We made it! We’re back! Almost three months later, but we are back! Wowza it took us three months to do 857 miles, but we had a great time and enjoyed our hike so really that is the only thing that matters! We knew we’d be hiking into the winter, but we didn’t think it would be this late. We really couldn’t have asked for better weather though, we are so thankful that winter is holding off, for now. I just checked the forecast and although there is a slight chance of rain one day and another day will be CHILLY, we couldn’t ask for more. There aren’t feet of snow on the ground and that’s all that matters to us.
Yesterday we got a late start as it was our first day back on the trail after being spoiled rotten by our amazing friends in southern VA. I had intended on dropping the guys off at Turk Gap so they could hike about 12 miles back to Rockfish Gap, but unfortunately I didn’t double check my map and make sure I was in the right spot. Instead, I only drove them down about 6 trail miles and let them out at Beagle Gap instead. This was of corse not realized right away by me, Dion knew as soon as he got on the trail he wasn’t in the right spot. I left and headed into town to do my usual resupply and get an internet connection. While sitting at the library I received their call letting me know they were finished, and then Dion explained why they were done at 2pm instead of 5:30. Unfortunate, but not the end of the world. We have set our end date at the ATC for January 9th so we are going to stick to that and just work out the miles as we go. I went and picked them up and we all decided that since it was so early that we would come back to the library in Waynesboro, it is Buddy’s favorite place. He played on the computer and read some books for about an hour while Dion fiddled with his new iPod and added new music to Buddy’s. We left the library around 4 knowing that Skyline Drive ,which is the only road into or out of where we are in the park, will close at 5pm. We stopped real fast off at the Rockfish Gap Outfitter to get Dion some new Smartwool glove liners. He just loves them, but almost all the finger tips have holes in the pair he has now, so I think it’s time we splurge, spend the $25 and get a new pair! He was able to find them in his size and they also have the smart finger tips so he can use them on his new iPod touch. He was thrilled! While we were paying for them, the man behind the counter asked Buddy what he had done that day, Buddy couldn’t help himself from telling the man all about his day, who he is and what he’s doing. The man was so excited to meet Buddy, as he has bee following him on Facebook and asked to take his photo for their site. Buddy gladly posed for a few pictures, then was offered ice cream by the owner of the store. Now Buddy was thrilled! Dion got new gloves and Buddy got ice cream, it’s the little things in life that really excite my boys. We thanked them all and headed off to get onto Skyline Drive before the gates close. We parked in the Blackrock parking area and set up camp. This morning was pretty chilly but warmed right up once that amazing sun rose up above the trees. I packed them up and got them on the trail around 8 this morning, they are setting out to do a little over 16 miles from Blackrock south to Beagle Gap. Tonight we have big New Years plans of eating slightly more of our delicious snacks than we usually do and all going to sleep around 8pm. We will greet the New Year tomorrow by doing a big day from Blackrock to Skyline 66.7, just north of Hightop Hut about 22 miles. As long as we stick to that plan tomorrow we will then go to Milam Gap the night of the 2nd, Pinnacles Picnic Area the 3rd, Little Hogback the 4th, Front Royal the 5th, then the Sky Meadow State Park the night of the 6th. This is our tentative plan for the next week, so for those of you who were looking to hike with us, we would LOVE to meet up with you. Let us know what day would work best and where you want to meet us, and we will make it work. We will have two special guests with us the last two days, so we have to decline any wonderful people who want to hike into HF with us, we have already committed to something else. If you are around Harpers Ferry on January 9th and would be able to make it around 4pm to the ATC office to congratulate Buddy on his amazing accomplishment we would love to see you down there!
We hope that you all have an incredible New Year. Don’t make wishes or set hopes for this new year, create plans and work hard toward your goals. Buddy has shown me this year that with hard work, concentration and a ton of love you can accomplish anything and have the most fantastic time doing it. Happy New Year, we can’t wait to see what 2014 holds for Buddy Backpacker and Crew <3