Saturday, May 23, 2015

Day 51- An Industrial Day

May 22, 2015
Cross Ave Pearisburg, VA(634.5) to Pine Swamp Branch Shelter(654.4) 19.9 miles

Whew, today was a long day. It was my second longest mileage day on the trail and I am tired. We left the motel around 7:30 and had to walk almost a mile just to get back on the trail, so really we did almost 21 miles today. The early part of the day had us walking through an industrial park, it was not very scenic. 
Acetone factory that smelled horrible

From the industrial park we crossed a very busy highway and reentered the woods next to a landfill. 
The gravel road in the background was named Landfill Rd. 

My trail guide specifically said not to drink the water. Shortly after this picture was taken, I saw a dead mouse. I think it drank the water. You could still smell the chemicals from the factory and the woods were full of trash. Not a very good start to the day. After a short uphill and a long downhill we crossed into private property. It was along this private property that we met, Bill. A local who was slack packing two thru-hikers. Slack packing means you drop your full pack off with someone and hike a section without it. After the section is complete you get your pack back and continue on. Bill was waiting on the thru-hikers to meet him and brought a cooler of cokes with him. He flagged us down and shared the cokes with us. It was great to meet him and the cold soda put a pep in my step for a long uphill climb. 

Shortly after that we made it to Rice Field Shelter to eat lunch. My stomach was queasy all morning so I didn't eat a proper breakfast before leaving town. I felt better by the shelter and ate a large lunch. Richard Richardson(haha) commented on how much I was eating. It is never polite to tell a girl she's eating too much food. 

Airlock and I looked at our options for camp tonight. They were not good. Either we hiked a short day carrying a lot of water or we hiked a very long day to a shelter with water. Our packs were already heavy because of our fresh food resupply and the upcoming terrain looked easy. We decided on the long day to avoid carrying 6 lbs of water for seven miles. 

View from just after Rice Field Shelter

The next five miles were very easy. It only took me 1.5 hours to get them done. Just as the easy terrain was coming to an end I came upon an opening in the forest. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  
A camp chair
Me sitting in camp chair
The view from the camp chair
What a great spot

I would have loved to camp here, but there was no water nearby and it was only 3:30, way to early to stop. From here we only had 7.5 miles until we got to our destination, but the terrain went from ridiculously easy to rocky and uphill. My energy quickly drained. I did see a couple cool things that have me a boost.
Anybody know what kind of insect this is?
A newt

Usually I don't see cool insects and reptiles like this, but I was looking down a lot so I didn't trip over the rocks. 

The rest of the hike quickly zapped my remaining strength and I slowly lumbered my way towards the shelter. Luckily most of the remaining hike was downhill with lots of switchbacks. The shelter didn't have a lot of tent sites, but Airlock made due and I had no problem hanging my hammock. After such a long day I was starving. I quickly put up the hammock and started cooking dinner. I had jalapeƱo rice with smoked salmon, it was delicious. One of my favorite trail meals to date. It will definitely go into my regular food rotation. 

It is pretty cold again tonight, but I'm pretty sure I'll stay warm even in my summer sleeping bag. I have on all of my clothes; thermal running tights, hiking pants, rain pants, long sleeve thermal shirt, short sleeve shirt, insulated jacket, rain jacket, buff, and thermal hat. I also bought some hand warmers that I can use if necessary, but I'm super warm and cozy now. 

We have a very busy schedule in the next few days. Lots of iconic AT trail moments are coming up in the next 70 miles. We will see Kelly Knob, Dragon's Tooth, McAfee Knob, and Tinker Cliffs. I can't wait for McAfes Knob. I just hope the weather and crowds cooperate. Monday is Memorial Day and McAfees Knob is a highlight of the trail so it will be packed. I think we will wait until Tuesday to check it out. 

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold it would be a merrier world." - J. R. R. Tolkien


  1. As much as I love to solve problems, bugs are not my thing; sorry. Love the chair! What a nice surprise to be able to take a "sitting down" break on something other than a rock or the ground. Hope you did stay warm enough as you slept. Found some pics of McAfees Knob; "WOW" is the best word I can think of right now. Looking forward to reports on that and the other great sights.

  2. 19.9 +miles congratulations!

  3. It's the American Oil Beetle. It can secret a chemical that blisters human skin which is why its also known as a type of Blister Beetle.

    1. Thanks, Dadx3. I never would have figured that one out on my own. Did you look it up or just familiar with bugs?

  4. You haven't mentioned your feet lately... Are ge new shoes working out?

    1. Old blisters have healed up nicely. New shoes are ok, but not great. Only a few small new blisters. I just think my feet will be sore for the next few months. They take a lot of daily punishment

  5. I would say bad start with chemical plant and land fill. Glad views got better and they were beautiful. Loved the chair and you got cold drink. Interesting people you are meeting. Slack hiking, interesting! Oh, I'm glad you now know what kind of bug you saw.
    You do have some long days coming up and I know you will share all the things you will be seeing.
    Value friendship, lessons learned, to be grateful and good things will come. LY did you see questions from twins?

    1. No I didn't see any questions from them. If it was on Facebook I wouldn't see it. Im not checking FB while I'm on the trail. Taking a break from social media

  6. If you get time answer questions on days 48 & 50.