Can you believe it?

Buena Vista, Va., AT NOBO mile 802.6, Wednesday March 26, 2014 — Taking a weather zero (mileage) day off. The prevailing winds on the AT are from the southwest. Today a stiff wind is ripping from the northwest and I’d be walking dead into a subzero windchill. My mamma didn’t raise a fool.

Tomorrow I’m planning to slack pack about 15 miles back to Buena Vista. The advantage is twofold. One, it solves a distance problem that enables me to avoid hiking a 20-plus mileage day my second day out. Two, I get another night indoors and the free breakfast that comes with it.

Slack packing is when hikers are driven a distance down the trail and hike back to their point of origin. I so doing, they empty their packs of tents, sleeping bags, food and other nonessentials for a day hike. First aid, rain gear and water about everything that goes along for the ride.

The moving is faster ’cause the load is much lighter. I’ll still have to contend with six inches of melting snow, e.g. slush, but I’ll take that bet.

Got a huge surprise last night when I prepared to shower. A tick was noshing on my leg – as in locked on tight. It was too large to be a deer tick, the Lyme Disease vector. Nevertheless, I was a bit dumbfounded. During the past month, the overnight temps have been above freezing only twice. Moreover my base layer is skintight so the little sucker really had to work to get there. Could it be that Spring has sprung and nobody told us?

At the moment I’m soaking up lunch at the Bluedogart Cafe complete with a slab of that heavenly bee sting cake. Turns out that it’s homemade by a local Amish lady. Butch, the owner, is holding down the fort at his favorite roost.

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13 thoughts on “Can you believe it?

  1. Sisu/Jim: Just wondering, did you treat your clothes with permethrin (before your tick attack)? Following you from Chicago. Hope to hit the AT later this year myself. Love your writing!

    • Thanks. The permethrin has pretty much been washed out of the clothes I have with me. I did treat my summer stuff while I was off the trail last month, and will retreat everything with me next week when I hit Waynesboro and can fast forward to Harpers Ferry and a few zeros at home.

      • If certain commitments can be finished by July I’m hoping to start a SOBO from Mt. Katahdin. If things drag on beyond then (likely), then I’ll probably start a NOBO from Springer, like you did, and finish my thru-hike next year.

  2. Last summer, I had a tick latched onto my inner thigh. Found it while showering. It hadn’t been there long. That was a tender spot for it and for me.

    I listened to a podcast today from Radiolab. It was about two friends, Lu and Soo who were biking across the U.S. http://www.radiolab.org/story/lu-vs-soo/
    They described a stopover shelter at Damascus, VA, where their bike trail and the AT intersect. It is about halfway through the podcast. I thought you would know where that is.

    Have some cake for me.

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