It was very cold in the little valley we were camped in this morning so I started out with all my layers on. As soon as I got up into the sun however, it was very warm. The day just kept alternating between sun and warm and shade and cold. The cooler temperature is nice for hiking though.
I stopped at Trimpi Shelter for second breakfast, which is a neat old stone shelter with a fireplace and bunks. It would have been nice to stay there last night but you can usually never tell if the shelters coming up have something different going on or not.
The guide said we’d be going through a cattle grazing area today and we had heard a rumor there was a bull in the field so we were a little nervous but that must be old information because it turned out the barbed wire was cut on one side of the entry stile, and the gate was hanging open on the other end of the field, so clearly no cattle had been there in a while. We have gone over many stiles in the course of the hike so far but only about half of them have been necessary to get over a fence. Usually it’s just sitting there with cut old wire on either side so you can walk around.
Right after the non-existent cattle was trail magic! A local church youth group had a large box of supplies and a cooler of drinks set out. They didn’t just have the usual sodas and snacks either, but also had ramen, oatmeal, tortillas, first aid and toiletry items, drink mixes, etc. It was a very generous box.
I stopped at a campsite for lunch and talked to a 2011 thru hiker who was hiking into Trail Days. There are a ton of former hikers on the trail right now, just doing a short section into Damascus. Trail Days is going to be huge.
After 13 miles, we made it into Partnership Shelter, which is right next to the Mount Rogers Visitor Center so you can order pizza delivery! The center was closing soon so we ran up to charge phones real quick and order from Pizza Hut. Our eyes turned out to be much bigger than our stomachs and it took a while, and a few extra hikers helping, to finish what we had ordered.
The Partnership Shelter is a two level log cabin style shelter, with a shower built in and a sink in the back. I was super excited to get there and take a shower but the water was lukewarm at best and with the cold outside temperature, I just couldn’t do it. Tomorrow is supposed to be warmer so maybe I can shower then. The visitor center also has the Marion town shuttle pick up here so we’ll be running into town in the morning.