In the Grayson Highlands
Day 64: (June 16th)
I woke up bright and early to the sounds of the birds. I grabbed the food bags, and headed to the shelter where Harambe was still asleep. I was all packed up and ready before he even woke up that morning. Finally, Harambe woke up, and we started hiking shortly after.
There was a large climb in the beginning of the day to Buzzard rock. But once we reached the top, we had some amazing views. It was pretty cloudy still since it had been raining all day, but we managed to catch a couple nice views when the sky cleared up a bit. We kept on hiking in hopes of making it to Massie Gap that day.
I came upon a clearing and saw Harambe waiting there. He pointed out to me that there were ponies off in a distant meadow. I didn’t hesitate to run down there to greet the ponies. It was amazing to see these beautiful animals just roaming free. We took some pictures, and kept hiking towards Thomas Knob Shelter.
We arrived at the shelter shortly after seeing the ponies, and decided to keep on hiking so that we could see our friend Butterscotch who was working at a hotel outside of Massie Gap. We called the hotel to see if they could meet us at the gap to give us a ride, but they were closed for the rest of the day, and all booked up for the night.
We continued hiking anyways to get a couple more miles in before the day ended. We made it through a rock scramble and through the Fat Mans pass. Then, we stumbled upon a field of bulls and cows. It was a bit daunting to walk through a herd of wild animals, but we made it through with no problems.
Minutes later, we came upon a group of more wild ponies. We took some more pictures, and continued on our way. We made it to mile 500 (woo), and decided to camp there. We decided to go to the Gap bright and early the next day so we could see our good friend Butterscotch. We ate some food, crawled into our tents, and fell sleep.
Day 65: (June 17th)
We woke up early the next morning, so we could catch some of our friends before they got back on trail. We arrived at Massie Gap around and couldn’t get any signal to call a shuttle, so we walked down the way to the campground general store.
We got there with the help of a nice park ranger and his truck in no time. We called the Grayson highlands general store and Inn for a shuttle, and he said he’d be right by to pick us up.
The shuttle driver got there in no time, and we were to the inn shortly after. We were greeted by our good friend, Butterscotch as soon as we arrived. He had gotten off trail so he could get a job and save up some more money. We hadn’t seen or heard from him in over a month, so it was great to see him after so long.
Butterscotch made us some delicious food, and then we saw Sobo Mogley. He offered to let us stay in his room tonight, and we didn’t hesitate to say yes.
We spent the rest of the day just hanging around the creek, playing dominoes, watching tv, and drinking beer. It was nice to hang out with some people we hadn’t seen in so long, and it was definitely nice to take a zero day.
Day 66: (June 18th)
We all woke up after a good night’s sleep. The owner of the inn was nice enough to offer us a shuttle back to the trailhead, but we would have to drop off Sobo Mogely in Troutdale, VA first. He asked if we would rather just be dropped off at a gap in Troutdale instead of going back to Massie Gap. Being the lazy hikers that we are, Harambe and I decided that the 15 miles to Dickey Gap could be saved for another time.
The shuttle driver dropped us off there, and we started back on the trail by noon. Our goal was to make it to the Partnership Shelter which was 14 miles away. We started hiking and met up again at Trimpi Shelter for lunch. We shoved some food in our mouths, smoked a couple of cigarettes, and kept hiking.
Partnership Shelter was just a couple of hours away, and there, we could order pizza or get into the town of Marion. We hiked as fast as we could to get there, and we arrived just before 6 PM.
We immediately headed down to the Mount Rogers visitor center and called the pizza place. I needed to go into Marion to pick up some socks that Darn Tough had sent me, so I set off toward the road to start hitchhiking. I asked a fellow hiker which way the town was, and she pointed down the road. It wasn’t until about 30 minutes later that I realized she was wrong, and I had been hitchhiking in the wrong direction.
After switching to the other side of the road, I got a hitch in no time. This really nice couple gave me a ride and dropped me off at the Econo Lodge where my package was. When I got to the front desk, however, they said that no package was there for me. I decided to cut my loses and head back to the shelter where my pizza was probably waiting for me.
I got back in no time, and my pizza was there as I had suspected.
We all spent the rest of the night eating pizza and drinking sodas. Everyone was stuffed and went to bed shortly after finishing all the pizza.
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