It takes a special person of talent to find the only stump on an entire hillside.
And to trip over it.
I am a special person of talent.
So, last night, nearly full shelter, but amazingly, no one snored! Someone said I mumbled in my sleep, I do not doubt it. Some weird dreams last night, again. Awake at 6:15, on my way by 7:30.
Even with a short day, I was eager to get going – sometime during the night, late fall remembered it was supposed to be cold, and clouds swept in. Pack up the fleece vest and pull out the long-sleeve. It didn’t start raining until about 10, and it didn’t rain more than an hour, but long enough and hard enough to soak me and my clothes. I just kept moving. After the rains stopped, the forest smelled interestingly spicy. I am not sure how to describe it better. Smelled like spices. And the elusive Virginia shimmer of light on green, yellow, and candy-red leaves was even more pronounced – I keep trying to capture that quality in my photos, and I never quite can do it.
Ups were not as severe today, which was good; fallen leaves were sullen and smooshing underfoot instead of crackling. It made it very slippery at times. The highest point was at the Fullhardt Knob Shelter 6 miles in, and here is where I made my mistake, I never should have stopped there.
Because I am a special person of talent. Now with new scrapes on my hands, and a right knee that will be all sorts of colors in the morning. Fortunately, the remaining 5 miles into Daleville were mostly all downhill.
Confession time. The town park in Troutville where I planned to camp was almost a mile off trail, and I was starving. I bypassed it temporarily (I thought), and kept following the trail into Daleville, hot on the track of an AYCE buffet (all you can eat). And, good lord, did I ever eat. Dangerous to turn a very hungry thru-hiker loose in a place like that! Plates kept stacking up, bowls, I lost track of iced tea refills. The waitress didn’t bat an eye; they are very used to hikers!
While I ate, I checked my guidebook, and the weather forecast. The latter had a wind advisory up for tonight – temps in the low 40’s, with wind gusts up to 40mph at times. Not exactly the best tenting weather. The guidebook gave me the special hiker rate for the Howard Johnson motel the trail runs right by – less than $50, and including a hot breakfast in the morning. And I could de-muddy from my fall, both myself and my clothes. So I put it on the credit card. Just one more thing to pay back. But worth it, I think. So that is my confession.
I did go by the outfitters as well, and the grocery store. I picked up a fuel canister after all – instead of buying new breakfast food, I’ll be able to cook what I already have. And I only needed one more dinner, so I got that as well.
Eat breakfast and be on my way bright and early – I love trail towns where the trail runs right by the sleeping spot! Tomorrow I will cover 15 miles, mostly pretty level ridgeline, but with one 1000 ft climb up to Tinker Cliffs, which are supposed to have pretty spectacular views. I hope the weather is clear for that!
I hike on!