Day 57 Heading to Dalesville

I slept well apart from being woken by a beady eyed mouse. my fault as I slept with my tent open. well I asked him nicely to leave then went back to sleep
I was up.by 6am but wasn’t ready to hike until 7.30.
when I walked back go the shelter there were many usual faces. I said my hello then made my way back to the trail. I followed Poppins for a while until they stopped for a break.
there were many campsites as I walked and with the luxury of bear boxes. so, I could have pushed on a bit more last night …. maybe.
The trail continued with its typically up and down.so I was pleased that I didn’t hike on.
Once Vain it took me up.to the ridge to climb some rocks and then back down. As I walked on o began to meet more people heading the other way. Day hikers. Section hikers’ etc
Now and then I would catch a view of the lakes far below.
I was looking forward to a real. Bed something that I missed out on at the last town. These thoughts seemed to help my legs and I was beginning to crush the miles.
I emerged from the forest into one of the many cleared areas that the electric pylons walk across. That must of have been an amazing engineering feat as they stretch for miles over the distant mountains. But these areas normally give you great views and no they did not disappoint. Wow amazing. I stood staring for a few mins before moving on.
I then bumped into a dad and daughter out for a few hours hike. we chatted for a while and his mother was from chippy a town not far from.me.
I pushed on coming to railway line not far now I thought.
That seemed to spur me on and soon I was standing at the busy main road.
I could see Howard Johnson’s so set off towards it arrived hot and sweaty. please have a room!!!!
As I was booking in Fish appeared. he had made it the night before. May see you later, but he was expecting company.
I checked the hiker box. and there were several beers, so I squirreled them away and headed to my room. it was a huge room fantastic.
I dropped my backed stepped out of my clothes and straight into the shower. Omg that was so good. Once clean I grabbed my stinky clothes and went to the laundry. Great chores over so I opened a beer
Then I wandered around the motel. found the pool and sat relaxing with my beer. I chatted with my other hiker buddies drank a few more beers. I could have sat here all day, but I wanted to visit the outfitters. It was in the other direction all g the very busy road.
I found the store so brought a few bits and of course a 12 pack. then to the outfitters. I brought several pieces of spare kit then bumped in to Red Fox s or Jo one of the guys that I had started with many weeks ago.

have you had lunch I asked?
No what do you have in mind?
I fancied the BBQ place
okay see you in 20 mins
When i got there Peach and Bumble bee were also here. we chatted then I ordered.
I went for thel local style Ribs and wow they were so good, I  havnt eaten ribs in a while so I must try more.

After my fill I walked back to my room decanted the food from their containers into ziplocks then joined other hikers by the pool.
Later I decided to try the Mexican for dinner as it was just across the road. The food was good but they were putting up chairs fairly early which was disappointing .I walked back to my room watched a film then it was ZZzz time

milage today 10 miles

Day 56 Heading to Lamberts Shelter Via McAfee Knob and Tinkers Cliffs

Tuesday 5th June

I didn’t sleep at all well I spent most of the night scratching my bloody bites .. but eventually dropped off.
I set my alarm for 5.30 but the friendly rooster beat my watch too it.
I dozed for a while then slowly climbed down from my bunk. carefuly grabbed my stuff from the bunk and quietly carried them out side. then I went back for my bag and other bits.
I packed up drank a few pints of water said bye to my friends who were up. hoisted up my pack and. set off down the road
The short hike back to the trail head was very busy with no verge. so when a car came I pushed myself into the hedge. luckily it wasn’t far.

Once again I am back on the trail.i checked my shoes shook my pack then set off. It was a all climb that then decended down to a creek . I had to go through several stiles. so.e were fairly tight with my pack on. I flowed the river for a while. I past by what looked like an old water mill. interesting I thought.
I then climbed through another stile and entered a large meadow. I filled my brown path weaving in and out. untill I spied a deer oh and it has a little fawn with her.I tried to sneak closer. but she had seen me and so both bounced off.

