I woke up this morning to a text from Sid. “Grandma, there’s Bear next to my tent. Is he going to eat my food?” Oh my! That got my attention. Now, why didn’t he scream or yell or anything besides send me a text at midnight while my phone is on silent. The bear must not be hungry enough for Top Ramen or Hot Chocolate so all was saved. And Sid was unharmed, but he didn’t get much sleep after that. I, on the other hand, slept like a baby.
I was up and ready to go at 6am but Sid was not budging. I sat around until close to 9am before I could get Sid moving. This is not going to be the day we were getting any extra miles. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that this last week hiking with Sid is going to be low key, low pressure and low miles. It is what it is. I’ll play catch-up once George arrives.
We packed up camp and hit the trail after 9am. The terrain was interesting as we had private property that we hiked through. Once leaving our campsite, the first bit of business was finding water. There was a creek within a mile or so, and we filled up. I had to go pee and found a secluded place to take a squat. All was good until I went to get up, and the biggest rat snake slithered passed me. That just about knocked me over. I told Sid and being the snake expert, he immediately had to inspect my find. The snake was safe as Sid could not locate him. No worries since we would be encountering more of that creature later today.
Once I had my shorts up and my skirt in its proper place, we were back on trail. We saw an old abandoned cabin and then climbed a bit. There was, the most majestic Keffer Oak, the largest oak tree along the AT in the south. The tree is estimated to be about 300 years old and it appears to be quite happy, right where it is.
Afterwards we cut across pasturelands that just harvested hay. It was recently cut and wrapped in large circular bins. You could smell it! I’ve never been up close and personal with this product. It was much larger than it looks when you’re driving down the interstate. Sid took his try at rolling the haystacks, but they wouldn’t budge.
After our first climb, Sid found a rock to rest upon. It was a huge rock outcropping that looked over the valley below. It was also covered with blackberries which were just getting ripe. After eating a handful of berries, Sid retired for a nap. As I said earlier, today was going to be a low mileage day.
We carried on for a bit more and stopped to have a hot lunch of Top Ramen and yes you guessed it, another nap. I relaxed for a bit but was antsy to get moving. I told Sid I’d keep moving and he could catchup later. I headed out and after 1/2 hour, I saw a couple of nobo hikers. I asked if they had seen Sid and they told me he was still sleeping. I decided to make good use of my waiting time and found cell service and called Dad. It’s Fathers Day so I was thrilled to get a few bars. Dad just had his second surgery of the year. He was also napping but we were able to talk for a few minutes. I was so happy to hear his voice, even so briefly.
Sid arrived about an hour later as we made a plan of attack. We’d hike to the next Shelter which had water and stay the night. It was only six miles and by 1pm we had managed four miles. The last miles were easy as we hiked along a slab of overlooks which made the views worthwhile. We crossed the Continental Divide which marked the flow of waters from the west to the east. Then a downhill slide into our home for the night.
Once at the Shelter, I attempted to find a relatively flat space and Sid set himself up in the shelter. Dinner was Alfredo with Bacon Bits and Hot Chocolate. We hung out with some new hikers I’d never seen before. Because of our lack of miles, we have others that are catching up. I will know the entire Class of 2022 before long!
Hiking is a dance. Sometimes you have a strong partner and other times you are the teacher. This past couple of weeks, I’ve been working with my new partner and trying to figure out a compromise. It’s slow and steady that wins the race, and I’ll get the Golden Globe for this exercise in patience and steadfastnesses. Our goal is to make it to Daleville by the end of the week. That’ll take us over Dragons Tooth and McAfee Knob, two iconic spots on the Appalachian. And that’ll be just fine!
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:”
Philippians 2:5 NIV
One thought on “Day 66: June 19, 2022 VA 42 CS to Niday Elevation Profile +2052/-2363 9.8 Miles; Total 687.8 Miles”
Nice report Kelly. While you think you’re daily mileage is low you two hike more in a couple of hours than I would in an entire day😊 👍.