May 10 - Lost Mountain Shelter (482.7)

- Wood bridge on old train trestles
Another good "country" breakfast, just the two of us again, including home made biscuits and apple butter. Gerry, the husband, tells us of their time traveling through New England when they were antique dealers.

We bid them goodbye and thank them for their hospitality. It's been raining, and we are geared accordingly, but the rain is holding off as we leave.

There is a town wide yard sale going on, and a woman stops me almost immediately to show me her biscuits with gravy, only $1.50 at that booth over there, something a city person wouldn't want, but good for a mountain man like me. I let her know I just had a great breakfast over there, thank her, and move on.

Lots of people just getting in town, and we walk down the main road to rejoin the Trail. It's flat and along side the state road leaving town, but eventually we find the Trailhead, soggy wood stairs easing up and into the dark green forest.

The Trail is open, and has its usual ups and downs but generally less stressful than before. Usually after being in town, hiking can be sluggish, but we are both feeling good and making decent time. It is raining consistently most of the morning.

We come to the Virginia Creeper Trail, a converted rail-trail, with bicyclists, and follow that for a while before swerving off to continue in the woods on the Trail. Since the two converge again many miles ahead, some hikers avoid the hillier AT portion for the well groomed Creeper Trail, but not us. Heck no. We love hills. Especially when it's raining.

I must diverge for a moment. The ALDHA (Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association) came out with its spring newsletter a couple days ago, and it had a comic. A man is talking to a female hiker near a mountain, and the man asks, "What do you do when it rains?" She replies, "I get wet."

Eventually we come to the first shelter, but it's a quarter mile off Trail, but the rain has stopped, and there's a Boy Scout Troop here. We eat lunch talking with the leaders, one of whom is from Southborough MA originally, and intends to thru when he retires in a few years. The rain begins to come down very hard and we are glad to be in a shelter.

Hermes decides to make soup, as it's one of the heavier items in his food bag (hikers tend to do this, eat based on pack weight or bulk over what's appealing). I move on as the rain stops.

The next shelter, our stop point, is nearly seven miles away. Lots of streams to cross today. Come down a hill to rejoin the Creeper Trail, with a loud stream running parallel with platforms built out into the water to provide fishing spots for wheelchair bound anglers. The trail also crosses a long wooden bridge, built to honor a local lumberyard owner who was an early supporter of the area, built on the stone trestles of the prior railroad bridge. Hard not to sit down and admire it all.

Make it to the shelter and get set up, and Hermes arrives about an hour later. We make tentative plans to bump up our mileage the next couple days to see if we can make Marion in four days versus five. This would include 17 miles tomorrow (versus 11), and 20 the next day.
Tomorrow we take on Mount Rogers, over 5,400 feet and the highest location in Virginia.


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