I completed that meadow crossed the road and did another one. although I climbed straight up through the middle and into another forest

Once in this forest I began to climb and climb but the incline was fairly gentle. Once at the top I was in some lovely Oak woods and so the trail had a nice soft carpet of oak leaves to walk on . I pushed on fairly amazed at the miles that I was doing today. I seemed to be flying. But I knew that I had a huge climb to get to McAfee Knob a great cliff landmark.
I began to drop down and could hear the road. meaning that i was getting closer, then I could see the car park.
As a I dropped down into it , someone had left a cach of beer, and they were cold
I grabbed  one and chugged, it stamped on the can and shoved it into my pack. I debated about grabbing a second. but I didn’t.
I crossed the road and began the climb it was 4 miles to the top, cool I thought I am ahead of schedule. I pushed on as , the trail adopted its normal roller- coaster route
A bit up a bit down, eventually I came to the first shelter. I waked in signed the book , took some photos then carried on on the trail. It wasnt long until the second shelter appeared , I decided not to visit this one and pushed on  and up. AS I climbed  I began to meet many day hikers coming down . it was about another hour till j finally reached the top.
OMG it was wow amazing, such wonderful views

I asked several people to take my picture. I sat down on the rock and just stared. I sat there for ages before eventually pulling myself away.
I really loved this place.
I now began the decent. spiralling down and down and then I came to another shelter this one had bear boxes. I called in , it was empty so I decided to have my lunch here. I used the loo then got water before relaxing.
As I sat Fish arrived .it’s his birthday tomorrow and so wants to get town ASAP.
Then anak arrived. but it was time for me to leave. I.pushed on continuing to head down .
down and down until I saw a sign for tinker cliffs 2 miles.
I pushed . but now the trail began to climb up and down through rock and occasional I couldn’t see the trail to follow as there were no.blazes.
I was trying to decide when a family that I met at the knob came by.
They seemed to know the way so I followed them untill they waved me by.
I pushed on untill the trail began to climb very steeply, I looked back and could see Fish gaining on me, As he got closer I stood back to let him pass.
“Cheers Snail” he said.

After Fish had passed me I began to chug,  was running out of  out of juice,but the hills kept coming . At last I was at the top , I had arrived at the tinkers cliffs.
The views were amazing, they were fantastic  i  think better than Mcaffee Knob  I followed the trail that hugged the cliffs that was fairly scary in places .Not  suitable if i had  small children with me.
I  walked past sever hikers who had set up their hammocks fairly close to the edge. !!!!! rather them than me, although i am sure it wiould be a great  viewe  of  sunset or sunrise .

The trail now detours away from the cliffs and back into forest and at last I am descending. I am still   spiralling down until I across see a sign for the shelter. .6 miles
Than god I say as my right foot is hurting and I am tired. It’s been a good day, but my bed is calling.
I walk towards the shelter and see Fish. Who is cooking his supper on the fire we chat a while then then he’s away. It’s his birthday tomorrow and I he wants to get to Town.
Below the shelter is a large open space    with plenty of space for many tents.
I find tent spot and quickly get my tent up, before walking back towards the shelter to cook tea. As I am cooking a steady stream of people arrive   and disappear to set up their tents and hammocks.
when I get back to my tent I am amazed on how many more tents there are.
Time for bed

Lost & Found and Peanut

Start 704
Finish 704
mileage 19 miles
Remaining 1486 Miles

Day 55 Passing Dragons tooth Heading to 3 Pines Hostel

Monday 4 June

Another good sleep. I emerged from my tent st 6.30 and slowly packed 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, I crossed over a  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 of the trail  was nice and gentle and so  I  was able 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 next climb. althouhgh i hate dragging water  up climbs
I then began my climb , as i  climbed  the  sun began to roast  me and so i was glad of the extra water  , 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. Once again it was  lots of “PUDS”   (pointless ups and downs ) as they were indeed pointless  although occasionally I got a great view .
I pushed on, climbing up and down . The ups  where large rocks that I had to scale . to me this was not hiking ….more mountaineering
My feet began to  hurt as I navigated over this  rock.  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.
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.

