thing.
Once back,  I sorted out my gear then jumped into the shower, then relaxed

Start 1024.8
Finish 1024.8
Miles ZERO. Still!

Day 76 Zero in Harper’s Ferry

I woke and dozed Tree hugger was up as he was put early to slack pack .
At 7 I got up and groggily walked into the kitchen there were about 6 sat around the table with coffee and a huge plate of waffles. I grabbed a coffee and sat down. put a large waffle onto my plate smeared it with butter then sliced banana over the top before pouring maple syrup over it
God it  tasted so good , washed down with coffee and orange juice. I ate 4 more of these tasty waffles until I was full.
my next chore was the post office . it was a 10min walk.
I handed over my ID  and the man went off to search. He returned several minutes later with 4 packages. 2 boxes and 2 bags. one was my tent bag, the other a top from under armour
one box had  food and the other bits., so bounced both.
But I was still missing several  packages. my shoes, socks .
So I asked him to check again!

He replied that they may be at the AT Centre!
I wondered why but went in search anyway.
I walked to the AT building and asked if there were any packages for me.
Let’s look said the lady.
Yes indeed 2 packages , .yes, my shoes and new socks.

It was still early so decided to walk to the town and find the train station.
It took another 5 minutes . the town was a gem full of history . There were several groups of school kids who were having a tour and being told about the civil war as Harper’s Ferry was the scene of a large battle.
I shadowed one group listening to the guide tell the children about the history.
I then went to find the outfitters as I fancied buying a chair. a lightweight hiking chairs. the shop was full of gear but nothing that I really wanted. I then fancied breakfast or a snack but nothing was open yet. so, decided to explore the station.

As I  headed  back it began to get warm day. so, decided to  me revisited the AT Centre.
Whilst here I checked my email and ordered  myself  a chair from Amazon to be sent to the next town.
I brought another soda then headed back to the hostel,

Once  back I took my tent outside to dry in the sun. It was so HOT that it took mete minutes for my tent to be dried. I wiped off any dead creatures’ slugs and other nasties.
Then I cleaned my stakes before rolling up my tent and putting it away in its new stuff sack

I wanted to visit Washington DC tomorrow so was trying to sort clothes. my shorts were smelly, so I washed them and my socks in the sink before pegging them out on the line.
As I was checking my email, I noticed that zippy was in town I texted her to see where she was. I decided to head back to the old town grab a beer and food.
As I walked past the AT Centre, I saw Zippy omg we had a Big hug before posing outside the Centre

I’m off for dinner so will catch you later and continued on my way.
I walked into the “Halfway to Heaven restaurant. grabbed a table and ordered a beer.

I ordered the crab cakes and enjoyed my beer and the afternoon sun as I waited for my meal. Another hiker. called xxxxx asked if he could join me.
As we chatted, we found out we both did the PCT in 2014 and hikers with many of the same people. how spooky.
My crab cakes arrived and shortly disappeared followed by several more ales.
As the other hiker left,  I heard my name being called. sat a little behind was Solo and several other hikers so I went and joined them.
At 9pm I decided that it was time to leave and set off back to the hostel

When I arrived, it was almost in darkness a big change from the night before!
So, I found my bed and was soon asleep
Start 1024.8
Finish 1024.8
Miles ZERO

Day 75 Heading to Harper’s Ferry Mile 1024

June 25th
I crept out of bed at 6am and packed up ,then quietly took my pack outside.
I returned to my bed and checked that I hadn’t forgotten anything. I nipped upstairs and filled my bladder …Why had I not left that in the fridge overnight Doh.
I finished packing up a then put on.my wet shoes …Nice.

I hoisted up my pack and set off back to the trail.
Okay let’s finish this dam roller coaster. The first part followed the cliff face.
I laughed as I passed  a “No camping”  sign  and saw that there were 2 hammocks attached to the tree with the sign  .
There were amazing views from up here  before  the trail decided to head  down . I could hear cars in the distance, so I guessed  that  I was nearing  a road.
The road soon appeared, and it was busy, bloody busy. I followed the road along the hard shoulder until arrows pointed across the road.
I waited for a few minutes then made a break for it .Phew safely across
Once across I resumed my climbing and pushed on .After my second climb I paused and enjoyed the views. It was now getting warm as I started yet another climb, luckily there. was a nice breeze when I started my decent pity it wasn’t when I climbed?

