Day 66: Gravel Spring to Denton

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

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Flag of United States  , Virginia
Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hey there,
So this morning started like the past few, cold and rainy. Fortunately it was just misty and the cloud walking ended by midday.  I saw a big black bear at about 40 ft this morning as a last hurrah for SNP. I think it was sleeping and I woke it up. The thing was BIG and I could just imagine what it would be like having something like that running at you.

Very happy to cross out of the park, and immediately the trail kind of gets "rough" again after some pretty smooth hiking through the park. Fortunately the weather improves, actually saw the sun this afternoon. Ah the small joys of the trail.

I'm skipping the town of front royal and going straight to Harpers Ferry, however I am taking it slow because of the feet. They are worse then perhaps ever before. Despite the pain I did manage 18 today, mostly because the pain numbs out. What a mess.

So I got into this shelter at about 3, and lunch turned into staying the night. I aired all my stuff out so it is significantly drier now, but everything is still damp. Just a nasty feeling to crawl into the sleeping bag that sticks to you.  A couple of nice section hikers here to hang out with, but I'll soon be turning in so I can get up early and drag myself to the next spot.  Hiking is not fun in this condition. Maybe I'll just buy some tennis shoes in the next town.

Ran into a crew from the PATC (Potomac Appalachian Trail Club) working on the Tom Floyd Wayside Shelter late this morning. The guy reiterated the use of permetherin on the ticks and made some blister treatment suggestions. Cool when these people have these outlets after their thruhikes. Maybe someday I'll live fairly closeby to the trail and I can work on the trail!

Only a couple more days in can tell the location by all the airplanes on their way to Dulles. Washington is only a little over an hours drive from here and apparently there's a chance well be able to see the Washington Monument in a couple days.

Had a couple of tick questions from you: first, whether I can hope to be out of tick country and what defines that? Well, the ticks come out in the summer, basically it's a temperature thing. You'll find ticks anywhere there's long grass in the summer. Unfortunately this means I'll be walking with the ticks until about Massachusetts. They shouldn't be as bad further north because it's not as hot. I have heard stories of moose dying from blood loss to the ticks though.

Next question: what kind of ticks are they? And wood ticks don't cause Lymes disease? So far they have mostly been the big red ticks (I believe these are wood ticks) however my understanding is that they too can cause Lymes disease. However I think this can vary regionally. I'm no expert. Unfortunately the ones that really carry Lymes are the deer ticks and they are the tiny little guys that are so hard to spot...
Hope you all are well! Ask me more questions, I really enjoy knowing the people are reading and interested. Are there other things you'd like me to try to write more about beside the pain in my feet?
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Hi Rob. Glad things sound better today. Amazing what a little sunshine can do for a person! I checked the big map, and you DO almost have Virginia "whipped." Remember, it was Virginia that got the guys from "Walk in the Woods" down. Exciting to see a BIG bear. Camera ready? Take care; we're still with you!


Back again. Did you ever look at Dr. Scholl's GEL innersoles? Wonder if they would cushion your foot. I have no experience with them. Like most ads, they look "comfy." Just a thought. Bye.

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