Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wood's Hole

Here we are at our last stop before Floyd Fest; Wood's Hole Hiker Hostel! It's a gorgeous hiker hostel that has been in the same family since 1932 but recently re-opened as a year-round hiker hostel. It is run by a wonderful young couple (Michael and Neville). We've decided to stay here for a few days to rest our bodies and do some small day hikes. It doesn't hurt either that the food is FANTASTIC and they have several lovely pets to play with.

A bat that Emily rescued from the Wood's Hole porch.
The view from a day hike near Wood's Hole.

Goodbye to our dear hiking friends

Sadly ever fun journey must come to an end. Here we are with Robert & Andrea (middle) and Bryan & Megan (with Otto and Macy), the friends that we hiked with the longest. They are off to do some beach camping for a week before heading home (B+M) or back to hike the Shanandoahs (R+A). We're going to miss them, and all the rest of the ATF crew, but hey, that's what facebook is for right? Happy Trails everyone!

A trip to the 'Settlers Museam of Virginia'

Here we are having some old-timey good times at the Settlers Museum of Virginia. This museum, as it turns out, is practically right on the trail and is FREE for hikers! What could be better. History, convenience, and thrift. I (Matt) know that this is making my fort friends jealous. Wish you were there gang.

Above you'll see 'rules for teachers' from 1872. Click the image to enlarge (and make sure to check out the courting one). Again, sorry about the sideways pics.
Setting and springing a small mammal trap. It was actually tight and useable for trapping (unlike the FWHP beaver traps which have been made child-safe).
YEAH!!! Usin' my draw knife!

She's still got it!

Sunsets, fences, and shelter pizza

Beautiful sunset seen from one of the high-elevation shelters in virginia.
Lots of fences in Virginia brings lots of fence-crossing devices. (not as nice as the Zetteks).
This is the 'Partnership Shelter'; one of the nicest shelters on the trail and the only shelter that you can order pizza too (or more correctly to the Mount Rogers Recreation area office nearby). Hikers tell tales about 'the-shelter-that-you-can-order-pizza-to' all up and down the trail. You'll notice that we have our tent shell up (just the fly attached to the footprint). This is because the previous night Emily woke up to the feeling of water dripping on her sleeping bag. Several hikers were in the loft above us so she assumed that one of them had accidentally put something on the bite valve of a water bladder and caused it to leak. She wiped the water off with her hands and upon shining her light at the ceiling was shocked to see, not a leak..... but one of the many bats that live at the shelter! The bat had PEED ON HER!!! Ewwwww..... This prompted us to put up a bat-pee barrier.


One of the best parts of the Grayson Highlands! Feral ponies roam the land here. Every spring the ponies are set free in the highlands to graze and wander as they will. Before winter they are apparently rounded up again (or as many as they can find). The ponies love to hang out with hikers and look for snacks (kind of like cuter bears). Here I (Matt) am getting attacked by three ponies trying to eat my backpack.

This is called 'Fatman Squeeze', the only part of the trail where you have to actually walk through a short cave.
Sorry about the sideways pics. We're on a computer that doesn't want to let us rotate them. You'll just have to look at them sideways.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Grayson Highlands

Welcome to the Grayson Highlands, one of our last stops on our trip. This place is renowned among hikers for its rugged beauty and its four footed inhabitants (more on that later)

A piney campsite (turn head sideways)
Grub time with some fellow hikers.
Toad not shown actual size. Photo actually taken by Em (not from google image search or nature magazine)
Otto, our protector from bears and shelter mice. She belongs to Bryan and Megan. She did about 3x the miles that the humans did but got very skinny from all her running.
If you flip back to the very first post in our blog you will see this same sign, sent to us by Dan and Heather on a bike trip on the Virginia Creeper Trail. We made it!!
Watching fireworks in Damascus on the fourth of July
POW! ZAP! WHOOSH! (just like the old school batman)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Our last hiking day

After a few rainy days and some soggy shoes we have finished the hiking part of our trip. Our bodies are sore and we're tired but we're having feelings of nostalgia as we leave the trail. It has been a fantastic trek but we're excitited to soon sleep in our own bed and just have to make the short trek to the fridge for food.

But before we return it's off to Floyd Fest to hear some great music and then to colonial Williamsburg. Yay! We will post more photos soon if we can:)

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Clearing up the controversy

Just to clear up any misunderstandings, the leg pictures shown perviously were not actually us. Kudos to Derek and Paisley for their witty retorts in the comments section.

Here are some pics of what our actual legs look like. Just picture us taking these to have a good laugh.

Checking in

Hi folks. We just spent the day at the Settler's Museum of Virginia (very similar to the Pioneer Village in T-Bay). It is right on the trail so I (Matt) was able to get a good history fix without going too far off the AT. They even had these tiny steel traps that I set and then collapsed on my boot.

Last night Macey (the dog belonging to Brian and Megan) went missing from camp (she turned up eventually) but as Robert and I climbed one of the hills to shout over a ridge for her we stumbled into some of the most lush blueberries I've ever seen. Sadly the ridge was a steep slope and had been burned over a few years back so after picking a zip-lock full we were covered in tree soot from head (actually head) to hiking boot. Good berries though.

We wanted to put up some pics but seen to be having some computer trouble. Hopefully we will be able to post some more pics before we return.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Slack Packing

We stayed for a few days at the hostel of Bob Peoples (pretty much the kindest man on earth). He had just returned from a 5 week trip to the Pilgrim's Trail in Spain and basically stepped off the plane and started shuttling hikers around. He inspired us to do lots more hiking and dropped us off for a few days of "slack-packing" (hiking with only a day pack). We went REALLY fast. A 20 mile (32 km) day and a 21 mile day. Now my (Matt's) leg hurts... Imagine that! I get sore when I have no pack on!! All's well though. Back to hiking soon:)

Hills called Big and Little Hump

Pics from the best day so far (according to Matt at least). We went up over Big and Little "Hump". A dominating hill when you first see it looming. Some pics are from a rock outcropping 1/2 way up.

Back to the Farm

We stayed at an AT shelter made from a converted barn with covered sleeping platforms. The view you see is what we fell asleep and woke up to! The legs are Emily's healing sunburn (ouch!)

Hi Folks:)

We don't have much time on the computer so I'll just post some pics. We've hit a patch of great weather and some amazing views! We're having a great time and have only been rained on twice in the past 2-3 weeks:) The trail is treating us well.