May 12, 2013
Today’s mileage: 22.6
Total mileage: 778.1
It was a beautiful, but cool morning as we prepared for our big climb up Apple Orchard Mountain. I still managed to wake up around my usual time, 7:30, even though I stayed up until almost 1:00 AM finishing my book. They don’t call it a thriller for nothing! We had a 3,000 ft. climb to start the day, so we fueled up on Pop Tarts and Clif bars and began our long trek uphill. It was nine miles from the shelter to the top of Apple Orchard Mountain. The sun was shining and it was a lot cooler than yesterday. The wind was blowing, which kept the bugs away.
At the top of our big climb today was an FAA tower, the second one we’ve seen on our hike so far. It looked like a huge soccer ball to me. Apple Orchard Mountain stood at 4,225 feet, so we felt relieved once we reached the top. It was very windy up there, so we didn’t spend much time at the top, instead heading on to Thunder Hill Shelter for lunch.
I felt really strong today. We had a lot of uphill throughout the day, but I never felt tired from hiking the entire day. We had originally planned to do only 17 miles today because we thought that the uphill would be tougher than it was. However, by the time we reached the campsite we planned on staying at for the night, we weren’t tired and our feet didn’t hurt too badly, so we did another 5.5 miles to the shelter. It was mostly downhill and we got in to camp around 7:30.
We crossed the Blue Ridge Parkway again today and we had more spectacular views of the mountains and the James River. We did a little math today and realized that we are more than halfway through Virginia! It’s hard to believe that we are less than 250 miles from the West Virginia border. Time sure does fly when you hike all day. 😉
A Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers reading, especially my mom of course! She is care package sender extraordinaire and along with my dad, my #1 AT supporter. I thought I would be able to call her tonight since we are near a town, but there is absolutely no service here. While AT may be in the name AT&T, it certainly does not stand for Appalachian Trail-friendly. Sorry mom, I tried! Happy Mother’s Day from the trail!!!