Saturday, June 23, 2012

Oh You, Virginia

We are currently in Glasgow, VA. It's a nice little town. No fastfood places or hotels. What it does have is nice people who, even though the Trail is a solid 6 miles away, built a beautiful shelter with a hot shower, tons of firewood, great tenting grass, lots of shade, and bbq pit. It's awesomely located in a field behind a laundromat, across from a Dollar General and the post office. It's ashamed the Trail doesn't run through here. Needless to say, we are enjoying it.
After Pearisburg and the blow of Patch and Sully not returning while Caveman was caught in Trail limbo, it was rough going. It rained for only a bit on our way outta town but it was just enough to get our boots soaked. The main problem with that being they wouldn't dry for two days causing some pretty awful sores on the back of my heels. It's hasn't been uncommon throughout the entire Trail seeing people with a bunch of duct tape on the back of foot trying to prevent further pain. We went three months, just about, not having to do such a thing. Next thing we know, it's apart of the morning routine. It was and still is quite bad. Anyway, the Trail has still not been nearly as flat as we were somehow lead to believe months ago via rumors. The day after that rain the Trail turned into extremely jagged rock. It was like the maintenance crew intentionally made it difficult. Not a flat step to be found making it that much harder so damp and humid outside. It was my first big fall. Feet in the air off the side of a big slippery rock. Fortunately, the camera was not out and I wasn't hurt. Gravity grabs you very quickly when you have 50+ pounds on your back. Thankfully, at the end of that day we came upon Wind Rock. It was a gorgous view and we needed it. We stayed there that night.
The following days consisted of foot pain, fields with millions of ticks and fences, and more uphill/downhill. The temperature was climbing but not terrible. Nevertheless, we were surviving a pumping out some miles. We made it to Catawba for a maildrop in addition to Four Pines Hostel where we reunited with a lot of hikers. Some had been there for days slackpacking all over the place. The owner, Joe Mitchell, converted a 3 bay garage into an awesome hostel that runs on donation on his farm. It was a beautiful place. And he was an awesomely nice guy. He would do anything for hikers. He was giving rides all over the place. He also picked up batteries for us at Walmart which saved us big time. He took all the hikers to The Home Place which was a small restarant that served all-you-can-eat fried chicken, roast beef, pulled pork, baked beans, green beans, mashed potatoes, tea, lemonade, ice cream, and peach cobbler for a 14 dollars. They bring it all to you. The quality was good and it hit the spot. Even Reverie has been eating some meat. She enjoyed too.
We stayed at the hostel that night knowing we needed to get up really early in order to take advantage of a 20 mile slackpacking opportunity the next day. Joe works in Daleville and if you throw your pack in his truck before he leaves at 5:30am he'll drop it off at the Howard Johnson Hotel that you literally walk right up to. 14 hikers took advantage of it. I don't know if he'd ever done that many packs. He looked shocked but he was all about it. Thank you, Joe! So, off the huge group of hikers went. Hitching in 2's and 3's to get to the trailhead. We were the last ones but we were still able to get going at 7:15am. In those 20 miles was McAfee's Knob and Tinker Cliffs. Both were AMAZING and huge landmarks on the Trail. It was the first 20 we had done in a while and even though we didn't have our packs weighing us down, the terrain for some reason still wrecked our feet. When we made it to Daleville, we hopped in a room with Grizzly and Stovves at the hotel. It was a big hiker-friendly establishment. Huge hiker party. It was Soda Pop's birthday and we celebrated. It was a long day and we deserved and needed kick back. Plus, there was a pool!
The next day a lot of hikers continued the partying. We focused on resupplying and taking care of our feet. I didn't know how bad my heels were until some of the hikers were taken back at the site. I got a bunch of mole skin and Lindsay got toe socks and toe sock liners. Daleville was nice. It was a little spread out but not bad. We spent a little too much time there. We actually got to see Caveman, who unfortunately, parted from Belch a day or two before. However, Bumble Bee was with him. It's nice to know we still got some people behind us. We'll see them all soon enough.
We left outta Daleville without Caveman and friends. They stayed there for a zero and I don't blame them. It was a great place to chill and regroup after a tough section. But it sucked saying goodbye again. Our feet were feeling good after some time off of them but by the end of the first day back on the Trail, they were feeling awful again. It's slowed me down so much. The human body isn't made to hike 15+ miles every day. We gotta take care of it at some point.
We didn't have to deal with any rain recently, instead it's the heat. 90+ degrees the last couple days. No breeze, high mountains but we gotta keep going. Drenched the very first thing in the morning. Mornings that we've been waking up extra early for to beat the heat. We are from Louisiana, we should be able to handle this, right?
The library is closing right now. We thought it was gonna close at 4, but nope. It's at 1. So, real quick, I caught my first small small glimpse of a bear running off. Woohoo! However, Reverie had one just trotting along almost right up to her. Scary but exciting. Finally seeing bears! Oh, and wild blueberries everywhere.
So much more stuff but no time! Hopefully I can get some of these pictures on here.

