Thursday, June 27, 2019

Appalachian Trail: Buena Vista, VA To Waynesboro, VA

Like the last leg, this leg was tough.  The weather - specifically the heat and humidity - are beginning to take a toll.  They keep saying it will be easier ahead.  Whoever 'They' are are full of it most of the time. 

There are some views outside of the
green tunnel of Virginia.
Day 81 - The shuttle driver who picked me up coming in dropped me off going out.   On the drive out he said I should have stayed in Lexington and I would agree.  Lexington seems like a nicer place than Buena Vista.  He also told me some hike naked day stories.

As usual, leaving town meant climbing up to the top of a ridge.  It was slow going but I felt ok.  The big green tunnel was pretty evident on this section of the Appalachian Trail (AT).  There was the occasional view but they were few and far between.

As the day progressed the temperature and humidity rose making hiking more difficult.  The humidity is especially energy sapping.  Water sources are fewer in this section so more water needs to be carried meaning a heavier pack and a harder day.

Along the trail I caught up with Red Bush, a thru-hiker I'd met a week or so back.  Other then him, there were few North bound thru-hikers in the area.

I did a 14 mile (22 km) day but the humidity made it feel farther.

Day 82 - I left camp at my usual early time.  I reached Spy Rock and considered doing the rock scramble to the supposed awesome views.  I decided against it since I had to get to my destination.

After I left Spy Rock I mentally kicked myself down the trail.  Why was I doing the AT?   Was it for the miles or for the sights and sounds of the trail?  Why would I pass up a rock scramble?  This isn't the first time I've skipped a viewpoint and regretted it.  Sometimes you have to remind yourself why you are doing something so you do it right.

The shelter log of the Priest Mountain Shelter has become a confessional.
I stopped at the first shelter which is the Priest Mountain shelter for a rest and snack.  The shelter log has become a confessional with people leaving hilarious confessions.  One of my favorites said: "Forgive me father for today I brushed my teeth with a Milky Way. "  I wrote my own confession before moving on.

After the summit of Priest Mountain came a 3,100 ft (945 m) decent.  It was rocky and difficult and was a preview of what was to come after I reached the bottom and crossed over a suspension bridge.

When I reached the shelter I was aiming for I was tired and sweaty.  The humidity was worse than the day before.  Looking at my AT Guide I decided tomorrow was going to be a longer day.  What was I thinking?

There is in fact flat land in Virginia but AT hikers only see it from afar.
Day 83 - I was going to do a 22 mile (35 km) day.  I was going to get as close to Waynesboro as I could get.  I was not thinking clearly.

The day started with a steep mountain climb and then went on forever.  I reached my original target campsite and decided I'd had enough.  My 22 mile day turned into a 14.7 mile (23.6 km) day instead.  The campsite actually had a view which made it nice.  Only one hiker passed by the rest of the day.

That night I regretted not pushing hard when a storm rolled in and I was in my tent listening to the thunder, wind, and rain ... at the top of a mountain.

A copperhead snake about a foot long.
Day 84 - I woke up, packed my wet tent, and made record time hiking to Rockfish Gap where I could get a shuttle to the hostel.  I was going for a hotel but the hostel was perfectly located close to everything.

Several hikers I knew who were behind me, including Spaceman, Sunshine, and Red Bush, caught up during my zero day so maybe I will have company in Shenandoah National Park.

I resupplied for three days of food.  This should cover the next seven days because of multiple opportunities to get a cooked meal and some limited resupply along the trail through the park.  A lighter pack should make it a bit easier I hope.

Pictures can be found in my 2019 Appalachian Trail Google Photos album.

Total Distance: 863.7 Miles (1,390.0 km)
Section Distance: 55.9 Miles (90.0 km)
Section Elevation Up: 12,743 ft (3,884 m)
Section Elevation Down: 13,035 ft (3,973 m)


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