May 23, 2013
Today’s mileage: 17.1
Total mileage: 955.7
We were more than a little excited when we woke up this morning because we knew by the end of the day, we would be at the beginning of our ENTIRE weekend off from hiking! Of course, we love it out here and the entire thru-hiking experience, but we’re 70 days in and I think a weekend off in DC with friends isn’t uncalled for at this point. It was another warm morning that quickly turned into another humid day. There were a few raindrops in the beginning of our hike, but it never amounted to anything. We both enjoy listening to music on our days into town if we have enough battery left on our phones. It’s a luxury that we look forward to, since it’s not often we are able to listen to music out here. Today’s playlist included a lot of Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, a mix of 90s tunes, and of course DMB, as always.We made great time hiking today. I think the promise of a relaxing weekend was one motivation, but also that we planned to stop for lunch at Elkwallow Wayside.
At the wayside, we both ordered turkey bacon swiss melts and ate them outside at the picnic tables. The waysides may be on the pricier side, but they certainly don’t skimp on the servings. It was enough to fill us up and get us to our destination for the day, which was almost ten miles from the wayside. We had a few views as we hiked over Little Hogback Mountain and South and North Marshall Mountains. Storm clouds lingered nearby as we approached the gap where Kelsey would be picking us up. We hung out with Foxtrot before he headed off to finish a 28 mile day. Once we get back on the trail, we will still have a few miles left in the Shenandoahs. That’s fine by us. We have enjoyed the hiking there and we only have a few days left in Virginia, so we’ll savor it while we can.
We are now living in luxury in northern Virginia at our friends’ apartment! Pasha and Kelsey went to UMass with Miles, so we were pretty excited when today finally arrived. We’re looking forward to spending the weekend with them watching the Champions League final on Saturday, going to a Nationals vs. Phillies game, swimming, and simply hanging out and relaxing. We visited them last April and had an awesome time going to DC, so we had been planning to visit them en route to Maine for awhile. Kelsey picked us up at the gap and Miles and I enjoyed just sitting in the car for a couple of hours. The only time we aren’t moving for that long of a period of time is when we’re sleeping, so it was a nice change of pace. Pasha was at the apartment when we arrived and we all ordered pizza and had some beers. We’re clean and ready to sleep after watching the Bruins lose to the Rangers in OT. While they’re at work tomorrow, we plan on getting all of our “chores” done: resupply, laundry, organizing supplies, and finally getting the chance to go to REI to exchange some gear. And once they get out of work, hopefully we’ll have everything done and we can enjoy the next few days doing non-hiking related things like watching baseball and sitting on couches. Oh, the simple things in life. I forgot what it’s like to type on a computer. Pasha let me borrow his MacBook to update my blog, which is a welcome relief from hours upon hours of typing on my iPhone. If I could hook up a full-sized keyboard to my phone, I would totally carry that in my pack. I never would have thought that after over two months of hiking that I would miss computer keyboards and sitting in cars so much.
A couple of questions to answer that my mom had asked and that I thought might be of interest to others.
When I refer to bugs in my posts, I do mean flies. We haven’t really experienced many mosquitoes, mostly pesky little flies that constantly fly around your face. I’m probably going to pick up some bug netting at REI tomorrow, but I may send it ahead and use it later on.
The halfway point of the trail is near Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Pennsylvania. It’s at mileage point 1092.9. We are 137.2 miles away from the midpoint of the AT! Can you believe it? I know I sure can’t.