Day 59 zero in Daleville

Oh its so nice to wake up in a real bed. not having to let down my mattress or roll.up my sleeping bag.

So instead I walked down for breakfast, ate toast and jam, drank coffee and orange juice, ate a waffle and cerial and left well fed.
I emptied my back pack out and began to sort through my “Stuff” whilst relaxing. I washed my tyvek then hung it our to dry . phoned osprey about a new pack. tried to sort out stuff at home.paid a few bills and felt that I had accomplished lots.
okay a morning beer then it was to.the pool.
I took a dip then just sat chilling which is exactly want i wanted to do in Pearisburg but wasnt able to.
I then got a text from Blue Grass they were on their way here..
I had had enough sun so went back to my room to chase Osprey and a few other chores

I later met up.with Blue Grass. Danimal and his daughter for dinner. we had delious pizza ..I had a small pizza but still struggled to eat it all .

Then back to my room for an early night maybe !

Start 704
Finish 704
mileage 19 miles
Remaining 1486 Miles

Advertisements

day 56

Monday 4 June

Another good sleep. I emerged from.my tent st 6.30 and began to slowly pack up. I retrieved my food bag .visited the loo and I was ready to go

I hoisted up my pack and walked out of the camp. the trail was fairly flat for the first several miles then I began to cross bridge after bridge with nice campsites. Hindsight is wonderfull. I could of pushed on yesterday and got to any of these making today’s milage shorter but I was happy with my 22 as I thought yesterday was tough.

I pushed on passing several hikers. one hiker called peewee reminded me that this was the last water for a while so I decided to grab another litre.
The trail now began to climb and climb, it took me  2 hrs before I  reached the top. At the top was a  bench to sit down , which i needed ,thank god.
The next part was really nice and gentle and I began to crunch the miles, however I knew  that i had a big  climb later. I crossed another large bridge and decided to fill up with water before the climb.
I then began my climb , as i  climbed  the  sun began to roast  me , it was hot so bloody hot  hopefully i would  enter the forest soon  and shade. Up and  up i  climbed . my watch counting down the hours
I heard voices  and as I came around a corner I saw Half-Way, Lost & Found and another hiker resting. I decided to stop too,  take  lunch and enjoy the view.
After lunch I set off towards the Dragons tooth but  the trail  was begining to annoy  me  as once  agin it was  lods of “PUDS”   as they were indeed pointless  although occasionally I got a great view .
I pushed on up and down but the ups were rock that I had to scale . to me this was not hiking ….more mountaineering
My  feet  hurt as i navigated over this  rock  until at last i began to decend .The decent was not easy  as  it was all hands and a lot shuffling on my arse as it was scary in places but also exhilarating and exciting.
about half way down I met a lady called Elaine and her dog who she had to lift down in places. As  i reached the car park I said good bye and carried on . and once again i was soon  clambering over rock..omg Arrrh. at last the rock turned into a nice trail and I was able to speed up down to the road.

Once there I turned right and walked up.the road. untill I found the hostel .I decided to bunk so grabbed one then bumbed a beer and sat in the sun chilling
I then grabbed the shuttle to town to grab beer an extra days food, a huge pizza and a tub of ice cream
Once back I tucked into my pizza and beer before devouring my ice cream

almost bed time

Start 687
Finish 704
mileage 20 miles
Remaining 1486 Miles

Day 53 leaving Pearisburg

Again, I was woken by some very loud hikers, but I did have go get up.
I enjoyed my zero. it was what I needed.
I got up visited the bathroom. and grabbed coffee on my return. I am not a big coffee fan, but this coffee tasted good.  I sat on the porch with other hikers watching other hikers pass by

I took   another shower then slowly packed up my gear, Once I was almost ready I moved my pack to the veranda,
Next it was back to the post off to post these 2 resupply boxes up the trail   1 to and the other   to XX

On the way back, I came across Trypad, morning how is you toady and how’s Jess
as we were all a bit squiffy yesterday.
Once back at the hostel I paid my bill then said my goodbyes. I hoisted up my pack and strolls out and down the path crossed over and emerged at the best of the grocery store,
I thought I would   get some lunch as it was getting quite late   now.

