Homer's Travels: Appalachian Trail: Daleville, VA To Buena Vista, VA

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Appalachian Trail: Daleville, VA To Buena Vista, VA

UPDATED 10-24-2020

This was when Virginia started getting hard.  The mountains kept coming with only a few interesting views to break up the long green tunnel.

I also entered a void between bubbles this week with the number of thru-hikers dwindling.

Overall a hard week with few interesting things and few people to commiserate with.

Day 75 - I got up early, had my hotel breakfast waffle and hit the Appalachian Trail (AT) early.  I climbed the inevitable mountain out of town and stopped for a rest near the top at Fullhardt Knob Shelter.  This is where I removed and forgot my hat.  I didn't realize my loss until several miles later. I continued on the hope the email address written in the hat would help the hat get back to me.

Along the trail I noticed an odd stone on the top of a rock outcropping.  The stone had text and, as I looked closer, a lid on the bottom.  Inside the 'stone' was a note saying this is not the cache and that I should keep looking.  Seems I found part of a geocache called Old Fart's Knob.  This is not the first time I've found a geocache without the GPS coordinates.  I still had a ways to go so I didn't look for the actual cache.

The AT follows the Blue Ridge Parkway along a beautiful ridge with views on both sides.  Along the way the trail takes you to overlooks (with trash cans!!!).  At one overlook the father of a thru-hiker was giving out trail magic.

I made it to Bobblets Gap Shelter as the air thundered.  It didn't rain though.  I met Red Bush and a few other thru-hikers here.

One step at a time.  One third of the trail is behind me.
On this leg of the trail I began experimenting with Mountain House replacements.  I packed chicken packets, tortillas, and Velveeta cheese.  I liked making and eating the wraps but my food bag was so much heavier.  My pack felt like a ton heavier.  Mountain House meals are expensive but they are also very light.

Day 76 - Another long day with lots of up and down.  I left the shelter and climbed up and down all day.  I stopped at the beautiful Bryant Ridge Shelter to rest.  The shelter is at the base of a twenty-four hundred foot ridge.  I thought about stopping here and doing the climb tomorrow but decided against it.  This would have pushed the next day to over twenty miles and the climb would have changed from a twenty-four hundred foot climb to thirty-one hundred foot climb instead.

A view along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The climb was tough and a bit wet due to a burst of rain but I made it to the next shelter.  There I was joined by two young women (Cali and Little Debbie) who proceeded to have the most vapid conversations for the next five hours.  Frankly I am not interested in how many times they have 'hooked up' with guys on the trail or how well proportioned their asses are.

The girls brought their food into the shelter when the rain started and I woke to screeches as a mouse decided to join them.  Live and learn ladies.

Day 77 - More up today.  A pattern was forming for this part of the trail.  Lots of long climbs followed by lots of down.  Making it worse the humidity was high and I was usually soaked in sweat. My pants were soaked through in sweat and never dried out the last three days on the trail.

The Guillotine.
This day marked the highest peak of this section of trail.  The trail passes under the guillotine before dropping down to the James River.  I stopped in a shelter just before the river. 

The shelters have been fairly empty for the past few days.  I have only shared the shelter with two or three people.  Most of my hiking day has been alone passing other hikers infrequently.

Day 78 - After three eighteen mile days over rather challenging terrain I shortened my next day down to just over twelve miles.  The trail follows the James River until it crosses over the longest foot bridge on the AT.  Strangely enough the James River Foot Bridge was the brainchild of a Mr. Foot who was very active with the AT.

After the bridge the trail started climbing up again.  I started meeting people I thought were a day ahead of me but they had all stopped for a nearo in Glasgow, VA.  This may explain the lack of hikers the past couple days.  They are now, once again, ahead of me.

The longest footbridge on the AT over the James River.
I stopped at a shelter near the high point of the day and spent the night.  I told a Ridgerunner about my hat.  He told me how he was proud of his clean privies.

Days 79 & 80 - I hiked the eleven miles to a wayside.  I was planning to call a shuttle but I had no cell reception.  I was considering walking the nine miles into town when a shuttle guy pulled up.  He'd been called by someone else but they weren't there so he took me into town.  Dumb luck.

My home for a couple nights.
The motel I was in was a bit run down but it served its purpose.  After having trouble figuring out where to catch the 50¢ shuttle, I took the it to the Walmart in Lexington to resupply and I've been filling my belly with fuel.  I'm going back to Mountain House meals.

I received an email about my hat.  It will soon be going home via the postal service.  Hopefully I'll have it back by Harper's Ferry.

Tomorrow I shuttle back out to the trail and in four days should be in Waynesboro, VA.

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

Total Distance: 808.5 Miles (1,301.2 km)
Section Distance: 81.7 Miles (131.5 km)
Section Elevation Up: 18,098 ft (5,516 m)
Section Elevation Down: 17,274 ft (5,265 m)

1 comment:

  1. You might not run into too many people, but I am always looking for your updates and how you are doing. Keep going.