Day 47: Jenkins Shelter to Helveys Mill Shelter

Today’s mileage: 14
Total mileage: 589.2

We rolled out of camp around 9:30 again this morning, but since we were doing a shorter day, we knew we would be able to resupply in Bland and make it to the next shelter with plenty of daylight left. The first 5 miles were quick and we took a break at Laurel Creek where there was a nice bridge to sit on while we ate. If it was a bit hotter, I would have enjoyed soaking my feet in the creek while eating my Gummi Bears and oatmeal cream pie.

After another seven miles, we made it to the US 52, where we were going to hitch into town for a small resupply to last us until Pearisburg. We were greeted at the road by fellow thru-hikers Humen, Beacon, and Crazy Frogg and two girls from Hillsville doing trail magic. It was an awesome surprise that we weren’t expecting. Eileen and Mary Katherine were giving out homemade chocolate cupcakes filled with cream, sodas, apples, and applesauce. I’m glad we decided not to take another snack break before the road, because their food was better than anything I had in my pack. They even gave us a ride into town, which was so nice. We heard that one guy waited 45 minutes before getting a ride, so we felt lucky to get a ride immediately. Eileen’s brother thru-hiked last year, so the girls decided take part in their first trail magic experience today. Thanks girls!!!

After resupplying at the Dollar General, we decided to head down to the gas station where there was also a restaurant. A local roofer, Jack, offered us a ride back to the trail. The gas station wasn’t far, but he gave us a ride there anyways. Really nice guy. We had a good meal at the Citgo where we were able to throw our trash out as well. It may seem trivial, but it’s always nice when you come upon a trash can at a road crossing or when you stop into town. Every ounce matters! After downing two chili dogs and fries myself and Miles finishing off chicken tenders, fries, biscuit, and coleslaw, we headed back to 52 to catch a ride. It took about ten minutes, but Craig stopped for us and gave us a ride back to the trail. Bland, Virginia may be small, but we met a lot of nice people there.

We crossed I-77 and had a steep 2 mile climb to finish off our day. There’s only one other person at the shelter tonight, a French woman who is section hiking. We are tenting again and drying out our clothes, which are still wet from the rain and sweat. I added about a mile to my day since it was 0.3 to the shelter and 0.6 round trip for water down a steep hill.

We’re planning a 24 mile day tomorrow and it looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day. We’re going to try to wake up earlier so we can get in the miles. Here’s to hoping that my blistered feet survive the day.

Miles recovered from the other night. He’s not sure why he felt sick, but he woke up feeling fine in the morning.

My mom had a great question about what we eat and how many calories we take in every day. I’m going to do my best to answer her question. I’d have to do the math on total calories per day, but I do know a few numbers off the top of my head. For one, Miles most definitely eats more than I do. He hasn’t lost much weight, maybe a few pounds. I don’t think I’ve lost more than two or three either, although my hips feel skinnier and I can tell since my pants sit a little looser. I think we’ve gained some muscle too, especially in our calves. Here’s a list of what I eat on a normal day:

Breakfast: Pop-tarts and a Clif Bar = 680 calories
This will last me about three hours before I’m hungry again.

Lunch: Lunch is actually spread out into 2-3 snack breaks throughout the hiking day. I eat 2 Little Debbie’s snacks per day, usually oatmeal cream pies, chocolate chip cookie pies, fudge rounds, or anything with chocolate really that will hold up well in my food bag. I eat another Clif Bar in the afternoon, Gummi Bears are a staple of my everyday diet, and clementines when I can find them. I also eat Gushers, Snickers bars, salted almonds, cheese, Blue Diamond Nut Thins or Wheat Thins, sometimes Goldfish or Cheez-Its, and various snacks like a cinnamon bun or danish once per day. I know, not the best diet, but I never find myself starving for food and I’ve found that as long as I’m eating enough protein everyday mixed in with a lot of carbs, I’m always ready for the next day of hiking. We normally shop at the dollar stores and grocery stores when we can to find the best deals on food. I’m not sure on the calorie intake, but I’ll try to figure that out and get back to you on it.

