Days 31 through 34

Day 31 Over 500 miles and still going strong

Todays hike 21.4 miles total hiked 511 miles todays ascent 4620 feet

Today is starting out cloudy and rumor has it that it’s going to rain today but I’ll believe it when I see it. Anyway I welcome the cooler weather. The last two days have both been in the 80s. Thursday it approached 90. Some of the other hikers on Thursday, two days ago, said that they heard more than one person got heatstroke during the day on the trail.

There are no views today. I spent the entire day hiking across cloud enshrouded ridges.  All you could see was white at the overlooks.  It was like looking at a blank sheet of paper.

Near the end of the day I crossed the longest footbridge on the Appalachian Trail over the James River near Glasgow, Virginia.

I hiked from the Brown Mountain Creek Shelter to a stealth campsite about a half mile north of the Matt’s Creek Shelter.

Tomorrow Kim will pick me at the end of the day at the Sunset Field parking lot and we’ll spend the night together at the Peaks of the Otter Lodge.  I’m excited to see her!

Day 32 another day in the clouds

Hiked today 16.1 total hiked 527 ascent today 5490 feet

Today I hiked from a stealth camp just north of Matt’s Creek Shelter to Sunset Field Parking Lot. It was a dreary foggy day and it seemed like I spent the whole day hiking in a cloud.

I finally decided to stop at the Thunder Ridge Overlook and take a picture. As you can see, this is a beautiful overlook, it even has a stone wall, but all you see is white today.

I took my time hiking today since I knew that Kim would arrive to pick me up well after 4 PM.  She picked me up at about 4:50 and we drove to the Peaks of Otter Lodge.

Day 33 hiking with Kim in the Peaks of Otter area

Hiked today 17.2 total hiked 544 todays ascent 4320 feet

Last night we stayed at the peaks of otter Lodge. We had a room right next to some kind of utility room that made lots of noise all night. We think maybe when I went to check in I was so dirty that they purposely put me in a less desirable room.

I have to mention that Kim drove nine hours straight to bring me resupplies and some other things that I needed. She also brought a Korean hiking staple, soft boiled eggs. I had these packed and eat them after she left, they were delicious. Kim brought me dehydrated meals, trail mix, oatmeal, pop tarts, fuel, and many other small things that she thought of.

We had a wonderful buffet breakfast at the lodge this morning. It was a hot breakfast with eggs, biscuits, bacon, coffee, orange juice, fruit and yogurt.

Kim and I drove to Sunset Field where we continued south.

I really hurt Kim’s feelings today.  I am a goal oriented person whole has a hard time changing course once a goal is set. Today I set a ridiculous goal of over 20 miles for my hike.  We got started about two hours later than normal for me and I realized that I needed to really move to make my goal.  I rushed Kim at several different points getting ready to hike.  She finally lost her patience as we were about to start walking.  She felt like I was obsessed with the hike and wasn’t happy to see her.  I realized how ridiculous my goal was, but the damage was done.  After that, lots of small things I did weren’t helpful.  If I’m not focused on finishing this hike, I will give up, and the focus seemed to put the hike above our relationship.  In my mind nothing is more important than my relationship with Kim!

Kim hiked with me for almost 3 miles before she turned around and back to the car.  After hiking with me, Kim drove the nine hours back home the same day.

The first picture is from an overlook called black rock overlook a couple miles from Sunset Field.

The second picture shows Kim at the overlook.

 We stopped and had some fresh fruit together before she turned around to head back to the car at home.

Spring has sprung on the Appalachian Trail in Central Virginia, an explosion of green everywhere. This is pretty much what the trail looks like most of the day now.

A picture looking off of Cove Mountain during the thunderstorm.

Another picture a few miles later on Cove Mountain after the thunderstorm.

I set up camp at a stealth tent site about 3 miles south of Cove Mountain Shelter, arriving around 7:15 PM.

Day 34 Daleville, Virginia

Hiked today 21.3 total hiked 565 todays ascent 3960 feet

Last night I was joined by a group of three NOBO thru-hikers at the tent site I had chosen.  They were young guys and played music, mostly some kind of rap, that wasn’t my style, but I didn’t mind. Surprisingly they are planning to stop their hike and go to Damascus for trail days then resume their hike. I got on the trail at 7:05 AM, when none of the other people had even woken up.

The first two views of the day are from Mills Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway where the Trail crosses. The first view is looking north from one side of the road.

The second view is looking south from the other side of the road.

The next two pictures are another Blue Ridge Parkway special. They’re the north and south view from Harvey’s knob overlook. The first one is looking north and the second one is looking south.

Today I hiked from my tent site south of Cove Mountain to the Beechill Hostel in Daleville, Virginia. I got to the hostel around 5:00 PM.  I was the lone occupant of one of their bunkhouses.

The hostel has an outdoor shower and it is outstanding.  Plenty of room, strong flow, and as hot as  to want.

The hostel is a bit far from town, but they offer free shuttle service to town.  I ate dinner at Three Li’l Pigs BBQ and resupplied at Kroger.

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