|second day with a beautiful view|
JT and I started our hike from Rockfish Gap on the southern end of the Shenandoah National Park on Monday September 3rd around noon. The temps were in the high 80s with high humidity. I hadn't been expecting such warm weather and immediately began having problems related to the heat. We hiked about 8 miles that first day and camped at Calf Mountain Shelter for the night.
That second day we had a 13 mile hike ahead of us to reach the next shelter. The humidity was bad from the start. We had no water sources for more than 10 miles of the day. We each were carrying about 4 liters of water, but it quickly became apparent that wouldn't be enough for me to stay hydrated. After 5 miles, we decided to call a shuttle and get a ride to our next shelter so we could take the afternoon off and hopefully recover a bit from the heat. A shuttle is a service offered to hikers for a fee all along the Appalachian Trail. We paid $25 to be driven from Turk Gap to the trail about 1 mile from our shelter. It was just after noon when we arrived, got our water, ate our lunch, and started to set up our camp.
Then we got a call from my husband who told us that our area was under a heat advisory for the rest of the week. We had to make a decision. Would we continue to try and hike in this heat or should we take a few days off and come back on Saturday when the heat was supposed to break. We had a house reserved that Saturday with the plan that my husband and EM would stay there and resupply the second leg of our hike. We would lose a few days, probably not be able to do the entire 100 miles of the park, but could possibly do most of it. We decided to call a shuttle again, get a ride to Loft Mountain Campground and wait for my husband to come drive us home to Pennsylvania.
The next few days at home we recalculated our hike with plans to start on Saturday and hike until we either finished the park or ran out of time the next Saturday.
Then nature threw us a curveball.
Saturday and Sunday were days of non-stop rain. We pushed our start day back until Monday. We decided to just do a day hike on Monday to check on trail conditions before committing to an overnight stay.
|trial is a river|
It was rainy and foggy all day, trails were pretty soaked, but it wasn't too bad. The views were non-existent. That was kind of disappointing. Tuesday the rain was still going so we did a second day hike with plans to head out Wednesday on a multi-day hike.
Then Florence came on the scene.
During our Tuesday hike we ran into a couple southbound thruhikers. Both of them had heard the National Park system was considering closing down Shenandoah due to the excessive rain and the approaching hurricane. There were fears of dangerous trail conditions because the saturated ground could lead to tree falls.
|supposed to be a view|
|awesome owl we saw on a misty day|
When we left Virginia, we left with plans to return as soon as we could and finish our remaining 60 miles. But when we came home, JT started the job search, and we were surprised that he found a job immediately. Because of that, we have to postpone our plan to return to the trail until next spring. In the meantime we will continue doing shorter trips and work on our stamina. But we will finish that hike!