It is amazing what a bath, delicious non-hiker food, and sleeping on a mattress with extra pillows does to restore a bit of sanity. Combine that with not having to worry about running out of water, or food, or storms, or bugs, and this zero is pretty much a slice of heaven.
Jeremiah & OWL decided to get up at 6:15 to be on the trail by 7…I decided to get up a little earlier to take my time. Got up around 5:50 and puttered around. I like waking up slowly. Ate a Little Debbie cherry pie – thanks to Wildcat back in Maryville for that tip. They have about 450 calories – perfect for breakfast when combined with my protein powder drink.
It is pretty easy to walk in the cold miserable rain when you have a prize waiting for you. AWE will be here today! You have no idea how excited I am (and how excited OWL is to see her partner, AT).
We left the hostel at the last possible moment – around noon – to put us in Pearisburg a little before AWE & AT. M80 & Trooper were planning on spending the night in Pearisburg, and said we were welcome to stop by their hotel room to take a shower before we left to go to civilization…Blacksburg. Honestly I don’t remember that much about the walk – I was a focused walking machine! Everything was super foggy – until the last 3 miles when the fog and rain started to clear. We saw some great views from Angel’s View, and as we descended into Pearisburg the light in the forest was amazing. A sign of good things to come, I am certain!
We stopped by M80 & Trooper’s room – it was really psychedelic! The hotel didn’t have any rooms left, but they had a former game room they were planning on setting up as another room…they brought a bed/dresser/tv/chair in to this very colorful room, and M80 & Trooper were glad to have it!
After I showered, we went across the street to the Mexican restaurant for margaritas. I texted AWE & AT to let her know we had a change of location, but neither of them texted me back. About 10 minutes later, they walked into the restaurant! It was amazing to see AWE. I missed her so much.
We had drinks (Trooper had the LARGEST DRINK OF ALL) and ate dinner. And then we drove to Blacksburg for 3 days of R&R.
My toe did not want me to walk on it today, so we talked about taking another zero. Owl said she had heard a couple people we had been hiking with talk about hiking the Virginia creeper trail (a rails to trails conversion) up to where it intersects with the AT, because it is really pretty. After we both agreed that sounded like a pretty good idea, it was a very small leap to make the decision to rent bikes and bike down the trail into Damascus. Then tomorrow we will get a shuttle to where it intersects the AT, and hike on from there.
I had a fantastic time biking down the mountain. The trail goes downhill almost the entire way, so it was a very easy ride. The weather was perfect (low 60s and sunny), and we laughed and played like kids all the way down.
Once we got back into town, we rode out to the “welcome to Damascus” sign, where Hammer, Mallet, and friends were hanging out. Mallet threw a frisbee to Owl on her bike, and she *almost* caught it!
I had the most awesome helmet hair ever.
We ate lunch at the blue blaze cafe (gain!), then went back to the room to get the bounce box and box o stuff for home ready, then to the post office. Stopped at the outfitter so Owl could check for more mail – she had 5 more cards yesterday and one more today – then back to blue blaze for happy hour.
Saw m80 and trooper at the outfitter; m80 had the hiker virus so they are taking an extra zero tomorrow. Poor guy!
My toe still hurts but I am hoping by tomorrow the swelling will go down and it won’t hurt to walk. Aw yeah, I’m a dreamer!