May 12 - Trimpi Shelter (520.0)

- Rock soup, fit for cattle
Despite thinking I might sleep in, am up and on the Trail at 7, letting Hermes know as I'm leaving.
The first part of the Trail is similar to yesterday in that I'm using a Trail that's shared with what I assume is cattle, but they are nowhere to be seen. The Trail starts dry enough, edging higher, but joins a rogue stream and turns into a rock soup. At the end is The Scales, a livestock corral, empty save one lone tenter.

At this point the Trail goes in two directions, and guess correctly the left is the right way. Up and through two stiles, down a rocky hill, and to first shelter. It's 9:20 and have covered 5.9 miles, a good start. Talk to a southbound hiker en route to Damascus and Trail Days, set to open on Thursday.

Leave shelter and get lost for the first time. Don't see that Trail continues across the gravel road I'm at, and instead take a left down the road for an errant half mile. Realize there are no white blazes after fumbling around, and return thirty minutes later.

Come to second shelter, almost 11 miles from today's start, at 12:20, another good section given the amount of stone and rock on the Trail, plus getting lost. Am to meet Hermes here, and he arrives 45 minutes later. He got lost too, but close to our original shelter. An ATC Trailrunner is here, we saw him yesterday, and he's only the second Trailrunner we've seen on the Trail. He's interested in the navigational issues, plus my opinions on the Trail conditions noted yesterday. At least he SEEMS interested.

I leave 30 minutes before Hermes, and a few minutes later see what appears to be a Mennonite couple, the husband tells me they have water for me at a road crossing in 4.5 miles. They are carrying little, and zoom ahead.

Take a brief break at mile 14 with Miss America, who is having a tough time with her new, lighter Ridgerunners (heavier road running shoes). She, wisely, mailed her old hiking boots to a nearby post office in case the new shoes didn't work out. Just needs to find a ride to pick them up. She leaves and I follow a few minutes later.

Arrive at the road where the water should be, and there's a van with the family in it. The husband has a water cooler almost full of ice water, which is heavenly in my warm water pack. Miss America is there and they're going to give her a ride to town. All ends well.

Only four miles to go, and at two mile mark get a strong enough signal to call Deb. Last two miles are a stony mess, but enough on that topic. Get to shelter at 6 PM, which minus the hour for lunch means an average speed of two miles an hour including getting lost and breaks. A good day for speed, but we agree this is not the pace we want to sustain and have an enjoyable trip.

Tomorrow a resupply nearo in Marion, VA. 


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