Appalachian Trail Mile 995.0

Thursday, July 13, 2017 (Day 71)

I began at around 8 am. I was feeling more rested. The weather was pleasant. I was ready for the day.

There were flowers and fields and butterflies and…The Rollercoaster.

I had heard warnings of The Roller Coaster. I knew it was coming.  A 13.5 mile stretch of trail in Northern Virginia filled with continuous ascents and descents. It seemed a fitting way to bid the long, green, not actually flat trail in Virginia, farewell. I had plans to make it about half-way through The Rollercoaster that evening. Though not quite as challenging as the elevation reports made it seem, it was not easy either. I was slow, climbing up the stone covered path by the light of my headlamp.

I had travelled just over a mile before reaching a brook in Bolden Hollow. The water was shallow, but not too difficult to collect. There was a nice flat spot to the left of the trail. I spread out my ground tarp and unfolded my mat.

I thought about The moon. The moon was waning, but still full and bright. It was hidden now, but I remember when its glow caught me through the trees. It stopped me in my tracks. I was struck by the intensity of its hue; not its normal cold silvery reflective shimmer, but a warm burnt orange; an eerie fiery glow.

I glanced around me…so many creepy-crawlies (I do not know their official title)!

I had already laid out my things…I was not about to move. They would not hurt me. The idea of waking up covered by them was not a pleasing one, however. I brushed some away with a stick and propped up the edges of my ground tarp with my trekking poles and other random objects (a stone, my cooking pot), this way, should they desire to crawl on me, they would not be able to reach me.

Satisfied,  I fell asleep.

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