Mile 861.9 – Mile 978.1

Mile 876.8
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.

So many day hikers! It is a National Park and a Saturday but wow. I saw a hundred people or so today and zero bears.

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.

Mile 904.6
I have walked 900 miles now. That’s a strange realization.

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. 

Mile 919.8

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. 

I’m really looking forward to this weekend. I get to take a zero day and a half and spend it with Duane, Cohen, and Duane’s parents. It’ll be such a nice, relaxing break. 

Mile 933.5 

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.

I hiked on and off with a couple from Milwaukee today. I ate dinner with them too.

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. 

Mile 948.5

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.

Mile 957.2

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.

Mile 973.1

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. 

Mile 978.1

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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Comments 10

  • D : Jul 2nd

    The Shenandoahs seemed not to disappoint! I hope the weekend didn’t either. These photos are some of my favorite ones to date.

    • Anna Zimmerman : Jul 3rd

      The weekend was great. Thanks to you and your awesome family. A perfect break.

  • Kerry : Jul 4th

    Love you, Anna! I want to hear more about these bear sightings <3

    • Anna Zimmerman : Jul 4th

      I love you too. I’ll tell you all about it!

  • Willow Overton : Jul 8th

    Great photos, thank you for sharing. How is it doing the hike with you pup? I am planning 2019 with my pup. I will be doing sobo, so I can finish with her. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Anna Zimmerman : Jul 11th

      Hi Willow! Thank you! I actually plan to write a blog post on the challenges and benefits of having a dog on trail. I’ll comment here again with the link once it’s up.

  • Jess : Jul 10th

    I need to hear about these bear sightings too! The Shenandoahs looked so beautiful, and this whole entry glowed. And I’m jealous of all the blackberries you got to graze on. Also glad you got to spend some time off trail with your dude <3

  • Cieria : Jul 13th

    I’m thru hiking the AT with my two pups in 2018 and was wondering about hiking in the Shanandoahs. Everything I’ve seen says that they’re not allowed. Is there a way that they are? Thanks in advance for any extra information you can give about thru hiking with a dog.

    • Anna Zimmerman : Jul 13th

      Smoky Mountain National Park prohibits dogs. Most people kennel their pup! You’re allowed to have dogs in the Shenandoah National Park.

  • kara : Jul 16th

    continue to love following your adventures Anna. Think that one of you and stretch on the ledge is my favorite one yet. <3


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