I was heading to  3pines hostel , as i walked up the road i noticed  green trees  painted on the road . Good im going in the right direction
Eventually   I found the hostel .
There were several hikers  schilling  outside , Thee was room inside  so  i grabbed a bunk.
It was a bit  tatty  and  dirty  but  when  your  hiking a bunk is a bunk.
There were rides to  the garage /store  later so while i waited I bumbed a beer and sat in the sun chilling.
as i sat relaxing   familar faces began to appear,  and was good  to actch up with  the gossip.
I  bagged a seat on the next ride  to  the store  I ordered a pizza  and  beer and a few  extra days food, and a tub of ice cream
Once back I tucked into my pizza and beer before devouring my ice cream.
We  chilled on the sofas  in the Converted garage  untill someone turned off the lights

Guess that means  bed time

Start 687
Finish 704
mileage 20 miles
Remaining 1486 Miles

Day 54 Heading to Niday Shelter mile 686 (the sun’s out)

Sunday 3rd June

I was up early as I wanted miles today and so was on the trail at 6.30. it was still misty and dark as I set off down the trail but as my watch chimed 7 it began to lighten up I think it’s going to be a lovely day I said to myself.

The trail was good and so I could have gone on last night, but it would have taken 2 more hours and I didn’t want to get to camp that late. The trail spiralled gently down and soon I arrived at the shelter.
Sat at the table were Sunshine, Mousetrap and Peaches.
How’s your foot snail peaches asked?
It’s doing okay thanks
I visited the loo then got water.
It was then that I noticed speedy was still here. I thought you would be long gone I said.
She laughed.
I drank water then topped up my bladder as it was going to be a long hot day.
I hoisted my pack and set off it was flat for about 3 miles then it just shot up. I was climbing for about 2 ish hours and omg it was steep bloody steep.
At last I was at the top puffing and panting. it took me a few minutes then I was away. but it was rock, so I was being careful. then peaches and snapdragon came past I pushed on. pointless chasing them as they are all fast. seems everyone is faster than me. but I hike at my own speed and I get there. I was miles away when Mousetrap came by and vanished into the distance.
I pushed on the hours pinged by until I arrived at the 1st shelter. I decided to have lunch here and change my shirt for my vest.
I spent about 40 mins here then filled up water and attacked the trail again.
I spent a long time in the forest and with the  heat of the sun , smelt divine, i emerged  into some meadows and  the heat hit me it so so bloody hot my watch said 90 phew.
I crossed meadow after meadow then more forest then back into meadow.  As  I hiked on i  noticed that  the grass  had been recently cut  several minutes later I met the man  with strimmer or weed-wacker as they say out here.
Thank you so much I said as I past by.
I was then in another meadow but had to walk along  planks to cross it, as I  made my way  across adeer shot up making me jump!
At the end of this meadow I crossed over  a road and then straight back into another meadow. The sun was now scorching,I hoped that I would be I shade soon.
Phew at last another forest. I followed the trail that then dropped down to  follow  another river, it looked really inviting. I  plodded on untill the  trail ended at a road bridge.  I crossed over and found the trail, a little way along I met mousetrap sat in a chair drinking a soda.
A voice said ” would like a soda.”
“Yes please” I said and grabbed one from the ice box. I quickly drained it.

“Take another, as I need to go home now.” the man said
So, I grabbed another and soon drained that too.
“Do you two need water”  he asked.
“No thank you , I am fine” we said in unison.
I lifted my pack and strolled out after mousetrap.
She was fast but as I passed a small stream I noticed that there were beers in it,
I  tried to  catch Moustraps attentuion  but  she was striding away , and  as i dint want to take my pack off , I  could only carry one.
The next part was another 2 miles up. Fun.
it started gradually, as I wove in and out of cows, avoiding the cow pats then . through a few more meadows before  the trail slimbed  steeply and so  I was soon puffing.
omg it was steep,  an hour later I was at the top. Phew . Wow what amazing views.
I was still admiring them. When mousetrap sped by
I took off after her as this part of the trail was perfect for me.
I pushed for several hours then the trail took me past many cairns( big miles of rock.)
Some had colapsed but  others stood  proud  like beacons.
I pushed and pushed until I came to a sign for the next shelter but as it was off trail I decided not to  visit it, but pushed on.

