AT Journal of the Old Gray Goose
Continuing on from where I last left the AT
journey on to Chapter 5
- *******Sat. May 29, 1993---
- Well, here I am again!! Making journal entries to send home to keep you up to date on what's happenin'......Pop and I started out Friday a.m.. A beautiful spring morning that progressed into a wonderful vacation day for us all the way into Va.. Pop kept saying he wanted to find us something "special". We laughed about that and thought "no way". Well, we have trail magic happening!!!! We found a unique bed and breakfast place for our nights stop. What a perfect day we had. It was almost scary how the day fell into place so perfectly. Our Sat. started out with good conversation and good breakfast at the BandB. We wanted to find a car wash to clean the road work grime off the car. (Yes, of course we found road work, don't we always?) Found a regular one and a group of kids almost next to it so we opted for the kids. We found they were raising money for a group to go to a Christian concert-campout thing. We had a fun time with the group and teacher and the pastor too. Figure the money well spent and a clean car too! We eventually got into Waynesboro where my first food drop will arrive. I found hikers setting up their tents on the fire dept. side yard. That is where I will be parking it in a week. We then drove onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and headed south towards where I will be getting back onto the trail..71 miles of beautiful scenery and winding road. We had bought soda-pop to take with us on our ride and had cookies to munch for a break. Stopped along the way at a hiker friendly house (called Hard Time Hollow) and as I talked to the hikers there and checked out the pictures of my last years hiking friends on the walls, I realized I had left my walking stick at home!!!!!! Ah well, I thought, no sense getting upset about it. I sure wasn't going back home after it and Dad can always mail it. Well, IT'S THERE AGAIN, that old trail magic. Pops pulled into a pull off area for a munchie break and as we walked to the picnic table, Dad found a walking stick propped against the trash can. Just the right height and real light weight and someone had shaved the bark off and shaped the bottom end. Scary huh? Haha. I think it's great that Pop has had a chance to share in these unexpected good happenings. TRAIL MAGIC!! We finally did arrive at my exit/entrance spot. Found I HAD walked down the BRP five miles last year before I caught the park ranger and a ride to that campground. Whew, I know it sure seemed like a long road walk at the time. Sat there at the trail crossing a short while and met a thru-hiker who had started March 27th. Out came the pop and cookies for him. A small payback for the times I had goodies handed to me last year. After an informative conversation, we headed on down the road to find a spot for the night. Found the lodge at the next area full up but the lady there made some phone calls and got us a room (held 'till 5p.m.) a few miles off the parkway. We followed the directions and found the motel up a hill with a great vista all around and a nice room to boot "and star trek on TV ho ho". If my start on this journey is any indication of how my hike will be, I must be gonna have one heck of a time!!
So, here I am , the night before my start on the AT and I find my emotions in much the same state as they were last year as I was getting ready to start for the First time. Anxious, excited, scared a little at the idea of starting 1/3 of the way along-alone. Different than at the beginning alone-I met lots of people at the start of the trail. I knew they were there. Hoping that my old friend from Fla. (Jody) will arrive on the bus in Waynesboro, VA like her plans are set to do. Wishing I could put Pop in my pocket and take him with me on the trail instead of walking away from him in the morning yet, happy at the thought I'll be back on the AT.. Northbound again! Looking forward to the people I'll meet, the places I'll see and the happenings I'll experience along the way!! As my friend "Dream Catcher" would say--Life Is Good!!---Night now. Love, Mom.
- 5-30-93 Sunday night.
- Hi kids; Boy am I glad I only planned to go to the first shelter. I have lost all my "gains". Last year this 8 miles would have been the second half of my day and today I sure couldn't have gone any farther down the trail. My feet hurt like I never remember them hurting before. I soaked them in a nice cold fast stream and it made them feel much better. I think I have the start of a couple blisters. Well, I must admit I did have some outstanding luck today. I found TWO (not one but two) lady hikers on the trail. They are hiking to Harpers Ferry and have only been on the trail 3 days. So, they are feeling the same aches and pains I am. I have two options for tomorrow-a 5 mile or a 13 mile day. Well, I guess you know I don't think I have any option. I am going to have to take the 5 mile day. No question in my mind that I'm not up to heavy hiking yet. The girls, Mary and Carol, are also planning the 5 mile day. They are from the Pittsburgh, Pa. area so it's kind of like "close to home". Stove still works! Lipton dinner was not bad. Going to feel good to bed down tonight. Love you all. Mom.
- 5-31-93 Well it's a holiday week-end-
- Hi Kids. Had a couple of guys who were week-end hikers in the shelter last night. It was really kind of neat 'cause we found that they were also from Pittsburgh and knew some of the same people as Mary and Carol. They donated a couple small cans of tuna which we girls shared tonight at our "Memorial day feast". My feet were glad to get to this shelter even though it was only 5 mile. I'm definitely a beginner hiker again. An 8 mile day is LONG. But, I have to remember that's OK. I can't expect to do the mileage that it had taken me 2 1/2 months to work up to. It has really been pretty on the trail. We have been along some little streams with many water falls. Have lots of mountain laurel in bloom and still finding some pretty wild flowers. The sun has been with us except for a few light sprinkles today. It is nice and warm with a little breeze to cool the edges. Carol was leading the way today and she picked off LOTS of ticks. I only found a couple of them. Glad of that. We have a long 8+ mile climb tomorrow so I think we are going to try for an early start in the morning. We had a very leisurely breakfast today and a very late start from the shelter. Hope we don't have rain tomorrow since we should have some nice vistas. Really worked up a sweat today. T-shirt was really soaked so just rinsed it out in the creek and did the same for ME. MMMMMMMMM felt pretty refreshing to get my face and neck all nice and cool. Well kids, it's almost 7p.m.. Gonna get my sleeping bag unrolled and make a privy run. Love you all. Mom.
- Tue. June 1st.
- Hello again. Boy, it's hard for my brain to accept my body's orders to do low mileage days! I do need to keep in mind that I've only just begun and can't expect to do the mileage I was doing last year after 2 1/2 months on the trail. I am so very glad I met up with Mary and Carol (together we are Mary Kay and Carol Ha ha). At the rate I'm able to go I will be behind my projected town dates. I guess Pop and I will have to do some refiguring. Had some sore and tired feet and legs today but, I felt GOOD. We had some real nice views from the climb up today and an outstanding view from the top. Took a long break there. Actually since we sure weren't going any farther than the 8.8 to this shelter, we took several "longish" breaks and thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful day and the views! The shelter we are at tonight is called The Punch Bowl shelter. It is located by a really pretty pond. Boy, are the frogs noisy! Not that I mind it, but it just seems strange to be hearing frogs again. Maybe tonight I'll sleep better. I sure haven't been sleeping very well. Should have been, I've been tired enough! Well, maybe the frogs will do the trick tonight. Two thru-hikers just came in. Only had one at last night's shelter. You can see we have pretty much been by ourselves on the trail and not had too much company after we get to the shelters either. It certainly has been great being with these two gals. I guess there was a reason Pop got me to the gap an hour earlier than we planned. It has been grand being able to share the trail with these two. Well, it's getting cool sitting out here at the picnic table, even with long johns and sweatshirt on. Guess I'll get my stove picked up and go sit in the shelter. Better... I think I'm going into Montebello with the girls. It won't make me any later into Waynesboro and I will get to keep company with them. I don't see how I can make up the days I've already gotten behind so I might as well enjoy myself. Guess this Old Gray Goose will get into shape eventually. 8 miles up and down does take a while starting out. It's that PATIENCE thing again!!!! ha. More tomorrow. Love, Mom.
