McAfee, Care Packages, Butts, and Zeroes

700 miles. I jumped the gun in assuming I’d be anywhere near the halfway point. Side quests, Trail Days and a strong desire to visit every trail town or rush over to Roanoke to see Wonder Woman helps keep me balanced in this long journey, but doesn’t help with the number game.

Amber Redfield has had to take some time to heal after her torn meniscus, so we settled for a day in Daleville to bid a temporary farewell to a big part of our Trail family. Where did this leave the dynamic of our remaining members? Would we hike together until Amber “Furiosa” joined us again miles down the trail? No one knew, but the timing was perfect as with all things on the trail. She’d get the chance to go home, see her dog, work on her Jeep, be with family and get supported, as well as be able to keep her leg stationary. It hurts to lose someone; we’d all been hiking together since Hot Springs. We had really become a family at Uncle Johnny’s in Erwin (Mile 343) when Amber shaved her head and changed her trailname from “Rocket Power” to the more suitable “Furiosa”.

After hitting six hundred and then seven hundred, we broke from the trail to settle at Four Pines Hostel until our party could heal up.

Joe and Donna were fun hosts and afforded me a chance to slackpack through Dragon’s Tooth. Four Pines was great for resting, and I received one of the most amazing care packages. Thanks to Connie and Kara for supporting me. I’d met so many amazing people in my travels; Connie from Africa while stationed there during my Navy service, Kara from my time leading my group and namesake Barefoot Hikers.

Serious Business : Connie and Kara sent me months worth of food, coffee and fun confections!

I split my spoils with one crew and pushed my package up to Daleville. After a twenty-six mile run, we arrived and settled at the Howard Johnson Express. Furiosa, or Fury for short, limped the length of McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs to the town. We zeroed and helped her come to the conclusion that her walking five hundred miles on a hurt leg was not helping anyone, especially herself. She opted to head home and would join us later up the trail. You can’t be sad to see someone leave under these kinds of conditions; I’m more excited to see her at full potential and not in pain in a few weeks.
Side note: McAfee Knob was great and had a chance to take some great photos. Some slightly risqué, so proceed with caution.

Yes, butts. “But” this isn’t the end of the story. I push on to the Shenandoahs and further into the “flat” Virginia that I’ve  heard so little about. On to Waynesboro and the deliberation as to if I will “aqua blaze”, or use the waterways by canoe or kayak, through the Shenandoahs.

At least I’ll have my new haircut.

New hair, who dis?

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