Day 71- 5.31.15
Fuego: We hiked 12.4 miles today (655.6-668.0). It was a clear morning. My belly was still full from all the food I ate the night before. We said our goodbyes to Brother Ty who was about to go back home to Oklahoma. It was sad to see him leave the trail.
Leaving the Captains was not a good start. I didn’t bother looking at the map and was surprised by a very steep uphill for a few miles. It got really hot and humid, to where the sweat was coming out of every pore. For the first time I decided to hike without a shirt with the pack on. Turns out I should have started this awhile ago.
The terrain got much better after the shelter, but then Mother Nature came along and dumped an insane amount of rain on us. We were laughing at first, but it got old after 20 minutes and I was getting cold.
Coming up to the second shelter the rain finally cleared. At the shelter we had quite a surprise. Standing there silently was our friend James Foster! James had been contacting me for the past few days hoping to meet up with us. Not only was he in sure if he could make it, there was no phone service while we were at the Captain’s. We were assuming he wasn’t going to make it, but he proved us wrong. He is probably the only friend I have that would drive out further up the trail from where we had last been in contact and find us in the middle of the woods. We ended up hiking out for a few more miles and camped by a river that had a ton of places to camp. I jumped in the river completely. It was so amazing cooling down and getting all the dirty of me. I was great to have James with us. He couldn’t talk due to recent throat surgery and had to be silent for a week to prevent any long term vocal changes. He had to write everything down or do some form of sign language.
Day 72- 6.1.15
Fuego: We hiked 17.3 miles (668.0-685.3). We slept in a bit more this morning, which is always nice. We hiked up to James’ new Subaru Outback that he bought less than a week ago. He decided to drive into Newport, Virginia to have his car closer to civilization so it would be easier to get a ride when he finishes hiking with us. He took our packs so we could slack pack for about 4 miles and meet us at the next gap. The terrain was very steep and we were happy to get a slack on this part. When we met back up with James he had some trail magic beer for passing thru hikers. We also took the Butcher and Bangarang with us when we drove back out to do a resupply. I bought a cheap hot sandwich and a hot dog, but it was delicious!
Once we were back on the trail the humidity and heat really intensified. Not only that, we had a few big mountains to climb. I made it official to myself that summer has come. It puts a damper on you for sure and it can drive you mad at certain times. You sweat buckets and sometimes you are also fighting horse flies, gnats, and mosquitoes. I also found a tick on me today for the first. Hope I don’t get Lyme Disease. At the same time I come up with a way to enjoy myself. At least I am finally trying to get rid of my farmers tan. It’s going to take awhile. This is the worst farmers tan I’ve ever had. Some people have told me it was impressive. 😏
Near the end of the hike we were on top of a narrow rocky ridge and a thunderstorm came across. It poured down like yesterday and the thunder was cracking pretty hard over us. I could barely hike! The rocks were super slippery with no room for error. I was down using my hands at times. It took a long time to get off that ridge safely.
Day 73- 6.2.15
Fuego: We hiked 14.3 miles today (685.3-699.6). Woke up at the shelter and everything was wet. My shoes haven’t been dry in a few days. We were getting tired of the wet weather.
Of course it got really hot out again and we had more steep climbs to take on. We came up to a memorial on top of the mountain where WWII veteran Audie Murphy died in a plane crash. He had more medal than he could probably put on his uniform. He was awarded with a Medal of Honor at the age of 19 where he single handedly held off an entire company of German soldiers for over an hour.
We arrived at Dragons Tooth trying to beat the rain. We set up our stuff in time, but didn’t put leaves down by the sides of the tent to prevent dirt and sand from splashing up on the tent from rain drops hitting the ground. This campsite was really sandy. A hard rain came by and we had to watch the tent get filthy. James eventually came to our tent and we played Rummy. James dominated us.