- Wed. Hi kids.
- Hope you all are doing ok. I do miss you. Seems like I ought to be able to give you a call already. Walked thru some beautiful virgin woods today and then the last couple of miles before the shelter was really beautiful. A wonderful wide path thru open woods with lots of pine trees and most of the time beside a great mountain creek. It was really beautiful.. I was almost too tired to appreciate the beauty of it all. What a nice walk to end the day. I keep thinking of the mileage I was doing last year and getting discouraged because I just can't manage to do it. I need to remember I'm just starting out and I'm doing just what I should be doing. Then I think of how it's really gonna throw off the planning Dad and I did. Well, I'm sure it will work out one way or another. I need to keep positive thoughts! Wow, had a real surprise this evening (well, at supper time). Two thru-hikers walked in and they were female. Wow! What an unusual happening, 5 women in a shelter. Never saw that last year. They started March 28th. They are Sue and Valorie and are from Minn. and Conn.. Ok, back to the trail. Today (Wed.) we did 8.9 mile, the most so far. I was really tired when we got here. We took some long breaks along the way. Left this AM (8:35) and got here at 4 PM so at least we are averaging over a mile an hour including the breaks. I really did have some beautiful trail today. Lots of tall quiet woods with the sun filtering down thru the trees. Oh yah, yesterday I saw a blue bunting while we were up at the top of Bluff mountain enjoying the wonderful view there. I used the panoramic camera for a shot up there too. But that was yesterday. I did fall asleep with the frog serenade last night. Pop will laugh. I snored and Mary woke me up to roll over, said the bull frogs and I made it a stereophonic sound she couldn't sleep to! I'll probably snore tonite too-I'm tired and I think I snore more then-I don't know. Love you all lots and hoping Pop is ok and that I can call from the campground in Montebello on Friday. Night now . xo Mom.
- Dear Kids. Well here it is Thur. 3rd of June.
- Today is day Five on the trail and have gone 37.5 miles. Doesn't seem like much but I compared it to my first start in Ga. and I really shouldn't be unhappy with this. I'm sitting in my tent tonight as I write to you. I had a lot of uphill today. Legs complain. I go pretty slow. Went 8.3 miles today and over half of that was pretty steep. We are going to do a longer one tomorrow. 9.2 on the trail then 1.9 to town. I hope I catch Dad at home. I'll be at a campground so don't know if the phone is there or not, hope so. I sure wish it was possible to write this to you as I walked along the trail. I can't seem to remember all the neat stuff I see along the way. (as usual) It rained during the night, supposed to tonight too. When we left the shelter it was rather misty along the creek. That did make it pretty good weather to trudge uphill in. It was very foggy when we got up to a road crossing. Had a roadside rest there, so, we did. As we sat there, as old man appeared out of the fog and checked his mailbox, then retreated back into the fog. I could see only his white hat 'till he got up to the road and then just a white dot going back too. I saw a lot of those little orange "gummy bear" newts today. I guess the rain brought them out. We really all got pretty tired out with the uphills today. Even splurged and cooked a hot lunch when we finally got to the first top about 4 1/2 or 5 miles. Felt a bit better after that. The sun came out too. Cheered it up a bit. A trail maintainer had gone just ahead of us and cleared the path of weeds. It really smelled sweet. It helped take my mind off how tired I was getting. Then We finally got to the gap and what a wondrous view. Even better than the view the other day (another panoramic picture). And to top it all off I had my first wild strawberry of the year. Really was a refreshing stop. Had another mile to go to get to this spring area and campsite. It is so nice to get water from a spring again. My water filter seems to be pumping kinda hard. Hope I don't have to get a new one too soon. Figured it would be ok for a while yet. It sure was a real beautiful day. Even if I did get awfully tired going up hill. Hope you all are ok. Love you very much. I sent word with the thru-hikers Sue and Val for Jody. She will arrive in Waynesboro Mon. on the bus and I won't be able to manage to get in there till Tue. Let's see, that's now 3 days, no, 2 days off when I had thought I'd be there. Can't be helped. Well kids, it's 8:45 p.m. and getting kinda dark to write. Guess I'll snuggle into my bag and hope it's not raining tomorrow. Love Mom
- Friday June 4th.
- Dear Kids. Well, where do I start? I guess by telling you we got up to No rain. Had some climbs today, although nothing too drastic. A couple of them were a tad rough. But to make up for that we had a couple real nice views. Found more pink azaleas with that wonderful smell. What a treat. And I saw yellow lady slippers, another treat. And jack-in-the-pulpit and violets, fire pinks and trillium. Dutchmens breeches a few times and lots of wild geraniums. Tulip trees have been blooming also. Bunches of stuff with flowers that I have no idea what they are, unfortunately. Well, we hiked thru some really green and airy woods and as we descended it got darker and denser and very foreboding and when we got down to the bottom where there was a little creek (north fork of the Piney river) , we had planned to have lunch there but it was such an unfriendly looking place we agreed to go on to a brighter spot. Reminded me of something like out of a fairy tale. Very strange place! We did find a place a little farther on to take a break and then on to a shelter where we again cooked a hot lunch and met a thru-hiker from Michigan. The Hook, as in fishhook. Also we were passed by "The Eagles". The three retired military men. After we pushed on from the shelter we had 2.2 miles of trail and then 1.9 road walk to Montebello. As we got to the road it started to rain. We realized why the book said virtually no traffic, on part of it you'd need a "dozer" to navigate with. To make a long story short, the rain came harder and we lucked out at the beginning of a real road by meeting "The Eagles" and their wives who had come to pick them up. They loaded us up, packs and all and took us to the P.O. and little store where we arranged for our tent site. The rains came HARDER. We got thoroughly drenched putting up our tents. Decided to walk back to the store and make our phone calls and buy a hot sandwich. Lo and behold, there sat the "Hook". He had turned the wrong way or rather taken the wrong turn and had gotten to the store way behind us. We stood there dripping wet, puddles forming under us on the floor, looking pretty miserable. Hook says "hey, I have a cabin, come join me". Guess you know we sure felt somebody was lookin' after us. More trail magic to see us through a bad time. I'm writing this letter to you all showered and warm and cozy and sitting at a real table with electric lights and heat. Ahhh! I just don't know how it happens but it seems the right people are put in the right places and all I have to do is to realize they are there for me. I am grateful for the unexpected good things given me on my trek! Had to take one of benedryl pills. Either got stung or a deer fly bit me on my wrist. The darn thing started to swell up pretty good. It seems to be down some now. Don't need that. Other than that and a couple of blisters on the old feet I'm really doing pretty well. As long as I don't try to push too hard and do unreasonable mileage I guess I should be ok. At least this time I haven't gotten sick. It really helps to have the girls as companions on the trail too. Nice to share, as I said before. It does make the trail much more enjoyable that way. Hope to mail this home tomorrow. love to you all, Mom.
