A description of separate moments from the last ten days of hiking:
June 11, 2017
This morning we left Front Royal, VA, hiking into a green tunnel of beauty. A couple miles into the day, Jay and I came around a bend in the trail, to see a doe calmly grazing. A fawn looked out from under his mother’s belly, peering at us from between her back legs. The doe turned her head toward us, took a few steps away, then continued grazing. The fawn butted his mother’s side, and the doe walked a bit further down the trail. We followed slowly, wondering if we could get a picture. This continued for several minutes, the doe and fawn always several yards in front of us, but staying on the trail.
Finally, through the trees, we heard a noisy group of hikers approaching from the north. The doe decided she’d had enough, between our quiet stalking and the chatter of a larger group. She lifted her head, and took off eastbound through the trees. Only problem was, the fawn ran west! After a few moments, the doe appeared back on the trail, looked at us in indecision, then followed her fawn. A few seconds later, they made one last appearance, now both headed east together. Hurray!
Later today we came across a hiker feast – mulberries, wild strawberries, and black raspberries – all ripe! We paused several times to pick handfuls. Yum!
June 12, 2017
A very hot and humid day. Yesterday Jay tried keeping cool by laying in a creek. Today we decided to take a two hour siesta at Rod Hollow Shelter. The shelter and privy were very clean, the grounds very shady. It was lovely to lay on flat boards, with no bugs biting, a small breeze occasionally cooling our skin. Yes, life is good on the AT!
We passed 1,000 miles today! Hard to believe I have hiked that far!
June 13, 2017
Another hot, muggy day. We reached the David Lesser Memorial Shelter in the heat of the evening. Our skin felt covered in about four layers of sweat and insect repellent. We took our water bottles half mile downhill to a lovely cold spring, filled them up, then walked a good ways from the spring and took a shower using our water bottles. Aahh, what luxury!
June 16, 2017
Today the trail came to the Washington Monument. Not the monument in Washington D.C. This Washington Monument was built in 1827 by citizens of Boonsboro, MD. On July 4, over 500 people marched from the public square for two miles up the mountain to create the first stone monument to George Washington. What a way to celebrate our nation’s holiday! The forty foot tall observation deck is reached by a circular staircase through the center of the tower. I felt I was climbing inside a medieval castle as I ascended the wedge-shaped stairs!
June 17, 2017
This evening Jay and I crossed the Mason-Dixon line! We’ve left the southern Appalachians behind, and are now officially in the mid-Atlantic states! We camped just a mile further, beside Falls Creek.
June 18, 2017
The most notable event on this hot and humid day was our stop at Deer Lick Shelter. Inside the privy, Jay saw a HUGE spider! About the size of my palm, it lurked high on the privy wall, waiting for its prey. Yikes!
June 19, 2017
At 12:45 p.m., the stifling humid heat finally broke with a roar and a bang! Lightning flashed, thunder boomed, rain poured in sheets! Within a matter of minutes, the trail transformed into a small creek. Though we didn’t mind walking through rain, or splashing along a trail posing as a creek, the lightning did make us nervous. It seemed rather dangerous to be ankle deep in water as lightning sparked all around. So we stopped at the first semi-flat clearing in the woods and set up our tent as the rain poured. Today’s two hour siesta happened inside our tent, listening to the splatter of raindrops and waiting for the thunderstorm to pass!
Once the storm was over, we emerged from our flimsy shelter, packed up, and kept on hiking. About dinner time, we came to the official half-way point of the AT! What a milestone!