I woke up late – those consecutive 20-pluses over rough terrain had finally gotten to me. My right thigh was especially stiff as I silently started packing at 7:00am.
I emerged to retrieve our food bags and broke camp. I sat by the stream as first Push, then Savage, then Black Santa made their way down to eat breakfast.
After passing the Brown Mountain Creek Shelter, the AT begins a steep ascent towards Bald Knob – thankfully, I’d only have to make a quarter of that before hitting the road crossing.
Push led with Black Santa and I dragging behind, Savage just a little behind us. I expected to see Push again at US 60, but I ran into her about a half mile away from the road crossing.
She had just run a huge frog. This thing was massive – like if you needed a big frog for a film set, you’d want this guy. I touched it.
It was nearly 10:00 before the four of us made it to US 60. After promising to catch up (it’ll happen), Push made her way north and the three of us started trying to hitch into town.
It felt so good to be clean and put on clean clothes. Savage and Black Santa walked to the Chinese restaurant while I talked on the phone – I can’t tell you how good it feels to reconnect after a week in the woods.
I made my way to the Dollar General for a new USB charging cable and Febreeze. On the way back to the hotel, I stopped at the Burger King for first dinner.
It was 4:00 and I still needed to call REI to make sure I’d have no problems returning my tent and pack – I was assured it wouldn’t be a problem. I also confirmed our rental car for tomorrow before heading to Burger King for second dinner.
I ate more than I should and shuffled over to my bed to write. I just called Shaggy (thankfully he’s tenting on a ridge about 30 miles behind us and has cell reception) to let him know I have a car and will pick him up sometime tomorrow for Trail Days.
Moon Boots and Canuck are 80 miles behind in Daleville, VA and have already procured a shuttle to Damascus – I can’t wait to see those two.
I still hope my not being able to reach Medicine Man is a fluke – I hope he’s getting back on trail.
I’ve been hiking with Black Santa for a while now and have just received permission (from him) to fill you in on why he’s been hiking with us. For the past two years, he’s been competing section hikes of the AT – this year his plan was to hike from Damascus to Harper’s Ferry.
That was his plan.
It took me 11 months to prepare for this thing – he made the decision to hike all the way to Maine a few days ago and has been working out the logistics ever since. Today, he approached me and said he was good to go – he has better opportunities waiting for him in Austin, TX.
Today, the trail family officially grew one hiker larger. I can’t wait for tomorrow.
Breakfast: one powdered donut, 20 gram Powerbar protein bar (peanut butter flavored)
Lunch: Bacon Double Cheeseburger from Burger King (via Black Santa).
Snack: the rest of my Dot’s Pretzels
Dinner: 10 piece nuggets, Bacon Double Cheeseburger from Burger King
Second Dinner: 10 piece nuggets Bacon Double Cheeseburger from Burger King, two plain burgers (dollar menu-sized).