- Sat. June 5th
- **Good Morning. Boy, we were very lucky to be in this cabin. It really stormed last night. We bought eggs and bread and bacon and cooked breakfast here at the apt.. MMMgood. The girls are doing my laundry here and I will do some of theirs in Waynesboro. Took my other benadryl capsule, I think it must have been a sting. Hand itched all night but not swelled too badly, thank goodness. We're going to try to arrange a ride back to the trail. Very foggy but hoping for clearing in a bit. Thinking Positive for a good day. Love Mom.
- Sat. evening. 6-5-93.
- Cool, cool evening here at The Priest Shelter. The sun came out this morning before we headed back to the trail so we at least had a nice day to hike in. We got a ride from the P.O./store to the trail head which is actually about 2 miles from the trail. There were two gals and a fellow on week-end pass from Norfolk, Va. base who were looking for a trail to go hiking on hmmmmm. Well, we will show you a trail if you can take us up in your car! So, that's how we got our ride. I jokingly said "well, if any of you feel your packs are too light to carry up this hill, I'll gladly swap packs". And guess what, I ended up with a day-pack on my back. What a treat! It was mostly uphill too. Whew, even at that it was a long haul. There is a great spring here. It's icy cold. Also feels like it might feel that way tonight. Chilly and breezy for sure. Got my long johns on and my sweatshirt on too. Guess I'll close this and snuggle into my bag. Love you lots. Mom. More tomorrow- x o.
- Sun. 6-6. One week on the trail, again. 59.5 mile total. Comparable to my first week out last year.
- Hi kids! Well, only 7.3 mile today. Had the girl "over-niters" hike down The Priest with us while the fellow hiked back to the car and drove around. When we got to the bottom we all went about 15 miles to the first real restaurant we came to. Boy what a neat treat. "My" girls bought me lunch too. Had a great time with our new friends. We had 2.5 miles to hike after lunch to come to the shelter and that was three quarters up hill but a pretty nice climb after all. The only bad part is that none of us are a bit hungry. Actually thinking about cooking our supper in the morning for breakfast. Wow, another woman thru-hiker. She's really doing BIG mileage days, 20+ and aiming to complete the trail in September. She is also a cyclist and looks to be in very very good condition. The day turned out to be just beautiful. The sun came out but it stayed fairly cool. It feels like it will be a bit cool tonight again. Kinda glad too 'cause last night I slept the best I have all week. We are 24.6 miles from Waynesboro. Very disappointed about this but I still don't feel I'm ready to push for a 12 or 13 mile day on the uphill. So I guess we'll to Rustys Hard Time Hollow (hostel, friendly house, whatever) and see if I can arrange a ride to Waynesboro pick Jody up at the bus stop and come back here and then proceed ahead Tue., the four of us. It will be another slow week of breaking in to the trail but we will be going thru the Shenendoah Nat. Park . It should be really nice. I am looking forward to that section. the trail is said to be in great shape thru there. That will make it nice for Jody just starting out. As I have been sitting here figuring out the mileage I Have done and thought about what I would Like to have done, I realize that I have been thoroughly enjoying the hiking, the trail with all the beauty it shows us, the people I have met, the great happenings I've had in this week and the companionship of my two newfound friends and hiking partners. If I had done this week by myself and pushed on harder for more mileage, I certainly could have put my health in jeopardy and I know I wouldn't have enjoyed the trail as much as I have. 'Cause I'd have been miserable. I wouldn't have taken the time to even have found any of the fun times I have had!
Why am I out here anyway????????? Is it to see how far I can push my body? How fast I can get from point A to point B? I don't think so!
For me I expect this trail will be a once in a lifetime trip, at least the whole distance of it. If you can only pass thru once it should be enjoyed and savored, each day, each step of the way. The unpleasant times will be thought of more pleasantly as time passes. We are already laughing at what sorry drowned hikers we looked like after we finished setting up our tents the other night. Yes, it could really have been disastrous but we somehow had the right person placed in the right spot for us and all was well. What is this trail magic that happens to me?????? How is it that I am watched over and protected?? How much is there for me I never even see? *****from Auntie Mame:-"Life is a feast and most poor suckers are starving to death"******** With that I guess I'll say good night and I love and miss you all. More tomorrow on our journey down to Rustys. (Ask Dad about our drive down there). Love Mom. P.S. Almost forgot to tell you, the shelter looks uphill into a tall woods straight across a loudly running creek. Should put me to sleep! It's a beautiful spot. xo Nite.
- Mon. 6-7(Yesterdays lean mean hiking machine gal was "The Grim Creeper".)
- Mon. night, we made it into Rustys'. Hi Kids. Well this is a unique place. An old old house. First and second floor, great porch to gather on or rather porch roof to gather under, summer kitchen, winter kitchen, front room, back room, bunk room. Then he has a barn with second and third floor sleeping rooms and a room on the second floor with a ping-pong table . No electric, so there are kerosene lamps all through the house. A spring house with a really good fast water flow. We had a spaghetti feast tonight for supper. Rusty had furnished the food and some of the fellows made some fantastic sauce. They even made a pot of vegetarian sauce. There are at least 6 hikers here that have passed us on the trail so, it was nice to meet up with them again. Have been sitting out front talking to a few of them and realized it was getting kinda late so here I am, sitting all by myself , beside an old lamp writing to you. This is a really neat old house with all kinds of antique stuff hanging on the rafters. The cooking is done on an old wood stove and he has a wood burner in the front room and another cook stove in the winter kitchen. The out house has a phone booth sign and yes, it has a phone inside on the wall. We have decided to slack pack into Waynesboro tomorrow. There are at least 3 others going too so it won't cost much $ apiece for gas that was. It has been a real eye opener in the woods the past few days. Some of the trees have been completely denuded by the gypsy moth worms. As you walk along, the path is covered by pieces of leaves dropped by the worms. It sounds like it's sprinkling , from the worm feces. Pretty sad to see the naked trees. There are a lot of them over a large area. I forgot to tell you, the other day as we were heading down to a really pretty creek with the Navy kids , we saw a deer. The night before that, we had a deer walk down through camp. First ones I've seen since I've been back on the trail. Well today, I left my hat sitting on a rock. I didn't realize it 'till I'd been walking about 10 minutes so, I dropped my pack and proceeded to back track down the mountain to where I'd left it. There were two of the Eagles and they had found my hat and had it tied on to their pack to carry up to give me when they passed us. Gee, if I'd only known, it would have saved me a lot of extra walking. Oh well, just will remember next time to check and make sure nothing's left behind. Well this is like a town break. Everybody stays up late. It's 11p.m. and I must get my flashlight and head for the barn second floor where I have my sleeping bag all out and waiting. Guess we are going to start out around 8a.m.. More tomorrow. Love, mom.
