I finally got my sleeping bag system worked out last night, right before it was time to come home. I managed to fasten my down quilt around my sleeping bag so it would stay put all night. It's the small victories, isn't it?
The night was quite a bit warmer, so waking up was easier. It's a huge effort for me to get out of the sleeping bag in the morning when it's freezing. This morning I sat up to watch the sun come up, then got up and moving quite easily. I was sad to have no more drink mixes left, but I knew I was getting a soda at the end of the day so that helped.
Oddly, a couple of women walked down to the shelter before anybody had left, looked around, and left. It doesn't seem like a normal tourist destination to me, but there they were with a giant camera and pointing fingers. I felt like an exhibit.
I had not remembered the big hill going south from the shelter. Fortunately, we were not quite awake when we started it. It would have hurt much more if we had been there for it. We chugged up the thing in fits and starts. Like yesterday, we went much faster than we did on the first two days. Part of that is the lack of roller coaster, but part of it was just getting our trail legs back.
I eagerly looked forward to lunch at Manassas Gap Shelter with my fully re-awakened thruhiker appetite. Just before we got to the shelter, we smelled smoke. Some yahoos were trying to get a giant log to catch. At 65 degrees out. They were burning whatever they could find under it to try to get it going, which included many leaves. I sincerely hope none of them were from poison ivy, as Delee and I ate lunch in the path of the smoke. And I really hope they didn't get the log to catch, because I'm pretty sure they were leaving after having lunch. Grump.
We passed some of the last two miles singing "The Ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah" (and so on). It took me a while but I think I got up to twenty three. A personal best and perhaps a new world record. For all I know, anyway.
JD arrived at the trailhead shortly after we did, bearing icy cold sodas and a whole container of chocolate sex cookies. OMG. Is there anything better? The ride home was pretty quick, and before long I was clean, dressed in non-stinky clothing, and devouring all the food in the household. Thus ended a wonderful hike.
|The author, with an old stone wall|
|A leaf the size of my boot|
|Sunset at Dick's Dome Shelter|
|Dawn view from my sleeping bag at Rod Hollow Shelter|
|Dang, trees can be pretty|