Today’s mileage: 16.2
Total mileage: 494.9
We woke up to no rain this morning, which is always a good thing when you’re in your tent. It actually ended up being a really nice day up until the very end of our hike, so we lucked out. We hiked along the Creeper Trail again for a bit this morning before starting our ascent up to Whitetop and Mt. Rogers. It was warm and sunny as we walked along the wide, flat Creeper Trail, crossing a wooden bridge set above a creek where a man was fly fishing.
Our longest climb of the day was up Whitetop Mountain. It was about 5 miles total for the ascent. The trail doesn’t go to the top, but we did have a nice break at Buzzard Rock at just over 5,000 feet. Our last climb of the day was up Mt. Rogers, the highest peak in Virginia. The AT runs pretty close to the top, but it’s a half mile off the trail to the top of the mountain. The climb was more gradual and shorter than up Whitetop, but we did have to deal with the rain. Just as we sat down for a break at Deep Gap, about 2 miles from the shelter, it began to rain. We threw on our rain gear, ate our food, and headed up towards our destination. The rain was nothing compared to the other day, so I didn’t complain. I knew we were lucky that we would stay relatively dry overall and that we had a shelter to stay in. I can’t say I wasn’t relieved though when I saw the shelter appear as I came out of the woods. And then the wind hit me. I was getting blown off the trail as I fought my way to the shelter. Thankfully that didn’t last more than a minute or two before I escaped the wind and the rain in lieu of a more comfortable environment inside four wooden walls.
We met a few new hikers today as we hiked and at the shelter. We met Beacon, who had done 50 miles in 24 hours into Damascus the other day. We also met Crazy Frog, who is a student at Virginia Tech and Phys Ed from Gettysburg.
After two days, I’m liking my new shoes so far. Yesterday, my left foot was hurting some, but today they felt great. My feet weren’t killing me by the end of the day and no major blister issues. My heels were starting to blister today, but I’m ready to expect that with any shoe I buy only because they protrude so abnormally from my foot. I do not miss my Keens at all.
We’re feeling good tonight as we got space in the shelter protected from the rain and wind. If Miles is correct, tomorrow will be our last day over 5,000 feet until New Hampshire. There’s a lot to look forward to tomorrow. Hopefully we’ll get to see some wild ponies in the Grayson Highlands and we will hit the 500 mile marker!!! Let’s hope this shelter is snore-free tonight so we can rest up for our big day tomorrow.