Day 54. First things first, last week’s video (7) is live above! And this week’s video (8) will be up with tomorrow’s post. Gotta love WiFi.
As for today, it started off with a single mission – get to Daleville before it rains. Daleville is a pretty big trail town, and that means another warm/dry bed for the night was waiting for me at the finish line. Small goals like that can be darn good motivation, as I was up at 6:45 and on the trail less than an hour later. And spoiler alert, it worked.
I left Remy at McAfee Knob last night and didn’t see his tent in the morning, so wasn’t sure where he camped. Knowing we’d catch up to each other eventually though, I got walking. There were quite a few views and landmarks to see walking the ridge today, so I was constantly distracted. First up was Tinker Cliffs, a rock ledge jutting out from the mountain ledge that completes the Triple-Crown of views I mentioned yesterday. It showed the same landscape as McAfee Knob and Dragon’s Tooth, but from another amazing angle. I shot a photo (below) and moved on down the trail.
Next was a gorgeous view of the Carbon Core Resevoir on the other side of the ridge, which reminded me of a view in Glacier National Park that looks down the valley from Swiftcurrent Pass. Compare the picture below to the one rotating in my blog header to see what I mean. It’s not a 1-for-1, but it brought back fond memories.
Soon after, Remy caught up (turned out he was camping one tenth of a mile behind me), and we scurried along the continuing spine of the Appalachian Mountains. You can quickly understand how popular this stretch of trail is in Southern Virginia, by the amount of camping spots established. There are 4 shelters and dozens of makeshift campsites within 10 miles of McAfee Knob. That’s a lot, compared to the rest of the trail. And at each major view, a crowd of people were always waiting. The fact Virginia Tech University is in nearby Blacksburg probably helps too.
Eventually, the trail turns west and dives down the mountain to Daleville. This is a fairly large trail town, with countless motels, fast food restaurants, and grocery options to choose from. It is also officially the 1/3 completion mark for the trail, though no sign post tells you like I saw for 1/4.
Remy’s grandmother met us for lunch at the Three L’il Pigs BBQ in town, and as I walked in, I saw 2 familiar faces eating dessert. Tarzan and Happy Feet, who I haven’t seen since the first half of the Smokies were just finishing lunch! We caught up on the usual trail chat (who are you with, how many miles are you averaging, where are you headed next, etc.) and parted ways just as fast. They were on their way back up the trail today, but I’m sure I’ll see them again soon.
Over lunch, Remy made a sarcastic observation. His grandmother drove up from Atlanta today … covering the distance in 7 hours that it took us 55 days to walk. After that settled in … I laughed a bit, I cried a bit, and then I just shook my head in disbelief. That is simply the reality of this temporary nomad life we chose. Still, it’s pretty funny to realize.
I picked up some items at the Outfitter in town, a couple grocery needs at Kroger’s, then headed to the Howard Johnson’s Inn for the night. The next several hours consisted of shower, laundry, relaxing and eating. I also used this time to organize … meaning, I took everything out of my backpack, creating an explosion of gear in my tiny room. Everything was then cleaned, dried, repaired, and repacked for tomorrow.
There is a 100% chance of rain tomorrow, but that won’t stop me because I have a new mission – get to Buena Vista by Friday. My sister, brother-in-law, and 3 nephews are driving down from DC to see my this weekend, and if I get there in time, I’ll have the reward of a nice Zero Day with family. At 78.6 miles away, that feels comfortably easy to accomplish. I may try to get them to day hike with me too, if they are up for it … and can keep up. 🙂
Hello Neiman (Sharkbait!)
- Start Mile: 713.8
- Start Time: 07:45
- End Mile: 729.2
- End Time: 14:15
- Miles Hiked: 15.4
- Miles to Go: 1461.7
- Lodging: Howard Johnson’s in Daleville