Month: May 2012

Day 53
Today Nokey and I woke up sore and tired! We were unmotivated to hike, but needed to get moving. We watched the sunrise on the ridgeline and packed up to head to Matt’s Creek to have breakfast since we ran out of water. We got there and the Boy Scouts were everywhere still. We felt justified in our decision to stay on the ridge for sure. From here, we had downhill and level walking to the James River and the Foot Bridge (yes, the guy who the bridge was named after a guy named Foot, which is also the longest foot-only bridge on the AT). We got down to the road and now we had to start climbing. Nokey and I went in about half a mile and then decided we really, REALLY don’t want to hike. We actually turned around and decided to hitch to a town for food. We got back to the road and the Boy Scouts were there again. We told them we were looking for a ride hoping they’d take us, but they weren’t going to. Luckily, they said there was a younger guy looking for thru hikers if we hung out for a minute. The guy, Rain Gear, was a 2011 NOBO and asked us if we wanted to have lunch with him! He took us to H&H in Big Island and bought us hamburgers and fries! We stayed with him for nearly two hours before returning to the trail. When we got back to the trail, Xena, a 2004 thru hiker, was with her two young sons and have us homemade brownies! We decided since it was nearly 1:30. When we came to the next road crossing, a trail maintainer gave us ice water! What an awesome day! We ended up hiking about 10 more miles, nearly all uphill, to Punchbowl Mountain. The shelter was 0.2 miles off trail, but was so gorgeous with a pond when we got there! The shelter is supposedly haunted by a little boy, Ottie Cline Powell, who disappeared when looking for firewood in 1891. They found his body nearly 5 months later at the top of Bluff Mountain. They never looked for him up there because it was so high up. Anyway, we didn’t use any ghost sightings and had a great nights’ rest with Stingray, GQ, and Maxis.

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Day 46
Today was an early morning and we got up at 6 a.m. The trail was easy again and I was so psyched to get back to my old self. We pushed up the mountain to the Audie Murphy monument and then back down the mountain. We were already at our halfway point at 11 am and were well on our way up to Dragon’s Tooth. This took longer than we expected, but the hike was totally worth it when we arrived. There were plenty of tourists up there, but we had a lot of fun hanging out on the rocks. We pushed down the mountain and did lots of rock scrambling and climbing and it was a blast! We got down to 4 Pines Hostel and found out they didn’t shuttle to Homeplace on Mother’s Day. We are probably zeroing here since McAfee’s Knob is coming up soon and we’d love to have good weather there. The photo is of me at a view on the way up to Dragon’s Tooth.

Day 45
Waking up today after sleeping in the shelter was rough! I was achy and sore, plus we woke up in cold weather as well. We had a short 3 miles to go to Keiffer Oak, the largest oak tree in the south and it’s over 300 years old. From here, we walked through a meadow and up Bruiser Knob. The hill was tough and rocky and I was over it. I’d had enough and had to cry. I told Flash I was pretty sure I was dropping out in Daleville as I was struggling for two weeks and I’m no longer enjoying the hiking. Finally, I get to the top of the hill. All of a sudden, the trail was maintained. No more rocks, no more straight ups. Now we have views! The boys got tired and I all of a sudden got my legs! I ran three miles in less than 45 minutes with Nokey and Snagglefoot behind me. We got to Niday Shelter and the boys wanted to stop for the night. I felt like I had 10 miles left in me, but I wanted to hang out with them. It was awesome to finally have a good note to end my day. The photo is of the meadow we walked through in the morning.

Day 44
We started late again, 10 am. We left The Captain’s and walked along a level bank by the river for a little while. We had a big climb to a rocky ridgeline, which slowed us down a bit. There was a great view past this though called Wind Rock. Two views in two days?! Say it isn’t so! From here we had more pleasant walking until mile 14, when we began a big uphill. The hill wasn’t do bad and there was trail magic by a road about 2/3 up! Got a grapefruit for breakfast from the box too! We pushed up the last part of the hill, over Kelly Knob (yep, the second one of the trip) and then downhill to the shelter. It was full of section hikers, but they moved to their tents to let the thru hikers use it, which was awesome. I got to use my new trail name all day today too, Sprinkles! It suits me a lot better. The guys call me Sprinkles because I always want more dessert 🙂 The photo is of Nokey on the “trail” today, which is a term I use loosely since the trail is covered in rocks!

Day 52
I woke up today determined to not let Virignia beat me. We planned another big day with lots of climbing, but I was ready! We started our day with the ascent of Floyd Mountain and lots of undulation afterward. We passed a ton of people today being that it was the weekend, including a Girl Scout troop who asked a lot of questions about thru hiking. We climbed Apple Orchard Mountain and had a fabulous view for the first time in forever! Then, on to The Gulliotine, a super cool rock formation. We pushed on, but lost a lot of time by talking to so many people. We ate dinner at a campsite and decided to try and push on to Matt’s Creek when we were told more than 20 Boy Scputs were there. We decided a good night’s sleep was more important than the miles and stopped about a mile short of the shelter to stealth camp. We watched the sunset over the James River and talked about how excited we were to hit mile 800 tomorrow. Virigina, I’ve conquered you yet another day!

