Days 65 to 71: The Virginia Explosions
Waynesboro to Harpers Ferry
Even reading my journal entries for the past week feels surreal. So many things I’ve dreamt about for such a long time have actually happened!!! My AT bucket list is continually getting smaller.
First off there was the Shenandoahs! That was unreal. We unfortunately had to miss the first 40 miles due to the fire. I’ve decided I will come back and redo the entire park. The days we did get there were unfortunately spent in the clouds. Views were mostly just a wall of fog. Although I did get to see 6 bears!! The first time, I was coming around a corner a few miles before the Pinnacle Picnic Grounds when I saw 3 cubs scamper off into the brush right beside the trail with mom remaining on the trail watching me. I just stood very still and waited until I knew she was log gone. It was amazing really!
Once we were out of the Shenandoahs we caught up with the bubble of folks we’ve been hiking with for a while now. I love knowing I’m always +/- one day from friends. Portage, Bolt, Spidey, White Rabbit, Large, Blues Brother, and Sooner or Later were all at Dick’s Dome Shelter when we arrived. The site was literally a water world. All the rain we’ve been getting has turned the trail into a river. It’s crazy to think that a week ago we were constantly worried about finding reliable water sources! I spent my first thunderstorm on the trail in my tent right beside the run-off stream. I mostly stayed dry while Toast wasn’t so lucky. Her tent ended up being in a pooling area and completely flooded. Luckily there was space for her at the edge of the shelter.
The following day we got to enjoy the rollercoaster – a 14 mile stretch of trail with steep climbs and descents with very few views… Why they do this to us I’ll never know. BUT 7 miles into this bumpy ride we passed 1000 miles!!! As soon as I saw the sign I couldn’t stop laughing. I cannot fathom how far I’ve come. And a few miles after that we celebrated with pints of Ben and Jerry’s at Bear’s Den Hostel.
To make this week even more unbelievable we made it to Harpers Ferry the following day!! We crushed Virginia in 30 days! It’s incredible- I seriously cannot believe how far I’ve come. In only a few days Toast and I will reach the midpoint of the trail (Pen-Dexter stayed back to hike with his brother). We really are crushing it.
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