Hot Dogs

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After a lovely zero day, spent mostly I the hotel room, remote in hand, it was back to the trail. I did however, score some new shoes while in town. Did a nice 12 miles today (Saturday), taking it easy due to the painful shin coming into town.
Got to Wilson Creek, mile 739, around 3.
20 minutes later, about 30 adults and kids from a church group trotted up to the shelter. Oh boy. But they brought fire wood, hot dogs and smores! So they hung out and cooked and fed us and were very nice. Then, blessedly, they packed up and left. Super nice people, left us doggies and buns. Didn’t have to cook dinner either.

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Woke up Sunday to find my phone drained dead. Weird. Started overcast but didn’t rain and turned into a hotday without a breeze. That equals sweat. But a lovely day running a nice ridge, for a change: smooth with few rocks and relatively flat. Been walking with Luna and the Mad Hatter for a couple of days now. They both are independently from Portland, Maine and despite staying within a couple of days of me, I had never met them. We were going to do 14 but that shelter didn’t have a water supply AND if you just did an additional 3, then you would be at a campsite with a swimming hole. No struggle there.
On the way down those 3, however, I learned what a rattlesnake sound like!
I heard this strange sound that wasn’t very foresty. Add I was going “What the hell is…WHOAH!!” and kept back as I spotted the two footer right next to the trail, cocked back to strike, maybe two feet away. Yikes. Well now what? I flicked some leaves at it, which ironically, did not make it leave. Then a couple sticks went its way to no avail. So I backed away a ways and it eventually slithered away.

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Then I was at the campsite. Set up tent and we headed to the swimming hole to cool down and wash off. As it was still warm, humid and still, it was very cool and refreshing to wash off two days of sweat and dirt.

Monday was the longest 14 ever. Got off too a good start just after 8. We had the big hills today, with a sum elevation gain of roughly 4300 ft. Including a couple breaks, I didn’t roll into camp until almost 6…And once again, just before the evening rain storm. Last couple of days we have been following the Blue Ridge Parkway, which appears took bed a very lovely drive. We should be in the Shenandoahs in as little over a week. Heard they were beautiful.
No snakes today, although I looked for then all damn day.

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Hard to tell from the photo, but this is going down, very steeply.

The bugs were atrocious Tuesday morning, as they were the night before. I put on my bug net, packed up and headed down. It was a pretty standard day. Lots of nice long descents, not to rocky. It was warm but with a slight breeze. Since it was mostly a downhill day, not too sweaty and water use was good. After 6 hours of charging, I crashed, so I set up the tent, had a rest, made some rice and then carried on. Second best part of the day was when I somehow got to the shelter well before I thought I should. It’s a real treat when that happens. So instead of 4 miles too the road,I only had 2 to finish it another 14 mile day.
But at the road crossing, it was still 5 miles from town. I tried hitching but my legs look like something out of a MMR medical book, so no one stopped. I started trudging up the steep and winding road. After 45 to an hour of walking and thumbing, some guys from the wounded warrior program picked me up and I rode the back of the pick up as they thankfully drive me to town. Time for some cleaning and resupply!

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