Miles Hiked: 13.8
Miles Left: 1109.9
Ending Location: Rocky Mountain Shelter, Mile 1074.4
Today Owl and I found ourselves hiking a couple of hours in front of Youngbeard and Sunshine. It would later turn out that Sunshine had a cold but at the time we all thought it was allergies. I know that feeling from before…
The weather had cleared up but there were some water issues. Not the type you would think though. We were all running low on drinking water since the stream we had planned on filling up from had warnings posted all around it saying that the waste water treatment plant had been forced to dump raw sewage upstream a couple of weeks ago. I trust my steri-pen to filter my water, but not that much!
We eventually hit a road crossing and Owl and I decided to hitch into Waynsboro PA for lunch, (not Waynsboro VA where we were at earlier. Apparently that is a popular town name). After sticking our thumbs out for a bit a truck pulled over and we hopped in the back. The bed was filled with plastic trash cans so we hung on and tried to not fall out while speeding down the highway. It all turned out ok and we found ourselves dropped off in front of a Chinese buffet.
Now over the last section of the trail I had been realizing that I was acquiring the hiker hunger. Lots of food along the Shenandoahs combined with big milage days really did something to my metabolism. I hadn’t realized quite how developed it was until today though when I destroyed that buffet. I actually got angry when they took my spoon away after my fourth serving of ice cream! Needless to say, it was a worthwhile town trip. Owl had to go further into town to pick up a poison ivy treatment prescription, so I hitched out by myself. A nice couple picked me up and gave me cookies to boot!
Back on the trail I joined up with Youngbeard and Sunshine again at a mountain spring where they were refilling their water. We then headed out together. On the way we ran across a group of teenage kids who were on some sort of planned outing and obviously not enjoying it at all. We would later see another group that night experiencing similar issues. In these cases I really blame the trip organizers. It takes a lot of work and planning to make camping enjoyable for people who are new to it, but that’s essential if you don’t want to scare them away from outdoor activities in the future!
At this point we hit a stretch in the trail where there was a shelter just about every four miles. Well I guess I should say shelters since for whatever reason the fad here was to construct two shelters side by side. The nicest ones we saw were the Tumbling Run shelters, and it was with much regret we moved on since it was too early in the day to stop there. We also passed Antietam shelter which I assume was near the battlefield. When hiking around it we kept hearing gunfire and were hopeful a reenactment was going on but unfortunately I think there was just a shooting range nearby.
We ended the night camping in the hills above Rocky Mountain Shelter. I’m pretty happy I remembered these campsites on the way down to the shelter since all the campsites there were taken up by one of the before mentioned youth groups. Also the water situation was horrible. You had to walk all the way down the mountain to get to it. When we came to the road at the bottom I joked the next step would be to hitch into town and refill at the local pub, but we dealt with scooping water out of a muddy spring trickling out from the ground by the road instead. It was not ideal. Luckily the weather was ideal and we were able to dry out our tents from the previous night. It also was just the right temperature to sleep in so it was a good night.