Daleville to Harpers ferry(Halfway Point!)
Forgive any misspellings or gramatical errors.
Kind of bummed around camp until noon today. Having phone signal at camp made it easy. Since I had reservations for Daleville on Friday, I had to cut it short to 6 miles today in order to save some money on spending on another night. Have felt kind of crummy today which may have to do with the huge draining day yesterday. It may also have to do with the food I have been eating. It is probably not enough food as well. There is no way I am eating the proper calories to feel satiated. Maybe it is not the right kinds of food.
Short 9 mile day into Daleville. This Howard Johnsons is by far the nicest place I have stayed. And the hiker rate makes it cheaper than some of the hostels. My appetite was kind of suppressed and I kind of had the chills and aches for a good part of the day. It really set me back when I needed to do my town chores. Instead of mailing some stuff home and supplementing some snacks, I just took a nap in a real bed with the AC on high. At least I got some laundry done. It was a travesty though that I did not feast at the Mexican restaurant. My appetite was just not what it should have been.
One of the easiest days in Virginia thus far. Walked for a lot of the day paralleling the blue ridge parkway. The only downside was that I was not eating enough. The hunger was just not there. It felt really Wierd to push uphills and do this 19 mile day to Bobblets gap shelter on so little food. Once I have a big dinner, maybe I shall feel better. I could have pushed it another 3 miles to shorten my day tomorrow, but there is a risk of there being no campsite. Water is surely there, but a reliable flat spot is not. I made my goal for the day anyway. 19 miles out of town is pretty good for me. People say that you should not plan so far ahead, but I have a goal of reaching harpers ferry by the first weekend in June. Which means that I need to cover 275 miles in the next 12 days. I really think it is doable with northern Virginia getting easier once I get into the shanandoas. People say that 30 mile days are common in that region. Let’s hope so.
Felt just like a zombie for most of the day. Still don’t think I am getting enough calories. Only made it 18 miles today to Cornelius Creek shelter. Was planning on making another 5 miles to the next shelter but my body and mind were telling me to quit. You really have to listen to yourself out here and forget any goals you set when you were fresh in the morning. First real big climb in a while at the end of the day and was hunched over my poles cursing everybody who says “Virginia is flat.” Virginia looks to get a bit easier after mile 860 and I still have over 100 miles to suffer through.
Most other hikers have noticed with me a “thinning out” of the crowd on the trail. No longer are the shelters overflowing like in Georgia and NC. Hopefully this fatigue ends soon so I can hike in a happier state of mind. Had a serious thought of quitting about 10am this morning, when all I wanted to do was go back to sleep and eat some non-trail food. Just had to push through that and try to think about something else.
A big 22 mile day to Johns hollow shelter. Had the first good nights sleep in a while on the trail. The exhaustion I had been experiencing was gone and my appetite seemed to be back. My taste for Starbucks via coffee has kind of disappeared though. Something about the taste of it black doesn’t do it for me. It all started with having some of the home roasted coffee from woods hole hostel in the morning. Some of the best coffee I have had in my life. Maybe it was the surroundings, but it couldn’t have tasted any better. Lots of people were going into Glasgow, but I wanted to push on. I had enough food for another night and day and my hostel reservation is for tomorrow. Have to make it 20 miles by 5pm tomorrow for when I get picked up. That should be easily doable. Passed over the James river footbridge with lots of locals out for Memorial Day. Tradition is that hikers jump off the bridge, but the illegality of it and with lots of people around the river, nobody seemed to be jumping. There seemed to be a police presence at the parking lot, so people were extra cautious. Kind of a hot day for today and making extra care that I consume fluids is tough. At every water source, downing a liter and a half + anymore to almost make you sick is what you have to do to stay hydrated.
Made it 20 miles to the Three Springs hostel. Again, just another place that has outdone itself. But the hike to get here is no easy task. You could wring out my clothes with the amount of sweat today. Just soaked in it. Cooling off in a spring only helps for about 10 minutes before you are just as gross and before you stopped. Heavy pack, pushing uphill and trying to get in the rhythm of hiking is hard when flies are trying to burrow into your hair. I swear that the same fly followed me all day trying to build a home in my sweat drenched mane. No amount of blowing from the corners of my mouth would stop that bastard. It did distract me though from the gnats swarming around my eyeballs. Either way, getting to this hostel was well earned.
Even in a bunkhouse full of older women, I can’t escape the snoring. Every 3 hours I would wake up to the sound of a guttural nose symphony that I cannot comprehend how the perpetrator themselves can sleep. Nevertheless, Three Springs Hostel is a must stop if you want a break from the trail. The terrain was such that I needed a reprieve and most certainly a shower. A small capacity of 6 beds, but if you can reserve a spot, do it. A massive dinner and breakfast are included in the cost along with a shower that could knock the paint off wood with the pressure. Another peaceful environment in the coffee hour in the morning overlooking the pond and garden. People were really worried about the massive ascent of bald knob this morning, but aside from my dreadful sweating, I have climbed much worse. Lots of being bitten by bugs made the experience less enjoyable as well. Watching a horsefly land on your shoulder and bite you while filling up your water bladder in a creek is just morale killing. Knowing that your heavy pack will then be putting pressure and rubbing on the bite for the rest of the day. Made it a 21 mile day to the Priest Mtn. Shelter. Planning on meeting my grandparents in Waynesboro on Friday which is totally doable. A massive descent followed by an equal ascent will make it a tiring day tomorrow. Cannot wait to send some of my clothes home that I have been hoarding since the beginning. I bet my pack will get 5 or 6 pounds lighter because of it.
