One of the nicest parts of having this blog is reading all the comments from readers and well wishers. I love all the comments, but I have to say that one person's comments stand out. When I read the comments from my niece, Caroline, it's almost like there are TWO blogs: one about the trail and one about what's going on back home. She's an excellent story teller and a great writer!!
June 2: sometimes days are extraordinarily wonderful, with swimming holes and trail magic. Sometimes they are simply ordinary but still good. Today we hiked, once again, rocky terrain.
We passed a rock formation called the Guillotine.
We climbed a ridge and saw views with blowing clouds and fog ghosts.
And we took shelter at Matt's Creek Shelter for afternoon snack time to dry out our wet feet and muddy calves, as the rain had returned. We pushed on, saw a turtle laying eggs..
and ended the day at John's Hollow Shelter with a group we had been reading entries from in the shelter journals for a couple weeks- the Slut Brigade. They semed way too clean and well fed to be thru hiking! But they were. Saw the first lightening bug of the season tonite.
June 3: today was a big 20 mile push into town for a quick resupply. The big highlight of the day was the longest foot traffic bridge on he AT. Some people jump off the bridge into the James River. It was rainy and cool so the thought didn't even enter my mind.
We made it into the gap at US 60 by 4:30, enough time to hitch the 9 miles into town. We got a ride from a trail angel who passes by the gap several times a day looking for hikers to help out.
Then we did the town thing: shower, eat, laundry, resupply. I was looking smashing in my laundry outfit!
Why do people always ask: are you a hiker?
June4: was so hard to get going today! We did breakfast of ham and cheese bagels in Road Runner's room, then went back to bed for an hour! Checked out, ate at Subway, and caught a ride back to the trail from a guy coming out of bible study, Robert Burns. The ride to and from Buena Vista was so pretty! Such beautiful shades of green. It's good that its pretty, because we pretty much hiked in the green tunnel all day today. Big climb up Cold. Mountain. Some unexpected trail magic by a gravel road - Gatorade and candy- and pushed on to Seely-Woodworth Shelter. Reunited with Acorn and Sideshow who stayed at the shelter. We went 2 more miles to a campsite, which was a great choice on our part. Nice spot by a babbling stream, flat tent spots, and great fire. Nice night.
June 5: off to a good and early start today. On the trail by 8. It was cold in the campsite, but warmer in the sun. Stayed around mid 70's. we checked out spy rock and then set to our arduous day: 3000 foot descent, then 3000 foot climb, then 2600 foot decent. Makes the legs like jelly! Plus, those damn rocks! I think I'm gonna hate Pennsylvania! We ended the day at Maupin Field Shelter where we tented, ate, and had a great fire.
June 6: after a great sleep, it started sprinkling as we broke camp. No problem! We had read the weather report and it as supposed to hold off until tomorrow - our zero day. The weather report was wrong. We hiked 21.5 miles in the outskirts of Andrea. Any time we thought it couldn't possibly rain any harder, it did. I didn't know clothes could be so heavy! When we emerged onto Rockfish Gap, we figured we'd have no problem getting a ride into Waynesboro. The book showed a restaurant, gas station, motel, and visitor's center at Rockfish Gap. All burned out and boarded up with graffiti all over. Really creepy. Like horror movie creepy. Zombies could be hiding in those buildings! And when we approached cars to look for rides, all sopping wet with our heavy clothes, people locked their doors and drove away! Luckily, there was a list of numbers with trail angels on the guard rail. We got a ride into town from a nice guy and got our warm showers!
June7-8: This is what a good town visit looks like:
Plus I slept all afternoon both days! Shenandoah Park tomorrow!
May 29: today went from absolutely beautiful to horribly ugly and back to nice. This was the day we were hiking into Daleville. We left Campbell Shelter and shortly thereafter came to Tinker Cliffs. Tinker Cliffs has its name in the history books as an area where deserters from the civil war hid out. Well, they certainly had a nice view!
We lunched at Lamberts Meadow Shelter, crossed a meadow and headed toward Daleville. The interesting ( frustrating) thing about the trail is that in order to go down, you go up. And in order to go to town, you veer away from town and then loop back in. Sometimes the reason for this seemingly pointless meandering is perfectly clear: like to maintain the trail, why not take advantage of some already maintained trails? Like along the power lines? This afternoon was like a 6 mile tour of the powelines that supply Daleville. Not very picturesque! But we did finally make it into Daleville, got a hotel room, showered, and filled our bellies with barbecue.
May 30: zero day! Unfortunately, the hotel pool was closed. The good news is that Daleville had a full service outfitter and I tried on every short torso small waist belt 50 liter pack in the store! Now I have a better fitting pack that has adjustability to go to extra small waistband! I just might need it!
