Day 36 – Cowboy camping

Two quick notes before I describe another great day in the wild. First, I will be starting to use snapchat to show some of the finer points of thru hiking and what I am doing in general. I noticed lots of the things people ask about don’t always make it into my pictures so I figured snapchat might be a good medium to start using (username: jgar15). Second, tomorrow instead of my usual post I will try to note things throughout the day and put up a “day in the life” type post to give all of you a better idea how my days go. As usual I was on the trail by 7 today and did a decent job balancing eating, walking, and thinking. Which ironically are the three tasks that I am best at. Being in a national park I figured I would see many more people making use of it during this string of 70 degree weather, but for the most part I have the foot wide highway to myself. I have seen less than a dozen people on the trail in Shenandoah. I took a long break for lunch and snacked heavily to fill my food void. Luckily being only two days from leaving town gives me this luxury. Recently I have adopted a new eating schedule as well. I eat a few bars for breakfast and heavily snack all day and then have two dinners. One of the two dinners is of course the food allotted for that days lunch. Since I only cook once a day, and I have grown somewhat sick of slimy cold bean centered lunches, I decided to try meals of the hot bean variety. They are exponentially better. As I neared the closed campground where I intended to camp, the darkness had fully set in and I could see pairs of eyes staring back at me from deep in the forest. We are not talking about just one pair of eyes, I counted over a dozen pairs. Once in a while I would stop and stare into the woods trying to discern what that leering eyes belonged to but I could see nothing. At one steep section there were no eyes but there was a strange sound from below that was a mix between a cow moo, an owl who, and a mountain lion whine. Although I stopped to find the origin of this sound I was unsuccessful here too. In the end I got to the closed and desolate campground, threw out a tarp and am laying out in the open air staring at the stars just hoping no Rangers crash my party.