Quiet Man Hikes Virginia

“Virginia moon, I’ll wait for you tonight.” Virginia Moon, Foo Fighters

If you have been curious enough to read my “hiker intro trilogy,” you are probably wondering if Quiet Man, in fact, ever does hike. Perhaps more than other long distance hikers, a section hiker’s beige flag is talking a lot about hiking when they are not hiking. Especially because they are not hiking most of the time! I had hoped to get my first nights on the trail this year at the start of spring, but it seems like time continues to slip away. One of the reasons for being a section hiker is that other things in life are prioritized more than the trail. On the other hand, being retired means I can quickly take advantage when a window of opportunity opens. This past weekend, my wife and I sat down together to map out various mutually desired summer events. Getting in at least a five day section was on the list. And immediately it appeared that the best timing for us both is to start at the end of this week! So, this year’s first short ass section hike (SASH) will be 1-6 June in Virginia. I live in Maryland; so, I have been gradually stretching my hikes into neighboring states. It is not set in stone, but I really would like to complete Virginia this year. I left off last year with 24 miles remaining to complete Shenandoah National Park. It was easy to look to Virginia to see what I might be able to accomplish within five days. This time around, I will pick up at Doyles River Trailhead since that is my current most southern point.



The question then is do I hike NOBO or SOBO? For this SASH, I have perhaps the best possible transportation option. My wife (not a hiker) has offered to drop off and pick up at both ends of the hike! Now that she is semi-retired as well, we look for ways to combine my goal to complete the Appalachian Trail and our desire to spend more time together. She lovingly offered this SASH opportunity and transportation arrangements because she also is looking for time to complete some continuing education requirements. I will hike and she will linger in the area, do some exploring on her own, and have distraction free time to complete her courses. At the end, we will have a day to do something together. I do not know yet what that “something” will be, but the important thing is that we look for ways to fulfill each other’s needs. We have spent time in this area of Virginia before because of its wineries, breweries, and history; so, we will definitely find something enjoyable.

Shenandoah Valley from Stony Man, Shenandoah National Park, VA


Challenge Accepted

So, the plan is to be dropped off by my wife at Doyles River Trailhead within Shenandoah National Park and hike SOBO. Why SOBO? I would prefer to hike NOBO when it works out. However, since one trailhead is inside Shenandoah National Park, we can enter the park for free with my veteran’s pass. They will not honor the pass if I am not in the vehicle; so, my wife cannot use the pass to pick me up if I end my hike inside Shenandoah National Park. Frankly, I am planning an aggressive daily mileage for my first long outing of the year. I will hike SOBO to the Tye River crossing, a total of 55+ miles over 5 days. Maintaining hiking condition throughout the year is a section hiker challenge; I do not think a section hiker ever really achieves so-called “trail legs.” My approach is to maintain my physical condition in general throughout the year, and specifically, to do frequent day hikes on my local trails with at least a 20 pound pack. Even in my marathon running days, I was not that fast, but my endurance consistently carried me to the finish. And one of my reasons for hiking the AT is to challenge myself mentally and physically by testing the limits of my endurance. This SASH will be a good challenge.


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Comments 2

  • Kay : Jun 1st

    Careful rick … Did the Oregon coast trail and some of pacific Crest trail and Appalachian trails myself. .a lot of illegal activity goes on up there …drops of stuff, careful also of the homeless wandering around there, things must be secured at all times.. set traps even if sleeping so nobody comes up on you. There are a lot of authentic hardcore through hikers….but I gave up not being in a group and had some scares. Best to you . Not the same america it used to be .

    • Rick "Quiet Man" : Jun 8th

      Kay, thank you for your comment and concern. I apologize for not replying sooner; I was on the trail! There definitely are some unusual and “colorful” characters on the trail. On the other hand, we do not know the backstories of everyone we meet on trail. I myself deal with depression; so, I tend to be tolerant until someone becomes overtly aggressive. And then, I assure you, I am able to take care of myself.


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