Howdy folks! Sorry for the long radio silence. I have been busy, and the plans have changed a bit, let’s get you up to speed.
7/17 Left Waynesboro and got a ride from Listener to the trailhead. He was doing work for stay at Stanimals due to an injured knee. He was one of the only good things about the hostel. Got to hike all day with Littlefoot and Webster, who got her trail name for carrying a dictionary for the first 500 miles. Yes, a dictionary, for entertainment, and not a pocket sized one either, a full sized, heavy, dictionary. She said she wouldn’t be able to focus on a novel at the end of the day and probably couldn’t even focus enough to read a full page. So would only have enough energy to read one word at a time, and the only book you can do that with is the dictionary. We all got into camp late, as did a group of guys Tank, Pirate, Paladin, Sunny, and Heisenberg. We finally caught up to the other Sunny, an Asian man from New York, not the Sunny from Canada that we just said goodbye to.
7/18 Woke up at 5 am to alarms going off for the guys to try and catch sunrise on top of black rock summit, just a half mile up trail. I was unable to fall back asleep and Littlefoot and I planned to get up at 6 anyway. Black rock summit was very nice, the ridge runner we had run into the previous day had said it was the best view in the park. After a fairly mellow morning we stopped at a camp store that had very clean bathrooms and Gatorade. We had some lunch and continued on. As we passed the side trail to the first wayside restaurant in the Shenandoah’s, which we planned to skip as it was 0.6 miles off trail, Littlefoot decided she really wanted a famous blackberry milkshake. So, we stopped in for milkshakes and some more food. The shakes were great, but the food was low quality other than their burgers. Unfortunately, I don’t eat beef.
7/19 I didn’t feel great at the end of the day yesterday. I haven’t had a full day without feeling crappy at some point or another in the last week and 1/2. Decided that I needed some time off and got a ride into town while Littlefoot went on. I ended up getting some McDonald’s and hanging out in an outdoor store that had a hiker lounge in the back. I watched a few movies, took a shower, and drank some Gatorade to try and get some more fluids in me. I then got a ride to a campground along skyline drive in the Shenandoah National Park and met Littlefoot for dinner and to spend the night. I hoped that I would feel better in the morning and could continue hiking.
7/20 I did not feel better in the morning and knew that I needed a few days off trail. Unfortunately, now is not the best time for that, so instead I stayed behind at camp and called for a ride to a nearby bike shop. My plan is to rent a bike and ride along skyline drive and meet Littlefoot at various parking lots and places the trail crosses the road. This way I will hopefully be expending less energy but still be able to see her. As of writing this the morning of the 20th my plan is to get off in Harpers ferry for a few days to a week to try and get better. Either way, whether it’s coming back to hike or driving back down to be Littlefoots support team, I will be back.
After the 20th I did not have the energy at the end of the night to recap the days events. I did however get to that bike shop and bike along skyline drive, meeting up with Littlefoot at road crossings. We enjoyed a nice lunch at the Big Meadows Lodge and the next day a nice dinner and air-conditioned room at the Skyland Resort. Biking uphill did not prove to be any easier than hiking up them and did not give me the rest I was looking for. The downhills after the climbs however were amazing. There weren’t many flat sections of road on Skyline Drive, it was either uphill or downhill (most of the time steep). Which meant hard climbs but nice, fast descents, and the breeze felt great.
My parents visited us that weekend and I decided that I needed some time off. I took a week off at home, which felt weird. When I got home it felt like I had never left. It seemed that the whole hike, the whole experience of the AT had just been one long dream. I spent that week, with the help of my parents, building a camper in the back of my truck. My dad and I built a platform with some plywood and 2x4’s that can probably hold upwards of a thousand pounds (that’s not a joke). He tends to go overboard on construction projects, but at least I know that the bed will survive an earthquake. Trying to work around everyone’s schedules and build the camper in a short amount of time kept us on our toes. Thank you again to both mom and dad for the help, I cannot thank you guys enough. So, with an oil change, some new tires, and freshly painted rims, the Hippie Mobile was ready to roll out to PA, where Littlefoot had made it too.
I was very excited to see Littlefoot again, after having spent so much time together a week felt like a month. She had also caught up to Casper and Lard, two other thru hikers we had run into many times on the trail. After they had attempted the half gallon challenge, where you try to eat a ½ gallon of ice-cream in one sitting, they waited in Furnace Grove state park, with showers, picnic tables, and a lake. I drove everyone to Cracker Barrel for dinner and Littlefoot and I found a place to park for the night. Now that we are caught up on that, back to Hippie Tales…
8/2 Woke up to a light rain in the middle of the night coming through the side windows and had to shut them. Luckily, with the fan going it did not get too hot in the truck. We arrived back at the picnic area for 7, waiting for Lard and Casper. I brushed my teeth and washed my face in the bathrooms and filled up my water bottles. I am slack packing Littlefoot, Casper, and Lard today. I hiked the first 2.5 miles with them to a view and then ran back to the park and jumped in the lake. It was very refreshing and cool. I then did some yoga on the grass while my solar battery charged up. I met the other three at a road crossing to give Lard his tent so that he could dry it out and stopped for lunch at a nearby general store (they have free WIFI, which is allowing me to make this post). I plan to meet the group in Boiling Springs, where the trail walks right through and then at another road crossing to finish their, wait for it, 30 miles day! I also called the post office I had another solar battery sent to and made sure they could hold it for me. I am excited to get it tomorrow hopefully, so that I can start running the fridge. I think I need to do a truck tour soon. The plan now is to slack pack Littlefoot for the next two weeks before our trip to Montana and do some day hiking in the area and on the AT. I am excited to try and capture some good photos now that I can bring my heavy camera and get to relax in nature. Glad to be back.
And do not fret, this is not the end of my adventures nor the end to my AT journey. I will be coming back to thru hike at some point and will most likely finish the section hike I have already started.