Day 52 on the Appalachian Trail

The wind blew all night, but it didn't keep me awake. Well rested , I awoke at 5:45am and started hiking at 6am. After a short rise and drop, the trail gained 500 feet of elevation, ran level for a mile, then dropped for a mile to the spur trail to the Elk Wallow restaurant in Shenandoah National Park. Alas, the restaurant was closed, but I got water. As I walked back to the trail, a bear ran across the spur trail in front of me. The Appalachian Trail headed uphill for 2 miles, flat for 2 miles, and down for 2 miles to the turnoff to the Gravel Springs shelter. I climbed to South and North Marshall Mountains, then dropped down to Jenkins Gap. I ate lunch on a quality log along the trail at mile 15 on the day. After lunch, I hiked a mile uphill to Compton Springs, the first on-trail water today. After a short climb, the AT descended for 2 miles to. Side trail. I left the AT and walked one- half mile to the Front Royal Terrapin Station hostel. The owner, Mile Evans, offers a bunk, shower, laundry, a soda, a small pizza, a ride into town to resupply for $30. I cooked Mac and cheese plus the pizza for dinner. Mike took five us hikers to the food store in Front Royal in northern Virginia. Afterward, I watched two periods of the Pittsburgh - San Jose hockey game at the hostel then to bed. A wonderful day. Today's miles - 20.0. Total miles - 965.3.

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