I  Ordered  up a large sub, and  brought a lemonade and some  fruit  too.
Okay  time to head back to the trail .
I  headed  down the main road   and  It was hot  after about 20 minutes  I  decide  rather than carry  my food and  the trash afterwards  I thought I would stop now  as  it was 12.30.
I  found a grassy verge , dropped my pack and  began to devour  my  lunch.  I then found a bin to leave my trash before walking on. I followed the main road for a while before    re-joining the trail. As I approached the trail I noticed two other hikers    a girl that I came to know as Mary Poppins, who was eventually shorted to Poppins and Her hiking partner peanut, who were both Aussies.
I wished them well and pushed on      there was a small climb before I emerged back out on the freeway.  I then crossed over a large bridge that scanned several railway tracks and the huge river.
Once across the trail then   drop down beneath the bridge before climbing back up and into the forest

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
it was still hot as my watch pinged 5. okay I will do another hour. I pushed on and began to climb again through forest until I emerged again onto the ridge. Here was a huge mast so I put on my phone and yes, a signal. So, I answered a few texts and sent a few more
A little further was the next camp with a spring. I entered I was in two minds to stay or go. I kept going. I will do another hour I said to myself.
Ping. god that was quick. and as I turned a corner. There I front was the perfect site for me
I dropped my pack. spread out my foot print then put up my tent. threw everything inside.
I then went to find a good tree to hang my food bag from. once done I returned to my tent and began to cook dinner.
I made tea. then cooked dinner. Once full I went and hung my food bag. I had just returned to my tent when it began to pour. that was lucky
it was still hot as my watch pinged 5. okay I will do another hour. I pushed on and began to climb again through forest until I emerged again onto the ridge. Here was a huge mast so I put on my phone and yes, a signal. So, I answered a few texts and sent a few more

A little further was the next camp with a spring. As I entered I was in two minds whether to stay or go. I kept going. I will do another hour I said to myself.

Ping. god that was quick. and as I turned a corner. There I front was the perfect site for me.
I dropped my pack. spread out my foot print then put up my tent. threw everything inside.
I then went to find a good tree to hang my food bag from. once done I returned to my tent and began to cook dinner.
I made a brew  then cooked dinner. Once full I went and hung my food bag. I had just returned to my tent when it began to pour. that was lucky

mile 645.4. miles walked 10.1

Start 635
Finish 645
mileage10 miles
Remaining 1545 Miles

 

Day 52 Zero in Pearisburg

31 st May

I was woken by loud voices .typical as I didn’t have to get up. I finally emerged at 8.30 went and took a shower before getting coffee.
My foot still seems swollen so I took more pills and then soaked my feet in a foot spa with Epsom salts. I drank more coffee as my foot soaked .
Then I began to do my chores.
I am still missing a box I sent when I arrived in the US and the tracking number got wrecked in the rain. so I don’t think I will see it again but I havnt yet given up hope, so armed with some info I headed to the P.o the lady in charge was very helpful so fingers crossed.
Whilst I was there I grabbed two postal boxes as I wasn’t sure of what size I needed.
on the way back i called  into  the grocery store.I was doing my best not to spend  too much  , but it did include a big juicy steak for tea.
Once back I decanted my food from their boxes to ziplocks then into my boxs that i had picked up from the postoffice. I was halfway through  this process ,when the heavens opened up.

I grabbed my stuff and ran tothe veranda where I finished my packing.
In the afternoon I soaked my foot again whilst I sat drinking beer, I was miles away when I received a text from Jess she was in town, so I gave her directions to the hostel where I was staying.
At last  Jess came into view, It was so great to see Jess (  now named Blue grass)  again so we had plenty of hugs. Accompaninfg  Jess was tripod, who I haven’t seen for while either .
We drank a few beers before they needed to go back to their hotel for their own chores .
I finished up what i was doing before  heading to their motel to join them.
I took my steak and prepped food and we sat by the pool . There were comunial BBQs  by the pool  so  i lit  one   and cooked my steak as we drank beer.
After we went to the mexican bar for a few more then bed

Start 635
Finish 635
mileage ZERO miles
Remaining 1555 Miles

Day 51 heading to Pearisburg

wed 30th May.

