Well, I managed to find a computer and didn’t expect it. There’s an Exxon gas station where we are at with two computers! Sweet! It’s a rainy, kinda cold afternoon and we made it 4.5 miles from the last shelter into ‘town’—aka: a highway, two gas stations, a restaurant and a motel. Surprisingly the gas stations have a good resupply; I think they are used to hikers! We aren’t the only ones staying in ‘town’ for the day, several others are ‘neroing’ it as well.
Since leaving Damascus we thought we were going to battling nasty thunderstorms and they ended up holding off until late Saturday night and then some rain yesterday. I wasn’t looking forward to being on some 5K peaks and balds and going through the Grayson Highlands with thunderstorms. If you look at my last post and Cheap Shot’s comment (a weekend hiker we met along the way) he had some nasty weather at at the Thomas Knob shelter which is a stones throw from Mt. Rogers, Virginia’s highest peak. Meanwhile we ended up racing through the Grayson Highlands and got off of Wilburn Ridge just to see the clouds covering the ridge. I wish I could have spent more time there, it was a beautiful place. Imagine Scotland or the moors of England in Virginia. Very, very cool place! Oh, there are wild ponies…and we saw the cutest baby pony near the Wise Shelter. He was so skittish that we had to stay very, very still for it to even let us pet it. We have photos, but until I get to a library it will have to wait.
Mile 500 was somewhere on Pine Mtn and we missed the supposed stream that marked the location. Pine Mtn will be the last time we’re over 5K feet until we get to the White’s in New Hampshire. Oh, we still have some 4K’s to do, but they are becoming fewer and much further apart. So far Virginia has been much nicer. Sure, there are some ups and PUDS but it has been more enjoyable.
Yesterday we left the Trimpi shelter and it started raining. I didn’t have my rain pants on and ended up getting my pants soaked, but we were headed for the Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area headquarters which is next to the Partnership shelter which is infamous for being able to order pizza from the headquarters. The headquarters luckily had a hand drier in the bathroom so I dried my pants off and was good to go for the afternoon showers—which I put my rain pants on for. Oh, and the pizza was great…a nice two hour lunch! We ordered so much food we took some to the shelter for dinner! WOO!
The headquarters also had a scale and I stepped on with my boots and fully clothes and it appears I’ve lost 2o lbs since we started on March 13th. Oh, it feel good! I had noticed in the past week or so my pants were even looser. We’ve taken to eating more candy bars and I’m looking to find something with more calories for breakfast. Oatmeal has been nixed at resupplies—I think we’ll be ok with having it on our drop boxes—we’ve been doing bars and such but at about 200 calories they don’t get you very far in the morning. I’m thinking about trying some of those fried pies that you can get for breakfasts, like the Mrs. Bairds brand. Yes, normally I would shy away from nearly 500 calories and 15+ grams of fat, but seriously, I need some calories! We will definitely been weaning ourselves off the junk food when we return to normal life, but for now burgers, soda, candy and pizza are the hiker’s diet.
What else….I want to do a post on the past 500 miles, a ‘best of’ if you will…best hikes, best hostels, best views. I think I’ll save that for when we get to Bland in a few days and get to a library and have more time than sitting at the gas station. I’ll write it up in my journal and look at the book to remember everything.
Thanks again for all the support. I miss everyone and I know that I’ll be home eventually and see everyone. It is nice to know I am not the only one feeling this way, I talked to another hiker Sheryl who is about my parents age and even though this trip was her idea, she and her husband are both feeling homesick and missing her grandchildren. (or grandchild, don’t remember which). I think it just comes with the territory.
Alas, I’ll see my dad next week and we’ll have a slower, relaxed pace for hiking and will have an enjoyable week with him! WOO!
Happy week and thanks for the comments. Keep ’em coming!