Today was wonderfully different. For one thing, this bed thingie I was lying on was incredibly soft and comfortable and had no air valve that I could find. For another, I woke up at 8, ate a lot of packaged pastry things, drank a lot of coffee, answered a lot of questions from other curious motel guests about thru-hiking, and then went back my room and BACK TO SLEEP until 9:45, as my shuttle was not scheduled until 10:30, and packing up my gear would be quick.
The hike also was quite different than in days past, as it was largely level and paralleled the Blue Ridge Parkway quite closely. It kept switching which side of the road it ran on at the overlooks – there were at least five, each a window out onto incredible vistas. Some truly breathtaking pictures!
At Harvey Knob Overlook, there were several birdwatchers, set up with chairs and binoculars. Apparently this area is on the migratory path for many different kinds of birds at different times of the year – currently they are looking for and keeping stats on hawks. Later on, in November, it will be eagles – I sure wish I was there then! Trail magic was also spotted here! A cookie, fresh orange slices, and water – the latter was especially welcome, since I was running dry, and sorely needed it.
A nice, easy 11 mile day was just what I needed and what I got. I was seriously grateful. Tonight at the shelter, there are more people than I have seen since I started in Virginia – a number of people tenting, and five in the shelter. I would have tented, but rain is in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow, and I hate packing up a wet tent. Hate it, hate it, hate it.
Tomorrow the trail goes right through the town of Daleville, in 11 miles. The neighboring town of Troutville offers free camping in the town park, so I will likely stay there tomorrow. Particularly since I used the last of my canister fuel cooking up an odd supper of rice, mixed with mac and cheese, mixed with a shredded slice of Spam. Hey, it sounds weird, but it worked. Kinda. Sorta gassy tonight. But I need to buy three more dinners, preferably non-cooking, since I don’t want to buy another fuel canister. We’ll see.
I hike on!