Day 51 on the Appalachian Trail

Last night I thought I heard rain tattering on the tent fly. But when morning arrived, my tent was dry. I left the campground at 6:30am and began my day with an easy downhill for 2 miles followed by a gradual climb for 2 miles to the flank of Hawksbill Mountain. From there, the Appalachian Trail gradually lost elevation to a spring then rose gently past the Skyland Resort area. I opted not to eat a second breakfast at the restaurant. More gradual climbing to the side of Stony Man then downhill for 4 miles to the Pinnacles Picnic area. I enjoyed views of the Shenandoah Valley to the west (see photo). I ate an early lunch at a picnic table while the wind blew hard from the west. I called Mom to wish her a happy 92nd birthday. She was in a Penske truck moving from her long-time home in Springfield, IL to Westminster, CO. Brother John was driving with his wife Marilyn was on the phone trying to get one of the broken headlights replaced. After lunch, I gained elevation to The Pinnacle. Along the way, oak leaves, both shredded and whole, littered the trail. The wind howled all the while. The AT descended steeply on a rocky trail to Thornton Gap. My thigh muscles barely made it to the Gap. After a brief rest, I headed uphill gradually gaining 800 feet to Pass Mountain. Most of the forest showed signs of major disturbance, such as few large trees and weedy vegetation, from farming and grazing. Back down again past a spring where I got water. A short descent then a short climb took me to a ridge where I found a trail side camp.  In spite of walking 23 miles today, I got to camp early at 4:30 pm. I set up my tent to provide respite from the wind then cooked dinner. I'll rest in the tent until I fall asleep. Today's miles - 23.0. Total miles - 947.2.

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