Monday, July 22, 2013

Bees, Bugs, and Berries

Started at the Holiday Motor Lodge in Pearisburg, VA.
Ended at Symms Gap Meadow
12.5 miles

We had a very busy morning, to begin with we actually slept to 8:00, or I slept to 8:00 and the kids got up and read quietly. We had to be at the Post Office at 9:00 to make sure we got the Saturday Express package before it went out for delivery. I complained about it being late and they refunded the entire postage.

Pete tried on his new shirt and loved it. We also had the old water filter in the box since my new one clogs so quickly. We packed and I made eggs with breakfast sausage. We also had Mango, blueberries, granola, and yogurt. You can tell we were near a grocery store.

We got started around 11:00, but not before Pablo stopped by our room to let us know his clothing had been stolen from the dryer! The thief took his clothes then returned what they didn't want. They also folded the returned clothing, so that was nice. Before leaving we needed to get fuel (since I just used a bunch making 12 eggs and 16 breakfast patties). I was so proud of Sydney for going next door to the electronics store and buying it all by herself. I don't know why it was at the electronics store but they had it.

We saw Poet who told us about the Crazy Dog lady. He came to town with her for supplies and her car broke down. His hiking gear was at the hostel still, so he had to stay at the Motel until he could find a ride back.

Back on the trail and the first mile was an overgrown mess, then steep humid up hills, finally a little flat. As we started another uphill stretch I lifted a branch over the trail for the kids to walk under when my arm really hurt, then Sydney screamed, a real scream that I heard the last time she was stung. Carpenter bees got her 6 times, 3 of them on the hand. I got stung twice, once on my nose! Pete 3 times and Harvey once on the butt. It was really scary for the kids but we were all back to normal by lunch; except for Sydney who has a really swollen hand.

After the bee attack we walked slower and had lots of rocky uphill, but once the trail leveled out we could make faster time. It rained for a bit and then got sunny, and the gnats descended upon us like a wave breaking onto the beach. It was terrible. Constant buzzing and Sydney got one in her eye. My break alarm went off on my watch but we couldn't because of the bugs. We pushed on till we found the spring. I needed water so we decided to pump water no matter what....and the spring had no bugs! Go figure. The rest of the trail was bug free with a little wind and very low humidity. It was great.

Along the trail we see lots of blackberries, but today we found blueberries too. It was a good, and tasty, section of trail.

Hiking can be boring, but today Sydney entertained us with a 30 minute story about Obla (her trail name) going to China. Even the boys told her it was a long story, but we all loved it.

The tent site tonight is the best yet. Great sunset views and a grassy surface for the tent. Dinner was excellent (rice noodles, Thai peanut sauce, Tuna, chicken, and mixed vegetables). After applying each kids medicine we did "Thorns and Roses." Something we picked up from Boy Scouts who asked us to join them one night. The kids really like it.

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