Boulder-1, All In-0

That’s me yesterday. After I arrived home. But first, Ill give you the lead up.

That’s me from the past, stopping at the Bryant Ridge Shelter on my way up the mountain from Jennings Creek.

But wait. I need to go back a little farther.

It was last Friday. I drove from PA to the parking lot on Spy Rock Road, In Montebello, VA. I planned to hike 4 days SOBO, and end at the James River. It’s a long uphill walk to the AT from that lot. A long walk. I seem to forget painful experiences. I guess that’s good, sometimes.

So, up I went then South to the Shelter. I intended to spend the night there because it was late in the day. A long day. I opened my pack and discovered that I ha forgotten my glasses. Great. It’s dangerous for me to be out there and not able to easily read my maps and messages. So, back down to the car I went.

Now what? Plan B. There was no plan B. I regrouped. Drove to Daleville. There was no way I was EVER walking up that hill again. That was my third time!!!

The new plan was to start at Jennings Creek, where Jennie and I stopped and hike for 2 nights to Pettites Gap, where my friend now and shuttle driver Homer Witcher (great name, hey) agreed to pick me up.

So up I went. Up and up and up and up and then more up, in 95 degree heat! It’s hard to say which of my past hiking days was the toughest. There were so many. But this one, because of the heat was difficult.

Made it to the Cornelius Creek Shelter. Stretched out on the picnic table bench and dozed off. Exhausted, but exillerated. That’s how it works out here. Pain and gain. Love it!

Then I hear a guitar!

Byron, a pretty great guitar player, just sat down and began playing! He had walked in from the Parkway. I was in his practice space! Nice guy. A nicely placed bit of Trail Magic, wouldn’t you say?

He went on his way and I made dinner, did my hiker chores, and turned in for the night. Got in my tent and was about to charge my phone and NO CORD to connect the phone to the battery. Forgot it.

Plan C. How am I going to make my phone last 3 days? Combine the next two days into one. The last 3 miles was going to be downhill, so I figured all I had to do was 7 or so before that. No problem.

Problem.

Heat and up AGAIN! Did see some great stuff though

I was just about up the last climb, to the top of Apple Orchard Mountain, and wham. And I mean WHAM!

I caught my left toe going uphill, thank heaven, stumbled forward, tried to recover and lost my footing. My right hand, I think, got caught in the strap of my pole, that must have been stuck somehow. Anyway, down I went. Center of my forehead, bang in to the rock.

As a kid, at least me as a kid, I banged my head on lots of stuff. I also got hit in the head with lots of stuff. I can remember a baseball making perfect contact with my left temple as I was minding my own business, running through the outfield of the BIG kids game. When it hit, it was REALLY LOUD! My big brother thought I was dead! Why does that make me laugh?

It was exactly the same sound when I hit the boulder. Just a different side of my head.

BANG.

I said a few expletives and got myself up, as the blood began running down my face. More bad words. Shit. Shit. Shit. I gave 3 shits.

Grabbed my bandana and applied direct pressure. Let go in a minute or two and it kept coming. So I sat. Put my phone on selfie mode and checked myself out.

Two impact points. Both bleeding.

I got the bleeding stopped and actually felt pretty good. It could have been much worse! Onward.

Over the mountain top.

The highest so far for me on the Trail!

Through the Guillotine. Very cool!

Arrived at the Thunder Hill Shelter, cleaned up my wounds, and applied bandaids. Blue bandaids. Pretty cool, right?

Now with a banged up head, I had 7 miles left to do. I had a bit of a headache, but felt ok. Besides, what else was I to do? I had to get to Pettites Gap to meet Homer, my ride back to my car.

So I made the best of it. One more climb and then all downhill. I can do this!

Made it to the road!

As you can see, I was done. Two cars stopped and asked if I was ok. People are so nice out there around the trail.

I went from there up to Shenandoah for the night. I love the Park. I stayed at Big Meadows.

The sunset was sick. (I like to say “sick.” Slang learned from a young friend.)😊

What a gift. If I hadn’t forgotten my glasses, forgotten my charge cord, and banged up my head, I would have missed this. Something good always happens after bad stuff. At least for me that is. These days I look for the good. (At least I try to!)

What a great trip!

And get this!!!! Jennie called. She is coming back with me to finish the VA section!!!

How good is my life?

All In

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