Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Appalachian Trail - Smith Gap Road to Leroy Smith Shelter

Yesterday found me on the Appalachian Trail (again.)  The goal was to hike from "Smith Gap Road" out to the Leroy Smith Shelter (that was my end point on this hike.)  It was roughly 7 miles out and back, so a shortie in respect to what we are used to.  About two miles in I started getting a migraine aura and was kind of furious.  I hate my migraines but not once has one occured while I was hiking.  I refused to turn back and let it ruin my day!  It was a good choice too.  The whole experience must have lowered my blood pressure or unconstricted my constrictors (or whatever evils cause migraines.) because once the aura cleared I still had an appetite instead of nausea, and only a low level headache.  I was much more tired than I usually am after a hike, though.  I felt like I had hiked 12 miles.

So!  This hike was pretty boring until we came out into the powerlines opening that leads to the Leroy Smith Shelter.  It was just woods and woods and woods with moments of large rocks, but mostly it was small fist-sized rocks hiding underneath of a carpet of fallen leaves.  Very irritating.  Very Rocksylvania.  The other awesome thing was that it had rained the night before, so all of those leaves and rocks were wet.  Yes, I did fall once (blaming it on the Iditarod pitbull-and-poodle-team attached to my backpack, though.)

Note: Dirty pants, wet and annoying walking surface.
Anyway, backtracking...we started here.  Smith Gap Road was a fairly insane and winding uphill mountain road that was very rutted.  I was driving like an old lady and glad there were no hunters in enormous trucks stuck behind me (Big trucks do much better on such roads than little hondas.)

It was just...that for all the 3.5ish miles that I hiked out.  I was so happy to see the powerlines clearing because it is interesting, pretty and there is a view there!

My official turnaround point last time.


Lunch break stop at the Leroy Smith Shelter, only .15 miles off the trail.  We had it to ourselves today, unsurprising.  I really felt like I wanted to go backpacking after going to a shelter and seeing tent sites.  Sigh, not 'til spring.

Drink break for the dogs and some Mountain Lovin' from Molly.  Unfortunately Molly copes with frustration by humping Perri.  Frequently.  (Molly was frustrated that I was not handing over an entire pack of cheese crackers to her NOW.)

Onward!  We saw a bald eagle!  We saw the views!  We took posed vista photos and Molly gave me death stares.

Classic Personality Shot 

Back into the woods...
When I linked the photo set from the last hike in this area (October 2012) I smiled when I saw this photo.  7 month old Perri completely exhausted from our big long hike.  She has certainly built up more stamina since then!

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