Sorry for the radio silence for so long! Once Prairie Dog hurt herself our usual routine fell apart. I thought you might be interested in a quick tour through this two week span to perhaps give you a window into our hiking world.
Monday, June 3, 10 miles. Hiked into Pearisburg, Virginia. Picked up resupply. (Thanks, support team!)
Tuesday, June 4, 0 miles. Take the day off. We “zeroed”.
Wednesday, June 5, plan 19.3 miles. I am a little nervous about high miles. Prairie Dog is confident. 2.5 trail miles in, PD tears her calf muscle (read “Ouch”). After medical attention we returned to the Plaza Motel (not chandeliers; think cement walls). I pick up lunch at DQ and 10 pounds of ice at the gas station. I give my free DQ sundae to the motel manager as a thank you for the loan of an ice chest and a good room rate for 3 more days. We ice PD’s leg and both take naps.
Thursday, June 6, 0 miles. Total rest and crutches for PD. I buy some groceries. We watch an NCIS marathon.
Friday, June 7, 0 trail miles. We walk SLOWLY to the Post Office and to get PD a hair cut. All is well but PD returns to the room exhausted.
Saturday, June 8, 0 trail miles. We put a light pack on PD and walk several miles to the Walmart to buy PD summer pjs and to the laundry mat to wash clothes and sleeping bags. PD gives a thumbs up to heading out on Sunday.
Sunday, June 9, 4.8 miles to Rice Field Shelter. We go to church Sunday morning and a couple offers to take us back to where we got off the trail the day of the injury. Nervously we head out to the trail, and step over the same fallen tree that preceded the injury. We sigh with relief. All good! Progress is very slow but we arrive at the shelter with the sun shining and set up our tent. We meet Poppins (so called because she uses an umbrella). Within an hour the sky darkens and it begins to storm. We find out that our sleeping bags are still wet and sleep in a wet tent as well which makes for a heavier back pack the next day.
Monday, June 10, 12.5 miles to Pine Swamp Shelter. We start through a tall field of grass and immediately end up with wet feet and pants. More rain that day seals our wet fate. Progress is frustratingly slow for us both but with longer hours we make our goal.
Tuesday, June 11, 12.7 miles to War Spur Shelter. A reprieve from rain allows us to dry out the tent. We meet up with Kick It and Boomerang. Progress still slow but picking up speed. Other hikers ask PD how she is doing. Each day people are leaving the trail due to injuries.
Wednesday, June 12. Planned a 12.2 trail miles day with an extra mile in the middle to pick up a resupply at a B&B. Hiked 8.2. We looked forward to a dry day – which we got- but unfortunately the creeks have all swollen because of the rain so that the stepping stones are all under water for two water crossings. We also have to fight the current that threatens to knock us down. Discouraged, we have wet feet, socks, shoes again for another day. At 8.2 miles we arrive at route 42 where the B&B is. Also on the side of the road is a thru hiker who is taking a zero day. His name is Dixie Grits. He drives us to our resupply, to a convenience store for ice tea and offers a break from the trail for the night. “Some days you just don’t feel like a hiker,” he said. And today he was right! He put us up at his home where his son also lives and where they had zeroed a number of other hikers we know. We showered, did laundry and dried our sleeping bags and went out to dinner with them and a friend for all you can eat ribs. Slept well!
Thursday, June 13, 18.9 trail miles from route 620 back to the B&B, run by two former thru hikers, where our packages were delivered. Dixie Grits and his son drop us off at the trail head. It poured several times that day. Hailed, too. Run into Pippi and other hikers who tell us about “the rock field” with wide eyes and (some with torn pants). It takes us an extra hour to navigate that part. Success! We arrive at the B&B (Huffman House) just before the next storm begins. Eat dinner. Showers. Laundry. Made for a good end to a hard day. Good news is that PD got her speed back!
Friday, June 14, 14.8 miles to John Spring Shelter. Had a fabulous breakfast at Huffman House, packed backpacks, and stopped at the Post Office to mail stuff home and to “bounce” a box forward to the next resupply spot that we wouldn’t need until then. So much is about keeping pack weight down! So much early activity made for a late start. Had an enjoyable chat with one of our B&B hosts as he drove us back up to the route 620 trail head – this time to continue our north bound journey. Hiked the Dragon’s Tooth and was told that it was one of the most treacherous areas of the trail south of the White Mountains. I believe it! Good news is we handled it without incident! Bad news is that the day was going long! We passed a group of hikers that were getting off to go to dinner and stay at a hostel but we kept going. Soon we were racing the sun! As we approach the final road crossing a couple just down from NYC approaches us for help on their hike. We set them in the right direction recognizing that they too are racing the sunset and realize why our day has gone the way it has as we would be the last hikers they will meet before it is dark.
Saturday, June 15. Planned 14 miles to Angels Gap but it ended up to be at mile 13 – which is too soon so we hike to Tinker Ridge at mile 14.5. Early in the day we arrive at McAfee Knob where we stop for a nosh and look at breathtaking views! Many of the hikers who stayed at the hostel are slack packing 19 or 27 miles to Daleville! We run into Pippi and Kick It at a shelter where we pick up water and they are taking a break. Kick It hurries on to Daleville with full pack and Pippi camps with us up on the ridge.
Sunday, June 16, 15.2 miles to Wilson Creek Shelter which we arrive at one hour before the storm hits. (Earlier had stopped into Daleville for lunch risking life and limb crossing ramps to route 81.) We stay in the shelter rather than set up the tent so we are dry but bitten by little black bugs all night. Meet Easy Rider (who did a 20,000 mile motorcycle trip last year), Sis (slides in sideways), Lucky One (a young war vet), and Regina the Ridge Runner. Catch up with Cinderella.
Monday, June 17, 9.4 miles to route 43 and Blue Ridge Parkway. Hitch to Buchanan to pick up packages, being picked up by a United Methodist couple from Ohio! We are staying at the Wattstull Motel where the packages were delivered and will take a zero tomorrow to plan out the next few weeks through the Shenandoah National Park.
Phew! So that is a snapshot of what our journey looks like from day to day!
Blessings on your journeys, Dragonfly