Big Stony Creek Road (2,461 feet) mile 659.1 to VA route 630 (2,152 feet) mile 678.5 for a 19.4 mile day! We ascended 5,065 feet and descended 5,103 feet!
Wow!! Today was a totally unexpected day. Today is one of those days that I learned that the Appalachian Trail is not forgiving, it’s not kind, and it’s definitely not gentle. Today the AT kicked my butt! Today the AT reminded me that if I wanted to make it to Katahdin, Baxter State Park, Maine, I was going to have to suck up, any emotions, any pain, any desire to quit, and press forward. Take the hills, up and down, and just listen to them, they will tell me what I need to do to conquer them. That is exactly what I did and I am now 20.4 miles closer to the finish because of that!
Now, you may have just scrolled to the top to double check what you read earlier, as you should. But, I am not pulling a fast one here, no, you see, what happened was, Kelly dropped her phone somewhere behind us, and now we must find the phone. Kelly remembered checking the time at 8:43 am and it was now 8:51, so we knew it wasn’t far behind. Well, we walked about a half mile and Kelly found her phone!!! So, that is where the extra mile came in.
We hiked on after finding said phone and then came to Wind Rock, a rocky outcropping with views to the North of a lot of green trees!
This view looks out onto Peters Mountain, the path of the Union troops as they returned to West Virginia. Just to the south of here is an area called Minnie Ball Hill. According to Appalachian Trail Guide to Central Virginia, Rutherford Hayes had his men dump out musket balls (Minnie balls), to lighten the load on their wagon train to keep them from sinking in the mud.
We hiked on after a short snack and water break. Water is still not too plentiful so we have to ration the water as best we can. It was a rocky day and a day full of up hill climbs!
There were a few views from these climbs so they weren’t totally pointless! The biggest climb of the day was the 1,800 feet up to Kelly Knob where this partial view was found .
I will be honest here, I struggled up this hill today! My feet were killing me!!!! It’s past time to be getting some new shoes! Suzanna is bringing them with her on Thursday and that day can’t get here fast enough. I am hoping the new shoes gets me right with the distance and takes away some of, if not all the pain.
Now that I’m up on that mountain, it was time to come back down. On the way down I finally got some fresh water at a nice flowing stream.!
Reaching the bottom I came into the most beautiful scene, it was a pastoral scene out of a movie or some great landscape paintings by Bob Ross… if he did those.
This was the last mile and a half and I slowed way down and took my time passing through so that I could enjoy it fully and take it all in.
Getting to the campsite for the night, James had made us some chicken quesadillas and they were amazing and hit the spot!! The van life is a great life if you know how to do it, and this is the way it’s done. A camper van following along daily would make this a different trail!