Day 76: Lots of weird critters on the trail

Miles Hiked: 14.5
Miles Left: 1564.8
Ending Location: Woods Road, Hotel La Quinta in Radford VA

Today we switched things up a bit by having Stude and Foxy hike with Lorax and Wiki since their hiking speeds were similar. By the time we had breakfast, dropped everyone off, and drove back to our starting point it was almost 11 so Owl and I very sensibly decided to grab lunch first. You can’t let hiking get in the way of your town food! We had heard great things about an Amish grocery store called Nature Way so we stopped by there. It turned out to be one of the better resupplies we’ve seen yet with all sorts of jerky, dried fruit and nuts. I ended up having two hot dogs topped with some of the best chili I’ve ever had. I highly recommend it! Oh and they also had some homemade ice cream which was impossible to pass up.

Backing up a bit, another reason for our late start was Owl and I had originally planned on staying at Woods Hole hostel for the night. I thought it’d be good after our stay at Fort Bastion because it was the polar opposite if it, offering home cooked organic food and yoga lessons. We stopped by there in the morning to drop off our sleeping bags, (hey we’re slack packing, don’t judge us!), only to find the owner cleaning up puke. One of the hikers had gotten sick the night before and it appears threw up on every surface there was in the bunkhouse. To the hostel’s credit they were handling it the right way by scrubbing everything down with lots of water and bleach, but neither Owl or I wanted to chance catching whatever that was so we decided to pass on staying there.

So with our bellies full Owl and I finally hit the trail shortly after noon, only to proceed to take a detour to dismal falls. It’s about 0.3 miles off the trail but the graffiti on the sign spoke well of it so why not? It was worth it. The falls themselves were small, but there was a great swimming hole and excellent camping.

Back on the trail proper it was a bit of a slog. Everything was wet from the day before but luckily none of that moisture was actively falling on us. Just about every type of creepy crawly critter was out though as I’m sure the rain had flushed them into the open. We even saw crawfish on the trail which speaks to the fact that the trail was likely a minor river less than 24 hours ago. Despite the fact we were slack packing I wasn’t really feeling tons of energy. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was starting to come down with a cold, so I’ll admit parts of the day dragged on longer than i’d like. That being said, we made great time and managed to finish up before 8pm despite our late start. Then it was back into town for another dinner at Sharkys and another night in our hotel room.

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