April 27, 1998

4/27/98 Pearisburg, VA

22.4 miles (615.2 total)

The original plan was to do 15 miles to Doc’s Knob Shelter. But the trail was so nice and we made such good time, I really thought 23 miles into town might be possible. Veto and I hiked most of the time together. By time we reached Doc’s Knob Shelter, the temperature had really dropped. Add the on/off again rain-fog-mist. I just didn’t want to stay in a cold shelter. So we began to eat all of our snack food as fast as we could. Then took off while Smiley stayed to cook a hot meal.

A long 23 mile day hiking with Veto

The trail continued to be relatively easy and fast - until! We’re going along. Then all of a sudden have a right hand turn straight up. A long climb up loose gravel - what fun. But once up, we were on the ridgeline again. The only thing that slowed us down was the large rocks on the trial. It didn’t seem to matter how big and flat they were, when you least expected it, they moved. So you really had to be careful. The sun started to peak out even though the valley was still shrouded in clouds. Then, just before we were to descend down the mountain, the clouds blew away and we saw Pearisburg. A teaming metropolis compared to all the other cities we’ve been in so far.

The clouds broke and got our first view of Pearisburg

We started the long climb down from "Angels Rest" on Pearis Mountain. By this time, Veto and my feet were starting to get really sore. We’d gone over 20 miles today. I was hoping the blister on my heel would be OK for a few more miles. And we started going down, down, down. After awhile, my knees were in complete agony. Veto and I seemed to be delirious because of the pain, making jokes, saying funny things and generally being silly. 2½ miles down. The bright side was the incredible plant-life as you got lower in elevation. Lots of green flowers in bloom, others coming up. Even got scratched by some wild rose bushes. Then all of a sudden, the trail emptied out into someone’s back yard. At first, we thought we’d somehow got off the trail, but at the street curb was an Appalachian Trail sign.

Got out the guide book and started to hitchhike to the catholic church hospice. Unfortunately the road was not busy this time of night, about 8pm on a weekday. We’d probably walked another ½ mile uphill before someone picked us up. Steve was running an errand but would be glad to give us a ride to the hospice. When Veto mentioned Dairy Queen, he offered to drop us off while he did his other shopping. I was very reluctant to leave our packs in the back of the truck but he said he’d be right back. One "large" Blizzard later, he whisked us across town to the church.

Layers and Godspeed were surprised to see us. Moondaddie and Toolman were there and Longstride arrived after us. Poor Smiley didn’t reach town till after dark, so he walked the whole way to the hospice. I was so sore I could barely walk. Took a shower and that was about it. I didn’t even eat any diner. But with all the good friends, we ended up talking late into the night near the wood burning stove.