For only the second time, we woke up in a campsite that wasn’t near a shelter. I liked the small site that we had created near the “unreliable” stream that was flowing just fine. I got up first before Tandem, Mio, Spyro, and PG14 (yes, I know their trail names now).
We had all agreed on splitting the day in half again with a couple hour stop at a restaurant, which today was going to be Trent’s Grocery. I was packed and had had a breakfast of oatmeal, Carnation Instant Breakfast, and two honey buns. I left the stove and fuel for Tandem to use, said my goodbye, and left for Trent’s.
After climbing and dropping to the Jenny Knob shelter, I just kept on going. I passed a creek that had a 600 written in sticks for the mileage from Springer Mountain. Yahoo!
It was rocky on top of the ridges just before heading down the hill. As I got close to the bottom and entered a grassy flowering area, the wonderful aroma of flowers hit my nose. It was the first time I had smelled them on the hike. Spring is here in the lower elevations of SW VA!
I arrived at a suspension bridge — another first — over Kimberling Creek. Crossing it was fun! At VA 606, a pickup truck was there with a trail angel’s cooler full of a variety of cold sodas but no trail angel present. Six other hikers were there, including Joe Hawk, Hot ‘n Ready, and Mike. I grabbed and chugged a grape soda and headed down the road to Trent’s Grocery.
It was a half mile walk to the store. I got there and grabbed a few honey buns, Mountain Dew, and some chocolate milk, and ordered a Swiss bacon cheeseburger and fries. Spyro showed up at my table, but we couldn’t find power plugs to charge our devices. My burger was fantastic, and the chocolate milk was smooth.
By the time I had finished eating, Tandem, Mio, PG14, and Wet Dog had come in and ordered. I grabbed a pint of dark raspberry ice cream for dessert and loved every spoonful of it. Spyro and PG14 split a pint of cookies and cream. Someone discovered a power strip by the front door for hikers to charge devices, so we all plugged in for the rest of the time that we were there.
I packed my honey buns, grabbed water from the spigot on the side of the building, and headed out first. I made good time and stayed ahead of the four of them. However, I had to get off the trail for a nature break once the trail had leveled off, and while I was there, the four of them passed me on the trail without knowing it.
The rest of the five miles to the Wapiti shelter were fairly flat with lots of creek crossings on low wooden bridges. I took my time and tried sending an older blog e-mail to Couch Control, but the size prevented it due to sketchy cell connections. I was able to call my brother Steve on his birthday and left a voicemail, singing happy birthday. At one point, I entered a beautiful tall stand of old pines for about a quarter mile. It created a pine straw lined trail and smelled like Christmas or New England.
By the time I arrived at the shelter, the others had been there for 45 minutes and thought that I had gone on to the top of the next huge mountain to get closer to the Woods Hole Hostel for the morning hike to it. They were loaded up and about to leave for another 1.5 mile hike to the last spring on the side of the mountain, which was our plan B, so they were happy to see me.
We set up our sleeping quarters away from the shelter and made dinner of an Alfredo pasta side. After dinner, Tandem and I played Spyro and PG14 in a game of Spades, and we won. Those four had carried 24 beers from Trent’s spread across their four packs, so beer was shared all around and is still being drunk as I write this in my tent. [That explains all the editing. – Couch Control]
We have a seven mile day tomorrow morning to the Woods Hole Hostel, where we will stay overnight and restock food. We will hike out again on Monday morning, going about 15-17 miles, through Pearisburg, to a campsite or shelter.