I packed up camp and set off for the day. Of course, as usually happens, I found a better campsite only a short distance further. It was a really easy climb up Stone Mountain. It must have been named as a joke because it was basically just a grassy field. There was a small bit of climbing though it was so gradual I don’t think I’d even call it a hill.
Soon after I came upon a corral. Oddly, this one was to keep the ponies out! A trail maintenance group had camped there and were headed out just as I arrived. When I met up with them again at the top of Pine Mountain they tried to put me to work. I declined since I wanted to get close to McAfee Knob for when my mom and family friend, Mary, would come hike with me. That meant less slacking off and making some miles.
I ate dinner and waited out a thunderstorm at Hurricane Mtn Shelter. Here is where I first met Tick Tock. She had hiked the PCT and made high mileage days. She really wanted a 30 that day. Once the rain lightened, she was off. I waited until it stopped.
I caught several miles later where she had stopped to camp. I decided I wanted to go on in the dark. When I got to the top of the next mountain I was met with a pair of eyes staring at me. I wasn’t in a cow pasture, so it wasn’t a cow. But what was it? A bear? A mountain lion? A velociraptor!? It never moved and neither did I. Finally I had to end the stand off. I walked forward. Finally I could see. It was just a stupid deer. It kept hoping down the trail. I was on edge the rest of the night.
I got in to the Trimpi Shelter very late, but did my best to be quiet. I blew up my pad outside and only had my headlamp on for a few seconds as I came in. Still, a lady bitched about it the next morning even though she had just turned in for the night. I figure if you stay in the shelter, you kinda sign up for that. People are either going to bed later than you or getting up before you. If you can’t handle that, go tent somewhere.
Daily mileage: 18.5, AT mile: 520.5
It was an easy walk the next day to Partnership shelter. Its very close to the Mt Rogers visitor center so it has running water, a sink, showers. Really, a nice setup. However, I wanted to get into town to stock up on food and sleep inside. The town offers super cheap $0.50 shuttles.
Before any of that shopping business, I did my favorite town chore, eating. I decided I was doing a “Fast Food Crawl”. Instead of drinking my way across town, I was going to eat it. I started off at Wendy’s with a frosty and a spicy chicken sandwich.
I ran into Sputnik and Fair Enough who were having a bad day. They wanted to get to a shoe specialist in Blacksburg to fix foot ailments, but Enterprise didn’t make good on the car they reserved. I sat for quite a while catching up and brainstorming how to get them there. Finally they got a ride and I wandered over to the Taco Bell/KFC.
TK was already eating here when I arrived. Oddly, this KFC featured an all you can eat buffet. I had planned on Taco Bell, but endless chicken is hard to pass up. I ate my fill of chicken and biscuits
I ended up at the Arby’s next for a roast beef sandwich and curly fries.
By this point I was completely stuffed. I still had one stop on the list though. I picked up chicken nuggets and French fries at McDonald’s.
I still managed to get some shopping done to get me to Bland.
Daily mileage: 10.7, AT mile: 531.2