Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

A Worrisome Crash and the Heat Goes On

Saturday – Monday  September 12 -14, 2015                                        Most Recent Post:
Lewis Mountain Campground                                                                  On the Trail Again                              
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia





Another full day of rain today. Like Thursday, but not quite every single minute and no thunderstorms. Just enough to keep everyone indoors. This is a good thing since David seems to have over done himself with yesterday’s nearly 8 mile hike (see link in Most Recent Post at the top of this page). His new heart medications and especially the increase recently in their dosage coupled with the hike made him exhausted when he got home yesterday. He immediately took a nap and really slept the rest of the night until bedtime except for eating dinner.




Again today David is napping, pretty much all day long. He’s awake in between naps but nods off constantly.

With all this cool damp weather and time on my hands, I make up a pot of soup with things hanging around in the refrigerator with no other specific place to go. Yum and warm, soup is always so fine on chilly days.




We are totally socked in most of the day. This is what it looks like to be living in a cloud.



It’s Wilderness Week-end here in the park and they have a lot of activities planned for the week-end which, at least today, are getting rained out. To get ourselves outside or at least doing something but hanging around Winnona and napping, we drive through the clouds up to Big Meadows to see the 4:00 film on Wilderness narrated by Christopher Reeve just before he died.




There are spots where all you can see is the yellow line. Thankfully that enables us to stay on the right side of the road. You can’t see anyone coming toward you until they are within about 10 feet. Why are we doing this?




We arrive safe and sound back at Winnona who is in slightly less of a fog than she was when we left her. Soup for dinner and one more nap before David calls it a night at 9pm.   This is concerning to me.  He’s been mostly sleeping since 5:00 yesterday other than this recent hour break.  If he’s this tired tomorrow I think we’ll have to get some advice.








Not the beat but the heat goes on today.  Inside the coach it was down to 55 last night and only up to 57 inside this morning by 8am.  Outside it was a low of 47 and has gone all the way up to 48 when we decide to get the Kozy World Heater out of the basement and put it to work.   It’s been out of service for nearly all of 2015,  but starts right up and has the coach toasty in no time.  Love seeing that orange/red glow.







David is feeling much better and rested up so we think we’ll pick a shorter hike. 

The predicted high for today is 63 which seems like good hiking weather until it starts to rain when we are getting organized to go.

We toy with going anyway but I’m glad we chicken out as it never gets above 54 outside today and in the rain that’s not very comfortable hiking. Plus the winds are also blowing.   In  the evening, they get so strong that we have to bring in the awning, after dark of course.

THANK goodness these two days, Saturday and Sunday, aren’t our only possibilities for hiking in any week.  I feel really sorry for the week-end tenters.  Not only because of the rain but also because these are their only two days.

I am grateful every single day to be retired and have my life in my own hands to decide what I want to do and when.   I don’t have to meet anyone else’s schedule.  I don’t have to go today, I can go tomorrow.

That is if “they” are more right about what the day will bring. Prediction is high of 70 and SUNSHINE!!  The drawback is that the low is predicted to be slightly lower than last night.  If it’s only 40 degrees overnight, it might not be an early start but that’s OK as long as we’re on the trail.




Not quite as cold as I feared but still 50 degrees inside and 44 outside when we get up this morning. We don’t run the propane heater over night but fire it up right away and it does its job.

I’ve given David the choice of hikes on my list and he picks one that is 6.6 miles to see how tired he is after that so he can determine the distance which he can now hike under these new circumstances.


This is another section of the AT from Rip Rap Trail Parking to Sawmill Run Overlook.  We are now hiking in the southern section of the park.  We’re hiking from the blue arrow at the top of the map to the one at the bottom.  As you can see, the AT (in yellow) closely follows the Skyline Drive (in red) in the Southern Section of the park.

Although we hear the drive frequently, the trail is still very wilderness looking.  It’s a narrow visually secluded path.  We are both surprised that the spiders haven’t taken more advantage of the close quarters to build webs galore.











Sections of the trail are quite rocky as it climbs and and descends and climbs again over knobs and summits the highest of which is Wildcat Ridge at 3080



Of course there are big trees, little flowers and fall color to admire along the way.








This area appears to have been part of a fire in the not too distant past and it has many more pine trees than we have found in other sections of the trail.  Their cones and needles are a delight.  We see both table mountain pines and eastern white pines with their really long needles.  Pine needles make a wonderful soft and silent trail bed.  Much preferable to the usual rocks here in Shenandoah.




Although we have seen no bear scat at all on this trail, we come upon a nuisance bear sign.   I’d sure like to see a bear although perhaps not a nuisance type.



Good rules for encountering black bears although we’ve never needed any of them.