It took me ages to go off to sleep . over tired not sure.
But I was excited to get into town grab a room and do nothing .
I was up by 6.30  made a brew  and was quickly packed and on the trail by 7.30.
It was another damp foggy morning as I set off along the trail. I passed throuh  numerous rhodadendrum tunnels  and because of  the dark misty morning  it was entering a cave,  it was so dark in places I couldn’t see where I was going anddue to all the rain that had been falling parts of the trail were  lakes . As I had new socks on I tried to avoid these as best as I could.

I pushed on and on and began to climb  soon apearing  on the ridge, Up here it was cold  and  so  I needed to hike faster to warm up.
I think about stopping to put my jacket on, but pushed on. I then came across a familiar face, it was bob who was packing up his tent.
We said our normal hellos then I was on my way.but he would soon  catch me .
The trail dipped and climbed as I made my way through the mist. I then heard voices behind me it was Bob and happy Feet who had caught me.
We gave each other abuse as I watched them fade into the mist.
It must be the season as I passed under certain trees I  got  covered in tiny caterpillars or Inch worms .as my American freinds say . They were  a pain  to brush off.
The trail  now began to now decend, it would be at least 3 hrs to get to the road but  the trail likes to surprise  surprises you  so  i then had huge rock steps which were very steep and slippery to navigate  down .. Such fun! omg. Then  for  more fun an assortment of rock to clamber over and lastly slick slippy  clay  to decend steepy  down . I lost my grip twice and crashed to the ground swearing. once again I wiped myself down and continued on.
At last i arrived on the road my shoes caked in mud. I scuffed them along the road to clean them the best I could.
There was about a mile roadwalk to get to Town, Once  in the town I went straight  to the garage and brought some coke before heading off towards the  motels.
Dam no vacancies . I tried the next one . The same full up.
Both were full of construction workers who were working on a new pipeline .
Several hikers  suggested the hostel
So  i made my way across the road and down towards the supermarket , The  hostel was somewhere behind it and i should  follow  the signs !!

Once behind the supper market  i was lost  in other words  where was the hostel?
As i stood   there several hikers appeared  out  of  long  grass  seceral  yards away.
I walked  toward where they had appaered and  found  the path  to  the hostel.
As i walked in  there  were numerous  huts and  tents  and  picnic  benches  with  hikrers  eating  drinking and chilling .
I  found  reception and   booked in , sadly  no   rooms  but  tenting will do me
I found a spot and put up my tent then went  for a shower, oh that felt so good.
once clean  I did my laundry before heading to the post office. as i  entered  i met Handstand  who was picking up her re-supply Box, I posted my  worn out socks  then headed  back to the hostel . On the way back i popped into the grocery store and brought beer, ice cream and some food for dinner.
Once back at the hostel  i  found out there was  a shuttle to walmart, so i decide to go  for  a ride . I didn’t want much but managed to spend $50 I also brought a small bottle of bourbon, for thise cold nights !
Once back I grabbed a beer and began to wade through a big bag of cherries that i had  just  purchased ,   I passed then around  to my fellow hikers. who were now gathered around the fire pit .
We sat drinking and chatting as Pappa Smurf made a fire .

It as also shapes birthday and she spent the whole day cooking for every one
At 10 pm the feast was unveiled and  wow what an amazing spread she had made. Followed by an amazing cake.  after all that food it was bed.

 

Start 626.5
Finish 635
mileage 8.5 miles
Remaining 1555 Miles

Day 50

Tuesday 29th May.

I slept so well maybe it was the 6 pack of beer that helped. I finally emerged at 8.30 really late for me.

I walked over to the toilets then got my clothes out of the dryer. and my battery which was now fully charged.
The other hiker just returned from the garage after having breakfast. I decided to put my bag in the tumble for a few minutes while I had the opportunity, then I began to pack up but wasn’t really efficient this morning.
I made tea and instant oats
Then went to retrieve. my  sleeping bag and phone. oh my bag was so lovely and all fluffy so that I had trouble getting it back into its stuff sack.
okay let’s go .
I walked back towards the garage. Robin hood was sat outside
“How are you” I asked?
As I sat down with him, a lady appeared  and handed him a huge burger and chips and another burger to go.

