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Friday–June 18, 2021
Location–Doyle’s River Trailhead, Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, then to Airbnb, Stanardsville, AT Mile 890.3
A short-mile day today, so we give ourselves another half hour this morning–alarm goes off at five-thirty.
Going to be an emotion-filled day; Safari will be leaving, and Tulip will be rejoining me.
No one is manning the entrance to Skyline Drive this morning (it’s a little after seven). The shades are pulled, but the gates are open, so Safari drives right through. We’ve got Skyline to ourselves, all the way to Wildcat Ridge. Another glorious day to be alive (and hiking Shenandoah National Park). I’m back on trail by seven thirty.
Trail conditions have changed dramatically in just the last two days, from cobbed-up boulders and rocks, to smooth, unobstructed tread.
The halfway point for today (approx.) is Blackrock Gap Trailhead. Plan is to meet both Safari & Tulip here late morning. Moments after I get here by trail they both arrive. From here Safari follows Tulip up to Doyle’s River Trailhead where Tulip leaves her van–and Safari brings her back to Blackrock, from where Tulip and I can now hike north together to Doyle’s.
Then it’s that (don’t want to deal with it) sad time again. Goodbye Safari, what a grand time we’ve shared! Your support for me during this journey has been such a blessing! Be safe on your two full day’s drive home.
It’s another beautiful afternoon for hiking the Shenandoah National Park. And the trail is beautiful too, so friendly to my tired old puppies! I send Tulip out ahead, as she is such a fast, strong hiker. She stops at intervals and waits for me.
A much anticipated point in this trek arrives today, the halfway mark–1,300 miles. It’s taken me 119 days to get here. But I’m here, and hiking well. The goal now is to hike 100 miles per week. That’s a tad over 14 miles per day. I’ve been meeting that goal recently and am confident I’ll be able to continue–for thirteen more weeks. And thirteen weeks? That’ll do it for Odyssey 2021 – Bama to Baxter – Hike On!
The remainder of this day passes quickly. Tulip & T-Bone found a nearby Airbnb; it was available, and they took it for three nights. And so, Tulip loads the old Nimblewill and we’re headed there, arriving in no time flat!
T-Bone comes up early evening. Tulip prepares the best spaghetti and meat balls for us. Ahh, and T-Bone has brought ice cream!
What an absolutely amazing day…
How lucky I am to have something
that makes saying goodbye so hard.