Besides a couple hot spots on the bottom of my feet, everything feels pretty good. I haven’t been pushing bigger miles for fear of injury, and it seems to be working out. The people passing me are doing 20-30 miles per day, but they have a couple advantages. First, they’re coming from the Springer Mountain, the southern terminus, and thus have 900 miles of trail legs. Second, they’re between 20 and 30 years old, for which no amount of experiences will help me. So, my miles will increase, but unlikely to get much past 20 per day.
Day 5 – Route 33 to Bearfence Mountain hut (9 miles)
Day 6 – Bearfence Mountain hut to Rockspring hut (12 miles)
Day 7 – Rockspring hut to Thornton Gap (14 miles)
Day 8 – Taking a -0- at the Open Arms Hostel
Rather than a rundown of my daily doings, I’m going to provide my general impressions of the hike and Shenandoah.
Of course, it’s all good.
- The people – The 87-year-old I met said he hikes because hikers always smile, and he’s right. Everyone I’ve met has been polite, positive and happy. We’re not making lasting relationships, but try to have a positive effect on each other.
- The Trail – The southern portion of the trail was easier than expected. A lot of effort goes into maintaining a trail. Those who work the trail have a difficult job, so please be sure to thank them when you see them. Check out the sunset from my tent at one of the sites.
- The Views – The Shenandoah trail brings you between the east and west sides of the mountains. Each view is unique and worth the trip up the hill. I wish you could see what I’m seeing.
- The weather – I’ve had some cold mornings and one nighttime storm, but the days have been clear and I’ve yet to be rained upon.
- The spring flowers – are popping open.
- I miss my wife. The greatest view in the world isn’t complete unless you have someone to share it with. I wish she were seeing everything with me.
- Sunburn – I’m applying each day and mostly staying out of trouble.
- Trail food – Dehydrated meals and energy bars get tiresome real fast.
- Invasive vines – Invasive plants are everywhere. In some areas of Shenandoah, it’s unfortunately plainly visible that the trees are losing the battle with the vines. The vines outgrow the trees and eventually pull them down. New tree growth will ever be able to outcompete the vines.
I’ve passed four Shenandoah waysides at this point and still no grills open or famous blackberry milkshakes.
I have experienced my first Trail Magic! At one of the campsites, some ex-thru hikers set up a grill and pizza oven and proceeded to pull hikers off the trail and feed them like there’s no tomorrow. Truly magic.
The views around the Skyland resort are by far the best in Shenandoah. You’re looking west on the farms of Shenandoah valley across to the Massanutten Mountains. Come see it if you can.
Heavy rain was forecasted for today, so I took a -0- and thus have time to blog. Alison at the Open Arms Hostel is a hard-working lady. She takes incredibly good care of the hikers.
That’s all for now. Thanks for listening.
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