Shin Splints – Days 16 thru 20

So I got pink eye (and recovered), now my ankle and shin hurt, but this trip continues to be amazing. I am constantly reminded of how small I am and how susceptible I am to even smaller things. Walking in the woods gives me a new view every step. Some of the views are so beautiful others are painful. Beauty wins 99% of the time.

There are a lot of really good quotes that I could use here. You are fortunate that I cannot remember any of them. If I could remember them, I would also likely remember all the Dad jokes I have heard.

Day 16 – Bird’s Nest #3 Hut to Tent Site Near View

My ankle hurt all night. There are so many concerns going through my mind. Is this going to end my trail experience? Will I go back to work or be logistical support for my wife? What will my friends say? The pain feels like the tendonitis I had in my other foot last Fall. CNOCs make pretty good ice packs and mold perfectly to the ankle, I always thought they had a secondary use.

Today is going to be a short one on the trail, only 13 miles or so. That will leave about 17 for tomorrow into Mountain Home. Part of me wishes our reservation gave us one more day on trail, another is looking forward to a bed in a warm room.

We played leapfrog with Spicy Ramen most of the day. It must be a weekend because we saw a ton of day hikers.

Over the past several days we have noticed a lot of scat on rocks. Seems to require some pretty good balance, don’t think I will try it myself.

Seems like it would be hard to balance here.

This guy ate pretty fast. Didn’t even take time to skin dinner.

Day 17 – Tent Site to Mountain Home B&B

We stopped at Gravel Spring Hut for breakfast and met Crow and his dog Thor. Based on a conversation with some SoBo flip floppers, Crow is a homeless guy living at the hut. Super polite guy, exceptionally well behaved dog, I wish them only the best.

We said goodbye to Spicy Ramen near the end of SNP. We did not get to know him well, but it was really nice having him around the past few days.

Leaving SNP and saying so long to Spicy Ramen.

We arrived at Mountain Home B&B in the late afternoon where Lisa and Scott met us with open arms. Ice pack for the ankle, wonderful room, free food and drinks. Scott hiked the trail in 2012, still hikes a lot, and is a wealth of knowledge. Lisa loves Scottish music, I loved listening to her almost as much as Fiona Ritchie. Lisa doesn’t have the same lilt, but her passion is very evident.

We had dinner with one of Ann’s brothers, Vance, at Pave Mint in Front Royal. The barbeque was some of the best I have had. I was disappointed that I, wearing the tackiest loaner clothes I could find, was not the worst dressed person in the place.

After a quick resupply to get us to Harper’s Ferry, we were in bed and fast asleep by 8. No TV’s at Mountain Home, but we were too tired to take advantage of them if they had.

Day 18 – Mountain Home B&B to Manassas Spring Shelter

We hung out at Mountain Home all morning. The conversation with Scott, Lisa, and Randy (LASHer) was easy and interesting. I especially appreciated the opportunity to keep ice on my ankle for as long as possible. Scott found a compression sock to add to my base weight.

Anyone need a beautiful foot model?

After leaving Mountain Home B&B, we stopped at the Jim and Molly Denton Shelter for an ice pack break. This place is amazing, shower, horseshoe pit, flower beds.

Sweet shelter, nice job PATC!

We made it to Manassas Spring Shelter with plenty of time for another cold soak and had the dining area with the sunset view to ourselves.

Date night in Northern Virginia

Day 19 – Manassas Spring Shelter to Tent Site

Fitful night. Could not get comfortable. Foot and shin throbbed all night. My journal indicates I woke very worried.

After using the privy, I must have been rubbing in hand sanitizer, a backpack sized mamal was suddenly right in front of me. Skunk, no wrong color. Groundhog, no too big and wrong texture. Must be a porcupine. Good thing I had already been to the privy.

The trail was beautifully manicured for most of the day, I think we are in a state park. I listened to music for a few hours while hiking. The pain in my foot subsided for awhile. There were no great views and the sky was mostly cloudy, but today has been my favorite on trail.

Tempting, but it felt like a long walk with little chance of real whiskey.

We entered the infamous rollercoaster today. The rollercoaster is about 14 miles of trail that is all up and down, supposedly like a rollercoaster. It was fun hitting this landmark, the trail was pretty steep in some sections, but the AT through southern VA had us prepared.

Getting ready for the rollercoaster. Let's go!

The sky was really threatening rain when we pulled into the campsite. We got the tent set up and dinner prepped and eaten all in record time. No rain.

Day 20 – Tent Site to David Lasser Memorial Shelter

It rained on and off last night. It was still raining when we woke up, so we took our time in the tent getting most everything packed up.

For breakfast, at the Sam Moore shelter, we tried a new concoction Ann invented. Good instant coffee, chocolate breakfast essentials, and a spoon full of peanut butter. Very yummy.

It's what's for breakfast now.

Today we hit some big milestones, finished the rollercoaster (sign was hidden), crossed our first state line, and hit 300 miles.

First state line. Hello West Virginia.

300 miles done, feels like years ago, wonderful years, we started.

There were a lot of people staying around the David Lesser Memorial Shelter and we enjoyed talking to those that hung out at the dining pavilion. A couple from Israel that came to see the eclipse and spend a few days backpacking. A software engineer from Augusta who uses the software that the Israeli couple developed. These three people from thousands of miles away met by chance on the trail and actually share some friends.

The swelling in my ankle and shin is going down. Good day!

Happy Trails

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Comments 2

  • Flash : Apr 15th

    I’m loving your posts! Thank you so much. One thing that I would love to know is how you and your wife split up carrying gear. For example, who carries the tent and who carries the stove. What gear do you share? Best wishes and safe travels!

    • Mack McGhee : Apr 16th

      Thanks so much. I carry the stove and a pot to boil water. We split the big Agnes copper spur as best as possible. We each have our own water filter system, first aid, etc. She carries a lot more clothes than I.


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