The Last One To Kathadin Wins

It’s been close to 100 miles since our last update on the trail, and this 100 miles seems to be a little bit different than the others.

When we left Pearisburg, it was just me,  Snorlax, Skye Stalker and Game Warden.  Veto left the trail to go home, and Cheesus and Two Step took another zero in Pearisburg. 

We have made it over 700 miles,  and are about 1/3 of the way to Kathadin.  I wish I could say the same for our first pair of shoes.  We started the trail with oboz hiking shoes.  Research says the average hiking shoe can make it about 500 miles… We really stretched that-230 miles too many.  We retired our shoes in Daleville. 

It was a catch 22 in our dash to Daleville. We wanted to get there quick to get our new shoes-but our feet wouldn’t let us.  Between the heat,  and sore feet-especially the last 30 miles to town,  we were tired.  The motivation that strikes as you get close to town is amazing. Motivation to get iced cold water which we didn’t have to hike miles for and filter.  Motivation to get a chance to sit in a chair.  Motivation for a shower and a normal bed, even if for a night. 

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Pictured above are the old and new shoes side by side.  Thanks to my mother in law for sending us our shoes. 

While we are still in Virginia,  Virginia keeps offering us different vistas and experiences daily.  We lucked out with the weather from Pearisburg to Daleville.  Although it was hot to hike,  the nights were perfect.  We slept with the rain guard off the tent every night. We got the chance to look up at the stars from our tent and see the sunrise in the morning.  And we had some killer camp sites to do just that. 

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The trek to Daleville brought many new experiences.  We made it to McAfee knob which is one of the most photographed spots on the Appalachian Trail.  We were lucky enough to catch the sunset there,  and the sunrise.  (Snorlax didn’t brave the sunrise with me because he’s Snorlax and likes to sleep-but Game Warden did!)

Being one of the most photographed spots,  we did come across some day hikers as well. Of course we could smell them from a mile away-in a good way.  While they can probably smell us from a mile away – in a not so good way. There were some day hikers who were carrying their babies on their back.  I was concerned for their safety due to the fact that Snorlax and I had our dirty socks hanging from the outside of our bags.  I was afraid that the ratio of the stench of our socks and the size of the babies that they could die from the smell.  The smell made me want to vomit,  I can’t imagine how something way smaller than me could react.

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Between me,  Snorlax, Game Warden and some other fellow hikers we camped with that week we saw a total of 10 bears.  I’m not sure if I should be grateful or not that they don’t stick around long enough for me to get any photos.  We did however get pictures of the encounter we had with the baby deer. 

One morning while hiking we stumbled upon this baby deer just sitting on the trail.  It was so calm it even let me pet it,  and Skye got to give it kisses as well. 

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We also saw the Keffer Oak tree which is over 300 years old. 

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As mentioned before we are out of the “bubble”.  Many people we started with are about 200 miles ahead of us.  We do still run into people who started in March like us,  but not many.  Frequently when we meet people and they ask when we started,  they generally reply, “oh you’re taking your time.” It wasn’t until recently we met a section hiker who asked the same question.  When we told them March,  their response was much different than others. Instead they said,  “oh you’re behind.” None of us had much to say about that but it got me thinking later on… Behind what?  Yes,  there is a good percentage of people who started in March 200 miles ahead of us,  but there’s still a good group of us who started in March traveling together, having fun. 

We have made it through the 700 miles with no serious injuries.  The thought of going home hasn’t crossed our mind.  The only time I cried was when Skye had to be boarded for the Smokies.  We’ve taken the side trails to catch the views.  We take the time to look beyond the trail and observe the beauty around us.  It’s about the smiles – not the miles.  If being behind means all of that above – then I’m going to be behind the whole way to Kathadin. 

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We got a chance to go check out “The Captain’s”.  He had a zip line over to his place and offered us some cold sodas.  I should have known that day that’d we have an awesome week because a bird pooped on me.  That statement is for real.  Apparently it’s good luck when a bird poops on you and that’s just what happened when I was relaxing in the hammock at the Captain’s. 

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With all this heat and some of the bodies of water we can see from the summit,  there’s a strong desire to use a hang glider off the mountain into the lake.  Unfortunately,  it seems as though it’s not really allowed,  based on the signs posted every where on the trail…

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What I want to know is who on the trail is carrying a hang glider around?

When in Daleville we got a sweet care package from my sister which included not only treats – but water guns!!  The water guns have become an awesome addition to our gear.  Thank you Missy!

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While on the trail,  one of our friends reached out to us.  He informed us that someone else he knows (from Connecticut not Maine) is hiking the trail currently and to keep an eye out for him.  He informed us that his trail name was Wildcard and that he may be close to the same mile marker.  Well,  when in Daleville we met Wildcard. Turns out Wildcard started in March as well.  We were all even at the same wedding for our mutual friend a few years ago…and now here we all are today on the trail.  It’s moments like this that remind us how small the world is.  The trail brings people from all over- And no matter what you did before,  we all are in this together now. We are all traveling this footpath seeking fellowship with the wilderness.  This is not a race,  it’s a journey – and the last one to Kathadin wins. 

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