It has really started to warm up in Virginia, to make decent miles I have been getting up earlier. For those who know me, I am not a morning person! My appetite during the day has picked up a lot too, seems I am always hungry. Part of it may have to do with less water being consumed; my MSR pump filter has been acting up, I cleaned it in Marion and ever since the water barely trickles out. Very frustrating. I came up to a bend in the trail and it looked like it ended at a stream-I looked back, nope this was right. I looked across the stream, a blaze on the tree. But where is the footbridge? This should be interesting. I tried first to get across; the gaps were too big, the water was flowing fast, and the rocks were slippery-not gonna happen with a heavy pack on my back. I took my pack off and threw it across the moving water about 4 feet; holding my breath the whole time and praying it made it and didn't bounce off the bank right into the water. Safe and sound it landed, next was me. I stretched my trekking poles as far out in front of me into the dirt, stretched one leg on a rock barely out of the water and swung myself onto land. Well that was interesting. While sitting by the stream filtering my 6 sips of water for 30 minutes (no joke this filter is getting to me) I noticed the sun shining through the treetop above, it was beautiful. Of course I snapped a photo. Moving on, I read in the AWOL guide that there was an abandoned house coming up-cool! Rather dissapointed when I got to it to find it was just a pile of wood and old remanence of what was, grass growing and nature taking back her land. From the woods I emerged to pasture farm land, and if it wasn't so sunny and hot I would have enjoyed it more. It's still so beautiful seeing the countryside. It was enjoyable until just before the road; I came to a mud bog that I tried to get around and failed miserably. Finally getting on the cedar plank floorboards, but it was too late; but they smelled great! My sneakers were soaked with mud. I got to the road and saw the AWOL book mention Nobo right, Sobo left; I thought this was here so I walked right down the road. Realizing this couldn't be right, I turned around to see the trail continued on straight from where I came out-oh well. I walked into the woods; next to a stream, and an old chimney, and then ended up out in a dirt parking lot beside the stream and road to find John and John Doe. They had just taken a dip and said there were two gallon jugs left labeled fresh water with a little left. They carried on and it decided to wash out my socks, gators, and compression socks in the stream and let my sneakers dry out while I ate lunch. I left my things and headed down to the water, it was freezing! I washed out all of my muddy articles of clothing and my feet and headed back to let them dry out on a rock. I ate lunch, knowing that the Keffer Oak tree was just around the bend I wanted to get going in hopes someone would be there to take my photo of me hugging it. It is the largest oak in the south on the Appalachian Trail, the one in New York is slightly larger. Once I got there I found someone around the other side gathering his things to head off-perfect. I asked if he would mind taking my photo, and of course he didn't. These last couple days have been kinda hard on me, my mind hasn't been as strong and my body has been tired. The terrain has been less beautiful streams and more rocks...my mantra has been "this too shall pass, nothing lasts forever." It's difficult to explain what I go through when to you as readers you see beautiful scenery and me having a good time, "why would she wish something so amazing to pass" you may ask. This journey will probably be the hardest thing I, and anyone else experiencing a long distance hike will encounter in a lifetime. It is hard on your mind and body. It is amazing and rewarding for sure, but a challenge nonetheless. Nothing worth having comes easily. So scaling the giant slanted rock slabs at 6pm, and walking in what I call "desert mountains" thinking you are never going to get to the shelter to set up camp is frustrating. In fact I got there around 7:45 which wasn't bad, but again I thought that moment would never come. "This too shall pass, nothing lasts forever." Except for McDonalds McDoubles, if you eat 7 McDoubles you will be preserved for the week, and a lifetime of them will make you live forever. Kinda bummed my Eastern Continental Divide sign came out shadowed from the setting sun, but nonetheless it is cool to come across things like this in the middle of the woods. After finally arriving at camp, I was so hungry. I asked Dexter if he had any extra water I could cook with, that I would go pump for 3 hours after to replace the 2 cups I used and Rez offered me water no charge. I sat and made dinner, put up my tent, and all was better in the world. This was until I went down to pump water, I would pump and pump and pump and get little in return. I end up giving up since the lack of progress drives me crazy and called it a night. Tomorrow is Dragon's Tooth!