***got a good signal, pictures are added
So we picked up mom's car when we were in Erwin, TN and have been using it to shuttle our gear and hike with a day pack only. This has allowed us to keep hiking and making miles north, but giving our bodies and feet a break from the weight of our full packs. However, all the planning and coordinating required to slackpack was really starting to get to me. The final straw was when we woke up to a flat tire on the car and I had to start my day changing a tire.
Hendo starting the day changing a tire.
Then 30 minutes later a second tire went flat and we had to get the car towed to a repair shop and a whole day of hiking was lost. I called some CVMA (Combat Veteran Motorcycle Association) brothers and sisters and was able to find someone nearby who would let us park mom's car at their house and drop us back off on the trail. So Thursday night we returned to full packing and I couldn't be happier. Our feet are feeling great and we are heading north!!
There is always talk of "The Virginia Blues" in any book you read about the AT. Boy is everyone right, you will and we are, battling through the blues right now. Southwest VA is an amazing beautiful part of the country. However, you dont get to see much of that beauty from the AT. So far the AT through VA has been dense forest with lots of stinging nettle, poison ivy and rhododendrun...over and over and over again. You climb up a big mountain, only to see absolutely nothing, but more dense forest. Your only moments of respite are when you are walking through cow pastures and then you have to climb up over numerous fence stiles and dodge cow patties. Needless to say, we are trying to get through VA as quickly as possible. If anyone wants to come visit, now would be a great time, the terrain is rather moderate and we would love the company to break up the monotony.
Day 111, Fri 4 Jul,
Start VA 623
End Laurel Creek
A good way to spend the 4th of July is hiking the AT. It is good to be back to full packing. We have come to Ft. Bastian, a holtel run by TruBrit, a former British SAS member.
Yes, this is an actual privy at one of the shelters, a true throne.
Showing our 4th of July spirit!!
Our tent needed some minor sewing repairs...mom looking like Betsy Ross on the 4th.
Day 112, Sat 5 Jul, zero day
Well, we have been sucked into the vortex of Ft. Bastian for one day. Today we showered, did some laundry and played tourists when we visited Big Walker Mountain and climbed the observation tower. TruBrit has a great place here at ft. Bastian, the quentisential SAS firebase in the middle of the mountains of Virginia. Ft Bastian is still in the stages of being built, but has everything one needs and will be even more amazing when finished.
TruBrit (owner/operator of Ft Bastian),Hendo's Mom, Old Skool, Hendo, Hump (TruBrit's cohort)
Main gathering tent with firepit...too awesome
Shower, rudimentary but works great
View while in the shower!!
Day 113, Sun 6 July, 589.7 miles
Start Laurel Creek
End Helvey Mills Shelter
Day 114, Mon 7 Jul, 599.5 miles
Start Helvey Mills Shelter
End Jenny Knob Shelter
We wanted to make it further today, but trying to refill our water at Jenny knob shelter put an end to that, so we made camp here tonight. There has been talk that water is becoming difficult to find along the trail here in this part of VA. And today was quite the water hunting adventure, we followed the blue blazes to the supposed water source/creek, but there was no water. So we walked further down the creek hoping to find some water, but to no avail. We ended up in a cow pasture and saw a blacktop road ahead with cars going by, so we walked to the blacktop and saw houses. We ended up walking to a house and asking for water. The residents were quite nice and gladly let us fill up and gave us a ride back to the trailhead, so we didn't have to trek back through the pasture.
New trail friends we met at Jenny Knob Shelter
Hendo's Mom, Hendo, Moxie, Songbird
Day 115, Tues 8 Jul, 607.8 miles
Start Jenny Knob Shelter
End Dismal Falls
600 mile mark
Cool suspension bridge over Kimberling Creek
Side view of Kimberling Creek suspension bridge
Hendo Rinsing off a layer of grime and rinsing out clothes in Dismal Falls-----------------------------------
Day 116, Wed 9 Jul, 613.7 miles
Start Dismal Falls
End Wapiti Shelter
- stopped at shelter to dry out, started raining again, stayed
We met Banana Hammock and Sugar B at Dismal Falls, and spent the following 3 nights with them along the trail!
Day 117, Thur 10 Jul
Start Wapiti Shelter
End Sugar Run Gap, Woods Hole Hostel