Day 50. Well, yesterday was a gorgeous and hot sunny day, so you know what that means … rain and cold today! It would obviously be too much to give us multiple warm days in a row, but can I at least have 2 in a row?! Nope, rain in the morning and a high of 45 degrees. I’ve heard this irregularly long cold season has ended many people’s thruhikes early, a sad reality to the impact weather has on a long-distance hike.
But I’m still here. And hey, today marks my 50th day hiking the Appalachian Trail! That’s pretty neat! I celebrated my milestone by eating an extra snickers bar at lunch. 🙂
I left Woods Hole Hostel around 9:30, after a great communal breakfast and a communal clean up of the bunkhouse. Everyone pitched in again and some even stayed to help out with more odd jobs around the house to decrease their bill total. I liked the idea of helping out Neville, as she was such a great hostess, but need to make up lost miles, so I got a hiking. And on cold days like today, there’s really only one thing to do. Keep hiking as long as possible.
I meant to stop in the town of Pearisburg after 12 miles, but I had no desire to hike the 1 mile down the road and back in this cold. The best thing in that tiny truck stop town anyways is a Dairy Queen … which, oddly, just didn’t motivate me today.
Before I realized it, I hiked 18 miles to the shelter I planned for this evening’s rest, but it was only 5pm, so I kept going. I didn’t really know my destination, but knew a few hikers were still ahead of me and plenty of campsites were coming up on the trail. About 8 miles later, I saw a familiar tent at a random unnamed campsite and joined Dragon for the night. The campsite is in the guidebook, but is nothing more than a clearing for 1 or 2 tents and a fire pit right next to the trail. By now it was after 7pm, and he was in bed, but we both appreciated having company nearby for the night. I know he’s an early riser, so probably won’t see him when I eventually crawl out of this hammock. And if it’s this cold tomorrow, that will be long after 8am I’m sure.
I passed by an interesting area today. For about a mile after Pocahontas Rd (mile 640), there were blue signs lining the trail talking of a protest against a new pipeline being planned along the AT. I eventually saw these “tree-sitting” a few miles later in visible protest against the Mountain Valley Pipeline that is planned a mile west in West Virginia. I didn’t really know much about it, and they were too far off trail to warrant a cold side trip to discuss, but I did some google searching and found this article which helped clarify.
If it were earlier or warmer when I saw them, I probably would have stopped to hear their story and learn more. But I was cold and exhausted, so I’ll leave that for tomorrow’s hikers to do.
I’m going to try to keep up my momentum of 25 mile days while this terrain stays relatively flat. I am about 100 miles behind schedule and think I can catch up by Harpers Ferry if the weather cooperates. Which I somehow doubt it will.
Hello Neiman (Sharkbait)!
- Start Mile: 624.8
- Start Time: 09:30
- End Mile: 650.1
- End Time: 19:15
- Miles Hiked: 25.3
- Miles to Go: 1540.8
- Lodging: Unnamed Campsite