Mile 1490

Over 700 miles without a post.  We picked up the pace as we got closer to CT and I haven't had the time or  energy.  The brief summary: northern VA got better.  The trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah NP is scenic.  Luna, the trail dog, went home in Shenandoah. PA is a bit boring in the south,  but has amazing shelters and good spring water.  The trail is less glamorous in the north with lots of rocks and suboptimal water.  NJ and NY were surprisingly beautiful.  Now back in New England with 700 miles to go.   The picture story:

Crossing the longest footbridge on the AT over the James River before heading into Glasgow, VA.

Our hitch into Buena Vista, VA after a soaking rain. She confessed in the car that she only stopped because we had a dog and she loves dogs. Normally she doesn’t pick up hikers.

The Buena Vista Health Department with some good advice.

Looking back at The Priest from Three Ridges Mt.

The lone start tick. The CDC says they don’t carry Lyme Disease, but bites can cause a similar rash , cause of which is unknown. We’ve each had a handful of tick bites now, all from ticks in the Nymph/Larva stage, which are about the size of a pinhead.

Lots of bears along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Shenandoah, PA, and NJ. This bear found me while I was taking a shit in the woods. It got 30-40′ away before I saw it and it kept coming closer after I yelled. I stood up and waved my pole and it started heading to the trail where my pack was. So I went running back yelling, rock in hand. The bear slowly walked away down the trail.

Shenandoah views. Hot and hazy.

One of the best parts of Shenandoah is that there are bathrooms, camp stores, and water fountains every 10-30 miles along the trail. Along with the relatively gentle terrain, it makes for easy days of hiking.

The berries (blueberries, huckleberries, blackberries, wineberries) continue to be abundant and delicious. A new favorite here: the mulberry. The flavor is incredible, but the trees are much less common than the other berries.

Time for new shoes in Harpers Ferry. The old ones made it over a 1,000 miles. The new ones (red) are already shredded after 500 miles between WV and CT. Mostly due to the rocks of PA.

The best view we found on the trail in MD. T-storm heading across the valley.

Crossing a field in MD with a rainbow.

Back to the north!

Southern PA is quite boring hiking. Here we passed through corn fields coming into Boiling Springs, PA. On the flip side they have amazingly nice shelters and clean spring water, which is the center piece of Boiling Springs.

Clarks Creek near PA route 325 offered was one of my favorite and most refreshing swim holes. Clear cold water. Saw a big bear a couple miles before crossing 325.

The northern half of PA was more difficult hiking. One 5-10 mile section was like hiking in a river.

PA is not flat! The climb out of Lehigh Gap was short, but steep and technical.

Hiking through the superfund site near Palmerton PA. Decades of zinc smeltering left the hillside bare of vegetation. Life is back, but apparently the water is not good to drink, which makes for a long stretch without.

Trail magic! Ice cold water after the superfund stretch!

In Wind Gap, PA there is a diner called the Gap Diner. Two women that worked there let us camp in there back yard, and an unknown customer gave paid our bill. A good night!

Rattlesnake in the rocks of PA.

The trail in northern PA is indeed rocky. This starts to get annoying after awhile.

Back in Palmerton, PA, a very nice guy we met at the grocery store, let us camp in his backyard, take showers, and gave us cold beer. Guess who we ran into a couple days later in Delware Water Gap? Mike on his bike!

First couple miles hiking in NJ and a rattlesnake appears. Just before the NJ-NY border we saw the largest bear to date, which must have been over 300 lbs and didn’t show any sign of being afraid of people.

NJ turned out to be a surprisingly scenic section of trail with the trail following a ridge along the Delaware River.

NJ also had the best trail magic to date. A full on BBQ on a 90 degree day courtesy of the Hunterdon, NJ Hiking Club. Thank you!

View from the Culver Fire Tower near Branchville, NJ.

Bellvale, NY Creamery: just short walk down the road, and the best ice cream on the trail. So far the best sunset too.

Crossing the Hudson on the Bear Mt Bridge

NJ and NY don’t have the greatest water.

After crossing into CT we were welcomed back to New England by Yankee John, offering us Gatorade and frozen Snickers, on a hot muggy day.

Mileage since Daleville:

6-23 5 to Fullhardt Knob Shelter.  Upper 90s humid. Too hot to hike.  Arrived late with severe tstorms in area.  Stayed dry.

6-24 27 to Bryant Ridge Shelter, trail magic halfway at Wilson Creek Shelter (fruit and cold soda). Hit Blue Ridge Pkwy.

6-25 24.8 to Glasgow. Resupply. Rained on.

6-26 21.8 to Buena Vista.  Resupply.  Bought too much food.

6-27 14 to Seeley Woodworth Shelter

6-28 22.1 to Reid's Gap, Camped at Devil's Backbone Brewery

6-29 19.2 to Waynesboro, nicest trail town yet. Free camping and shower.

6-30 21.7 to Blackrock Parking area. Effie's parents picked us up and camped at Loft Mt. First day in Shenandoah

7-1 20.3 to Hightop Hut.  Bear sighting in AM

7-2 25 to Rock Spring Hut (includes .8 to Big Meadow Campground store and .3 to shelter)

7-3 29.4 to Gravel Spring Hut (includes 1 mile of Shelter/camp store side trips)

7-4 13.4 to Front Royal.  Got talked into hotel stay after seeing Killer for first time since Georgia.

7-5 26.9 to Morgan Mill Stream

7-6 20.8 to Key's Gap

Weekly total/avg: 155.4/22.2

7-7 16.7 to near Crampton Shelter

7-8 23.8 to Warner Gap Hollow

7-9 21.6 to Rocky mountain Shelter, resupply in Waynesboro.   Extra .3 to shelter

7-10 24.3 to 1 mile passed Fuller Lake

7-11 17.8 to Boiling Springs

7-12 25.6 to Duncanon

7-13 21.7 to Rattler's Run, heavy rain over night

Weekly total/avg: 151.5/ 21.6

7-14 24.8 to 501 Shelter

7-15 24.4 to Hamburg, Effie's mom put us up in the microtel

7-16 15 to stream after Hawk Mt Rd.

7-17 24.9 to Palmerton, PA.  Stayed with Mike.  Met him at grocery store and he allowed us to camp in his yard, shower, use bathroom.

7-18 20.1 to Wind Gap.  Camped in backyard of Joanne and Terri.  Both work at Gap Diner, where we met them.  Regular customer, John, gave us a ride to her house and random woman paid our bill.

7-19 22 to Sunfish Pond- hot as hell

7-20 24 to Culver Fire Tower- hot as hell

Weekly total/avg: 155.2 / 22.2

7-21 21.2 to Unionville NY

7-22 26.8 to Bellvale Creamery 17A

7-23 25 to .1 past West Mt Shelter

7-24 27.1 to Clarence Fahnestock SP

7-25 26.8 to Hammersly Ridge Red Trail

7-26 16.5 to Kent, CT

7-27 23 to US 7 near Falls Village

Weekly total/avg: 166.4 23.77

1 comment:

  1. Dan, I imagine that the bear went home and told a story to his fellows bears with the modified punchline, "does a human shit in the woods?" Joe