Wow it looked so good so I ordered one too. It too shortly arrived and disappeared into my mouth. it was yummy.
Okay I better be going,  it was almost a mile back to the AT along a busy road.
Once back I climbed the steps trying to avoid getting my feet wet.
the trail begins to wind it’s way up and then I reach a crossroads with  signs  pointing to  a waterfall.
I  try and do these extra trails as  you never know what to expect. it was  point -3 of a mile or point-6 to get back to the trail
I headed down the trail listening to the roar of the water get louder and louder.Then they appeared and wow they were very pretty and well worth the walk.I  took a few  photos  thinking this  must  be a great place  on a hot summers day .
i spent a few minutes   before heading  back upthe path and rejoining the trail .

As I hiked  on the trail became marshsy and boggy such fun. I tried to avoid it for a while then gave up and decided to plough straight through
Splash ,splosh splash, some bits were like walking through tar and really sapped my energy . Arrrh. if it wasnt this crap then it was rock and if not rock it was roots Arrrh.
I was struggling today even though  i had  slept well and  had a lie in, but I  was sadly lacking   energy .
I listened to my watch ping the hours, but  i dare not look at my map. I entered and left  forests,I pushed on through tunnels of rodadendroms  and then back into sunlight at last it was 1pm that will do me for lunch.
I found a spot and relaxed took off my soaking wet shoes and socks. I squeezed out my socks they need rinsing as they are very gritty but a town is coming and I need a break.
I ended up taking a very long lunch break. .but then  struggled to start hiking again .
I pushed on down the trail,  I was trying to get to the second shelter, my goal for today but I was struggling . the trail was so rocky and being damp slippery,  I  hit  the deck , the second time grazing my leg.
I let out a few obscenities, wiped myself down and carried on mumbling under my breath. I must of zoned out as I jumped as another hiker and his dog appeared in front of me.
“So  sorry about” i said   as I had shouted. FUCK, when he startled me.
He laughed as we pass.
It was now 5.30 and I was beginning to tire. I just wanted to get to the shelter and put my tent up. At last it came into view and wow what a great shelter, almost brand new . with a large deck and it was fairly empty so I am  sleeping in tonight.
Happy feet then appeared from getting water.
Wechatted as I put down my bedding then cooked together.
I like her as we can talk silly banter together and  rip  the  piss out of  each  other .
After  my brew and supper I went to hang my food  but as  Happy feet had already  thrown her line   she  allowed me  to add my bag to  hers .
As we walked back   we cahtted to another hiker, who had maged to get his line stuck  in the tree. I went  to se if i could help  and  was  able to free it for him.

Once  back at the shelter it  was bed

Start
Finish 627
mileage 19 miles
Remaining 1563 Miles

Day 46 leaving Marion.

Friday 35th

I woke and stepped over all the bodies that we had acquired last night. It’s a hiker tradition to grant the floor to your hiker friends. ha ha .
I had a quick shower a d went down to breakfast. it was continental but I could have scrambled or waffles. I went with the eggs. when I worked I drank two vats of coffee and a few glasses of oranges juice.

several rounds of toast and a yoghurt. The eggs came and that too was scoffed.

I went back to the room the bodies were awake and packed

I put the rest of my gear into my pack. rinsed out my bladder and refilled it with clean water,added some lemonade mix then put that into my bladder. okay Bob see you downstairs .

I hoisted up my pack and left the room and took the lift. At reception I asked the lady if I could use the computer .
Of course she said that is what it is there for.
I touched the keyboard and it woke up. I signed into Google and printed of the returns from for my socks.
Bob then appeared. hold on Bob there’s a bank across the road I will get you some money.
We crossed the street and I went into the bank to use the Atm. It was rather a clever machine. I paid Bob then we walked and looked at the memorial day tribute.

