May 10, 1998

5/10/98 Johns Hollow Shelter

17.4 miles (764.4 total)

Got up this morning and said our good-byes to Kevin, Cliff, John and Henry. The plan was to hike 12 miles to the next shelter with a side trip to the Devils Marble Yard. Yesterday I was photographing a single trillium while today I passed whole hillsides of them. Besides, the rhododendron blooms, the mountain laurels are close to blooming. Coming down the path, I saw my first woodchuck. It was the size of a small dog. He looked at me for a second while crossing the trail, then he took off for the woods.

Wading through meadows of trilliums

A pretty easy hike all day to the Belfast trail. It was covered with blowdowns. I still wanted to see Devils Marble Yard so I took my jacket, camera and water and tried to go the 1½ miles. I didn’t get ¼ mile when I decided the blowdowns were many and getting harder to get around. Funny thing was, the AT the last 3 miles to the shelter had quite a few blowdowns itself.

The trail wound it's way through Virginia

The Matt’s Creek shelter is in a nice location. The bridge crosses a good size creek that the rocks funnel into "human" sized chutes. Almost stepped on a brown-yellow stripped snake - scared me to death! But I still watched him hunt for a while. And took pictures of butterflies and skinks that let me approach before taking off. Waited for awhile for Veto to show up.

It was so early, we decided to hitch into Glasgow for supplies, something to eat, and to call our moms for Mother’s Day. As we got closer to the James River, the mountain laurel were in full bloom. Ended up waiting over 30 minutes for the 8 mile hitch into town.

Bought way too much junk food. Then headed across the street to the Blue Ridge Restaurant. After a fine meal of an egg sandwich and 2 grilled cheese, I called mom. The restaurant’s owner, Dan, has another business in Buena Vista which is frequented by hikers. He offered us a ride as an excuse to get out of the kitchen.

Almost missed the blooming of the rhododendrons

As soon as we got back on the trail, we ran into Lyle, a truck driver from Illinois who’d just dropped off Toolman and Longstride. Turns out Lyle’s girlfriend did the AT thruhike about 10 years ago.

Finally made it to the shelter, still carrying grocery bags of stuff that didn’t fit in the pack. Besides Toolman and Longstride, Smiley is here. He’s thinking of changing boots to try and fix his tendonitis problem.

All in all, a good day, 17.4 miles and a town stop.