Partnership Shelter to Chestnut Knob Shelter – 34.6 miles
We are out by 6 AM. What a gorgeous Easter Sunday! Clear blue skies with cool morning air that warms to 75 degrees. It’s nice to see the sunrise as we’re hiking. We only have 11 miles to The Barn Restaurant where I have a mail drop and we can eat breakfast.
We arrive at the restaurant well before the start of the buffet at 11 AM. We decide not to wait for the buffet, so we order from the menu. I get a hiker meal deal of coffee, pancakes, hash browns, bacon, eggs, and sausage. I talk to Linds briefly and Cloudwalker calls his folks again. As I’m sorting through my seven day (holy cow this is a lot of food) mail drop, Cloudwalker heads down the street to the gas station to resupply.
This seven day resupply is my largest yet. It is huge and I hope I can carry it all. My pack is fully expanded to its maximum capacity. Cloudwalker basically looks at me and shakes his head, probably thinks I’m nuts to carry this much weight, which is mostly food. My pack is huge and probably weighs 50+ pounds.
Once we leave the restaurant, I fall quickly off pace. I hike the remainder of the day alone, but never too far behind. What a beautiful day it is! I talk to Lindsay for about 30 minutes on speaker phone while hiking along.
We have two doses of trail magic today. On our way to breakfast this morning we stop at Lindamood school, an 1894 one-room school house, to consume Mountain Dew and cookies. The second is at the stile on the north side of VA 610, where I have a ginger ale. There are many beautiful views during this beautiful day.
Late in the day, I walk the last climb to the shelter which sits at the top of a hill on the edge of this meadow. The gradual ascent is so peaceful as the sun sets and shines on the long mountain range (trail east), what looks like a few miles away. This setting is when hiking late in the day is awesome. The setting sun and no one is around. No one in the world is experiencing what I am right now!
I get to the neat, four-sided, enclosed stone shelter at 8 PM. It’s full, but Cloudwalker has one of the bunk platforms and says he doesn’t mind sharing. I take him up on the offer and we sleep head to foot on the bunk, which is about the size of a two-man tent.
While hiking this morning, Cloudwalker asks me if I know what the double blazes mean. “Yeah, of course.” He says he just learned what two blazes mean! What! We are over 500 miles up the trail!
Hopefully tomorrow will be a big, complete (no interruptions or problems) day again.
Last one here, first one out.