Bears! ❀️🐻❀️

Saturday August 19, 2017

Rockfish Gap Waynesboro, VA 20 miles

Total mileage 1327.9

I had the most amazing morning! 😊First of all I over sleep and wake up 20 minutes before my shuttle back to the trail leaves. But no worries I am ready to go. I stayed at a hostel last night and the bunkroom was like a dungeon. It was very dark and cool and I slept like a rock!

Then on the way back to the trail on Skyline Drive I see 6 deer. Plus one in the woods today for a total of 7 deer today.

I also saw a momma bear and two little baby bears. The mom was actually a little on the thin side but still pretty good size. And the cubs were so cute. ❀️🐻❀️

The trail was pretty boring today. There weren’t any good views and I couldn’t stop thinking about the bears.

I am now done with the Shenandoah National Park and will continue my way south.

Best Views in Shenandoah National Park

Friday August 18, 2017

Blackrock Gap 13.9 miles

Total mileage 1307.9

It rained some last night but it wasn’t too heavy. The tent was still a little wet this morning. I dried it off as best as I could and packed it up.

My first few views this morning are fog free and it looks like it is going to be a beautiful day. Theses views are to the east and early morning then I get some views to the west with crazy fog in the valley.

These are the morning views to the west.

Then later in the day I get the best views in the whole park and it is very clear.

I’m hot!

Thursday August 17, 2017

Pinefield Hut 19.8 miles

Total mileage 1294

I packed up in dark and headed out just after 6 am. It seemed lighter out this morning. Maybe because today was supposed to be a nicer day. Whatever the reason I’ll take it. I didn’t need to use my flashlight. I was soon a sweaty mess. It was hot today with temperatures close to 90.

I had mostly dirty path today and not to many exciting views. The views I did have were a little hazy. I didn’t see any deer today. It was my first day since flipping back down south that I didn’t see a deer. I still haven’t seen a bear since flipping south. I saw 7 in my northern section.

I finish almost 20 miles by 3:30pm and arrive and immediately get off my feet. I eat a snack and read the shelter log book. I see that CHOCOHOLIC signed in 12 days earlier and left me a message.

I see that there are notes about there being copperheads near the Hut so I decide to camp even though it is supposed to rain.

Today I am thankful that I didn’t see any copperheads while I was reading the shelter log book!

Clean again!

Wednesday 16, 2017

Lewis Campground 23.2 miles

Total mileage 1274.2

I was the only one to sleep in the shelter last night. So I was up at 5:30am packing up and didn’t have to worry about shining my light in someone’s eyes or being quiet. So I was out of there in a half hour and on that trail at 6 in the dark. It was a pretty foggy start. Some of the views of the valley below were fog filled. I kinda like weather like this.

The trail wasn’t as easy as the last two days. There were more rocks today but I still made really good time. I was pretty much hustling today. First to get to Skyland resort for breakfast which was 6.5 miles away. Then to the campground this afternoon before the store closed so I could take a shower and do laundry. I made it to camp at 4 pm. I averaged about 3 miles an hour. Food and showers can really motivate a hiker. This is the best that I have ever averaged. This is also the most mileage I have ever done.

I got my shower. Five minutes for one dollar. I spent two. Laundry was one dollar to wash and a quarter for 15 minutes of dry time which is perfect for fast drying hiker clothes.

I passed 4 more deer today. This area is like a petting zoo. These deer just stand beside the trail and watch you go by. They may pause while they are eating and look at you then they just go right back to eating.

Today I am so thankful for my wonderful shower. My plan was to stop a mile before the campground and stay at a hut but a NOBO told me the water was making hikers sick at that hut so I decided not to stay there and I am so glad for the chance to shower and do laundry.

More Rain!

Tuesday August 15, 2017

Byrds Nest #3 Hut 17.5

Total mileage 1251

I woke up early but it was still dark, very dark. I laid around and replied to an email from CHOCOHOLIC. It almost sounds like it is raining out. I start to pack up in the dark and as I finish up it is light enough out to hike without a light. I hike out at 6:30.

It looks very overcast and foggy. I decided to check weather on my GPS. It says 80% chance of rain. It starts to rain soon after I start. It was a light rain and the trees block most of it. So I don’t need any rain gear. It rains off and on most of the morning but nothing intense.

I stop at a wayside for breakfast. I have 2 eggs with ham, hash browns and toast. I also indulge and have a cinnamon roll. It wasn’t that good, but it filled the belly.

I have bigger climbs today than I did yesterday, but the trail is still pretty nice. I did have some rocky trail but it is still better than up north.

