Day 18

I took my time waking up. Everyone had gone by the time I sat down for breakfast. It was going to be another hot day. I felt terrible and accepted that rushing my way through the trail was not sustainable and it had to stop today. I set out at 10am with two big mountains to climb. I had zero motivation and I was hanging by a thread. I had to keep stopping for breaks up the first climb. I was moving slow. I was not having fun. I didn’t care anymore to take pictures. I was done.

At the top of the mountain I saw a sign for trail magic 200 yards to the right. I decided to check it out. It was folks from Angels Rest hostel in Pearisburg and Odie from the Hiker’s Yearbook. There were sloppy joes and potato chips and sodas and chocolate and chairs. Two things I miss most on the trail are pants and chairs. I washed by hands thoroughly and plopped down in a camp chair. Bam Bam and Doc Peppa served me a sloppy joe and a soda. I stayed there for an hour just sitting. It saved my day.

As I continued on that day the trail didn’t get easier and my feet weren’t getting better. I just had to get to Daleville for my new shoes and a zero. I stopped for the night at the Pickle Branch Shelter. I was the first one there. We ended up with about 10 hikers there. Just before the shelter I reached 200 miles on the trail.

Somewhere kindly gathered water for me from the creek below the shelter and we talked as we cooked dinner. She recently retired and was using her time on the trail to transition into a different routine. A couple arrived after I finished dinner and one of them, Moxie, actually knew the friend I hiked a section of the Long Trail with in 2017. They were both studying at a science center in Woods Hole, MA. I walked up the hill to my tent at sunset, happy the day was over and glad for the company at the end of the day.

Miles: 687.2 – 697.3 (10.1)

Total: 202.8