Day 72 – Perhaps We’ll DIEEEEEEEE!

We woke up around 7-something at The Priest Shelter. I tossed and turned that night as my inflatable sleeping pad held air for maybe an hour before I woke up to my hip pressing into my foam pad below. The redundancy of the foam pad was to prevent any leaks but I’m considering ditching both and going with a better quality sleeping pad. I’ve had a great experience with Sea to Summit and their policy for defects is great. They rush sent me a new inflatable pillow a week before departing for the AT (with only a few questions asked). Lesson learned, don’t cheap out on gear. If anyone has other suggestions feel free to comment.

I ate what was left in my food bag as I read through the confessions logbook at Priest Shelter. I left my own confession in the book and we departed for the day. That confession stays between me and god (and anyone who knows my handwriting).

Rabbit and I made quick work of the downhill 5 miles to the road. We were both in dire need of a resupply, and we decided to hitch 8 miles to a General Store in Montebello (which apparently is not where Thomas Jefferson’s home is). It took a good hour before we were able to get a ride. Many methods of persuasion were attempted.

After a hodgepodge resupply from a somewhat limited selection, we had a slightly easier time getting a ride back to the trailhead. We had already settled on some night hiking, so we didn’t fret over a delayed return to trail. After a cold soak in the stream, we were off.

Conversation was great as Rabbit and I hiked together and unloaded a lot of our past to each other. It was great connecting and sharing some deeper conversations than we’ve had up until this point. Which isn’t to say there hasn’t been deep talks before this, it just went to a new level of understanding.

We took a break to eat at Maupin Field Shelter, 9 miles in from the road. We ran into “Pit Boss,” who we’ve been leap-frogging with for close to 200 miles. One day we caught him heading in the wrong direction when we first met him, and it’s been a running joke ever since to make sure he’s headed North.

Dinner was chicken ramen with jalapeño flavored tuna packet, and new on the menu: butter! We packed out 4 sticks of butter (2 each), and so far, it’s been much more palatable than the olive oil I’ve been carrying. Also the last olive oil container made a minor mess, so I’m hoping the butter holds better.

We left the shelter just as darkness began to fall. The lightning bugs were in full force as we headed up the trail. There were a handful of potential camp spots for the evening, but we figured we’d just see what struck our fancy. With headlamps on, we made our way another 5 miles in the dark.

We found a Raiders fan along the trail at night. He was a sparkly little salamander and was really looking forward to the 2023 NFL season with hope and unrealistic expectations (kinda like Cowboys fans).

I serenaded Rabbit with the sweet and sultry sounds of my 5th-grade honors choir voice. Side note, shortly after the 5th grade, puberty hit my vocal chords harshly and ruined any chance of me becoming a pop music icon (my cross to bear). But I sang nonetheless. All the classics, Lionel Richie – “Hello” (which he mistook for Adele), Avril Levigne – “Sk8ter Boy,” Rocky Balboa Theme Song, 69 Boyz – “Tootsee Roll,” to name a few.

But Rabbit’s favorite song was “The old lady who swallowed the fly.” An old church camp favorite, to which we would sing, “I don’t know why she swallowed the fly, perhaps she’ll DIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!” (With so much evil and malice you’d think we actually wanted her to die). In reality, Rabbit hated my rendition and made me stop singing after she swallowed the Dinosaur to catch the bear to catch the dog to catch the cat to catch the bird to catch the spider to catch the fly. I don’t know why she swallowed the fly…. perhaps she’ll DIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!! (I don’t know why he hates it either). He might also have been cranky because he slipped and fell 4 times over the wet and treacherous terrain we covered at night. His lucky Rabbit’s foot has lost its luster.

Around midnight we found a pretty sweet stealth campsite near Rock Point. The site has a great view of what we assume is Waynesboro (which, of course, is the setting of the movie Wayne’s World). We set up camp, and he let me borrow his sleeping pad for the night. I’m hoping to replace mine tomorrow in town. We’re looking to cover the 15 miles to town before more rain in the afternoon. Wish us luck.

Stow away in my pack for day 73 on the Appalachian Trail.

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Comments 2

  • thetentman : Jun 26th

    Wait. What? You have a foam pad and an inflatable? Seems redundant and heavy.

    But, you are a hiking machine so there must be a good reason. Please share.

  • Lewis Sharman : Jun 26th

    I’m (really) not judging here, but am honestly curious about the predominant approach to thru-hiking the AT these days. Do most hikers race from one town to another, one hostel to the next, one shower to the next, one store to the next, one shuttle to the next, one restaurant to the next? To be clear, that’s PERFECTLY FINE, it just seems different from “the way thru-hiking used to be”, etc., such that the “AT experience” includes a significant “off-Trail” element. How many nights in a row do most folks spend actually sleeping on the ground at a stretch, how many days of food do they typically end up carrying, etc.? You’re well over 2 months into your hike at this point, so I figured you’d be a good one to ask. Thanks!


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