This week has been such an adventure! So much has happened since our last stop/post. This week we have really learned the importance of trail family more than ever, and had some of the most beautiful, fun times of the entire trip.
A little over a week ago we were in Glasgow, VA, feeling really down. We were even thinking about ending our trip. It was a rough week. We had the Virginia Blues, felt really lonely and just pretty burned out. We made a really tough decision we thought we would never make on our trip: we decided to hitchhike or “yellow blaze” past about 80 miles of the trail, to the next town, to meet up with our friends and try to get around this horrible feeling. Turns out this decision literally saved not only our morale but our hike, and we have no regrets. Moonbow was agonized about it, because of all the “purists” about the trail, but then we remembered that we have to hike our own hike, and we did, and it’s been incredible. We also got this AMAZING advice from a friend, that sums this up better than I can:
With these helpful words and lots of good talks with each other we felt great about or decision. Two of our good friends from the trail, Muskrat and Iron Jen, who had to stop their hike due to injuries, were driving back down to GA in a rental to pick up their car. They stopped by Glasgow and rescued us!! They took us to Waynesboro where we reunited with SO MANY PEOPLE that make our hike incredible, and we felt so rejuvenated already.
The next morning we hitched into town and Moonbow finally got her new shoes!!! So pink.
We had breakfast then headed to the free tenting hiker pavilion to find our favorites, SPAGHETTIE (sic) and EL MUNDO! We were so excited to hike with these guys again! We were all hanging out at the tent site, stretching, about to leave, when I noticed something red on my leg. I thought it was some leftover stinging nettle, which I get ALL THE TIME here. However, turns out it was the definitive Bull’s eye rash that means one has Lyme Disease, how fun. So instead of hiking, our crew (me, LB, Spaghettie and el Mundo) hitch hiked to the Walmart clinic. Trail family sticks together, so it was a group adventure!
So we chilled At Walmart almost the whole day, waiting on doc and prescriptions. They tried to send me to ER but I refused since we all knew what it was and just needed antibiotics! When I was feeling nauseous and flu like the week before I thought I had just been exhausted and dehydrated from heat… Turns out not so much that as Lyme disease. So we got meds and walked across the highway to a fancy Panera and had lunch. Finally at that point it was mid-afternoon so we just headed back to the tenting pavilion to take it easy while we made sure meds didn’t make me sick. Later that night we got AMAZING hamburgers at a local burger joint called Jake’s. Highly recommended.
Finally, the next day, we hiked out! After chilling at the library for a few hours charging our phones and meeting adorble local kids:
After getting out of town we started SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK!! This is the part I have been most excited about because it is my first real (and favorite!!) childhood memory, being there with my parents and sisters in the BIG MEADOW!
Day one we hiked to the first shelter and got rained on big time that night. It was just so awesome being with the boys again we didn’t care!
The next day we did 20 miles to Loft Mountain campground, where we took an unexpected zero for fun (and because I felt sick)
The next day we did another 20, this time to a closed shelter site, which was so fun and felt like a secret campsite! That day we hiked with some new girls we met, Pocket Spider and Soggy Dirt. They are fantastic and over the course of a very hilly 20 mile girls-only day we found out we had so much cool stuff in common. Our little group joined with their crew for the week, and the eight of us had a great time in the park!!
That night we camped with S and EM at the Big Meadow and it was MAGIC. We shared a hiker family sunset and it was perfect.
The next day we left our stuff at Big Meadow and hitched north with a trail maintainer named Larry who was so old and had so many stories. We rode a curvy 20 miles in the back of his van and got a little car sick. He dropped us at the trail again and we “slack pcked” ourselves back. It was us, Spaghettie , el Mundo, and the other crew (Pocket Spider, Soggy Dirt, and Hollywood) we took our time and suddenly realized we were not gonna make it before dark. Us girls decided to have a side adventure instead, since we didn’t have headlamps and were not into night walking. We walked to the next lodge, SKYLAND and had basically a girls night out of dinner drinks and laughing, (and getting overly excited about the gift shop) and then getting a ride back to Big Meadow. We had met some awesome section hikers on their honeymoon earlier this week and, because the trail provides, saw them there and they drove us “home!”
When we got there the boys were already there, having ran 8 miles, and were eating dinner. We all camped out again, this time as a big group, at the big meadow. It was really foggy and cloudy but the sky looked incredible and we saw at least twenty deer having dinner 🙂 we got some beer and wine and enjoyed a beautiful evening in the Meadow once again!
The next morning, the same section hikers, “the honeymooners” Trish and Greg generously drove us all in the back of their truck back to where we had hitched the day before, and we walked north once again. They live in New Hampshire and want to do trail magic for us up there! Such amazing humans. The trail is incredible in that way, and so many ways.
The next day was sadly our second to last day in the park. We did 16 miles to the last shelter and then the rain started. From 9 pm to 4pm the next day it was a MONSOON. It was the wettest and grossest we and our stuff had gotten the ENTIRE TRAIL. We broke camp in the rain, after waiting all morning and realizing it wasn’t stopping. We hauled ass hiking thru lakes on the trail before it finally stopped . Us, S and EM decided we needed to dry out, so when we got to the road we hitched into FRONT ROYAL to the budget inn. Everything we all owned was wet, so this was a great choice. We got pizza and whiskey and had some much needed relaxation and rest after a long week! This was most definitely one of the BEST, most fun, most beautiful weeks of the entire trip. Being with trail family and making it through the shennandoahs felt fantastic. Now we are 50 miles from HARPERS FERRY, WV which is basically the halfway point!!!! It’s really exciting. Looking forward to another week of beautiful scenes, milestones and trail family ❤️