- Wed. a.m.-(missed Tue night)
- Dear Kids, Hey, I finally made it to Waynesboro. Whew, sure glad I was slack-packing yesterday. It was real nice starting out but got very warm and muggy later in the day. It sure seemed like a very long 18 miles. It had a 700 foot uphill after it had gotten pretty warm and it was during the last 5 mile section, pretty tired. Made me realize I am definitely not up to big mileage days with my pack! Gee, will I ever get back into those days? PATIENCE There's that word again. ha ha. Saw my first rattlesnake yesterday. The fellows just ahead of me away had tried to chase it away but it just sat there buzzing at them so they proceeded to "do it in". The officials would not be happy about that. They relocate rather than kill 'em. It was a pretty good sized one. That was about the only thing different on the trail yesterday. Jody has been at the fire-hall/gathering place waiting for me since Mon. afternoon so, she has gotten to meet a lot of hikers. It was sure good to see her. It's been almost 2 years since we've gotten together. The bad news is that she got sick last nite. Sure hope we find something to make her A-ok real quick! We got into town so late yesterday that we didn't get anything done except shower and go eat supper so, we have all our stuff to do today. Don't see how we can get everything done and get out on the trail today. I think we will have to head out in the morning and use this day for our "town day" and try to do a little relaxing while we get our chores done. Like pick up our mail drops, sort it and pack it in our packs, do our laundry, send mail home, make phone calls we didn't get done last night, go to the outfitters and re-supply foot care kits and check the town out. (It's a "must do" here). Go to the drug store and get my Benadryl replenished. Eat breakfast somewhere in the early day and by the looks of it lunch too and then cook up a meal here on the fire dept. yard where we're all camped. Hopefully, we will be able to arrange a ride back out to the trail, 4 miles. I was lucky coming in yesterday. The other two gals didn't go the whole 18 mile of trail and got off back a ways but met me in a van as I was headed down the road into town. Hooray, enough room for me to climb in and ride. Glad they had found a ride and there I was, right place, right time. I had already taken a shower at the motel where The Eagles were staying. Our packs were delivered there and I was Real pooped when I arrived. Needed a shower to keep me going and I felt much better after. It's amazing how much a shower can do for a tired sore body. ahh hot water~! It is now 7a.m. laundromat not open yet, have to check and see when the P.O. opens and then find out where it is and get my day started. Love you, Mom.
- Wed. eve. 6-9-93********Dear kids.
- What a nice place Waynesboro seems to be. Everyone has been very friendly. We got all our town chores done and then did some site-seeing (walking, of course). Had a thunderstorm warning. The wind kicked up and everyone scrambled to anchor tents and take packs etc. into the fire house to keep dry. Got a bit of rain, nothing drastic but it did cool it down and refresh the air. Very nice evening, sitting here under the outside light at the firehouse. Imagine my surprise to find my picture and beginning letter on the board at the outfitters here in Waynesboro! I replaced the filter in my water purifier and got some tent stakes. I was short some, I probably left 'em in that rainy campground! I spent most of my town $ in one place. Glad I don't have to pay for a place to stay here. Don't know what time we'll get on the trail tomorrow but I hope it will be before it gets too warm. Also hope we get a ride up there. Gee, two showers in two days, my body will go into culture shock. Felt pretty good to be able to shower again tonight. Sure is nice of the fire department to do this for all the hikers! They ask for nothing in return except we clean up after ourselves in the washroom and tent area. Very much appreciated too!!! Well, here it is getting late again. Bed time x-o Love, Mom.
- Thur. 10th.***Hi Kids.
- Well, we left Waynesboro fairly early today. Hitched a ride up the highway to the start of the trail again. Got to the shelter about 10 to 4. Figures out that we averaged a little less than a mile an hour but, that includes the breaks we took. Even visited with a fellow at the top of a mountain who was working on updating some stuff at a tele-communication station. Come to find out, he is going to a wedding up in Clyde, Oh. , small world huh Larry?? (Not that you will ever know he is so near). Tomorrow we are planning a 13.2 mile day. Hope it isn't too much. Also hope it isn't as hot as it was today. Sure go thru the water. Hate to start out carrying 2 quarts of water but I really need it along the way. Get awfully hot and sweaty especially going uphill. We are in the Shenandoah Nat. Park area and the shelters all have bear poles. It is said there is a trick to hanging your food up on them. I don't know exactly what it is other than being taller or stronger than I am. Actually, we did get all four bags of food for Jody and I up on the pole. The other two girls got one up and gave up but, as luck would have it , a man and wife came in and they and the girls are just going to put theirs on the hook that holds the "hanging pole". Maybe I'd better explain the set-up. The bear pole is a tall pole with four hanger-hooks evenly placed around the top. The hanger-pole is connected to the bear pole by a chain and has a hook part way up to hang it up on. The food bags are to be lifted up with the hanging pole onto a hook at the top of the pole to be kept out of reach of any wandering bears that come looking for food. I hope we get to a shelter where someone actually KNOWS how to do the darn things. Maybe easier than how Jody and I did ours. The black flies are really finding us. Ahhhh, Jody has her "Ben-Gay" and boy does it feel good on my back! Hope the bears don't like "Ben-Gay". Geez, didn't think of that before. ha ha. The couple has decided they are going to tent, figure the bugs will not get them that way. I have a few spots that must have been missed with my bug spray but, generally they are leaving me alone. Glad I have some stuff that is working. Oh yah, saw a bunny hopping over the trail and we stopped and it stopped and we stood there and checked out its' pretty coat and then said "ok wabbit, we're comin' thru" and away it hopped. Other than that I didn't see much wildlife today. Up on the mountain where we were visiting with the worker, there were tractor seats planted in the ground looking out over the valley. It was pretty neat. Sat and looked around a bit. Well, I guess I'll close for now, more tomorrow. Love, Mom
- Friday 11 June 93
- Hi Kids. Wow, a 13.2 mile day today. Trails were mostly well kept up, except for a half a dozen or more trees down ( blow-down). They were also not too terribly steep although there were lots of uphill. It is the longest mileage yet that I have done and it is Jody's second day out. She did really well. My feet are sure tired! We saw a deer as we were walking along today. Also saw a beauteous blue bunting and a scarlet tanager. They were so bright and pretty. The columbine is really pretty red and yellow and there are some delicate looking white star flowers along with phlox and some kind of dainty yellow flowers. Wish I knew what they all were. Think we (Jody and I) are going to do a shorter day tomorrow and possibly stop at a campground. Guess we'll just have to play it by ear, but, two long days in a row seem a little much to me. Getting dark, so going to close this and make a last privy run. Hey, a whippoorwill just started sounding off, haven't heard one of those in a long time. Love, Mom.
