I got an early start since I had 19.7 miles to go today and there were a couple of big climbs in store. The path was very rocky initially, which worried me that the whole day would be like that, but there were some breaks from the rocks. The first climb was not bad and I got up to Wind Rock, which has a very expansive view, for an early lunch and hung out there for an hour while my tent dried.
Back on the trail, I took another quick break at War Spur Shelter before beginning the larger climb of the day. It was very rocky and steep for the most part and the last mile and a half of it took me an hour. The humidity slows climbs down a lot. I drank about three times as much water as usual today too. Kelly Knob, a view at the top of this climb, was a little disappointing as most of it was blocked with trees. It was a cool rock scramble though. I didn’t hang out long because a vulture was flapping around and glaring at me.
On my final descent of the day, I was intrigued by the “abandoned house” listed on my guide. “Pile of old lumber” is what it should have said as it did not even remotely resemble a house. I often wonder about who used to live on the land that is now part of the trail as there is evidence of those people everywhere, from old pieces of homes like this, to old road beds, to property markers and old barbed wire fences. I know many families in the mountains did not want to move or give up their lands but I would love a more detailed history of just who they were, how they lived, and what made them get out.
I made it down to the road and met up with Bass right before 7:00, which is when Caz and Scott were meeting me to pick me up. It was perfect timing as I was coming through a pasture to the road right at they drove by. There was no trail marker at the road so they wouldn’t have known where the crossing was otherwise. I am flying to Philly tomorrow to attend a couple of weddings this weekend and will get back to Virginia on Monday so they are helping me get from trail to airport. They had brought some trail magic in the form of cold sodas for us so we waited around drinking them until Stretch made it down. I said goodbye to Stretch and Bass for the next little while and we headed back to Caz and Scott’s house. They had delicious leftovers for me (after I showered so as not to offend the dog again) and strawberry rhubarb pie and ice cream.