Hiking 30 Miles on Day 100 on Trail
Bama➡️Baxter Day 99&100
Day 99: 14 miles
This morning we wound up sleeping in pretty late in the room, which was amazing. All of us were up so late last night and really needed it. Once we got up and ready, Sweet Pea and I walked over to Dunkin Donuts and got some coffee. Then we went back to the room to get Boosted and all of us went over to the Pancake House for breakfast.
Bill from the bar last night had given us his number in case we needed a ride back to trail today. This morning he texted asking if we wanted to get coffee together, so he wound up meeting us at the breakfast spot. We sat and ate breakfast with him and then headed back to the room to check out.
Once we were out of the room, we walked over to the gas station nearby to grab some drinks. And while we were there a guy asked if we needed a ride to the trailhead. He drives the shuttle in town and was going to be starting his shift. So he said he’d come back and get us in a few minutes. That was incredibly divine. We didn’t even have to ask anybody or try to hitch. Gotta love it.
By 1:30 p.m., we were back at the trailhead walking once more. We wound up doing about five miles and taking our first break of the day at a shelter. The Jim & Molly Denton Shelter was one of the nicest shelters that I’d ever seen. It had a large, covered porch with a bench, wooden Adirondack chairs, and a covered picnic area. I would have loved to stay there, but we had barely began walking for the day. Instead, we just hung out for a bit and all ate some snacks. I packed out a tall boy coke and drank that while we were there. Then we kept on walking.
After that we walked for about a mile and then crossed a road where we could do a side quest to a general store. We walked along a road for about a mile and arrived at the Monterey Service Station Convenience Store. I got a Popsicle, lemonade, and a couple snacks. Then we sat outside for a bit before getting back to trail. We were able to walk along the road for a mile or so and reconnect right back to the AT without backtracking.
From there it was only about 2.5 miles to a shelter that we were debating staying at. But when we arrived it was absolutely slammed with a group of day hikers. The shelter was full and there were tents set up all over. So we sat there for a bit, got some water, and then decided to keep going. There was no way we wanted to camp with such a big mob of people.
We walked for a couple miles and were basically looking for a camp site the entire time. It was shocking that there were absolutely no stealth sites around. The more we continued along the more disheartened we became. All of us were ready to call it a night but there was no place that we could remotely make work. Finally after a while we passed a site that looked relatively flat and like it could fit a couple tents. And we managed to squeeze the three of our tents in there, which was perfect.
At this point it was around 8:30 p.m. and just starting to get dark. We all got our tents up really quick and then I made myself a double ramen for dinner. I also packed out a sprite from the convenience store, so I drank that after dinner. Then I spent the rest of the night lounging in my tent.
Every day I track the daily mileage that we do and I was going over the numbers while laying in my tent. The three of us did 278 miles in the last 14 days, which is pretty awesome. We’ve really been cruising along lately. And the best part is that we’ve been having a total blast doing it. We’re all feeling strong and having a lot of fun. These past couple weeks have been some of my favorite on trail so far.
Day 100: 30 miles
This morning all of us woke up fairly early, but it was raining out. We checked the radar and saw that it was supposed to lighten up after a little while, so we decided to sleep in. Today is my 100th morning on trail! The time has really flown by. It’s crazy how it can feel so long and so short all at the same time.
Once we got packed up and got to walking, it was around 9:00 a.m. We walked for a mile and then stopped off at a shelter so we could all use the privy. Then we continued along and wound up doing nine miles all in one push. The trail was gradual enough that the time went by pretty quickly. When we got to the Rod Hollow Shelter, we decided to finally take a break. We wound up staying at the shelter for a while just lounging and snacking. We really weren’t in any rush to get anywhere.
When we finally left the shelter, we walked for a a couple miles and then ran into 3P again. Just shortly after we passed him, we officially entered the Virginia Roller Coaster. An infamous stretch of trail just before the end of Virginia. The roller coaster is basically a stretch of trail that constantly climbs up and drops back down on repeat for about 14 miles. There are about 12-13 climbs over the course of the roller coaster. All with varying elevation gain and duration.
Not long after that, we passed the 1,000-mile marker on the AT! 3P was able to take a photo of Boosted, Sweet Pea, and I all together there. We all took a swig of tequila that Sweet Pea had been carrying around. Then we continued climbing through the roller coaster. The first few climbs were really steep and about a mile long each. In the moment the climbs really got you huffing and puffing because they were so steep. But at least each climb only took about 20 minutes or less. It was definitely tiring in comparison to the terrain we’ve been doing in Shenandoah National Park.
After one climb, the trail descended down to a road, which passed right by a restaurant. So we walked the road down to the Horseshoe Curve Restaurant for dinner. We got there about an hour before they closed, which was great. I got a soda, chicken sandwich, and mozzarella sticks. Everything was super good and the mozzarella sticks were clearly homemade. We ate there and charged our stuff up a bit. Then we set out around 8:00 p.m. to get back to walking. We planned to do a pretty good stretch of miles still and hike in the dark for a while.
Rather than backtracking on the road to the AT, we decided to just bushwhack back to the trail through the woods. I was pretty opposed to the idea initially because I’ve done some bushwhacking in the past and it doesn’t always end well. But it was getting late and we just decided to go for it. We wound up having to climb up some pretty steep terrain to get back to the trail. But in the end it was definitely worth it to save us some time.
Once we got back on the AT, we took a quick breather and then continued along. After about an hour of walking, we finished the Virginia Roller Coaster! Then we stopped off for water and another quick break. It was pretty late and pitch black out, but we were all having a blast. You have to make the most of whatever you’re doing. So even though we were hiking around 11:00 p.m., we were still enjoying ourselves.
After getting water we kept on walking. The terrain was super gradual after we finished the roller coaster which was nice. That definitely helped us push out some really big miles so late in the day.
Around 1:30 a.m., we came to Buzzard Rock and found a place for the three of us to pitch our tents. That brought an end to our first 30-mile day on the AT! What an awesome way to celebrate 100 days on trail. Hiking 30 miles on day 100.
Once we set up our tents, we all ate something and then laid down to go to bed. I wasn’t starting to fall asleep until around 2:30 a.m. But now we are only 9.6 miles out of Harpers Ferry, which is awesome. We can sleep in tomorrow and still get into town fairly early on in the day.
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