When I stopped for breakfast I noticed an area on my left calf looks red and is a little sore. Then when I stop for lunch I notice the area is really sore and it is also swollen. I did notice I got bit by a horse fly looking thing on my other leg and that area is a little sore also. So maybe that is what it is. I put some antibiotic cream on both areas and will take a look at it again in the morning.

The sun did come out for a very short while today but was overcast for most of it. And the views from the mountain tops were total whiteouts. I didn’t see any deer this morning until the rain stopped and then I see four. I decided today that if I saw some deer I would try to get some pictures of them.

Today I am thankful for the good food that I am able to eat while at home. I sure do miss that fresh stuff on the trail.

Shenandoah National Park

Monday August 14, 2017

Gravel Spring Hut 13.4 miles

Total mileage 1233.5

I had a very nice stay at Mountain Home Cabbin last night. It was a supper cute place and the owners, Scott and Lisa were amazingly nice. They did my laundry for me and it came back smelling amazing. I don’t know what they washed it in but it smelt super. They also mailed out my packages and a card for me. Although it took me a long time to fall asleep. I was stressed about all I wanted to get done while I was there.

I planned out how much food I would carry through the Shenandoah National Park. There are waysides and campstores that sell food throughout the park so I wouldn’t have to carry as much food as I planned. I then packed up a supply box to send to the next place I would stay at in Waynesboro as well as one to send home.

I sent home my camp shoes, stove and arm warmers as well some extra food. I may miss all of those items but it is less weight to carry. When I started this morning it think my pack weighed under 20 pounds and it was a pretty comfortable carry.

I entered Shenandoah National Park this morning and got my permit for camping in the park. I saw 7 deer today. Three of them appeared to be running around playing and chasing each other. Some of them are so tame. They just watch you walk by. There were some awesome flat areas of trail and some view points but it was pretty yucky when I got to those areas so the pictures aren’t that great.

I also had a friend come and pick me up for lunch. SITSU was a hiker I met on Long Trail. He is a member of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and maintains a section of the AT. He is also an AT thru hiker. He is the one who encouraged me to do a flip flop hike and to go to the Flip Flop festival in Harper’s Ferry. The hiking community is full of amazing people and you build some amazing friendships out here. I always kind of laughed it off as hikers wrote about it in their blogs. But now that I have been out here and seen what it is like I can appreciate those friendships. Thanks again, SITSU for lunch!

Did you know that if costs $25 to drive on Skyline Drive? I was shocked!!!

When I looked at weather this morning it looked like I would have good weather all week, but it started to rain this afternoon and I have heard that I can expect afternoon showers all week. Bummer! πŸ™

Today I am thankful for the trail community, an amazing group of people.

A hiking trail.

Sunday August 13, 2017

White Mountain Cabbin, Front Royal, VA 10.4 miles

Total mileage 1219.8

I slept good last night. I put my ear plugs in and was able to keep the in the whole night. I think my ear canals are starting to stretch out and it doesn’t hurt so bad anymore.

I’m up at 5:45 and start to pack up. I try to be quiet. There is one other guy and his dog camping in the shelter with me. The morning is cooler than it had been the last couple of days. I head out at 6:25 and there is enough light to see. The trail had been nice the last couple of days. There is dirt path to walk on. I feel like I’m hiking! I see three more deer this morning.

I meet a father and his daughter out for a 5 day stretch. They are both newbes. She has a can of bear spray strapped to her hip. She wants to do the trail solo. I encourage her that she should. The father asks me a lot of questions about hiking alone. He would like her to carry a gun if she hikes alone. I tell them both that the hiking community really looks out for each other and most women don’t carry a weapon and I have never felt unsafe or threatened by anyone. Most people on the trail are just so friendly.

I met IDAHO BONES today. I’ve been seeing his name in the shelter logs for a long while. He is a flip flopper also. I also saw LUNA and SPICE signed in at the last shelter about 10 days ago. They both started the same day as me. They are both more than 20 years younger than me and apparently moving faster.

Some of the trail was a hikers dream! Smooth dirt, free of rocks and roots, and flat. This is so nice in between those mountainous climbs. Plus today’s low milage is great for the feet and knees.

1200 MILES!

Saturday 12, 2017

Manassas Gap Shelter 16.1 miles

Total mileage 1209.4

WOW! Did it rain last night for hours and hours. I was hoping it would quit so I could cook dinner, but it never stopped! I ate a couple of bars then ran out of my tent in my underwear and rain coat to pee and hang my bear bag. I was the only one in the campsite.

