Day 52 – Saturday, April 30: Pearisburg, VA, Zero Day, 634.6 total AT miles

I woke up relatively early considering my late arrival into town. I shuffled over to the leftover pizza and ate a few breadsticks before hopping in the shower – it felt great.

Having lost my camp shoes, I thoroughly retaped my heel before getting dressed and slipping on my trail runners. Canuck and Moon Boots were waking – Savage was already doing laundry for the team.
I moved slowly as I started organizing my pack for my resupply – a task made easy considering I ate every bit of food on my way in Pearisburg.
By 10:00am, Monster, Michael and Push arrived in town. They stopped three miles short of town and tented on the ridge the night prior. They booked rooms at the hotel next door. I walked over to the post office to pick up a package and mail some more winter gear items home. Out of an abundance of caution, I kept my light weight puffy jacket just in case.
I returned to the hotel and started getting ready to make the two mile walk to Walmart when Moon Boots came in with good news. A shuttle driver, Skeeter, lived in the extended stay portion of our hotel and was willing to give us a ride.
Monster, Savage, Michael and myself all climbed into his car and made the short trip through Pearisburg. At Walmart, I bought plenty of food for the 4 to 5 days of hiking ahead. I also purchased a new pair of camp shoes and some new gym shorts. Skeeter was kind enough to wait for us and, before long, I was back at the hotel organizing my purchases.

View from the Pearisburg Wal-Mart parking lot.
While I had already finished the two main tasks associated with a zero day (laundry and food resupply), I was far from ready to return to the trail. My heel was pretty raw and my feet were very sore. I relaxed in the room and watched tv for most of the afternoon.
At 4:00pm, Canuck and I were getting hungry. I was already snacking on the trail food I had just purchased. We walked across the street to the Mexican restaurant for an early dinner. Most of the group eventually joined – I enjoyed chicken fajitas before playing a few games of pool. I didn’t embarrass myself, but still lost every game.
As the afternoon turned to evening, the restaurant started filling up. I quickly paid my bill and left. On my way back to the hotel, I could hear my stomach growling again. Even though I had just eaten, I stopped at the Dairy Queen and bought a few sandwiches to go.
By 6:00, I was in my room for the night. I was beat, but finally full. I sat down at the desk and started typing.
I want to be up early tomorrow. It’s my goal to have an early breakfast before departing for the trail. The forecast (not trail rumor, but actual Weather Channel forecast) calls for severe thunderstorms starting by noon tomorrow. I’m not in flavor of hiking out in the rain, but we’ll see.
Yesterday, Savage, Moon Boots, Canuck and I got some sad news. Clutch had decided he was getting off the trail and returning home to Switzerland. He sent us a very nice email, thanking us for sharing this experience and wishing us the best of luck.
I was a little surprised – Clutch is a very strong hiker. But he got a really good job offer back home.

I’m proud of Clutch. He hiked over 500 miles on the world’s oldest, longest hiking trail. He should be proud – and he’ll be missed.
While Pearisburg is very close to the AT, it’s far from a trail town. I was a little shocked to find that this town lacks a proper outfitter.
When I rebooked the room this morning, I was given the option to stay a second day if the weather turns foul.
It’s only 10:00, but I’m beat. I think I’ll have to upload my journals tomorrow over breakfast.
Breakfast: 3 leftover breadsticks from Pizza Hut
Snacks: gourmet popcorn, freeze dried strawberries, salmon jerky
Late Lunch: chicken fajitas, sweet tea, lemonade
Dinner: double cheeseburger and a fried fish sandwich from Dairy Queen

Author: Chris Kummer

Hey y'all - Cool Dad here. Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to thru-hike the AT. It remained a nagging thought for nearly a decade - then it got loud enough to warrant my attention. So I quit my unfulfilling job(s) in Seattle and commenced hiking north from Springer in the spring of 2016. And I'm exceedingly thankful I did. The people I met, the things I saw, the gross foods I ate - not a day goes by without fondly remembering life on the trail. If you've already thru-hiked a long trail, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you're thinking about tackling a long-distance hike, do it. Do it now. I'm probably gonna do it again...

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