Day 14

I returned from Trail Days back to Woods Hole Hostel on a Monday morning. It was a welcome reprieve from the trail to catch up with Lucy, her Dad, my friend Melanie and my parents during Trail Days. My parents took me to a sporting goods store on the way back to get some insoles for my shoes, an air horn, and police grade pepper spray.

Returning to Woods Hole was the best possible place to land. It’s a magical place with farm yard animals, raised beds growing salad greens and rustic log cabin buildings with a stunning view of Virginia’s Blue Ridge mountains. The owner, Neville cooks dinner and breakfast for the guests. The night before we had beef burritos with homemade tortillas. For breakfast we had cinnamon rolls, cheese grits, eggs with swiss chard and homemade bread with apple butter.

I chatted with some hikers there to see what their pace was like. My plan was to walk 12 miles to the next hostel for the night and possibly slackpack the next day in order to ease myself back into hiking alone. It sounded like some hikers were planning to do the same.

I set out from Woods Hole about 10 am. I wasn’t in a hurry today. I knew 12 miles wouldn’t be a problem. It was sunny and warm but not terribly hot. I hiked a half mile on the dirt road to the trail to begin the ridge walk. I soon heard a clicking sound as if a lit rain had set in but I wasn’t getting wet. I kept running into tiny inch worms dropping from the branches on their strings of silk. It was gypsy moth larvae. They were eating the leaves from above. The cracking sound was their poo. Looking down to the ground on the never ending scan for snakes I saw hundreds of black beetles scurrying to and fro. This was a weird day.

I arrived a an overlook toward the end of the hike with a view of Pearisburg, the town I would be staying in. I continued on to begin the 2000 foot decent. My feet were spent. Every step hurt and I shuffled down the mountain. My feet were no better today despite the new insoles my parents had gotten me the day before. It must be these shoes and they got to go.

I reached Cross Avenue at 4 and called for a shuttle. A group of hikers I met a Woods Hole went too. I set to my tent in the yard of the common trailer and signed up for a 21 mile slackpack. The elevation map didn’t look too bad. Just another ridge walk. I walked to Food Lion for an avocado, a Gatorade, and sour patch kids and returned to make myself black beans and rice. I went to sleep soon after. The shuttle leaves at 7 tomorrow morning.

Miles: 625.4 – 636 (11.4)

Total: 141.5