Day 68 – It’s Getting Dry on the AT

Day 68

Start: Radio Tower Campsite

End: Dirt Road Stealth Site

Miles Hiked: 19.5

Miles on AT: 642.8


This morning we awoke to weather we hadn’t seen in a while. It did indeed rain last night and it was pretty chilly. Looking outside, we were surrounded by clouds. We were in a damp, cold cloud – not the best weather for an AT morning. Frozen by the unexpected chilliness, I moved at a glacial pace while getting ready. We didn’t hit the trail until 8:30 am – still a good time to leave, but a bit off of our 8 am goal.

The morning hike involved a mix of uphill and down. Everything around us was green. I looked forward to getting a view, but I completely missed the side trail to it – oh, well. 

We stopped for second breakfast at Doc’s Knob Shelter and, wow, what a place! This shelter had a full deck complete with a picnic table, 2 side benches, and even a love seat. To top it all off, the water source was right next to the shelter – ultimate convenience.

We stayed there for about 45 minutes before moving on. I could tell that today was going to be a long day of hiking. Yesterday, we got into camp around 7pm and today it looked like we might get in even later. I typically like to get into camp around 6 or 6:30 pm so that I can relax and eat dinner. But, I’d rather get the miles done even if it means getting in later. 

The next few miles were relatively flat. I spotted a few boundary markers that I hadn’t seen before. I had passed plenty of property markers in the past, but this one was unique. It was an official Appalachian Trail survey marker – so cool!

There were some great views of the valley below at many spots along this ridge. It was nice to be able to peek out and enjoy a view every once in a while. 

Next up: a huge downhill. Janitor likes to take the downhills slowly while I like to get them done as quickly as possible, so we split up with a plan to meet at the bottom. I flew down the hill, letting gravity do much of the work, got to the next trailhead entrance, and immediately set in the shade and ate a snack.

Water was starting to get scarce out here. One water source that I was counting on that had been marked reliable turned out to be dry. I had about half a liter to last me for the next 5 or so miles. It was going to be a little rough, but I could manage.

Once Janitor arrived, we re-entered the forest. It was around 5pm and we had about 5 miles left. We were near the town of Pearisburg, VA, and what looked like an industrial center popped up when we exited from the trees. We crossed a river and walked along a huge bridge that fortunately had a separate area for pedestrians. Cars zoomed by us and a railroad track snaked below.

Back in the woods, we had a couple more climbs to complete before we found our stealth site. Luckily there was water there; I was looking forward to that the most. Climbing wasn’t getting any easier. At this point, it was past my dinner time and I was starting to feel a little dizzy. I ‘m very sensitive to low blood sugar, so I felt my dropping levels having an effect on me. At one point, I was afraid I would pass out on the trail. That was my cue to sit down right where I was and eat a makeshift dinner.

I had a few food items that I was saving for tomorrow, but since I wasn’t about to cook dinner right then, I ate those easy-to-eat items anyway. The additional carbs, fat, and protein brought me right back to life. I got back on my feet, ready to take the last 2 or so miles.

By the time I got in, it was 8 om. Janitor had gotten in about 10 minutes before me and had started to set the tent up. Whew, what a long day! I collected water and completed the rest of my camp chores as quickly as I could. Darkness was coming on rapidly.

Tomorrow is a short day, so hopefully we’ll get into camp a bit earlier.


And that’s day 68.


Follow my journey on instagram (@jenbrownhikes) for more updates!


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Comments 3

  • Kyle : Jun 22nd

    I hope you keep the daily updates coming. I’m really enjoying reading about your journey with Janitor. Happy trails!

  • Jenny : Jun 22nd

    Thank you for posting- I enjoy your pictures and your positive approach to this hike. Enjoy each step – watch the snakes- and keep heading north.

  • Russell Danser : Jun 24th

    Wonderful posts and thoroughly enjoying every detail of your trip. Please keep up the daily posts and may God bless ya’ll on the rest of your journey. Not able to do it myself (at age 75) but have loved these mountains since I was 4.


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