I woke up at 5:30 with the other older hikers and found it to be drizzly and cloudy. I ate breakfast in my tent and packed. Once the pack was ready, I packed up the wet tent fly with the rest of the tent in a waterproof compression bag. I woke up Tandem to let her know that I was leaving and hiked to the top of Humpback Mountain, which lived up to its name with a series of five or six climbs and descents over humps. On the other side of the mountain, it was a net downhill of 2000 feet over 6.8 miles to the Paul C. Wolfe shelter. I was glad to get out of the rain for a rest. Tandem and Mio showed up 15 minutes later, and we reviewed the logbook and snacked. I had enough water to keep going.
From that shelter, we hiked to the intersection of US 250 and the beginnings of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive by 11:00. This major intersection needs to have a more welcoming appearance with a visitors’ center. Stapled to a guardrail post was a laminated list of volunteers in Waynesboro who will pick hikers up and shuttle them into town. Mio called several of them without any luck.
I emailed Alex Hausrath, a friend of Dave Hack who I’d talked with during Trail Days. He called back immediately and said he would be there in 10 minutes! We loaded into his car and headed into town. We checked out the Grace Hiker hostel at the Lutheran church, but it doesn’t operate during the day between 9:00 and 17:00. We checked in to the Quality Inn at the hiker rate of $75, splitting it three ways with Mio.
Alex, who had thru-hiked in 2004, wanted to drive us to lunch so he could talk about our hiking experiences. We ate at Heritage on Main Street and had a great experience and burgers! The waiter was fun, and talking with Alex about our hike was cool. After lunch, Alex took us back to the hotel, and we thanked him for the lifts.
We took showers and rested for a few hours. Mid-afternoon we decided to go see a movie at the Zeus digital theater. We gave Alex a call, and he was at the hotel in 10 minutes to drive us out to the west end of town. We met Johnny Utah in the lobby; he is staying at a hostel for $20. Mio and I saw X-Men: Days of Future Past while Tandem and Johnny Utah saw The Neighbors.
It was raining after the movies, so we sat in the lobby joking around until the rain stopped. We parted ways with Johnny Utah and headed a half mile to Kroger to shop for trail food, including high protein bars and dehydrated fruits. I got nuts and cereal. We walked 2.4 miles along Main and Broad, most of it without sidewalks. Once back at the hotel, we ordered Papa John’s and split a six pack of beer while sorting and bagging food and watching the hockey playoffs and trash TV. We crashed after midnight.