Central Virginia (Oct. four – Oct. 16)
249 miles, 13 days (Glasgow to Atkins)
Southern Virginia began out promising however made me query my sanity, and extra to the purpose – the path – and whether or not I might end what I’d began.
Duke, Daleville, & Buchanan
The Blue Ridge Mountains have been completely beautiful, and the great climate had me loving the suns capacity to truly heat up the earth and permit myself to hike in my trademark (and solely) t-shirt. The rolling hills had views, and the Package-Kat’s I’d acquired in my package deal have been Canadian ones which I actually do assume style higher. Dreamer seconded that.
That is the place I introduce Duke. Duke is a NOBO that Dreamer and I met approach up in New Hampshire. He began in Georgia and completed in Maine (yay!) and informed us he needed to satisfy us on path and do some path magic. He wasn’t the primary NOBO to inform us that, and he wasn’t the final, however he was the one one to comply with by means of! When he completed his hike he had a job lined up in Richmond, Virginia. Coach Carter coached at a Excessive Faculty named Richmond, and that’s all I knew about that. Seems Richmond is a two hour drive from the path, and Duke did that drive as a result of that’s how cool he’s! I do know the NOBO’s and the SOBO’s have a little bit of a pleasant(?) rivalry happening however I’m sorry, I can’t bash them after assembly this man.
Daleville is a city the path skirts by, so we agreed to satisfy simply there. That didn’t occur as a result of the solar was out and I took 100 breaks as did Dreamer, so we tried to get off path and hitchhike there. We received so far as a city referred to as Buchanan, which is a center of nowhere city with nothing in it. (Our hitch’s description of it a minimum of.) Duke picked us up in Buchanan and introduced us to Three Li’l Pigs BBQ which was actually, actually good, however a type of unhappy identify for a BBQ joint I need to say. I’m completely loving the Southern meals, in all its fried deliciousness! On prime of the meals Duke handled us to, he introduced Pumpkin Spiced Beer from the Brewery he works at! We went to the closest campsite on path and acquired to additional meet up with him, or extra prefer it, grill him on how publish-path life was treating him earlier than he headed again on his two hour commute. Largest of thanks’s to Duke, as a result of he’s for positive a favourite individual I’ve met on path.
Waking up after a couple of too many glasses of excessive proportion beer (light-weight standing and pleased with it), Dreamer walked and I dragged myself to the Cracker Barrel for a breakfast you’ll be able to all the time rely on to be what you anticipate it to be. We have been in Daleville, however we hadn’t truly hiked there, so, after claiming sobriety from then on, we started the duty of hitchhiking again to the path the place we left off. Our journey ended up leaving us in Buchanan the place he informed us of what a nothing city it was, and bid us good luck. As an alternative of in search of one other experience to the path we determined to take a look at the city. What have you learnt – it had a pageant happening and was very a lot a occurring place! Good ol’ Buchanan had it’s annual celebration of one thing or different that day, and we joined in on the festivities. I obtained to attempt pork rinds for the primary time which I in all probability gained’t bask in once more as a result of it’s actually deep fried fats and onerous to abdomen as soon as you already know that, however these deep fried oreos can undoubtedly make a reappearance in my life anytime now.
Earlier than leaving city we picked up fifty cent books at a e-book sale, as a result of including weight to our packs is simply a lot enjoyable. I discovered $10 in mine afterward in order that was an added bonus to educating myself on the basic that’s Nice Expectations. At three within the afternoon we remembered we have been hikers and parted methods with Buchanan – great spot – and managed 13 miles one way or the other.
Daleville Once more & Canadian Thanksgiving
Sunday, October seventh – Upon waking up on today I used to be a bit unhappy to understand everybody again residence can be having fun with their Thanksgiving dinner with out me, me with out them, and me additionally with out house cooked meals. Because it typically goes, the path offered! (With just a little hitchhike work no less than.)
