Stealth Campsite on Tinker Cliffs(716.9) to Daleville, VA(727.8) 10.9 Miles
Today was the end of another section. We finished off Southern Virginia, which was Damascus to Daleville. Tomorrow I will begin Northern Virginia, Daleville to Harpers Ferry, WV. Unfortunately, I will start this section alone. Airlock has decided to take a zero day in Daleville. She has been fighting a cold and is taking this chance to rest up. Hopefully we will meet back up next week when I meet up with my mom and dad for a day.
It will definitely be strange hiking alone again, but you're never truely alone out here.
I had a great start this morning. I was up late last night because I stayed up to watch the sunset over Tinker Cliffs. I slept in until 6:15. I only got up because I heard Airlock shout, "Yoda, you have to see this view." I groggily got out of my hammock and was blown away again by the beauty of the mountains. The early morning light was beginning to light up the surrounding mountains.
The first part of the day looked like an easy downhill on my trail guide, but in reality it was full of rocks and boulders I had to maneuver around. After crossing through that hurdle I came upon an overlook sign. I didn't want to slow down to look, but I couldn't resist. I'm glad I stopped. Once again I was gifted an incredible sight.
I took the time to appreciate the magnificance and hurried back to the trail. Shortly after I caught up to Airlock. I briefly explained about my race against myself and took off. I was doing 3 mph at this point and was feeling great. I haven't pushed myself this hard since my early days in Georgia.
The only problem I had was there were way more viewpoints than I expected. It was a delicate balance between speed and stopping to take everything in. After two hours I had covered 6.2 miles and was really starting to fade. I stopped and took a brief snack break and appreciate the view into the valley.
In the end, I hiked 11 miles in 3 hours and 50 minutes. I made it into Daleville much earlier than expected. Our special guest visitor, Cherokee, wasn't supposed to meet us until 12. I went into the gas station right next to the trail for a celebratory Vitamin Water. I thought about getting a beer, but decided against it. I just wasn't in the mood. Cherokee was early and met me at the gas station shortly after. After catching up on what he's been up to; golf, bridge, poker, and a honey-do list, he drove us to the local outfitter. We bought a few items and then went to the coffee shop next door. We saw a lot of our hiking bubble there. Rusty, Clover, M&M, Flick, Zen, Gunner, Spice, Cap, Goose, and Star Crunch. I love that about coming into town. I get to catch up with everyone. After sitting outside and chatting everyone spread out for lunch. Cherokee, Airlock, and I went to the local BBQ joint. It was delicious. They even have us free banana pudding since we are thru-hiking. The food was so good Airlock and I went back for dinner. After lunch, Cherokee drove us to a Howard Johnson motel to check in. He drove from over an hour away to have lunch with us. He even brought Dr. Pepper, chocolate milk, a some of Sharon's brownies. It was great to catch up and I can't wait for our next reunion. Thanks, Cherokee, it was great to see you.
After lunch we set about doing our town chores; shower, laundry, phone calls, and planning the next leg. I've grown too accustomed to Airlock doing all of the planning. It took me forever to plan out my next leg. When all of our mundane tasks were accomplished we headed back to the shopping center. I was able to exchange my Darn Tough socks at the outfitters. They had gotten a small hole, but Darn Tough is an amazing company with a lifetime warranty on their socks. The outfitter took the old, but newly laundered socks, and gave me a brand new pair. I highly recommend Darn Tough, they really impressed me with their customer service. After the outfitter, as I mentioned earlier, we went back to the BBQ restaurant. It was a really good dinner. Next I resupplied for four days at Kroger. We even had a nice guy give us a ride back to the motel. When we got back to our room we discovered that our air conditioner was not working. We knew it was a problem earlier in the day, but I guess we were optimistic that it would magically cool the room down while we went to dinner. We went down to the front desk and they put us in another room. The a/c in this room appeared to work just fine, but every 20 seconds it made a horrible noise. I went back down to the front desk and the nice lady assigned us another room. This one had a newer unit and it worked great. We set about packing up the first room and moving in.
It is really really late now and I have an early morning planned. I'm excited to see my mom and dad next week, but sad to be hiking out alone.
"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds." -Edward Abbey