Friday, September 17, 2010

Waynesboro, VA (Map, replies)

Here's our route from Front Royal to Waynesboro — all in Virginia:

(on EveryTrail)

Hooray for comments!

Some of the people who we meet are thru-hikers, and some are section-hiking, and some are just out for a few days. (There are of course the Day Hikers. As someone wrote in a shelter log: "God bless y'all, but you're different.") Aboo, and Stump, and Django, and Turtle Hawk and Silver (trail names are funny) are all sobo thru-hikers, but are also all going faster than us so we probably won't run into them too much. (The first three are around our age; the last couple are a mid-50s husband and wife from Georgia who freeze-dried their own meals and were glad to be in on a Just So Stories reading.) Moon Pie was a nobo thru hiker, finishing up a couple sections in VA that he missed. People frequently mention names that they've been following in the trail registers for weeks — or half the trail — which sort of develop celebrity (or stalkee) status. Jo expects we'll eventually develop a "hiker family" — people hiking about the same pace — but if people who've zipped by us end up getting sucked into towns, or taking zeroes, we may cross paths with them again.

Shenandoah has been very kind: one of my favorite things about it is that there are old-orchard apple trees sprinkled around, so every now and then you can get a little supplemental fresh fruit. But, in terms of food, there are also Waysides: basically gas station + convenience store events, just a ways off the trail, where one can get a real (fast-food) meal and do an intermediate resupply. (We also decided, after ten days, to have real beds and showers in a lodge — not to mention dinner and breakfast — which was deliriously refreshing: we both sort of lay in bed glowing after our showers.) In terms of terrain, it's been fairly gentle, too; having done the roller coaster first (which was all up and down), it's easy to see how coming north it would be a dreadful shock after SNP.

The first three nights we stealthed; I think we've tent-camped twice since then, and the rest in shelters (excepting a night at Big Meadows lodge). Shelters are great for the convenience of not having to pitch and re-pack the tent (especially if, as has happened twice, it sprinkles a bit), and usually come with a spring and a bear hang (a pole with a big trident to lob your food up onto, as opposed to stringing it up in a tree), and are a mixed bag for company. Some nights it's been great: lots of stories from other hikers about favorite hostels and characters and the like. (I've recorded a couple hiker conversations, which I intend to process and post sometime; that might not happen on the trail.) In one shelter (Rock Springs) I ended up spending the night with a boy scout troop — which turned out to be uneventful, just amusing (hopefully yours was friendly too, Phil!) — and some we've had to ourselves. But we've also ended up having some unrelished company.

In the tents-and-shelter vein, we've also run into some hammock users. Not having to look for a flat and rock-free site is tempting, as is less weight; and (hi to my mom who recently got a hammock!) some of the hammock users have recommended putting a sleeping bag around the outside of the hammock for insulation, or cutting a foam pad to be oblong (since a ThermaRest zips out from under one), since otherwise air cooling underneath seems to be an issue.

Shelters are a fun inter-hiker opportunity in other ways, too. We've found and left a few books (though not as many as hoped for; and sometimes in parts!), and I got crayons in Front Royal, which we've been using on the trail registers and a few of which we've been leaving in each shelter for future amusement.


  1. Mary Mark's Mom17 September, 2010 22:33

    yay about the news, and boo about no pictures! But I hope they'll be along eventually. Jo, I was delighted to read your comments and 'hear' your voice! Your feet were bleeding and you still came back for more?! Reminds me that every summer I would go to Girl Scout Camp not knowing how to pack, would freeze at night and wear holes in the blisters on my feet during the day, and say 'nevermore.' But I always went back the next summer.
    Hope it rains for you. We had a little last night; ground is still rock hard.
    Ask the next hammock users what they do if it rains. Sleep in a shelter? Add a rainfly?

  2. Hammock users have had a rainfly, I think. One commented that there were different setups with different brands, with varying numbers of additional required lines and stakes and things; but I think a tarp over it is the basic design.