Carey Kish is currently thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, a distance of 2,200 miles over a period of 5-6 months. Entries from Carey’s trail journal are presented here (read them all). You can also follow his journey on his Facebook page.
June 8, 2015: US520 (Waynesboro) to Calf Mountain Shelter, 7.5 miles, 12 noon to 4pm.
Two days and three nights in town were just enough to get everything done as well as enjoy a little real down time before the next big push north.
Jake’s Bar & Grill and Ming Garden were food and drink highlights in Waynesboro. The former was a fun place with good draft beer and pub food, while the latter offered a killer quality Chinese buffet. Krogers and Dollar General had all the grocery essentials.
The clothes are good and clean, the pack was washed in the tub and dried in the sun, and the boots got a good gluing up with Free Sole. I’m ready to rock on.
Kudos to the Quality Inn for a nice room and decent hot breakfast.
Waynesboro offers an amazing list of Trail Angels that hikers can call for rides here and there in town as needed, and for getting back and forth to the trail at Rockfish Gap. This AM I called a guy named Karl, who was more than happy to shuttle DB and me to Rockfish Gap Outfitters.
I ended buying a synthetic tank, ditching my cotton tank in the hiker box there. DB bought new boots. We then stood across the road from the store and within 15 minutes had a ride to the gap.
The guy dropped us right at King’s, the hot dog, fry and popcorn truck we’d visited the other day. A Nathan’s dog with pub mustard and raw onions was mandatory. Add an orange soda and there was great joy in Beerman-land.
No permit slips were available at the Shenandoah National Park backcountry kiosk, so oh well, we moved on.
Woodsy walking all afternoon, pretty easy like, led to the grassy top of Little Calf and then Calf Mountain. En route I had a nice break at Beagle Gap, where it was 80F in the shade and 90F in the direct sun. As such, I sweated bullets today and was soaking wet from head to toe by the time I reached the shelter.
Hated to stop after only 7.5 miles, but after the next mile, in which there are two springs, there is no water for 13 miles north. So the stay here just made sense. And besides, a big thunderstorm was set to roll thorough, and it eventually did around 5:30.
Settled in here good, along with a good crowd of others. Some are tenting, six are in the shelter.
In the morning, hiking three miles to the Skyline Drive Sawmill Run Overlook, where I’ll meet my in-laws, Michelle and Stan. They will slack pack the two of us some 18 miles to Loft Mountain Campground, and hopefully hiking part of that way with us. Then we’ll camp at their site tomorrow night. Food, beer, hot showers. Yeah!
June 9, 2015: Calf Mtn Shelter to Loft Mountain Campground, 19.1 miles, 8:30am to 5pm.
Out of the shelter later than I’d hoped, but still in time to make it nearly to Sawmill Run Overlook, a short distance before, where I met my sister-in-law and husband, Michelle and Stan Moody, who were camping in Shenandoah NP as part of a 6-month excursion across the U.S.
It was the perfect place for a slack pack day, and that’s just what we did, courtesy of Michelle and Stan. At the overlook on Skyline Drive, I packed a few goods into my little daypack, while DB packed her’s into a daypack provide by Mic. And then we were off!
Michelle hiked many of the segments of trail between the SLD, met each time by Stan. It was a fun jaunt made easy with the slack and fun with the frequent company.
The rocks of Blackrock were the highlight of the day, and we enjoyed fabulous views from the 3200-foot peak. Then we were off on the final stretch of what would be a 19-mile day, turning into Loft Mountain Campground just after 5pm, only to find dinner waiting. Plus beers of course.
Post-chow, we drove down to the wayside for hot showers. Picked up a bottle of red wine for camp, which we enjoyed after a saunter over to the cliffs below the campground for a nice evening view. A good day.