May 13, 1998

5/13/98 Rusty's

13.7 miles (818.5 total)

The next morning, we awoke to dense fog, again. But with Veto leading the way, we got one of my earlier starts: 7:30am. While climbing up Priest Mountain, the sun was trying its darndest to punch through the mist. At one point, I saw a halo of blue around the sun, but it only lasted a few seconds. Seemed like another gloomy day of hiking. The climb down was long but with enough switchbacks to make it comfortable.

Becky and Wanda ran the funnest store/post office on the AT

Once down to the road, I stuck my thumb out for the 1 ½ mile hitch into Tyro, VA. Within seconds, I mean less than 30 seconds, the first car by picked me up. Her husband ran a campground 3 miles the other way on the road, so she was used to hikers. She was on her way to work. Knew exactly where to drop me off - the C &C Grocery store (and post office). Becky and Wanda were the nicest store owners I’ve ever met on the trail. They were so happy, they almost had the giggles. I bought a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and waited for Veto to get here (she’s walking instead of hitching).

She couldn’t figure out how I passed her. As she ate her Ben & Jerry’s, and opened her mail (she got a fleece shirt and a good book to read from a friend), the mist started to break up. By the time Ghandi arrived, a good portion of blue sky was above and the temperature was rising. Tyro basically is the store. So I stood out front by the "Tyro" sign with my thumb out again. I always wave at the people that pass me by. After a few minutes, a guy going the other way pulls in, "Hop in." "I’m headed back to the Appalachian Trail" I said pointing the other direction. He said, "I know". Ghandi and Veto jumped in right after me, as he drove back to drop us off at the trail.

Crossed another hiker suspension bridge across the river Tye. From there it was another hike up out of the river valley. By now, its almost all blue sky and getting warmer. The climb was steady up to the next shelter, about half way up the mountain. What a pleasant surprise to use a brand new privy - with a clear plastic roof and everything. So special, I had to take a picture.

Ghandi and Veto cross the Tye River bridge

After a quick lunch, it was back to climbing the mountain. Soon the terrain became some of the most difficult in recent memory because of so much rock. Thought I had finished the climb at Chimney Rock, but when I came around the corner, there was another peak ahead. So up again towards Three Ridges.

My vote for best privy!

The disappointment was it was shrouded in clouds. No views again! On the way down, Veto and Samson had found a good rock overhang to take a break. It gave us good views of Priest Mountain and the Tye river valley. But Three Ridges still was covered in the clouds. Finally headed down toward the next shelter 2 miles away. By now its getting down right hot. I’m sweating like a pig. Lots of grassy areas near the shelter. Hope there’s more like that up ahead. And I just had to use another brand new privy before heading to Rusty’s.

Veto, Samson & Delilah take a break on Three Ridges
with an obscured view of the Priest in the background

The walk to Rusty’s included a 1 mile forest road walk and 1 ½ mile walk along the Blue Ridge Parkway. My feet were pretty sore when we finally saw "Rusty’s" on a pipe gate on this dirt access road. Walked our way down to the compound, reading signs tacked to the trees.

Went up to the main building and Rusty’s taking a rest. Rusty looks about 60, long blond beard - looks like a farmer. "My home is your home" he says. Almost every available wall and ceiling space is covered with pictures of everyone who has come through here. This place is very unique. The privy looks like a phone booth. Plus there is a fire plug for pissing, and a urinal out in the back yard. The cola’s are stored in the spring house.

The highlight of the evening was the wood fired hot tub. Definitely cures what ails you. A few people headed for Trail Days stopped by. One guy drove all the way back to Waynesboro to get pizza. So proceeded to stuff myself just before bed. Talked with Buck and Snickers while in the hot tub about their upcoming Europe bike trip. The best thing about the day was when Smiley showed up. His feet were sore but he was in very good spirits.