Started out early enough in the day where we needed headlamps at the very beginning….which today was 6:50am.
Shortly after heading out we entered the Shenandoah National Park and did the self sign-in for backcountry campers, which is right on the AT out in the woods.
The trail was fairly easy…and to a degree, some of the best tread that we have experiences for a whole day. Lots of the trail was weedwacked about 4′ wide. Not any boulder scrambles and not much for rockhopping. There was quite a bit of trail that had small stones, almost like a gravel. This was bothering Sweet Pea’s feet a bit as they were sore from the rocks that we have been on for the last month. A different set of shoes is coming her way soon.
It was pretty cold walking for much of the day. Had our jackets on for parts of the day while walking and whenever we stopped. Sun came out for tiny glimpses. We are told that the forecast is really good for the rest of the week, with sun and warming temps. We yearn for that, but will believe it when it comes.
Crossed Skyline drive several times today. Skyline drive is ‘the’ road through the park. Had some good views and tried to capture them in the pictures. One of the pictures is of some doves that we saw at an overlook.
There were a lot of deer close to the trail today. They are surprisingly unspooked by us. They will be within 50 yards and just stand there looking at us…kinda strange. We also saw a bear today as well. Mace was in front of us by 75 yards or so and we could see he stopped and was looking out into the woods. There had been a couple bears, the one that we saw was fairly small. SNP is known for bears, so we will probably see more.
Along Skyline Drive, there are a few waysides. The trail was within .2 miles of one so we went to it and had some hot food off of their grill menu. That was a great stop. Would have been nice to sit inside, but it is just picnic tables outside. At the wayside we saw Jonesy and Bullwinkle, two southbounders that we had not seen since Maine. Later in the day we met another southbounder that was new to us, named Buzz Lightyear.
Tonight we are stealth camping. There was a shelter another 3 miles up, but it would have given us a short day or really long day tomorrow (to make it to the next shelter), so we just found a spot out in the woods that had reasonable trees for us to hang, and a flat spot for Mace’s tent. First night to not stay at a shelter in quite a while.
Daily Distance: 21.3
Trip Distance: 1,241.1