A 22.3 mile day to a campsite just before hump mountain. Made the last major climb in VA and the last one for a while. Three ridges mountain was a beast and I soaked through all my clothes with sweat. But now it is done and I can cruise through the rest of VA.
The dichotomy of being hot and muggy in the morning, to being in a Marriot hot tub at night would make any hiker jealous. But that was my day. My other set of wonderful grandparents were in the area and wanted to see me at some point on the trail. Making those 12 miles as fast as I could were my goal. Coming out near Kings gourmet popcorn is a real treat and should be taken full advantage of. Waynesnoro is a supremely hiker friendly town, with an example of at least 2 people asking me if I needed a ride while sitting at the gap. I kept seeing all these guys on their Ducatis and Beamers riding the BRP and Skyline drive, and it was just making me jealous. It has been months since I have ridden my bike and it will make me feel like a person again to ride.
People have said that I would be doing big miles in the shanandoas and hopefully they are right. But this first day has just been pretty typical. I did a 20.7 mile day to the black rock hut. The terrain was a bit easier with not too many rocks and pretty soft trails. Having to stay at these “huts” with there not being any campsites may impede my plans. I should be in Harpers Ferry a week from today. There is somebody with a eukalele up at the shelter and I am glad that it
can barely be heard down here at my campsite.
Cumulatively I have done over 35 miles today. All the way to bear fence mountain hut. Stopped at the loft mountain wayside for a bite to eat. Damn fine breakfast food. Too tired to write anything more smart or poignant.
Surprisingly, I did not feel it so much in the morning after the massive day yesterday. Waking up aching in the middle of the night while it is pouring down rain is also not pleasant. Luckily my tent held out on the awful campsites here in the shanandoas. For a place that prides itself on its campgrounds and such, I am finding the spots for tents worse than in the smokies, where theoretically there should not be any spots at all.
You know that feeling, when you have all your camp chores taken care of and the moment you crawl into your tent, it starts to rain. Experiencing that right now. I won, beating the rain today. Did a 26.8 mile day to the pass mountain hut. Another really long day, and the terrain has not seemed to get any easier. The rocks on the trail are brutal on the feet and I am seeing elevation changes on par with some stuff back in NC.
First day of June and really shows with it hitting 90 degrees once today. Almost 2 months since I started and proud of myself for sticking it out this long. Getting to the point where a lot of people have quit out of boredom and exhaustion. I am experiencing both of those, but just putting one foot in front of the other is all it takes. Maybe getting out of Virginia, and seeing more states go by will motivate me more. Self motivation is something that I feel pretty good at and that is why I have made it this far.
Made a big 23 mile day to the front royal terrapin hostel. Stopped at the elk wallow wayside for second breakfast that propelled me through the uphills. Woke up to the loudest thunder clap in my life at about 11:30 last night. Could not have been any closer. Thoroughly exhausted at the end of this day. I polished off 2 cherry cokes, 2 frozen pizzas and a half gallon of ice cream.
A 27.4 mile day out of the hostel. The first night ever in a bunkhouse where not a single person snored. Just another rainy damp day. Nothing even has a chance of drying off. I about had a mild heart attack while stroking out when I dropped my phone fully submerged in a spring while filtering water. Luckily I have this military grade survivor case on and it still works. There is a slight glitch where it thinks headphones are plugged in when they are not. The speakers work, because I make a phone call with speakerphone and the physical speakers work, just the phone thinks headphones are in. A trip to the apple store in DC is in order then. Probably made it so I will be able to catch the Friday train into DC from Harpers Ferry. There is a campsite 3 miles or so from town and it would be an easy morning in for breakfast and to catch the train.
Another one of my bigger days. Wanting to get to harpers ferry by Friday morning, I did 26 miles to a campsite that had no water to be able to cruise in for a nice breakfast. The roller coaster which is 13.5 miles took me much longer than expected. 3pm is when I rolled out of it. Luckily I had signal in my tent and bought my ticket for tomorrow. Feeling tired at the end of VA. Essentially been doing a marathon a day for a few weeks with 35 pounds on my back.
Had a wonderful breakfast at the Town’s inn this morning. While waiting for the train, exploring around this old city was great. Many summer camps around and the multiple ice cream parlors are a result I suppose. Walking over the Shanandoah River with the fog floating over the trees this morning was a refreshing sight. The pouring rain stopped and just left a damp feel the rest of the morning. The train was an hour delayed, which is because CSX owns the lines and the freight gets priority. Lovely ride in though, and the experience of being in the woods in he morning, then being in Union station with thousands of travelers is crazy.
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