Appalachian Trail, 6/16/22, mile 980.5

Woke up at 7:30-ish. In all actuality, i was up most of the night, in and out of sweat dreams. If you have Thru hiked or long term camped, during the heat of summer…you know what i mean 😭. Dreams are super intense when #1, you are sleep deprived and #2, it’s hot as heck! Plus i was super worried about bears.

Daily “logistics” plan

Today we will finally be leaving the Shenandoah’s!! Yay! I am so friggen happy to be out of here. I mean, it’s super beautiful and the people have been so friendly, but we are so close to Harper’s Ferry and home, that i just wanna move forward. I can’t wait to get home for a couple of days and take a proper shower, wash everything and scrub the car out. I also want to drop unneeded supplies and streamline our load. We are almost halfway through.

I know people want to hear all the happy thoughts, rainbows and butterflies but, this is work. Really hard work. You plan as much as you can for the next day but never really know how it will work out. There are so many unknown factors that can crop up. And i KNOW, my husband is doing the walking work and carrying his backpack load. I get it. Cry me a river… but damn, logistics is hard work. Throw in biting bugs. Dirt in everything. And my hair is so matted I am beginning to have one big dreadlock. Not to mention smells i didn’t know i had. *sigh*

So let’s sum up the AT through the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah National Parks. It all kind of runs together. It’s spectacular as far as scenery! The floral and fauna are truly amazing. The wayside stores every 20-miles or so can be a life saver. This allows you to shed days worth of food weight. The water sources on trail were hit or miss, so had to carry a little more water.

After 4-5 days, it does all run together though. It took a solid ten days to complete this section.

Dropped Jake-a-Lope back on trail, we are due to meet up in a couple of hours. Oops! Well, i didn’t plan that well, the Ranger Station is not actually a place we can meet up. No vehicle roads accessible. So we will meet at Fort Royal around 12:30/1p.

Gorgeous morning views!

Finally got to Front Royal. My back right tire was a little flat, so got that taken care of and found the meet up spot. Ran in to “Day Owl” and “Mowgli”. Offered them both an ice cold beer and had some nice convo. They both needed a ride in to Front Royal which i agreed to after Jake shows up for his cold refreshment!

Jake-a-Lope showed up, right on time looking super hot 🥵. He slugged a couple of beers and hit the trail again. I dropped the two hikers off and headed forward to the next meet up. This is where i found out that not all “dirt roads” listed in FarOut are actually accessible. Yet another meetup is not possible. So frustrating. I decided to swing ahead to the final meet up spot at Mile 980. Picked up some KFC (chicken) along the way. He should be here around 4:30.

There is a huge storm blowing in, doesn’t look good. It’s now raining very heavily and it’s 4:35.. no Jake yet. There is a lot of thunder and some lightning. Hope he is ok.

Heavy downpour

4:43 and Jake just rolled in! Whew! I always get worried when he runs late. 🤷‍♀️ i love seeing his face after a long day! I immediately helped him get his pack off and handed him a cold beer. The rain was just starting to push off to the East, so it was starting to cool down a bit.

Another hiker walked up and asked if we were together. I think looking for a shuttle maybe… we said “yes, together” and asked if he was Thru hiking? He said yes and we offered him a beer 🍺 He looked so grateful and stoped to chat a bit. His trail name is “Heineken” and he is from the Netherlands. He owns a micro-brewery just outside of Edam called Waterland or something?? Heineken formally worked for a private equity company in marketing and then left after many years to open his microbrewery and tap room! I immediately felt horrible that i had given him a PBR! Geez… he was very gracious though and said that after a hot hike, a Pilsner was perfect! Nice guy! He and Jake-a-lope had great convo about the current market issues and also about the history of this area with slavery and Thomas Jefferson. It’s little moments like this that make the trail worthwhile. Taking a few minutes to connect with another human. 😃

We said our goodbyes, then set to the task of where to sleep for the night. I opted for hotel, as we had been sleeping outdoors exclusively for three weeks now and i really wanted a proper shower and a dry nights sleep!

Happy “camper” in our first hotel room for a while!

No book reading tonight, but we did enjoy the showers and a nice Pinot Noir!!


Published by Analiese Kennedy

Ecology and anything outdoors is my Jam! We love exploring new places and connecting with others over a good meal and wine.

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