Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 48. The longest day so far

Day 48. The longest day so far

Date: April 29, 2012

Day number: 48

Wake info: 0545h @ hotel in Bland, VA to finish my blogs

Start Mile Marker (MM) & Time of Day (TOD): 605.5 mile @ 0852h at VA 606

Pain scale AM (1-10): 1

Happiness scale AM (1-10): 8

Hunger scale AM (1-10): 1

Start weather: Sunny, cool, calm, high 50s, perfect

End MM & TOD: 629.8 mile @ 2045h at Lane St, Pearisburg, VA

Approximate miles covered today: 24.5 miles

Pain scale PM (1-10): 3

Happiness scale PM (1-10): 8

Hunger scale PM (1-10): 1

End weather: Sunny (after dark when I arrived, though), clear, warm, lite 70s, low humidity, nice

Resting time: 1:59

Bedtime: in bed @ 2250h to take notes on the day while watching a baseball game (Tampa Bay at Texas). Asleep @ 2340h

Where slept: bed @ Rendezvous Hotel

Money spent: $40 (hotel)

Resupply: no

Trail conditions: In order: muddy, smooth, rocky (slow), smooth, steep descent

Issues with Equipment and Clothing:

  • Used gasoline in stove for the first time on this excursion (unleaded regular). Worked fine but a little sooty even after priming.

Liters of water consumed: 10.5 Liters

Approx fuel burn time: 10 minutes

Approx. pack weight: 45 lbs

Number of river fords: 0

Number of paved road X-ings: 3 (VA 606, Cross Ave, Lane Rd)

Number of road miles: 0

Number of named mountain summits: 0

Number of wrong turns: 0

Number of times I stubbed a toe: 13

Number of times I've fallen: 0

Number of bugs swallowed: 0

Number and location of showers: 1 (hotel)

Songs playing in my head:

  • On th Road Again - Willie Nelson
  • Brandi
  • Don't Break My Stride
  • Rhapsody in Blue - Gershwin

Happenings at home: Archer got off fine to Wallops Is. I am happy that his roommates are Dzian, Nathan, and Will. He's having fun, Kathleen says. Josie is happy to have the house to herself. Kathleen was putting together a bookshelf for Archer's room.

Companions (Assume thru-hikers unless noted SH for Section Hiker or DH for Day Hiker): I hiked solo all day and only saw for NOBOs (two pair) each moving pretty slowly. I know a large number of folks were staying at Woods Hole Hostel. I did meet a SOBO who was completing his thru-hike from last year after being forced off near Waynesboro, VA due to being bitten by a copperhead snake. (His leg was swollen for 8 weeks.)

Trail Magic: none

Flora: Sweet smelling flowering trees. Thick lush forest at the lower elevations

Fauna: chipmunk. I saw several old squirrel nests that were now supporting a plethora of plant growth high in the trees, especially ferns; they looked like hanging plant baskets. A mother deer with one juvenile; the mom was calling and calling for her baby to run away when I came into view, but the baby was reluctant to leave.

Vistas: A great view from a rock outcropping at mile 615. Angels Rest and the view of town

Attractions: Dismal Falls (I didn't hike the 0.3 miles to it, but it sounded nice.) Lots of water, swimming holes, and camping between VA 606 and Wapiti Shelter - a great place to bring the family!

State of body: Everything is rested and ready to go! By the end of the hike, however, my left knee is pretty swollen, but not in pain.

State of mind: I'm ready to go! Motivated to reach Daleville by Friday to see the family. My mission: make it so Kathleen has to do no extra driving that day and spend time coming to find me.


  • I was sad to see Dad and Gy drive away, but I had a GREAT time with them (once I was over my stomach bug). I was so appreciative of their visit, for they helped me recover and were instrumental in helping me make up lost ground. I was so happy that Dad and I were able to walk significant parts of the Trail together.
  • Being ill those couple of days was a disguised blessing. I slept through what was biblical amount of rain Wednesday night. And I've adjusted my mental attitude - if I can hike 20 miles while feeling that sick, I can do anything.
  • I took very few breaks today (only 2 hours total) on the 24-mile, 12-hour hike. The day was a blur.
  • Once I made the decision to make it to town and stay in a hotel, I knew I would be able to charge my phone, so as I hiked I called and talked to Josie and Dad briefly, and to Mom and Bill for an extend period since I hasn't spoken to then for a while.
  • I had to use a headlamp for the last 30 minutes of the hike because I was hiking in the dark. That's always fun. No, really, it is!
  • The long descent into Pearisburg was one of the steepest I've encountered on the AT. Even with switchbacks, it was vertical in places.
  • Sketter, the friendly caretaker of the Rendezvous Hotel, sincerely told me just to call him at home if I needed a ride anywhere in town. He was a supremely nice fellow.

Lessons learned/confirmed today:

  • If I do big miles, my speed is such that there's no time for me to relax and soak in my surroundings.

Droid Phone Notes: I charged the phone in the hotel.


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  1. Impressive mileage day Chris!! Wendell and I were SOOOO sorry to hear about your illness ... glad you're feeling better!

    1. Brenda! Wendell! So great to hear from you! I am feeling better. In fact, I'm with my wife and kids right now. They came down to Daleville for a quick visit and will depart tomorrow. I'll be dad to see them go, but I'm actually more enthusiastic about my hike since I've seen them. wasn't sure how I'd feel. I'll be doing less impressive miles for the next few days as my knees are hurting. Great to hear from you, my two groupies! I still think about your eggless egg salad!

  2. Impressive day indeed! Nice mileage today. Enjoy the journey, not just the miles.

    1. I agree that it's the Smiles, not the Miles, that matter. But the big miles (for me) meant I was able to get to my family in Daleville without them having to track me down along back roads. And that was important for me to do. I'll be back to my normal distances when I hit the Trail again tomorrow. Thanks for writing in, Chris R.

  3. Go get me Stats!

    1. Beas! So great to hear from you! I heard that you and boys were able to get off the Trail and avoid the worst of the storm. Did you and Diesel get back on and complete your section? I also wanted to tell you two to be careful fighting those fires! You guys are real heroes! Stay safe! Thanks for following along. More stats are coming soon!

  4. Chris - am keeping up with your trip with this blog - I read it every night and cheer you on from here! Gy and your dad filled us in last night - both are so proud to have been with you and Gy felt great after his long hike! Know that my thoughts are with you every step - Frances

    1. Hey Frankie! Great to know you are following me! I can feel the support from home - really I can! Sometimes it's all that keeps me going. The more folks I know are following me, the more motivated I am to keep going. The hike has become much more of a mental challenge than a physical one. Great to hear from you!