Day 74: Hogwallow Gap to Jim and Molly Denton Shelter

May 27, 2013

Today’s mileage: 14.6
Total mileage: 970.3

I know I say it every time, but I did not want to leave the comfort of the bed this morning. I was ready to get back to hiking, but there’s nothing like sleeping in a super comfortable bed.

The four of us went to breakfast before making the trip back out to the Shenandoahs. Miles and I decided to order milkshakes as our last hurrah for our weekend off. Pasha and Kelsey agreed to slack-pack for us today, which was so great. Slack-packing is when you hike without your full pack or in our case today, no pack at all. We were able to knock out almost ten miles in 2.5 hours! I couldn’t believe that we had gone that far when we reached the road crossing. I took a few swigs of water before we started hiking and we headed out with only our hiking poles. We even ran part of the way. I miss running, so this was a good change of pace and great on the nice terrain of the park. About five miles in, we exited Shenandoah National Park. We are now done hiking in national parks! We said goodbye to Skyline Drive and pushed on to the northern Virginia section of our hike. It rained a bit this afternoon, but we didn’t really get wet at all while hiking in the woods.

At about 3:30, we arrived at the road crossing where Pasha and Kelsey were waiting with potato skins and quesadillas! It was an awesome surprise for lunch and we chowed down in the car. It was finally time to say our goodbyes at that point and put on our packs and head north once more. We wish we could have stayed longer, but I think if we got off for too long, we may get too comfortable in the real world! We had such a perfect and relaxing weekend with Pasha and Kelsey. They cooked us dinner, gave up their bedroom for us, let us do laundry, drove us into the city for a baseball game, and so much more. The fact that they drove 70 miles each way to pick us up and drop us off would have been enough! But they went above and beyond as hosts and friends for our weekend vacation. Thanks guys!!! We miss you already!

So today was our first real slack-packing experience. We had slack-packed one mile in Fontana, NC previously, but other than that, we have been slack-pack free. Needless to say, after three days off and after hiking without our packs for ten miles, we weren’t ready for what I like to call, Post Slack-Packing Syndrome. Our packs felt so heavy and we moved at a snail’s pace as we headed out from the road. Plus, our packs were full of food and water, so it was not the fastest last five miles of the day that we’ve ever done. We made it to the shelter in the evening and found many new people we hadn’t met before. A few thru-hikers are here and some section hikers. There’s a solar-powered shower here and a spacious porch attached to the shelter. We are tenting tonight. We have realized that we prefer tenting over shelters for a few reasons. We have more privacy for one. We usually stay up later than most hikers because we’re writing, blogging, and reading. It’s also nice because there aren’t any bugs pestering you, there are no mice to fall on your head, and no insanely loud snoring. If it rains, we always consider the shelter, but we have realized that we’re the tenting type.

Back to the thru-hiker’s life. We miss laying on the couch, eating ridiculous amounts of chocolate cake, and the endless laughter that filled our weekend. But we must look forward to Harpers Ferry, which is only in a few days!

2 thoughts on “Day 74: Hogwallow Gap to Jim and Molly Denton Shelter

  1. Sounds like a good time was had by all with Pasha and Kelsey. Time to carry on and tackle those miles now. Sun decided to come out in Maine today, finally. Going to mail a box to PA on the 30th to arrive in Duncannon. Have collected some things. xoxo

  2. I am in awe of your adventure! I am in neighboring NH! love our white mtns.but would love to do the AT someday….when do you think you will reach us? A group of us want to do some trail magic! would be awesome to meet you folks!

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