Didn’t sleep well on Friday night, so I was glad that we had already agreed to a late start.
We were out of the motel around half 10 and drifted over to the tractor supply store, looking for the little town shuttle. Two spotted a guy wearing an Appalachian Trail t-shirt and he ended up giving us a ride back to the trail, which he had done a few times before. It was a lovely spring day, sunny and warmish. We did a nice 11 to interstate 81, where happily, there’s was another Mexican restaurant. Just after I crossed the railroad tracks, I heard a train approach. I went back to watch/film it. The conductor saw me there and as he got near, he hurled a half case of bottled water out of the engine and into the ground for me! Rail magic! Mutual thumbs up as her spotted away. Then after dinner, we did another 1.5 of really lovely trail. Green hills, easy grades, perfect weather and a full stomach made it about my favorite mile so far.
Woke up with the sun to a cloudless day, though chilly. The women that slept a mile back said they had frost on the tent. But alas, off we went.
A basic day, up and down, a couple good hills. But most fun is that we ran into two trail magics. The first was a couple coolers with sodas and snacks. Then a mile and a half later, these three twenty-somethings were serving up doggies and burritos, fruit and drinks. Super cool! So needless to say, it was slow going up the immediate hill. It was 4 pm by the time we stopped at Knot Maul shelter and I was tired. I managed another 1.5 down the hill to the campsite next to the river.
The terrain is quite different now; mooted rolling hills, grassy fields and it’s certainly getting more green. 558 miles to date. And one of us had a math error, because we passed the 25% sign today.
Tuesday. Yikes, if I don’t write at night, it’s hard to remember the day before. Tuesday was long. Did 18 with the pack this time, so a new record, but the 20 mile day remains elusive. Still playing with energy management. And there wasn’t much water up there. But after a long steep descent to the campground, it turned out to be an idyllic little spot, overlooking a large farm valley and I had it all to myself.
Got an early start at 7 and walked until noon out so. Then set up the tent and took a nap, then back at it. The nap helps and might be a regular feature of these lengthening summer days. Pulled into the shelter around five. This was the evening where I took this guy’s 10 liter water bag down the long and steep hill to fill up, then promptly spilled 9 liters when I placed it on the ground. I did not go back.
The morning broke clear and warm. Second morning where it wasn’t cold getting out of the sleeping bag. No water for the first ten miles, but the nice grade had me at the next shelter for lunch in just over four hours. (2mph is an average pace).
Hit 600 today.
Then another 6 to the road where a half mile off you find little Trent’s Grocery, where you can find regular things, hiker food, fishing poles, live bait, large gun safes, hardware, wood flooring, bear traps and cheese burgers. Or in my case, two cheeseburgers, fries, two lemonades and a peanut butter cup.
Next two days look good: 15 miles you the next hostel and then 10 to the next big town, so two days without a need to carry much food.