Day 64: June 17, 2022 Peter Mtn to VA 42 Elevation Profile +4553/-4310 20.7 Miles; Total 677.7 Miles

I did it! I broke 20 miles for the first time on the AT today! And what a day it was. I left early with Shuttle Driver Honeybun at 6:30am. We picked up another hiker and headed north. Sid stayed back at the Farm and drove the riding lawnmower. He mowed about an acre or two of grass and when Honeybuns’ parents came home, they wondered who was on their mower? Sid introduced himself and luckily no one got hurt or arrested.

The Picture Perfect Mower Lines

Honeybun dropped me off first and I hit the trail running. It was suppose to be another scorcher of a day so I wore my typical skirt and tank top. The morning was so nice. After last nights electrical storm and rain, the grasses, shrubs and trees were glistening. My trail runners were damp in a few minutes but I was happy as a lark!

Pastures on the Appalachian Trail

I started running into my bubble of hikers. On my Knees, Pink Panther and Mulligan were all hiking nobo from the Shelter. They talked about the intense lightening show and downpour of rain they experienced last night. Virginia has had its fair share of wild weather since I arrived.

On My Knees Making Miles with Smiles

Today was all about climbing and crazy descents! There were two huge plateaus I went up and over. The first climb was fairly steep but I had fresh legs and no backpack. I stopped along the way to pick wild blueberries. I’ve seen so many berries during the last months of hiking but today was the first day I found ripened berries. The season has begun. Watch out Mr. Black Bear. I’ll be snacking from here to Maine.

Wild Blueberries

There was such a variety of topography today starting with pastoral lands to forests to rock outcroppings to nasty uneven descents. As I was on my way down, one of my trekking poles snapped in half! I hike with Black Diamond Carbon Fiber Poles so they are ultralight and take much abuse from me. My husband always says I should be a tester for hiking equipment because if it can break, I’ll be that person who will use it to its limits! I am hard on my stuff. It certainly does not sit in the garage collecting dust. I found a stick and continued on. One trekking pole and one slimy crooked stick.

Crazy Beautiful Orange Fungi

As luck would have it, I found my namesake on the trail. Kelly’s Knob. After passing a woody section of the AT, there was a 100 yard side trail that led to some imposing cliffs. The cliffs have great views to the south, but to get to the best of the views you need to literally jump across some scary crevasses. I don’t jump across anything, let alone a deep abyss that would definitely end poorly for this hiker. It would’ve been a 6-7 foot leap of faith and I was quite content standing right where I was.

View from Kelly’s Knob

Once back on the trail, I headed to the valley below where the temperatures soared. I stopped at John’s Creek and had lunch. Way back when I had mentioned the Walking Wounded. They were a group of five who I met after Silva Bald. Well, two of the five are still on the trail. They were slackpacking also, trying to catch up on some miles before heading north. They both looked great, lots of ton of weight and their injuries have healed. This trail is an amazing weight loss program. Most of the people I’ve met from the beginning have dropped anywhere from 15-45 pounds in 2-3 months. Just hiking the pounds away! I haven’t weighed myself but I’m sure I’ve dropped at least ten pounds and I’m eating constantly.

Me with the Walking Wounded

After my lunch stop, I climbed up my second plateau. It was another 2000’ upward forward motion through Mountain Laurel, Scrubby Brush and muck. I could see the weather was changing with dark clouds forming and the winds were picking up in intensity. By the time I was on top of the Ridgeline, rolling thunder had begun and the rain started pelting me. I definitely wasn’t hot anymore. The only thing that kept me from getting cold was moving! I picked up my pace and without success, attempted to run between the raindrops. I was soaking wet from head to toe. The wind was so strong that trees were snapping and falling on the trail. It was not my favorite day of hiking. There was a few moments when the trail was so littered with branches, tree limbs, overgrown bushes that I thought I was on the wrong trail?!?! But I was smack dab on the AT. All afternoon the rain and wind never stopped. I made it to my exit point at 6:30pm and was never so happy to get in a car and dry out! What a day I had!

One of the Many Downed Trees on Trail

As I was heading down the mountain, I was grateful that Sid was not with me. This would’ve done him in and I still plan to get him back on the trail for a few more days. Back at the Farm, they had crazy rain and wind and the power went out. Honeybun’s parents told me this was pretty typical when living in the country. The power should be back on in a day or two, hopefully. They have a portion of their ranch on Solar and it will keep their freezer going as they still have half a cow from last year. I was glad to be back, showered, and warm and dry. Sid and I had dinner, courtesy of Wendy’s Fine Fast Food. We ate Baked Potatoes, Chili and Chicken Nuggets. Not my best meal on the trail but it was palatable.

The Rocky Wet Path

As I was walking with God today, he sure had my undivided attention. It was a bit unnerving in the afternoon. Once the rain started, I didn’t see anyone else hiking. Well, of course not. They were all hunkered down in a shelter or in their tent. This is a big problem with slackpacking as you don’t have all your gear. I had a rain jacket, my visor and a bandana. No tent or tarp and no way to really stay warm. But you know what? My Lord kept me safe. He provided me with sure feet, quick steps and a clear mind. I traveled down that obstacle course of a trail, climbed over fallen trees, and slippery rocks and never missed a step. If you have ever hiked with me, that’s a miracle! It was incredible that I managed to get off that trail unscathed. Nothing short of God’s strength and protection over me. What a beautiful day it was after all.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

3 thoughts on “Day 64: June 17, 2022 Peter Mtn to VA 42 Elevation Profile +4553/-4310 20.7 Miles; Total 677.7 Miles

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s