I didn’t get the early start I wanted today but I still made it to the Elkwallow Wayside for lunch. This one was within sight of the trail and I made it in and out in an hour. I just needed one last blackberry milkshake before leaving the park. I did 22.7 miles today and took a side trail to the Terrapin Station Hostel just .2 miles before officially exiting the park, but I might as well be out of it.

I finally saw a bear in Shenandoah today too. Other people have been seeing four or five a day. This one was a full grown bear who I wouldn’t even have seen if it hadn’t snorted really loudly right as I was going by. It was halfway up a tree about twenty feet to my left. I just sped up and started talking to it: “Hey, bear; don’t mind me, bear; stay up there, bear,” etc. Then I started with a song another thru hiker out here wrote: “Go away, bear. Ain’t got time for you, bear.” It didn’t move the whole time. I don’t think Shenandoah bears care about people much, they must see so many.

Today was super hot and humid and all I wanted was to get to the hostel for a shower. When I arrived, feeling like Pigpen from Peanuts since I hadn’t showered in a week and it’s been incredibly sweaty every day, I found out the water was out due to no pressure from the well. Stretch was here and apparently thought I was pathetic enough in my disappointment that she offered to switch bunks so I could have a bottom bunk, and started offering me drinks and snacks.

I went in to talk to the owner, Mike, and he said there was enough pressure back that I could give it a shot, so I took the kind of shower where you only turn the water on to get wet and rinse off and turn the water off to soap up. He also provides regular clothes to wear while laundry is being done and there just happened to be the same exact pair of jeans that I used to wear all the time in my size! Add a Tasmanian Devil shirt and I looked like a townie. I was much more comfortable then and we got to do the test load of laundry. I am a happy camper.