Wednesday, 23 September
|Destination: Punchbowl Shelter (797.2)
|Today’s Miles: 11.3 (0.2)
|Start Location: Long Mountain Wayside, Buena Vista (808.5)
|Trip Miles: 11.3 (0.2)
Numbers in parenthesis after Destination and Start Location are northbound mileage markers as listed in the 2019 Northbound A.T. Guide. Numbers in parenthesis after Today’s Miles and Trip Miles are off trail miles to shelters and campgrounds.
This section hike from Buena Vista, VA to Daleville, VA, was originally planned for the end of April, pre covid. Bob and I talked about August but that would be too hot so we are finally backpacking in September.
Dolora, my favorite trail angel, had coffee, bacon and eggs ready for us a little after six. We were on the road by seven. Three and a half hours later, Dolora dropped us off. Bob and I headed south on the Appalachian Trail, 78.8 miles planned in total.
In the first two miles, we passed four northbound hikers, more than we had seen last year in five days on the Black Forest Trail. The weather was perfect, about 55 when we started and low 60s in the afternoon. Only downhill and flats for the first seven miles. We meet another solo backpacker and a couple with some dogs and another day hiker in the afternoon. The last four miles to the shelter had climbs totaling about 1,500 feet. Bob did not enjoy the hills.
Punchbowl Shelter is 0.2 miles off the trail. There were two other guys camping here when we got in. One tent, one hammock. We set up our tents, filtered water and made dinner. While dinner was rehydrating, we got our bear bag line ready. Food is hung in a bag at least ten feet high and six feet from the tree trunk to keep it away from bears although you sometimes have trouble with mice when it is hung.
After dinner we hung the food and climbed into our cozy tents. Some relaxation, reading and updating this journal if there is cell service tonight. Tomorrow’s plan is for a twelve mile day. This should be a little easier with an early start. Probably early to sleep tonight. It feels like a cool evening, great for sleeping after a good days hike.