The morning after The Homeplace feels a little like a December 26th during your childhood. The day of magic has come and gone with the horrific fact that I don’t know when I’d get to eat fried chicken again. Being fried chicken insecure might take the wind out of your sails but a stolen ham biscuit cushioned the blow to my psyche (I mean is it really stealing if you pocket food from an all you can eat restaurant?).
After Dragon’s Tooth Macafee’s Knob was up. We climbed in fast time from the shelter at the bottom to the picturesque rock overhang. Jack Attack, who was a few days ahead to meet up with a nice girl he knew in the area (referred to on the trail as “Pink Blazing”), texted us all a revealing style of portrait that many decided to personally recreate. Here’s my version:
It started drizzling at the top so the group scurried north like cockroaches in the light. We had a 19 mile day to get to town and we couldn’t arrive too late to eat our faces off somewhere. Tinker Cliff was a few miles later and my favorite of the three stunning views in the 19 mile stretch. For half a mile you walk along a cliffside view of southwest Virginia in a place named for collecting Civil War deserters. At the end we stopped to snack and take life in when I found the most puzzling mystery. The forest on the cliffside ridge was a delightful blend of mature hardwoods. In a sea of broadleaves I found a Colorado Blue Spruce. This was as odd as finding an elephant wild in Canada or a flower in Manhattan or a big government enthusiast in Maine. I was perplexed at first but concluded that someone goofily planted the small tree and that this was not a case of life by bird.
In a sea of broadleaves I found a Colorado Blue Spruce. This was as odd as finding an elephant wild in Canada or a flower in Manhattan or a big government enthusiast in Maine.
The rest of the day was a rush into town. The best part about thru hiking is the freedom from time constraints, so when there is a crunch to get to a restaurant before close life will stress you. It doesn’t help that hikers might have to plan a few days ahead to be on time to catch a post office or resupply.
We got to Daleville, Virginia just before 9 and, most importantly, before Bojangles closed. I lead some virgins to the promise land and feasted on chicken and biscuits like the day before. The same-old town shenanigans followed. Some split hotel rooms others slept behind Kroger. Hotel folks drank and called for a late checkout 45 minutes before the agreed upon exit. Resupply at Kroger, get asked to leave the area in front of Kroger, kill time at the gear shop, post office capers, and before long it was 5.
The day was gone but in just 2 miles we found the wonderful Troutville, a town that invited thru hikers to camp in a park in the middle of town. It seems like such an odd arrangement at first but really it shows a town’s acknowledgement and support. Even though Troutville didn’t have the gear shop, Kroger, or Bojangles it was vastly preferred over Daleville. The people are sweet and the area had fantastic charm. Daleville is a highway exit, Troutville is a place people call home.
The day was gone but in just 2 miles we found the wonderful Troutville, a town that invited thru hikers to camp in a park in the middle of town. It seems like such an odd arrangement at first but really it shows a town’s acknowledgement and support.
The next day we climbed hard into an area with dried streams and exposed sections. By the end of the day we hit the Blue Ridge Parkway for the first time. Stacked with views and rather low traffic, I didn’t mind the road at first.
Moving closer to Virginia’s last big climbs we pushed through the Thunder Ridge Wilderness. We hit high enough elevation to find spruces. These elusive beauties won’t be back in our lives until New England. We hiked thru the Guillotine, a wedged boulder above the trail. I’m pretty sure it was about to fall on Rambo.
We found camp around dusk with Hustle, Flow, and Yellowbeard. We all planned to roll into Glasgow, Virginia and see a tiny town that few have heard of that apparently has an affinity for dinosaurs.