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Day One, 15 miles

Day One, 15 miles

Up the Priest to the shelter

Up the Priest to the shelter

Having just returned a few days ago from a long and arduous trip, I am finding little time to process photos and write.  It takes time to unpack, wash, sort, and sterilize gear.  It then must be packed away in an orderly fashion for easy finding before the next trip.  In addition to that, I have a 120 lb frame hanging over what looked like Barney Rubble feet, swollen from the gnashing and crashing against the solid earth for four straight days.  And then there is the hyper-extended, swollen knee which occurred at mile 10, leaving 50 miles to limp along on. I luckily injured it twice on the first day by promptly sliding on a wet rock and tumbling down a short cascade of water, a la Winnie the Pooh–right on my rump–a bumpity-bump-bump.  (And few curse words).

Although this 60 mile soujourn is on the shorter end of section hikes we’ve done over the past eight years, it was, to be quite blunt–a bitch.  We finished, but not without a few war wounds over the four day span. 

This particular trip included fellow hiking partners Dave (my husband) and Dave (a colleague)–and myself (not a Dave).  Over the next several posts, I will include a few pictures and a few musings from my journal on the trip’s trials and tribulations.  I also photographed some of the characters we met along the way.  I’ve included a few gallery pictures in this post, all taken on Day 1, a 15-or-so mile trek from Reeds Gap Va to the Priest Shelter, a section of the AT just south of the Shenandoah National Park. 

One black and white photo is a glimpse of the trail early that first morning.  It rained for quite a bit of the morning, sometimes rather harshly.  It later cleared and we had some magnificent views thanks to a tiresome four mile climb up the Priest Mountain.  This was a non-stop climb going north to south, and very difficult at the end of an already long first day.  We bunked with an older gentleman, who went by the trailname of “Lovely Day” (I did not get his photo), as well as sharing the shelter area with several young men hiking the entire George to Maine length as thru-hikers.  Manchester, his profile shown in the one photo with a rag over his head, came all the way from England to do the thru hike.

Finally, there is a b/w photo of a young man whose trail name I didn’t catch, as he was talking a mile a minute.  (He may have been smoking some funny stuff.)  Nonetheless, he said something very important to me, which carried me through the rest of the hike.  Regarding his own thru hike experience thus far, he remarked, “Out here, it is either the worst day you can imagine or the best day you can imagine–its really all in how you choose to handle it.”

Pretty wise for such a young fella.

Thanks for reading.  More in the next few days.