Unusually cruel joke at a shelter in the woods.

This shelter

Wind Rock


First rattler so far. Almost stepped on him.

Cause that's the trail. He's a foot from it. Scared the mess out of me.

Which way to go?

McAfee's Knob

Tinker Cliffs on slack packing day

Stovves, Grizzly, and Soda Pop

Where did all those come from?

Soda Pop and Stovves

Swimming Hole. Jennings Creek

Largest tent of the thruhikers.

200 foot waterfall

Reverie, Mouse, and Shenanigans

Another awesome sunset


Local bands

Tommy Dirt

Glasgow shelter jambalaya!!! Took a zero on a beautiful Saturday with enough Louisianians to make some amazing Jambalaya. It blew some hikers away.

Fawn. Dog found on trail. True Trail dog.

5:30 from the west bank

The awesome shelter.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ready or Not

The past week has been pretty wild. We lost some people but not ourselves as we crossed the 600 mile mark. We are currently about 12 miles north of Pearisburg, VA and its raining it's butt off. One tent, our tent all by itself on top of a low Virginia mountian(note: not low when you're climbing it)

A week ago, Caveman joined back up. Unfortunately, he was accustomed to 20 plus mile days to catch up with us. We were used to 16-18. Therefore he had to slow down for us. But we were at the point we needed to speed up so it was almost working out.

Caveman got ahead of us and Patch and Sully got behind us one day last week when we came across a gap with a small note to hikers. "hungry, cold, wet, tired?". We were most of those. "free shelter, meal, shower, and laundry". We're there. It was put on by a Lutheran family. They came and picked us up after 10 minutes. Little did we know we were in "God's Thumb Print". Possibly literally if you look at 3D map of Burke's Garden. It's a big oval imprint in the middle of a mountain range. Absolutely beautiful.

We got to the Lutheran's just in time for dinner. Baked Spaghetti and salad and ice cream. They had an amazing outdoor shower and a hut outback for hiker laundry just big enough for the two of us to stay. Turns out the Lutheran vicar and his wife chose an assignment of care taking for hikers as they live only 4 miles from a trail head. June and Pete. They were both amazingly kind and generous. They gave so much and asked for nothing in return. True Trail Angels. There we met Phenix, Soda Pop, and Grizzly. We were hoping Caveman would be there when we arrived or that Patch and Sully would show later that evening but neither happened. Kinda had us worried.

We stayed there that evening and awoke to an outstanding breakfast. Our time there was awesome but it was time to get hiking. We got a little over 12 miles and saw a flyer for a free dojo we'd been hearing about. We called but had bad reception and was able to hitch to Bland where Caveman was and then to Bastian where the dojo was.

The flyer for the dojo said it was ran by Trubrit. Trubrit? Interesting. A British fellow running a dojo in the mountains whilst taking care of hikers? Yep. That's exactly it. More than that actually. He's creating Fort Bastian. Said to be the Disney World for hiker and outdoor enthusiasts. Sweet. Should be open and operating this time next year. Anyway, this free dojo, not only was located next door to a Pizza Plus, but was also said to have a projector and surround sound. Okay... And 300 movies to choose from? What is going on here? It ruled. Got there Wednesday Caveman, Grizzly, and Soda Pop. It rained all day Thursday and we wanted to wait for Patch and Sully who apparently took an odd zero at the creek we left them at one morning.

