Blogs 48-18

Day 47...A Bear! Two Bears!!!

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We climbed into the car and headed off to the trailhead about 30 minutes later than we wanted.  Five minutes down the road, I looked at my watch and realized it wasn't there. So we turned around and headed back to the ranch to pick it up. We finally arrived at the trailhead at 10 am.

It is very different to hike in a group.  We talked a lot more and were much louder. Bonnie told me that she just changed jobs to a new one working as a marketing assistant at PI Architects. She is going to start a couple days after she gets home. Which is awesome, because I also work there part time as the Director of Miscellaneous.

I expected to see more people once we got into the Shenandoah's, but we really didn't. We only met 5 backpackers today. However, we did see 2 bears, and they weren't small!  The first one we saw was right after we crossed a road and he was running away from us. The second bear we ran into about 30 minutes later.  We heard someone up the trail yelling. David who was at the front of our line, stopped and said, look it's a bear. The bear looked at us, then took off into the woods.

As we normally do when first arrive at camp, David and I got our food bag out and took everything out so we could get what we needed for dinner. We never can seem to do anything at the end of the day without completely emptying our packs.

It was very nice to be able to slow it down, this day was very relaxing. If only we could just hike like 15 miles each day and still finish in time to go back to school!

Miles: 13.2

Location: Latitude: 38.14008, Longitude: -78.77822
Rockfish Gap to unofficial camp site

Day 46...Waynesboro Goal

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Today, Plant and I slept in till 6:00 am, it was great. All we had to do was about 18 miles to the Gap, where we could then hitch hike into town.

The hike went smoothly.  We only stopped twice, and that was for what we called going on a adventure (going number 2 in the woods), and then for lunch. 

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When I got to Rockfish Gap, which is 1 mile from were the Shenandoah National Park begins, a lady pulled up and asked if I needed a ride into town.  I said yes, but I was waiting on someone.  She drove off, and not a minute later Plant arrived. So, we had to hitch hike. On our way to the place where we needed to stick out our thumbs, there was a popcorn truck. We bought what turned out to be too much Chicago style popcorn, a mix of caramel and cheese, it was very tasty.

We were lucky and landed a ride in less than 5 minutes, with an older gentlemen, who was out with his hiking club. He asked where we are from and we told him "Austin Tx".  He than shared that he used to work in Austin for an asphalt researcher. He dropped us off at the Wal-Mart. 

Since Plant and I did not really have a plan as far as what groceries we needed, we went over to a pizza place across the street, and planned out our next resupply point.

My Aunt Astrid and Uncle Tuttle picked us up when we had finished shopping, and took us to their ranch about 20 minutes outside of Waynesboro.  When we got there, they showed us around and headed to pick up Bonnie and Riley from the airport in Charlottesville, VA

For 45 minutes, Plant and I, just kind of sat there and stared. Finally, we decided to divide up all the food and take showers. We met Cutch who 'plays anything with strings' and his kids who stay in the guest house. He was busy teaching music lessons and and band practice. We met his four kids:  Bèla, Finn, Sawyer, and Sage.

By the time Bonnie and Riley arrived, it was about 9 o'clock.  It was 10 pm, when we finished dinner.  I haven't been up that late since before I left on this expedition.

Plant and I stayed in the guest house and Bonnie and Riley in the main house. 

Miles 17.6
Some where on the AT around mile marker (844.3) to Rockfish Gap.

Location: Latitude: 38.14008, Longitude: -78.77822

Day 45...the longest day

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Plant (David) and I got up with sunrise around 5:15 a.m. The previous night we decided that we were going to split every thing we needed in half, so we could both hike at our own pace and not have to worry about when we stopped for lunch, or to take care of other needs. It turned out not to matter since David hiked a lot faster today than any other day and was right behind me the whole time.

Besides being our longest day yet, the day wasn't so bad.

When we stopped for dinner, we did it at a picnic table on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  While we were preparing dinner, a man drove up and gave us some grapes and strawberries. They were fantastic. He told us that one time he carried out two pizzas on the trail to give some lucky hikers dinner.  We were very thankful.

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Once we were finished eating, I went ahead to find a camp site.  We did what you call stealth camping, which is where you set up an unofficial camp site on the side of the trail.  We got to 'camp' at 8:50 pm.

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Tomorrow we will be hiking into Waynesboro to meet up with my oldest sister Bonnie, her husband Riley, and my Great Aunt Astrid who lives there.  David and I are looking forward to seeing everyone, not only do we get showers, fresh food and clean laundry. We also have time, even if it's short, to visit with family and traveling companions. Bonnie and Riley will be hiking with us through Shenandoah National Park, which is about 100 miles of trail.  We will attempt to hike it in 5 days, so that they can get to Washington DC for the 4 of July.

Miles: 31.5

Location: Latitude: 37.92110, Longitude: -78.97083 

Hog camp Gap Camp site to about 31.5 miles north on the AT.