after we walked down the road together until Bob came across a coffee shop.
See you up the trail Snail he said.
Likewise Bob I replied.
I needed to resupply and so was heading to Wal-Mart 2 miles on the other side of town.
my pack felt good but will shortly be heavier.
It was a long walk  and the path   was roasting .I crossed over the railway lines and just kept going . I crossed the road .something that always makes me nervous out here. as I crossed a police car came by .so I waited, but he then stopped and waved me across.
I huffed and puffed up the road then I spied a grocery store. That will do snail so  I walked up grabbed a basket and began to explore the aiels.
I love how it’s laid out . I  grabbed several Kor side in my basket and then a bag of couscous for a change. salami. cheese.hot chocolate more lemonade mix . sweets . a bottle of soda. some bagels
I think that will do it. I  then I sat outside decanting my food into ziplock.
several people stopped go say hi and to ask if i was through hiking and to wish me luck.
I finally I guzzeld my soda and I was ready.
I crossed back over the 4 lane road and stuck put my trusty thumb.
Instantly a car with a large trailer stopped.
You going back to the trail. said a voice in a thick Southern accent.
Yes please

You can put your pack in the back.
I did then tried to get in the passed her lot was full with “stuff”. but I managed to get in.
He was a gardener and was off to cut grass.
As we drove back we passed by the trout hatchery that the two men I met. putting the trout back in the river.were from.
Then past the razor wire of the local prison.
Then we were here. so thanked him then retrieved my pack and waved him off.
I thought that I would have a quick look at the visitor centre so walked up to the building.
To my surprise sat on a bench outside were Dupont and Phoenix
Bloody hell I said great to see you both. we chatted for a while then I went to look inside. Got my passport stamped and looked at the exhibits.
Dupont and Phoenix had left.
I finished my soda .dropped the bottle in the trash . then I was ready i crossed the road and I was away.
I really didn’t like this part of the trail it was Rocky and hurt my foot .really hurt my foot the pain was beginning to get me down as I limped through it .It wasn’t long till I was on my first climb .what fun. I was miles away when a couple of hikers frightened me as I didn’t hear them.behind me.
The last had a lovely bum, if only I had the speed to keep up ha ha.
Eventually I reached the summit only to see Dupont and Phoenix resting.
Have you only got this far I said or are you trying to make me look good.
They both laughed as I hobbled by. The trail was reasonably flat for a while but still Rocky and crap to hike over .
Then I saw a backpack just on its own… owner possibly pooping in the woods. I don’t know why that makes me smile but it does.
A little further along was the lady with the nice bum. obviously waiting for her chap.
I said my hello and was on my way . but again the trail was steep down and rocky a d it was just killing my foot. and I wasn’t getting any speed.
I shortly came to my next climb and this one went on and one .it wasn’t long until the couple caught me again I couldn’t help but state at her arse in her tight shorts dream.on Snail but the image helped me climb. Once up I was annoyed yo fond that it was straight back down. although I have to say that the axelias are gorgeous .
At the bottom.i crossed the road and took a foot break .
took off my socks and stared at my aching swollen right foot.
I took more meds .gulped down some orange drink stared some more at my foot. then put my socks and shoes back on, hoisted my pack and I was off . The trail still rock and horrid . as I was pounding down the trail I suddenly came to an opening with a view. There was a hiker all ready resting . I stopped took some photos and was just about to leave when the hiker said
There were people doing trail magic st the road.
Thanks I said and took off.
The trail now became nice and u began to follow a small stream as it tumbled over the rocks on it trip down.
Round the next corner I spied DUPONT again they had stopped for water.
I zoomed past them as I had plenty of water.
I must if crossed that stream about a dozen times as I walked down the trail.
Then there was the shelter. so stopped signed the register and was on my way.
The trail was still heading down and I was able to increase my speed a little .
Then more rocks and as I tried to cross them I managed to kick my sore foot in the worst possible place I could see stars and felt sick .The pain rushed through me as if I had been run through with a sword.
The pain was intense .A string of obscenities filled the air. I needed to sit down I shuffled forward in front if me was the stream again .
J dropped my pack took off my shoes and socks and plunged the painfully foot onto the icy water. Oooooo it felt good.
I decided to have lunch while my foot soaked. 4 other hikers including Dupont a d Phoenix. Mac by and asked what I was doing?
after lunch I dried off my feet put on my socks and shoes a d I was away .
In the distance I good hear an airplane. or was it a mower or generator.
But what it actually was , was the vibration of the power lines.
It didn’t sound right to me .and I was a little nervous waking beneath them.
As I continued down the trail I came up a notice saying trail magic at the church.
When i exited on to the road I could see it.
Omg what amazing people.
in the old school-house/ church was several boxes of things a hiker may need
ie meds. bandana. hats. socks . sunscreen, lip balm. razors
Then there was food and a big ice chest filled with sodas and water. Wow. Thanks again
I drank a soda. eats some fruit pots.
Oh and DUPONT and Phoenix were here too and several other hikers.
They wanted to do another 10 miles. I wasn’t sure if I had 10 more in me. but may try.
They then left with another hiker. There were two of us remaining. and I couldn’t help but stare at another set of hiking poles.
I have mine. you have yours I said to the other hiker. So whose ate them poles.

