Day 83 – The Chase Begins
I’d like to take todays episode to introduce a new tracker to the blog. It’s called the “Chasing Rabbit Tracker”. It will track how many miles the Rabbit is ahead by. At present the chase is currently starting with Rabbit at mile 1025, and myself at mile 935. A difference of how much?
Chasing Rabbit Tracker: 90 miles
Great job class! Today I did about 13 miles up to mile marker 948. It was all solo, in fact I barely saw any hikers at all today. It was an interesting vibe knowing this will be the norm for the next week as I try to put up big miles. 26.2 miles per day average for a whole week. No time for dilly-ing or dalley-ing. Early to bed when the miles are done, early to rise to crush more the next day.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, that’s tomorrow. Today was a late start. I had been dropped off the day prior and I camped near Skyland Resort. That was where I got off the trail and camping nearby meant I could have dinner and breakfast there before starting to hike (a win in my book).
After a much nicer breakfast than I typically have on trail, I started walking just before 12:00. It had rained that morning, which delayed my intended start time. It also made the rest of the day super humid. I was a good four miles from water and any potential cold soak opportunities. The sweat was pouring and I was huffing and puffing. I had an odd thought that “there’s no way my conditioning went down this much in only four days.”
I found a place to cold soak next to a parking lot four miles in. There was also a bathroom and a trash can, so I was able to check off multiple “errands.”
Rabbit had warned me before I got back on the trail that there were some sections that have been overgrown. I ran into some volunteers doing trail maintenance, they must’ve heard his complaints. They were very nice as I passed by, apologizing for the noise pollution of the weed eater. I thanked them for their time and for keeping the trail well managed.
Now if only they could do something about the directions in the Shenandoahs, we’d be golden. And not just because I took a wrong turn last week that put me a mile down a wrong trail. I’ve seen more lost tourists and people asking for directions than anywhere on the AT thus far. Directions are typed in small print on these little bands of metal that go around concrete posts.
Apparently, they’re intended to be used by small children because each post only comes up about three feet and is printed in eight-point font. Also, you seem to walk forever between white blazes, which is confusing if you already don’t know where you are. End rant.
I was stopped at a parking lot for more water when I saw some clouds overhead. I checked the weather and it said heavy rain in the next hour then nothing. Normally I would have heeded this advice better, but I tried to get cute by checking the radar. Radar looked like it was going to just miss me, so I decided to press on. The clouds were a light gray and I thought to myself, “those aren’t heavy rain clouds.”
I saw a few dainty drips fall as I left the parking lot. “It’ll stay similar to that,” I thought to myself. “Also, there’s a shelter 1.7 miles away if it gets bad.” Within five minutes I was putting my pack cover on. Within ten minutes my shirt was soaked. After 15 minutes the trail was a puddle and I didn’t have an article of clothing on that wasn’t drenched. I walked on and arrived at the shelter as the rain stopped. I paused, not wanting to go 0.2 miles off trail for a shelter I no longer needed. Decided instead to keep walking, beaten, a few more miles to camp at a stealth site by a spring.
Rabbit took some time today in Harpers Ferry and to resupply and ended at mile 1,027. I was able to close the gap by 11 miles bringing the tracker to:
Chasing Rabbit Tracker: 79 miles
I’m off to sleep early, hoping to rise early as well. Tomorrow Marathon week begins.
Stow away in my pack for day 84 of the Appalachian Trail.
Thanks so much for coming to visit me, I know we both needed it. I feel like I’m going to be sprinting to the finish to get back home as soon as possible. You’re my world and I continue to choose you every day. Love you bunches and bunches, for 75 years (with the option for more).
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