Calf Mtn Shelter(865.5)-Pinefield Hut(891.7) Virginia
26.2mi+.4mi side trail=26.6mi
Elevation chart courtesy of Guthook’s AT Hiker app. He has apps for many trails including the PCT and CDT.
Well, the rain did return on and off last night and seemed to stop after midnight. Another four hikers arrived as it got late so they were in the shelter when I woke up. The rain had stopped, but there was a light misty fog in the air that stuck around all day. It was in the 50s and 60s, but also quite humid so all the leaves stayed wet. It seemed like it was raining a bit much of the the day because it would drip off the leaves as a breeze blew. One hiker was up early like me and we ended up walking out together at 6:45am. Her name was Kickapoo and she was really enjoyable and perky. We had fun and hiked the first three hours of the morning together. She cracked me up with the positivity on this rainy day, which was her second day in a row in rain. She even said to someone, “this wet weather won’t dampen our spirits!” Here’s the pose I got in the rain when I asked if I could take her picture, ha!
We split up just after 10am when she stopped for a break. I hiked on my own into the afternoon and saw many day hikers or trail runners. The trail crossed Skyline Drive, the main road through the park, countless times along with parking lots and campgrounds.
I stopped at picnic area for lunch and the tables were dry enough to sit. As soon as I sat down, a tick from the table jumped on me. That’s tick number two. My shorts are treated with permethrin so I don’t know how it works, but when I stood up, the tick fell right off. I hope that’s the result of the permethrin!
I got chilled quickly once I stopped hiking and it was a quick lunch. I was cold and wet enough that I just wasn’t hungry. Plus, the hiking today was more of a nice stroll on mostly level trail, so I just wasn’t expending as much energy. It’s supposed to be easy miles through Shenandoah and now I understand why. Even in the rain, it was relaxing.
Kickapoo caught up with me the last hour or two of the day and we hiked to the shelter together. The temperature had dropped and the rain came down steadily the rest of the day on and off. Here is Kickapoo in all her positivity dancing in the rain at a parking lot. I just can’t imagine how cheerful she must be on a nice day!
The hiking was so easy that we were shocked to have finished 26.6mi by 5pm without even trying to go fast. When we got to the shelter, the Kallin family was there that Kickapoo adores that is doing the whole trail with a 7yr old, 9yr old, and a dog. They were great and I recommend checking out their blog. The kids are actually doing high mileage too! They have done days in the 20s and tomorrow will do the same mileage as me with a 20.8mi day. Another hiker named North Star was there too.
When the rain died down, Kickapoo and I set up our tents and put on our warmer clothes. I was quite chilled and laid in my sleeping bag a bit to warm up. It’s not that cold, but my joints ache from being chilled. I’ve never enjoyed getting wet as I get cold so easily. This was one of those rainy days I imagined whenever I thought of the AT and I’m glad it took 43 days before I got one. It wasn’t bad and I’m excited to say the tent and my gear is dry, but my clothes, shoes, and backpack are pretty wet. I would welcome some sunshine tomorrow to warm up and dry everything out. Check out the viewpoints in the fog today, ha!
As I write this, Kickapoo is singing me the song, We Didn’t Start The Fire by Billy Joel. Before the hike, she wrote random things in pages of her journal to surprise and entertain herself and the lyrics to that song was today’s surprise. She is on a tight schedule to meet her boyfriend in about a week and he will finish the trail with her. She will probably push to a further shelter than me tomorrow as I’m on a more relaxed schedule to meet people, but the Kallins plan to camp at the same shelter as me tomorrow, so I’ll see more of them. Coyote along with two other guys I overlapped with before Waynesboro also arrived tonight and plan to do the same shelter as all of us tomorrow.
**As an update, two months after I finished the trail, this article was posted on Yahoo that was written by Kickapoo and it was very powerful to read…the words she quotes from Robert Frost at the end are the same ones she will belt out hiking with me and with young Robin Hood when will recite a Frost poem in a few days…