June 28th 2018
Byrds Nest #3 Hut – Tom Floyd Wayside Hut (mile 967.9)
28 miles
Total miles: 985.2


It rained in the night. It started just after we had got into our tents and lasted a while but it got windy again in the night and when I woke up everything was dry. I didn’t sleep too well, I felt like I woke up every half an hour and my arms were numb.

In the night the bear pole gave a big clang and I assume it was just the wind, but I noticed some headlights go on and I thought – oh they’ve got this – and I went back to sleep. 

In the morning I found out that Short Shorts has a mouse in his tent last night. He said it was crawling over him and it was sat on his face. I’m so glad that didn’t happen to me. He reckons it got in there when he went out to pee and left his tent open. 

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He set off first and I left about 10 minutes after because I got caught talking to a section hiker about where I’m from. I have the same conversation with people about 10 times every day! The trail went up about 1000ft and there was a bit of a view and then the clouds rolled in. It was so rocky and it was slow going. After my big day yesterday I woke up feeling fine but as I started walking I realised I was sore and tired! 

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After a few miles I found Shorts Shorts lounging by the side of the trail. “Do you want to hike a bit of road with me?” he said. I was so over the rocks at this point I said “yeah let’s take the road”. It was so nice to be able to walk along and not have to look at the ground. 

About 5 minutes after I said I wonder if we are going to see a bear today, a bear dropped out of the tree right in front of us and ran as quick as he could into the forest! Then a man pulled over in his car and asked us if we were thru-hikers. It turns out he had hiked the trail in 2016 and he gave us a beer each. I should have said no. It was 9am and I didn’t want a beer! I don’t even really like beer. But it was really nice of him to give them to us so I accepted. It was a huge can too, a pint. 

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We hopped back onto the trail after a couple of miles and I had to carry that extra weight as I stashed the can in my Thru-pack. It felt so heavy. Short Shorts decided he didn’t want to carry his so he drank it as we were hiking uphill. After a few more miles we joined the road again and passed a parking area. We noticed an animal which we thought was something squashed but saw that it was a tortoise, so I moved it into the grass so it didn’t get run over! 

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We walked the road a bit more and I decided to crack open my beer. I hoped that Short Shorts would drink it but he was already feeling a bit tipsy from the one he drank. So I drank a few sips, just enough to make me feel horribly bloated and gassy and I ended up gradually tipping the rest away. 

After some more trail and a bit more road we made it to Elkwallow Wayside where we went straight in and got the milkshakes we had been talking about all morning. There were three other hikers there and we went to sit with them. The Amazonian, something about a Cartographer and Chumbawumba. When we told them we had walked a bit on Skyline Drive we could feel them judging us so hard. 

We ordered burgers. I knew it wasn’t going to be that nice but I got one anyway. It was still going to be better than any trail food. I got a Gatorade to take with me and a Twix and some starburst for resupply. Then I got a soda for now and I struggled to drink it all. I was so full. Short Shorts got an ice cream and a coffee and he felt absolutely terrible when we got back onto the trail. 

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Back on the trail was a struggle. Being so full and hiking is hard. There was some uphill and some questionable areas where the trail has a view but the view is looking out over the road then out at the view. 

After a few miles of trail we decided to do a couple of miles, our last couple of miles, on Skyline Drive. We tried to play some games to make the time go quicker, and it did, but we were both becoming a bit over the road and the bugs were insane. We had a cloud of them around us and I was smacking one off me every 2 minutes. 

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I was glad to get back on the trail where the bugs were still bad but not as bad if you kept moving. That Cartographer guy came up behind me and said to me, “have you had enough of hiking on the road?” I replied that we have been switching between the trail and the road and he said “well now you get to put a little asterisk next to your name”. “Oh yeah why’s that?” I asked. “Because you haven’t hiked the whole trail” he replied. “Oh well, hike your own hike” I said. What a twat!

I hiked on and I came across a bear on the side of the trail. I almost missed it but I heard a noise and I thought it was Short Shorts coming up behind me but when I turned to look there was a bear just casually ripping a log apart. I stopped to watch it for a while and then I saw she had a couple of cubs where were just too cute. Then a group of people came up the trail and it got scared away.

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The black blob in the middle, that’s a bear.

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I carried on along the trail and I was moving along nicely. I found Short Shorts sat at a road crossing and he said he didn’t want to get to the shelter too early. It was 6:30pm and we had about an hour of hiking left. As we hiked along he changed his mind about what he wanted to do, so from wanting to slow down and go slowly to Harper’s Ferry he now wants to go really fast and do 55 miles in a day and a half. So we hiked on and left the Shenandoah as we passed the park boundary and when I got to the hut we said goodbye and he carried on. 

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Of course that Cartographer guy was there and he apologised straight away for being an asshole earlier. I didn’t deny he was an asshole and I accepted his apology. We ended up chatting for most of the evening. There were a couple of people with ukuleles and they where horribly out of tune and the singing was terrible. I ate some chips and I squeezed into the shelter. 

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I was going to pitch my tent and now I regret massively not doing that. There are two massive bellends next to me whispering and laughing and farting, farts which smell really bad and they are finding that really funny. 

It’s nearly 10pm and they are still being really loud. I really wish I was in my tent. 


Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 51

 

 


 

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