The Homeplace Restaurant is well-known amongst AT hikers correctly! They’re closed Mon-Thurs, and since it was Sunday we figured we needed to get there ASAP! The hitch there was straightforward, because of a former AT through-hiker, and we arrived in time to attend our flip for 30 minutes. This place is THAT good, sure. It’s hand-crafted every part; fried hen, roast beef, mashed potatoes, inexperienced beans, corn, biscuits, peas, candy tea, and it’s no buffet however certainly all-you-can-eat. They convey meals refills proper to you! Dreamer and I sat there consuming and consuming, for the size of time it took the desk beside us to modify occupants 3 times. Such a fantastic restaurant with high quality meals, and such amount for set worth that would triple and nonetheless revenue! Completely happy Canadian Thanksgiving!
The Virginia Triple Crown
Tinker Cliffs, McAfee Knob, and Dragon’s Tooth compose Virginia’s Triple Crown. These options are within the Roanoke Valley within the Blue Ridge Mountains and are such enjoyable! Once more, wanting ahead to particular person issues like these actually break up the 2190 miles that make up the path. For those who don’t through-hike, I might completely advocate this part on some good climate days!
After rolling ourselves out of the Homeplace Restaurant, we additional rolled up and down 11 extra miles to camp up at Tinker Cliffs.
After climbing fairly late to get there, we awakened at four am to hit McAfee Knob for dawn! I awoke however would have been completely advantageous lacking out, if solely Dreamer thought the identical. He didn’t, so I groggily stumbled about and ended up making espresso a couple of miles later, ready for the solar to rise which didn’t actually. The fog was tremendous thick, nevertheless it made for a in another way neat impact!
I’ll keep in mind October eighth because the final day I wore my t-shirt. Till then I’d been questioning when the nice and cozy climate was going to return again, however then as I appeared round on the altering leaves I noticed I used to be dwelling in a fantasy world, and chilly is actuality, like, it’s October for goodness sake!
Anyway, I misplaced Dreamer shortly after McAfee Knob, however on I went to finish the Virginia Triple Crown. Dragon’s Tooth was an enormous, tremendous enjoyable rock scramble, to the highest of a set of excessive, jagged rocks the place my firm was solely robust wind, and open air.
Going Solo For a Bit
The subsequent few days I hiked and camped alone which introduced again reminiscences of beginning my hike alone once I had no clue of what I used to be doing. How did my mother even let me depart her car, ha, truly although I principally knew nothing once I look again. I’ll have picked up so much at this level, however you’ll be able to by no means know all of it.
There was a whole lot of up and never a lot down in today. “Went through some fields. Cows sound like dinosaurs. Ridge was super cool. The wind, being alone, the raw beauty mixed with feeling like you’re the only one on the planet and turning wild until you run into someone and have to become normal again in a split second.”- My notes from October ninth.
Then it began raining for principally 50 hours straight. I did a few mid-twenty mile days however the nights have been the place it received difficult. The primary night time it didn’t rain however the wind was mighty robust and I used to be afraid a tree was going to fall on my tent. A legit worry. The second night time I cooked in my tent, as a result of I used to be mad on the steady rain and figured the bears have been all hiding from the rain too. Regardless, I awakened a number of occasions imagining bears all over the place. The third night time I assumed my tent may wash away, and I struggled to sleep as a result of there have been drops of rain falling on my head. I’m unsure how that occurred as a result of I refused to test it out on account of how chilly it was so I tossed and turned hoping the issue would go away. No lie, zero water was current in my tent within the morning, however sure it was nonetheless raining outdoors. Perhaps it was all a dream I introduced on with my paranoia of washing away???
Having survived – and pleased with it – I hiked 15 miles in cat and canine rain to Angels Relaxation Hostel in Pearisburg. I used to be chilly, moist, and depressing when Area Journey noticed me strolling by and referred to as me into the pizza joint they have been consuming at. Crispy and Area Journey (two SOBO’s I’d been crossing paths with) proceeded to fill my palms with pizza slices and I went all of the extra merrily in quest of the hostel. It’s the little issues!
Angels Relaxation Hiker Haven
I walked in resembling a moist canine/drowned rat, and there sat Dreamer on a sofa all dry with Child (the dude’s path identify, not my pet identify) and Pulitzer. They’re two new faces, each flip-floppers headed South now. As soon as I showered and took care of laundry I joined them on the sofa and sat there fortunately by means of three films. We began with Looper adopted by Hancock, and completed with The Pocket book. Bizarre selection however it labored!