- Sat. 12th.**Dear Kids.
- Here we are at Loft Mountain Campground on the Skyline Drive. The AT goes along the edge of it and that makes it possible to do a couple of short days to let our feet recover after the long day Friday. When we left Black Rock hut and got to the top, there was a great view and a whole slab down the side of the mountain of jumbled rock. It really looked neat. The 7.4 mile walk today went pretty well until the last mile uphill. Feet were really ready to stop. The other girls I had been with have been taking the road for quite a bit of their hike. It is more level with less elevation change. I've been staying on the white blaze AT over the hills and all. I can drive the Skyline Drive but I don't figure I'll ever get to walk the AT thru the Shenandoah Nat. Park again. Gonna enjoy it even if I do have to cut it down into shorter days than I originally planned!!!! It was cool and overcast today. Real nice for hiking actually. This campground is over 3,000 foot up. It was pretty neat to watch the clouds move in. Looks like wisps of fog drifting and blowing. I guess that's kinda what clouds are, huh?? Saw lots of pretty birds today. Mostly rufous---rufus? How do you spell that word? Rufus-sided Tohees. Anyway, they're pretty. Look 'em up in the bird book. We will have a short day tomorrow to the next hut (shelter) so we at least can maybe wait 'till the fog or cloud or whatever clears. Too dark to see to write more. X-O Mom.
- Sunday 13 June. Total 116.1 miles and 2 weeks today.
- My average is a bit under 8.4 miles per. day. Last year it was 8.7 m.p.d. by this time BUT, I'm sure enjoying THIS first 2 weeks a whole lot more and I feel much better too. HI KIDS, how's that for an opening line?? Facts and figures and smiles. Left the campground way after 9a.m. today. The cloud was still all around the mountain top. Very cool too. We cooked up a pretty hearty breakfast to start us on our way. Had some real grand views even tho' it was a bit cloudy in spots. Found I've damaged the zoom on my camera (sorry hon, I know it's your camera. I'll have to get it fixed). Everything but the zoom lens seems to work. I must have bumped it one too many times. We've had such a varied lot of surroundings today-open woods, hi & low creek -mountain laurel- dense woods- grassy path, on which I found the only root for yards and fell over!- rocky paths-----what a variety. Cloudy & clear & sunny but no rain!! Ahh, Jody has a nice fire going here in the fireplace in front of this shelter. This is Pinefield Hut. It is a real nice shelter with stone walls. The half round fireplace is brick lined with a stone outer wall. It's said this is the most landscaped shelter thru the Shenandoahs and since it's not"natural", a lot of people don't like it. Well, I kinda think it's the best of both worlds, it's pretty! A fellow from Oregon has come in for the night. He even went and gathered an armload of old pine branches to add to the fire. Ah, nice. This AT hike is a real walk of emotions. Every day you range through a whole gamut of feelings. It seems to be with more intensity than when you're out in the "real world" or else you just really feel them more because- there you are with your feeling and whatever has brought them up and not much around to interfere. Or maybe it's because you run through a variety of them and you're so focused on them at the time. I guess that's just part of the AT experience. Maybe that is why they say there is a period of depression after the hike is over and you're back in the "real world", among other reasons I could think of I'm sure. I saw quite a few deer today. Some as we were walking and a couple already since we've been sitting here. We have our food up on the bear pole and our sleeping bags laid out in the upper level of the shelter. Guess we are approaching the hanging of the food bags correctly, it was just that the first one was a bit higher and our food bag was then heavier. No problems with this lower one. They say the bears are comparatively small. The ranger had said the average weight ranged from 100 to 150 lbs. (that doesn't sound so awfully small to me!). Since my zoom lens isn't working I really don't care about having one close enough to take it's picture either!!! It's 8p.m. and I think I'm going to sit here and enjoy the fire and chat awhile before it gets dark and sacktime. Love you all and looking foreword to seeing Dad at Harpers Ferry W.Va. X-O Mom.
- Mon. 6-14-93
- Dear Kids, What a nice day I had today. Saw a few more deer today. Had sunshine and cool woods with wonderful smells. One of which was honey suckle vine. Don't know what the rest was but sure liked 'em. We did 8.3 miles today and actually got to this shelter in time to wash out some clothes and hit and miss on our bodies and hang our clothes to dry in the sun. Ahh, luxury of a good smelling shirt to start out with tomorrow. We'll have a longer day tomorrow(12.5) but if it goes as well as today we should still make it before bed-time. We are trying to figure using the shelters and not run out of food and be in Harpers Ferry by the time Dad gets there the 27th. There is an All You Can Eat (AYCE) salad bar at a restaurant VERY close at a road crossing that we should be at in a couple of days. That will be our first 15 mile day. We'll have incentive to do well that day and get there before it closes! While I'm sitting here at the picnic table at Hightop Hut, a deer just ambled out of the woods and looked at us and then ambled back into the woods again. Just as if to check us out. It is almost 6:30 p.m. and the sun is going behind the trees. The breeze is picking up a tad bit and is feeling kinda cool. Time to pull on long sleeves. A couple of fellows came in and cooked their dinner and headed out for another 4 miles or so and were hoping to find a spot to pitch a tent. I'd rather hit the huts(shelters) here in the Shenandoah Park 'cause there many rules and regulations to follow tenting and also if you don't find a suitable spot, you just have to KEEP ON GOING. I don't think so! Jody has a fire going again tonight. We have our food up on the bear pole and the sleeping bags laid out in the shelter. Going to make some hot chocolate for our bedtime snack. It will soon be getting dark and time for the last privy run, I just don't like the idea of a midnight run and finding a bear in the path to the outhouse. Wonder what sights and smells I'll have on tomorrows' hike on the AT. I'll tell you tomorrow. Love, Mom p.s. 3 women and a guy just came in for the night, ( 2 from Florida). An Owl has started to sound off, neat.
- Tue. 6-15-93
- Hi Kids. Well, two of the gals that came into the shelter last night are at this one too (Bearfence Mtn. Hut). The one has done the whole trail already and is section hiking with her friend who is working on the whole trail in sections. They are cyclists and the one is a marathon runner also. So, both are in good condition. Speaking of condition, I saw in one of the registers a couple huts back, that one of the fellows that was at the Blackrock hut had taken a fall back by Loft Mtn. Campground and broken his arm. That was the Yankee Buckeye (Alex Le Blanc) from Dayton, Oh. Not the kind of trail news one likes to hear. Today was mostly pretty nice. Didn't actually rain until the last mile to the hut and we stopped at Lewis Mt. Campground to purchase fuel and get water to bring to the shelter with us. Then put our rain covers on as it was moving in as we were leaving. Oh yah, had an ice cream bar too- yum yum. We came upon a little wooden sign early in the day that said "cemetery" so I guess you know your mom- yep, dropped my pack by the side of the trail and went looking . Found about 10 headstones. Most of them were 1800's but one had a burial date 1945. I found it interesting that a couple of the older ones had plastic flowers on them that didn't look too awfully old. Someone had thought to bring them not too long ago. Saw more deer today and rabbits and lots of snails on the path too. Had a deer visit us here tonight already. She came up for a handout! We did 12.5 miles today and actually did pretty good at it. We are at least over the mile and hour rate even going up hills and I'm not stopping as much to rest going up. Whew, sure glad to see some improvement!! The woods smelled SOO good today. So many different smells too. It seems like every up and every down had a new smell. The woods change all the time-different trees, different undergrowth, different flowers(and weeds) so I suppose that's a good reason for the different odors. Well we didn't have a very long rain but, it cooled off. It's almost 8p.m. and it's looking just a little foggy off in the trees. There are 4 females here and 1 male. He walked the mile back up to the campground to use the phone and visit with another fellow camped up there, so hard to tell when he'll be back. Jody is napping and the other two gals are reading books and here I am writing home to you. Only the birds with their evening serenade. It sure sounds pretty. Gonna close and rub down my feet again. Soon be bed time. Love, Mom.]