I then came to a sign hurrah I’ve finished the roller coaster whoop whoop

Then next couple of hours I walked through some lovely forests and meadows passing several day hikers .
I then saw a familiar face it was Smidge coming the other way
Snailtrainer she called
God how  are you  and where have you been as I’ve missed you .
We then had a huge hug.
Sadly, she had been ill and so had come off trail .then spent the weekend with friends and so now was hiking South.
I pushed on as the sun blazed  hotter, I wanted to hike on until  1pm.
It was 11.30 when the shelter came into view.
Okay  I will have  an early  lunch.
I detoured down to the shelter , It was a large shelter with a veranda and a separate picnic shelter .
As I arrived tree, hugger was packing up ready to leave ,we chatted exchanged photos and  then he was gone.

I sat on the veranda in the sun and relaxed. took out my snack bag and enjoyed my break.
I then went and got water then I was almost ready to go . but I was relaxed ……..
Come on Snail …. Reluctantly I got up and slung on my pack and then headed out.
8 miles left to do  hopefully I will be there by  4ish. may be.
I was enjoying my day and the trail until my hips began to get really sore , uncomfortably sore. I stopped and body glided my skin. The skin looked raw dam . It’s this bloody humidity. it’s makes me so wet with sweat

.

I carried on wincing, trying to block out the pain.
I’m not hiking tomorrow so hopefully that will help it heal. but may have to tape it.
Harper’s Ferry was getting nearer but at this moment the trail became rocky so rocky.
I struggled to walk over some of it , as  if I twisted my pack it hurt me more.
At last a sign that read AT Centre 1.8 miles
Cool as this was my first target of the day.
The trail began to circle down. As  I  crossed  the  road. I could see the Shenandoah river and the bridge that I must cross.

I just arrived at the bridge when a Happy Feet zoomed by me. she appeared to be  in a hurry .
I crossed under the bridge ,before climbing up the other side ,
The Bridge was long as I set of across it beneath the muddy Shenandoah River flowed.
Once across the trail then headed back up. The mountain, .Bloody hell I moaned as I started to climb but once up the gradient become less steep.

At the summit I followed  the Blue Blazed trail  to the AT headquarters.
at last I’m here , I dropped my pack outside and walked inside there we’re many familiar faces. I went go the fridge and grabbed a lemonade. that I imeaditly drained. I quickly followed that with  another and then a pink .lemonade then a coke. flowed by 2 ice lollies. I dropped my cash into. the tin.

I then had my obligatory photo taken for the book then I was done
Hostel time, I set off up the road. still trying to ignore the pain.
It wasn’t long until I found the hostel I was looking for .Expensive but it’s the price around here . I paid up then went to find a  bunk.
I dropped my stuff. Then made my bed (Hostel Rules) once sorted l had a great shower bathed my wounds and then I could relax.

Once again, there were several familiar faces here. so, it was great to catch up.
Once settled in I decided to walk to the 7/11. I just wanted some lemonade, Ice cream and some crisps. I fancied beer but this hostel is dry !!!.
Once back I cooked up some odds that I had been carrying .
It was surprisingly tasty! Then it was time for ice cream . I had chosen BlackBerry. it was okay , not the best that I had eaten

Then it was zzz time

Start 1004
Finish 1024.8
Miles 21

Day 74 Heading to Bears Den Hostel Mile 1004

The alarm went off at 5.30 I snoozed it. when it went off again, I let down my mat . Got up and went outside for a pee then let down my food bag. then began to remove my fly .

I put on my stove, as the water heated, I rolled up.my bag and pad. then stripped down . I eat breakfast drained my tea then I was ready.

I hoisted up.my pack and I was on the trail by 6.30.
The trail was even worse with this rain .I was sloshing through liquid mud and did for most of the morning .
This stuff really sapped my energy and it was a nice change when I entered the national park and was walking through some nice meadows., but it wasn’t long until the mud returned . It was like walking through tar , it was bloody hell., but I was still  making good time .

I eventually arrived at the start of the roller coaster. The  first climb was not too steep , but the humidity was a nightmare , and I was quickly soaked with sweat  that caused my hit belt to rub .making my waist sore
After my second  climb I decided to have an early lunch. At 11.30 I found a nice rock and relaxed for 40 mins , before returning  back to the climb. I headed up  which was shortly followed by a down    eventually   emerging  onto the road. Fantastic  there was trail magic
I had a cup of  juice and then was given a glass of wine and a banana. I sat chatting for  to my fellow hiker trash , for far too long.

Eventually I returned to the trail and my climbing  and continued  up, but it wasn’t long before ii began descending. As I began the next climb the thunder returned and loud . almost deafening. As I reached the summit  the thunder grew   louder and seemed much closer.
The rain now returned I lowered my head  and  pushed on.
I had four miles to go but I was tiring. and my pace became a plod.
The weather cant seem to make up its mind  as the  sun  now reappeared and  it soon became  hot , that was just perfect  for the  next climb, and it was steep.
I  then came to a  1000-mile marker whoop whoop.

