June 13th 2018
Tent site – VA route 100 / Pearisburg (mile 636.4)
14.2 miles plus a 1.5 mile walk to the hostel
Total miles: 649.7


It rained from about 2am steadily through the night. Not too heavy so it wasn’t too bad. I woke early, good because I wanted to get an early start. But then I fell asleep again for an hour and ended up setting off at 7:30am. I got packed up, flicking away the various bugs who had set up home on my tent. I thought I would sleep badly on my own but I was out for the count. 

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Inside the tent!!

It was clear sky with a bit of sun poking through. After a day of pure cloud it feels like you haven’t seen the sun for days. I had 14 miles to get to town. It was a fairly uneventful 14 miles and I was just moving along at an alright pace. I knew there must be people in front of me because I wasn’t clearing any cobwebs, but I didn’t see anyone on the trail all day. 

For the most part the trail was ok. It wasn’t going wildly up or down but it was rocky, and where it had been raining there were some very slippery parts. I had a few moments where my heart leapt into my mouth but managed to remain upright the whole time. I came across a sign for Pebbles for his birthday left by him Mom. Really he should have taken it with him, or she should have come back and cleared away the mess. I hope she does. I am 99% sure he’s ahead and his birthday has passed but I didn’t want to remove any of it in case it hadn’t (when I spoke to Short Shorts later on he said the same thing). 

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The highlight of the day was seeing a little tortoise on the trail. I picked him up and moved him to the side in case anyone stepped on him. There were a couple of view points today, which made up for not being able to see a single thing yesterday. 

I was just a little under my 2.5mph pace. That was ok. I had eaten my Twix and my Milky Way (a Mars bar) really early on and I did have to stop briefly to shovel in some crisps because my stomach was cramping, but other than that I just ploughed on. 

There was a big descent into town and it was really steep in some parts which was a killer on my knees. That slowed me down a little bit as I was trying not to fall over and trying not to destroy my knees further. I got to one road crossing where I could have got to town but I decided to continue on to the next one another 1.2 miles so I didn’t have to do it the next day. It was more downhill and I did see a couple of deer fleeing through the forest. 

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At the road I tried to hitch into town (had I know I could have called the hostel for a shuttle I would have!), but there weren’t that many cars. The first one didn’t stop and the second one was the Sheriff. So I abandoned the hitch idea and just decided to walk into town. It was only a mile. A hot uphill mile!! Walking on the tarmac is so much hotter than walking in the forest! I was an absolute sweaty mess by the time I got to town and I stopped in the Food Lion to get a chocolate milk and some strawberries before continuing on to Angels Rest Hostel. I saw Knees in the supermarket and I wondered when he passed me, but I can never be bothered to work out how people who I know are behind me got in front of me. I assume people like night hiking. By the time I got to the hostel I had done and extra 1.5 miles and it was around 2pm.

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I saw a couple of people walking there from what looked like a short cut to the supermarket. Looking at the map I thought ‘I bet there is a shortcut behind the grocery store’ but just walked the road instead, like everyone else. The girl was a British girl. Can’t remember her name but I remember thinking that her accent sounded really odd and a bit annoying! Is that what I sound like?! 

I’ve heard the hostel has only been operational for a couple of years. It’s a good one. It’s one of those places run by hikers who have exactly everything a hiker needs. Bathrooms stocked with products, laundry, towels, loaner clothes etc. 

I saw Short Shorts who said he had walked the road with Knees. That’s why I never saw him on the trail. And I saw Salty and Pi. They had gone ahead to that next shelter as I thought on that first day, but I found out they were only camped about 0.3 of a mile ahead of me last night. I had considered going there but stopped where I was instead. It was nice to see them all again. We seem to have formed into a little trail family. 

I also saw a bunch of other people who I knew had not walked quicker than me to get there. Especially as it seemed they had been there for a couple of days. It turns out they skipped ahead to meet up with friends. There were loads of other hikers around. 

I collected my package. A new rain kilt from Zpacks. I had now swapped my 50 cent bin bag for a $60 version! 

I took a shower and did my laundry. I found an excellent tie-dye 80s Pac-Man t-shirt to wear and I ate my strawberries while catching up with the others. We made a plan to go to the Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet at 5pm. Short Shorts would be going for the second time, having already been to the lunch buffet! 

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The four of us went. It was as I expected it to be. Beige and quite gross! They had a really odd selection of food. Garlic bread, deep fried breaded cheese, and this wonton thing that looked nice but was filled with a cream cheese crab substance which was really horrible. 

I got my fill of noodles and chicken and picked a lot of the broccoli out of the pork and broccoli dish. I ate a lot of broccoli. I love broccoli. Nothing was labelled so it was a bit of a gamble. I made my way through 2 platefuls and then ate two tubs of chocolate ice cream for desert. Plus 2 Mountain Dews. 

We went to the supermarket to do resupply. I got the usual stuff and the others got varying degrees of typical hiker food. Pi does not eat your typical hiker food, she eats remarkably healthily. I was going to look for hummus but I totally forgot because that food had given me really bad wind and I was having to leave areas very quickly so I didn’t get blamed for the smell. I then had a moment where I thought I was going to shit my pants. It was touch and go and I had to really squeeze everything so I wouldn’t have a nasty accident in the middle of the supermarket. 

We made it back to the hostel and I ran straight for the bathroom and the world fell out. Of course I blamed the Chinese but it couldn’t have worked that fast. Thinking back it may have been the strawberries. Fruit is bad for you. The last time this happened at Fontana Dam I drank a fruit smoothie. So after that was dealt with I sat on the deck with the others and had a beer. My first beer or any alcohol on the trail. I really shouldn’t have had one given what beer does to my stomach but I’d already agreed at the supermarket to having one. 

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We sorted out our resupply and Salty has the heaviest food bag. I also gave him all my purple skittles and I gave away a couple of ramen. In return I got some ziplocks and a toilet roll. Short Shorts doesn’t use toilet paper. He used rocks and leaves and sometimes moss. 

We decided to watch a movie. Something I had been thinking about doing for a few days. Just relaxing and watching a movie. Short Shorts chose it. What Dreams May Come. It was so terrible! It was a relief when the outside party moved their party inside and the music was loud and annoying. So we Googled the ending and went to bed. 

It’s late, it’s like 11pm now. Waaay past my bedtime! I haven’t done any blog or YouTube updates because I just needed some real downtime. Plus it’s taken an hour to write this. 


Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 36

 

 


 

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