Days 58-64

Day 58 (May 18th) – 15.1 miles from Mount Rogers Visitor Center to stealth camp sight. Great day hiking today! Got a later start because of shuttle and it was hot out. Got trail magic at the old school house!, then kept hearing about “the barn” restaurant that the AT passed and stopped there for a late lunch. Haven’t eaten any of the food we resupplied with today, but we are happy. 
Day 59 (May 19th) – 14.7 miles to Lick Creek. Lots of uphill today and very humid weather. Rained over lunch time, we made it to a shelter just in time to take cover. At campsite tonight by river with Roar, Sushi Roll and Single T. 
Day 60 (May 20th) – 16.4 miles to Jenkins Shelter. Lots of climbing. Lots of heat. Thunder and threatening thunderstorms but we missed them. Saw a raccoon and a small snake. There were frogs ribbiting around a pond. Water was scarce this afternoon. Just another day on the AT. We aren’t seeing that many hikers right now because Trail Days is going on in Damascus; however we leapfrogged with 4 of our friends today, so that was cool. 
Day 61 (May 21st) – 11.3 miles to Bland, VA. Very wet and rainy day today. Used my hiking umbrella today and it worked great. Staying at Zero Days Hostel, ran by a guy (Nature Boy) who thru-hiked last year. Waiting for post office to open tomorrow morning (for a care package!) and then will get back on trail tomorrow. 
Day 62 (May 22nd) – 20.2 miles (this is not a typo!). Biggest mileage day ever AND we hit the 600 mile mark today (seems like we just hit 500 miles the other day!). Day started with a breakfast made by thru-hiker Yoda at Zero Days Hostel, then went to post office and got an amazing care package from our friends Anje & Tim (you guys rock!). After rearranging and packing our food bags, our hike started with great weather and good terrain, and eventually our 12/13 mile plan started turning into more. We planned it so we knew we could make it to a camp-site before dark and could stop earlier if we felt like it. We are high on life right now!
Day 63 (May 23rd) – 15.7 miles. Today was miserable. Rained all day long. Still going now (just before dark as I type this, between two snoring guys in a shelter). Low spirits today. 
Some positive notes: We made really good time today, despite the rain and a lot of boulder hopping. It didn’t pour. It was cold, but not hypothermia-cold. We saw a turkey and her babies (turkeylings?). We got to a shelter at our stopping point and spent night in it for first time (we first had all to ourselves and then 3 other guys joined us). There was a perfect saying in the shelter – just for me. We didn’t have to set up our tent in the rain (nor take down in rain next morning). We had awesome coffee and a hot meal to eat from our care package friends Anje & Tim. We only have 8.3 miles to do tomorrow to get to Pearisburg (even though this rain is not stopping anytime soon). 
Day 64 (May 24th) – 8.3 miles. No pain. No rain. No Maine. Another miserable day. BUT we made it to Pearisburg, VA and are now warm and dry. Thinking of taking a zero tomorrow. We are worn down with the cold rain and is supposed to rain more tomorrow. Got our first hitch hike into town today with Sandals (nice young guy we met a couple days ago and hiked with a bit today). The guy that gave us a ride was wearing a Packer hat!

Days 56-57

Day 56 (May 16th) – 16.3 miles to Trimpi Shelter. Good day today! Though hot and sunny, we were sheltered by branches for most of the day. Saw a garter snake, but smaller than the first one we saw before. Tomorrow just 10 miles to Marion, where we’ll do a “nero” (near zero miles, but not quite. Whoever thought I’d say 10 miles was almost zero miles?!). We’ll resupply, shower and do laundry and then head back out the next morning. 

Day 57 (May 17th) – 10.0 miles Nero to Marion. This “little 10 mile day” was harder the. We thought! Hot day and lots of uphill! Got the Marion Transit to town for 50 cents each and we are showers and going to eat and resupply next. Will head back out to trail tomorrow morning. 

Day 49-55

Day 49 (May 9th) – 14.4 miles. Hard start, waited for rain to let up before taking down tent. Thought it would rain all day, but it did not! We made it through the 4-mile “high bear activity area,” and didn’t even see a bear. Hard and steady uphill hike today (not sure how we would have done it in the rain), but we were rewarded with a nice, private tent site tonight!
Day 50 (May 10th) – 18 miles!!! Longest day yet. Walked through a beautiful meadow, and had lunch under a tree. Great weather, sunny with a cool wind. Every part of my body hurt today (well, almost all), was hard day for me. Short(er) day into Damascus tomorrow, trail goes right through town. 
Day 51 (May 11th) – 13.1 miles from Double Spring Gap Campsite (which had no Springs at whatsoever) to Damascus, VA! We are in our 4th state now, 3 are done and just 11 more to go. Damascus is “trail town USA,” the trail goes right through town and it is very trail friendly. We are at Woodchuck’s Hostel, just showered and about to go to post office and get something to eat!  