- Wed. Afternoon.
- Still have 3 mile to the shelter but stopped at Big Meadows to have a real cup of coffee and mail this. It's a beautiful day and the trail has been mostly level through some beautiful woods. Passed by a little country cemetery as we crossed at a dirt road. What a sunny peaceful place. As we approached it, we could see a deer standing by one of the headstones nibbling the flowers from the funeral baskets. If I'd only had my zoom lens!! We have seen some baby Blue Buntings just learning to fly and a baby Grouse "hiding" on the side of the trail. Many deer along the trail today. The "shelter doe" was back this morning nosing around. She was pretty. Well, as much as I'd like to sit here in this chair at the Big Meadows Lodge, I must mail this and get back into my pack and get on down the trail to the shelter. I think the trail is mostly up from here so I'll probably be slow going. Love you all and hope all is going well at home. Love, Mom.
- Wed. 16th.**3.4miles from Big Meadows.
- Whew, seems like it was ALL uphill. Nice to have a restaurant at the road crossing every once in a while when crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway. Did enjoy the lunch today.
- Thur. 17th.
- **Another restaurant today at the end of 13.9 miles and then only 1.2 to get to the shelter. It was an AYCE salad bar. Yum yum. But, what a long day. --------And I didn't write to you!!! Carried an extra quart of warm water to the shelter and got all squeaky clean and put on clean clothes, whee!! Boy, that sure did feel good. It got too late to see so I figured I would write TODAY--
- FRIDAY 18th
- So here I am at the end of a 13.1 mile day with a break at lunchtime for a Blackberry milkshake. Last restaurant we pass here in the Shenandoah Nat. Park. Boy was it good! Our day today was very warm hiking. Not much breeze until around 3o'clock when we had a slight cooling and some breezes. The little blackflies are certainly pesky. I saw little black dots floating in front of my eyes as I was walking. Just as long as they don't land and start biting, on with the bug spray. For the past 3 nights I have been in the same shelters as the two gals from Florida and an older gentleman from England. Doreen is Triathalon Grandma. Joanie is Florida Pilgrim. and the Englishman is Ngong Fats. That's from an African place and he was much heavier when he lived there. Tomorrow I have only 10.4 miles planned and I believe the others are going 18.8 miles. I guess we'll just see how we feel but just don't know if I'm up to that many miles yet. The 15 miles seemed plenty!! We haven't seen any bear yet although the other two gals did see one today. Tomorrow we will be going out of the S.N.P.. I'm really glad that Jody was able to join me and hike all of the park. It has just been great having someone to share all the great sights with and even better that it has been my old friend. What a treat!! I expect she will be leaving to go back to Florida when we get into Harpers Ferry. Then it will be off on my own once again. Well, gotta get the food bag hung up on that pole. Now that it is the last one it goes real easy. More tomorrow. Love, mom.
- Sat. 19th
- Dear Kids. I'm actually sitting in a shelter in the early afternoon. Well, pretty early. We got here around 2p.m.. It was only a 10.4 mile day. Say, it's nice to think of that as ONLY. Let's see, what have I forgotten to tell you about the last couple of days??? We've had some really great view points but it has been so hazy in the valley that I haven't done much picture taking. The ticks are out and about, have only found brown ticks and those as they were marching up the sox or leg. Saw no bear but did see plenty of scat (poop) so we knew they were there. It looks as though they are going to have lots of berries to eat later on. I have been real lucky as far as not having to hike in the rain. Sure glad I haven't had thunder and lightning this year! It is rumbling now and has started to sprinkle. I'm sooo glad I'm in this shelter. Hooray, here comes Ngong Fats. In just ahead of the rain. Very cooling, this rain. It has been very warm and some areas seem pretty stifling so maybe this rain will make hiking a bit more pleasant. But of course we'll work up a sweat anyway. Just will feel a little better. It's a very long trip down to the spring and back. We decided to fill all 4 bottles plus the water bag just so we wouldn't have to go down again. Glad we did that. Well, I've been here for 2 1/2 hours and getting the water was the most strenuous thing I've done. Rolled out the sleeping bag and parked myself on it to write this--after I took off my boots(ahh) that is!! Guess it's getting time to see what we're going to fix for supper. Oh yes, the girls left us a "care package" at this shelter. They stopped for lunch here. With my figuring on higher mileages and not doing it, our food supply is very short. It will be very nice to get my food drop in Linden on Monday. More tomorrow. Love Mom.
- Sunday 6-20-93Is today Fathers Day?
- Hi Kids, Well if it really is Fathers Day I hope you all called Pops. Let me see---oh yes, about 11p.m. last evening, a couple of young fellows came walking in by flashlight and joined us sleeping in the shelter. I had hoped for a good night to sleep after the rain, but it was one of those -too cool to sleep out of the bag and too warm in it! We used the girls' gift today and cooked lunch (Sunday dinner). I don't usually cook lunch so it was a treat. To top that pleasure off we had a very short mileage day-8.4miles. The shelter we came to is a real beauty! The caretaker here built everything and comes once a month to mow the yard. T.P. in the privy even!!! There is a shower stall built with water run in from the spring to a holding tank on top. Pull the chain for a shower and a spigot outside for running water. Real LUXURY here. Comfy wood seat on the deck, picnic pavilion to cook in and even provide a container so you can launder your clothes. Boy do I feel good, a shower and washed my hair (it was a tad cool). We were in the cooking pavilion and a horrendous thunder storm with wind came up. We had heard from another hiker that there are tornado warnings 'till 11 p.m.. Sure glad I had everything else done. Now the trick will be to get my clothes dry that I've washed. It seems strange to be sitting here in long johns tonight when earlier I was sooo overly hot and sweaty. I wondered if I'd even make it up the hill I was on. I thought , what a wonderful sight the big, cool, moss covered rock was then. I was so grateful to sit my overheated body on it and let the cool ease up thru my being and regain my composure and such. Whew, glad to get up THAT one and then we took our lunch break at a little tent site with a spring. Only had a couple of easy miles after that to get to the shelter._________wow, here comes another storm. Guess I'd better start hoping for No Rain tomorrow. We'll have a short hike into Linden in the morning and then it will be on to the next shelter for a 10.4 mile day. I'll be glad to get the food but not glad for the weight. Hope I get some mail too. I called Dad last week and asked him to send my good boots so, I'll have two packages to pick up. Tonight I've met a man from Ireland. Barry is his name. He is leaving to go back next wee. Sure meet a great variety of people out here on the trail. Also met a fellow from Tazmania last week. The trail shows you a variety of Everything! Getting dark out so I guess I'll close for now. I'll mail this out tomorrow. Love, Mom.