Dinner: Knorr Pasta Sides or Rice Sides. We each eat one packet of these per night unless we’re having chicken-flavored Ramen mixed with instant mashed potatoes. We save that for days we do big miles since it’s a heartier meal. We love the Mountain House meals, but we’ve only eaten a couple of those that we got from one our friends. They’re not exactly in the budget, but we may decide to splurge on one every once in awhile. After dinner, I have a few cookies and that keeps me full until the morning.

I actually realized the other day that I’m a vegetarian out here on the trail. Miles always has summer sausage or Slim Jim’s, but I’m just not into the meats on the trail. When I’m in town, it’s a different story however. I always have meat in town, helping me get some more protein.

And that’s a typical day of meals. Great question, mom! I’ll get back to you on the calorie totals soon. If anyone else ever has any questions for us, I’d be more than happy to answer them in future posts.

Again, the positive feedback and following I’ve received over the past few months has been above and beyond what I ever could have expected. Writing about our journey has been an experience in itself. Writing has always been a very personal thing for me. I was the kid in school who was always nervous about passing in papers to my teachers and having other people read my work. I don’t think I needed to worry so much about it, but I always did. This blog has allowed me to share my journey all across the world; something I never could have imagined. I’m out here doing two things I love everyday: hiking and writing. As Thoreau once wrote, “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand.”






24 thoughts on “Day 47: Jenkins Shelter to Helveys Mill Shelter

  1. Love the posts and the pics (especially the ponies). I have got to ask you are you still “letting the pits grow?”

  2. I have got to ask you are you still “letting the pits grow?”
    Your photos and journals are great. Love the ponies!

  3. I have lots of mtn house meals that will be expiring before my next section at the end of June. I’d be happy to send them to mail drops if you tell me when and where approximately.

    One-80 and Data

  4. Great pics and writing!! Great work guys, you will finish!! Keep walking and thanks for writing every night!! How is the gear holding up?

    1. Gear is holding up well overall. Some wear and tear on my pack that I hope doesn’t get too bad, pants have a two holes in them so trading those out. Other than that, everything has been working pretty well.

  5. Hi Lindsey and Miles. I continue to read and enjoy you blog every day!! You guys are awesome. I enjoy reading about the area you have been in recently… Bland VA, Big Walker Mtn, big Bald. These are all places we drive thru/by 2-3 times or more each year. We drive I-77 to go to FL, Hilton Head, UNC Bball camp. It is beautiful country. Tom was born in Blacksburg VA. Keep it going and we have been praying for you. Love, Aunt Kathy, Uncle Tom and Katie

    1. It is very beautiful in this area! We have really enjoyed hiking here. I didn’t know that Uncle Tom was born in Blacksburg! We have met quite a few Virginia Tech alum and fans on the trail. I’m glad that you’re enjoying the blog πŸ™‚

  6. Great job. 1/4 done, going strong.

    Do you know your pack weight, with and without food weight? And Miles’s?

    Also, do you find you have enough free time every day? For blogging, reading, going for a light jog.. that sort of thing?

    1. My base weight when we started was 21 and with food and water at Springer was 34. Miles’ base weight was 25 when we began and with food and water at Springer was 41. Our food weight is lighter now and I’m think that my base weight had decreased since we started too. Sending home some winter stuff tomorrow, so I think my base weight will be under 20 when we leave Pearisburg. Miles’ weight has stayed about the same.

    2. We don’t have a ton of free time, but at the end of the day after we’ve set up camp, eaten, and filtered water, we have our free time. Usually about one or two hours before we go to bed. I blog and write in my journal and Miles reads. We also go over our plan and mileage for the next day.

  7. Are you still using the sawyer squeeze filter and the msr pocket rocket? Just curious as to how they’re holding out or if you found something better.

    1. We are still using both and they have held up very well! We backflush our Sawyer every time we’re in town to keep it working efficiently. We really like our pocket rocket. We recently made a foil windscreen and that has helped our ever boil way faster.

  8. Great writing. Iv’e been following you online for a couple of weeks. Today, May 1 my 71 y/o father Ole Slo and my 21 y/o son step off from Springer heading north. Go Safely

  9. Do you know that “Carry Me Back to Ole Virginny” was written by one James A. Bland, 1894-19??

  10. Make sure you spend a night at Woods Hole Hostel, even if you are going to zero in Pearisburg

  11. Love the photos! I’ve enjoyed following you on your hike, and the photos give a visual to your words.

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