It took a while for my brain to register. But it was the hiker with Dupont. I quickly shouted as the trio were almost out of sight. Then waved my poles in the air.
The other hiker soon realised and began to make his way back. Sorry I said I kept staring at your poles but it took a while to register. No thank you Snail.
Glad it’s not only me who walks off without their poles.
I finished my fruit jelly glugged some cold water then took my trash to the bin.
let’s go snail I said to myself.
I hoisted up my pack and set off after dupont and his team.
Oh my God what a fantastic trail. all smooth and flattish .
Why couldn’t the trail been like this earlier. I was now pushing and nothing was hurting. In the distance I could hear the tooting of a train . I knew I had to cross some tracks later.
I was loving this trail, all smooth and soft. then I emerged out into a meadow.

and I was meandering my way across. z d the. I to the next meadow. I was loving this.

At last I was at the tracks . Looked both ways the. crossed over. I walked along a long platform that kept you out of the marsh. I pushed and pushed I could hear cars then I emerged out onto the road and near to a garage.
I crossed over and walked to the garage. then went in . I brought a cherry Coke and a ice cream . Paid and went and sat down. outside. I savoured my ice cream whilst chugging my cherry coke.
I put the bottle in the trash and made my way back to the trail. zit wasn’t that well-marked but I seemed to be heading in the right direction.
I soon found it and began to pace down, the trail was still lovely.

As I crossed over a creek I noticed another hiker who looked as she had bed. swimming.
Are you clean i asked ?
Cleaner came her reply. I laughed and hiked on
I was now in more meadows .I crossed over a cattle grid and into another meadow. This one had cows in.

I think 2 more hours I said to myself and pushed on through the fields.
I now came to a mother forest and had to climb a style to get in . as I entered I could hear people and so it wasn’t long until I came to about a dozen hikers and their tents.
I recognised a few hikers. There was handstand. her man and a few others.
I said my hello is and pushed on. typically the trail began to climb steeply.
Bugger have I made a mistake?
I pushed on and on puffing and panting. At last I was on. nice flat trail again . my watch pinged 7pm . mm need a spot.
Then around the next corner was a disused shelter or rather the remains of one.
I quickly put up my tent, found a good tree to hang from.then made tea.
It was getting dark as I age it then off to bed.

Start 504.5
Finish 524
mileage 20 miles
Remaining 1666 Miles

Day 45 Heading to Marion

Thurs 25th May

woke up early the two boys were also awake. I visited the loo then packed up  and hit the trail I had 10 miles to do, easy right !.
I hoisted up my pack and set off the trail was good and do as I marched I ate an apple that I had carried out
I felt good so was almost speeding down the trail and being in the forest it was lovely and cool as I pushed the miles. Eventually I came to a large bridge with a sign-in box .
I stopped signed my name then crossed over the wide bridge, once over I began the customary climb. I climbed for about an hour before the trail leveled out I was now cruising until I saw a familiar figure.
It was Pig Pen
“Great to catch you as I have been chasing you” I said
“You took your time Snail, But I knew you were close” she said
“Amy or Zippy is in front” She says  as she continues packing up
I say my  goodbyes and head off to chase Zippy down.
Today the  trail  seems to have  loads of “Puds ” Pointless ups and downs  and its rock that kills my feet .especially my right foot.
I push on for several hours until  my foot yells STOP.
My foot is killing me so I have to stop, I remove my shoes and stare at my foot I take 4 ibuprofen and put my shoe back on as Pig- pen comes by  looks at my foot says that’s looks painfull.
Pig-pen  is  staying  in Maruon in a hotel  with  her mum and  zippys   girlfreind  is  coming to stay  also .
How  much is  the hotel i ask ?
Its not cheap Snail she says  but  mum  has  paid ,
Maybe i could split  a room with Bob ?
Good  plan she says  and  haeds off

