We don't get pay raises where I work - at least not for the last four years. We all feel lucky to have a job and benefits. But now and then, they throw us a bone. This past summer, we were each given four hours of extra leave. A month or so ago, I got the idea to use said leave by taking off Friday afternoon and getting in a three day back packing trip. The idea germinated, and I asked a co-worker if he wanted to go. I would go by myself if need be, but much prefer hiking with someone else.
But where should we go? I'd thought of Ramsey Draft Wilderness, but that is popular with hunters. So we will leave that to them, deciding on Shenandoah National Park. There are hundreds of miles of trail. Over the weekend, I started to look at one of my trail guides and maps, and a great sounding trip kind of jumped out at me - a 21 mile circuit in the Southern part of the park that goes by Austin, Furnace, and Trayfoot Mountains, and up past Black Rocks. Chris agreed, and so we are good to go.
At 10AM Friday, we'll cut out of work (starting early that day) and will hit the road. Given time for a lunch break, we should be hiking by 1PM and reach a camping spot four miles later by 4PM - just enough time to put up tents and pick a spot in daylight. The next two days, we will hike about 8.5 miles each day. We are each bringing three meals - breakfast, lunch, and dinner - for two people. I went shopping Wednesday night, came home, and started putting my gear out. Thursday night, I'll see what does and does not fit in my pack. Then Friday, we will hit the trail! Can't wait! The weather looks clear and kind of cold, but not as cold as our trip to The Priest last year.
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