After 25 years, it is finally time to head back to the woods and I think we are ready. The packs are loaded and we will be hitting the road by 5:00AM. From Hilton Head, SC, it should take us eight hours to get to the our entry point and as excited as we are about this new adventure, I keep wondering if we are going to make it through 3 nights and 4 days of serious hiking.
Yesterday we had a practice run at Pinckney Island, but that was a cake walk by comparison. Even with the kind of heat and humidity you get in South Carolina this time of year (98 degrees with 95% humidity), Pinckney Island is very flat and lacks the 1200+ feet elevation gain we will encounter on the first 4 miles at the Shenandoahs. With 35 pounds on your back, that kind of climb can make a big difference.
To make sure we don’t over do it on the first day, our plan is to get started by 4:00PM and hike from Pass Mountain to Byrds Nest, the first hut along our route and our first attempt at setting up our tent before it gets dark. It will be a small milestone, but one that will allow us to test all aspects of our adventure: hike, setup camp, prepare meals and try to catch some Zs in a 5 by 7 tent. It should be fun and definitely a first for Soylamar.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for an update. By then, we will have a better understanding of our equipment, our connectivity and, more importantly, our strength or lack thereof!