The only mammal we see today is this little deer looking back down the trail at us.  I guess she didn’t like our looks.  My second shot was the tail end, actually nothing but a foot.





The most scenic spot on the trail is the trail itself so we just stop off on a nice log for lunch.




Even in decay, ferns are beautiful.







Our best views come at the end of the hike when we reach the Sawmill Run Overlook.  We couldn’t see the run but the rolling mountains are wonderful.  

David seems to have had no trouble with this 6.8 mile hike of over 17,000 steps so now we are thinking that it may have been 8 miles coupled with a Dex dump that just put him on the sidelines for an entire day.  Fridays have been known to be crash days after Wednesday dex, but we’ve never seen one like this before. 

We are both relieved although another 8 miler or more is not in his future.




  1. Glad it all came out ok, and the sunshine looked gorgeous after all that fog. Nice to see that David can do more than 6 miles. Six miles is a very respectable hike for most folks, just not the wild and crazy AT hiker Sherry! LOL You are amazing.

  2. Glad David is feeling better! Seeing the heater makes me feel all cozy!


  3. WOW, you are turning on the heater and we are turning down the AC. High of near 90 today!!! Warm soup on a cool day sounds so wonderful. Glad to see David got rested and back on the trail. Fall must be so lovely there!!!

  4. I kept trying to figure out about "the crash". . .finally realized you mean David being so tired. . .right?

  5. Sure sounds like a good idea for David to hike shorter hikes. Glad to read he is feeling better:) Our weather was very similar. Two days of heavy rain and even some hail and wind. With our cooler days we have mornings as low as 39 and have had frost the last two mornings. But our days warm up nicely. The soup looked wonderful and perfect for a cool rainy day:)

  6. So glad David is feeling better. You guys are amazing with all your hikes. Envious! :-)

  7. I'm glad David finally got enough rest. Sometimes those rainy days are nice to just hang out inside, as long as they don't last too long. We like to take golf cart rides on rainy days. Our temperature got down to 43 two nights in a row and we also had to turn on the heat for awhile.

    I think a 6 mile AT hike is pretty respectable for anyone, let alone someone with Davids health issues. I've never seen a hike in or around the AT that was what I consider easy. Good job David. (Sorry I haven't been commenting lately. I've had laptop issues and I hate to try to comment on my cell phone)

  8. So glad to read the "crash" came to an end... and that David is up and hiking again, albeit perhaps a few less steps. Can't believe all your rain... and here we are not that far away.... and still wishing for some rain. It is a warm and dry September for us. Hoping to eek out a couple of more weeks like this so we can enjoy a visit to Outer Banks. Continue to enjoy your snakes, bears, snails, colored leaves, and probably a few acorns along the way.

  9. At least you've figured it out. Beautiful shots on the last day.

  10. A pot of warm soup is just the ticket on cool foggy days.

  11. Glad to hear David is a bit more awake for this hike :) It is feeling like fall here in PA as well. Had the fireplace going this morning.

  12. Homemade soup is one of my favorite meals. Here we are still waiting for cooler weather. Even highs in the 80's would be nice.

  13. Another thing to enjoy in retirement is being able to sleep when you need to, even if it takes a day or two. ;) And of course it is wonderful to be able to sleep when you need it and not be stuck in some state of insomnia. Sleep is so refreshing and restorative - I love that I sleep well - day or night, despite interruptions.

  14. I used to beat myself up hiking 12-16 miles WITH a heavy pack. Now, I'm comfortable with 4-6 miles and doubt I'll ever try anything more than that, especially if the trail is rocky.

    I have been in the Shenandoah in the fog, and you sure can't see a thing! Scary driving, for sure.

  15. Beta blockers do mess up one's energy levels. Glad David bounced back after his sleepathon. Great pics and commentary as always.

  16. Oh brrrr….rain and fog and wind and chilly temps….makes me cold just seeing your photos! That fog was dense! So glad it cleared up for your beautiful hike. And glad that David got rested up and was ready to hit the trails again. Many of our favorite hikes are around 6 miles so I think that's quite respectable. :-)

  17. That soup looks tasty! I so hope the weather had something to do with Dad's slump..those clouds were really thick. The hike you chose looks like it was a good one. I like the pine cones and the leaves.

  18. Since we are in higher elevation(9600) its been very cold in the morning yet we hiked early to beat crowds and a parking spot. Soups look yummy!
    Im glad to see David hiking again although it will be shorter this time. He is an amazing guy, nothing stops hime to be with nature and keep you company.

  19. Good to hear that David is feeling better. We think 5-6 mile hikes are ideal. When we do longer ones we're usually wasted for the rest of the day.
    I saw a nuisance bear sign on another blog recently that said "Don't turn your back on a bear to take a "selfie". " Sign of the times I guess.


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