Trail Notes – September 26 (Blackburn Center, VA)


Last night, before I went to sleep, I developed a Plan.

This zero day was NOT part of the Plan. I am disgruntled.

I spoke with Trailboss, the incredible trail-angelly caretaker, after studying my maps. One of the reportedly best hostels, the Bear’s Den, is only 8 miles up the trail, charges only $17 a night, and is downright hospitable. So my Plan was to have my full pack shuttled there, and slackpack those 8 miles, stay overnight, reassess and possibly slackpack another day. Trailboss called a friend of his who does shuttles, and we set it up for 9 am.

9 am came and went. 10 am. 11 am. Noon. 1 p.m. I gave up and resigned myself to another night here. Trailboss had left with a trail maintenance crew about 8:30, after giving me some excellent coffee and a donut, and his wife was in Harper’s Ferry, so I was All Alone most of the day.

It was not a day to feel comfortable being All Alone, I’ll tell you! This eerie mist started settling in, and there were crashes in the trees (probably bears – seriously), a lot of leaves crunching (probably small animals), a lot of wind moving trees (probably a movement of air), and I kept jumping with each crash (probably nerves. Also, ow.). It would have made a great horror movie setting!

A few more hikers are here now – two male, one female, and the mist is gone. Very cloudy and chilly though. Trailboss kept apologizing for the missing shuttle, even though it was in no way his fault, and will help me carry through the original Plan tomorrow. I know I am not making the kind of mileage I want to, but at least I will be moving forward.

Yesterday, while hiking, I reached a decision – regardless of where I am on the trail, I will end the hike in time to be home by Thanksgiving. I still hope to finish, will definitely get as much done as I can, but Thanksgiving is the cutoff. It will mark just over 8 months on the trail. Nothing to be ashamed of!

I hike on!

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