After  a 5 mins break I set off after her, as I seem to have extra power as I race long the trail and eventually emerge at a amazing shelter thats two stoty and has  power and a hot shower . I  keep walking  and soon i am at the visitor centre.
Hey are you going to town a voice says
Yes please
Then grab the yellow bus , once aboard i see  Bob, Pig Pen, Zippy and 3 other hikers .
Soon we are on route to Marion ,we pass all the trout hatcheries  that I  had learnt. about.The  other  hikers get  dropped off at various locations , we  get dropped  off at the hotel . I split a room with Bob and it’s expensive and very posh but lovely.
Once   in our room , I jump straight into the shower. once i am clean I select my less smelly clothes and we go for lunch
I have a side salad them an amazing beef sandwich washed down with 2 sprites .

after Bob and I grab a 6 pack each and go back to the hotel.
we sit on the balcany and drink our beer.
whilst here bob  notices a few freinds below  and waves  them up , we  have a small gathering  before  the  manager  decides  that  she  doesnt want us out  there .

later zippy s girlfriend and Pig-pens mum arrives so we head out for dinner and more ale .

so many beers later it’s bedtime

Start 524
Finish 548
mileage 20 miles
Remaining 1666 Miles

Day 41 3rd Zero at Damascus

Sunday 20th May

I slept really well and wss in no hurry  to leave  so  dozed . Eventually I got up  and went downstairs. grabbed a coffee then scuttled back to my bed to drink it in between dozing.
One person had all ready gone , but the others were still sleeping.
At 8.30.I decided to make move and emerged from my bunk. I wanted to visit the pharmacy and grab a few bits.
As I walked down the road a hiker named white rice joined me.
Where are you going snail?
I’m pottering, but need to walk to the out of town store.
I’ll come too he said !!!.
I visited the local shop  first as I wanted some cherries or similar as they may help my toe .(Gout) Inside was Blue grass (Jess) and Danimal.
I said to them both of them that I was hiding from white Rice. They both laughed.
As I came out of the shop WR joined me .
Okay, I want a quick walk through the festival to see if there were any bargains.” I said  As we were walking we met Big Red and Magic. who were heading to get breakfast .
“Oh I will come join you”. White-Rice said and headed off with them.
I gave a big sigh, promptly turned around and headed out-of-town.
It was about 3/4 a mile to the shops. on the way I passed Handstand, Dupont and Phoenix. how goes it guys ?
At last I was at the shops, i walked in and made my way to the pharmacy counter only to find that it was shut. Bollocks I said to myself
I stood in disbelief for a while, before deciding to grab some shopping. I brought a salad for lunch ,some fruit, cranberries and cherries and some more painkillers
I did think about visiting the brewery  that was just a little  further , but it wasn’t open for a while, so I headed back to the park . Most of the vendors were slowly packing up and some had gone all ready.
I got a new titanium pot for $30 they were $70 yesterday. Bargain……
As I walked along I heard some great music so sat down to listen it was only when the Pastor  waled on did i realise that I was in a church service .  I  didnt want  to  just stand up and  walk  out    branded a unbeliever  or  something  so sat there for a fair while.
At last I could escape and made my way back to the Hostel where I sat in the shade and made my salad, added sauce and tuna fish then devoured it. I followed  this with  an orange and apple .
I then sorted out my food bag and relaxed before taking a shower.
Once clean I thought that I would take another wander around town. I grabbed 2 t-shirts for $20 then visited the library to try and use the Wi-Fi.
But after 10 mins I gave up as the signal was rubish so wandered back to the hostel. where I spent the afternoon catching up on my chores.
By  now i was hungry again  so went in search of somehere to eat , and now  trail days was over  the  choice was very limited

I found a small pizza place. it was tasty but I believe all frozen and came with plastic cutlery and plastic glasses. I  enjoyed a few  beers    before wandering  back to my  hostel  and  decided on an early night

Start 469
Finish 469
mileage ZERO
Remaining 1723 Miles

Day 36 Boots Off

Tuesday 15th may .

