Why is it that I am not surprised, when the white girl with dreadlocks asks me my favorite color followed by my zodiac sign? She is totally chill and fine, but it is always fun meeting a stereotype. They exist for an reason people…
Did 16.2 miles out of Atkins to the Lynn camp creek campsite. My pack is always stuffed and unwieldy coming out of a town. It always impacts my miles and legs. Feeling the pressure on your feet as the heavy pack presses them into the ground. My legs are always the sorest after town day. I was able to just snack for lunch due to the massive hiker breakfast the the Barn restaurant. The 2×4 is what it is called. Bacon, eggs, sausage, hash browns, biscuit and pancakes. Too that off with 3 cups of coffee and OJ, and that is how you feed a hiker.
Heard some people complain about the Relax inn and hikers shouldn’t be complaining about anything. For 45 bucks, I get my own air conditioned room and bathroom. Some color TV and laundry as well. I couldn’t think of anything more hiker friendly. Truckers and hikers seem to be what makes up the clientele for the town. Trail magic is always fun to come across. Especially when it comes in the form of a cooler full of sodas. Dr. Thunders and oatmeal cream pies that is. Saving those for the end of the day after camp is setup makes them taste more divine.
Some absolutely gorgeous pasture lands I got to walk through today. Kudos to all the private property owners who allow us hikers to mingle with your cattle and trapse through your operation. Seeing baby cattle with a background of rolling hills and the breeze swaying the hay is just a moment that cannot leave my mind.
beauitiful shelter, but no water
Another big 20+ mile day to Laurel Creek VA 615. Climbing out of chestnut knob in the morning was a better choice. That shelter though is one of the most picturesque on the trail so far. Downside is that there is no water directly at the shelter. Did mostly ridge walking today which is nice and breezy. I want to commend the great people at AT&T for locking down signal on the ridges and making the lack of views bearable with some streaming NPR.
There was a 10 mile stretch today without water which made me nervous. I am shifting my mindset to plan my day around just moving from water source to water source. Virginia is just going to be like that. Lots of talk around camp about who is going “back” to trail days. People are planning on hitching at every road crossing in VA to get back. No thanks for me. My plan is to just push on through VA and probably come back to it next year. Another great piece of trail magic to end the day. Normally I don’t drink soda, but when you come to a cooler full of Pibb Xtra, I have to indulge.
This was the easiest day in Virginia. A 20.8 mile day to a campsite at mile 603.1. Actually had the energy to start a fire here at camp. Along with soaking my feet in the icy river, made for a divine evening. Green tea while stretching by a fire you created is a bit rejuvenating. The first day where I completed 10 miles before noon. Walking along a lot of ridges and the uphills lasted only 1 mile or so. Did another crossing over a highway today. The one where you could choose to head into Bland or not. Lots of people were, but my plans were to push on to Woods Hole hostel. A Maildrop from my wonderful family should be there and all I have heard are good things about this place. Smoothies and massages litter the description in the AWOL guide. And at only 15 bucks a night in the bunk, it may tempt me for a zero to recover my feet. Had another milestone of crossing over 600 miles today. Felt really good after sucking on fumes from me water bottle(10 mile stretch with no water) to pass the 600 mark placed in stone. At the beginning of that stretch as I was “cameling up” for the long dry spell, I got to talking to a Frenchman from Quebec named Paul. He was camped out there waiting for a ride back to trail days. He told me that he had done the entirety of the trail back in the 70s and referred to the AT as another child of his. His reasoning for his hike in his 20s was just the same as mine. Not sure of what he wanted to do. The way he spoke of the trail and of mountains really conveyed the effect this place has on people. “Buildings and roads all eventually crumble, but Katahdin will not be going anywhere.” This is how he spoke of the end along with descriptions of the lakes in Maine and how you can see the lakes as you ascend Katahdin.
