Month: June 2017 (page 2 of 3)

Day 51 19.9 Miles

Day 51 19.9 Miles

All that I was thinking about for most of the day was reaching the James River footbridge before 4 where I had a shuttle waiting for me. I crossed over Apple Orchard Mountain where there was some FAA tower kind of like up on Snowbird but it was a different alien design this time. Saw a rattlesnake and a green snake today which was kind cool. It was a very hot day, temperatures reached to the low 90s but I still cranked out 19 miles to reach the shelter. Got down into Glasgow around 430, traveled over to Scottos Pasta and Sub and chowed down on a medium meat lovers pizza. Headed over to Dollar General to resupply and then Grocery Express to fill up on my alcohol for my stove. I’m tired today, the heat zapped the energy out of me, I’m thinking about zeroing tomorrow but I probably won’t. We will see.

Day 50 18.4 Miles

Day 50 18.4 Miles

Started the day around 9. Was moving kind of slow. Passed by a few interesting overlook areas on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Got to Cove Mountain Shelter for a quick snack and met a new thru hiker named Fireproof but is now Joe. Kind of comical guy. Got my answer to question on how butterfly reproduce from a larvae to and adult. Had lunch at Jennings Creek with Mechanic and later found they were doing Trail Magic across the creek at the end of the day. Bummer on that one. The climbing began after lunch and did not really stop until Cornelius Creek Shelter. Dug in deep to make it to my destination before dark. Got to see a really sweet shelter at Bryant’s Ridge along the way that fits 20 people or so and is probably in my top 10 of shelters thus far. Wish I could have stayed there.

The climb got a bit steeper up to Floyd Mountain and then to Cornelius. Caught back up with Lil Dipper and Ferrari who were heading a couple more miles down the trail to camp for the night. Blue Whale was there as well as Mechanic. Put down some new Ramen spicy soup with vegetable mix with jerky and then threw my bear bag for the first time in a while. Just as I was eating dinner a NPS Backcountry Ranger came around the corner and asked us if we had any questions about the area or any problems. He had a couple tasers on him and pocket video camera to record any events that transpired if things got rowdy. That’s the first time seeing that one. Maybe he’s looking for someone.

Got a long 19 mile day tomorrow into Glasgow to resupply then push to Waynesboro for Shenandoah NP. Hopefully I can get a hitch or a ride into town.

Day 49 18.5 Miles

Day 49 18.5 Miles

It was really hard to wake up from that cozy bed at the Quirin’s house but I mustered the courage. Breakfast was served thereafter consisting of blueberry pancakes and scrambled eggs. Mmmm. Tried to dry my clothes off as best as I could in front of their house before leaving. Danny left a bit earlier to go to a funeral and then I left shortly after to Kroger for resupply. It was hard to leave and I could have stayed another day. I was feeling a bit tired. But I still cranked out 18 miles after resupplying and hitting the trail after 11. The trail was quite easy and beautiful transecting the Blue Ridge Parkway at a couple overlooks and down into Bobblets Gap Shelter. Saw my first black bear today right after crossing 220, 0.5 miles from the road. It was a coincidence because just as I was leaving Outdoor Trails for alcohol I met a thru hiker named Black Bear. Think tomorrow I will be crossing the BRP at some more locales. Finished off the rest of my burgers and brownies and a pasta side for dinner, caught back up with Blue Whale and called it a night. Was hoping to do some moonlight hiking since it is a full night, but I really don’t want to push over 20 miles to next Campsite. Had to stay in the shelter tonight since there were no real level spots around the shelter or even good spots to hang a hammock. But hey I’ve got my sleeping bag now so I’ll sleep a lot better. Thank you again to the Quirins for hosting me last night, it was something I really needed both mentally and physically. Hope to see you all again at some point in my life.

 

Day 48 15.3 Miles


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Day 48 15.3

Enjoyed the early morning views of Tinker Cliffs and got a chance to look back at McAfee Knob. Ferrari and Lil Dipper caught up with me and we ended up hiking the rest of the day into Daleville. All I was thinking about getting into town was food. After 8 miles I finally made it to VA 220 where I walked down to Outdoor Trails to pick up my summer sleeping bag and grabbed some coffee nearby. Then something awesome happened. At the end of the day yesterday I got a FB message from Derek Quirin who is the dad of Ellie the Baby on the AT telling me that his parents would love to host me at their house for the night. Seriously!? I haven’t slept in a real bed in 47 days and they were going to feed me even! I called Danny, dad of Derek to arrange a pickup at Outdoor Trails and went back home with them. Really nice people all around. I got my laundry done, dried some clothes, sprayed my clothes with premertherin and chowed down on some burgers and salmon. Somehow mysteriously they knew I loved salmon and I lived in Alaska for a bit of my life. The conversation at the dinner table involved the topics of where I was from, the question of fracking, and the Quirin family. Derek, Ellie, and Bekah I learned are up in Maine making their way south to home currently. I got to see pictures of Maine and I also got a chance to show some pictures of my travels on my website. It was a very good night and am thankful for good people like this in the world. Thanks for hosting me and the wonderful hospitality.