Fuego: We hiked 8.4 miles (699.6-708.0). Everything was sandy and soaked in the morning. I don’t believe it ever stopped raining over the night. We ended up chilling at Dragons Tooth for a little bit longer so we wouldn’t stress ourselves out packing up.
Once we started hiking we had to go through a crazy terrain of rocks. By that I mean climb down rock for the most part. It was wet and slippery so it probably took us near an hour just to do one mile. Soon after we hit mile 700!
James was going to continue hiking with us, but his foot was bothering him bad. He ended up hitching a ride back to his car. We hiked for about 8 more miles to have our friend Elyse Zimmerman come pick us up to stay at her house. I was really ready to get off the trail for a moment. All my clothes and gear were wet, soggy and smelled horrible. I felt like I should have been strapped to the roof of the car instead of getting in.
Once we got to the Zimmerman’s house we showered up, did laundry, and cleaned our gear up. Once her husband Chris got home we went out for Mexican. It was great to have a full stomach for once. Afterwards we just went back to their home and watched Bob’s Burgers all night. Sitting on the couch all night was fantastic!
Fancy Pants: We hiked 10.7 miles today (708.7-718.7). Elyse dropped us off at the trailhead a little before 11. We then realized that Fuego left his trekking poles at there house! We made plans to get them over the weekend when we are visiting Jeff.
We started the steady climb up to McAfee Knob. We were kind of bummed that we arrived on such a foggy day! We received a text from BC saying that he was on his way up to McAfee Knob. Tots, Splash, Buttercup, Boombox and Fire Devil were all behind him. Fuego and I ended up staying at the top of McAfee Knob for a few hours and hung out with everyone for awhile. It was great to be back together again 🙂 Splash carried a computer chair up to the knob and people took turns sitting in the chair on the edge of the rock! Obviously, I did not! We then hiked down to a campsite a few miles away. It rained a bit, but Fuego built a huge fire, so we didn’t get too wet. We camped with BC, Boombox and Fire Devil.
Day 76- 6.5.15
Fancy Pants: We hiked 9.1 miles today (718.7-727.8). It was a pretty slow morning. Even I didn’t wake up until 7:45! Since it was kind of raining, I caught up on the blog for awhile and read a book. Once we decided the rain really had stopped, we packed up and started hiking. The hike today was one of those that doesn’t look too difficult on paper, but in practice, it was pretty hard. We were walking another ridge line with a lot of consecutive ascents and descents and man, was it hot! Thankfully, we were rewarded with great views during the hike!
We got to Daleville around 3 and got started running errands. We bought a fleece blanket at the thrift store to replace the sleeping bags we will send home until we get further up north. We went to the outfitter to pick up a package from Fuego’s boss (thanks, Guthook!), and I tried on some shoes. I have already worn a hole through the padding in the heel of my new Salomons (Mission XR) that I got less than a month ago! I hoped to find a different shoe that’s comfortable and lasts longer, but didn’t find anything that fit right.
BC, Fuego and I got a hitch to Flying Mouse Brewery. Fire Devil met us there after a little while. The beer was pretty good and not too expensive. Jeff met us at the brewery after he got off work, hung out for a bit, then took us back to his place in Roanoke. I had never really seen downtown Roanoke before and thought it looked pretty cool, like a mini Richmond. We all showered then went out for pizza. The pizza slices were from a 28 inch pizza! Needless to say, each slice required two plates 🙂
Zero day in Roanoke. We went to a chicken and waffles place for lunch then played tourist. We walked through the farmers market, went to the Taubman Museum and also went to see the mini aquarium.
Jeff’s neighbor invited us to grill out with him for dinner. We went to the grocery store and prepared for a delicious feast 🙂 Fire Devil made a salsa with fresh cilantro and pineapple in it. We grilled sausages, chicken, shrimp and scallops. We had sautéed veggies and baked potatoes. It was awesome! I like being able to cook more than a one pot meal every once in awhile! After dinner, we watched Guardians of the Galaxy. Pretty funny movie!