The trail now becomes rockier and it begins to hurt my foot and I have 6 more miles to go. I carried on for another hour then took a break as my right foot was becoming hot.
I found a rock to sit on and took off my shoes and socks  to air and cool my feet.I atet a couple of snacks. As i am resting  a family come up the trail, although it’s not a family it’s a dozen kids who are doing trail maintenance with 2 leaders.  We chat for a while then ,Sunshine appears and we chat some more .
Sunshine  is unsure if she will make the next shelter.
I laugh “What with your legs, of course you will.
She then bounds  off down the trail.
I sit for another 10mins before putting on my shoes and re-joining the trail.
It’s really smooth for about a mile then it goes back to rock  and  its   hand over hand  climbs , as  i  make  over  my  third  i see  Mousetrap and Sunshine sitting and resting  Wow  a great  spot  guys  i say , as there is an amazing  great, so i take  a few more photos. before moving on.

Start 665
Finish 687
mileage 22 miles
Remaining 1503 Miles

Day 53 just Fog

Saturday 2nd June

my alarm went off at 5.30

I woke to the sound of rain so promptly switched it off. the second alarm sounded at 6.00
I opened my tent and looked outside it was thick fog. That makes a change I said to myself and snoozed the alarm again and again. on the third ring I switched it off. let the air out of my mattress and began to pack up. it had stopped raining but when the wind blew raindrops cascaded down onto my tent.
I reached out and lit my stove. as the water heated I packed up. then began to dismantle my tent. I decided to have hot chocolate for a change. mmm it tasted good okay lets go.

I slung my pack onto my back and headed out into the Fog.
I pushed on wondering how far had the Aussies gone yesterday? I was impressed when I came upon their tents as they had made another hour (2 miles).

I pushed on. hoping That the Fog would lift. as I found it depressing. Nothing to see. I pushed on for several hours passing by several more tents. then I came lots of police tape. That read police line does not cross. This is to do with the Pipeline and protesters.

as I made my way along the trail became very slippery and muddy, so I had to be careful not to fall over. Just then two Police men came by I said hi.

“A bit slippery today” one said.
Just a touch “I laughed and pushed on.
Further along there were two Gators a bit like golf trollies but with big chunky wheels. in one sat 4 rangers or possible police. I nodded they nodded back and I continued my way.

NB These police officers were on standby to arrest protestors for the Pipeline which is currently being built

I then came to a huge climb that soon had me puffing and panting, as it was still thick fog I couldn’t see the top or where it was heading. Come on sun I said under my breath but still the fog remained.

Later I met a couple with their dog going southbound, his trail name was Invisible Man
That’s the perfect name for today “I laughed
The ladies name was Elaine just Elaine.
I wished them well and continued. I then met another couple I thought they were South bounders. but a few minutes later they were behind me. his trail name was Snow Boat and hers Grey Goose.
I walked with them for a while as it was nice to have the company. This trip was on his wife’s bucket list. So, at last they were hiking it. We talked about beer and other rubbish until the next shelter appeared.
The guide books say that it is closed due to dangerous trees that may fall.
As I approached I noticed the familiar face of 3-socks.
I dropped my pack and sat on the bench as it was lunch time. We all chatted for a while then it was time to walk. see you up the trail I said. as I hoisted my pack and set off.

At last the sun came out. hurrah I said to myself.
I pushed on then checked my map 2.5 miles to go great I thought.
But typically, the trail became awful. I crossed over large bridge then a road and re-joined the trail. up and up I went god who does the miles as I have been waking for hours.

Water. I need water. The next shelter that i woudl get to  had no water so at the next Spring I decided to top everything up.
As I approached the next shelter I recognised a figure it was ” Sunshine. My latest crush lol. Have you seen my buddy? She asked.
yes, I replied. he was just heading into the last shelter about 12 so I guess he’s about an hour behind me.
Are you staying she asked?
Nope, I want 5 miles more or untill its 5.30 I said.
I thought she had said that she was staying. so, she scared me half to death when she appeared behind me.
So sorry Snail she said as she bounded past me.
She has such a gorgeous arse, shame that I am not fast enough to follow. A big sigh.

okay I want 5 more miles to get me to 20. But typically, the trail turns to rock my least favourite surface. so, my pace drops to a crawl. then to my amazement there is a tortoise on the trail. I pick him up and look at him.
before moving him away from the trail so that  wouldn’t get hurt

I pushed on climbing, Ping went my watch telling me it was 5pm and time to camp. I spied a campsite but felt that it was too near the road and not the right camp .
Come on snail I said to myself as I was beginning to tire. after several more climbs I decided that the next flat spot would do me

