9-16-09 day 106
start: Rusty's Hard Time Hollow, VA
end: Harper's Creek Shelter, VA
daily mileage: 12.7
total mileage: 1352.8
Woke up, had some of Rusty's Blueberry pancakes (made with wild blueberries) and spent some of the morning shooting clay pidgeons with his 20 gauge shotgun. He reiterated that we could come back any time we wanted (which is actually really comforting, somehow) and drove us back to the trailhead. We met a group of cyclists on the trail from Ohio who were taking a week to bike the whole Skyline Drive / Blueridge Parkway.
We were told that we had a bit of a tough section today, but barely seemed to notice it... switchbacks, please. These trails are nothing compared to New Hampshire and Maine! If you wanna climb a mountain there, you take it like a man and go straight over the thing! None of this sissy switchback business.
About a mile from the shelter, we stepped on a yellow jacket nest underground of the trail. I was stung. I screamed like a girl. We ran about half a mile. They followed us the whole way. I was stung 5 times total (Sea Monster was miraculously spared). In all, the experience was weird: humans are totally incapable of fighting hive-brain enemies like wasps! But it wasn't really that painful, and we did laugh a lot later about how silly we probably looked, sprinting along the trail screaming "BEEEEEEEES!!!!!"
Sea Monster saw a rattle snake in the trail, and got some great pictures and video. Also, the weather has been awesome for a while... the sunny days are great, but the water sources are all starting to get pretty dry...