1/4 of the way!
Day 67: (June 19th)
After a long rainy night, we all woke up and prepared for the day. Many people at the shelter were planning to take a zero day in town because the weather didn’t look promising. However, Harambe and I were determined to keep the momentum going and make it past Atkins, VA. Chatfield Shelter was just a couple miles away, so that was the first goal.
I left before Harambe, and met up with him at the shelter. The hike there wasn’t difficult, and we both made it in no time. We decided not to eat lunch there, so we could eat at a restaurant in Atkins which was only a few easy miles away.
The Barn restaurant was right off trail in town, but Guthook had some bad reviews on it, so we planned to go to the Mexican restaurant across the street. Anyways, we made it into town shortly after and managed not to get rained on the whole time.
The first stop in town was the gas station to get cigarettes and sodas. Right as we went into the store, it started pouring rain. We were so glad that we made it to town before the storm hit. We waited outside of the gas station for a while to wait out the storm. Eventually, the rain died down a bit, so we headed down the road a bit to the Mexican restaurant.
When we arrived, we saw that they weren’t open on Mondays. The only option was to head to the Barn. We got in and saw a couple of the people we had been hiking with. We defeatedly sat down and ordered some of the safest meals we could find. I ended up getting a burger which didn’t taste too bad. All of the food was comparable to cafeteria food from grade school. We decided to order ice cream after the meal, and we ended up getting bricks of it instead of scoops. All in all, it wasn’t too bad. The service and food was mediocre, but not as bad as people’s reviews had made it out to be.
They had a log book at the restaurant, so we signed in and noticed that Giggles, C Sharp, and Ash had signed in before us. We decided to give them a call to see if they were still in town. It turns out that C Sharp, Ash, and Cubana were staying with a trail angel outside of town, and Giggles was hanging out in town still.
It was still pouring rain, so Harambe and I decided to split a room at the Relax Inn. The rooms were only 45 dollars, and when we checked in, we immediately saw why. There were holes in the doors and windows, tons of dirt on the wall, and the knobs on the shower came off when you turned them. However, 45 dollars was too good to pass up for a bed. We decided to get some beer and pizza and watch crappy tv for the rest of the night.
Day 68: (June 20th)
We woke up the next morning and planned to get breakfast with Ash, C Sharp, and Cubana. Their trail angel couldn’t drive them back to Atkins until later, so we were in no rush to pack up. We were hanging around the hotel when we heard a knock at the door. It was the staff telling us that we needed to leave. Apparently, check out was not at noon as we had thought, so we grabbed our things and headed to the Mexican restaurant.
We arrived at El Burrito Loco just in time to find our friends. We al grabbed a quick breakfast and sat outside smoking for a while. No one had any motivation to hike, so we were stalling as much as possible. Finally, 1 o’ clock rolled around, and we decided to head out.
We walked under the freeway, and just as we were about to reach the trailhead, we saw a deer that appeared to be stuck in a fence. Under further investigation, we came to the conclusion that someone hit the deer, and now it was injured on the side of the highway. We didn’t want the deer to suffer in pain, so we called the local authorities. After many calls and transfers, we finally got an officer to come out to the road to help the deer.
A couple minutes later, the officer pulled up. Without warning or remorse, he pulled out a shotgun and executed the deer. We all stood in awe at how nonchalantly he killed the poor animal. We didn’t stick around any longer and got back on trail.
Hiking after that was beautiful. There were tons of open grassy fields and pastures. It was also a very easy hike filled with nothing but small hills. A couple miles out of town, we all took a break at a campsite.
I looked down at my leg and saw a tick right above my knee. After freaking out for a minute, I pulled out my trusty tick key and pulled it out. Everyone else did a thorough tick check. Only C Sharp found one, and we quickly helped him get it off.
We all ate some snacks, and continued hiking. Again, the day was filled with small hills, and we arrived at Crawfish Trail campsite shortly after. Here, we found the 1/4 of the way mile marker. We were officially done with 1/4 of the trail, and it felt amazing. At the campsite, we found Giggles again, and we decided to take another break with her. Everyone was losing motivation again, and Ash, C Sharp, Harambe, and Cubana decided to sleep there and take a night hike to make up the miles.
I didn’t like the idea of a night hike as much as everyone else, so I kept going in hopes of making it to the next shelter. There were just two mountains to cross over, and then I would be there.
I crossed over the smaller mountain and had to force myself not to stop at the hostels I passed. After much contemplation, I pushed on. I reached Possum Creek campsite as it was getting dark. It was only a couple miles to the Knot Maul Shelter, but it was mostly uphill. I ate some dinner, smoked a cigarette, and forced myself to keep going.
I reached the top of the mountain as the sun was setting and got to see a beautiful orange and purple sky through the trees. It only took a couple more minutes to reach the Knot Maul Shelter.
At the shelter, I was surprised to find that there was only one other hiker sleeping there. It was a southbound section hiker, and she didn’t have much to say. I set up all of my sleeping system, and saw a headlamp coming down the trail. Harambe had decided to keep going instead of doing a night hike. We hung our bear bags, smoked some cigarettes, and passed out.
Day 69: (June 21st)
It was the day we had all been talking about for months, now: hike naked day. To celebrate the summer solstice, it’s a hiker tradition to hike naked and embrace the pack rub, sun burns, and big bites.
Harambe and I decided that it wouldn’t be such a bad idea and that it would only be awkward for the first couple minutes. We made up some signs to cover our genitalia, and headed down the trail to find our friends. Not even a mile into our hike, we heard someone coming southbound. We tried to hide in the bushes with no luck. It turned out to be an older guy who was going for a day hike. He insisted on taking a picture of us which we reluctantly agreed to. After the awkward picture, we started hiking away, and he waited for us to walk down the trail a couple feet before saying, “nice” with a creepy grin on his face. We both came to the conclusion that he was a perv and decided that it couldn’t get any worse than that.
A couple miles later, we came upon a campsite and found our trail family camped there. We woke them up, and they died laughing when they heard about the creepy old man. However, they decided to try out the naked hiking with us. C Sharp put a sock on his genitals, and Ash and Cubana wore they’re underwear. We took an obligatory group photo and started hiking.
We ran into Late Start as we were starting our hike. We tried to convince him to join us in hiking naked, but he laughed at the idea of it. We all continued down the trail, and stopped at the next water source to put on our clothes. The pack rub was too much for us, and we didn’t have enough Body Glide to go around.
The stream was near the base of a large mountain that we all didn’t want to climb. Someone mentioned yellow blazing over the mountain so we wouldn’t have to do a 5 mile climb. Since we are some of the laziest hikers around, it didn’t sound like such a bad idea. There was a dirt road right before the start of the climb, so we decided that we would try to get a hitch from there to the nearest town: Bland, VA.
We arrived at the road, and had no luck with hitchhiking. We waited around for about an hour, and reluctantly headed up the mountain. We stopped about every mile to catch our breath. It wasn’t too bad of a climb, but it definitely seemed terrible at the time.
Finally, we were at the fields on the top of the mountain. We all stopped to get water, and just a mile later we arrived at the Chestnut Knob Shelter. It was a cool shelter with a door, four walls, and some bunks. We decided that it was too late in the day to make it to the next shelter, so we just stayed there. It was in the middle of a grassy field at the top of the mountain, so we had some amazing views. We stayed up to see an amazing sunset, and spent the rest of the night hanging out in the shelter and listening to music.
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