Day 52 (May 12th) – zero day/zero miles. Rained all day and we took the day off in Damascus. Chica got some new insoles for her trail runners, we sent our winter clothes home, we ate and hung with fellow hikers Mystic, Kestrel Chick, Deep Waters, Lost, and ran into Easy Going, Sushi Roll & Roar. Greg got his pack weight down to 24.5, mine is still 26. Woodchucks is a nice Hostel, good breakfast (waffles, potatoes, eggs, cereal, coffee and juice). Oh, we weighed ourselves and I’m down 16 pounds, Sunsets 36!

Day 53 (May 13th) – 17.2 miles Damascus to Campsite at mile 486.3. Good day, felt pretty good. Rain stopped this morning. Greg is coughing and coming down with a cold. Chica’s new insoles appear to be working well today and also her knee “sock.” We’re enjoying some Mountain House meals tonight – yum!!

Day 54 (May 14th) – 9.0 miles to Deep Gap. Greg continues to not feel well with a cold, coughing/sore throat, so we cut our hike short today so he could rest (I made him some lemon/ginger ☕️ tea). Hike was hard today – rocks, roots, and mud! Tomorrow – wild ponies!

Day 55 (May 15th) – 11.0 miles Deep Gap to stealth campsite. We hit 500 miles today! We saw the wild ponies today in Grayson Highlands! Greg was feeling much better, but still not great. The hike today was hard – lots of boulders, roots, rocks, mud and steam crossings. 

Days 41-48

Day 41 (May 1st) – zero day in Erwin, TN.
Day 42 (May 2nd) – 16.0 miles Erwin (Uncle Johnny’s) to Low Gap Campsite. Big mileage day, great day. Had two trail magics today – both were awesome! The second one had grilled chicken tacos and cold soda! We both feel great today and concur that we both now have our trail legs. Today included 13 miles of uphill and we took it on like bosses. 
Day 43 (May 3rd) – 16.6 miles Low Gap to Ash Gap Campsite. Cold wind but the sun was out all day. Good day, but hard day. Especially 3 mile climb at the end – took the wind out of us. Roan Mountain tomorrow, and it’s supposed to be very cold and rainy, wish us luck. 

Day 44 (May 4th) – 3.6 miles Ash Gap to Carvers Gap. Well, we made it over Roan Mountain, but just barely. Temps in the low 40’s, super high wind gusts and threat of rain took us off trail (I worry about hypothermia). Plus our friend Mystic and her husband offered us a ride, so we couldn’t say no! We are at Doe River Hiker Rest in Roan Mountain, TN. Weather planning stinks! Rain and cold temps forecasted for tomorrow and Saturday, so trying to figure out our game plan. 

Day 45 (May 5th) – zero day. Cold temps, wind and thunderstorms parked is in Roan Mountain, TN today. So, time to spare, what to do? Make éclairs and French braid Mitch’s hair! Also did laundry and re supplied and ate lunch at Bob’s Dairyland. The Doe River Hiker Rest is awesome – a big house and it’s very homey and smaller than most other hostels. Best part: coffee all day long. Slack packing tomorrow!

Day 46 (May 6th) – 13.6 miles from Farm Rd. 293 to Hwy. 19E, slack-packed southbound. Started out pretty cold and dreary (40 degrees) but turned out to be a great day. Rain held off, we cruised with no packs on, and the sun even came out a few times. It just started raining when we got picked up, perfect. We’re done by lunch. 
Day 47 (May 7th) – 16.1 miles. Today was gorgeous!! We loved our hike today! Started at Carver’s Gap and high elevations, temp of 30F, and snow and ice everywhere. It was a winter wonderland! Had some beautiful balds to go over and then Hump Mountain was sooooo windy, but not as windy as the other day. Everything confirmed our decision to have gotten off where we did 2 days ago (in winds of 80-100 mph!). We slack-packed the majority of today, and then picked up our packs and picked up where we left off from yesterday’s slack. Greg’s IT band was bothering him towards the end of the day on downhills, otherwise we felt great today. We officially left NC, so we are done with two states (just 12 more to go), and we also officially hit the 400 mile mark. Woot!
Day 48 (May 8th) – 14.9 miles. Today started out cold but by afternoon was nice, full sun all day. Greg’s IT band did great today (lots of stretching helped). Beautiful scenery and hike until last two uphill miles to camp. I was exhausted at the end and starved! 

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