Backpacking Shenandoah National Park Part 3

This is the third post in this series. Navigate over to our previous post at Backpacking Shenandoah National Park and Backpacking Shenandoah National Park Part 2

Day three was my last day on the trail and Richard and John's day five. Breaking down camp and packing up took a little while. The gear was still wet from the night before. I ended up taking a loss on my ground cloth. It was covered with what seemed like two pounds of mud and was just a waste of time trying to clean up. 

Today's mileage was about 10 miles and I had a planned pick-up time with the shuttle service between 4-5 pm.  This section of the AT from our camp to Swift Run Gap is a fast section to hike. More so than the last two days. This led me to think I would get to my pickup point way before my pick-up time...

Richard, John, and I hit the trail together and it was not long before Richard and I had our pace going. I thought we would hit the road at the entrance station around 10:30ish. Once we got there, I took some of Richard's gear that he did not need and gave him my Big Agnes sleeping pad. He would need the pad if it started raining again as he would need to sleep in an AT hut. We said goodbye and I headed to the entrance station to make my call for my early pickup.

National Park Service sign Swift Run Gap Shenandoah National Park
National Park Service sign at the Contact Station at Swift Run Gap.

This was the first time that I had used a shuttle service and I had found the guy on one of the AT forum sites. Out of the two people, I contacted he was the only one to reply back and my price was higher than the normal range, but what are you going to do right? I normally do not use any type of guide or shuttle service on my adventures. But in this case, I had to. 

I called my shuttle driver to see if I could get an earlier pickup. Luck had it that he could do that. So I sat down to get some food and drink, and it started to rain again. I spent the next hour and a half seeking shelter from the rain until my shuttle driver arrived.  

My driver came and he was a retired gentleman who had thru-hike the AT in his younger years. While I paid more per mile than Richard and John did, the value-added was getting picked up earlier in a new truck and some of the local history of the Shenandoah Valley. Hard to put a price on that.

Richard and John spent another two days on the trail to finish all of the AT in Shenandoah National Park. Let's just say Richard had to use my sleeping pad!


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