Day 70 (7.3 miles)

I am glad I slept in the tent last night, I did cover the end of it with the rain fly before falling asleep otherwise I would have been wet from the dew. I did get up in the middle of the night but the bright moon was about all you could see. I heard Nalgen Ninja and Gary talking at the table so I thought I would get up and start the day. Nalgen Ninja was a long haired, hammock hanging traveling guy from Alabama who once scouted for water for he and his buddies as the streams were toast. He came upon a house, no one was home, and he looked for a faucet but found something better. The people had left out jugs of water, he filled the nine bottles, and toted them back to the campsite, thus his name. He is going to Maine tomorrow to meet up with a buddy and do some hiking up to Mt Katahdin.

Gary and I took our time getting ready, he gave me a freeze dried dinner since he was going home, some cashews and beef jerky. What a guy?! He owns a karate business and is training a guy, who wants to buy it, how to run it. Afterwards he will retire, hike the entire trail, then come back and help out for a little income. He asked if I wanted to start out together, I said sure, he disappeared like a fart in the wind! I wish him well.

The hike was not a very bad one although managing the rocks were getting to my knee as the foot twists and bends, so I just went slower. I almost opted to continue to the next shelter instead of stopping at Mountain Home B &B /Hostel in Front Royal since the hike was going so well, I am glad I didn’t. Everything I owned was smelling foul, not B.O. foul but funky musty foul odor (remember the thunderstorm on the Roller Coaster?). This place is awesome and just off the trail. Scott and Lisa are the best! They have boot driers and I sprayed my poles , pack , etc with Lysol.

I am staying in a cabin built in the mid-1800’s and my roommates are none other than TP and Peeps! They were the two older guys I met going NOBO to Harpers Ferry. It makes me feel slow that they made it there and back and caught up with me! I told TP that and he did say they drove for 15 of those miles so now I don’t feel THAT bad! They go home tomorrow to get back to life in Chapel Hill and Durham. Go Heels! As TP and I sat around a fire pit talking, Lisa brought us each a bucket of Epson salt water to soak our feet in, very refreshing! My poor toes will never be the same!

Scott, who has hiked the trail, drove me to town and dropped me off for resupply and lunch. It is a cool, quaint little town bringing itself back to life. I walked all over and did find me a rain coat so I can donate my failed attempt at a poncho to someone else. Comics, who has thru hiked, was running the little outfitters store and gave me a candy bar. In this heat it won’t last very long! I walked to Burger King to wait for Scott to pick me up and to get a cold drink while right beside the line on a chair was a guy eating their new tacos. I asked how they were, he ignored me, and I decided by the looks of them they may not be tasty. He didn’t seem to mind as he devoured them. I looked over later and he was leaned against the wall, not moving, so was it the tacos or did he just pass out?

I got my clean clothes back and all I could do was sniff them! They have never smelled this good, sadly what I wear tomorrow won’t smell so good after a day of sweating! If the temperatures would drop my hike would be so much easier! A huge thunderstorm just rolled through and am I extra glad I stopped at the Hostel! Asia just came in on her way to NY to train to be a rower; she is from Atlanta. I told her there was lemonade and cookies in the kitchenette, she was happy. Breakfast in the morning will be French toast in the main house dining room, how sweet is that!

I see by the log entry that Twinkle Toes came by here for a rest and some ice cream the other day, he is really moving. The owners, TP, and Peeps also knew the little English woman I passed the other day, her name is Satin. I didn’t even notice but she made her pants out of pieces of satin, resembling maybe a hobo. They had also seen Freckles, who is training now when I saw her to be the fastest 75 year old woman to hike the trail next year. She looked like she is made of the right stuff. I don’t seem to be making very good miles in this heat but I trod along, drinking and wetting my head at every stream. I will be climbing up to 3000 feet tomorrow, long miles, so wish me luck and for cooler weather. Time to hit the hay. Good Night and Sweet Dreams!

Day 65 (7.8 miles)

I had my second shower this morning. Hey, when it’s available, take it! I started out with no reservations about my change in plans. I wish I had just planned this from the moment I was released from the doctor, but I wouldn’t have enjoyed Ben’s company on this road trip to places he had been to but was too young to remember. He also got to visit his Uncle Bob and family. We went to Harpers Ferry which is considered the mid point of the trail and visited the ATC Conservatory which is housed there. They were so nice and helpful.

What an eclectic old, little town this is. The streets are cobblestone in most places with houses placed closely side by side up the hilly roads. This is where Lewis and Clark got their best supplies. Ben walked the part of the trail with me that went over the Potomac River (or The Pot-a-Mac that I like to call it!) as a cooling drizzle fell over us. A train trestle lies right beside it and one came rumbling through just as we got off of it. I bet it shook a bit! I said goodbye once again to Ben and started up the trail.

I had planned to go to the first shelter and mileage wise it was doable but eventually the heat was wearing thin on me. I did sweat like a pig which doesn’t bother me but when I feel I am getting overheated, although I am drinking water, it saps my energy. There was only one very small water source, so I finally got to drench my rag in cool water and put on my face and neck. It felt wonderful. There are supposed to be severe thunderstorms tonight so i decided to slip into a Hostel on the trail around 3. It is only my fourth day back so I am okay with that. The trail was not too difficult today and I am sorry to say that I can’t tell you about any hikers I met because I saw zero! On the other hand, I saw two deer that I scared and gave them the trail names of Hansel and Gretel because they are definitely lost since they ran away from the trail.

About a mile further I saw yet another one on the trail who eventually walked away up the trail. The sound of tree frogs took me back home and to my childhood at my aunt’s house on Lake Hartwell. I love the sound! I have completed another state, West By God Virginia! Of course there was no sign nor fan fare, just a very busy road I had to cross with state signs posted left and right. That’s okay. The trail goes through every inch of Virginia it seems so it is pretty long. I will be coming up on what they call the rollercoaster, yeah me! Let’s see what lies ahead. I ate a frozen pizza for dinner and will get breakfast in the morning. Then I will be ready for more uphill in the hopefully semi cooler weather of the morning. The thunderstorms finally did come and with heavy rains and some crazy, bright lightening. It’s like fireworks on steroids, I made a good choice. I am pretty tired now so I will say Good Night and Sweet Dreams!