PICTURES ARE UPLOADED! For my pictures, click the link above our blog title that says "PICTURES!" All pictures relating to this post are on there too!
So the last stretch, from Pearisburg to Waynesboro as hands down been the roughest stretch of terrain so far. We have been pulling decently big days, 17-23 miles usually, over rocky ridges and with almost daily climbs of 3-5 miles over a couple thousand feet. We have also had some pretty high humidity and threats of thunderstorms every afternoon. I guess it's that time of year!
After leaving Daleville we only did about 5 miles in to our shelter since we left so late. The next day we did 23 miles to a campsite next to a creek where we had a nice fire, but didn't get to swim because it was a little too chilly in the evening. The following day brought a LONG climb, probably our longest yet where we climbed about 10 miles out of 17 for the day only to get mediocre views. We camped that night at Punchbowl Shelter which was swarming with flies. Not my favorite day on the trail, BUT we continue on! The flies have been horrendous ever since then, bug spray is about to come out! The next 2 days brought steep, long, long climbs in sweltering heat and humidity in the late afternoons, again, not a super fun stretch, but I feel like such a beast at the end of these 22 and 24 mile days! My legs have become pretty rock solid and the body is holding up pretty well these days! Oh and I almost forgot...May 22, after a really rough day, Jetpack had run ahead as I got talking to an older couple of day hikers. Going to finish the last 3 miles of a 24 mile day, I came upon a blown down tree in the trail. As usual, I went up and around the tree and on my way back onto the trail, I heard an explosion of the noise I have been hoping to not hear...rattling. I looked down and about 2 feet in front of me was a timber rattlesnake about 4 feet long and as thick as my calf staring at me and rattling
Clearly I survived, but it really scared me and made me question my safety out here on the trail, especially knowing how our dear friend Gram Cracker saw 3 in one day last summer. But again, we carry on! I made it to camp with Jetpack only to wake up at 10:30pm to the most intense storm we have had so far: buckets of rain pelting the tent, uninterrupted lighting strikes, and thunder booming up and down the mountains as if we were being bombed, along with the loud cracks overhead. It felt like being on a movie set and sounded like the mountain was exploding. The only thing we could do was roll over and go back to sleep! The next day we finally got to meet up with Teri!!! Between her bringing goodies from Ingaldsby Farm and my mom baking a coffee cake, we had quite a binge-eating party at the car!! I was also pleasantly surprised with all sorts of love from home (thank you everyone!!!!!!) Basically, you will be hearing about us staying in a few more motels and on a few LESS lawns. A big thanks again. We had a couple of wonderful days hiking with Teri and then came in to Waynesboro last night. She treated us to a stay in a hotel as well as a Chinese Buffet (always a big win!) and dinner from the Outback! yummmmmmmm!
We are feeling rested and clean and are ready to head into the Shenandoah National Park, our last big stretch of Virginia! This park is 100 miles or so and upon exiting, we will be staying at Bear's Den Hostel, after which we will do 20 miles into HARPER'S FERRY, WEST VIRGINIA!!!! That is the unofficial halfway point since it is just over the 1000-mile mark and home of the ATC Headquarters. You will be hearing from us there as we will probably zero there, it's supposed to be a great town. Then we will only have about 80 miles to the halfway point!! I KNOW RIGHT!? It seems like we have been out here for so long and we aren't even halfway yet! Very exciting. Stay tuned for more fun and adventure!!!