Day 101 – 107 Through The Shenandoah National Park 2017 Appalachian Trail Thru-hike

Waynesboro VA to Front Royal VA

Wednesday 19 July to Tuesday 25 July

Total Distance:  969.7 miles

Mountains: Calf Mountain 2989, Trayfoot Mountain 3076, Loft Mountain 2974, Weaver Mountain 2876, Hightop Mountain 3514, Baldface Mountain 3624, Hazeltop 3812, Hawkesbill Mountain 3361, Stony Man Summit 3837, The Pinnacle 3730, Pass Mountain 3052, North Marshall Mountain 3368, Compton Peak 2909

The Shenandoah National Park wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be like. The trail criss-crossed across the main Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive, several times a day throughout the entire section.

You could hear the traffic from the main camping huts throughout the night. As fellow hiker Tea commented – it kind of wrecks the wilderness experience.

In spite of this, the Shenandoh is full of wildlife and on average I would have seen at least one bear every day, several deer and fawn, bunnies and more.

This isn’t the best photo, but the best I could get. Not sure what this is, a lady at the wayside said it was a bee – it looked like a huge March fly with a yellow bum to me.

I saw two mama bears and cubs, one bear which was sitting there watching me eat – this was disconcerting: once I noticed the bear and it noticed me noticing, I hastily packed my lunch and we both went on our way with some haste – a bear which strolled across the road, went down the trail and promptly pooped, okay this bear I didn’t see but I heard it while taking a break on a rock and it let me know with its hrmping that I was too close, a bears head as he contemplated crossing the trail but thought better of it and two bears bums as they were running away.

(Bad photo of the bear that was watching me eat walking away)

The hiker community is vast, friendly, supportive and diverse. I liked the way Palm Tree put it: The Appalachian trail is a 2000 mile small town, which operates like a small town. Included in the hiker commmunity are all those that support the trail through shuttle services, hostels and trail angels.

Messages are passed through this community at rapid speed along with the good the bad and the ugly of hikers and supporters. By now, 960 miles later, you have no doubt changed tramlies (hiker families) several times, with some great people exiting the trail. Also by this time you realise your time with people can be short lived so you learn to bond quite quickly with people.

You can bond with somebody overnight then begin hiking with them for the next week or so until your individual journeys diverge.

I have recently been hiking with Inspector Gadget and Palm Tree. However Inspector Gadget has issues with his feet so had to take time out in Luray to heal.

A number of people Palm Tree included, are going to take a few days at Harpers Ferry to go to Washington DC for a few days. Given my time constraints I will be unable to do this and will carry on.

No matter that you think you may have seen everything and nothing much will surprise; all of a sudden you’re walking along and see something random like these tractor seats in the middle of the bush.

I naturally took the opportunity to take five.  The seats were quite comfortable.

Exiting the Shenandoah National Park felt a little momentous as I am now only about 70 miles from Harpers Ferry the unofficial halfway mark. I can’t wait to get there as for me it will signify quite an achievement one that seems to have taken ages to get to. I have no doubt I’ll probably have a slight tear in my eye.

However before I get there I have exciting adventures like the rollercoaster which is said to be very strenuous. Apparently the hills are exactly as the name implies – a rollercoaster.

When I get to Harpers Ferry I’ll do a halfway gear review as much has changed and been learnt. Cheers 😊

One comment

  1. Your writing is a wonderful description of the “Trail” community and a great reminder of the fact that there are thousands, millions of extraordinary, ordinary people in the USA. A wonderful antidote for what we are fed by the usual ‘press’ sources. I celebrate your commitment and heart, Serena. I love the way you just keep doing what is right for you.

    Liked by 1 person

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