Never in my life did I expect to hike so far but there I was at the 1,000 mile mark on the Appalachian Trail, somewhere between Georgia and Maine.Enjoy reading my latest journal entry as I backpack the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. If you missed it, here are my previous entries and videos from the trail.
If you missed it in the last post, here’s my latest video as I hike my ass of just to reach a brewery!
I was up at 7:30 when breakfast was served at the hostel: delicious French toast and lots of fruit (they only served two slices of toast and I definitely could have eaten more!). I went back to bed afterward. By 10:30 I finally got packed and hit the trail.
It was a beautifully sunny day and there was lots of greenery. It was much warmer at the lower elevations so springtime had arrived. It was warm but the hiking was easy.
I stopped at a nice shelter for lunch and met Big Load (the story behind his trail name is exactly what you think…inappropriate) and the dog he found on the trail and adopted. Gap and her dog arrived with Grinder in tow. As I ate a tuna burrito, Transformer and Willow showed up. I hadn’t seen them since Shenandoah and was happy to reunite.
After lunch I headed off for a sweaty but decent day of hiking. I started listening to “The Magicians,” by Lev Grossman. It’s the first in a trilogy and one of my favorite books. I don’t mind rereading it…or listening.
Eventually I arrived at Dicks Dome Shelter which is an old shelter made from plywood in a geodesic dome shape. It was very small. In 2016 they installed a new shelter nearby called Whiskey Hollow Shelter. This is where I stayed. It was so fancy—the floors were stained and varnished!
Willow and Transformer caught up as I made dinner. Other hikers were also staying including Sooner or Later and No Doubt. It felt like a wonderful summer evening as I went to sleep with the Whiskey Hollow Creek babbling nearby.
Day’s Mileage: 14.9
Total Miles Hiked: 994.8
Remaining Miles: 1,204.9
I woke up and had a breakfast of champions: four pop tarts which is 800 calories. I hiked with Willow and Transformer for the first half of the day. It was very warm and sunny. We stopped at a shelter for lunch.
It was in the 70s and we didn’t want to leave the shade of the shelter. Transformer wasn’t feeling great so he opted to take a nap. I went on ahead solo.
Soon I entered the the 13.5-mile section known as the roller coaster. It gets its name due to the rapid ascents and descents, up and down. Now I love coasters but this section was grueling! It wasn’t necessarily hard…I’ve had my trail legs for a long while and can handle big miles. It was just exhausting and there were rocks everywhere slowing me down. I listened to music to pump me up and I made that trail my b——!
At some point along the way I finally passed the 1,000-mile marker! I was very excited. I can finally sing that Proclaimers song with conviction! Eventually Willow and Transformer caught up as we were almost to the end of our day.
We were relieved and exhausted when we arrived at Bears Den Hostel. It’s this old castle-like house from the early 20th century. It was originally a house and eventually came into the hands of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy who run it as a nonprofit hostel, Airbnb, and rent it for events. The caretakers were extremely nice and the bunk came with pizza, soda, and a pint of ice cream. The caretakers also offered me leftover spaghetti which I obliged. Another hiker didn’t want his pint of ice cream so I ate that as well. The caretakers then made homemade cookies. I estimated my dinner was upwards of 4,000 calories!
I also met hiker, Landfill, who had started a few weeks before me and I had seen him in the log books at the shelters. It was cool to finally meet him. I made the mistake of combining my laundry with a few other hikers into one load. Someone’s extremely odorous clothes seemed to transfer the stench onto everyones’ by the end of the wash. We had even added extra soap and an extra rinse. Oh well, I’ll just stink it up with sweat tomorrow.
At the end of the day I was happy to have hit 1,000 miles, felt clean and refreshed, had an extremely satisfied stomach, and was in a comfortable bunk. I always did like roller coasters…
Day’s Mileage: 18.3
Total Miles Hiked: 1013.1
Remaining Miles: 1,186.6
For breakfast it was make your own pancakes…delicious. There was a piano in the living room and I played the few songs I can still remember. The 70-year-old caretaker lady loved it and told me I play with soul and feeling and she knows because she took lessons for nine years. She said she wants to hear me play a concert someday. Maybe someday.
I took my time packing up and got a late start sometime before 10am. Bears Den Hostel was just too cool to leave. Transformer, Willow, and I set off and finished the roller coaster. There wasn’t much left so it wasn’t all bad.
The weather was sunny and in the 80s. It was unbearable. My allergies were off the charts and I sneezed constantly; my weather app had sent an alert about high pollen. Between the heat and my messed up nose, this was not my favorite day. We stopped at a shelter halfway for several hours. We took our time eating lunch and sitting in the shade. This was also the last water source for the day and it was a quarter mile down a hill.
After filling up my water, I hiked on toward West Virginia; there was a campsite about four miles from Harpers Ferry. I didn’t want to go into town and have to pay for a hostel as they were pricey. So I set up camp and Transformer and Willow soon caught up. I was lazy and ate some snacks for dinner. It was still horribly hot with the low for the evening only 61ºF.
We were planning on spending the weekend in Washington D.C. and I couldn’t wait to get out of the heat and obtain some better allergy meds. Overall, it was still an easy day but not the most pleasant. Oh well.
Day’s Mileage: 16.4
Total Miles Hiked: 1029.5
Remaining Miles: 1,170.2
Daily Average: 16.1
A finally got to sing “and I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more, just to be the man who walked 1,000 miles to fall down at your door!”