I was determined to make a good start so I was up early and packed by 6.30. drank my tea and wolfed a Danish and hit the trail at 7
It was cool and overcast perfect hiking weather for me.
The trail started with a small but steep climb then I was on my way .

I am not a fast hiker, more of a plodder, but i am doing the miles . I felt I was  amking fast  profress until handstand and another hiker zoomed past me . It is a little intimidating but hey hike your own hike.
I pushed on and  passed Bumble Bee, who was camping in a field, why  you  here i asked  as  your get a lot f condesation
Bumble be point  to a tree, i wanted to  go  there  but  the spot was taken ,
“Laters”  i said  and  pushed on
Several miles later   i came  across the  hikers who I met  at the shelter but  whp had decided  to hike on. I was impressed  with  the mileage that they had made. and i guess a lot of it in the dark.
I pushed on until I came to water, I drank a litre and topped upmy bladder. It was 2 miles to laurel falls  which was my  first target.
AS  i crossed  over a road   i  entered another park and  joined the river, I  following the river for a while before  crossing  over a bridge. Once across the  climbing started , I climbed up and  over  rejoining  the  river on the other side.
I then continued to follow  the river  as it flowed far below me.  It was time to climb down. the decent was down huge stone steps  that took me a while.  AS  i made my decent  the  roar  of the falls gready staedily  louder  then  i  could see them. Wow this decent was well worth the effort as the falls were magnificent. some mad people were swimming  in the pool  in the front of the falls.
I stayed for about  30 minutes  enjoying the  stunning  views of the falls, before moving on. The trail followed the river for most of the day before a huge climb.
At 1pm ,I decided to stop for lunch  and relax before tackling the next climb.
Several hikers streamed past  me , so  i  packed up  and  headed off   continiing to followed  the river  . I then caame across a huge wooden log  bridge   that  spanninmg  the river ,
Once across it was time to climb . this first climb took me 2 hr and once again  it seemed  a pointless climb. with  no view  and no purpose. But this is the AT.
I have to say it was so humid that my shorts were soaked, I  thought that i had a leaaking  water bottle but no it was my sweat. YUCK.
At last I was at the top  and typivally on most of these climbs   imeaditly  statterd my decent. As i made my way down i began to hear thunder rumble in the distance .
I may be getting wet, as I began the ever ending spiral down I was sudden it passed by Beth and Speedy .
Where are you  heading  snail Beth  said ?
Not  really sure    i  replied  laughing
We are  trying to get to Boots  offf, If  you  make  it  there Snail , do you fancy coming out for dinner later  ”
“Of course” I replied.
Beth and Speedy  were  so  fast they wee soon  goon.
It was 2 miles to the hostel so I pushed  on trying to  crunch  the miles as fast as I could An  hour I arrived  at the Hostel, but sadly no more rooms . I checked in grabbed a soda then the heavens opened.
I quickly found a tent spot and put up my tent as quickly as i could before everything got soaked once  my tent  was up  I  sorted  out my gear.
OKay  i  need a shower , i walked back  to  the main building and found the showers  The shoers were great  , powerful and  hot,   Once  done  i went to find Bethand Dan.
they were in one of the bunk houses,  ,Sat outside was Bumble Bee  so  i  cahatted  for  her  for a while , before Beth   arrived shortly followed by Dan .
They went to  meet their friends,
Snail are  you coming ?
I dint want to intrude   but  their freinds were  graeat ,
How  are we all going to  get  to  the resturant?”  asked  one  of their  freinds
Snail  will you be okay in the trunk,?
No  probs  i said
I  got  into  the back  of the car  and  we were soon on out way
They found a pizza place with live music.

It was great ,I ordered  a 16″ Pizza which was awesome washed down with 4 pints of various ales. we had a great time laughing and enjoying each other’s company..

eventually it was time to leave .once back we had a few more beers than it was time for bed

Start 413
Finish 428
mileage 15 miles
Remaining 1762 Miles