Carey Kish is thru-hiking the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. He is currently in Virginia. Entries from Carey’s trail journal are presented here. You can also follow his journey on Facebook.
June 14, 2015: Pass Mtn Hut to Hogwallow Flats, 16.6 miles, 8am to 6pm.
What’s not to love about camping at a place called Hogwallow Flats?! More on that in a minute…
The day, or at least the morning, was all about Elkwallow Wayside, the last eating establishment on this weeklong foodie tour of Shenandoah National Park via the AT.
Slept like a baby last night, 11 glorious hours. Was the last to get up at the shelter. Most were packed and some were already gone at 7. Up over Pass Mtn I went soon enough, pushing hard on a hot and sweaty morning to get to the snack bar.
A couple more bumps and several crossings of Skyline Drive later and I was there at 10:50. Loved it, as not much had changed since I gorged here 38 years ago. Except perhaps that the AT only came within 0.6 miles then, but now it grazes the place by 0.1 miles. Nice.
Breakfast was being served until 11, so patiently waited, then put my order in: cheeseburger with all the fixings and fries. Grabbed a beer from the cooler and waited outside until the goods were ready.
Coming into the parking lot I ran into Bryan “Walking Home” Loisel from Gray, Maine, and saw again Denise “Jingle Butt” Anderson from Rockland. We had a few laughs and hugs and got a group photo of us. Bryan also gave me 2 Gatorades and 2 bags of Smartfood. Yum!
Chowed down on the food bag of goods at a picnic table out front in the shade. Lots of hikers around doing the same. Shared a table with Mellow and his daughter Slouch from Texas.
Returned to the store for another beer and then an ice cream. Then laid down on the picnic table bench seat and took a nap. It was a 1 1/2 hour visit to the wayside. Enjoyed it thoroughly.
Charged up the 1000-foot ascent of Hogback and Little Hogback mountains, sweating like a pig. Then it was down to the highway and up briefly to Gravel Springs Hut. Relaxed there for awhile, snacked and filled up on water from the fine spring.
Ahead, just beyond Gravel Springs Gap, came to bear cub in a tree on the left side of the trail. Was about to grab my camera when I heard a loud, rather disturbing grunt to my right. Yep, mama bear was just ten feet away and I was between she and her cub. I politely stepped back up the trail and waited till she crossed over a few minutes later. I did manage in the meantime to get some pics of the treed cub. I also heard another cub in the bushes not far off. All good, everything safe and happy, I think.
Ended the day by tackling South and then North Marshall mountains. The south peak had a nice ledge view west and then north-south along the precipitous ridge line. The north peak had some similarly fine outlooks.
I got caught in a brief thundershower on the north peak. Waited it out under some thick canopy, then descended the mountain to Hogwallow Flats. Picked a spot fir two tents west of the trail in semi-open woods and pitched camp. Even found a nice cooking log nearby.
8:30 now and all is quiet. Stuff on the line but I figure it will dry. Into Front Royal tomorrow for food, resupply and laundry. Booked a bunk at Mountain Cabbin Hostel (yes, two “b’s) just off the trail at US522. Should be a good, if brief, stay. Then on to Harpers Ferry. Kudos to the Shenandoahs! Been a wonderful week!