May 3, 2018
Destination: Stealth Campsite at Mile 892.3 Today's Miles: 21.60
Start Location: Calf Mountain Shelter Trip Miles: 892.30
The morning today was lovely. Sleeping without the rainfly has been nice and breezy.
I sat up in my bag and saw that camp was already stirring. Wallace, Bama Dog, Peewee, Whitewater all headed out early. In the end, Tarzan and I were the last in camp, and once I finished my breakfast and coffee I hit the trail.
I stopped to get fresh water from the piped spring on the trail out. It was supposed to be quite warm today, up to 87, and water would be scarce. On my hike out I saw a deer in the middle of the trail. It stared back at me curiously. I also saw a red-headed woodpecker.
I spent most of the day trying to stay cool, re-applying sunscreen, and hiking on easy terrain. I had a 12 mile stretch without water and then stopped at the first hut (they call shelters “huts” in the Shenandoahs), Black Rock Hut, to get some water and cool down for a bit. Happy Feet was there and both Whitewater and Tarzan showed up.
Whitewater, Tarzan and I decided we would push more miles and stop at the Loft Mountain Camp Store just off the AT. They were open until 7 and had some food and snacks. I pushed on, sweating buckets and covering my trekking pole handles with sunscreen from my hands, and at the top I scrambled to the Black Rock Mountain summit. It had some ice views and I took a picture of it to also remember the way the rock looked.
Later on, Whitewater caught up to me and then we ran into Happy Feet again. We all marched on until we got to the camp store. It was like an oasis in the desert. I ate a buffalo chicken sandwich, a bag of Doritos, two orange creamsicle flavored whoopie pies, and a nestle toll house ice cream cookie sandwich. I washed all of that down with a Yoo-hoo. The camp store had coin showers and a laundromat. We opted to eat and move on. The 4 of us hiked out looking for a spot to camp, and ended up finding a spot just after seeing a lovely sunset view on the ridge. Someone came along and helped us get a group photo with the sunset.
It was a great day and I was grateful for the clear weather, even though it was relentlessly hot. I was grateful for the good food at the camp store, but mostly for the good companionship of my fellow hikers. I’m so tired!! Time for this cat to call it a night!