Location: Tom Floyd Wayside Shelter
I woke up really late this morning. When my 8:00am alarm sounded, I turned it off, rolled over, and slept until 10:00am. I forced myself out of my sleeping bag. A cold front had moved in overnight so the morning was much chillier than last evening. I packed my gear quickly and was on the trail by 11:00am.
After only a few minutes on the trail, I was surprised to see Not Bad walking towards me. He looked sick. His eyes were glazed and his face looked thinner than usual. He smiled though. He said that he had taken a zero yesterday and that Cold Feet was going to slack-pack him for a few days so that he could keep up with me. Tomorrow he plans to visit a doctor in Front Royal, VA. If he feels better and the doctor says that he can continue, then he’ll try to catch up by slack-packing. I was glad to see that he was back on the trail. I felt guilty about leaving him behind. I still do. But at least I haven’t left him lying in a bed sick. He is mobile and working to keep up.
I felt much better about the whole situation after seeing Not Bad today. I felt as though a burden had been lifted. I continued down the trail easily. The hills posed no problems. I was bouncing with energy. I hiked 12 miles without rest. As I approached a planned rest at Tom Floyd’s Wayside Shelter, I stopped short because I passed a bench. I had planned to go 23 miles today, but after a late start, I decided I would only hike 14. I don’t know what to expect from the Shenandoah. I don’t want to night-hike terrain I am uncertain of. Also, rains are moving in from the west.
I decided to take a side trail to the 4H center to use the phone, get a soda, and take a shower. On the way to the center, I saw several deer. Two watched me pass on the trail, the other ran. The one that ran ended up in the parking lot at the 4H center and made long bounds across the asphalt to get away when I stepped into the lot. It was a funny sight to see the deer so confused, unable to find cover in the open lot and grass lawns.
The door to the 4H center lodge was open, but there wasn’t a person around. The first thing I did was put my only quarters into the soda machine. The machine stole my money. It was really depressing. As I put my quarters in, I somehow knew that I wouldn’t be getting a drink. It has happened to me before on the trail, and each time I get burned I hurt about the same. I made a few phone calls from the phone in the center. I decided not to take a shower because I didn’t have a towel to dry my body with. There were several bunkrooms, but I also decided I would not stay in the center. So after the phone calls and pressing all of the buttons on the soda machine one more time, I left for the shelter.
The rain had started to fall while I was in the center, but I was able to beat the heavy rains to the shelter. The temperature has dropped significantly today. I have spent most of the evening in my sleeping bag. I’m the only person at the shelter, but there are animals everywhere. I saw a few deer as I unpacked and I snapped a few pictures. The only thing I could think about while watching them was hunting. I hope to hunt this year because I missed hunting season last year. I hope deer are the only animals I see tonight. Shenandoah National Park has a prolific bear population, many of which act in a tame manner. Hopefully none wander to this location, just on the northern boundary of the forest.