I hope everyone had a great day today. Somehow I ended up hiking 17 miles today. Which surprises me after everything today. I am just north of Chatfield Shelter in a stealth site tonight.
It was a chilly start to the morning today. So, I made a small morning campfire to eat and get ready by.
After a short hike, the trail took me through a gorgeous farm field/pasture with the morning light shining on it. How cool the land owner let the trail go through and us hikers. The dairy cows seemed happy to have hiker company. It made me think of my brother in law and his family and their great farm.
Hiked about 10 miles and made it to a US Forest Service Visitor Center. Went in to see the Hellbender Salamander they have live in a tank. I am not likely to see a wild one, but they are out here.
The visitor center is a ways from town, Marion, Virginia to be exact. I needed a food resupply, so Clipper and I hitch hiked into town. Trail Magic! A pickup truck full of guys pulls over and picks us up and brings us to the grocery store. The guys live in the area and were out trout fishing. One of them was also a Baptist Minister. Chatted with them a bit, really good people. Thanked them for the ride.
At the grocery store were other hikers I knew. It was like a fun little reunion. Keep in mind, we all stink after being on the trail so long…haha…poor locals having to smell us, but they are all very friendly when they find out we are thru hikers. A lot of them want to hear stories from the trail.
After a food resupply, that seems to weigh a lot, Clipper and I went to McDonalds across the street. Ended up talking a while to a guy who has been wiping tables there for 30 years. He retires very soon and will be on the local news. He is also a major collector of sports trading cards. Nice guy.
After eating we got a ride back to the trail. More Trail Magic. The guy who gave us a lift had his son hike the whole trail a few years ago. Our driver is retired, but worked in the coal mines for a long time. Thanked him for the ride and provided him with a few trail stories, as he wanted to hear some. He even gave out free homemade foot balm, which smells great and I put some on a spot or two.
Made it back to the trail. Let me tell you, backpacking up mountains with a new heavy food bag and a stomach full of food, is a tough task to be sure.
Eventually, made it to camp and had dinner just as it started to get dark. Might be another cool/cold night.