All I’ve had on my mind all day is getting to the visitor center and being able to order delivery from Marion right on the trail. I made it there on time, I was able to get my delivery, but again my eyes were too big for my stomach. Never order food or go grocery shopping while you’re hungry.
The morning started well enough. I woke up at 6:00 and started hiking shortly after 6:30. But my campsite was so far from the trail and I spent so much time looking for the perfect spot last night that I wasn’t able to return to the trail the way I got there. I checked the GPS and I was heading out of the campsite in a slightly different direction but still towards the trail. I’m so accustomed to just going downhill out of the campsite to get to the trail, but this campsite had two different down hills.
I only had to go about 150 yards to get back to the trail but after about 60 or 70 yards it turned to thick rhododendron, so thick you can’t walk through it and this was close to being unwalkable. It took me over 20 minutes just to go 150 yards in the pitch black dark fearing that I would drop my light and have a difficult time retrieving it. If I had been able to make it out back to the trail the same way I got in then I would have arrived at the same spot in about 5 minutes. Oh well, I need to pay better attention when I wander so far from the trail.
There were not a lot of tall climbs but there was a lot of up and down. The trail was not steep but it was very rocky and many sections and was hard to maneuver. I made good time most of the day and after lunch I figured that I should be hitting the visitor center before 6:00. That would be perfect because there is a shelter right here the visitor center.
Some of the trail leveled out even more and I was able to make better time after lunch. I ended up getting to the shelter right at 5:00 and immediately started looking for the flyers of the restaurants in town that would deliver. I only found one but it looked like a good one so I scribbled down what I wanted and then headed to the visitor center to see if their vending machines were open. To my horror the visitor center was closed permanently due to COVID and had no vending machines.
Cell signal was horrible and I had to go across the street and up a hill a little bit just to be able to call the restaurant. I ordered 20 wings, a cheese steak sub, and a Caesar salad. The guy taking the order also talked me into fries. They didn’t have any bottle drinks so I didn’t bother to get any but I had been looking forward to toting out a Coke for tomorrow.
The delivery was supposed to arrive at 6:00 which would give me enough time to eat it and also hike out 2 miles to the next campsite instead of going back to the shelter. When the food arrived I was shocked to find out that it weighed almost 15 lb or at least what seemed like 15 lb. I ate the salad first then some of the fries then half of the cheese steak. By the time I was done with that I was already full and I was staring at a plate of 20 wings. I could only eat four.
I packed up the rest of the food in zip locks and took my garbage back to the dumpster that was halfway back to the shelter. It was after 6:30 by the time I got moving. And I was not moving as fast as I had hoped. It would probably be 10 minutes after dark by the time I got to the official campsite so just before 7:00 I started looking for a stealth campsite. I found a good one but there were no trees to hang a bear bag so I kept going. I eventually found one. It was okay; it was on a bit of a slope but had a good tree for a bear bag. Since I was now towing chicken wings and a cheese steak I want to make sure that my food is hung properly. I also made sure that everything was secure in the outer proof bag inside of the bear sack.
I am only 10 miles from Atkins where I need to do a resupply for my next section to Pearisburg. There is also a Mexican restaurant there. I’ll have to see how many of the wings I can eat for breakfast and probably save the cheese steak to hike out from Atkins.
There is a hostel 23 miles away that I would like to make tomorrow so that I can sleep under a roof and not have to camp out. Tomorrow night it is supposed to start raining for 3 days without any break. It would be nice to start from a hostel and be able to have clean laundry. I will also have to plan out to try to stay at two shelters so I don’t have to pitch the hammock in the rain. I may not be able to do as many miles or may have to do more just to be able to make the distance from shelter to shelter. At least I won’t be hot and sweaty in the rain. But I hope my feet can take it. The next stretch after the hostel is pretty remote so there’s no bailing out. Once I start I have to go all the way to Pearisburg.