Days 55-61 on The Appalachian Trail

Lost: One Small Brown Bifold Wallet

Last seen within a two square mile area near the Peter Mountain Trailhead. Wallet is the size of a medium size leaf and contains cancelled credit cards and identification cards. The area can be easily identified by a vast open forest floor covered with leaves and the missing item is most likely near a Rhododendron or Mountain Laurel bush. Reward offered. Please contact me in the comment section of this post.

Found: Real Deal People

When someone goes above and beyond, says anything I can do just call and mean it, or you don’t even have to ask, and a kindness is granted.

From Angels Rest Hiker Hostel, Mountain Mike.

Great shuttle driver! Knowledgeable, personable, and professional. He took care of me through my vortex stay at the hostel and was aces. After my stay I contacted him because I forgot a rather pricey pair of waterproof socks. Mike found them and drove them to Daleville to the outfitter where he knew I had resupply being delivered. Mike wasn’t asked and gave that kindness because that’s who he is, a trail angel.

From Four Pines Hostel, Twisted and Nature Boy. After coming down from Dragons Tooth I met Twisted, and he took me to Daleville to retrieve my resupply box and another package with my new IDs and financial institution cards. A fellow veteran, Twisted told me anything you need Brother just call.

It wasn’t but an hour after he dropped me at the trailhead a need of my own making arose. Still spinning a bit from my lost wallet and having the PTSD monster wanting to play because of it, I needed to take my pack off to check and see if I had received a critical item in resupply. In doing so I had set my glasses down and left them when I put my pack on and walked away. It was only 0.6 miles from the trailhead, and I continued to search tree by tree with the monster growing louder by the minute. It was in this mindset I called Twisted and asked for help. After the wallet loss my brain had trouble dealing with a $1K hit on glasses. Twisted showed up with Nature Boy in tow and we eventually found the glasses. When he says anything I can do, true to his military background and dedication to duty, he means it. I went on my way contemplating their generosity and vowed to pay more attention to my activities.

Trail Legs and Cherishing the Days

My daily mileage has increased to easier 20 mile stretches as my endurance is now where I hoped it would be and my hiking hours are longer, and as such I haven’t kept up to date posting so this episode covers nine days and some great milestones. So many memorable views and encounters it is difficult to cover them all. Save for the minor challenges everything has gone well. There are tiring times where I wish I had played Appalachian Trail: The Home Game.  You roll the dice to move up the board and occasionally have to draw a card from the deck. Every third card is rain or snow and an accompanying penalty. The board game would still take days to play.

My body has healed well, and I am grateful for all of the support. The miles are passing quickly, and I am mindful to look for the beauty, give thanks, and take moments to reflect on the privilege of being able to hike this trail.

Day 55-56 VA 632 to Pickle Branch Shelter

An extra day having been taken to sort out getting new ID and access to funds, Mountain Mike hauled me to the hills for another 20-mile day. The highlight of this section for many is the view from Kellys Knob. A nice vista and there were a few day hikers making the best of a bright day. It is a considerable climb.

The open pastures after the first twenty miles were a welcome sight after the climb to the knob.

A quick shuttle back for my final night at The Vortex that is Angels Rest.

Time to move on and anticipating The Virginia Triple Crown in the coming days. There is a river crossing where the bridge is out, some stones in the water may make it passable, and there is a log across a bit down the way.  I will miss chatting with Finisher, whose pace is phenomenal.

Not much of note in the section and arriving at Pickle Knob Shelter I came across Rock and Roll again and later Tortuga.

Days 57-58 The Virginia Triple Crown

R&R and I made a plan to leave before daylight to try to see the Dragons Tooth at sunrise. Off into the dark and the rain began again. I personally recommend avoiding going on any place called “Cliffs” in the dark and rain given my recent experience. It was precarious going and though we missed sunrise at DT we got great pictures. It seemed as though waves were crashing behind the rock formations.

Worth the risk, I think. Maybe?

It is tough going down and later Twisted would mention that two hikers had ended their attempt the week before on the downhill trek. The rock shelves are no joke.

After successfully negotiating off the rocks Rock and Roll and I parted ways.
Following the misplaced glasses incident, I hiked across pastures and into the dark to Johns Spring Shelter where I met Flap and his beagle Blackjack. A restless night and again up before dawn trying to catch a nice sunrise. Hiking to McAfee Knob was exhilarating and it was all that it is built up to be.

After beginning my way down, I shed my pack to walk back up and offer to take a picture for a gentleman who was arriving as I was leaving. He responded in kind, and I am so happy to have a picture with him. A chance meeting with a gentleman out making college visits with his son.

One more site to see. Tinker Cliffs, again the cliff thing.

The trail winds along the cliffs for a distance and I stayed a healthy distance from the edge. My favorite picture is a young girl and her brother enjoying time with the view. Miles to walk to Daleville. An overnight in Daleville, an eight-piece box of chicken for dinner, and a purchase of Superfeet insoles as again with factory footbeds, the originals in my TOPOs were worn thin. The Virginia Triple Crown is complete! Sleep, blessed sleep.

Days 59-61 Daleville to Glasgow

My shuttle driver, Homer, might predate paved roads in parts of the area. He knows the trailheads, distances, and local lore and history. Homer drove me out 20 plus miles, and I headed Southbound to Daleville.

The views were incredible near the Parkway and blossoms are starting to make their annual appearance. Step outside folks, Spring is here! Walking into town there is a sign on a wooden pole informing NOBO hikers they were 1/3 of the way to Mt. Katahdin. Progress! The maze though pastures, greenbelts, and into a commercial area at the end of the hike seems surreal after nothing but nature all day. Another day.

Morning came and another ride with Homer to my starting point for the day, same point as the day before. There was a nice group of section hikers, and I took opportunity for a quick hello as I was sure that they would be the only people I would see for the day. Most of this day’s hike was marked by elevation gain.

I reached my intended destination at Cornelius Creek Shelter and my 69th day of hiking alone. I sent my stove home a couple of days ago as I wasn’t using it much and I’ve been eating meal bars and healthy snacks at the end of the days, mostly. Another Greenbelly, another night of sleep.

I was up and packed before 5:00 a.m. to see if I might find a nice sunrise. Because of the terrain I didn’t get a good picture until a little later.

My intended destination was Glasgow, VA, and I would decide what to do from there. The views in this stretch are worth seeing over and over. Since the Blue Ridge Parkway is nearby, I may visit again. A day of beauty, contemplation, and prayer. During the long descent into Glasgow, I decided to stay at Stanimal’s Hostel and was greeted with a hot meal and only one other guest. Another hostel vortex that makes you want to stay.

Final Thought’s

“If one’s life is simple, contentment has to come.”

Dalai Lama





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Comments 2

  • Tom : Apr 3rd

    Great pics Charles. You’ve definitely had several wrinkles in your trek but you just keep pushing forward. You’re motivation is inspiring.

  • Kelli Ramsey : Apr 9th

    Your have the most wonderful attitude.
    Thank you for all the inspiration.
    Keep on keeping on & enjoy the journey.


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