Whoop. there is one.  and there by a tree was the hiker I had stayed with on the farm.
Do you mind if I camp here also?
Go ahead snail
I soon have my tent up.I walk over and sit with my fellow hiker  and make  tea . I’m am just drinking my tea when Speedy arrives. we chat for a while, but she is not staying. Speedy is fast and crushes miles
“Good luck and stay safe” I shout to her as she disappears down the trail
I hang my food bag then it’s zzzzxxx

miles walked 20. Night

Start 645
Finish 665
mileage 20 miles
Remaining 1525 Miles

Day 52 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 2 resupply boxes up the trail

On the way back, I came across Trypad, morning how  are you toddy and how’s Jess? as we were all a bit stuffy yesterday.
Once back at the hostel I paid my bill  said my goodbyes as  I hoisted up my pack and strolled  out and down the path.
I neared the grocery store, I thought I would   get some lunch as it was getting quite late .
I  ordered   a large ham & cheese  sub,  a bottle of lemonade and some  fruit
Okay  time to head back to the trail . I headed down the main road, it was now hot, after about 30 minutes I decided rather than carry my food and the trash afterwards I would stop now for an early lunch 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 It was 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 crossed over a large bridge that spanned several railway tracks and the huge river.
Once across the bridge, the trail   dropped down beneath the bridge before climbing back up the other side and heading into the forest

it was still hot as my watch pinged 5pm. okay I will do another hour. I pushed on and began to climb again through forest until I emerged onto the ridge. Up here was a huge mast so I switched on my phone and yes, service. I answered a few texts and sent a few more messages
A little further on was the next camp with a spring. As I entered I was in two minds whether to stay or push on.
I kept going,.
“I will do another hour” I said to myself.
Ping went my watch. God that was quick. as I turned the next corner. there in front was the perfect site for me
I dropped my pack. spread out my foot print then quickly put up my tent. throwing everything inside.
I quickly found a suitable branch to hang my food bag from. once done I returned to my tent and began to relax.
I made tea, then cooked my 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

Start 635
Finish 645
mileage10 miles
Remaining 1545 Miles

Day 51 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 haven’t 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 boxes 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 to the 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. Accompanying  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 communal BBQ  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 50 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 through  numerous rhododendron 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 and due 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 appearing  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 friends say . They were  a pain  to brush off.
The trail  now began to now descend, 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 descend  down . I lost my grip twice and crashed to the ground swearing. once again, I wiped myself down and continued.
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 road walk 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 super market  I was lost  in other words  where was the hostel?
As I stood   there several hikers appeared  out  of  long  grass  several  yards away.
I walked  toward where they had appeared and  found  the path  to  the hostel.
As I walked in  there  were numerous  huts and  tents  and  picnic  benches  with  hikers  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 these 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 Papa 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 49 Heading To Doc Knob Shelter Mile 627

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.
We chatted 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  so  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 609
Finish 627
mileage 18 miles
Remaining 1563 Miles