Caveman got an invite to hop in a car headed to Bonnaroo in Manchester, TN by a section hiker who was also a the dojo. Immediately Caveman went to work figuring it out. He bought his tickets and immediately his ride cancelled. Whoa. That's not good. Around this time Patch and Sully show up and are immediately on board with Bonnaroo. Wtf? The money, time, and effort did not at all seem worth it to me but it certainly did to them. Within a few hours they had their tickets and a ride locked down. Impressive. They were going to Bonnaroo. We zeroed that day due to rain. It was storming and we had a free place to stay. We took it.

Sully had admitted to wanting to get off the Trail. This seemed slightly out of no where. We weren't quite sure why she felt that way but she agreed to come back after Bonnaroo and try and make it to Harpers Ferry. Good deal. Friday morning their ride arrives. Patch had a stomach bug and had been vomiting all night. Ugh. They loaded up in a Penske moving truck and rolled out. It was once again time for us to keep hiking.

Trubrit kindly took us to the trail head where we were headed for Dismal Falls. We missed our people already but we were having fun with Grizzly and Soda Pop. We detoured a half mile to Trent Grocery and got a burger and drinks. I love when that happens on the Trail. There were also a lot stings. Yellow jacket got Chaser and wasp got Reverie. They come out from under bridges. I guess it's that time of year.

We made it to the gorgeous Dismal Falls again, immediately disappointed Caveman, Patch, and Sully were not there to enjoy it. Oh well. The water was too cold to get in even though there was a good jumping hole from the falls. It was nice to sleep near water source providing white noise and water again.

The next day we made it to Wood's Hole. It's a hostel a half mile off the Trail that is self sustaining. Chickens, pigs, goats, gardens. It was a really nice place despite poor camping options. The breakfast there was some of the best on the Trail. There we met Purple Rain who hitched into Pearisburg with us. We had packages waiting on us and checked into a place with a pool.

Pearisburg was great. We really enjoyed the town. Though we didn't catch any of it, they had Civil War reenactments taking place the weekend. So all weekend we had confederate and union soldiers walking around. We also caught Gerber, Hammer, Two Pair, and Sketch. They had been there way too long apparently. It was great to see them because we didn't think we'd have any chance of catching up to them. Nevertheless, we finally got a room for ourselves even though our room was the hang spot and bag storage spot for people without a room for the day. After hanging out by the pool, Purple Rain, Grizzly, Reverie, and I finally got down on some all you eat Chinese food from right across the street. So perfect.

The next day, Sunday, we decided to zero. Pearisburg was nice and it would give The Human Caterpillar time to reunite. It was a pretty day, that is until we got the news. Both Sully and Patch won't be returning from Bonnaroo for multiple reasons. Dayum. Caveman was in the process of working out his ride back. What a blow. We certainly weren't and aren't ready to see them go. But you do what you gotta do. The statistics are rising. It makes feel better that are still here even though we wish they were too. We wish the best for them and will miss them. Trail friends.

We left this afternoon. Another tough climb outta town. Tougher with the empty space. We are ready for Caveman to come back. Belch too. And I know we've said it before, it's time to crank out the miles. Focus time. We are both looking forward to the future still. Lots of goods things have yet to happen. We are ready.

Jumonji, Miami, Creeper, Mountain Surfer, Super Mario, Patch, and Sully. Off the Trail.

800 miles between us and NYC. Early August is what it's looking like. Woohoo.

Still raining here. Weird not having other tents around. Possibly the first time we've been completely alone camping in some random spot. Kinda nice.

Chestnut Shelter. One of the coolest so far.

Uphill battles.

Soda Pop and Phenix.

Mrs. June and the Baked Spaghetti


God's Thumb Print, Burke's Garden

Outdoor shower

View from outdoor shower

The floors we sleep on.

The fliers we come across.

Non of that

Trubrit with the glass and 50+ with guitar.

Bye, guys.

Trent's Grocery

Dismal Falls



Sketch and Two Pair


Soda Pop

Pool action


Another one of Reverie's awesome paintings.

Lucky dog

Packing out beer. Worth the weight.

View from the tent.

- Spiral, Reverie, and CamDog