Monday, May 19, 2008

A Week of Backpacking

Day 1—We got off to a great start. Gene drove us to the trail. He is such a sweetheart. We started our hike in a light drizzle which kept up off and on all day. We also had very strong, gusting winds. You have to be careful how you pee in winds like that. I hope this isn’t an omen, but D-tour lost a portion of one of her teeth. It broke off at dinner tonight. The trail was easy for our first day and short at about 9.5 miles.
Starting in the rain
Our first break was at the Audie Murphy monument

Day 2—Great big blue skies and lots of sun all day--perfect weather for going over Dragon’s Tooth. It was a long, hard 13.5 mile day, but made more enjoyable by the 29 pink lady slippers seen along the trail.
Dragon's tooth

Pink lady slippers

Day 3—We had great views at both McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs. Came upon a copperhead on the side of the trail today. There were a few tense moments, but my brave hiking companion flung him to the far reaches with her hiking stick. I was very tired today from yesterday, but we got into camp in the middle of the afternoon with plenty of time to get camp chores done and rest. D-tour’s tongue has been rubbed raw from the sharp edge of the broken tooth. She has tried to file down her tooth to save her tongue. We are hoping this helps. I was in my sleeping bag at 6:30 PM. We did 9 miles today.
D-tour on McAfee Knob

View from McAfee Knob
Rising Fawn below Tinker Cliffs
D-tour trying to file down her tooth

Day 4—We reached Daleville about 12:30 after a 9 miles trek. I have developed a blister on my toe. That is unusual for me. We decided to stop here for today instead of going on 5 more miles. I’ll nurse my toe and do a short day tomorrow. We picked up our food drop boxes at the outfitters and got ice cream at Kroger. We are enjoying a night in a motel made sweeter by every raindrop that falls outside.

Day 5—Very easy 5 miles to Fullhardt Shelter. We enjoyed meeting and talking to the other hikers who stopped at the shelter for lunch. My blister is doing great and I am singing the praises of Skin Shield.
This is our typical set up each night as we make camp.
Crossing a stile.  Not my favorite thing to do.

Day 6—A grueling 13.5 miles day today. My blister is better, but my knees are now screaming at me. The pack is heavy with the food I picked up in Daleville plus the extra water I have to carry because there is none along the trail. I was very disappointed to get to the shelter after such a hard day and find there was no place to pitch the tent. We had to sleep in the shelter which is one of my least favorite things to do. There was one bright spot in our day. About 30 minutes before we reached the side trail to the shelter we began to hear bagpipes. What great trail magic. A gentleman was playing his pipes just beyond the trail junction which was above the slope from the shelter. We enjoyed the beautiful sound of the pipes for quite a while this evening.
Taking a morning rest break.

Virginia is for rock lovers.
Day 7—The sky is dark and threatening rain and it is much colder. The rest overnight has not helped my knee much and I am having difficulty, especially with the descents. After about 5 miles, we decided to call Gene to pick us up. I was stumbling to the car after 9.5 miles. It would have been a challenge for me to do the 13 miles scheduled for today.

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