May31: It was hard to get started hiking today! We hit the breakfast buffet and hit the trail at 8:30 with Flavor Saver. The morning was was nice, shady with gradual inclines. The trees really do keep the temperature down! Passed by lots of wild strawberries, in about 2 weeks they'll be ready to eat. Lunched at Fullhardt Knob Shelter with Stinkbug and Honeybun and Flav. We took our time, stopping at babbling brooks for water and rest periods. Had a long lunch with Flav, Stinkbug, Dorothy, Jackalope, and Blood Orange. All met back up for dinner at the shelter- it was like family dinner. Really nice group in this hiker bubble. Good day.
June 1: Another awesome day! This was the swimming hole day! Up and out by 8. We were all pretty much keeping pace with one another, stopping for snack time together and talking about THE SWIMMING HOLE! And then we were there. It was great! A nice 3 hour break with rocks to sun on, pools to lounge in, and 15 or so people in their underwear having a blast. Dorothy pulled out her ukulele and we all sang summery songs. Carbon, Nimble, and Mellow Johnny hitched to the store for beer and the driver came back and handed out fudgicles to everyone. Plus, trail magic sodas!
Some light rain moved in, and after hanging out under the bridge for a while, we pressed on to Cornius Creek Shelter. Life is good!
May 28: sometimes hiking, the trail looks the same for days on end and the days blend together. Today the trail threw us a bit of variety to make it stand out. In the morning, we passed Dragon's Tooth, a big stone monolith popular with area climbers.
Then, the trail went from rocky to ROCKY! As is, free climbing and bouldering to descend to the gap. I've been bouldering before, and it's really fun, but never with a backpack on while holding trekking poles! Still really fun. But challenging. And a tad scary. And slow. Which is frustrating when the morning holds the promise of town food. Make that the afternoon. And by town food, I mean a gas station with a take out window. This is what I have become: excited beyond belief to eat gas station food! And there we were- about 10 of us stretched across the sidewalk in front on the gas station convenience store with pur boots and socks drying in the sun, eating copious amounts of food and picking at our foot callouses. I ate 2 big pieces of pizza, a cheeseburger, 2 ice cream cookie sandwiches, 2 20 oz cokes, and a snickers bar. Did I tell you I'm losing weight like crazy? After lunch, we hiked across a field and began a 2500 foot climb to the most photographed spot on the entire trail: McAfee's Knob!
I was so excited to be here! We hung out and took photos for a while (and ate a snack) before pushing on to Campbell Shelter for the night (and another meal, of course!)
Mileage: 399.5 (May) 741 total Average Daily Milage: 12.67 (May) 13.01 (since start) Pounds lost: 22 Gear lost: iPhone charger Clothing destroyed: none. But lots too big now! Gear Replaced: the backpack! The waistband is now far too large. Zero days: 6 Times I've thought of getting off the trail: 1 Times I've though I'd rather be here than anywhere else: too many to count.
May 27: Memorial Day: after a perfect day, we decided to push out some big miles -- 22.5 to be exact. And we created a perfectly exhausting day! We started hiking through farmland and fields, which was a change from the ridge line.
We hiked by one of the oldest oak tree in the south.
And then climbed back up into elevation.
In a very fitting coincidence, we passed by the Audie Murphy monument on Memorial Day. He was the most highly decorated soldier in WWII and died in a plane crash close to the memorial.
By the time we reached Pickle Branch Shelter ( which did NOT have a big barrel of pickles to eat!) we were exhausted. Too tired to set up tents, Subaru, Acorn, and I rocked the shelter.
May 26: some days on the trail are just magic! Like the pony day. Or for a brief window on our descent into Fontana Dam when the sun shined golden through the trees and the three hiker chicks had to just stop and stare. Today was a magic day. It started out freezing- I started hiking in a fleece! The steady uphill cured me of my cold and shed me ofy fleece. Subaru, Road Runner and I prettying kept pace with each other till our first break at Bailey Gap Shelter. There we reunited with other hikers we had been leap frogging with. Acorn, Stinkbug and Honeybun, Sideshow, Wolverine, Dorothy. And for the rest of day. We all seemed to break at the same places near the same time.
We saw some stunning views.
We hit trail magic THREE times! Trail magic always makes everything better.
Papa G: our trail Angel and supplier of sodas. Near the end of the day, we crossed Kelly Knob, which had some spectacular views.
And Dorothy, our hiker/yoga instructor, struck the bird of paradise pose on the knob.
(Road Runner looks pretty impressed) All in all, it was a perfect mix of good hiking, good views, good hospitality, and good friends. Life on the trail is good.
The black flies are out. They are miserable little creatures who swarm and bite and fly directly into your eyes! Feet does not work against black flies. You may as well be smearing honey on yourself. But you know what does work? Herbal Armour. Made with peppermint, rosemary, citronella, and lemongrass oils. Didn't see that one.
Hi, I'm Heather, AKA "Pink Lady". Welcome to my blog. I'm so excited to share my adventures as I embark on a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. While you're here, be sure to check out the charity I'm hiking for: Devoted2Children a great organization which funds a home for orphaned children in Haiti.