May 28, 2013
Today’s mileage: 18.4
Total mileage: 988.7
After a surprisingly restful night of sleep, I felt rejuvenated to head on towards West Virginia and one day closer to 1,000 miles on the hike! I headed out about ten minutes before Miles as he finished getting ready. Only a few miles into the day, I came upon a cooler of trail magic at the first road crossing. I downed a Sprite, took a Jolly Rancher for the road, and signed my trail name on their cooler with the markers they left out. I crossed through a meadow of waist-high grass as the sun heated the landscape and I began to sweat. It appeared it was going to be another humid day, but not as bad as it will be in the coming days, or so we hear.
We stopped 5.5 miles in at Manassas Gap Shelter for a break and caught up in the log book as to who was now ahead of us after our weekend off. We recognized a lot of hikers that we were 1-3 days ahead of us and who we hope to see soon. Many were behind us before we got off, but are now ahead.
Today marked the beginning of our hike along the western boundary of Colonel John Mosby’s Confederate Army base camp during the Civil War. The boundary falls along the AT from Manassas Gap to Snickers Gap, which we will reach tomorrow. Not only do I love the hiking, flora and fauna, and wildlife out here, but also the history we are encountering everyday. Miles is a Civil War history buff, so he can usually fill me in on the details of Civil War history that we have encountered along the trail.
The terrain was easy today as we glided up and down the coasting ascents and descents of northern Virginia. We hit another cooler of trail magic this afternoon at the top of a hill. It was fresh trail magic as it was filled with ice and stocked with an array of drinks. I downed a Juicy Juice in seconds. There’s nothing like juice on a hot day. I realize that I’m 23 years old, but I don’t think I’ll ever cease to love the goodness of Juicy Juice. We stopped for another break just inside Sky Meadows State Park. We sat on a wooden bench in the shade dangling our feet off the edge, enjoying the respite. I mentioned that our packs felt super heavy after slack-packing yesterday. Today, it felt like normal again and we quickly readjusted to hiking with our full packs. Thankfully, it didn’t take too long. We are sore though, after our time off. It’s amazing how quickly the soreness can come back after only a short time away from hiking.
I had gone ahead of Miles for a bit after we stopped for a break and of course I come upon a snake. I think it was just about to slither out of the tall grass and onto the trail. It scared the s*** out of me, but I think it was more scared than I was as it immediately retreated back into the grass. It was only a black snake, but anything that moves suddenly in tall grass is sure to jump me a little. I’m glad no one was around to hear me screech like a crazy person. I made Miles walk in front of me when he caught up to me. Another plus to hiking behind him. He’ll scare off all of the snakes for me. 🙂
We got to the shelter a few minutes before 5:30, which was great for us since we usually get into camp after 6. It gave us time to relax before eating dinner and dry out our hiking clothes. There is only one other thru-hiker here and a lot of section hikers that we are meeting for the first time. We managed to concoct a delicious dinner of Butter Pasta Sides (thanks to my mom), fresh garlic, and melted cheddar. Not bad for a thru-hiker dinner. We are learning to get more creative with our meals. It’s amazing what a clove of garlic and some cheese can add to a meal.
Again, I can’t express enough how much we love hearing from our readers near and far! What I didn’t realize until recently is that people who comment aren’t notified when I reply to their comments, so I apologize if you thought I was ignoring you. I have done my best to answer as many questions as possible, so I’d check back on the page if you’re looking for my reply. I read each and every comment and it is so awesome to hear that so many of you enjoy following our journey. There is so much more I could write about every night if I had more time, but I hope that what I write provides at least some insight into what trail life is really like. At least for us anyways.
Tomorrow is a HUGE day. 1,000 miles! I’m certainly in shock.