- Monday 21st--Town day of a sort.
- --Hi kids. Well, I got into Linden Va. today and picked up my mail, food drop and shoes. Don't know for sure who left the bubblegum on the door step at home, but Dad sent it to me! I'm sitting here chewing bubblegum, listening to a very swift running creek that we CAN'T use the water out of and of course--getting thirsty. Thought the gum might make me forget I want a drink and that we have to save our last quart of water for our hike out in the a.m.. We can hike about 2 mile to a campground trail and then a mile in and a mile out to get water there. The note here says this creek is polluted (probably). It always seem when you don't have access to something that's when you crave it most. It was nice to talk to Sheryl and Becky today and get letters too. The shelter we are in tonight is a small dome. Like you get the kit for and use 2x4's in the brackets. It's not a very large floor area. Jody and I had our sleeping bags down and Ngong Fats arrived. Cleared a spot and it really doesn't look like more than one more would fit in - and that one would make it a bit cozy. Don't expect anyone else in as it's 8 o'clock now, abut you never can tell. We are going to try and avoid the 2 miles extra (in and out of the campground) if at all possible. In 5.4 miles regular hiking plus just .1 off the trail is a restaurant where we can get a milkshake or something and fill our water bottles. If we manage to keep at least enough water to drink getting there, it sounds good in theory anyway. Ngong has been telling us of his adventure into Front Royal. He had some "trail magic" for sure. He is a nice person to have in the shelter with us. Well, it's time to hang our food bags up to keep them away from the critters so I'll close for now. Love, Mom.
- Tue. 22nd.***Hello again,
- We checked our map again and spotted a spring supposedly a mile up the trail! We kept our eyes open and sure enough we found a little sign marked spring. We didn't have to go to the campground a mile off the trail-hooray. We went to the restaurant at the road crossing and ate an early lunch, mmmmgood. Thought I'd make a phone call too, as long as the thing was handy. We've gone through some pretty strange trail the last couple of days. Very overgrown, grass shoulder high, weeds waist high, all kinds of vines made tunnels. Some of the vines were honeysuckle though so at least it smelled good! Think Ngong has gone past this shelter (9 mile today) and headed for the next one. May see him again in Harpers Ferry. There are 3 fellows in here and there is a girl expected to come in also. One fellow and the girl I've met before and also saw them at Rustys'. Gee, I finally got my clean shirt dry and there is a pipe rigged up from the spring for easy wash-ups. Ahh feels good, a clean-up and a clean shirt too. Hope the other one dries, I washed it now too. A treat. Gee, the things you take for granted in the "real world"! It looks on the map, like the next three days into Harpers Ferry are going to have some very trying areas in it. I made the mistake of reading the book and seeing 500 feet decent, beginning gradually then steeply, slippery at all times. Good grief, I don't think I want to know about this ahead of time ha ha . Well, it's about time to fix supper and gather up my clothes-dry or not. More tomorrow from the Bears Den Hostel (a real shower!). Love, Mom.
- Hi kids. What a day. Actually, I guess it really started about dark last night! I put my arm down on the edge of my sleeping bag to snuggle down for night and I got stung. I reached down in what I thought was a different spot for my flashlight and promptly got it again. Finally found the flash and found a brown wasp lounging there. We promptly did it in. Went to the spring and held my arm in the cold water and got some jewel weed and went back to the shelter and took a couple Benadryl pills. It started to swell up pretty quickly but figured not much else I could do so climbed into my bag and proceeded to get a good nights sleep. Very puffy had and arm this a.m. but not Bad. Took more medication after breakfast and started on the trail. It was a beauteous morning, not too hot, sunny. Not far from the shelter we saw a fresh bear paw print on the path. Shortly after that we found ripe blueberries. Found more black raspberries too, double yum, I do like those. Saw a pilleated -sp.?- woodpecker and a squirrel (no bears). Guess that was the treat before the hard work of going up steep hills. A LONG 9.7 miles today. Tonight I'm at the A.Y.H. Bears Den. A lovely old, castle looking, summer house. Oh how good the hot shower felt. And, tonight, I'll be in a REAL bed. As I write this, I'm in the community room watching a movie on the civil war. I should probably go to bed as it is going to be a hard 11 plus miles tomorrow but, I can't resist the movie. Love, Mom.
- Thur. 24th.
- *****Hi there. Gee, it was wonderful sleeping on a real bed last night. I had a cotton bedsack and pillow and a wide open window. Woke up at 2a.m. with my arm itching so took more medication and went back to sleep. To make it even nicer, there were just the two of us in the women's sleeping room. Woke at 6 a.m. and took another shower, ahh, hot water on the back sure felt good. We ate breakfast and got on the trail right close to our usual 7:30 a.m. starting time. We don't plan it, it just works out that way. We were really expecting extremely hard trail today and found it to be much easier than the book made it sound. 17 accents, total of 5,ooo feet. Picked more blueberries and found blackberries too. Had a grouse fly out in front of us doing her "follow me" act. We got to the shelter about 3:45 and fixed supper and decided to hike 2 more miles and tent so that we only have 6 miles to go into Harpers Ferry.
Jody has to find out about a bus or whatever back to Florida and the earlier we get in town the more time she'll have to make arrangements. Also maybe I can find someplace other than a motel for us all to stay, like maybe a campground that has cabins. We sure aren't too far from the road. It sounds like a race track but then, it's only a little after 7p.m.. There is a family camped just a little way up the hill from us. We are right by the trail at a place that used to have a shelter located on it. That was torn down and the new one put up 2 miles back where we fixed our supper. The new ones they (PATC) have built are just GREAT. They have decks on them and cooking shelters aways away. Keeps the mice out of the sleeping area. The Patomic Appalachian Trail Club has done some excellent work on their new shelters. A lot of the old shelters were built by the C.C.C. workers, many years ago. This one was relocated because the spring has been contaminated. We brought water from the new shelter. That spring was 1/4 mile down the hill from the shelter but it is a good one anyway.
Well, tomorrow and the week-end will be a real mixed emotion filled couple of days. It will be wonderful to see family but very sad to leave you. Especially since I will also be saying "so long" to my hiking partner and starting out on my own again. The time really does go by faster when you share the time on the trail with a friend. I have really enjoyed having my old buddy with me from Waynesboro Va. to Harpers Ferry W. Va.. I hope she has enjoyed it as much as I have.