 

Day 47 17 Miles

Day 47 17 Miles

Started the day walking down to get water since I was feeling kind of dehydrated from the day before. Passed the Dragons Tooth which was a crazy rocky climb getting down the mountain with some scrambling involved. Think the local Trail Club needs to put some more rebar up on some of the rock faces, it could get pretty serious in bad weather conditions. Saw an AT ridge runner and asked him if he loved his job. Luckily the rain held off and I was able to make it up to McAfee Knob and get the famous shot hanging my feet off the ledge. I didn’t go too far because I’m kind of afraid of heights. Might get a chance to go back up there in the morning to see the sunrise, we will see. Got into the shelter around 5, set up camp and made a Ramen bomb with jerkey and walnuts to add a little crunch. Got to meet Lil Dipper and Ferrari after supper, it was good light hearted conversation with many laughs. Also caught back up with JK and met a few new hikers tenting around the shelter who were heading southbound. Can’t wait to get to Daleville tomorrow to chill and relax. My foodbag was perfectly planned where I only have a few bars so the pack is going to be nice and light. Woohoo

 

Day 46 16.5 Miles

Day 46 16.5 Miles

Walked the extra 0.4 out of camp back up to the where the AT intersects and walked the ridgeline for a couple of miles. The views were spectacular up ontop with no rain! Caught up with Illegal, a Swiss thru hiker who is a carpenter back home and is taking some time off to rethink a few things. We leapfrogged together throughout the day and eventually caught him for lunch on a bench before the Audie Murphy Monument. Audie Murphy was the most decorated American soldier in War World 2 according to AWOL book. Me and Illegal had a good conversation about trips we taken and what will happen after the trail. He’s been to Norway to hike and is hoping to get a carpentry gig in New Zealand or Australia after the trail.

We parted ways and then I headed down the mountain toward Pickle Branch Shelter. Got water before so I didn’t have to walk 0.3 on a steep downhill from the shelter. Caught up with Guppie and Foodbag for the night. Both were heading to Four Pines Hostel tomorrow. No seems were out in the shelter biting my face and arms and I had to get out my head bugnet to just sleep. It was a pretty uncomfortable night with biting insects and it being kind of cold in my bivvy. Looking forward to the sleeping bag in Daleville again.

Day 45 17.8 Miles

Day 45 17.8 Miles

Wet and cold day all around. Rain for most of the day until about 3. Only saw my shadow once today. Broke down camp around 7 without any rain which kept the tarp dry. Sped up coming down Kelly Knob to keep warm before coming into Laurel Creek Shelter for lunch to dry out a bit. Scarfed down some food in a hurry and sat back to let my rain jacket dry but everything is wet around so it wasn’t worth the effort. Put back on wet and hit the trail for Sarvers Hollow Shelter up and over a few pasture fields and up one climb to ridgeline. Passed the largest oak tree on the AT and gave it a big ole hug as cows were mooing all around. Got into the shelter after walking the 0.4 off trail downhill. Anybody know what those rock mounds are located near Bruisers Knob?

Just one of those days you have to embrace the suck.

Day 44 18.8 Miles

Day 44 18.8 Miles

Got an early start today around 7 or so and drank down a new breakfast item of breakfast essentials to get more vitamins into my breakfast meals. Last night around 2 there were two deer huffing at all of our tents and stopping the ground. At first I thought it was a bear and was kind of worried, but as soon as I heard them galloping off I knew it was a hoofed animal.

Hiked with Bell for the duration of the day to Pine Swamp Shelter. We swapped stories about our lives, relationships, and even touched on religion/spirituality and our reasons for being on the trail. It was really good to not be hiking by myself for the day. I met back up with her at Bailey Gap Shelter said some goodbyes and then heading down the trail to at least get another 4 miles in before sunset. It was a rocky ankle buster 4 miles getting to Wind Rock, but the views were definitely worth it looking westerly of the ridgelines down below. Fixed some of the remaining couscous dinner with some added protein of jerkey. It wasn’t all that great but it was way better than nothing. Talked to JK about the upcoming days and how I was getting a bit cold at nights in my bivvy sack, so she offered her polyester liner to me for the night. I’ve got my summer bag coming to me in Daleville and am looking forward to getting some better nights rest because of it. Hopefully I will get to Daleville in 4 days if I average about 17 miles a day. Mcafee Knob coming up in a few days!

Day 43 10 Miles

Day 43 10 Miles

Loaded up the heavy pack and scraped some alcohol for my stove from the hiker box and left the hostel around 10. I think this is the heaviest my pack has been since starting the trip. Full resupply for 6 days and full alcohol for my stove. There is not really a good place to resupply from here to Daleville. Didn’t hike far but it seemed like a long way up and over a couple ridges before camping near a spring. Doc, thru hiker I met after Erwin showed up and made some apple pie on his alcohol stove and taught me a few tricks such as hanging a bear bag without a rock and also how to modify my hammock to have some tight doors. He is a guy that has been hiking for the last 10 years on the AT off and on and is an army vet. Think he has a YouTube channel under FixbyDoc Offgrid and a website linked into his channel. Check him out, pretty interesting fellow with many cool stories.

Day 42 10.2 Miles

Day 42 10.2 Miles

Left the hostel after devouring a hearty breakfast of frittata, fresh bread, cinnamon crunch, and beef on the side. Ahh enough to get time to Pearisburg. Hiked with the Blue Whale for the entirety of the trip down and discussed our lives and motivation for hiking the trail. It was a good heart to heart and he is a good listener. Once we got to town we decided to grab some AYCE Chinese at the Lucky Star close to the Food Lion. I love buffets. Next we headed over to resupply at the grocery store. I did much better in selecting food however it costs a bit more, and therefore need to rethink pricing in my next selection. The Blue Whale and I parted ways and headed to find the nearby Angels Rest Hiker Haven Hostel behind the Food Lion. Already a lot of folks I knew were there. Put up my shelter, sorted my resupply (I’m trying to keep freezer bags again), and did laundry which was much needed. Boston Rob and some others came in later and made a big spread of some pasta and salad as we all sat back and watched the Fellowship of the Ring on the tube. I’ve had a pretty nice past two days staying at hostels and whatnot, my body has definitely needed the rest.

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