Day 77 – This is the Virginia We’ve Been Waiting For

Sleep is deeply important (thanks Dr Obvious). It’s even more important for recovery when you’re hiking 15+ miles per day with 25+ pounds on your back. The last 3 days were good catch up sleep days for me and I’m finally feeling back to normal. Just in time to mess up my sleep schedule again (more in that later).

Late Per Usual

I woke up just before my alarm around 8 something this morning. A solid 9+ hours puts me in good place to put up decent miles for the day (15+ is decent IMO). Rabbit was up and mostly packed already and I was one of a few stragglers left in camp still.  After the usual breakfast (Monster, Pop Tarts, Breakfast Essentials), I was off and hiking a little after 9AM.

The day started with an immediate uphill that despite feeling rested (and fully caffeinated) I’m not sure I was quite ready for. Rabbit had left a good 45 minutes before me so the first bit of the day was all solo hiking. I put a good dent in what was left of my audiobook (Catch-22). It’s probably best I’m exposed to this book after my military exit, I keep thinking to myself.

The first 10 miles of the day were at a leisurely pace and I stopped at a campground supply store for a snack. Several snacks, really. I had a chocolate milk, a ham and turkey wrap, and a Mountain Dew. This was perhaps the key meal of the day because I covered the next few miles rather quickly and caught up with Rabbit at a parking lot.

Our plan for the day was 20 miles into a wayside stand for dinner. The distance vs time math I was doing in my head today seemed questionable that we would make it in time. Additionally, the comments on the FarOut app said this wayside was closed yesterday. We called to confirm they were open and booked it to make it in time.

The next 5 miles were some of the quickest we had done so far and we made it to Big Meadows Wayside well before closing. My eyes, as they often are out here, were too big for my belly. I got an apple juice, a mango cocktail drink, a raspberry shake, and a burger with onion rings. I took me every bit of an hour to finish everything and we waddled back down the trail.

We had an hour of daylight to find a campsite. Rabbit was insistent on the first site he could find. I assuaged his concerns by saying after 10 more minutes, we could start looking (after all, we had an hour left of sunlight). By the end of 10 minutes, we were at the top of the next hill. We immediately found a splendid site with a view of the town below. Mark one down in the win column for the Witch Doctor.

We had our respective sleeping arrangements (me: tent, Rabbit: hammock) set up I’m no time. Our only obstacle was a tree covered in a graveyard of caterpillar corpses that left a gooey mess on any gear that touched the tree.

Our time in the Shenandoahs has been great thus far. Sure, the haziness from the smoke from Canada has obscured some views (photos of considerable haze were not captured for obvious reasons). Otherwise, “the Shennies” have been very enjoyable and dare I say: cruise-y. Rabbit said the other day: “This is the Virginia we’ve been waiting for.”

My time with Rabbit, unfortunately, has come to a (hopefully) brief hiatus. Tomorrow I’ll be getting off trail to spend a few days with my girlfriend, Kristen, exploring her old hometown near Middletown, Maryland. I’ll post an update in a few days recapping that and when I return to the trail… MARATHON WEEK!

I’ll be hoping to average 26.2 miles per day over the course of 7 days. Stay tuned for that. Stow away in my pack for the remainder of the Appalachian Trail.


Big Rob

Roberto, buddy, like Jim, our friendship this far has been short but also very sweet. I’m extremely happy and lucky to have found such a great friend group. Looking forward to more “guys’ nights” and getting to know you and Lauren better, and making more appearances at your church. Thanks for always being so welcoming and understanding.

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Comments 2

  • thetentman : Jul 3rd

    The gooey dead stuff on the tree is dead Gypsy moths. A few years ago the fungus was released to control them and it works only if it rains. So rain is good. LOL

    Getting fat and happy with the gf. Happy trails!


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