Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Update - Leesburg, VA (Mile 988)

First of all, it is extremely difficult for me to refer to Figgy as "Figgy" after knowing her for 10 years as "Lauren," so I am trying to get practice and will try to use her trail name while writing about the trail. So...

Figgy and I have covered about 140 miles in the last week, cruising the length of Shenandoah National Park and most of the remaining miles of Virginia. It is hard for us to believe that we are closing in on the halfway mark, now at mile 988.6!

Figgy Explains Our Thru-Hike

One of our memorable moments was when we encountered a Ranger-led hike and about 15 other hardy souls who left the comfort of their cars to explore the park on foot. In our breif encounter we answered their barrage of thoughtful questions and felt like minor celebrities for a bit.

Shenandoah Cliffs Overlook

Although Shenandoah Park was a far-cry from a wilderness experience, we thoroughly enjoyed what that stetch for what it is - a nice walk through a historic park. Some distinctive points were the frequent concrete waypoint markers that noted our progress, camp stores to stop in for a quick snack, abundant scenic overlooks, fine dining at the lodge, and smooth tread over flat terrain.

Much to our surprise, we continue to see very few other "NoBo" (northbound) hikers. Figgy and I assume we are between pods of hikers travelling together, which suits us just fine. We haven't seen hikers from behind us all week and those ahead we gather are tring to reach Harpers Ferry for the 4th of July.

Last evening and this morning we cruised through most of the "Roller Coaster" - a series of ten rolling climbs and drops over 10 miles, each tree covered and without a view. Figgy was intimidated at first (I'm not sure why after all the climbs we have under our proverbial belts!) but the reputation turned out to be more hype than hurt. We were prepared for challenging monotony, but it turned out to be an enjoyable stretch with some interesting rock formations and more wild blueberries.

This morning we arrived at Bear's Den Rocks Hostel, just a short drive from Figgy's sister Amanda and her husband Jason. We're spending the holiday with them in Leesburg and will be resupplying our food and taking care of other details like laundry, bills, and Figgy's Spanish II final exam.

At Bear's Den it was a pleasant surprise to see our friend, Clearwater, a successful thru-hiker from 2005 who is hiking some of his favorite sections again this year. This was the third time we've met up and always enjoy his advice and interesting perspectives about the trail. This morning Clearwater taught us how to reclaim the remnants of partially-eaten pint of Ben and Jerry's while avoiding hiker plague. Fascinating stuff you'd never think of unless you were a thru-hiker.

No comments:

Post a Comment