Not Naked – Days 0 thru 5

Hopefully you all noticed the date of my last post and got a good chuckle. My wife, Ann, and I will refer to her as Ann from now until she gets a trail name, said that nothing, yes nothing, wants to see me naked out here. She was especially concerned about my scaring off the song birds she so loves to hear.

Day 0 and Earlier

My checklist somehow got huge the week leading up to our departure. Permethrin was a bit harder to find than I anticipated, but all the other items came together very nicely.

Our dog is settled at Camp Wright, a lovely place in Eastern VA. Our home is cleaner than it has been in years. So is my car. All episodes of Ted Lasso and Masters of the Air were watched.

Ann is really excited. I am calm; I guess I don’t really know how I feel, but it feels good. This will be the longest period of my life in over 45 years during which I have no real responsibilities.

Yes, my clients might call. Only because I know their systems well and might be able to point them in a good direction when they start making improvements and enhancements.

I also signed up for this blog. Writing the pre departure articles was hard, very hard, but I had a good time with it too. Especially my most recent one. I have gained a huge amount of respect for the bloggers that really do a good job. My goal for the blog is to etch greater details of the trip on my brain. Hopefully some of you will get some joy from reading them too.

Day 1 – 311 to Lambert’s Meadow

Ann’s sister and brother in-law; a trail friend, Cherry; and a bunch of friends and colleagues of my good friend Ken joined us for the McAfee’s Knob Shuttle ride and the first 3 miles or so to McAfee’s Knob. The send off was fantastic. George brought beer for a toast, Rob brought good bourbon for another toast, they both know what I like.

Excellent shuttle service

Send off group

Send off group

Rain was in the forecast, so we had decided to stay in the shelter at Lambert’s Meadow. I have done this section of several times, even back when it wasn’t part of the AT, and recalled every step. The hiking was in slow motion, but the miles flew by. All 10 of them.

There were at least two groups of college students at the shelter and across the creek. Two large fires, tent in the shelter, Ann looked at me questioningly. Are you sure we need to stay in the shelter? It will be fine.

Home for the night

The rain started. I was putting away my journal when 13 year old Stephen showed up and asked if there was room for two more. The college guys quickly got their tent out of the shelter. Stephen’s grandfather showed up about an hour later. I was sound asleep.

Day 2 – Lambert’s Meadow to Fulhardt Knob

It rained all night, sometimes hard. I roll around a lot during the night and during one roll I noticed a new body in the shelter, right next to me. Closer to me than my wife who was on the same ground cloth. When did this happen, how could someone snuggle up to me without me noticing it. I can’t believe I slept that good on nite one.

The sun was far from rising when we started hiking, We were hoping for a good sunrise from Hay Rock, the fact that it was still raining did not deter us. There were some nice views, but no epic sunrise, the clouds were too thick.

By the time we got to Fulhardt Knob the clouds were gone and the wind had arrived. The temperature was also falling fast. We ate quickly and sought refuge in the tent before the sun had set.

Beans and rice

The wind howled all night and the temperature got well below freezing. I am so happy that I packed my thermal bottoms at the last minute.

Day 3 – Fulhardt Knob to Tent Site

With mostly frozen water bottles, we started hiking in the light of a pretty full moon. Ann wanted to get to Wilson Creek Shelter for breakfast. She thought it might be a bit warmer. So we hiked for a couple hours in the beautiful morning with the moon setting on one side of the ridge and the sun rising on the other.

We saw a number of day hikers as we criss crossed the Blue Ridge Parkway. One young lady wore a hat saying “difficult and expensive”. I wanted to ask if that was truth in advertising.

We arrived at the tent site in the late afternoon, the climb up the hill was hard but we finished strong.

This tent site features a sheet of rocks that make a fantastic dining area with exceptional views. As our dinner was being prepared, one of Ann’s colleagues arrived. They had talked about him hiking with us for a day or so and it was nice to have the company.

Day 4 – Tent Site to Cornelius Creek Shelter

Another early morning start with many views of the moon and sun.

Moon over the valley

The morning was mostly downhill to Bryant Ridge Shelter where we met Grizzly, a SOBO flip flopper.

Bryant Ridge Shelter is still my favorite. Multi level, double decker. The privy is pretty sweet too, offering a great view across the small valley/cove.

After Bryant Ridge Shelter the hike is mostly uphill to Cornelius Creek Shelter. Really all uphill. The trail was cut by people that don’t understand switchbacks. I was beat and not feeling great when we got to Cornelius Creek Shelter. My body wanted to know why I was doing this to it. My mind was having a hard time explaining it.

Dinner spread at Cornelius Creek

Day 5 – Cornelius Creek Shelter to Matt’s Creek Shelter

I woke feeling similar to the evening before. Body and mind questioning this adventure.

We planned breakfast at Thunder Ridge Shelter and the trail was very cruisey, so we made really good time. I had forgotten my poor feelings from yesterday and my body was responding nicely to this new routine.

Alien pod at Apple Orchard Mountain

Alien pod at Apple Orchard Mountain

Neither of us got beheaded at the guillotine

Mostly downhill today, we crushed just under 18 miles by late afternoon and set ourselves up for an easy in and out resupply in Glasgow. Our first Nero.

Post was at the privy only, not near the shelter where we were already set up

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

What Do You Think?