Day 51
Today started out early from Bobblets Gap and was promising. We had easy climbing to the first shelter, Cove Mountain. I also found an awesome sombrero there as well! We had easy walking down to Jennings Creek and a swimming hole and decided to hang out there for a while. A huge group of hikers were ending their day there, so we headed on alone. After climbing Fork Mountain, the Virignia Blues hit me again and I was once again ready to
go home. we came upon Bryant Ridge Shelter and it was like the Taj Mahal, a 20-person shelter and it was totally empty! We decided to say put and only three other people showed up, so Nokey and I had the entire loft to ourselves. Tomorrow we have a big day and I’m hoping to feel better about Virginia soon.

Day 50
We headed out of Daleville this morning and had the easiest day out of town we have ever done! We started the day with a gradual climb and the first 5 miles went quick. We stopped for a few breaks and went to have lunch down by Curry Creek. We headed up to the next shelter and hung out with Swamprat for a while before pushing on to Bobblet Gap and our first of many run-ins with the Blue Ridge Parkway. When we got to Black Horse Gap, we also left the beautifully maintained Roanoke ATC trail and ran back into rocky, steep terrain again. It was amazing to see the difference! We crossed the BRP several times and finally made it to Bobblet Gap to see Feathers, Wild Turky, and Dances With Flies were there. It was a great group to see at the end of the day. The photo is of an old overlook on part of the BRP that is no longer used. The old wall is massive!

Day 49
We planned to do a longer day today then we actually did, sadly. We left the shelter a little later than I would have liked, but we had a short 8 miles or so to get down to Daleville to resupply. We had some good ridgeline walking and got down close to Daleville when we came into the cicada swarm! Those guys were everywhere and flew into me like you wouldn’t believe! I even had some stuck in my hair. We got to the HoJo and it was like a hiker reunion. Snagglefoot decided to get a room, so Nokey and I decided to stay as well. We did a resupply, laundry, and ate at the Mexican restaurant across the street. Snagglefoot’s old hiking partner, Birdman, showed up too. It was a great easy day, but I’m looking forward to longer hiking tomorrow!

Day 48
We zeroed yesterday and absolutely nothing of interest happened, hence the missing day 47 post 🙂 Today, Nokey and I got up early and headed out for McAfee Knob! We have been waiting for McAfee for nearly 700 miles! Before we got there though, we had to climb up and away from 4 Pines and up to mile 700. We had pretty decent trail and stopped at the parking lot for an early, long lunch. We met Anna and Vijay also, who we’d see again later. The climb up to McAfee’s was super easy and went quickly. We hung out up there for two hours and took a ton of photos with our friends before moving onward. We stopped again for a long snack break just before Tinker Cliffs. Snagglefoot was with us now and we all hiked together until the cliffs. This is where we lost Snagglefoot for a while. He was right with us and we didn’t see him, so we figured he moved on without looking at the view. We took more photos and watched a storm blow in, so we decided to push on the 1.2 to the shelter. It started pouring rain about 10 minutes later so we ran for it! We got to the shelter and Snagglefoot wasn’t there. He showed up 30 minutes later. Turns out he fell off Tinker Cliffs! He was thankfully okay with the exception of a tweaked knee. Trog and Alpo showed up too in the rain. Tomorrow, we head back into Daleville for laundry and showers with resupply! The photo is Snagglefoot, me, and Nokey at McAfee’s Knob.

Day 43
Today we said goodbye to Pearisburg and hello to better weather! The wind was blowing, but the sun was shining and it was about 55 degrees. We stopped at Hardee’s on the way put of town, a 0.8-mile walk back to the trail. For about 3 miles we walked on or near a road and some sort of industrial plant. We began a big climb immediately after. This section of trail is better maintained that 90% of VA so far, so the walking was a bit easier. When we reached the top, we were in for a surprise… A view! One of the first we’ve had in nearly 100 miles! We ate lunch at Rice Field Shelter and then began a tedious ridge walk (with no views at all, but I’m guessing you knew that). Around mile 17, Nokey and I started to get grumpy and the trail maintenance was again lacking and ridiculous. Of course, on our way down to Pine Swamp Shelter there were switchbacks… There are never any on the south side of the hills, only on the north, so southbounders have a cake walk in VA! We get to the shelter and it’s full, so Snagglefoot made an executive decision that we move on to The Captain’s Place about a mile away. Captain has a house just across the creek from the AT and you get there via zip line! We moved on and set up camp there for the night. We had a big fire and it was awesome considering it was only 40 degrees! The photo is of Captain’s house.