The weather forecast was for NO rain, so we have put up the tent without the rain fly. It ought to be really nice sleeping. It is starting to cool down. The sun will soon be down and I'll be headed into the tent. Sure will be nice to see Pops this weekend and whoever (whomever?) else comes down too. Love, Mom.
p.s. The kids from the camping family just brought us baked potatoes and said come up in 20 minutes and roast marshmallows! Yes, we will, thank you very much.
- Harpers Ferry W. Va.---
- How nice to see Pops and Lin and Kassi and Judd! We're gonna' have fun!
- Sunday-June 27, 1993-P.M. on the trail again
- Whew, sure was a long 12.2 miles I did today. Actually I missed a blaze and did a 20 minute (10 in 10 out) hike on the wrong trail. That's what happens when you keep your head down at the end of the day and don't double check what you glance at!---dumb de dumb dumb!!!!!!!!!! Well anyway, I finally passed the 1,000 mile stone on the AT. Yes, there was actually a register that someone had left on this large, friendly stone on a long uphill that said, 1,000 miles! A REAL "milestone". I am not sure how far I'm going to go tomorrow. I have a couple of options, a 10.4 or a 15.3 mile day. Guess I'll see how I feel and what time it is when I get to the first one. I have a total of 261.1 miles traveled this year. Well it's getting dark so I'll close for now.
Sure had an "event packed" week-end. It was wonderful to see family. Nice birthday present for Lin to come down, Happy 28th Birthday daughter. Love you all, Mom.
- Monday, 28th********A 15.3 mile day.
- Got in JUST ahead of a rainstorm. Only lasted an hour and cooled off real nice.
We are at Hemlock Hills shelter. Boy is it little. Nancy(Lightcomber) and Redbird and Peter Rabbit and Georgous George and I are squeezed in and then a young couple (Sunstroke and Quickbeam) are tenting in back and Ngong came in and is putting up his tent. The rest of us, well all except Nancy who went to town, have had our suppers. The water is down to the road and then over to a rangers' house where there is a"growley"dog. A couple of the guys went and got enough for all of us! Looks like a very hilly day tomorrow. Some of the fellows are going to do a 2 mile blue blaze to avoid one of the worst ones. O well, guess I'll be the last one in. Think we're going to a picnic area that they let thru-hikers spend the night in. Ought to be interesting. Love ya, Mom.
- Hello there
- yep, yep, there were hills alright!******-Tue. June 29th
- and we crossed the Mason-Dixon Line today. We are now in Pennsylvania. That means I've finished Va. gone into and out of W. Va. and gone thru Maryland!!!!!!! I hiked most of the day with Peter Rabbit. He's from Oklahoma and he's 61 years old. Married in 1953 and has 2 boys and a girl. We pretty much hiked together yesterday too. We had a couple of options today, 15.8 or 13.2 or 16.9 miles. See, all kinds of choices, ha ha. Actually the rock scramble was a nice change from the uphill climb I'd been doing. At least it was DOWN. It was very interesting going though the woods there. The large trees growing up among the large rocks is neat. It was the best part of the day. The uphills were a tad steep but I still didn't do too badly. 9 1/2 hours for 13.2 miles hiked. Got to these Deer Lick shelters at 4:30 and was ready to call it a day. After I sat for a bit I took my pack off and got my bed roll down and the food bags out and THEN looked up and saw not one but THREE wasp nests on the ceiling. So, I removed my belongings to the twin shelter. Thank goodness for 2 of them. Red Bird and Peter Rabbit followed. Ngong Fats took a side trip to the grocery store so he's just now setting up his tent (8p.m.).
It has cooled down a little bit. It sprinkled just a wee bit and isn't nearly as muggy as it was earlier. Better to hike in.
We have options again for tomorrow. 9.5 to a shelter, 12.6 to Caledonia State Park with $ camping or 15.2 to and area where the shelters have been torn down (and will be replaced by late fall) and we can tent there. We are thinking of 9.5 for tomorrow then 13.2 the next day but time will tell. XO, Mom.
- Hello. It's the last day of June.
- Say, I've been out here a month this year! Holiday week-end coming up too. Wonder if I'll see any fireworks?
Well, I've been sitting here figuring out "possibles" for the next couple days and realized I'm going to hit Boiling Springs on Saturday and the P.O. closes at Noon on Sat. and, by the looks of it, I'll have 11.5 miles to get to town instead of my usually planned short day. Oh me oh my. Well, I guess there is no sense getting upset. I can't do anything about the situation.
Today was a beautiful day. It started out a bit foggy (low clouds?) and cool. Yes, Pennsylvania has STONES. In the path, out of the path, big ones, little ones, humoungous ones, lots and lots of 'em! I hiked with Peter Rabbit and Ngong today. Rabbit and I were a bit ahead of Ngong but we had planned our day together. We decided we would come on to Caledonia State Park. Met 3 fellows with a dog (dog NOT allowed in campground) and they had gotten permission to sleep in a picnic pavilion so, here are the three of us also.
Took a cold shower at the poolside shower room (free) and when it gets dark, we'll unroll our sleeping bags and make ourselves at home. Restroom with flush toilets not too far either, I wonder if they lock 'em up at night? I can't even see a tenting area from where we are. In fact we aren't too far from where the trail comes thru here, it's closer than the "flush jobs". Peter Rabbit says "it's only Wed., don't panic about Sat. yet". I said OK, will you tell me when? He said yes, I'll tell you, ha ha. He's right tho' 'cause like I said, I can't do a thing about it!
Hey, we even have a water spigot and drinking fountain here. Well, after my shower, I put on my clean clothes. OOOH, that feels GOOD. Washed my T-shirt and "unders" and sock liners out in the creek. May not be real clean (no soap) but they'll HAVE to smell better. I'll hang them on the back of my pack tomorrow to dry while I'm walking. I didn't think I'd have room for my shorts and outer socks too so I didn't bother to rinse them out too.
It's now 8p.m. and I guess we'll soon be able to "snug in" for the night. I must get my stuff organized. Love you all, Mom.
- July 1
- Rain off and on all day today but the trail was very good and the profile was not all that difficult. Lots of blue berries along the way today.
Maybe because of the cool day and the good trail, P.R. and I did a 20 mile day! We walked from one state park to another. Tonight we are in an AYH. A real bed and a wonderful hot shower. Ahhh, clean clothes too!
Well with this being a 20 miler, that puts us within reach of Boiling Springs before Sat. noon. Well, like Rabbit said, Don't panic yet, it's only Wed. I guess we'll see what happens.
Oh yah, saw a wild turkey today and chipmunks, nothing bigger, not even any deer for quite a while now.
One thing about a hostel, you get different people along with hikers. Very interesting lady here talking our ear off but very interesting.
It's after 10p.m. and I suppose I should hobble off to bed. Up at daybreak tomorrow and off early for about a 15 mile day. Love ya lots, Mom.