Mile: 727.5 - 757.4 (29.9 miles)
My intention to leave early to help beat the heat was genuine but a complete fail. The continental breakfast at the hotel was filled with other hikers dawdling so I didn't feel quite so silly and got to chat with everyone. Rest Stop and I started this section together to have some company the first few miles.
The first miles felt secluded but were accompanied by the low rumble of traffic and suburban life as the trail skirted interstates and private property complete with cows and screaming children. But it was pretty and a great lead in to the mellow day ahead.
I heard a funny huffing noise and looked up to find this guy. A yearling maybe?
My photos were fuzzy so I stole some of rest stops:
The whole day turned into slow rolling climbs that I barely noticed because of the lovely breeze. The first shelter was still crowded at ten am and I leapfrogged at least 15 hikers until lunchtime.
After that the trail cross crossed the blue ridge parkway allowing for excellent views and such an enjoyable day. Cloud over and a breeze make such a difference and I'm so glad to be back on trail after so many days off. Sure there's the heavy pack and sore muscles but it's more than worth it. Two days off are wonderful, three are always a bit much.
One of the many road crossings along the blue ridge parkway.
And for some real scale, such a tiny turtle!
The last water of the day is not of a river complete with a pretty dirty cement road overpass, parking lot and a group of I'm guessing Boy Scouts. It's crowded and muggy and I'm happy to climb away from the shouting.
There are no snakes on planes out here but apparently they are in trees. I just about had a heart attack when what I thought was a squirrel dropped out of a tree right next to the trail to discover it was a pretty startled black rat snake. Not poisonous but acting like it wanted to strike. I certainly have that guy a wide berth.
Camp is at the top of the ridge and it's a beautiful sunset through the trees. There's even a breeze which feels fantastic.
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