I ended the AT through Shenandoah where I began it long ago. Several years back my sweetie and I backpacked the Moorman River Loop which traversed the AT from Turk Gap to Blackrock Gap…loved that trip!
Anyway, here I was with the Dames at Loft Mountain pulling out my gear for a quick overnight on the AT. It was going to be a hot one!
Prehydrate with Gatorade? Check!
Backpack packed light? OMG OMG OMG OMG 21 POUNDS!!!!! WHAAAAAT?
That has never happened…are you kidding me? 21 pounds?!! I’m so proud of myself 😂
Okay, let me collect myself, whew…
The first day was sweet! Gorgeous trail, interesting rocks, and tremendous views from Blackrock Summit.
Pulling down into Blackrock Hut, we got set up quickly. I decided that I was going to have a lazy weekend and took advantage of a mostly empty shelter! The ridgerunner, Papa Bear, showed up, in addition to a slew of thruhikers and weekend warriors.
Papa Bear was a great conversationalist and I soon found out we knew some of the same trail folk. This type of encounter is what I truly love about the AT. The trail connects us in ways we cannot possibly understand or anticipate; it is almost magical. 😊
A few of the guys tenting down the hill spotted a mama bear and cub on the opposite side of the ravine! We all ran down to watch them until they ambled off. Then it was to bed for me! Next morning I heard that the bears came back…the guys down the hill had to come out of their tent, yell a bit, made a bunch of noise until the bears again left. 😲
I heard nothing from the bears, but oh! The whipporwills! A lovely serenade long into the night.
The following day I treated the dames to slackpacking the last 8.5 miles. I would say it was a treat for me too, but recall my pack was ONLY 21 POUNDS!! 😄😄😄
It was a great decision. Four good climbs, temps climbing into mid-80s, and a delightful mugginess moved in. Yummy.
It was one of those days. Climb up 100 yards, stop to rest, up, rest, up, rest…
The wildflowers along the way made it bearable!
Turk Gap was a welcome sight! A few of us capped off the weekend at Loft Wayside before dragging ourselves back to the real world. Here’s to good friends, the trail community, and whipperwills…hike on!