May 6, 2017
I am so glad we decided to stay at St. Luke’s. It got coold! Like, lower 30’s cold. We woke up to a dark grey sky and a truck that wasn’t ready for the weather. It eventually got warm enough to start but then the brakes and power steering were both acting up. It made for a fun ride up to the trail and our driver handled it like a pro. The sky even began to lighten on the way and we managed to avoid hiking in a cloud.
The day cleared up but stayed cool; perfect hiking weather. I stayed in front of the group all morning which meant that I got all the spider webs and first shot at the puddle and mud crossings, but at least I wasn’t falling behind. With a little bit of grace (and a lot of luck), I managed to make it through the morning without falling or drenching my feet. There’s an interesting side trail that the geek side if me desperately wants to hike but I think I’ll save it for a return visit…
We took our lunch between a stream and a road and met a couple of hikers waiting for a friend to pick them up for some town time. When he finally arrived, we were gifted with some cookies and rice crispy treats. The hiker community is so nice!
I began to get sore after lunch so I told my hiking partners to go on ahead and I would eventually catch up. We had thought about going into Bland, VA to stay at a hostel but that was before the weather cleared up. We met just outside of the road to town and Walker had already gone in for Subway. We walked on the highway for a while and some of the blazes were rather questionable (they’re reminiscent of bird poop) but we finally made our way back to the trail.
We hiked on to the shelter where a few hikers had already taken post. One of them had a wonderful canine companion who decided to follow me the .3 miles down to the watering hole. I set up camp and settled in for a good night’s sleep.