Day 72: Feeling Good?

Day 72

Tom Floyd Shelter to Rod Hollow Shelter

Miles Hiked: 26.5

AT Milage: 995.1

This morning I left the shelter first around 7am. I wanted to make good timing today and make sure to stop and do all my stretches at every break. As I got closer to the first road that I had to cross, the trail walked though a narrow corridor. There was a field to my left with a chain link fence all the way around it, and to my right there was a small tree line diving the trail from a lot of back yards. The woods disappeared for a bit. Eventually the trail curved back away from civilization and I was in the thick of the forrest climbing up a mountainside again.

I stopped at the Jim and Molly Denton shelter which was really nice. It had a porch on it with a wooden bench, a pavilion with a table, and a solar shower. This was one of the nicest shelters that I have seen on the AT and I wish I could have stayed here last night. I ran into PBG here who was doing a SOBO slack pack for the day. I commented on how small her backpack was and she told me it is always that small. She started out with the same 65 liter backpack that I use and then switched to an osprey child’s 38 liter backpack. I was amazed that her pack was that small, and she told me it helps her keep the weight down because she can’t carry anything extra. She can only fit exactly what she needs into her pack. I realized the advantages of this because I have added so much extra weight to my pack due to the extra space I have available. I did all my stretches very throughly here before continuing on to the next shelter.

Before I reached the next shelter that I planned to take a break at, I found an abandoned resupply box sitting on a picnic table at a road crossing. I got some free cliff bars and another good to go meal that was pad thai flavored. I was excited to try the new hot meal at camp tonight! I was also unexpectedly running out of food so it was a blessing to find some for free right on the trail. At the next shelter I stopped and did all of my stretches again. My feet were feeling significantly better so I felt good to make it to the third shelter. When I made it to the third shelter I stopped for another break. I was still feeling surprisingly good. Wanting to leave the state of Virginia sooner, rather than later I decided to continue to push on. I figured I could just set up camp a little early if I was starting to hurt.

I walked through sky meadows state park before I reached my final destination. I walked 26.5 miles today making it my longest day on the trail. I couldn’t believe I did it with how bad my feet were. I think my intentional stretching helped me make it through the day a lot. The shorter milage days in Shenandoah seemed to help my body as a whole recover some too. Luna was at the shelter, far behind his friends because his back was hurting so bad. I was excited to hear that Fancy Feast was not that much farther in front of me. I also met the person who I got free food from today. He said he didn’t need all the food he mailed himself because he was getting off the trail soon so he left it behind for another person. I thanked him! I took a spot on the top bunk of the shelter. There were a lot of people at camp tonight, all who were new to me except Luna. Since there wasn’t anywhere for me to pitch my tent the top bunk was my best bet. I didn’t sleep well this night because my body just felt so sore from the long day. For some reason, every time I beat my own record for my longest hike I can never sleep! It’s very frustrating how I can push my body to complete exhaustion and then fail to sleep because I hurt so bad. Regardless, I’m very thankful for my body’s capabilities to get me through everyday on this trail.

Happy Trails!

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