Day 51: Pickle Branch to Campbell

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

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Flag of United States  , Virginia
Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hi hi!
How is everyone! Hope you got my recent updates now that we have reception again! I'm looking down at the city lights of Roanoke, VA which of course means service!!! It's also meant loud, low flying airplanes overhead all day too, but that never takes away from the
wilderness experience now does it?

I was sluggish leaving camp this morning. Slept terribly due to the steamy temps last night (and I'm still in my zero bag) and the bugs.  Couldn't decide whether to sweat myself silly or let the bugs have a smorgasbord! Ended up being sort of half and half! Sleeping in my tent tonight!!

The sun was up all too soon, left camp at 8 towards the DRAGON'S TOOTH! Climbed up quickly to the ridgeline looking for this place of fame (well AT fame, doubt anyone else has heard of it!) but all we got was rough ridgeline walking. In fact, the ridge was probably the toughest we have had so far on the trail! Steep up and downs that required some hand holds and many breaks to catch my breath. It also slowed down my progress drastically. However when I finally got to the spot... WOW!

The teeth are huge slabs of white rock jutting up from the top of the ridgeline, looking just like, well, teeth! I took the opportunity to do some free rock climbing up to the top of one of the teeth for a spectacular stomach turning view of the other ridges and valleys below.

The descent down was also very hard work, rock and boulder scrambles and many spots were you had to steady yourself and lower ourselves down with hand help. I guess that makes it fun, but when the sun is beating down and it's hot as heck... Well it's just plain hard work!

Late morning I passed up a chance to walk to a grocery store just .4 off the trail... This may seem unremarkable, but truly this was a small miracle of the day. Instead I headed up the next ridgeline and ate lunch up on a big old log. Pretty much out of food so when I got to the next road crossing and a guy offered to drive us down to town and right back again... Skyrocket and I jumped at the opportunity!

Picked up a Gatorade, chips, and a honeybun. Mmmm. Also at this time the group of people I've been with for a while was planning a 22 today. Well after yesterday, my feet just weren't interested. Managed to convince Skyrocket, and eventually the rest too, that they should instead follow my plan!

So instead of 22, we put in 17, and scaled MacAfee Knob in the late evening (after things were starting to cool down) stayed up there to eat dinner and watch the sunset. MacAfee Knob is probably the most photographed spot on the whole trail, and you'll see the picture everywhere. (including I believe on the main webpage of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.)

After the really simple but pretty sunset, we hike through the dusk to the shelter just 0.7 down from the summit.  The lights of the city beckon to us! We'll hopefully do the last 17 by getting up very early and then hiking in to the smells of city food, showers, and sheets. Actually since it's been so hot lately, I'm definitely dreaming of air conditioning too.

Feet are in similar condition tonight, some new bad spots but I've been trying to treat them. Knees feel ok, back has been better but having no food left makes that better! Bug bites itch pretty bad but that's just mental.

Thanks for all the comments, it's great to hear that people (besides the parents) are still reading and getting some enjoyment out of this. (even if only schadenfreude!)

Sleep well... Oh and if you want to call me or text, tomorrow would be a good time, haven't decided if I'll zero the following day too.  Depends how fun cinco de mayo is! (how many burritos can I eat??!)
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