Day 72 (Wildcat Ridge Trail to Dripping Rock Overlook)

My mom, Laura, and I woke up around 6:00. We had breakfast in Waynesboro at Weasie’s restaurant before my mom dropped Laura and me off at the Wildcat Ridge Trail parking lot on Skyline Drive.

It was perfect trail running weather and I felt light on my feet because I only had a minimal amount of stuff in my pack. I had it clinched down to hydration pack size.

We made it through Rockfish Gap right around lunch time. Then we were in the Blue Ridge Parkway territory and were finished with Skyline Drive.

It was pretty warm and humid in the afternoon. My water filtration system was having issues but we were lucky to pass by a couple springs so we didn’t need to filter the water. We finished up at Dripping Rock Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

We headed back to Waynesboro to the Quality Inn for another night. So much fun running with my sister Laura. We chatted the whole time. 🙂 Also, such a treat to get to see my mom. I’m feeling really lucky!

Day 71 (Powell Gap Hollow to Wildcat Ridge Trail)

Mushroom or flower?

Mushroom or flower?

I woke up early because I was excited about today. My mom and my sister Laura were driving up from Atlanta to spend a few days with me.

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I started hiking around 7:00. There were a lot of deer on the trail. I saw at least 20 today. I also saw 2 bears. That makes a total of 6 bears I’ve seen in the Shenandoah National Park plus 1 more in New Jersey for a total of 7 bears on the trail.

I swear there was a bear there a few seconds ago.

I swear there was a bear there a few seconds ago.

I didn’t have anymore sources of caffeine in my pack today so I stopped by the camp store at Loft Mountain Campground for a high calorie caffeine loaded snack. Not things I normally consume for sure.

Unhealthy 1300 calorie vegan snack consumed in 15 minutes.....yikes!

Unhealthy 1300 calorie vegan snack consumed in 15 minutes…..yikes!

I got to our meet up point at 5:00. Laura and mom had gotten caught in traffic so they arrived at 6:30.

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That brought me my resupply from Martha and special treats from Susan and Laura. Thank you! We had a fun evening together. So great to see them.

Yay! — with Laura Pound and Martha Franks.

Yay! — with Laura Pound and Martha Franks.

Day 30 (Bennington, VT to Story Spring Shelter)

I woke up this morning to Janette relaying Franco’s message to get my butt out of bed. I was sleeping so good that I didn’t even hear Janette taking a shower.

We got packed up and headed to breakfast at Papa Pete’s. Yummy breakfast! Janette outed me as a bacon eater. No worries, I’m still 98% vegan and will return to my old diet once I’m off the trail. While in trail towns I will make a few exceptions… because I can. 😉

Next, Laura, Janette, and I headed to the trail and climbed a small hill together. It started out cool and overcast but the cloud cover cleared quickly. After a few miles, Janette and Laura had to turn around so they could catch their flight. I’m still smiling about their awesome surprise.

I climbed Glastenbury Mountain which had an elevation of ~3800 ft. There was a tower at the top so I climbed it too. Wow! Awesome view but kind of scary. I hiked with Pa Bert in the afternoon for a couple hours. Hiking with him is always a pleasure. He stopped at the Kid Gore Shelter. I hiked on 4.6 more miles to the Story Spring Shelter. Funny thing about saying goodbye to fellow thru hikers is that you never know whether you will see them again. We are together but we are all solo. There is no signal here tonight so I will post this in the morning.

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Bonus Gallery!

Day 29 (Sherman Brook Campsite to Hampton Inn)

I woke up early, packed up, and was on the trail by 6:30. I knew I needed to keep an even pace today since I would be meeting my trail angel Janette Maas in the afternoon near the 17 mile mark for me.

The morning started with a pretty steep hike up to the MA/VT border. I’ve now finished 5 states, only 9 to go. 🙂 The first 105 miles of the AT in VT is also the Long Trail. It is maintained by the Green Mountain Hiking Club. Unfortunately, they really need to do some trail maintenance. It was the least maintained part of the trail I’ve been on.

Early afternoon I climbed up Harmon Hill. When I got to the top, I decided to sit and sign the register while I waited on Janette. To my surprise, in a minute she walked up with my sister Laura! Awesome surprise and awesome day! Thank you Laura and Janette for being the best trail angels ever!!! All clean and fed now. Sleeping in a soft bed tonight.

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Special Report: A visit by Janette Maas and Laura Pound

Laura: Janette And I hiked 1.7 miles until we found Susan Cashmere Hornbuckle, then turned around and hiked back for a grand total of 3.4 miles! After Hornbuckle was decontaminated at the hotel, we had a lovely dinner in Bennington then cruised the local Walmart. Now, Susan is stinking up the room spraying her clean clothes with tick repellant.

Janette: Fun, fun mini-adventure day. This was one of the hardest secrets I’ve ever had to keep, but I met Susan Cashmere Hornbuckle on the AT on day 29 of her thru-hike in Vermont. Unbeknownst to her I used a buddy pass so that her sister Laura could join me and surprise her. Mission accomplished! BTW, this trail is tough! We climbed 900′ in the first half mile over nothing but rocks and Cash says she does 2-3 of those climbs and descents every day!