This hiking season, I am following the thru-hike attempts of several individuals including Dulcigal and a young couple, Fat Hen & Rooster Talon. These three hikers do not know each other but all three arrived at Daleville on June 3. I was wondering if they might meet and share about each other in their journals – I thought that would be so interesting. Unfortunately, I don’t think that occurred.
It is still difficult to be sure because Fat Hen and Rooster Talon have been silent for the past 15 days. Their last post was from Daleville. They are not very diligent in updating their blog. It was 19 days (between Damascus and Daleville – 180 miles) between posts last time, so I am not sure when or where they will surface again but I am pretty sure they are still on the trail. Dulcigal did not mention meeting them in her journal.
Dulcigal usually posts about once per week. She left Daleville, VA, and hiked to Glasgow, VA in four days (about 57 miles). She crossed the James River and a trail angel gave her a ride into Glasgow. She found a great shelter built by the Boy Scouts with a shower, microwave, and electricity to charge her cell phone. This four day hike was filled with a good share of rain making the ups & downs glisten with slippery surfaces. Dulci is feeling good and her feet/knees are responding well to the constant strains of the trail. She is finding the quiet times of the path quite refreshing.
Dulcigal’s June 7th post mentions the thinning out of the trail, referring to the decrease in the number of thru-hikers she is seeing on a daily basis. She might be between “bubbles” or the attrition rate is beginning to take effect. Hikers tend to hike in “bubbles” – groups of hikers walking at about the same pace that move together as a loosely formed group up the trail. There may be a bubble of 15-20 hikers staying in a shelter one night and then the next night there may be no one. I personally tried to avoid the bubbles but often it is hard to do so, when you find a group that hikes your pace and has similar goals for each day.
Dulci just posted again on June 13. She is in Waynesboro, VA, just south of the Shenandoah National Park. She is about 161 miles away from Harpers Ferry, the emotional half-way point of the AT. She has stopped in Waynesboro for the Chinese Buffet (AYCE), having gotten a ride (3.7 miles) into town from a trail angel. Rockfish Gap is known for its ministry to hikers by providing free rides into Waynesboro and back to the trail. I ate at that same Chinese Buffet and gluttony ruled the day. I sure hope she enjoyed her meal as much as I did mine.
June 13th was Dulci’s 93rd day on the trail. She seems in such good spirits. Dulci seems very resilient with a deep inner strength. My hope is that she can continue to hike and strategize a way to complete the trail. She has not shared in her journal, but I am wondering if she is planning a flip/flop in order to avoid a late-October arrival at Katahdin. A flip/flop would involve leaving the trail at some point, traveling to Maine, climbing Katahdin while the weather is still agreeable, then hiking south bound back to the jump-off point. Time will tell as the days continue to reveal her adventure.