23 March 2021: Day 3. Daleville to Wilson Creek Shelter. 11.2 miles + 25.7 miles = 36.9 miles. I’m Drooling….I Must Be Old

It’s absolutely amazing how a body can recover with a nights sleep. I thought for sure that I would be crippled this morning considering how whooped I was last night. But instead I felt great! I ate breakfast and then walked a mile to resupply at a Kroger Store up the highway. The result was another late start. This time it was 10:20.

I had no sooner entered the Forest when I flushed three deer. They hightailed it along the trail in front of me. I wanted to watch them closely but my pack now had twice the amount of food then when I started and I was feeling the difference.

About two miles in I met my first true through hiker. His trail name is Second Step and he began hiking South from Harper’s Ferry and is on his way to Georgia before flipping up to Maine and hiking back to Harpers Ferry. The selfie idea was his so I remain a non fan of selfies. We talked fatigue and there was no doubt about it….. we were on the same wavelength.

I soon found myself in high pasture in areas where private owners and AT hikers seem to live in harmony.

The ATC insures that special gates are installed to insure that private cows don’t take AT hikes.

It still doesn’t hurt to leave a few reminders.

Even in the wilderness there are signs of humor. This fence was on an old roadbed leading to nowhere. Someone had written “This fence makes no sense”. Some helpful southbound hiker (SOBO) clarified it by explaining “It’s to stop horses. Stupid NOBO” (Northbound hiker). I guess that makes sense. There is nothing allowed on the AT other than foot traffic.

By now a light rain had moved into the area. At first I thought it was just because I was up in the clouds but that wasn’t the case. Over the next few hours it was hat on, hat off, jacket on, jacket off. Then it settled in. I went into full pack covered rain mode. Climbing with the rain gear on is miserable. It’s like hiking in a sauna,

An old AT marker fighting for survival.

I soon found myself drooling and it brought back memories of my 96 year old grandfather in his last years. Yet I was more than thirsty and I was rapidly draining my water supply. I had about four miles to go to Wilson Creek Shelter and it couldn’t happen too soon. All I could do was put my head down and walk the walk.

I did manage to meet this young lady on the trail just above a creek. She took the time to check me out and even posed for this picture.

This was the site of a “Colliers pit” used in the late 1700’s to make charcoal. Evidence of charcoal was everywhere. That was of some interest to me but by that time I was more than ready to set up camp. One more mountain and I’d be there. Finally through the fog I could see the roof of the shelter. Several tents ringed around it and 4 hikers were sitting inside. There was immediate connection between us all. The rain became forgotten….. almost. They are all hiking NOBO. More on them tomorrow because I’m whooped and I’m craving my sleeping bag.

Tomorrow we will “hike on”.

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