Day 49

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!

Week_7_Day49_3I 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.

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6 thoughts on “Day 49

  1. Jerry and Tandem are making great progress. I have enjoyed following their hike.

    But again, I’d like to offer some advice. This advice is coming from one who has been hiking on the AT for the past 13 years.

    This advice is mostly for Jerry. I noticed that with this past town stop at Trent’s Grocery Store, he is still buying almost exclusively empty calories junk food. He really needs to take advantage of these town stops, whether at a grocery store or restaurant to get some vegetables.

    I understand completely that trail angels are mostly giving out junk food, and I have partaken in a lot of trail magic in my hikes, so I get that. I also know that the foods that can be packed for consumption over several days, be they Mountain House meals, or similar items are not going to provide what fresh vegetables can.

    That’s why, I think it’s important to eat vegetables when there is an opportunity to do.

    Just my two cents, but as I have said before, I’m amazed that the long time scout Jerry is not treating his body with more respect.

    • Don, we’ve got that covered. We eat lots of Pasta Sides and Rice Sides with chicken or tuna added for dinners. Mountain House is a treat after stopping at a town with an outfitter. I’m always carrying freeze dried fruits and have bananas and pineapples now.

      For trail angel food, I always grab fruit when they have it. The granola bar selection is varied and I now have “trail mix” bars with nuts and fruit for trail snacks.

      Yes, I do favor my Snickers and honey buns, but know my limit. Thanks for the advice! Peace from the trail! Buzz

  2. My parents eloped from Virginia Tech to get married in Pearisburg many, many years ago…. (Tarvol)

    • Jeff, that is a great story. We were in Pearisburg way to long for lunch and food restocking at 4 hours. But we abused the all you can eat pizza and salad bar at the Pizza Plus. And Food Lion was like and oasis for food selections.

      The only black mark on Pearisburg is that Tandem got ill last night probably from lunch.

  3. OK, do Andrew and I need to come up and slow you down? Is it time for a Dick Ducote intervention? Take a few days off and heal bro. The trail isn’t getting any longer. (Although the days are). Hopefully all of this nasty rain and cold is behind us and your soft parts will heal. Send me another address and MHB will send some fruits and veggies; you’re own trail magic:-P

    • Mac,
      As a matter of fact, we pulled off the trail at mile 665 and were shuttled many miles north on I-81 to Daleville for my swollen left shin. Doctor prescribed antibiotics, rest, and fewer miles next week. Christopher and Ron arrive tomorrow evening coming from Villanova to ATL. They will take us back to the AT on Saturday. We’ll actually hike through Daleville mid week next week.

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