Wednesday 12 July to Tuesday 18 July
Distance: 215.4 km
Yellow Blazed: 55.68 km
Total Distance: 861.9 miles
Elevation levels according to Guthook app: total ascent 9867.7m, total descent 9671.4m
Mountains: Cove Mountain 2720, Fork Mountain 2042, Floyd Mountain 3560, Apple Orchard Mountain 4225, Highcock Knob 3065, Big Rocky Row 2992, Bluff Mountain 3372, Rice Mountain 2166, Bald Knob 4059, Cole Mountain 4022, The Priest 4063, Three Ridges Mountain 3959, Humpback Mountain 3628
It’s amazing and exciting to think I have made it to mile 861.9! Only 161.8 miles to go to reach the classic halfway mark – Harpers Ferry. I will of course get the traditional photo outside the Trail Conservancy.
For once I saw the Rattlesnake before almost stepping on him, although given its size I would have been surprised if I hadn’t. It was so big and confident it wasn’t fazed at all by my appearance and causally kept going about its business.
This snake along with bear stories from other hikers is why I don’t night hike. I have enough trouble being focused on my surroundings sometimes as it is. The other day I was listening to Shogun by James Clavell and didn’t realise I’d come to a complete stop I was so engrossed.
Aside from the fantastic scenery and almost unbelievable vastness of the wilderness around me, I’ve seen and noticed some awesome creatures like this moth. It was lying in the middle of the path, perfect apart from the piece of missing wing. The eyes on the wings are so amazing. One realises out here that despite and inspite of us humans, nature and it’s creatures carry on doing what it is they do.
When opened in 2000, the James River Foot Bridge eliminated a dangerous crossing of the James River that mixed hikers with traffic on US 501.
The bridge exists largely thanks to the efforts of the late Bill Foot who with his wife, hiked the entire AT. Foot, while battling cancer, did the work that made the AT’s longest pedestrian footbridge across the James river a reality. After his death the bridge was named the James River Foot Bridge.
When I got to the top of this look up I was so excited I forgot to make sure my cap was secure due to how strong the wind was. Needless to say my hat flew off and went down the side of the mountain. I saw it nestled on rocks against a tree branch and thought to myself; if I was 20 years younger I could see exactly how I would’ve got down to pick it up and how I would’ve got back up.
Of course these days I’m not that sure of myself and my abilities therefore me going down to retrieve it was never going to happen.
However I began to experiment with my trekking poles trying to make a stick long enough perhaps to somehow pick it up. Right about this time a couple came upon the scene and the gentleman had a fishing pole in his car, so he offered to go back and get it and fish my hat up which he did and I was so very grateful.
I am so often walking along a ridgeline or on the verge of a mountain, I sometimes forget how vast the area is around the trail until coming across a valley like the one below. It is becoming so hot and dry, I am slowing down during the day and the lack of water is making it that much more arduous due to the amount of water I am having to carry. Bring on the rain I say, there is nothing nicer, then hiking in the rain while it is hot.
There have been a lot of different styles of shelters along the AT some are two stories, a barn, one had three levels, and this one below I thought was quite cool as it actually had windows and that’s a first that I’ve seen on any of the shelters so far.
Rock climbing has become more and more a part of the trail. I really enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to climb up and over the rocks and boulders. This is lucky as there is a lot more to come.
Imposter and Poisidon are going to Aquablaze (travel via water) for a while from Waynesboro. They asked if I wanted to join them, I considered the offer but thought I would carry on by foot for the moment. I have been looking forward to entering the Shenandoah National Park. Apparently there are food vans along the way which will be a nice change. I head out early tomorrow and am excited about it. 😊