Day 47: Pass Mountain Hut to Jim & Molly Denton Shelter (31.7 miles)
Updated: May 10, 2019
June 28, 2004 - Finished up my 4th and last day in SNP and crossed Skyline Drive for the 45th time. Another great day for hiking. I know it can’t last like this forever, but I can hope. This is the 3rd day in a row without rain which is a new record. Got a late start this morning at 8:30 but I just felt like sleeping in and messing around camp awhile. Finally took off to head uphill to Elkwallow Gap for a coke and candy bar. Then it was back to business of hiking. Lots of very nice, evenly cut trails so I had no problem moving along. I made great time. As I was leaving the park I saw this weird stick on the ground. I thought that the stick looked a lot like a rattlesnake but I didn’t think it was because I didn’t hear a rattle. So I just stepped around it and got a closer look as I passed. Sure enough, it was one of the fattest rattlesnakes I’ve ever seen. Good thing I stepped around it. On one of my breaks I was talking with another thru-hiker. The first thing he asked me is if I am a runner “because you don’t get legs like that only a few months on the trail”. I said I do a lot of running and told him about my daily mileage. He was impressed with my average mph but was more impressed when I told him I had never done any backpacking before. I get the same reaction from a lot of people. After I got out of the park I waited for Bilbo who was still packing up when I left camp this morning. He had planned on staying at that shelter but I was thinking of moving on. I waited almost 3 hours before I left. I guess he decided to make it an easy day and stay at the hostel. I left around 7 pm and had 8.2 miles to go to the next shelter. I knew it would be cutting it close to getting to the shelter before dark. So I took off and was making great time. Then when I got to the road a past thru-hiker was waiting to see if anyone was needing a ride to town. I stayed and talked with him for 10 min, losing 10 min of daylight. Made it to the shelter around 9:20 pm. It was dark but I made it the whole way without using my headlamp. There were lots of people there. I drank some water and then was off to bed. Was thinking of doing 37 miles tomorrow. 31.7 miles on the day.