AT Day 54 – 1000 Miles and 1000 Smiles

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8th June

23.3 miles

Bushcamp (991.7) to Bushcamp (1015)

I don’t remember the rain stopping overnight. The last thing I remembered was the sound of heavy raindrops hitting the tent as I put in my earplugs and closed my eyes. It’s 5am and the birds are chirping and my tent is completely dry. I’m overheating in my sleeping bag that’s rated to 15F (-12C). I think it will be a warm and humid day.

The trail is misty in the morning. Streaks of sunlight filter through the forest canopy. It looks more like a staged Hollywood set than nature at its best. I stop often and take many photos.

I am certainly the first person on Trail this morning. I can’t walk without destroying countless spiders webs. One spider is clinging to the web as my face gets in its way. I brush the spider and its web from my face like I’m shoeing a mosquito away. Lucky I’m not scared of spiders.

I enter ‘The Rollercoaster’. The trail meanders up and down with twists and turns. It’s not hard to see how it got its name. Part way along I reach the 1000 mile mark. A small sign made of sticks is fashioned on the side of the trail near an official looking marker on a tree. 1000 miles in 54 days is not a bad effort. I fell proud of this achievement.

I reach a highway and descend on a small side road to visit a small pub for lunch. Three hikers are inside and I ask to join them. Two Times and Bullseye are the hikers, the other is Chuck, a Trail Angel wearing hiker clothing. We share stories while I eat a cheeseburger with a beer. I try to pay my bill but Trail Angel Chuck pays for my food. Thank you Chuck.

Back to the trail after we bid farewell to Chuck. I struggle to keep up with Bullseye and Two Times. They hike at a fast pace. I only make more miles than them each day because I hike more hours per day, mostly around 12 hours. I find them in a campsite late afternoon. We chat for a while till I set off to make another couple of miles before sunset. I set up camp and check my map. I have been hiking in West Virginia for the last several miles. The trail follows the Virginia/West Virginia border.

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