June 12th 2018
VA route 611 – tent site (mile 622.2)
22.2 miles + 1 mile round trip to Trent’s Grocery

Total miles 633


It rained steadily from about 2am but it never got that heavy and it felt like it was more dripping from the trees in the morning. I seem to wake up at 5:47am every day. I look at my phone to see the time and go back to sleep. At 6:30am I begin to move. 

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It’s wet. The cloud / mist is hanging low and there are big drops falling from the trees. I start with my trash bag and my umbrella. It does start to rain a bit but it’s that really fine rain that makes you wet no matter what. It just gets everywhere. It’s not warm today and walking is the only way to keep at a decent temperature. Stopping just made me cold. The trail wasn’t difficult this morning and I’d already decided I would stop at Trent’s Grocery which is originally where I was going to resupply. The off putting thing is that it’s half a mile off the trail. Oh well. I feel like I have the time. 

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I was moving along ok and with about 3 miles to go I saw someone ahead of me. I decided to stop and take down my umbrella which had been up all morning. I’m not sure what happened after that, it was like someone had put a rocket up my arse and I was flying. 

It helped that I was feeling a bit better than yesterday. Still can’t get rid of this lingering snot / chest mucus though. And it helped that there was the promise of food dangling in front of me like something much tastier than a carrot. I flew past this man, I didn’t want to hang around because he was moaning about the rain. I felt wonderful. I was moving quickly even on the uphill parts. It felt like it was all coming together. 

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I knocked out the 9.6 miles in 4 hours which I was happy with. I came to a large suspension bridge over the river and noticed a badly pitched tent set up. It looked like a hiker tent but it was an odd time of day to see a tent pitched. After the bridge I was going up a little hill to the road and guess who was coming towards me? In-a-Rush! I was really surprised to see him. I assumed he was way ahead by now, sticking to his 100 day schedule and I am trying not to touch the log books because they are just a big bundle of germs! He said he rolled his ankle a couple of times and he was struggling with it. It was really swollen and he couldn’t get it out of his shoe, so he had taken the last 2 or 3 days off. I chatted with him for a while and then hiked the half mile off-trail down the road to Trent’s Grocery. The name makes it sound a lot more grandiose than it was. It was a gas station. A random gas station. It had a light selection for resupply, some tools and fishing gear and some really bad taxidermy that I regret not taking a picture of. 

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They did make a really good burger though. 2 burgers in less than 24 hours! I ordered fries too but I must remember that I can never eat them all and I shouldn’t order them in the future. That and a chocolate milk made me feel great. 

That guy I passed on the trail arrived and so did another guy called Delta. A local guy told me that I had bad allergies, out of nowhere. I think I just blew my nose. He kept banging on about taking stuff with cherry in. I bought some cherry throat sweets and a Gatorade. 

I don’t think I have allergies. But maybe I do. I remembered that I was carrying those once-a-day allergy tablets, I brought them with me because they’re good when you get lots of bites to stop the itching, but I hadn’t thought about taking them for this. So I took one. It couldn’t do any harm. I ended taking a two hour break again, time to eat, have a poo and get rid of my trash, and then I hiked out back down the road to the trail just before 2pm.

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There was a bit of a climb up away from the road but it wasn’t too bad. I was feeling nicely full from my lunch. This feels like the way forwards. Hike in the morning, have a cooked (by someone else) lunch, then hike again in the afternoon! The trail was quite mellow for a while after the climb. There was a side trip to see Dismal Falls but I passed it up. The picture of it on the Guthook app didn’t make it look like a waterfall, just water falling maybe a meter over some rocks! 

The trail seemed to follow a bit of a ridge line. Apparently there were some view points along the way but all I saw all day was white cloud and trees. Unlike the last couple of days there was water everywhere. The trail follows a creek and crosses about 10 little bridges on the way. I couldn’t work out the water situation so I carried a litre of Gatorade and three quarters of a litre of water which I had been carrying since yesterday afternoon. 

I came up to a lake and decided to have a little sit. I felt like I had some bits in my shoes which were causing a bit of a hotspot, so I shook out my socks and shoes and ended up sitting there for half an hour. As I lay out my little sit mat I scraped my knuckles on the ground so now I have two cuts on my knuckles. Delta came by and said he was stopping at the shelter which was only 0.2 away. It was only 4:30pm and I wasn’t ready to stop yet. Plus there was a big climb next that I wanted to get out of the way today so I didn’t have to do it tomorrow. People have said it was ‘brutal’. I climbed up. It was a climb, which I’m not a big fan of, but it certainly wasn’t worth it’s brutal tag. It was an ok climb. I even saw the sun for about 10 seconds. It was very brief but there was a small shadow for just a moment. Then it went back to most and cloud. 

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I got to the point I had in mind this morning and decided to call it a day there. It was 6:50pm and I was done for the day. 22.2 trail miles but I had actually done 23.2 with the side trip to the store. I was getting cold and my legs were sore. 

It is a small little campsite but good enough for me, it looks like I will be camping alone again tonight. I’m at nearly 4000ft which isn’t high, but I am hoping it’s not too cold and the weather isn’t too shitty. I really hope it doesn’t get too windy. 

I set up quickly, worried about how wet my tent fly was. Thankfully I managed to keep the inner totally dry by disassembling the tent by reverse fast pitching it. It worked well. The fly was wet but it could have been worse. I managed to get it pitched without too much problem. I just had to keep my fingers crossed that it wouldn’t rain overnight. I get all my stuff set up quickly, I got into my sleep clothes and into my sleeping bag to get warm. I was getting really cold. I had been thinking of switching out my sleep clothes for something a little less substantial, but I’m having second thoughts about that now! 

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I even willingly made some ramen just so I had something hot to eat. I am making it sound like it was freezing. Of course it wasn’t that cold but being in a cloud and being a bit damp all day means you cool off quickly. 

I had a look at my shoes. I’m trying to decide when I need to order new ones. They are in good shape, a bit squashed down maybe, and the back of the left one has lost its structural integrity a bit, which might be what’s giving me the ankle pain. Tonight I also have a really sore patch on the outside of my right heel. I’m hoping its not turning into a blister, I’ve got away with zero blisters so far! 

I’m happy to by lying down. I am happy to be warm and dry. I get up just before 9pm to have a pre-bedtime wee. The cloud is rushing by, but I think the tent is sheltered enough from any wind. I’m not sure how damp everything is going to be in the morning. 

Only 14 miles to town tomorrow. I can’t decide whether to set an alarm to make sure I’m up early and cruising down the trail. I don’t think the allergy tablet did anything. 


Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 35

 

 


 

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