We woke up early again and got a great start. We headed uphill to Manassass Gap Shelter and ran into some hikers we hadn’t seen in a while – Feathers and Wild Turky! We were so psyched to finally see some thru hikers again as our entire “bubble” of hikers had been so spread out lately. We talked to them for a few minutes at the shelter and then headed out separately. We also met a nice dayhiker who was hiking between the hills to his mother’s house. He lived on one side and she lived on the other, but it was faster to walk the ten miles to her house than it was to drive it due to the roads there, so he was walking over to visit.
We met up with Feathers and Wild Turky again just as we entered Sky Meadows State park and we aired and dried out my gear as it was still wet from the night it poured rain on us at Gravel Springs Shelter. We walked through Sky Meadows and it was just a gorgeous park! It was a short walk on the AT for us, but the skies were bright blue and sunny and it was one of the prettiest days we’d had in Virigina. After breaking off from them and eating lunch, we started one of the most infamous parts of the trail: THE ROLLERCOASTER! This part of the trail has 10 ascents and descents in 13.5 miles (I counted 13 hills on my map, but they swear it’s only 10…) Anyway, the first two hills of this thing were absolutely brutal and I was exhausted after hiking nearly 20 miles to get there in the first place! The third hill, however, really did me in. It was easier than it looked on the map, but after getting in so far, I was starving and the terrain was rocky and we were done. We caught back up to Feathers and Wild Turky who agreed it was harder than it looked on paper for the first two hills and we found a great campsite on Buzzard Hill. The wind was blowing pretty hard and the forecast was calling for 80% chance of rain in the morning, but we were done. We all ate dinner and crashed pretty hard, but we were looking forward to the next part of the rollercoaster the next day.