For the first time on this trip, I slept well in a hotel – I woke up refreshed and hopped in the shower. I finally (finally) had decent cell coverage and spent the morning updating my blog. After a quick breakfast, Moon Boots and I walked to the Walmart so he could resupply – I ended up buying some hiking shirts and a new town shirt (from the boys department – I found that boys size XL fits best).
After quickly reorganizing our packs back in the room, Moon Boots and I met up with Canuck and headed back to the Walmart – I spent about half and hour at the Verizon store looking to get a phone upgrade. I decided against it after realizing I don’t know half the passwords for my apps. I’ll have to work on this in Pearisburg.
The three of us met up with Savage and the other hikers (Monster, Oriole, Sweet Potato, and Juan) we’ve been hanging out with for the past few days. Before grabbing the city shuttle to the trailhead, the eight of us grabbed a quick sushi lunch.
I refilled my water bladder at the Mount Rogers Recreational Area HQ and ended up buying a Woodsy Owl patch (to match my ridiculous tattoo) before hopping back on the trail.
Today’s plan was to push the 10 miles to Atkins, VA. I struggled on the ascent up Glade Mountain – the trail was rocky and difficult to navigate. On the way to the summit, I noticed I was definitely out of big mountain country.
The descent towards Atkins reinforced this realization – I was hiking in markedly different terrain than I had become accustomed to. I caught glimpses of farm land and grazing pastures through the trees.
As I approached Chatfield Shelter, I found myself walking in a beautiful Rhododendron forest – the trail followed a creek for several miles, crossing it numerous times.
Savage, Monster, Oriole, Sweet Potato and Juan decided to stay at the shelter – I pressed on to catch up to Moon Boots and Canuck. I was four miles away from Atkins and moving fast. I wanted to get to The Barn, a hiker-friendly restaurant, before it closed at 8:00.
As I made my approach, I found Moon Boots and Canuck lounging on the front porch of an old schoolhouse. It had been partially restored and was stocked with trail magic for hikers. While I wanted to make the extra miles to get to town, I couldn’t resist staying a night at the school.
I’m really glad I did. The three of us listened to music through my new Bluetooth speaker and played frisbee until the sun went down. After a quick meal on the front porch, we all went to bed. I decided to sleep inside (with the “ghosts”) and write.
I did a lot of thinking again today about my life after the AT – still no conclusions, just a lot of good ideas.
I’m hoping for big miles tomorrow – I’d still like to make Pearisburg by Friday night or Saturday morning.
Breakfast: 3 slices of cold Little Caesars pepperoni pizza
Lunch: Yummy Yummy (a sushi place) – one seaweed salad, eight chicken wings, 6 seafood dumplings: $16.96 plus $5.00 tip
Dinner: Chipotle Cheddar Pasta Side with chicken