Saturday, August 25 - in Waynesboro, Va - at mile marker 856 on the AT.
After about two months of rehab and recovery from my bout with Plantar Fasciitis, I returned to the trail last Friday where I dropped off - Glasgow, Va. Kevin drove me to the trailhead and dropped me off where the James River footbridge met US 501. Thanks to Kevin, Crystal, and the kids Robert and Jez for putting up with me while I nursed my foot.
After almost two months layoff, I found out quickly just how out of trail shape I had become in that short period of time. The first 3 miles were a pretty steep steady climb that had my thighs burning and my lungs panting for air. After the first climb, there were two more peaks to get over before reaching the next shelter at mile marker 789 - Punchbowl Shelter. I had seen several day-hikers during the day, but I spent the night alone as there were no other hikers staying there. Needless to say, I was pretty much spent and slept soundly the night through.
The next day was another 10 miler, but mostly ridge-running ups and downs to the next shelter, Brown Mountain Creek Shelter, at mile 799. Somewhere along the way, I past the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest for the 7th time on the AT.
Just these two 10 mile days seemed to wipe me out and I had little energy the next morning. So, for the first time during my trip, I simply stayed put at a shelter and spent the day doing gear adjustments, resting, and reading a book that was left there by a previous hiker.
Now fully rested, I did a big day on Monday, - a full 16 miles on to Seeley-Woodworth Shelter. Blisters! Blisters on both heels. BUT, there's still no sign of a return of the Plantar Fasciitis. So, I can deal with the blisters.
On Tuesday, I did another big day, 15 miles, and climbed one of the steeper peaks on the trail - over the "Priest Mtn" up to 4000 feet. It's a good thing I was going north, because the southbound trail over the Priest was even steeper. Water was scarce along the way and I got a little dehydrated, nursing my water bottles till I got to the Paul Wolfe Shelter.
This was one of the best shelters and campsites I have seen - enough for dozens of campers, boy scouts/discovery groups and such. I met three girls from UVA who were out for a weekend hike - and a retired aerospace engineer who proceeded to clean everyone's stove burners. He liked to fix things.
Finally it was a short day into the wonderful little town of Waynesboro, Va where I have spent the past two days. It's a great town that I want to return someday for sure.
As I type this, I am waiting for my new hiking companion, Castaway, to wake up after a night of partying with the two Belgian boys that came in yesterday. We are headed back to the trail to get through the Shenandoahs. I am looking forward to the next 120 miles. Maybe I can get some good pictures of some bears along the way.
So, back on the trail - all is well. My blisters still hurt, but I can deal with that. Thanks for keeping up with my adventure - more later when I get to another computer at a town up the trail.