Day 24

I woke up with a red sun rise streaming through the trees. I had had to pee for the last 2 hours but didn’t want to get up. After I relived myself I went to pull down my food bag. I ate a snack bar to conserve my water. I had a third of a bottle left. Radagast rustled slowly and we packed up together. I said I would walk to the parkway in 9 miles and try to catch a ride to a campground or hotel. He would continue on since he needed to put in 15 or more miles to stay on his schedule.

The trail was forgiving today. It reminded me why I’m out here. At the bottom of a 3 mile descent there was a clear cool creek with lots of water. I filter and drank half a liter on the spot. I gathered enough for the next few miles and made my breakfast of coconut milk and granola. Radagast made a protein shake. It was a beautiful warm sunny day.

Radagast and I talked occasionally as we walked. We came across a bunch of mushrooms growing on a stump and he said they were oysters. Radagast is from Buffalo and was recently laid off from GM after 34 years. He’s approaching it as retirement and hiking the trail to figure out where to go next. He hopes to live in a cabin in some mountainous New England town, be an herbalist and write a book.

After about 6 miles we reached a shelter and we stopped for lunch. I had pepperonis and cheese with some tortilla chips. Radagast made a coconut wrap with nori, avocado, tortilla chips and vitamin D and K 2 drops. About .6 up the trail we found a stream trickling over rocks in the middle of the path. Someone had put a leaf in the flow to assist in filling bottles.

With another hour and a half and a 3.5 mile climb we made it to the Blue Ridge Parkway Taylor Mountain overlook. Radagast and I talked about our options. My feet were definitely ready to be done. I called the hotel and campgrounds near by. None had shuttles available to drive out this far. I called a shuttle driver in Daleville, 35 dollars and an hour and a half wait. I felt okay about tying to hitch a ride since I was on the parkway. I used a technique my friend Checklist likes to use when they needed ride. (Learn why I’m using pronouns they/them for Checklist here). The technique is to wait around in the parking lot and scope out the people getting into their car. Find a friendly looking couple and ask them if they could give you a ride. My first attempt was a no from a young dad in a huge truck who said he was meeting his wife for a picnic. My second attempt was a yes. I quickly said thank you and goodbye to Radagast with a hug. It was an older couple from South Carolina taking a short vacation over the weekend. I told them where I was going and they happily agreed to take me 30 minutes to Buchanan to the Wattstull Inn. They were a quiet couple and so our ride was a little awkward.

I arrived at the inn at about 4 o’clock and checked in with a rude receptionist. The office smelled like cigarettes and had 12 deer heads mounted on the wall. It was an old motor inn situated off I-81. It was clean and had a tub to soak my feet in. The rest of my evening was lonely and boring as I flipped through channels and tried to upload pictures to my blog. No go, the WiFi was too weak. I went to bed hoping the next 2 days of rest would help me get my feet back on track.

Miles: 734.7 -744.1 (9.5)

Total: 249.7