Monday, June 30, 2014

Day 85-Happy Birthday Nana!

I got up and added writing in Nana's birthday card to my agenda. We headed out and the Appalachian Trail followed a yellow blazed trail for awhile until they branched away, it was basically an old roadbed. I arrived at the other registration station for the Shenandoah National Park and then I was out. I came to a shelter early enough that everyone was still asleep, but I still snapped a couple photos. The terrain was a slight downhill but a nice path for jogging. I emerged out of the woods to a path beside residential, and a field. I jogged down the dirt path with grass on either side until I reached some footbridges, and then I crossed the road. From here I walked alongside the road with some more footbridges and nice walking path uphill back into the woods. The whole day allowed me to jog about 85% of the time; it's amazing how fast miles, and time goes by jogging instead of walking. I passed by MommaBear and continued to jog toward the shelter with a porch and solar shower. I came across some gorgeous flowers throughout my day, and even stopped to make Nana a birthday surprise. Today was already so much better than yesterday, but it was about to get better. I jogged down to the shelter and saw a familiar face before it registered who it was, it was Moose. As soon as I realized it was her, I looked over and threw my hands up-I knew Alpine was with Moose and Teton! It was such a nice morning surprise. We took a photo of us all on the front porch of the shelter. They checked out my daypack, and Teton said I'm like Jennifer Pharr Davis (woman who holds the unofficial record for the fastest thruhike in 2011) running through the woods. I explained how my grandparents have been helping me out, and Alpine said how he knew I was creeping up from my occasional Facebook posts. It was so good to see them and I think we all will be rolling into Harpers Ferry together tomorrow, I gotta get a photo of Alpine and I since we started at Springer Miuntain together almost 3 months ago! I left them and continued jogging down the trail. I got to an uphill hike out in pastureland which I haven't seen in awhile and the sun felt good, and hot. The trail went back into the woods and a ridge runner was heading south toward me. He fumbled with his words and then called me a day hiker, I quickly corrected him saying I was a thruhiker I was just slackpacking. We talked for a couple minutes and then I headed on. I collected all kinds of windflowers and saved them in my knife pouch for Nana. I dropped my phone and dirt got packed into the headphone jack, I tried to get it out with a stick but it wouldn't clean out; so I let it be. Once Papa got me; we headed back to the campground where Nana was waiting. The flowers were starting to get sad and wilting, guess I didn't think that through too well. I gave them to her, and she stuck them in some water while I was able to pull the dirt out of my phone after it dried up. I ate, showered, and then Papa and I headed to the store to get some things. Pictured below is pretty much all you need in life; bananas, wine, and Oreo ice cream. We made plans for a new campground for tomorrow in Harpers Ferry, WEST VIRGINIA! Finally out of Virginia, and then I took a short nap. We went to Joe's Steakhouse for Nana's birthday dinner, and I have yet to have a bad dinner in these past two weeks. They gave us fresh watermelon and mint to start and it was so great and refreshing. We got calamari for an appetizer and that was really good. For dinner I got a Caesar salad, filet, sweet potato, and vegetables-so good. For dessert Papa and I shared a brownie and ice cream, and Nana got bread pudding. I asked the waiter to put a candle; he either forgot, or they didn't have any. No complaints here! I texted with Lynn quite a bit, and I think after the 4 state challenge she is going to come find me and then make up the missed section after Katahdin; I really hope she does, I miss my partner in crime. Can you believe it-Harpers Ferry tomorrow! Just found out my photo won on Appalachian Trials best Instagram photos this week! How exciting!


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Day 84-Repetitive And Uneventful Can Be Beautiful Too

Hello sunshine, there was a beautiful sunrise this morning at the campground as we left. We drove down the Skyline and got stuck behind a motorcycle for awhile, at least Papa didn't play frogger with the animals this morning. "The woods are calling, and I must go to the bathroom." Once we pulled into the drop off place, I already had to go to the bathroom and Papa was so loving to capture a photo of me walking off into the woods. I had some rocky terrain but a great view to cancel it out with. I walked in the woods beside the skyline for awhile and got some great views of the towns below. The morning always flies by so fast for me even when I get up at 5:30 in the morning. Remember when I said Shenandoah was ideal hiking terrain? It's not horrible, but the first few days sure fooled me! Today was a lot of rocky spots and downhill. I sat beside the road to have lunch and didn't break very long since I knew I wasn't making as great of time as prior days. I hiked on and after lunch always seem to last forever, I get the mid-workday blues. The majority of the rest of the day was just hiking up and down in the woods with no view, roads, rivers, or anything exciting. This is where the mental part of the hike gets to you, it's like a marriage after the honeymoon; everyday life seems repeatative and uneventful and you still have to try to find the beauty in it. It's hard work. I had the thoughts to have Papa pick me up at an earlier gap than the original plan; and then I thought, no. I'm not going to take the easy way out when things get tough. I had 6.8 miles left, and I was going to finish them. I had no service so I couldn't listen to Pandora, I think my iPod was dead even though I haven't used it since I charged it; it was just me with myself. I sat down, ate a cosmic brownie and an Advil with a swig of Gatorade and walked on. I saw a deer about 10 feet in front of me and she didn't run off until I pointed my phone at her for a photo; it's like she was affraid of it like a gun but it's a national park. I saw another doe later who wore a collar with an antenna on it like they were tracking her. She wasn't affraid either until I pulled out my phone, I got a photo of her running off. I jogged through the woods trying to make better time, funny how I hate running and here I've been trotting through the woods on the trail. I came to a couple views and road crossings and then it was a steep downhill to the pickup location. I did however have another great, much closer view of the town below at the gap. We drove toward the campground to go to an Italian restaurant called Osteria 510 that Nana and I spotted yesterday. I got an eggplant appetizer that was really good, meat raviolis in a pesto cream sauce; also good. Nana gave me a few of her meatballs, and Papa and I shared tiramisu. Overall it was a great place with really good service. We headed to the grocery store after to get a couple things and Papa and I went in while Nana waited in the car. I ended up seeing HufflePuff, Cat, and Chosen One all at different times in the store; how funny I haven't seen a single person I know on the trail, but I go into town and see a bunch! I got some more bread, deli chicken, muenster cheese, cool ranch Doritos, neosporin, and Gatorade. We headed back to the motorhome and we realized we didn't have the bag with the deli stuff, butter, and neosporin. Papa had to go back to get it and I showered. Nana made me scrambled eggs for the next couple mornings while Papa and I went over the pickup plans for tomorrow. Tomorrow is Nana's birthday so I will be able to spend some time with her which will be nice! All week has a chance of thunderstorms which is no fun, and one day it is supposed to be 95! Yuck. Harpers Ferry this week! Goodnight all.