Days 51-52

Day 51, 6/18/23

Stealth camp site to Lambert Meadow Shelter

22 miles, mile 720.9

Whew! The Virginia triple crown is no joke. It was just over 5,000 feet of gain over 22 miles. It was extremely hot today and it being a weekend was also very crowded with day hikers. This was not a bad thing for me because day hikers often bring their dogs! I got to meet Ziggy, Sherlock, Juno, Goose, and Nala today, and they were all so sweet and excited to be out hiking. I got photos of each of them, of course. We also met a lot of new thru-hikers that we haven’t run into before. Everyone was super nice and some have heard of us by talking to others who are a bit ahead. When our Dad was here, he also met a lot of hikers that came through while he was waiting for us during the slack packing. It was funny to meet those people today and have them be like, “you must be Oil Change and Loaf! We met your Dad!” There were also a lot of thru-hikers slack packing southbound today. Although it was really tough, I’m glad we pushed through and saw Dragons Tooth, McAfee Knob, and the Tinker Cliffs today. It was slightly daunting being on McAfee Knob and seeing the Tinker Cliffs 5 miles away. I was so excited to be at that iconic spot and I had Kev take a photo of me out on the knob. I’ve seen it so much in others photos; it was cool to be there myself. Those 5 miles really took it out of me. I felt like I was crawling up that last 1,000 feet. We saw a gopher, mamma and baby deer, and two turkey vultures. We ate dinner up at the cliffs and caught the start of the sunset before hiking the last 1.5 miles down to the shelter. It is really warm so far tonight, so I have both my tent vestibules open. Kev and I saw a bear about a tenth of a mile away from the shelter and it seemed unbothered by our yelling, which I wasn’t a fan of. Usually, they run off before we even yell. There is a bear box here, though, so our food is definitely safe. Today was the latest we have been hiking since we didn’t get to the shelter until around 8:30 p.m. Dinner did take about an hour, though, because we had good service up there, so I was able to call Ethan and Dad. Usually, when I see the shelter is down the mountain, it is a safe bet there is no service. I used up all my Zoleo messages, so it’s good Kevin has his too to let Mom know we are safe and at camp. It felt great to hit mile 700 this morning! Can’t wait for 800 within the week.

Day 52, 6/19/23

Lambert Meadow Shelter to Fullhardt Knob Shelter

14.4 miles, mile 735.3

Today we passed the 1/3 marking! Only 2/3 left until Khatadin! We hiked the 9.4 miles into town and saw a bear, six deer, and a turkey vulture. When we got to town, we walked to the Kroger and Three Pigs Barbecue. We ate first because we were very hungry after not snacking much this morning. I ate 2/3 rack of ribs, chips, and coleslaw with a lemonade and Kev got a burger and chips and lemonade. My plate was much bigger than his, so I shared a little bit of my ribs with him. They were delicious! Then we headed over to the Kroger to get 3 days of food to get us to Stanimals hostel, where Dad dropped our next resupply on his way home. I think I bought way too much food; my bag felt very heavy for only 3 days. A very kind woman gave Kevin a $15 Krogers gift card! Since my gluten-free food is much more expensive than his ramen, he let me have it. Then I asked the guy next to me if he had a Kroger card that he wanted to enter to get the rewards for my purchase, and he was happy about that, and it saved me $6! I also got Dove ice cream bars to eat before we hiked back out. With our stomachs very full, we started the climb out of town. We only went 5 miles to the nearest shelter because it started to rain and is now pouring as I’m writing this. Thankfully there was room in the shelter for Kevin and me to squeeze in, so we didn’t have to put away soaking-wet tents in the morning. This is only the second shelter we have actually slept inside this entire thru-hike so far. Tomorrow we are aiming for 20 miles in the rain; we will see if that ends up happening.

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