Adventure Travel Q4, What’s the funniest thing someone said to you while out in the backcountry?:
I said to my first NOBO encounter of 2013 on 3/21/13 in the Shenandoas, “You look like a bonafide hiker.”
I was looking for conversation with this 50s ish guy who looked worn and rugged enough to possibly be the first thruhiker I had run into since late October/early November. I had been thinking about this moment for a while now and discussing it with Napster. We decided we needed to stop whomever it was on the trail no matter how much of a power hiker they were because they had to hear our story. We had hiked through the winter to finish our 2012 AT thru hike. I even had gold star stickers in my pack for whoever the lucky guy/gal to meet us would be. See, after a while on the trail, you do start to develop a bit of a rockstar ego about your hike, in a way. And this, a meeting of some of the last thrus of 2012 and some of the first of 2013 would be the ultimate meeting of two very different kinds of rockstars. This fit, thin man with shaggy salt and pepper hair answered, “You look like someone who won’t get shot.”
See I was thruhiking the SOBO part of my flip flop and hadn’t changed my hat and packcover since the beginning of hunting season in October when Napster and I were in New Hampshire. It was funny to see myself through someone else’s eyes and know that upon first glance, it is odd to wear that much blaze orange in March. But it was my winter thruhiker gettup and I think I only had outfit variations about once per season. And once my second spring on the trail hit, I was too close to being done to update, upgrade, or repair any of my clothing or gear. I think in the world of hiking, most people setting off on a 100 mile hike would want to have their gear updated and in full repair. But for me, at the start of my last 100 miles, I was almost done! It would have seemed comical at the time to repair or replace anything I had with me unless vitally necessary.
Went from Buena Vista, VA to Waynesboro by foot arriving 7/18/12
Walked a bit in the Shenandoahs. Aquablazed about 40 miles of the Shenandoah River from Port Republic to Alma, VA starting about 7/22/12. Had a tornado scare and got off the river for a night and ended up at the Massanutten resort for a night. Wow. Check them out. Their outfitter, Mass Adventures, helped my canoe partner and I a lot.
Dubois dropped Napster and I off and picked us up from the river and yellow blazed us up to Harpers Ferry where we took the train to D.C. and then to Rhodes Island. Spent a day there and got to see David and Amberly. Then Napster’s parents drove us to North Adams, MA to go to MASS MoCA and see Wilco. Both were an amazing time.
Did I mention there are berries? I first started finding ripe ones around June 20th. This is very different from what I’m used to, since most of my backpacking had happened in Northern Ontario up until now. I don’t remember them being ripe until mid to late July there. Maybe August. The bonus? When I flip to Maine soon, berry season will be just beginning there. Yum.
Tues. 6/26/12: Lambert’s Meadow Campsite to Daleville, VA
Wed. 6/27/12: Zero in Daleville
Thurs. 6/28/12: Unplanned zero in Daleville due to heat and a Trampled by Turtles outdoor concert in the p.m.
Fri. 6/29/12: 5 mi from Daleville to Fullhardt Knob Shelter. Hiked in the early a.m. to try and beat the heat. Slept through the height of the heat and then got that huge wind storm right before I was gonna leave on a night hike. (that storm caused blowdowns all over the forest and knocked out power in the region down there. It took a lot of people a week to get electricity back and a lot lost their water too. It was hot, but it was a good time to be camping after that storm.)
Sat. 6/30/12: 4.3 mi from Fullhardt Knob to Blackhorse Gap next to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Sun. 7/1/12: 4.9 mi from Blackhorse Gap to Bobblets Gap Shelter. (Slayer and Puddle Jumper caught up. It was nice to camp somewhere w/good water again. Met Dana and Sean there in the a.m.)
Mon. 7/2/12: 9.7 mi from Bobblets Gap Shelter to Jennings Creek -VA 614. (The heat was slightly less oppressive that day.)
Tue. 7/3/12: 3.8 mi from Jennings Creek to Bryant Ridge Shelter. (Swam in Jennings Creek for most of the day. There are some incredible swimming holes there, more than just by the bridge. Waited out a storm in the afternoon and then got back on the trail a bit.)
Wed. 7/4/12: Zero at Bryant Ridge Shelter. (It was too hot again. This is one of the most beautiful shelters I’ve seen so far. It reminded me of a giant tree house.)
Thur. 7/5/12: 13.5 mi from Bryant Ridge Shelter to Harrison Ground Spring Campsite. (Passed the Guillotine that day, met a dude hiking w/2 huskies, met Taos.)
Fri. 7/6/12: 11.3 mi from Harrison Ground Spring to US 501 to Glasgow, VA hiker shelter in town.
Sat. 7/7/12: 1.7 mi from Glasgow to Johns Hollow Shelter
Sun. 7/8/12: Zero at Johns Hollow Shelter. (4 months on the trail. Another crazy hot day.)
Mon. 7/9/12: 8.8 mi from Johns Hollow Shelter to Punchbowl Shelter. (It was pretty creepy there…but not haunted.)
Tue. 7/10/12: 9.5 mi from Punchbowl Shelter to Brown Mountain Creek Shelter. (Met Hopeful and Milk Sweats.)
Wed. 7/11/12: 1.8 mi from Brown Mountain Creek Shelter to US 60 to Buena Vista, VA. (Buena Vista is a great little trail town. Once I was in town people just would pull over to see if I needed a ride anywhere. A nice couple took me to the good grocery store in town and even waited for me to finish shopping to take me to Glen Maury Park where there was camping for $5 and free showers. Excellent.)
I actually was able to tag and label some of the pictures this time. Doing them 100 at a time is not so bad with the new flash uploader. Uploading the videos is taking forever. I hope they work!
I spent it resupplying, packing food, and exchanging some cold weather gear for summer weight gear. I also got to eat at the Pizza Plus buffet next door, which I tweeted about earlier. They have an amazing view out their huge windows. Some more hikers checked in today and played guitar and sang for a few hours this afternoon. It rocked my world. And I am in the process of loading about 300 pictures onto Flickr thanks to the Fort Bastian Recreation Dojo in Bastian, VA where they have been kind enough to let me Bogart their computer for HOURS this evening.
My next endeavor will be to get some sleep so I can hike a bit tomorrow and get started on breaking in my new trail runners with hopefully not too much damage to my feet. And then move on to trying to finish hiking through Virginia in a month.
I would really like to write about yesterday, which for me is still June 7th. The memory jog I will use for that great day is: “Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning.”
It was a great and very lucky day for Napster and I. We found and got picked up and taken to the Dojo by complete coincidence and happenstance. It was all just perfectly timed. But for now this is all I can stay up to write.
I officially crossed into Virginia yesterday and it was an amazing feeling. It’s a good thing too, because I’ll be here for awhile. Something like a third of the trail is in this state. If you want a more exact number than that, you’ll have to look it up yourself. :)
My camera/phone was dead but I was lucky to meet Spike along the trail who captured the moment for me.