18.5 miles, 49,284 steps, 466 stories climbed
755.1 miles, 1,969,236 steps, 18,889 stories climbed
It ways feels so good to get back to the trail. I had some of the free continental breakfast and ran into Silver and Smasher. The three of us had breakfast, both of them are staying in town today and Deer Dog should be arriving in Daleville as well today. It seems she suffered the same injury as Silver on the long, steep downhill in to Pearisburg (where Silver first starting noticing the pain as well.)
I wished them all the best and a speedy recovery to Silver and then was on my way back to the trail.
As great as it was to be back on the trail, the first few miles, while surrounded by woods, was only about 25′ from a major highway. So I had the pleasure of listening to traffic for the first hour before finally reaching the secluded area. It’s crazy how this bothers me now when I live and work in New York City.
About 6 miles in to the hike I came across Curry Creek. Now, I don’t know if it’s always like this or if it was because of last night’s torrential downpour but, to cross Curry Creek, after looking for the best way to cross it for a bit, I actually ended up having to take my socks and boots off, roll up the pants and get across it on my bare feet. I wasn’t the only one who came to this conclusion, there were a number of other hikers that did the same thing.
After drying off my feet and putting my boots on (and having a quick snack since I was stopped), I continued on. I came across two other creeks which weren’t quite as bad but still difficult to cross before coming to Wilson Creek.
Wilson Creek was very similar to Curry Creek. When I got the another hiker named Cinderella (at least that’s what the other two hikers called him, had not met him until today) was sitting there in a very foul mood.
I looked at the creek, looking for the best way and when I looked across I noticed the sock hanging in the tree. I asked him if it was his and he said yes. He then went on to tell me how he went to throw his shoe across the creek and it ended up hitting the tree and falling into the creek and flowing down stream. He was able to recover it but his shoe was clearly soaking wet. He was not having a good day. I hope it gets better for him.
I, once again, removed my boots and socks and hiked up the pants to make my way across. Both streams, Wilson and Curry, had very strong currents that made you fight to place your foot where you wanted and both streams had rocks spaced pretty far apart which where all slippery but the feet have much better traction than the rubber soles of my boots. I made it across and sat drying my feet again and placing my socks and boots back on.
After this it was just another 7 miles or so left for the day. The rest of the trail was relatively flat and it seems the trail crisscrosses the Blue Ridge Parkway for the next 100 miles. There were a couple of nice mountain views on the side of the road.
As I hiked the last few miles the ominous clouds started to roll in. The weather forecast had been for thunderstorms but the sky had been blue all day. These clouds looked angry though so I picked up my pace a bit.
About 2 miles from my shelter for the night the clouds started crying out their anger with vicious booms of thunder as the rain started coming down in waves, hard for a minute then dying out only to return slightly stronger. In the distance I could hear the rain beating down on the leaves and knew it was only a matter of time before the clouds decided I needed another shower.
I rushed to try and beat out the storm but didn’t make it. The clouds opened up with a mixture of rain and pea sized hail. I was soaked in a matter of minutes yet there were still patches of blue in the sky. I was rushing so fast that I didn’t notice the black snake in the middle of the trail until the last second. I quickly put on the brakes and walked as far on the other side of the trail as the snake as possible. I’ve been reassured that this plain black snake is not venomous (I need to start freaking out if it has a diamond on the back of its head) but I still would rather not have to deal with the other consequences a snake bite can have, pain, infection, blood loss etc. The storm pelted me hard but only lasted a few minutes and had stopped by the time a made it to the shelter.
I quickly grabbed water and started the process of striping, drying myself off and getting dry clothing on before setting up my bed and starting to cook.
The rest of the evening thunderstorms came and went and there was another period of hail, this time somewhere between pea-sized and golfball-sized. (Glad I was under a wooden roof for that!)
The shelter, a bit off the trail and downhill, has a nice stream right next to it so tonight, I’ll fall asleep to the soothing sound of running water, well either that or rain anyway.