10 miles in 4 hours(morning pace)
Another pretty mild day. Albeit that I only did 13 miles today. Made it to the Wapiti shelter because I like to Nero into the hostels to make sure I get my money’s worth. This next place woods hole is supposed to be great. I wanted to stop at Trent’s grocery for lunch. I pigged out there and it definitely was worth the stop. Thought it was going to rain this afternoon, but all it managed to do was sprinkle for a bit, then become humid for the rest of the day. Trail seems kind of dead and I presume that is because of trail days going on. Only 3 other people here at the shelter. One guy here at the shelter named Hook is the most impressive thus far. He started April 28th and he is this far. His pack has a base weight of 12 lbs and he is hiking without a tent. Also, no filtering of the water. Just avoiding sources near livestock and other animals is his guideline. He is an ultra marathon runner and plans to be at Katahdin by the beginning of July. He is already doing 35+ mile days and crushing it. The comfortability/luxury in camp seems non-existent(pack as a pillow) but it seems to be working for him. Smooth day into woods hole tomorrow for some R&R.
walked through this
Made It a short 7 mile day into Woods Hole Hostel. Made out really early by my standards to see some vistas as the sun was coming up. Didn’t even seem real the views that were before me. The landscape was half in clouds. The hostel really is a serene place to be. The cabin built in the 1800s looks totally where it should be. Mountains in all directions and animals all around.
My lunch consisted of an entire loaf of home made bread, 3 hard boiled eggs from the farm’s chickens and a block of cheese the size of an infant. Then a hot shower with a rainfall head. Bought myself the dinner and breakfast so the prospect of local ,real food makes these days worth it.
getting new shoes feels nice
woods hole 1800s cabin
super local salad for dinner. so damn tasty
this goat was not on the menu
Another pretty sleepless night in a bunkhouse. One person inevitably ruins it for everyone. Just lots of snoring and the bunk was only 5 foot 5 with 2 solid walls at each end. Stretching out was not an option. Being awake since 3 AM
did not put a damper on my miles or pace today. This was my biggest day out of a hostel yet. Exactly 20 miles to a campsite past rice field shelter.
That may have been fueled by the great breakfast at woods hole. After savoring 2 cups of the home roasted coffee, the big plate of eggs, cheese grits and homemade biscuits(7 of them covered in butter and preserves) I got a late start. Lots of people were just planning to go into Piersburg for some more real food and a hotel room to avoid the rain. My food bag was bursting at the seams, so I feel that pushing on was the best course of action. Got my first view into West Virginia even though I won’t technically cross over for another 350 miles or so. One of the best views I have had this trip. Did my best to outrun the rain today and somehow managed to get to camp and setup before the evening showers. Dead tired, but looks like an easier day tomorrow elevation change wise, but 24 miles is what the plan is. Most of my plans revolve around where the next water sources are.
view into WV
suprise in my food bag
Did a 24.2 mile mile day to the campsite past the war spur shelter. My biggest day yet. Leaving camp around 7:30
and arriving at camp by 7pm
is exhausting. Resting every hour and a 45 minute lunch break along with lots of water stops whenever there is a source. When I see in the guidebook a nice flat looking ridgeline that in my mind I could knock out in record takes me just as long as some uphills because of the damn rocks. Sharp knives are what you are walking on and any slip could result in a broken bone. Putting all the pressure of your body and the 35 to 40 pound pack on the ball or arch of your foot to be able to cross these rocks is miserable. Luckily, Johns creek is right here at the campsite to soak my feet. Kind of a dew soaked morning and it rained in the afternoon. That has caused the holes in my injiji toe liner socks to widen. Also causing my feet to crack up and peel. There is no getting around your feet getting wet.
It feels nice eating the weight down in your food bag. I packed enough food for hopefully 104 miles to Daleville and I have another 3 nights to go. This will be my largest gap in between resupply. This is by choice of course. But I want to savor the time in towns and I could easily fall into the spending trap that is town.
A big 18 mile day to Niday shelter. 2 massive climbs today that could not have pulled more sweat out of my body. Putting on sunscreen in the morning is a futile effort. Bug spray is the only thing I bother with. More rocky ridge line that is hell on the feet and arches. I would not say I am running low on food, but I could certainly eat more than what is in the food bag. Planning on making it into Daleville on Friday so I could get the most out of my town day. I could feasibly make it in for dinner though. This will be a practice run for the 100 mile wilderness. Met a guy from Boston and we talked about the differences in the north and south cultures. He talked about Trents grocery and how much of a different world it is in rural America.
Passed three major milestones today. The 700 mile mark, passing the dragons tooth and ending the day with a sunset view of MacAfees knob. That made it a 26 mile day. Taking it easy tomorrow.
Audie Murphy monument
made it there for sunset
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