My Walk in the Woods, Ch 8

This is the tale of A Lo Hawk’s 132 day, 2200 mile traverse of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in 2008.

Chapter Eight (May 29th-June 1st)

Day 52: (VA)  18 AT miles and 2 dirt road miles from Brown Mtn Creek to Dutch Haus B&B, Monticello

I get out of the tent to pee and see it is a warm morning. I take a food inventory and calculate mileage to the next food resupply and realize I have a problem. When I can’t find a good creek for several miles I begin to panic. I try to conserve energy with a slow pace as I labor up and down hot, monotonous ridges. I am clearly suffering from dehydration when I finally stumble upon a magical spring.

After a stressful day of hiking I reach Fish Hatchery Rd and make a ‘spur’ of the moment descision and turn down the dirt road towards Montecello where I have heard there is a stellar B&B. I trudge downhill on a gravel road for 1.5 miles and cross a gate to paved road for another half mile when a guy in a pick-up drives up and offers me a ride to the Dutch Haus B&B.

He leaves me at an incredible country home with the most hospitable people I have ever met. They lead me to laundry and shower facilities. When I am presentable I meet the other guests and gorge on delicious appetizers. Suddenly, here comes ABOMAN and RETREAD. It is a lively scene at dinner and after. Our hosts have a strict No Alcohol policy but in our room, ABOMAN and I discreetly finish the Maker’s Mark I have been carrying.

Day 53: (VA)  1.5 dirt road miles plus 18 AT miles from Monticello to Maupin Field Shelter

What an awesome breakfast! Our hosts arrange for us to get a ride to a small store then we are dropped off at the gate to the gravel road. We take our time on the 1.5 mile climb back to the trail because the morning is already warm. There are nice views at Spy Rock and The Priest then a big descent to the Tye River. I am looking forward to a soak in the water but it looks nasty so I reluctantly change my mind. To make matters worse, I spend the rest of the afternoon climbing three hot ridges.

Late in the day I scramble atop a rock outcrop for cell service and call my wife. We have a good conversation and I enjoy much cooler hiking to camp at the shelter.

Day 54: (VA)  Maupin Field Shelter to Rockfish Gap, ride to Waynesboro YMCA

I am very tired today. My legs are wore out and I feel sleepy. There are a few hazy views then the trail becomes boring. I stop at Wolf Shelter to cook lunch and I meet BEAR SQUARED and VAN DYKE. ABOMAN makes a brief stop then blazes through.

Later there is a quick rains shower followed by thick mugginess. I keep pushing to get to the road at Rockfish Gap where I plan to get off for resupply in Waynesboro. When I arrive at the visitor center, I meet three hikers who tell me they have called a trail angel for a ride into town and I am able to get a ride with them. We are dropped off at the Waynesboro YMCA which allows hikers to camp on the grass behind the Y where a very polluted river sludges by.

Free shower at the YMCA, locker room scale says 176 lbs. I walk about a mile to downtown mainstreet when I catch this tantalizing smell of smoked meat which leads me to a tiny BBQ restaurant. A large black man gives me an effusive greeting and precedes to bring out many courses and large portions of delicious southern food on no frills butcher paper. When he offers me a second free giant slice of cake I have to refuse.

Next door I see a tattoo shop with some inked juveniles hanging out front. I amble over, show some ink and meet the crew. I talk to the one named Luke about scoring some weed. We hang out until the shop closes at 9 then Larry (new ink), Luke, Adam and I drive to a dead end road to smoke out. I tell funny trail stories. Luke and I plan to meet tomorrow for a possible score. This works well for me as I have to stay over until Monday for my mail.

Back at camp, the tent is too hot and I am too stoned so I go for a walk and end up at an all night, air conditioned Krogers where I pick up some cold beers and donuts. It is well after midnight when I fall asleep.

Day 55:  Zero in Waynesboro, VA

A zero day but I still end up walking several miles. Starting the day adle-brained and my bowels on the offensive. I walk my clothes to a laundramat across from Weazies Restaurant. I have a big breakfast with BEAR SQUARED and return to camp.

Later I call names on the Angel list for a ride to Walmart. The first guy I call (KRISPY) refuses for anti-corporate reasons. I get my photos developed and shop. I am waiting outside asking for a ride when two young men readily agree. We hop into their ratty jeep and the driver immediately cranks up the stereo and shouts, “Listen to this!”. It turns out they are in a Christian Heavy Metal band and I was listening to their demo CD.

Another free shower, then I am drinking beer at camp when UPHILL and SKYSURFER show up. We head to Gavin’s for a buffet (aka: AYCE) dinner. I excuse myself as they head back for thirds so I can call Luke for the hook-up. He picks me up and we head for the dealer’s house. We are invited into the smoking den and we share the bong for a few rounds. I make a deal for lesser weed then Luke drops me back at camp and I lie down and watch the tent spin. The boys return with beers and we watch a loud drunk across the street make a fool of himself. Fun day.

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