Scenic Virginia and A Reunion

Day 52 – VA 635 To Power Lines — AT Daily Miles 21.4; AT Total Miles 681.1

Today was just as hard as I thought it was going to be. Maybe even harder. And it wasn’t the two long climbs during the day either. It was getting back on the trail after five wonderful days back home. I almost wish the visit hadn’t gone so well because then I wouldn’t miss them all now as much. I’m sure I’ll get back in the groove though.  After getting back to the trailhead, it was about 9:30 AM before I got started hiking again. The trail seemed even greener than when I left it. As I stated above, the terrain really wasn’t very hard today. It was just getting my mind right and focused on hiking instead of thinking about being back home.

I think the thing I enjoyed most about hiking today was the beautiful pastures and farms that I hiked through near the end of the day. I also got to an incredible campsite near some powerlines. The view was incredible and the stealth site cozy. It hit close to 80° today too, which made the uphill a little tougher, but the rain held off and overall it was a good day. The plan for the next few days is to about 20 miles a day and get into Daleville on Friday for a resupply. It’s supposed to be warmer than normal this week and not supposed to rain for another four days so I should be able to at least get to the resupply before I start out again towards Shenandoah National Park.

Pasture Hiking

A Nice View

Powerlines Campsite

Sunset

Day 53 Power Lines To Ledges Stealth Site – AT Daily Miles 20.0; AT Total Miles 701.1

Today was much better day than yesterday. A good night sleep in my tent will do that. I was on the trail by 8 AM and made good time today. It was a little hot approaching 80° but otherwise a good day for hiking.  What made it a good day wasn’t so much the scenery which was great, but the other things. There was trail magic today, which was wonderful. There was also getting to see some old hiking friends that I thought were way down the trail by now. For various reasons, they are hiking around where I am, which was an unexpected pleasant surprise. It’s always awesome to see familiar faces out here.

The other highlights today were walking the ledges and hitting the 700 mile mark which is close to a third of the trail done. Tomorrow there’s talk about getting up early and watching the sunrise from the famous Dragons Tooth. Other highlights in the next coming days are like that. This section of Virginia is known for lots of cool cliffs and such. Anything to make the time go by quicker is appreciated.

powerline view

ledge walking

700 miles

Day 54 Ledges To Lambert Meadow –AT Daily Miles 20.2; AT Total Miles 721.3

For once, I was awake and out of my tent hiking by 7:15 AM. I heard a lot of people hiking past my stealth site on the way to Dragons Tooth to see the sunrise. I had no such ambition and relaxed as long as I could before getting on my way. Today was one of those days where it was really hot and seemed uphill the entire day. It was really hard but rewarding at the same time.

Dragon’s Tooth

McAfee Knob

Tinker Cliffs

Today’s hiking was called the Virginia Triple Crown. That is hiking to Dragons Tooth, McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs. That would require a 20+ mile day from me, but definitely worth it. All three sites were incredibly beautiful. I would do it all over again. Also, all three sites had a lot of exposure in terms of height. I climbed Dragons Tooth, for example, and didn’t get a really good photo because I figured if I tried to take a selfie, I’d be one of those people you read about that kill themselves while trying to do it. The other two were high, but not nearly as much exposure with them. Tomorrow I will hike about 12 miles to Daleville, Virginia for resupply and a much needed shower.

Day 55 Lambert Meadow To Beech Hill Hostel — AT Daily Miles 10.3; AT Total Miles 731.6

After the hard day yesterday, I decided to take a Nero today, which means a near zero day.  That’s ten or less miles for me these days. I needed to resupply and after several days in the 80s a shower was kind of nice too. I also took the opportunity to get some laundry done.  I was only on the trail for about five hours total, but it was a very scenic five hours. Just like the day before there was a lot of views from cliffs and ledges. It was awesome seeing a beautiful river and the town below, Daleville, Virginia.

I was able to get to the hostel early enough to get that shower and my laundry done and catch a shuttle into town. I had Wendy’s for the first time in a couple months. The frosty really hit the spot. I can’t say enough about how kind everyone was at the Beech Hill hostel. They are very friendly and you can tell it’s important to them to see that we have what we need. I would definitely stay there again and it was a smart choice of me to be there today.

Tame Deer

More Ledge Walking

View Towards Daleville

Day 56 Beech Hill Hostel To Cove Mountain Shelter — AT Daily Miles 24.0; AT Total Miles 755.6

I had an incredibly great night sleep at the hostel. I was lucky enough to be the only one in the bunkhouse which meant a quiet night. And they started with the most incredible breakfast of French toast with fresh fruit, potato casserole, and a sausage and egg scramble. That and 3 or 4 cups of fresh coffee really got me started off great.

Beech Hill Breakfast

The day was supposed to rain all day, but instead it only sprinkled a lot and was really dreary. It was cooler than the last few days and never got out of the 50s, which made the hiking easier even if the entire day was foggy. In the end I was able to get 24 miles in which was a big day for me. There were not a lot of great pictures today but I managed to get a few interesting ones. The one of the turtle might be my favorite.

So Green!

Turtle Trekking

The rain was starting to go harder late in the day. I finally made it to the shelter where I’d be tent camping for the night. I was very surprised to see one of my all-time favorite hikers already in the shelter. I hiked a couple days in my very first week with an incredible young man who now goes by Patches. I was just getting into my routine then, and Patches was tolerant enough to listen to me babble quite a bit. He carries Tibetan prayer flags on the back of his pack and impressed me as being so grounded and wise for his young age. In fact that’s how I would
describe a lot of young people I have met on the trail so far. They seem so much more mature and know what they want far more than I did when I was that age. Along with Patches, I had the pleasure to meet Ice Queen, Rockstar, Small Claims and Tortoise. They were quite entertaining at dinner! Rockstar and Patches played guitar and sang.

Patches and Crew

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Comments 4

  • Marcie S. : May 20th

    Such amazing pictures and progress, Jeff! I love your blog and look forward to seeing it. Keep up the great hiking and posting!

    Reply
  • CJ Skye : May 20th

    Always enjoy reading your progress and the pictures are amazing! Proud of you Jeff! You got this! Prayers go up for you every night, my friend! Stay safe out there!

    Reply
  • Micah Paulien : May 20th

    I live in Columbus, OH too! I will be section hiking the Great Smoky Mountains in the summer of ’25. I will be attempting a thru-hike in ’30 after I graduate college! I love reading these posts!

    Reply
    • Jeffrey McCorkle : May 20th

      That’s awesome! If you need any advice, I am happy to help. The hiking community is very close net and generally very helpful of one another. Good luck to happy trails.

      Reply

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