We got up bright (kind of) and early to beat some of the predicted 90+ degree heat and 300% humidity of the day. We got hiking a bit before 6:30am, which guarantees that you clear all the spider webs for the other hikers later in the day. We had a few ascents and descents to get out of the park. We had a couple nice views from North and South Marshall mountains.
Marshall mountain view of Skyline Drive
We bid farewell to the park and Skyline Drive after crossing it for the 623rd (perhaps a slight exaggeration). The heat and humidity was really kicking in by the time we descended down to US 522. We hitched a ride in to town from a friendly farmer in the back of his truck. He asked how many bears we saw and how active they were in the park and then told us about how much of a royal pain they are to his livestock and crops. He got a 2 week hunting permit last year he said and he shot 14 of them on his farm. Wow…Mmm…Bear jerky. Continue reading
Today was a lot more of the same as the other days in the park. The morning trails were quite rocky and tough on the feet. We heard and read some things that most of the tread in the park was smooth, but I’d say that’s only about 50% the case. We had a nice view of Skyline Drive from above at Little Stony Man Cliffs in the morning.
The ever present Skyline Drive from Little Stony Man Cliffs
We saw two bears today, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. These guys are smallish and kind of cute and I might try to cuddle one tomorrow. I don’t know, perhaps that is not a good idea.
Slightly better picture of a bear in Shenandoah
If you want to see bears, come here. That’s 5 we’ve seen in the park in 4 days (plus the one right outside the park). We talked to a thru-hiker at the Wayside today who said he has seen 13 bears in his 4 days in the park. He almost got renamed to “Bear Bait.” Continue reading
Ugh WordPress deleted my original post. Huge Wtf. Rage!
We made it through the night and day without any bears. We had a nice camp spot near the summit of Blackrock. I scrambled up to the top before we left camp since I didn’t get a chance to last night with the lightning.
View from summit of Blackrock scramble
We kept on trucking through the park the rest of the day. There were a lot of volunteers out today from the Potomac Trail Club doing maintenance. Many thanks to these awesome people. It was literally the first time I have seen the trail being mowed with a push mower, so that was amusing. Continue reading
We had breakfast at the B&B in Waynesboro with Chase and Jen and then they took us back to the trail. It was awesome to see them. Continue reading
Today was an excellent and super fun zero day hanging out with Chase and Jen. We went to 2 local wineries (Veritas and Afton) and a local brewpub (Blue Mountain) for some tastings. We also hung out at the Tree Streets pool again and had a nice dinner in town at The Green Leaf. It’s been awesome to see some friendly faces! Tomorrow it’s back on the trail as we head into Shenandoah National Park.
We survived the night without any bear visits that we were aware of at least. We got some more heavy thunderstorms and rain overnight, which seems to be a trend now. The hike down to Waynesboro this morning was hot and humid, but otherwise pretty smooth, quick, and uneventful. Continue reading
Usually I write these from inside the tarp, but tonight I’m sitting out on a rock cliff watching the sunset here. It’s fantastic and makes a tough and sweaty day like today totally worth it.
View from Humpback Mountain that I'm looking at as I write this blog post
We got a late start today because the first shuttle back to the trail (which is about 9 miles or so from town) ran at 10:30am. This gave us a leisurely start to the day. Blue Dog includes a breakfast sandwich and coffee with the price of staying in the hostel. The grub was quite excellent. We were bummed we didn’t get to try this place for dinner as they are closed on Sundays.
The owner and her husband are hunters. Also, the scrawls on the wall are thru-hiker signatures (they encourage this behavior)
We shuttled back to the trail with fellow thru-hikers JRex, Daddy Long Legs, and Baby Steps, all who are very cool and nice. Hopefully we see them up the trail somewhere. Continue reading
We woke up and hit the trail by about 7:15am. Most of the trail we covered today was pretty standard, winding through national forest areas, over small streams and creeks, and near interesting stuff. In this case we walked past the Brown Mountain Creek Community area (where some former slaves lived post-Civil war) and the Lynchburg reservoir. We got to US 60 around 11:30, where we got a shuttle to Buena Vista (after some minor shuttle shenanigans). We are staying at the Blue Dog Art Cafe, which has a small hostel in an upstairs apartment. It’s decent for a hostel. Continue reading