It was so chilly upon waking up within the bunkhouse that motivation was terribly low. All of us stalled till 2 pm then have been dropped off on the path head, left to do what we do. Pulitzer was someplace behind, however Dreamer, Child and I did a mere 9 miles to a shelter the place we discovered Crispy had made a fireplace! The three of us crammed into the shelter with Fieldtrip and Penny, Crispy and Tank. I’ll butcher the spelling right here however Takaya confirmed up later to hike with the blokes as he’d been doing for the final three weekends. A real weekend warrior and a hilarious man. I hoped Pulitzer might present up as a result of she’s a woman and there was numerous testosterone firm on path whereas the females appear to be few and much between.
The night time dropped under freezing and I used to be grateful there have been so many people within the shelter to maintain warmish within the night time. I used to be tremendous grateful to be gifted a NeoAir Xlite and I left my Thermarest Z-lite behind. I feel I may need frozen to dying (solely barely exaggerating) had I been sleeping on the Z-lite nonetheless, as a result of the NeoAir mattress sleeps considerably hotter and I’d beforehand been chilly in hotter temperatures. On prime of that, the improved consolation degree was extraordinarily welcome. Sufficient about that for now, and again to the chilly…
It rained the subsequent day, however I made myself pack up and deal with 25 miles. On this stretch I met an entire new group of SOBO’s; Trash Panda, Rebound, Jester, Ice Man, Oolong, and Scout. I additionally came across Loon whom I hadn’t seen for a couple of hundred miles. Loon, Child, and Dreamer slept within the shelter (Jenny Knob Shelter) and I tented beside it, to check out my completely superior new NeoAir inside my tent. My ft have been nonetheless chilly at night time as have been my palms and my head and my entire physique, plus mornings and the daytime.
The chilly strolling routine is tiresome. I sleep in my pants, an extended-sleeve, fleece, vest, hat, two buffs, and sleep socks in my 30 diploma Fahrenheit sleeping bag. Once I get up I shed the vest and don my rain jacket. Once I get heat, ultimately, I placed on my shorts as a result of my pant’s don’t keep up anymore and I get irritated quick at pulling them up each 30 seconds. Once I get hotter, the fleece comes off. Not often am I discovered with out my rain jacket, so principally I odor greater than I assumed attainable.
I did 24 sluggish miles to seek out Dreamer on the shelter, and identical to that, we ended up at the least 10 miles forward of the million SOBO’s we’d run into the day earlier than. Dreamer noticed 4 bears that day so I imagined them outdoors the shelter all night time.
I used to be actually battling uphills and when Dreamer took off at virtually a run, I morphed right into a slug, sitting on something and every thing that appeared sittable and questioning how I used to be going to make it by way of to the top. I acquired to a shelter late the place I had no firm and hung out studying my guide and consuming all my meals rations which is what I do once I’m in want of consolation apparently.
I got here up with a narrative in my head during which I had lengthy-time period Lyme illness I’d hypothetically had since New England, in order that’s the place I threw blame on my sluggish methods. I assumed some cows have been going to assault me at one level, and the vultures circling me have been about to dive bomb my carcass, so I sped up slightly and made it to a street main into Atkins.
Let me inform you, I used to be accomplished with strolling and feeling like I used to be getting nowhere. My legs simply weren’t working like I needed them to. Every thing was going so properly, till it wasn’t. The climate was my tipping level, and as soon as the chilly rolled in I simply didn’t know methods to deal. Till this level I’d been capable of deal with regardless of the path threw at me. Apparently climate is my Kryptonite, and if I have been a superhero I feel I might base myself someplace sunny in Arizona. When you’re situated in a heat place this winter and need to rent me, holla at me! (95% critical.)
Understanding for positive that I wasn’t as much as proceed strolling in freezing temperatures with gear unequipped for simply that, I used to be at a loss. I did what my price range didn’t permit me to do and I checked into the Consolation Inn – Hiker’s Particular helped me out a bit. I ate as a lot meals as I might till I used to be a bit afraid my abdomen lining was going to burst, if that’s even potential, and I contemplated life as I do know it. What’s the purpose of being out right here if I’m having enjoyable in a miserably chilly method? The competitor inside me knew it wasn’t over but, however my phrase rely is nearing a dangerously excessive quantity that will not maintain many consideration spans, in order that’s it for now.
Keep heat SOBO’s!
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