Day 57: Mile VA 608-VA 615, 20 miles
With my angry feet and new shoes, I decided to slackpack to give me an “out” if the shoes didn’t work- this way I wouldn’t be trapped in the woods for 4 days without functional feet.
I flew through the miles and the shoes worked well, no new problems occurred I just had to deal with the blisters and other issues that I already had. I was really excited to hit the 600 mile mark on National Trails Day!
Day 58: 0 Miles
My feet were pounding and the hostel owner offered me work for stay to take a day off and let them rest. I cooked and cleaned to earn my keep. I soaked my feet in Epsom salts trying to speed up the healing.
Day 59: VA 608- Trents Grocery Store, 5 miles
I was still hurting quite a bit and did a short day and continued my work for stay, helping the new hostel get organized and more deep cleaning. It rained all during my hike, but it took me less than 2 hours so I couldn’t complain about that!
Day 60: Sugar Run Gap- Trents Grocery, (SOBO slackpack), 15 miles
I had another opportunity to slackpack with my new shoes, so I took it to further the healing without all the extra weight in my back, but still get miles in. I was really excited to get 15 miles done in less than 4 hours! I was waking southbound, so I passed all of the North Bounders (my usual direction). I was shocked to pass over 52 hikers! Usually we only see a few people each day since we are all trucking along and split up either slightly ahead or behind each other.
Day 61- Sugar Run Gap- Pearisburg, 13 Miles
Another day of slackpacking! I broke in my shoes and enjoyed another light weight day.
Day 62: Pearisburg- Mile 643, 8 miles
My shuttle left late and I got a really late start, so I wasn’t able to get many miles in. It downpoured for a while so I waited it out and met fellow Thru- Hiker “Sharky”, and two section hikers. We talked about baseball and baseball stadiums, and Sharky gave me 1/2 an orange so we became new best friends. I went on another mile after the rain stopped and slept like a rock for the first time in a long time!
Day 63: Mile 643- Mile 662, 19 miles
Another pretty uneventful day in Virginia, but I pushed hard to get to a certain spot noted for its view, and I camped near a cliff that was absolutely beautiful!
Day 64: Mile 662- Mile 683, 21 miles
I planned to make it to the continental divide to give myself motivation by hitting a “milestone”. The day was mostly uneventful until I ran into No Touching and his friend Hi Five. Hi five was extremely dehydrated and was swaying around, and talking nonsense with dilated eyes. I gave him all of my water and UCAN electrolyte drink mix and he started looking a little better. We were less than a mile from the next water source and it was HOT, but I thought I could get us both more water there, so No Touching and I ran ahead up a very steep hill and then down to the water source. It was nearly DRY and I was only able to get about 1/2 liter for each of us. Hi Five was perking up and it was nearly dark, so I left them and headed for the my goal spot at the continental divide line. I was really behind schedule from the extra water run situation, so I got there in the dark and could not find a decent spot, I ended up on a big slant with a lot of rocks and roots.
Day 65: Mile 683- Four Pines Hostel, 14 miles
I used the small amount of water I had left in the AM to make a coffee, my usual morning ritual. I was swatting spiders off of my tent and spilled the coffee and because I was so slanted it went EVERYWHERE! My sleeping bag, clothes, and tent got caffeinated. Not only did I not have coffee, I didn’t have any water to drink or to try to clean up the mess. Not a good start to the day!
It was HOT! And I had a really tough time in the heat. I called for a shuttle to the hostel and invited No Touching and Hi Five to chip in on the shuttle, they were also looking really rough and having a tough time so they took me up on it. We ran down a hill in record time to make the shuttle.
The shuttle driver took us to a family style diner where we had a southern BBQ meal, and about a gallon of Dr Pepper each. When we got to the hostel I cleaned my tent, sleeping bag, and my clothes in a bucket and then enjoyed a bonfire.
Day 66: Four Pines Hostel- Mcaffee Knob
Best. Day. EVER!
Hi Five wasn’t feeling like himself yet, so he hung out at the hostel while No Touching and I climbed Dragons Tooth, a popular hiking spot. We left our packs behind and enjoyed rock climbing while light as feathers!
We went back to the hostel for our packs and Hi Five, and then set off for McAffees Knob, one of the most popularly photographed spots on the AT. Sloth and Swamp Donkey joined us and set the pace- we did 4 MPH the entire climb- my fastest pace yet!
The view was amazing and we decided to cook dinner and cowboy camp there. I saw sunset, Stars, and sunrise. My idea of a perfect camp night! We had an amazing view over Roanoke.
Day 67: McAffee Knob- Troutville
We had some major storms and all got split up after leaving McAfee. We had heard that there were free chalupas at Taco Bell until 2 pm, so our goal was to make it there in time and meet up.
I experienced some really scary lightning and thunder on top of the mountain ridge, but it was also insanely beautiful.
I hauled it to Taco Bell and had to walk a really busy road to get there- I assumed I was behind and would catch them all there. The road walk was really scary, none of my pals were there, and there were no free chalupas. I also missed my chance to pick up my package because the post office had already closed.
I was soaked to the bone and tried to dry my skirt under the hand dryer in the Taco Bell bathroom. This was when I realized I was actually and truly Hiker Trash. (Note- this is kind of a term of endearment about hikers and the weird things we do to get by- it’s never said to anyone in a “mean” way but is absolutely true and funny). I decided to get warm and dry and booked a room in town to wait for the post office to open the following day.