Days 21 through 23

Day 21 maybe I went too far?

Hiked today 23.4 total hiked 324 total ascent 4550 feet

No views today!

Today my goal is to hike 20 miles or a little over. My first bail out is at 18.4 miles at the Denton shelter. My goal is to reach Skyland in Shenandoah national Park in three days, it is currently 60 miles away.

Last night there were 8 people camped in and around the shelter, all single hikers with 6 Northbound and two of us Southbound.   Surprisingly, I was the first one to hit the trail. I don’t think that’ll happen too often in the future.

Today was a beautiful walk in the woods. After I had walked about 8.5 miles I decided I might be able to make an on the trail Bed and Breakfast that is 23 miles from my starting point. I called and made reservations committing myself to a 23 mile hike. There weren’t many views today but the walk in the woods was pretty. However, by the end of the day, I was completely exhausted. I hiked pretty much nonstop from 7 AM until 6:30 PM, 11 1/2 hours with no stop longer than about 10 to 15 minutes.  By the time I reached the B&B, I felt like I could hardly take another step.

The Mountain Home B&B is about a tenth of a mile off the trail and offers both private and hostel lodging.  It is a labor of love for the owners and they are incredible. I treated myself to a private room.  It was large, clean, well decorated, and had a huge bathroom. Lisa made me a pizza when I arrived, she did my laundry for $5.00, and I had a delicious breakfast the next day.  Scott, a past AT thru-hiker, has lots of good stories and an intimate knowledge of Northern Virginia trails.

Day 22 into Shenandoah and onward

Hiked today 18.9 total hiked 343 total ascent 4840 feet

I headed out from the B&B around 7:30 AM. The entrance to Shanandoah national Park is less than 4 miles from the B&B.  The first view I encountered in Shenandoah was from Compton Peak, which has an elevation of 2900 feet.

The next view was from some cliffs near the top of North Mount Marshall looking northwest. It’s hard to convey how spectacular these views are with pictures.

The next picture, also from Mount Marshall, was taken a few minutes later at a viewpoint looking to the north east. If you look closely, you can see Skyline Drive climbing the next mountain over.

Next is a picture from near the top of Little Hogback mountain.

And here is a view from Hogback Mountain, which is a bit higher than a Little Hogback mountain.

And finally a picture from the AT overlooking the Hogback Overlook which is on Skyline Drive.

Skyline Drive is a spectacular drive, over 100 miles long, and many views like these can be seen from a car by pulling off at viewpoints along the drive.

The shelter spacing in Shenandoah did not match my desired mileage so I ended up stealth camping at a site not far from a Potomac Appalachian Trail club cabin after hiking about 19 miles. I ran into a trail maintainer during the day and asked him where a good place to camp legally might be, and he was able to direct me to very nice spot. Camping along the A-T in Shenandoah is allowed as long as you follow a few simple rules, but there are no guides to let you know where there are cleared spaces that you can tent. You just have to be on the lookout for them. This particular site had a spring less than a quarter mile away. I was joined by a southbound section hiker, Over the Hill Bill, I had met earlier in the day.

I thought that I would need to take an easy day after the long hike yesterday, but the 19 miles seemed much easier than expected, even with the many climbs of the day.

Day 23 from Stealth Camp to Skyland

Todays hike 19 miles total hiked 362 miles todays ascent 4675 feet

After having my pop tart and coffee breakfast, packing up, and saying goodbye to Bill, I started my hike a little after seven in the morning.  Today’s hike was 19 miles from our stealth camp spot to the Skyland Lodge.

The first great view of the day was early afternoon near the top of the mountain named Mary’s Rock.

Today I met two section hikers who actually recognized me from my blog.  When I mentioned that I started at the Delaware Water Gap, one of them said “You’re Griff! I read your blog.”  I was surprised and happy to learn that somebody outside of my immediate family is following along.

Later in the day, the trail climbed Little Stoney Man Mountain, which also had spectacular views.

I got to Skyland around 4:15 PM and was able to get a room as a walk up. It’s a bit expensive but I saved for this trip and I plan to treat myself when I want to. I had a great steak dinner with a beer, a bread plate and a salad.  I was very full by the time I went back to my room.

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Comments 2

  • Flash : Apr 29th

    Yes, I’m following your posts and I am not in your family 🙂. You are a hiking machine!

  • Jules in NY : Apr 30th

    I’m another blog reader, enjoying your hike vicariously. I can’t hike myself, due to health issues, but if I could, I’d be on the AT.

    Just wanted to reinforce the point that it’s not just your family following the blog.


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