Day 93- 6.22.15
Fuego: We hiked 16.2 miles today (950.3-966.5). Today, we were finally getting out of Shenandoah National Park! I only say that for the fact we wouldn’t have camping and fire restrictions anymore (or at least for awhile). We ran into trail magic and it actually had plenty of stuff. This was a cooler left by the side of the trail (usually someone beats us to the cooler trail magic). It was hilarious- whoever left it decided to add in a Penthouse magazine along with the beer, soda, and snacks. There was only one Pepsi and the rest were Bud Light. Of course Fancy Pants reached for a Bud Light, but mistakenly grabbed the Pepsi and opened it!
Seeing the sign that we were leaving Shenandoah was a great moment, but then we had to hike down on nothing but rocks! I guess that was our leaving gift. Shortly after, we made it to the shelter. It was one of my favorite shelters, because it had a big porch on the front. It made it feel like home! The sky was gorgeous from the sunset and there was no bugs! The last few nights in Shenandoah were infested with gnats so bad we had to stay in the tent while at camp.
Day 94- 6.23.15
Fuego: We hiked 11.1 miles today (966.5-978.6). What I was excited about the most for today was getting picked up for laundry and shower! On the way to meet Julie, we saw a big mulberry tree and hung out there for at least a half hour. Our hands and mouth were purple all over. I couldn’t go away until I couldn’t find anymore berries within reach. There was also a cherry tree, but none of the fruit were within reach!
Once Julie picked us up, I was not comfortable to get inside her car. I smelled awful and I was covered in sweat. Worst of all was our backpacks! We met the three kids in the car and they were so well behaved! They asked us a few questions about the trail. Arriving at the house, we did our laundry and showers. Julie had some baked kale and deviled eggs for snacks and combining them together was epic! We had a few drinks and I decided to wash the backpacks. I couldn’t believe how nasty the water was. I had to drain and refill the tub with detergent and baking soda three times. The water was mostly black the first time I drained it. I hung them outside to dry. I was really happy I spared the moment to get those backpacks cleaned.
We had a fantastic dinner once Brian came home from work. Afterwards we had more drinks and started chatting away. We ended up going down the street to see a house that Brian was working on. It was unlike any house I’ve ever seen. It has four floors, but each floor was only 15×15. The view on the top floor was amazing and the architectural work was unique. I fell in love with the house, but I don’t think I could buy it. We then went by the lake and everyone jumped in the water except me. I just wasn’t feeling the need to get wet. We got back and went bed not much longer afterwards.
Fuego: We hiked 14.4 miles today (978.6- 993.0). We woke up and had breakfast. It was nice having cereal. I haven’t had cereal in years, but I was enjoying every bit of it! We packed up and I was excited to hike with a clean, non-stinky backpack! I’m not expecting this to last long FYI, but you get the idea. We left and stopped by Walmart for a quick resupply and back on the trail we were. I got a text from Downhill that they were nearby I-66 and we ended up meeting each other just a couple of miles down. Toasty, Bagels, and Etch-a-sketch were there too. It was finally a beautiful day. I was preparing myself for the worst, but it was breezy and not very humid. The terrain was mostly flat and the trail was nice and smooth. I was thankful for this today.
Fancy Pants: The only negative thing about my pack being so clean is that my squeak is back! My new pack was considerably more squeaky than my old pack had been. I though I had mastered that art of packing my pack squeak free, but it turns out that it had just been sweated into not being noisy. Yeah, I know that’s gross!
Day 96- 6.25.15
Fuego: We hiked 18.0 miles today (993.0-1011.0). I was not too excited about the Roller Coaster, which you probably can understand just by hearing the name. You arrive to a sign that basically says, “Welcome to the roller coaster! See you on the other end if you survive.” Not only you are constantly going up and down on multiple sized hills, the rocks are horrendous. You had to watch your feet and angle them in weird positions the whole time, which really slows down your speed. I remember saying to Fancy Pants, “If we lived near here and ran this section about two times a week, we would be jacked!”
I was getting really irritated with the Roller Coaster, but the mood changed once I ran into the 1000 mile marker. It was an awakening! Some people won’t even drive that far! That’s about 17 hours of driving. It was hard to believe we have made it this far. The other big thing coming up was leaving Virginia, the longest part of the trail out of every state totaling 550 miles. That was quite an amount of excitement thrown at us. Not only that, we will be in Harpers Ferry tomorrow to get our photos taken at the ATC Headquarters!
This butterfly rode on Fuego’s hat for over a mile!
The excitement actually faded out rather quickly, because we weren’t done with the Roller Coaster quite yet. It went on for almost 10 miles and it took a long time to get through. My feet were madder than hell at me. Once we got to the campsite, we were beat. I only remember having dinner and going to bed right after. I put on socks for bed and I had to take them off, because my feet were swelling. My feet were literally pulsing with the socks on. Some hikers feet swell so bad that they have to get bigger shoe sizes. Luckily neither of us had to deal with that issue.
Day 97- 6.26.15
Fancy Pants: We hiked 12.4 miles today (1011.0-1023.4). It rained over night and got pretty chilly. We hobbled out of the tent, but didn’t get on the trail until 8:15. Like yesterday, the trail today was really rocky (probably 10 of the first 11 miles were really rocky!). The elevation change wasn’t too bad, so we made good time getting to Harper’s Ferry. Our feet are really sore and we are ready for a zero day. We have officially left Virginia- 4 states down, 10 more to go!
We stopped at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and got our numbers today- 886 and 887! 886th and 887th thru hikers to pass through Harper’s Ferry. We each guessed our numbers beforehand and were way low (I guessed 470something). There are many more people hiking the trail this year than I thought! We then continued on the trail to historic Harper’s Ferry. We finished a blog post and then took a bus to the visitor’s center where we could walk to the KOA campground.
Kelli and Jordan ended up picking us us as we were walking to the campground- perfect timing! We picked the flattest spot we could find a set up for the night. I definitely have Jordan to thank for getting Kelli to go camping for the weekend ;). Kelli brought a lot of things we were craving like fresh fruit, food that we could grill and mimosa supplies.
Day 98- 6.27.15
Zero day in Harper’s Ferry. We woke up to rain and wind. And more rain. The forecast for today called for rain and high chance of rain for every hour until nighttime. They have free pancakes at KOA, so we had that then went back to the campsite for eggs and hash browns. Drew and Shayna came for a little while with baby Emery. It was so great to see them!
We were tired of the rain, so we went to Walmart to do our resupply. I will definitely never go shopping again without a list. There were so many items that were forgotten! The rain miraculously stopped around 6. Fuego and Jordan made a fire and we cooked a delicious dinner.