Daleville, VA(727.8) to Bobblets Gap Shelter(746.3) 18.5 Miles
After the awe inspiring sights of the last few days, today was uninspiring. I'm not sure if I was just having an off day, or I just missed Airlock, but today sucked. It was very hot and humid out as well. I didn't get on the trail until after 9. I woke up at my usual time of 6:00, but decided to sleep in a little. I finally got up around 7:30 and repacked all of my belongings. Airlock accompanied me to breakfast at the motel, it was very lackluster. Powdered eggs that were pretty gross, a few bite sized muffins, cereal with room temperature milk, and stale bagels. I didn't eat very much, which is probably the main reason I struggled this morning.
I started the morning hiking with, Tarp Man, but he is a beast and I quickly fellbehind. The first part of trail was through a pasture overloaded with cow patties and then under I-81. It was a huge letdown after McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs. All day long I waited to get a view, heck, I would have settled for a power line view, but all I saw was a narrow corridor as forest.
After hiking only five miles I stopped in at a shelter for an early lunch. I have added bagels into my food rotation instead of tortillas. I was hesitant to go this route because of the weight difference, but I'm glad I did. I got way more calories and I even felt full afterwards.
After lunch, my mood improved and the day appeared to get easier, but this turn of events would prove to be short lived. The terrain looked easy on paper, but in reality it was constant short, but steep uphills, followed by short and steep downhills. I'm having to carry an extra 2.2 lbs of water now that it's getting hotter out, and with my fresh food resupply my pack felt extra heavy all day long.
I had only planned on hiking 13.6 miles today, but that didn't work out. When I got to the campsite I discovered that it was right next to a road. Not just any road though, it was 20 yards from the Blue Ridge Parkway(BRP). The trail parallels and cross crosses the Parkway for the next 100 miles. If you have ever driven on it then we are seeing the same views. The only difference is you got to drive in a comfortable car and I hike through the woods until I come to an overlook area on the road.
I was pretty frustrated by this point. I was, for the first time, tempted to yellow blaze. The trail follows the road so closely that I could easily have hitchhiked further down. I, however, did not do it. I could see nasty weather moving in so I didn't linger for long at the overlooks. I put my head down and kept on trucking. I met a nice couple from Alabama at the next overlook. They gave me an ice cold water and offered my some fresh fruit. By this point I was exhausted and really appreciated the kindness.
From here I only had three miles to the next shelter, but it seemed like ten miles. I hurried as fast as I could to beat the storm and it never did rain. I was glad for the motivation though, otherwise I might still be walking to the shelter.
Once I got here I immediately got to work on my camp chores. I hung my hammock and tarp, filtered water, cooked, and ate dinner.
I'm sure tomorrow will be a better day. My food bag is lighter after a big lunch and dinner, that is always nice. The further I walk away from town the lighter my pack gets.
""no distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." - Robert Southly