Still in Virginia…

Sunset

Apple Orchard Falls

Still in Virginia. VA has about 550 miles of the AT, over 25%. I think I will be in Harper’s Ferry, the “psychological halfway point” the first week or so of July. Leaving Daleville was tough, I wanted a longer break, but did not want to stay in the hotel. I got a new sleeping bag, because mine was now falling apart, and too warm for the summer. I bought a La Fuma 55 degree synthetic sleeping bag. It packs super small and weighs 1lb 7 oz. I hope it’ll last and be warm enough for the north too.

No Hangliding in the Woods

I left town with 5 days of food intending to resupply again in Buena Vista. 5 days is heavy even with smarter food choices. It was a 6 mile hike up out of town, in some very hot weather. I don’t like the heat and humidity at all. It is not as bad as Texas, but I am hiking in it all day and not just walking to the car.

The Guilotine

I soon found out that the AT parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway for about 20 or so miles. The BRP is much more scenic and way easier walking than the trail that is full of pointless ups and downs. I opted to walk with BRP with another hiker, Coyote. It was great. We got a couple rides, but only probably 5 of the 15miles, and got a nice lunch at the Peaks of Otter restaurant.

FAA Tower

That night I camped right at the bottom of Apple Orchard Falls, supposedly a 200ft waterfall that was more like 50feet. I set my tent up on the viewing platform at the bottom and had probably the sleep I’ve gotten yet on the trail. It was a long walk down that shouldn’t have been. We were misled into walking a road down about 4miles and up a half mile to the falls, when there is a trail that is only 1.1 mi long. Oh well.

Had a tough climb up in the morning, 1000ft up 1 mile to the trail and another 1000 ft mile up to top afterwards. Ended up going in to Glasgow, VA for 2 zeros at the nice shelter the town built. Right across from the store and it even has a hot shower. Worth the trip.

More VA

Mcaffee Knob

Leaving Bastian, Nigel drove us from his Dojo to the local Dairy Queen where we ate breakfast. He was unable to give us a ride back to the trail from there because he had other plans. 5 of us were lucky enough to get a hitch up the road to the trail after about an hour. Luckily a guy came along with a large enough truck for everyone. I saw my first bear in the middle of the afternoon that day, right in the middle of the trail. They scare easily and was running off before I could even say anything. I saw another a few days later on a ridgeline on top of several rocks about 10 miles before the Captains Place.

After Bastian the next stop was Woods Hole Hostel, where I finally caught the Erwin Plague. I had a tougher time than usual hiking what should have been an easy day, and soon found out why when I was throwing up all day long. Most believe it is the Norovirus, just a stomach bug and it has been going around the hikers for at least the last month. After two zero days I was finally able to leave. It was a very nice place and would have been much better without the sickness.

Break Time

From Woods Hole, it was an easy 10 mi to Pearisburg for a quick resupply and dinner at Hardee’s. I just passed through as quick as I could, hoping to catch back up to my friends who only stayed one night at the hostel. I finally caught them a couple days later at the Captain’s. He is a local who lives right off the trail. There is a “zip-line” to his place, but it is more like a seat hung from a cable with ropes to pull yourself across a creek. I missed his big hiker feed the day before, but still got some leftover hotdogs and sodas.

The next resupply point was Catawba, where I stayed at the Four Pines Hostel. This is a free hostel owned by Joe who lets hikers stay in a very large garage he has. It was a cool place, and everyone had a good time. It was just a two day resupply basically consisting of new snacks and junk food. There was a great All You Can Eat restaurant called the Homeplace. It is a family-style place with fried chicken, roast beef, and luckily on Thursdays, pulled pork, with several types of sides.

Two days later came Daleville/Troutville, two towns right next to each other along I-81. Stayed at the Howard Johnson for a zero to enjoy the pool and watch Netflix movies on my cellphone. Split a room with Coozie and Darwin. On the trail between Catawba and Daleville were three of the more popular spots of the trail, McAfee Knob, the Dragon’s Tooth, and Tinker Cliffs. All were kinda amazing.

Early VA

Creeper Trail Waterfall

Got to Waynesboro, VA today and have access to a pc so photos are going up.

Riff Raff Wedding

I hiked into Damascas southbound after taking a shuttle north to Fox Creek with Maps, DR, and Smitter. The Greyson Highlands were pretty awesome with wild ponies that followed us around and tried to take out food.

Trail Days back in May was fun with lots of hikers and other people. Tent City was the best, with lots of camping. I set up in the woods near the bonfire area. Camp Riff Raff, one of the largest groups, even had a wedding in the woods, and a bluegrass band play afterwards.

Trail Days

At Trail Days, I met AWOL who had a booth in the vendor area. He is the author of my guidebook, The AT Guide. I also met a guy planning to ride the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route on a unicycle through the mountains from Canada to Mexico.