Front Royal Terrapin Station Hostel to Dicks Dome Shelter – 19.0 miles
I was asleep by midnight last night and had hoped to get eight hours of sleep before Mike takes me to town at 8:30 AM. Eight hours of sleep doesn’t happen. I wake before 6:30 AM. I pack so that once I get back from town I can just sort my food and go.
At McDonald’s, I have a combo meal with coffee. My receipt has a buy one get one free coupon, so I get another two sandwiches. After further thought, it would have been a better deal to order all these items from the dollar menu!
I walk over to Martin’s and end up buying way too much food for way too much money. I get ice cream, candy, juice, and chocolate milk, among other things.
By the time we get back to the house and I pack up, it is 11 AM before I get on the trail. It doesn’t look like I’m going to make my mileage goal of about 27 miles. My ankle feels a little better since I slept with the foot of the mattress elevated and I’ve taken ibuprofen.
Almost immediately after rejoining the AT, The trail exits Shenandoah National Park. I am definitely sluggish to start. I think it’s the calorie/food overload this morning. With the Pop-tarts, soda, and oatmeal bar I ate at the hostel before McDonald’s, the breakfast combo meal and two extra sandwiches, and the grocery store food of Chex Mix, crackers, pint of caramel sea salt ice cream, pint of chocolate milk, and banana, etc., I consumed over 3,000 calories before even shouldering my pack for the day. Also adding to the slow pace is my heavy pack from the load of food: bananas, 48 ounces of V8 100% vegetable & fruit juice, and candy. More than enough food, considering I’m going to be home on Tuesday (two days). It’s slow going with this load.
I cover only about 19 miles, but I guess my ankle does need a light day after the last two days. I will just have to do more tomorrow to leave about 44 miles for Tuesday to the Mason-Dixon Line. Once I get to the shelter, I try to eat my pack light, but it’s tough since I ate so much this morning and didn’t exert much effort today. Tomorrow will be better and I’m excited to get home.
This is a small shelter and the four of us seem a little crammed. The shelter, by a stream, is a ways down a side trail. I have to cross a few bridges and rock hop to get here. It’s a nice setting with the noise of the water.
Basically, at this point in the hike, I have concluded that hotels and hostels are nice, comfortable, and relaxing, but I tend to go to sleep late, eat too much, and hike like crap the next day. I certainly need to eat a lot, but don’t know why I hike so poorly the next day. I prefer shorter or slower days for rest rather than being pampered by hotels and hostels. It will be interesting to see how it goes after a few zero days at home.