AT 2017: Day 108, Graymoor Spiritual Center to Shenandoah Campsite

You know the one thing we need is a left-hand monkey wrench

Appalachian Trail in Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park

Everything was wet with dew when I awoke this morning. That’s the negative side of sleeping in a open field.

As I began packing I realized I needed to make another attempt to repair my pack. But how? I didn’t have any tools or supplies worthy of the job.

Then I remembered there were a few beer bottle caps left over from last night’s hiker gathering.

DateFriday, July 28, 2017
WeatherCloudy and humid, light sprinkles and rain showers
Trail ConditionsShort ups and downs, sometimes steep
Today's Miles17.7
Trip Miles1427.8

Yes, I decided the best way to repair my backpack was with beer bottle caps.

It seemed like an easy solution, but it turned out to be harder to do than I expected.

My plan was to crimp a cap on each end of the carbon fiber stays. These would provide blunt ends to the stays, preventing them from pushing through the webbing that was intended to hold them in place.

Bending the caps into place and then keeping them on the ends of the stays was difficult and time-consuming.

Other hikers helped where they could. Mechanic and a couple others found bottle caps. Felix offered to drive down to the Appalachian Market, where we ate dinner last night, to pick up a breakfast sandwich for me.

After having trouble getting the caps bent and shaped so they would remain on the stays and not leave sharp edges, Stick loaned me his multi-tool, which included small pliers. A little duct tape helped to keep them in place.

Finally, at around 9 a.m. I was satisfied the pack would hold together. Everyone else had left by this time except Felix. I thanked him again for making his surprise visit, as well as for spending time with my friends and me.

By now, Stick had about a two-hour lead on me, but I wanted to catch up to him if I could so that I could return his multi-tool to him. He uses it as a pot lifter while cooking dinner.

Cemetery at Graymoor Spiritual Center

Leaving the grounds of Graymoor Spiritual Center, I had to walk along a road a short distance before reaching the trail.

Easy trail

Through most of the day, the trail made easy ups and downs, ascending or descending no more than a few hundred feet at a time.

At various times along the way, a light mist or rain fell. It was enough to keep the air humid, but not cool.

Stone storage building

I walked with no breaks until just past 2:30 p.m., when I reached a stone storage building near a hiker parking lot on Dennytown Road. On the side of the building was a water spigot, which made a good spot to refill my water bottles.

I ate some lunch and might have wished to take a longer break, but when rain started to fall again I decided to move on.

Mining railroad bed in Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park

This section of the trail was in Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park, named for a victim of the influenza epidemic after World War I. The land for the park was donated by Fahnestock’s brother.

This was a mining area, and it is said the mines yielded high quality ore for more than 75 years.

For a time in the late 1880s, Thomas Edison attempted to use ore from the mines in an operation he had patented. The ore was pulverized into powder, then run past a strong electromagnet to separate the magnetite from rock.

A portion of the trail followed the path of a narrow-gauge railway that served the mines.

View of Canopus Lake

Later, the trail took me past Canopus Lake, which was created by a dam that was constructed by workers of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

climb up Shenandoah Mountain

Leaving the view of the lake, the trail made a gradual and steady climb up Shenandoah Mountain.

U.S. flag painted on Shenandoah Mountain

The top of the mountain was a large area of exposed rock, where a U.S. flag had been painted as a memorial to the attacks on 9/11.

The sky was turning dark as night was setting in, but I was still about a mile-and-a-half from my destination, Shenandoah Campsite. I had to walk the final half mile with a headlamp.

Stick was camped here, along with Mechanic, Pippi, and a hiker I had not yet met, Many Miles. By this time, though, they were all in bed.

Despite my late start and the less-than-ideal weather, it was a good day. I was glad to get in nearly 18 miles.

Moses come riding up on a quasar
His spurs was a-jingling, the door was ajar
His buckle was silver, his manner was bold
I asked him to come on in out of the cold
His brain was boiling, his reason was spent
Nothing is borrowed, nothing is lent
I asked him for mercy, he gave me a gun
Now and again these things just got to be done

Abraham and Isaac sitting on a fence 
Get right to work if you have any sense
You know the one thing we need is a left-hand monkey wrench


"Nothing to tell now. Let the words be yours, I'm done with mine."ref.