Somewhere near Simmons Gap [mile 893]
Got the usual 12 and change today. I did a couple of things right, though. I kept hiking after a dinner break, and I rinsed my shirt. Actually, both my upper layers. I stripped half-nekkid af a shelter and did trail laundry. Sort of. Soapless trail laundry, because my soap exploded and I haven’t replaced it. And I totally screwed up the timing, and now my clothes are in my tent all wet and cold for tomorrow. This is why I need a keeper! I need to master the art of trail laundry if i want to make up some time.
Also, I wanted to try something with my tent configuration, so I tried it, and it’s a fail. But I’m not getting out of the tent to fix it. Hope it’s OK overnight!
Last night it rained. When I woke up, though, the rain had passed, leaving gray, indecisive skies. The tent was pretty dry, though (and the footprint was mostly dry, which surprised me). Even at 7:30, it felt like it was going to be hot and muggy. And that turned out to be true in spades.
So I walked. I walked and walked and walked, mostly through jungle that was full of poison ivy—you know. Typical Virginia! The going was easy enough: ups and downs, but not many roots or rocks. There were a lot of dayhikers and section hikers out today, from Boy Scout troops to families with dogs. I can’t blame them: Shenandoah is pretty outstanding.
Even the camping rules are reasonable, once you get over the initial shock of being hit with a bunch of numbers (ie, camp 50 yards from this and 20 yards from that, etc, etc). The stealth sites are a little stealthier, but I haven’t been caught high and dry yet.
I was thinking about doing a Smokies vs Shenandoah cagematch, except there’s no comparison. Shenandoah wins hands down. Then again, I was in the Smokies during the Winter That Wouldn’t Die.
So I walked some more. And eventually I got to Loft Mountain Wayside. It felt like I’d just been there yesterday! (I was just there yesterday. It’s where Janet and Karen took me for delicious food.) I had a cheeseburger and charged my phone a bit, then left and walked some more. I met a couple of section hikers on the way out: Smurf and Cub. We leapfrogged a bit this afternoon.
Uneventful day. 😉 I didn’t see any bears, but apparently I was close to one. It startled some dayhikers with their golden retriever.
During the afternoon, the sky clobbered fhe trail with a sudden thunderstorm. I’d stopped at a shelter for water and a snack. That’s where I washed my shirt. D’oh. I could have waited and let the rain do it! But at least this way I’m not lugging 487 pounds of wet pack.
After the rain, I got up close and personal with two deer and a star-spangled salamander (black with white spots). They were photo ops! But alas, in the rain I’d stowed the phone in my pack. So no wildlife pics.
Oh! One wildlife pic! Earlier today, when I went to the Loft Mountain camp store, I saw a bunny. Shenandoah. It’s like Watership Down, but without the bad rabbits.
Uh-oh. I hear thunder. And raindrops! Guess my tent experiment is getting more of a workout than I’d planned!