My southern adventures began on Tuesday, when I embarked on a 6 hour drive down to Virginia to meet up with some friends and head out for a short backpacking excursion on the Appalachian Trail. I’ve backpacked a little before, but not extensively. But I figured it was walking. How hard could walking over mountains carrying a backpack be? I mean, I did that every day with all of my textbooks to and from classes for the past four years, right?
Wrong. I don’t know how thru-hikers do 20 miles a day on the trail. We were up to about 8 a day by the end of it. I think I would be okay if I could get to the end of the day and not have to do things like set up camp. But after hiking up and downhill, through rainstorms, I just wanted to sit there.
Here’s what our excursion entailed:
Day 1: Arrive in VA at 1:30, set out by 2:20, drop car off at end location, drive over to Crabtree Falls, begin hiking. Hike 1.7 miles up the side of the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi River. Hike another 1.3 miles to the start of the Appalachian Trail. Begin to hike another mile to the Priest Shelter. Proceed to get caught in torrential downpour of a thunderstorm. Run to shelter, hang up soaking clothes. Cook dinner. Try to get warm and sleep. Hear other backpacker trying to scare off wild animal, get concerned for our food, hang up food in tree, finally sleep.
Day 2: Get up, hike down the priest, cross Tye River, eat lunch, hike up part of Three Ridge Mountain, find next shelter, set up tent and cook dinner. Find random lost dog who comes over and hangs out.
Day 3: Hike up Three Ridge mountain, huff and puff to top, hike down, stay away from rattlesnake, decide to hike out that day, walk walk walk through sun, see car, find dent in car, drive to overlook to cook final dinner, return to house, shower, pretend that we’re clean, sleep.
Yeah, not that much happened besides hiking. The rattlesnake was semi-exciting. A mouse ate my trail mix.
Today my southern adventures continued in Richmond (a topic for another blog post). However, much to my chagrin, I have learned that Dunkin’ Donuts are few and far between in the South.