Today, i hiked north, to cover the last section between this hostel and the one in Front Royal, and sliced off another 16.something mile chunk of trail.
I am really loving the trail in Virginia, still. Others have slammed it for being a ‘long green tunnel’ with few views, but I love how level of is – the southern trail maintainers love their switchbacks and are not shy about putting them in! It makes it so much easier to ascend and descend, and as for views – the AT in the Shenandoah National Park crosses Skyline Drive dozens of times, and sometimes close to or at overlooks. The views are there… And it is fall, so the views are lovely!
Today I also came across my first wayside. In New York, everything is about the delis along the trail; in Virginia, it is allll about the waysides, a combination of souvenir shop and short order grill that is most known for blackberry milkshakes. I tried my first, and probably last, today – truth to tell, I was not much impressed by the milkshake, but the chili cheese fries were quite tasty!
I ran into some hikers I recognized at the wayside as well. One of them had a tale to tell and a picture to show about too close an encounter with the bear kind. Also a newly purchased bear bell. I later caught up with her just before the final shelter, and I can vouch for the jangliness of the bear bell! I can’t say much – when I hear crashing on the trees, I spontaneously break into a badly whistled version of “Bridge on the River Kwai”, after all.
Cell reception in the SNP is not great, but texting often works when phone service drops, so I was able to text my shuttle a good pickup time. Unfortunately, she didn’t get it until an hour and a half later, and her texts to me didn’t get through, so I was pacing the empty parking lot, fretting, until she pulled up.
Well, not quite empty. There was a parked tractor. I speculated about hotwiring it. It remained only speculation. I worry too much.
Okay, tomorrow. Tomorrow, I put back on the full pack and hike southward. I am not going to make any predictions about how far I will hike, because I have no way of knowing, but I have run out of convenient hostels and patience.
There are some very vocal dogs outside my open window. One howls, and the other constantly barks. I think there is a third one doing some combination of the two. Please stop.
I understand there is a hurricane scheduled for Saturday. I am not liking this, God. It is much easier to hike when not under a waterfall.
I hike on!