I woke up to a muddy tent. I wiped it down and tried to dry it off the best I could since I would have to carry all that mud and water. I was out of camp at 6:40 with enough light to see without having to use my light.

I finished up the rollercoaster with two climbs this morning. It was super humid and warm. I was soon a very sweaty mess. I was feeling pretty good this morning, but towards the end of the day I was ready to be done. I saw two more deer today. One just watched me walk by, ten yards from the trail.

I was thinking about the time remaining before I have to go back to work and I would really have to push it to complete it. And I was ready to give it a shot, but this afternoon when I was ready to be off my feet I was thinking that I would just go as far as I could get then do the rest next year before my 365 days are up. That way I could still call it a thru hike. Or maybe I could get a little more time off from work. I will see how it goes, but I don’t think I want to kill myself with big miles. Cuz, this old girl is… well Old! 😜

My shelter buddy.

It was supposed to rain tonight so I am sleeping in a shelter, but it doesn’t look like it is going to rain. Bummer I could be sleeping in my tent. I love being in my tent and sleeping bag. Shelters are dirty and usually rodent infested.

Rain!

Friday August 11, 2017

Stealth Camping @ 1193.3 17.9 miles

Total mileage 1193.3

I woke up at 4 this morning and knew that it would get light until 6. I had to use the bathroom so I got up at 4:30 to go to the privy and I got my food bag on the way back. My food bag was hung on a bear pole. On my way back some other tenters were packing up. It doesn’t usually take me long to pack up so I just laid back down for a little bit, but couldn’t get back to sleep so I decided to pack up. I was out of camp at 5:50 am in the dark using a flash light to see.

I was having a tough time today. My pack was really making my hips ache. About 1 pm I got to a shelter and took almost everything out of my pack and repacked it differently. I had Jim send me my water bladder when I flipped back down south because I figured I would need to drink a lot more water. So I haven’t learned how to get everything in a proper place for comfort, but after I rearranged things it was much better.

I saw three more deer early this morning. Two of them just stood there and watched me walk by.

I also started what is called the rollercoaster! It is 13 miles of PUDS (pointless ups and downs).

I didn’t make it to my intended destination for the day. I was pretty worn out from being so uncomfortable this morning plus it started to thunder so I quickly found a stealth spot to camp. Now I am just laying in my tent all dry and cozy. While it is raining outside. BUT… I have to pee and I want to eat dinner and I don’t want to do either in my tent. πŸ˜• I hope it stops soon.

Part Two!

Thursday August 10, 2017

David Lesser Shelter 9.6 miles

Total mileage 1175.7

I realized that I only have about ten weeks left to complete the trail before I have to return to work. That’s over 1000 miles in ten weeks. Can I do that? That’s 100 miles a week. The time had gone by so fast.

I’ve had the last three days off waiting for my flight out of Bangor back to Harpers Ferry. I’m rested and ready to hit the trail again.

I board the plane and I am in FIRST CLASS! Man oh man, this is nice. Thank you, Babydoll.

My legs are fully stretched out in front of me and my feet are propped up and all tucked in under a fleece blanket. The attendant asks if I would like something to drink, oh yes please. I get my plain tomato juice before departure. No alcohol for me at 6am. After the flight is in the air the attendant brings me a basket of snacks to choose from, I grab an organic fruit and nut bar. No pretzels for this hiker trash girl! Wait what!?!? I get another beverage and it is severed in a glass, glass! Oh my! I’m forever ruined!

I have a more difficult time with the metro this go around. I got on the wrong color metro but it was an easy fix. I just had a couple of extra stops because of it. My metro ride was about 45 minutes with all the spots it made. My shuttle driver, Sandi arrives just after I get off the metro. Perfect timing.

I arrive at the post office I Harper’s Ferry, pick up my supply box and package up some winter gear to send home.

Then I stop by the ATC and get my picture taken again for the record books. I am flip flopper number 91.

One more stop at the local outfitters for fuel since I can’t have that on the plane, another spoon because I lost mine again, and a stuff sack for my tent. Mine blew away and I couldn’t find it. So far on this trip I have lost 2 spoons, one bottle cap, and one stuff sack.

I head out of Harper’s Ferry at 1 pm and get to the shelter at 4:30. The terrian was easier and I made good time. I saw seven deer on the trail today! I left behind West Virginia and am in Virginia now. Virginia consists of over 500 miles! I sure hope I don’t get the Virginia blues!

I checked the weather for tomorrow and there is a good chance of rain. I also noticed that it doesn’t start to get light until 5:50 am. Up north is was getting light an hour earlier!πŸ˜• Guess I will be sleeping in some or starting to pack up in the dark.