April 21, 1998

4/21/98 Partnership Shelter

19.9 miles (516.2 total)

Mountain Man and I got an early start today. I was half packed when I stopped to watch the sunrise. It was pretty chilly so I was anxious to get moving. It was a fairly easy hike with one long hill (or bump). The hiking did take the chill off. We pass a few good waterfalls, but wished it was about 90 degrees so we could take a cooling dip.

One of the many stream crossings

When we stopped to hitch into town at Dickey Gap, we got cold again fast. We tried to look like "pitiful" hikers but car after car passed us by. Finally after 30 minutes, a couple of guys going trout fishing picked us up and took us into Troutdale. Took me right to the post office.

I’m really surprised that they could keep someone busy here because all I saw of Troutdale was Ray’s Grocery & Deli, the bank and post office, with a few houses here and there. He was still using the old postal scales. Ate a quick lunch with Mountain Man and mailed a few things home. Was able to limit my town stay to less than 90 minutes. Although Ray offered me ride after his next cashier got there, a younger guy just stopping for a sandwich offered me a ride back to the trail. Said my good byes to Mountain Man, who was hitching back to Damascus because he has a wedding to go too. Maybe he’ll catch me before Harper’s Ferry.

Crossed farms hiking through the Virginia countryside

Believe it or not, I caught up to Samson and Smiley by the late afternoon. I’d stumbled upon Ghandi at the first shelter. I’m always surprised to catch him. All four of us were looking for a campsite a few more miles north but the trail was either rocky ridgeline without water to swampy rhododendrons. So we ended up doing a 20-miler to the Partnership Shelter at the Mount Rogers Headquarters. They’re not quite done but it is one beautiful shelter, all timber-frame-log. The hot showers and toilet are the only thing left to do - too bad for us. Ran into Chunky, Straight Away and Lynx already at the shelter. Tried to order some pizza from the headquarters phone but they wouldn’t deliver that late.

My faithful hiking buddies turned "Benedict Arnold" by refusing to sleep near me because of my snoring. So I moved up into the loft with Chunky and the guys. Smiley set out traps but was very surprised to get a mouse within an hour because of the newness of the shelter. Weather forecast is for more rain - wonderful!