Day 61: Punchbowl Shelter to Hog Camp Gap

May 14, 2013

Today’s mileage: 17.6
Total mileage: 808.4

We were up way too late last night, but having to leave a fire on a cold night is so difficult. We didn’t end up leaving camp until 10:15 this morning. Not exactly an ideal start time, even for us late starters. Fortunately, we weren’t doing a 20+ mileage day, so we weren’t too worried about our late morning start. You know, I’ve been working on being an early bird for years. I have failed time and time again. In middle school and high school, I was almost always late for homeroom. I was lucky that I only lived less than five minutes from school or I may have racked up a good amount of detentions. In college, I was punctual, but miserable for the only 8:00 AM class I had in my four years at Emerson. It was Human Biology and I chose it as an elective. Why I chose an 8:00 AM class as an elective I still have no idea. And now, as we partake on this great adventure that generally requires one to rise early, I continue to fail to change my ways. I’m forever a night owl. Just not a night hiker yet.

The first half of our day was easy, starting with a descent down Punchbowl Mountain and followed by a flat section along the Lynchburg Reservoir and Brown Mountain Creek. Near the creek, there were a couple of signs that explained the history of the area. It was once inhabited by freed slaves who made their living as sharecroppers. They grew wheat, oats, tobacco, and corn. We saw a couple of old home sites and a low stone wall that ran along parts of the creek. They sold their land to the Forest Service in the early 1920s and left behind the community that they had created. It was very interesting to learn about and walk through, so I’m curious to learn more about the community that was once there.

We had our lunch break at the shelter near the creek. It was warm and sunny as we ate with fellow thru-hikers Riscuit and Moxie. We ate just in time to fuel up for our 4.6 mile climb up Bald Knob. We had 2700 feet in elevation gain to cover, so we put our game faces on and powered up that mountain. On the way, Miles spotted a long, black snake resting on a fallen tree. This snake encounter was acceptable since it was off trail and we could admire its presence from a distance. Once we made it to the top, we discovered that Bald Knob was not a bald at all, just your regular old mountain. The naming of locations along the trail is always a topic of interest between the two of us. For example, yesterday we passed through Saltlog Gap and tomorrow we will come across Salt Log Gap.

We also climbed Cold Mountain this evening. We hiked through a grassy meadow and had amazing views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. We could even see Apple Orchard Mountain, which we climbed two days ago. We identified it by the FAA tower peaking out from the side of the mountain.

We are camping in a meadow with several other hikers tonight. There’s even a wooden swing right outside of our tent! We had a .6 round trip trek to the water source and back, but it’s cold and clear just the way we like it. We saw our first rainbow of the hike this evening as we finished eating dinner. The sun set before us as we washed our dishes and prepared to get in our tent for the night.

Today is important for two reasons: we have hiked over 800 miles and it has been two months since we left Amicalola Falls State Park as thru-hikers #390 and #391! On March 14th, we were sleeping on top of Springer Mountain. The wind was howling and I was afraid the entire night that there was some animal outside our tent. Oh how things have changed since then! But the one thing that hasn’t changed is our enthusiasm and the excitement of hiking new mountains everyday and sleeping in a new place every night. That never gets old for us.

A few of you have expressed interest in sending us a care package, which we would love of course! I have sent some replies with info on that to some of you, but I’m not sure if you are notified by email when I reply to your comments, so just in case, I thought I would post that info for you here. We can pick up packages at the post office if sent as general delivery. Here is the way to address the package:

Lindsey Gordon and Miles Bisher
C/O General Delivery
Name of Town, State Zipcode

Please Hold for AT Hiker
ETA: Month, Day, Year

I will list a few of our upcoming town stops and our ETA for each.

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425
ETA: May 29

Boiling Springs, PA 17007
ETA: June 3

Duncannon, PA 17020
ETA: June 5

I will post a few more when we get closer to some more northern locations. And I don’t want anyone to feel obligated at all to send us anything, I just wanted to make sure that those of you who expressed interest have the right information and this was was the most efficient way to do that. Let us know if you have sent a box so we know to stop by the post office to pick it up. We look forward to your packages! ๐Ÿ™‚

5 thoughts on “Day 61: Punchbowl Shelter to Hog Camp Gap

  1. I was fortunate enough to never have an 8am class while at UMO back in the day. (That’s what we called it back then and I refuse to call it UMaine) so I get where you’re coming from ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t mind getting up early so much as I hate going to bed early. Thanks for the mail drop info.

  2. You mention night-hikers. Met any yet? Have you been tempted? Say, if the moon were full and you knew that you could make an extra day’s mileage and end up in a town for a zero-day?

  3. Congrats on 800+ miles!!! It’s so good to see you guys continuing to hike strong :)! Be safe!! Also-be on the look out..Lots of active bears in SNP, which is coming up for you guys!

  4. hope you stopped at the Dutch Haus for the free lunch. When you get to Waynesboro, don’t forget Ming’s all you can eat Chinese buffet (and sushi too). You don’t need much food in the Shenandoah’s, waysides for breakfast and lunch, Sky Meadows Lodge, and Skyline Lodge for real meals. If you hit it right can have breakfast at the Wayside, Lunch at Sky Meadows, and Supper at Skyline Lodge all in the same day. Then your in Front Royal (Terrapin Station hostel) right off the trail. Then three days hike to Harper’s Ferry ( you must stay at Black bear hostel – owned by the ATC).

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