Mile 861.9 – Mile 978.1
I saw my first bears today! A mom and 2 cubs. I was so excited. Stretch was oblivious and I’m glad he was.
I’m a little nervous to be stealth camping after seeing bears. But I am camping with Ghostrider and we hung our food bags.
I kept stopping today to pick blackberries. They’re everywhere!
We camped at a viewpoint tonight. It’s such a pretty way to go to sleep and wake in the morning.
My throat has been scratchy the past couple days. I really feel like I’m starting to get a little sick. I really hope that’s not the case. I’m going to nap right when I get to camp. Sleep and water usually helps me when I feel something coming on.
I slept 11 hours last night. That felt super great.
I made it the 11 miles to the camp store and went a little food crazy. I bought a lot of over priced snacks and took a 5 minute shower for a dollar.
It was hard to leave the porch of the store but I left around 4:30 and hiked 4 more miles to the top of the mountain. I set up camp right in front of a viewpoint and watched the sunset.
Today was a pretty great day.
Today was pretty great. The weather was perfect, I had good company most of the day, and I ate two real good meals. One at Big Meadows Wayside and the other at Skyland resort. They were both just a few minutes off trail.
While we were waiting for a table, an older couple started asking me questions about the trail and my hike. I could feel my face light up. I really love talking about it.
I camped on top of Stony Cliffs and watched another beautiful sunset.
Another pretty solid day. I slept in a little this morning by accident. I hiked for 4 miles or so and took a long break at a picnic area. The weather has been cool and sunny and it’s hard not to relax and enjoy it. While I was sitting there, Stretch napped and I was offered cheese and crackers and a can of sprite from one lady and a bottle of water from another. I accepted both.
I finally got up and kept walking until I came to another visitors center and parking area. I decided to stop to use the bathroom and to charge my phone. Stretch apparently needed a nap too. He passed out on top of me.
After talking to a couple who was vacationing for over an hour, we finally got up and hiked another 6 miles to set up camp.
I’m only 2 miles from the Wayside now. It’ll be great to have a warm meal in the morning again. The Shenandoahs have spoiled me. Great sunsets, good food, and friendly people.
I didn’t make it very far today. I blame the last Wayside. I ate a pretty big breakfast there and rested there for far too long. It did feel great to relax and chat with other hikers though.
Today was my last full day in the park. I’m going to miss the Shenandoahs.
I’m officially out of Shenandoah National Park. My bear count is at 5 now.
Today I took a side trail to a swimming pool and took a cold shower in the locker room. It seriously felt amazing. It said on Guthooks that they charged a dollar to shower but they didn’t charge me at all. It was pretty nice. The only thing that bummed me out was that the concession stand only accepted cash. I had three dollars on me. I was planning on eating a lot but I could only afford one slice of pizza.
My stove isn’t working either. I had to eat cold mashed potatoes outside of the pool and right now I’m eating raw ramen. Bleh.
Tomorrow I’m meeting Duane, Cohen, Louie-pup, and Duane’s parents at the next gap. I cannot wait to take a day off and relax with them. I have been day dreaming about sleeping in a bed, eating good food, and spending time with familiar faces for a couple days now.
I was thinking about this a couple days ago – I haven’t touched a human being in over a month. That’s a little strange. I haven’t even fist bumped or anything. I’m definitely ready for a hug.
Made it to Manassas Gap and waited a couple hours until Duane, Cohen, and Duane’s parents got here. We all went for about a mile walk on the trail once they arrived.
We went out for Mexican and went swimming in the hotel pool.
Tomorrow will be my first official Zero Day since Marion.
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