Day 48 Heading to Trents Grocery Store 600 miles

Monday 28th May I really slept so well and was amazed to find that my tent was dry as I had  rained during the night. I quickly packed up, retrieved my food bag then made tea, love my tea in the morning, once drank, I  stamped on the beer cans and I was ready. It was about a mile-ish to the Grocery store/ restaurant. I pushed on laughing to myself as I passed numerous tents shoehorned into tight spaces. A little way down the trail I came to Happy feet and Bob Marley who were packing up. Morning Guys , see you for breakfast. I said as I passed by I pounded down the trail passing through a large burn area. It looked like a controlled burn and seemed recent as the smoke still hung in the air. A little further I spotted a wild turkey, then another but they kept hiding behind trees. I pushed on, eventually exiting onto an asphalt road. signs warned me to be safe as it was busy. (I saw nothing) I followed the road until I came to a huge Electric pylon. The pylons stretched down the valley to the highway. I kept walking until I began to see houses then I saw the grocery store and Bob. Morning Bob. I left my pack and entered. the owner was busy cooking breakfast, so I grabbed a soda I will pay in a minute I said sitting down. I ordered the breakfast plate, which consisted of two Biscuits and gravy 2 fried eggs and bacon. Biscuits are like British scones covered in white sauce. and it’s rather tasty washed down with coffee. They also do a good range of foods to resupply Bob ordered the same as me. as we sat eating a stream of other hikers began to appear  and  soon the little  store restaurant was packed I polished off my breakfast, grabbed another soda and a few bits then I was ready. Bob was complaining that his tent was soaked but he has put his near the pylons and  it was fairly Dewy Happy feet, Fish and I said  well ours ours are  dry. Outside we  adjusted our packs and one by one headed back to the trail  all happily fed . It was a road walk for about a mile then the trail headed back into the forest and up I was feeling good, but the first climb was steep and endless and really sapped my energy plus I had a big breakfast inside me I chugged up the first hill, god it was steep., the next few hours were the typical rollercoaster up and down up and down. I eventually reached the first shelter, but as it was off trail, I decided not to visit it so pushed on. The rest of the day was similar ups and downs with not much to see. It was then that I decided that I wasn’t going to rush today and that I would stop at the second shelter put up my tent and relax. Yes, a short day and an early night. Happy with my plan I pushed on feeling happy and then began screeching at the top of my voice (singing) I was miles away when I emerged onto forest road. and there were several hikers congratulating me. Why? It took a moment for the penny to drop … I was at the 600-mile mark. Whoop whoop. We were still congratulating each other when a car pulled up and asked us if we fancied a beer. God yes so, we all grabbed a beer while we had our photographs taken. The lady driver had started hiking but had to stop and so she was giving away all her resupply boxes of food. as well as cakes and doughnuts more, food and more beer Again, thank you so much I was just enjoying another beer when Bob arrived. Where are you heading today Snail Bob asked? I am going to the next shelter 2.5 miles away. I replied There is a grocery store 9 more miles away that serves food and beer. Bob said Well Bob, if my feet can do it I will be there. I replied. We finished eating and drinking and headed back to the trail, Bob soon past me as he is fast and was soon out of sight I pushed on I hadn’t gone far when the heavens opened. It chucked it down. I pushed on splashing through the water.  I zoned out and just pushed on, weirdly I enjoy hiking in the rain . Up and down the trail I pounded until I reached a sign for the next shelter. Naw not today I laughed to myself pushing on I crossed a road and bridges, splashing and sloshing through the rain. I was shifting down the mountain until the trail became a muddy mess and I began slipping and sliding everywhere, I was scared that I may face plant. The rain had made the decent treacherous, I was grabbing hold of tree branches to slop me slipping and was worried that I may bend my poles.  At last it evened out as I entered a wide meadow and could hear rushing water. Eventually I arrived at a suspension Bridge, I crossed over staring at the murky waters below. as I crossed the bridge began to sway which was scary Once across I saw a hiker and tent. Which way to the store? I asked Take a left it’s a 1/2-mile walk I headed along the road, it was a busy road and   not a huge edge to walk along. after 10 minutes I crossed over as the path had vanished and I didn’t want to get mushed. At last I could see the store in the distance. at last I arrived at the garage/ Store. I dropped my pack and went inside I entered and ordered a   chicken tenders and fries.   then asked about camping it was $7 and I got a towel  and soap . When my food  arrived, I went outside as it was freezing inside with the aircon. As I walked up to one of the picknick tables I noticed Bob and sidestep. Hi guys I sat down with them and began to devour my dinner. They had decided to push on and were heading for the waterfalls to camp I finished my dinner then went to look for the campsite. I walked down the farm track before   noticing another tent, so I set mine up nearby. The site was basic but had a washer, dryer and showers. I sorted out my gear and then dumped my stinky clothes into the washer squirted  in some shampoo that I found and hoped for the best. The shower was next. They were a bit tatty, but the water was hot, and it felt so good to be clean. I airdried in the summer evening before walking back to the store to get some beer. I grabbed a six-pack, ice cream and gas before heading back to my tent. When I got back I swapped my cloths into the dryer, the other hiker named xxxxx had now appeared, He had a great southern accent., I shared a few beers with him as we chatted about life and the trail etc. As It gradually got dark and I was amazed to see all the fire flies whizzing around lighting up the dark Start Finish 611 mileage 22.6 miles Remaining 1579 Miles