Day 61

After a rough night at Bearfence Shelter, we were determined to pull bigger miles and get out of SNP as soon as possible.  We started the day with better weather, but a threat of rain looming over us all day.  We started by climbing a viewless mountain with a rock scramble that would take you to the top (all the AT in Shenandoah runs along the road with the views all being off trail).  We just continued onward down the hill.  This day was really pretty uneventful other than the fact that Nokey saw a tiny bear cub before I got to catch up with him. 

Towards 2 p.m., it started to sprinkle, but we saw something - ahead at the Skyland Riding Stables, like a beacon, shone a beautiful Pepsi machine!  We got really excited and the rain started to come down.  We went to put in a dollar (it cost two bucks to get one) and the machine wouldn’t take the dollar!  We tried and tried and got into an argument over how to feed a dollar into the machine before giving up.  Now it was pouring rain and all we wanted was a stupid Dr. Wham!  We continued to walk uphill in the mud and pouring rain, getting soaked.  We got up to Stonyman Cliffs just as the sun came out and we had one of the few views we’d had in the entire state!  We were so exicited we decided to cook dinner up top.  I also had a cell signal for the first time in days, so I called home and talked to my dad. We had a longer hike to go and we were out of water, so ahead we went.  We came to a picinic area and were offered free hotdogs from a group of German exchange students.  It was getting close to dark and we still had two miles left to go, so we headed out up the Pinnacle.  The guidebook didn’t indicate we’d have a view so we rushed up only to find a great rock outcropping with a gorgeous view of the sunset!  We were psyched to have the view and stayed up there until nearly dark.  We pushed down to Byrd’s Nest shelter to find only four other people there and set up our tents for a restful night.  I went to sleep dreaming of blackberry milkshakes at the Elkwallow Wayside for lunch tomorrow!