Day 89 – June 4 – 19.8 miles – Manassar Gap – Sam Moore Shelter
It was a hot and humid day. Around 9:30 in the morning Stoat and I found some beer sitting on a bed of ice on the side of the trail. We figured they were left for hikers, so we each grabbed one.
We drank the beer as quick as we would drink a cold soda. It was very refreshing. The thing is, I forgot that I was 25 pounds lighter than when I started. Within a few minutes I was buzzed. That was not what I had intended at all and hiking became a little more difficult for a little while.
Seven miles into the day we came to Sky Meadows State Park. There were sever large grassy fields where it seemed a lot of animals had met their demise.
After leaving the Sky Meadows State Park the trail began to become more rocky. Soon we passed several old stone walls. I always found old stone walls interesting. I liked to try to imagine what the landscape looked like when the walls were constructed, what the people who constructed them were like, and how the walls just sat there , mostly untouched, as the years went by.
After the rock walls we came to a sign letting us know we were about to enter “The Roller Coaster”. The Roller Coaster is a 13.5 mile section of constant ascents and descents. Its a fairly famous section of the AT among Thru Hikers. Throughout the last several days it would always come up in conversation when groups of hikers got together.
When it came down to it, The Roller Coaster wasn’t hard at all. It reminded me of the trail in Georgia, except with more rocks. I could see it being hard for dayhikers, but for Thru Hikers with over 900 miles under our belts, it was business as usual. The humidity, however, was stifling.
We were about 0.2 miles from the shelter we were going to camp at when we passed a mile marker.
A minute later we passed a 1000 mile marker nailed to a tree. Stoat and I gave each other a high five a crossed the line together. 1000 miles. We couldn’t believe it. It almost didn’t even feel real. It felt like it was only a week or two ago that we were sitting around a campfire singing, “I would walk 500 miles..”, and now we had hiked twice that amount.
Once we got to the Sam Moore Shelter we decided to call it a day. We had the option of hiking another three miles to stay at a hostel but I was too hot and hungry to keep going.
While we were setting up, the two German guys ,Rockstar and Steam Machine, whom we met back in Pearisburg, walked in. We talked to them a little bit and found out a little more about them. When Rockstar was growing up he had befriended the man who lived next store. Many years later, Rockstar decided he was going to hike the Appalachian trail. He called up his now retired neighbor and asked if he would be interested in going with him. The neighbor said ok, and now here they were.
After eating dinner I hit the sack.
Tomorrow would be our last full day hiking in Virginia