Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Day 86-Goodbye Virginia-1000 Miles, West Virginia

It was already warm and humid when we opened the motorhome door this morning at 6:00am, not a good sign. Virginia is sure going out with a bang, I wonder if West Virginia will be nicer to me? Seeing that 1000 mile marker was awesome. There was a note saying "less dissapointing 1000 mile marker ahead" I chuckled at this and wondered what I would find ahead. I walked down some rocky patches of downhill down to an official 1000 sign, and then another fun 1000 sign that I had a little mini photoshoot at. After leaving the mile accomplishment, I headed uphill to a nice view. After enjoying the view, I carried on along the ledge; I came across an adorable heart carving in a tree that I dedicate to my friends and family following my journey. I continued on and the path thinned out, I haven't seen a blaze. I looked around, saw nothing, and headed back the way I came. Looking to my right I saw where I went wrong going straight instead of left originally. I guess everything happens for a reason, had I not gone the wrong way; I wouldn't have found the heart carving. For awhile I was just hiking through the never ending rock patches and up and downhills-so close West Virginia, so close. I guess they are trying to prepare us for Rocksylvania (though I hear Pennsylvania is large boulders like New England, whereas I hate the little rock patches that you have to think about every foot placement.) It was so hot that I couldn't do any jogging today even if I wanted to, not to mention rocks and jogging don't mix. Seeing a familiar face of someone who told me I couldn't set up my tent in the Smokies was actually nice since I haven't seen many people. Then he asked if I was Dory; I said no, Cheeky Chi. Then he asked if I was sure I wasn't Dory. Dude, I think I know who I am. This is the guy that Lynn saw put himself into a meditative trance and then go back to bed. Screw is loose somewhere. I saw a group of about 10-15 campers with two camp counselors heading up a hill in front of me, I feel bad for them huffing and puffing up in this heat. It's one thing for me to do it, since I do daily; but for them to be doing it for "fun." They all looked miserable. I was sucking down water like I hadn't in two weeks. I came across a trail maintainer and talked with him for a bit, he told me to spend a couple days relaxing and reflecting when I get to Maine and climb Knife Edge for an amazing view. He also told me my pack was too heavy, that it should be 25 pounds-like I didn't already know that! If anyone knows, it's me! Finally I got to a road crossing where I had a wild cherry, courtesy of a couple that stopped into woods hole while I was there. I crossed the main road and saw a sign for Virginia and then another for West Virginia so I photographed both; obviously. I hiked on with Go Hard following behind me, I stopped to drink some Gatorade and inhale a cosmic brownie and he and I chatted for a bit. I let him go ahead since the rocks and heat were kicking my ass; so grateful for my small slack pack! I got to the Harpers Ferry National Park and thought; finally, out of Virginia! But then the rocks continued; rocks, on rocks, on rocks. Can't it just smooth out to a nice dirt path to the ATC?! Oh right...I'm hiking the Appalachian Trail, not supposed to be easy. All the way down to the next main road was all rock. My knees were tired, am I there yet? I crossed the road to more rock, how surprising. Guess West Virginia isn't very welcoming! Finally the river was in sight, I just had a downhill rock scramble to get through. I got to the underside of the bridge and walked up the stairs to cross it; it was so hot being out in the direct sun. I walked alongside people tubing down the river, and racing cars to my left. Eventually the end of the bridge came and I went back up into the woods to head to the ATC. Engineer creeped up behind me and when he noticed who I was he asked how I got up here, I explained how I had been slackpacking for two weeks. We walked together up the blue blazed trail to the ATC, and found wild raspberries and mulberry. Once we got to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy I went inside and enjoyed the freezing cold air conditioning. It felt amazing. I felt lost being in there however, no one was like "Hey! Welcome, when your ready we will take your photo. If you could sign in here that would be great, and we have a hiker lounge in the back." No, it was more like I stood around like a lost puppy, asked if I should sign the guest book and had to ask what I was supposed to do. I went out front to have my photo taken and wished Alpine would have made it for a photo with me but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It really would have been something to have the whole gang there, but we're all over the place now; and some off the trail. After getting my photo taken; I sat and watched the others take theirs. I saw the PT pull up, so I told them I still had stuff to do so they pulled around back to park. Inside the ATC, they greeted me with a Gatorade! Couldn't ask for better grandparents! The employee asked where I got that and I told her they brought it for me and she was confused and trying to charge them for it since they sell them in the back. The dumb part was; they sold the large Gatorades, and I had the normal one so if she was just observant and not so quick to jump to the gun she would have known that. Oh well. We looked around a bit and I signed my photo for the book, while Papa became an ATC member. After saying hello to Axeman, and bye to Engineer we headed out. Our new campground is a KAO less than 10 minutes from the ATC, once we got there I showered and looked for a place to eat dinner. I got my next 500 pages from my mom in the mail, and we headed to town for dinner. Inside we sat in what seemed like the basement of an old house, the AC wasn't working so well it being so hot so we moved to a table next to the window unit. I ordered a chicken and vegetable panini and was annoyed that the menu read caramelized onions and got raw red onions inside. I picked them out, and the wrap was really good otherwise. I noticed a small ant crawling on the table so I took care of it, being used to living in the woods and all. And then I spotted another, and some on the wall, and I moved my placemat a little and more ran around-ok kinda freaking me out now. Nana noticed the woman in the booth behind us make a face at her table about how classy and clean the bathroom must have been. She told her friend to go in and look, I feel like I am back at the Grand Prix! We quickly got our bill and left, shaking the ants outta my pants as I walked out. Walking down the sidewalk to the car; I spotted a familiar face across the street, she realized the same and we both waved. She made her way over to me it was Spike! We chatted and she explained how she just got off the train from DC and it was an hour late and she had to pickup her pack at the ATC, I told her to jump in the car and we will bring her. She explained how everywhere in town raised their prices for the holiday weekend that even the motel she is at was charging over $100 which is crazy! Papa took a photo of me out front and we headed back to the campground. The motorhome refrigerator is decked out with AT magnets you can see pictured below. I made my lunch, figured out my 23 miles for tomorrow; which I'll be in Maryland and now it is time for bed!

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