Backpacking the Appalachian Trail [October 2017]

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Appalachian Trail
Rattlesnake Run Road to Green Mountain General Store
Day 1 – 13.8 mi | Day 2 – 20.4 mi | Day 3 – 11.7 mi

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The biggest difference between east and west coast hiking– the east coast doesn’t seem to believe in switchbacks. “Oh, you want to reach the top of that mountain? Straight up it is!”

Thanks again to Kat and Ed for helping us out with our car and dropping us off at Rattlesnake Run Road!

Day 1 we hiked 13.8 miles to the Quarry Gap Shelter. This shelter is immaculate. But if you’re coming from anywhere south of Quarry Gap, they sure make you work to reach it! Lots of steep climbs on day 1. We shared Quarry Gap with 6 other hikers and a dog.

We got an early start on day 2– hiked the first 20 minutes or so with our headlamps. This meant we reached our originally planned shelter, Tom’s Run, by lunchtime. We decided to rest for ~1 hour then hopped back on the trail. Nick wanted to try to reach Tagg Run Shelter, but this would have meant a 25-ish mile day. Instead we decided to “stealth camp” in a clearing along the trail after hiking 20 miles. I had a bad blister on my baby toe that popped just before reaching our camping location. It was painful, and another 5 miles would have been rough. I had one low blood sugar not long after lunch, which ended with a little bit of yellies and some not so good moods. The terrain on day 2 wasn’t nearly as steep, but it seemed more rocky. The AT went straight through Pine Grove Furnace State Park in this location. It looked like an awesome place that we both agreed would be fun to visit. We ended day 2 with a long climb, but thankfully not as steep.

3am on day 3 I woke up because I felt rain. We decided not to sleep with the rain fly on the tent. So we got up, put the rain fly on, and covered up our packs. I totally forgot about my pants hanging off a tree! They got soaked. Thankfully it was warm and I could wear shorts. Around daybreak we decided to cut our trip short. We only had 11-12 miles to our next planned shelter, Alec Kennedy Shelter, and we’d be there before or not long after lunch. We knew more rain was coming so figured it was best to just get back to the car. A little over 5 miles from camp we entered a small town and stopped at the Green Mountain General Store where we had cell service. Nick was going to leave me and Sarge there with the packs and run to the car. When we realized it was only ~12 miles away on the road I decided to go along. At first walking on the road hurt less (I had two popped blisters!), but after awhile the throbbing pain was back. ~6 miles in we passed a nice populated park so Nick left Sarge and I there and went for the car.

It was a fun weekend and really nice to be on the trail. It does seem that my easily blistered feet seem to be my limiting factor– not the miles, not the steep climbs, not my muscles, not carrying a 25-ish lb pack.

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