Day 132 – Almost There!

There’s been trials and tribulations
You know I’ve had my share
But I’ve climbed mountains, I’ve crossed a river
And I’m almost there!
– Tiana (Princess and the Frog)

Hugh dropped me off in the morning and I had a 1500 foot climb up the mountain. Toward the top, the trail opened up to a very large pathway.

Along the large pathway and at the top there were benches. And I stopped and sat on each one because… When the trail gives you a chair you take it.

At the very top of the mountain there was a memorial for Audie Murphy. He was the most decorated veteran in World War II. And the things people left for him were just amazing-dog tags, metals, poems and bracelets.

The view from the top was also very beautiful.

I was walking in a valley on the mountain and came across these trees-I thought they were spectacular.

On the mountain I also came across these large piles of rocks. There were no exclamations so I’m assuming farmers from a long time ago put them there.

Throughout the day I had excellent vistas as I walked along ridges and climbed mountains.

The mountains today were very rocky.

Toward the end of my hike I came upon a blue blaze that took me to Dragon’s Tooth. This is a very large rock. I’m not sure if you can see, but in the picture below there is a man’s head, who had climbed to the top leaning off to the right.

The hike down from Dragon’s Tooth was more of a climb down. Many times I had to put away the polls and just use my hands to ease over the rocks. My bottom got a workout too!

The autumn colors are just incredible! The leaves are falling fast and I’m afraid in a couple of more days the colors are going to be gone.

Tomorrow I will finish my journey… Until then.

Dat 131 & 132 – Walking With Shingles

A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work. – Colin Powell

The shingles have not stopped me, but they have slowed me down some. I have found that they do not bother me near as much when I am hiking. Maybe it’s because my side is not touching anything when I walk. I’m not sure, but I do now when I’m hiking the pain is lessened.

I have found that my gait is slower. I think with the virus in my body it makes me more tired. It has not stopped my miles-but the miles take longer.

Another thing that has slowed me down is the trees that have fallen across the trail. There were six trees across the trail on day 131 and three on 132. Sometimes it’s easy to go around them or climb over them. Other times it’s a challenge if the trail is way overgrown on both sides and the tree branches are hard to get through.

Also the streams are high lately. We’ve had our share of rain here in Virginia and it makes stream crossings more difficult.

The Virginia landscape has been incredibly beautiful with the changing of the leaves and the rolling hills. 

The pictures do not do justice to the fall colors that I have been privileged to see.

I am still passing southbound thru hikers. After they passed me I turned around and took this picture. These hikers have about 700 miles to go before they hit Springer. I have about 29 miles left!

The leaves are getting thinner on the trees and thicker on the ground. 

Below is Keffer Oak. It is the largest tree in the south on the Appalachian Trail. It is said to be over 300 years old.

Here I am standing at the base of Keffer Oak.

I walked along the Ridgeline for quite a bit of today. And the vistas were beautiful.

For about a mile on the crest of Sinking Creek Mountain, the AT passes by dozens of huge stone cairns, supposedly built by early farmers.

On and off all day long today I got sprinkled on. So it was another day of put on the raincoat take off the raincoat. I think it was one other thing that slowed me down today. I also switched from short sleeve to longsleeve and then back again more than once today.

The ridge had a lot of rock that I hiked over and the rain made them slippery.

Toward the end of today’s hike I passed the eastern continental divide. Pretty cool!

The down leaves hide the trail sometimes. And sometimes hide rocks on the trail. With a mile and a half to go I took a fall today. I have to say it was rather a spectacular one where I even did a roll once I hit the ground. I will say with all the leaves on the ground the landing was softer than usual.