Location: Jenkins Shelter
Today was a fairly boring 24-mile day. I left the shelter after hiding in my sleeping bag from the cold all morning. I left two hours after Druid and an hour after Rising Sun, who was up with the sun but didn’t get ready to hike for hours.
I meet mom in Troutdale, VA in three days. I’m excited to see her again. When I meet her, I’ll only have 50 miles or so left in Virginia. Hopefully I’ll be able to organize a slack-pack that won’t inconvenience her too badly. It would be great to carry just a few pounds through the Virginia highlands.
Nearly all the leaves are off the trees now. They litter the forest floor in shin deep piles. They trail is exceptionally difficult to follow. I walked off course many times today because of the abundance leaves and lack of blazes. In the rhododendron thickets, I felt as though I’m walking through a labyrinth. Every direction looks to be the correct path, yet a short walk reveals a dead end.
I suppose that the leaves will be presenting a problem to me the rest of the trail. Seemingly every day the trail provides a new obstacle. It never gets easy. Also, several NOBOs told me while I was still up north that Virginia was flat. The trail through the state is anything but flat. There are mountains and valleys to contend with every hour of the day.
I’ve just completed two long days. My next two days will be much shorter, both sub 20 milers. Rain is in the forecast, but so is warmer weather. By warmer I don’t mean tropical, but we will have days in the 60s again and night no colder than 40̊F. If only the weather will allow me, I may try to finish this trail on Thanksgiving weekend.