May 5, 1998

5/5/98 Trouveille, VA

19.3 miles (707.4 total)

We all got a jump on today. I left the shelter before 8am. Definitely was going to be a sunny morning. The walk up McAffee Knob was a lot easier than the profile led you to believe. Grendel, Swiss Miss and I arrived at a good time with the sun just over the mountains. The knob was more like a flat top with slab rocks hanging off the cliffs. Good views in all directions. After a few quick pictures, hit the trail headed for Tinker Cliffs.

The view of the valley seemed to go on forever

The trail was almost rolling hills, but they did seem to go on forever. It was all worth it when the trail had you walk the edge of the cliffs. Kind of scary but exciting. You could just make out McAfee Knob behind us.

Had a quick break at the Lamberts Meadow Shelter and kept moving because of the threatening afternoon thunderstorm. At one point, met a guy with bike gloves and helmet. He’d been out mountain biking on the fine roads when he decided to climb up one of the peaks. He found the trail and figured it was the AT when he saw me. Troy was from Roanoke and asked a few questions about thruhiking. After that the ridgeline, while generally flat, was so full of large rocks, in some places you were literally rock climbing. Saw a few turkey vultures at eye level. They’re the ones with the red head.

Finally started my descent. Looking down on the valley, Troutville looked more like a suburb than a small town. The houses were too new and too big. Saw another deer, finally a squirrel and a rabbit. The rain never did come. My feet were sore and I was tired, but nothing was keeping me from a shower in town. I was almost startled when the trail popped out of the woods amongst so many businesses like Pizza Hut and Western Sizzler.

Found Crazy already in the motel with Kadidle. Took a quick shower and headed out for all you can eat. Ended up with 10 of us there. Troutville seems to be another "speed bump" on the trail. While eating I spotted Veto walking across the street. Because I thought it would be weeks before I caught up to her, I was very excited. When she saw me, we hugged like long lost cousins, jumping up and down. The town just sucked her in just like Numb Nuts and Koop. I was happy we could hike together some more. Basically, the thruhikers had 5 full motel rooms, vegging on HBO and drinking beer.

While watching a show on the Apollo program, Crazy tells us he was project engineer for the Apollo space suits and begins to tell us about the different astronauts. Fascinating stuff.