7/6 Blackburn ATC Center (18)

July 10, 2013 at 11:46 am

Kyra hiked with us today!  For those of you who haven’t made her impressive acquaintance, she was my trail crew leader in Americorps.  She is skilled with chainsaw, crosscut, and serious face making. She also brought us beer. To celebrate crossing our one thousand mile mark, we woke up with the sun today and hiked most of the dreaded ‘Roller Coaster’. Fortunately, we were in the statistic that survives, and we made it through the worst of it before the heat of day hit.  Then we got rewarded with this view: We also finally saw the sign we’ve been waiting […]

7/4 Jim and Molly Denton Shelter (18.6)

July 9, 2013 at 2:36 pm

First things first, THE PLAN WORKED AND I WAS VINDICATED! We got hiking on the trail by 7am, and made it to Front Royal by 1:30. It turns our that hiking in the morning in the summer is awesome, no heat, a chance to beat the afternoon rainstorms that pop-up and the feeling of accomplishment! As we approached Front Royal, we were out of water and the heat of the day was upon us. Amazingly, one of the families in the neighborhood we passed near had put out a cooler of watermelon and a huge jug of water! It was […]

7/3 Gravel Springs (13.1)

July 9, 2013 at 2:35 pm

It was raining lightly this morning when we woke up in the shelter, which didn’t bode well for our motivation. As we watched our fellow hikers leave, one by one, until we were the last ones left, the weather cleared up so that the rain stopped and all we had to worry about was the forest canopy dripping on us – a phenomenon we call “tree pee”. Today was another food motivated hike, our target this time was the famous blackberry milkshakes that they make at the Shenandoah Waysides. We were also treated to the leftover dinners of some friends […]

7/2 Pass Mountain Hut (15.3)

July 9, 2013 at 2:34 pm

For several days we had been hearing about a fantastic breakfast available at Skyland Lodge in Shenandoah. Food being among our top priorities, Maggie and I did the miraculous, we got moving early in the morning. A mere seven miles separated us from something other than granola and pop-tarts and we were determined to make it by the 11am cut off, leaving at 8am. A few miles into our dash we met a southbound hiker who informed us that it was a breakfast buffet as well! We ran off, rudely, while he was still talking about the plentiful dining options. […]

7/1 Rockspring Hut (24)

July 9, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Today we watched another hiker get off the trail.  We talked with Squirrel last night for hours and started our day out hiking with him.  He did a year of bike touring before beginning the trail, which gave us a lot to talk about, but was also exacerbating his Virginia blues.  It’s hard for anyone to be away from home and loved ones for that long, and we can hesitantly admit that approaching the psychological halfway point of Harper’s Ferry is frustrating when you realize that you are only half done.  Squirrel articulated all of this and more to us […]

6/30 Hightop Hut or ‘Death March part 2’ (8.2)

July 9, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Today was Mark’s personal death march for the 8.2 miles between shelters.  He thought he was feeling up to it, but his fever really got him down and he ended the day, exhausted, sleeping in the shelter we planned to get water at.  We are reaching a certain level of calm and comfort with the mileage we are doing.  Even though we have taken some short days or zeros to let our bodies rest, we’re feeling rejuvenated and confident about getting to Maine on time.  Perhaps it’s the green tunnel zen that’s influencing us, but another 1300 miles seems pretty […]

6/29 Pinefield Hut (14)

July 9, 2013 at 2:30 pm

After another great breakfast and a lift to the trail head, we left our magnanimous friends to clean the hiker stench out of their daughter’s room and probably bleach the shower in our wake.  Thanks again guys! The firs thing we saw today, after our griping about the lack of views, was actually Black Rocks, which are pretty amazing. Getting back to the trail was hard after good food and good company.  It seemed like a lonely green tunnel.  Then campers offered us beers and it got less lonely for a little while.  Soon after the beer summit, Mark started […]

6/28 Slackpack to Blackrocks (20)

July 9, 2013 at 2:28 pm

We were lucky enough to have a pretty uninspiring stretch of trail fast-forwarded for us today.  Feeling like really tough hikers, we woke up in an 11 year old girl’s room, drank coffee leisurely, walked a mostly flat twenty miles through a green tunnel, and then got driven back to Waynesboro for chicken dinner.  People really don’t realize the hardships that we suffer on the trail. The weather was perfect and the terrain at the beginning of the Shenandoahs was very kind to us, but the beginning of the park didn’t offer much in the way of views.  We did […]

6/27 Zero in Waynesboro!

July 9, 2013 at 2:28 pm

A lazy day was had by all. Except Galoot and Scaredy Cat, who made us lots of food and shuttled us around Waynesboro. It was a very busy day for them.  The primary work we did, aside from resupplying, was eating all the food in Waynesboro.  Fortunately, we saved the maximum amount of energy by being driven to all of it.  Mark also told me I have to mention that he won a scrabble game with the four of us.  It was actually an embarrassing abuse of Southern Hospitality that has probably left our kind hosts with the impression that […]

6/26 Waynesboro (19.3)

July 9, 2013 at 1:58 pm

This was the most incredible breakfast of our lives (sorry Mom). The brewery makes a special hiker breakfast for the lost souls who show up in their field, served before they open up to the rest of the public. It costs almost nothing for hikers and there was steak, eggs, cheddar biscuits, homemade sticky buns, homefries, and fresh fruit. After serving us the waitress actually asked us what beer we wanted with breakfast, which is a phrase that I have been waiting my whole life to hear. Although it got us on the trail a little later, we were better […]