Day 48: Pearisburg, VA to pine Swamp Branch

Trip Start Mar 15, 2010
Trip End Jul 23, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Virginia
Saturday, May 1, 2010

So managed to get my lazy behind out of bed this morning at about 8... Ate all my extra food and guzzled at least 2 liters of water. Weather said it got up to at least 87 today... Certainly felt like it.

I was pretty much first in line at the post office when it opened at 10am. Unfortunately this did mean that I got a very late start, and on a hot day that can spell disaster!  At the post office I met "inwoods" who lives at Hamlin and John R in Rochester Hills, MI. That's about 2 mi from where we lived... Small world! (or should I say, "narrow trail?")

Once I checked out of the hotel and had everything totally in order it was about 11am and already sweltering. The really annoying thing was that the first mile or so was all uphill and just on streets, it didn't even count!!

Once on the trail the first 5 mi were awful. Had to go around parts of the city, a chemical plant, cross a highway bridge (half mi long with cars screaming past the whole way) the access road to a landfill, and OH YEAH, a 2000 ft climb.

Usually I can climb any mtn without stopping on the way up, but with the heat today it felt like I was going to die. I took at least 4 little breaks to catch my breath and drink water. (consumed 2 liters just on this one uphill!)  Finally up at the ridge I could celebrate entering another state!  Bonus points to anyone that can name that state!! We walk the stateline for a while here but don't fully enter until we are done with Virginia.

Lunch is at the Rice Field Shelter, which is right on a nice field (though I hope no one would try growing rice up on a ridge in the Appalachians in the rocks...) it is always a joy to eat the first meal after a resupply and try to lighten the pack weight!

After lunch the rest of the day is just a long ridgewalk. Fortunately some clouds move in so the temperature becomes much more bearable. The highlights of the day were many signs advertising the wrong mileages, no trespassing, and which trees marked property lines.  Scary part of the day was discovering two ticks on me in the early afternoon. One was sitting on my shoulder, and the other was already attached to my left calf. I had to pull it off with my tweezers (yay Swiss army knife to the rescue) and got a sick pleasure from crushing it with a rock. That makes 3 ticks in 24 hrs, which must certainly coincide with this warm snap. Ticks are one of the major hazards we face out here. (lightning, hypothermia, heat exhaustion...murderers...) my housemate in Germany got Lymes Disease and I'd rather not have to go through that. (Although maybe the prescription would be to drink lots of Coronas until a healthy balance is reached??)

The evening descent down to the shelter was extremely annoying... All thruhikers have their opinions about the trail being designed all wrong and everyone wants to reroute it a better way. On this descent we did some switchbacks that were obnoxious... The grade was so gentle that you could push a wheel chair up it. Of course the craziest thing was that halfway down the mtn they suddenly changed their minds and the trail just drops into a straight descent, very steep, and slippery due to an earlier t-storm that passed thru.

Got to shelter at dark, no space so I had to set up the tent. Hopefully it won't rain so I don't have to pack up a wet tent... One of the reasons I like to stay in the shelters! It ended up being a 20 mi day, considering I started at 11 that's not bad and prolly why I feel so awful. Hopefully I'll get an early start tomorrow and put down big miles before lunch. Hiking in the morning just goes so much better!

Well I posted an event on facebook for the Memorial Day weekend hike.  I don't have the link available but it's nothing too exciting. I hope that a few of you would like to come experience a little slice of the AT!! Also, I should also mention that ANYONE is welcome to come to
Maine and climb Katahdin with me at the end. (provided I make it, lots of miles to cover before I can talk seriously about that) of course for a lot of you, Maine is kind of far away...

Hopefully everyone is doing well. Congratulations to my sister on her graduation from Oakland University!  Bummer to not be in attendance. Hard to believe that it is May. The months sure fly by... And here I was thinking life would pass more slowly out here! Yikes
Take care!
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uncle marcos on

Keep on truckin Robert! We had a fun get together here last night, your dad worked up a real sweat on a spicy thai dish. Wish you were here for a break. Wings are tied at 2 after 1st period. Take care.

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