Passing this large marker spurred me  on , until I came to another steep climb . The sun was  glaring down on my  , I was still melting, and this climb seemed endless. I pushed on and up and  kept climbing.
At last I was at the top and went in search of the hostel.
I walked in found a bunk then grabbed a shower OMG it was so good .
At last I could check in. The price was  $30  which included a soda. Pizza, ice cream and laundry. bargain .
I grabbed a pizza and put it in the oven. once cooked it was swiftly eaten . followed by a tub of ice cream and washed down with several lemonades
This was followed by several movies before  my bunk called

start 987
Finish 1004
Miles 17

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 70 Leaving skyland resort

Day 72

I woke up early as my alarm was telling me to get up, so I quickly switched it off.
I eventually woke at 8 am got up put on the coffee and stepped into the shower .
After stepping out I watched garbage on the tv and then decided to write some postcards.
Eventually I managed to pack up and leave. I walked back to reception and checked out They also took my postcards so that was a result .
I was just about to hike out when
“Hey snail have you had the breakfast?
So about turn and  I headed to the restaurant .I dropped my pack and then I was shown to  a table.
What would you like to drink sir asked the server
Orange Juice and Coffee please  I replied .
I then made my way to the hot  counter and loaded my plate  before returning to my table.
I drained my  Coffee and juice before ordering more .
Time for seconds  so I headed back to the counter .Okay one more juice then I must go as it was  already 10am.
Omg it’s late and I want to visit the next town and post my tourist stuff to my friend in Texas.
At last I was leaving the Compound , I pushed on it was  7 miles to the road and then I need to hitch.
The morning seemed to whizz by,  maybe it was a good night’s sleep in a real bed .
Ping went my phone. cool I am  doing well, and the  miles were falling. occasionally I stopped to get a view of the countryside
Eventually I reached the road or rather the main entrance to the park. I walked out and to the Ranger booth to ask which way I needed to head.

I walked to the road and held out my thumb. Soon I was heading into Luray.
The couple dropped me at the post office. I thanked them as they drove off.

Once inside the post office I had to almost dismantle my pack as the stuff that I wanted to post was typically at the bottom. I choose a box then put all my excess gear into it and posted it up the trail.
Once done I really needed a pee so visited the  train museum as it was the nearest. It  was really interesting .
I asked if they had a AT  stamp but sadly not
Okay chores  done; I need to get back to the trail . As I  walked back to the. freeway  the rain returned   Bloody  great.
I walked to the on ramp and held out my thumb.
I was lucky as I was picked up by a Ridge runner and so I learnt a great deal on the journey back.

She was off to the first shelter to do some maintenance and had her saw and secateurs.
we walked together for a while, but  I was faster and  so said my goodbyes  and took off.
I was heading for  Elkwallow wayside . I was Hoping to get there by 4.Have supper and hike on .  As I pushed,  I began to hear the distant  rumbling of thunder occasionally I got a light sprinkle of rain even though the sun was shining with all its might.

I began to hear voices, but I couldn’t make out what direction they were coming from .Then two hikers appeared from  behind me . One was Bob Narley, but I  hadn’t seen  the other before
Hey man how are you doing .
See you at the wayside.
It was about an hour later that I arrived at Elkwallow wayside.
I dropped my pack and went inside . I ordered the chicken strips with fries, a lemon soda, milk shake and 2 beers .
I went outside to eat my dinner, I had just sat down when the sky turned black .I quickly devoured my  food  and just as I had finished  the heavens opened  and it threw it down.
I sheltered under the veranda., hoping it would soon stop .
It rained and it rained . and it just kept on raining

FUCK FUCK I can’t put my tent up.in this.
I sat in despair staring at the rain  Bob and his companion appeared
“This is not good Snail”
I totally agree, I wanted a few more miles I replied
They had planned on hiking to the  next shelter at least another 6 miles away. They are fast but it now so dark .
We watched as they shut up the shop and locked everything up .including the rest rooms (toilets)
So we cant stay in the loos  then, we all laughed .
I really wanted to camp right here but it’s prohibited (Naughty lol.)

The rain eased a little, so I left my pack with my fellow hikers  and went for a recce.
Just to the right was a picnic area  that’s perfect  for me .
I went back and retrieved my pack,
I’m going to crash just up there” I said ,
I then said my  good byes  and headed back to  my campsite

I found a good spot and managed to put up my tent quickly without everything getting too wet.
I hung my food bag, as I had eaten loads, there was no need to cook so straight to bed .

Mileage 17 miles .

Day 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