Thru-hiker Mileage has gone silent again (last post was July 1 from Boiling Springs, PA – mile 1118), but Rock and Roots have provided several up-dated posts on their online journal. Unfortunately, Rock and Roots do not post photos so I have no visuals for us of their adventure, thus the only photo I have is repeated here.
Last time we heard form Rock and Roots was June 8 and they were 865 miles along the Appalachian Trail camping at Calf Mountain Shelter inside the Shenandoah National Park about seven miles north of Waynesboro, Virginia.
On June 9 the couple hiked 13 miles, stopping about 1:30 for a late lunch and arriving at their evening destination, Blackrock Hut (mile 878.5), at 5:00. They passed over the Skyline Drive eight times during the day’s hike including the Sawmill Run Overlook. Their plan was to reach the 900-mile marker on June 10.
It is not clear whether they reached their 900-mile goal on June 10, but they were able to grab a nice shower at a camp store (possibly the Loft Mountain Store – 885.8). The journal then has a few blank days, but we do know that Rock and Roots spent the night on Sunday, June 13 at the Skyland Resort at mile 928.2. They commented that it had rained several days in a row so the weather may have caused a slow down of the hiking agenda.
Monday June 14 was a long day hiking day resulting in 24 miles and ending up at Gravel Springs Hut. Roots (Annie) has blisters on her feet for the first time on the trail and Rock needs a new pair of shoes. Despite their feet issues, the couple enjoyed the day’s hike seeing a buck with velvety antlers and later in the day, a doe enjoying some dinner along the trail, as well as two colorful snakes (one with yellow stripes and the other with a yellow head and silver body). Gravel Springs Hut is still located in the Shenandoah Nation Park (SNP), but only about 10 miles from the northern boundary.
Tuesday, June 15 brought Rock and Roots out SNP. They walked 16 miles and completed their hiking day at Mosby Campsite, 969.2 miles along the Appalachian Trail and about 3.5 miles north of Front Royal, Virginia. The couple is planning on making it to Harper’s Ferry by Friday where they will spend some time with family. The skies were clear today so Rock and Roots got some last day photos of the SNP.
June 16 was a 20-mile day ending at Rod Hollow Shelter around 9:20 pm. They hiked through part of the Sky Meadows State Park. They camped just short of the Roller Coaster (13.5 miles of tightly packed assents and descents) leading to the border of Virginia and West Virginia. Just before arriving at the shelter, Rock experienced a rare sight – a bear climbing down a tree.
June 17 presented the roller coaster and some challenging terrain. They had lunch 5 miles into the coaster at a spot called Buzzard Hill (appropriate for eating lunch). Close to the end of the coaster the couple passed the 1,000 mile marker. They had hoped to end their day at the Blackburn AT Center (mile 1007.1), but choose an alternate stealth camping spot a few miles short of the center.
They arrived at Harper’s Ferry and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy headquarters, on Friday, June 18th. After checking in at the ATC, Rock’s sister and a niece picked them up. They had an enjoyable weekend in town with family. The ate some good food and took a relaxing tubing trip.
Rock and Roots left Harper’s Ferry on Sunday afternoon, June 20, and hiked 6 miles to the Ed Garvey Shelter. They experienced a crazy rain storm on Sunday evening that lasted through most of morning on Monday. Once the rain cleared on June 21 they hiked to the next campground (Crampton Gap Shelter). June 21 is the longest day of the year but the couple made one of their shortest walks (4.1 miles reaching an accumulated 1,030 miles on the AT). Rock placed a call to his Aunt Anne and Uncle Barry. They came and picked Rock and Roots up and took them to Boonsboro and a nice, warm, dry inn. It was a great morale boost for the two wet hikers.
The online journal then jumps to July 10 (18 days and 236 miles later). Rock and Roots are almost to the end of Pennsylvania. They are 13 miles north of Palmerton, PA, having climbed out of Lehigh Gap and the iconic rock scramble up the Superfund site. They appear to be staying with John and Linda Stempa at Smith Gap, who are providing a slack-packing opportunity for the couple. They have hiked about 1,266 miles of the Appalachian Trail and are approximately 25 miles from the New Jersey line. I am not sure the reason for the gap in the journal, but we will pick up their adventure from here.
I hope to have a good update next Thursday as we follow these thru-hikers all the way to Maine.