Miles Hiked: 12.8
Miles Left: 1552.0
Ending Location: Mile 633.3, Clendennin Rd, Comfort Suites Hotel, Blacksburg VA
Today started with us relocating to Blacksburg. It made more sense as we continued to hike further northeast, and quite honestly there is more stuff to do there. That turned out to be a bit more complicated than expected though as Owl had made the hotel reservations online and we didn’t find out until we showed up that they had booked us in the Comfort Suites in Radford instead… We lucked out though in that the hotel clerk was planning on hiking the AT herself so not only did she set up a room for us, but she honored the lower Radford price, and more importantly with a wink and a nod allowed us to go with the story that Foxy was a service dog. So all of us including Foxy the seizure detecting dog piled into the room and dropped off our stuff before heading out to hike for the day.
No, of course we didn’t head directly to the trail. Owl and I wanted to drive everyone through Virginia Tech’s campus first and then we grabbed lunch at Gillies which was one of my old favorite vegetarian restaurants. Then for dessert we made an impromptu stop at Gobble Cakes for some gourmet cupcakes. Because you know, cupcakes are hiker fuel… Hey we didn’t pick up beer for the trail so give us some credit!
Once we made it to the trail itself it was a rocky but fairly easy day of hiking. I wasn’t feeling all that good but I put it down to lunch and allergies as plants were certainly blooming. The planned highlight of the day was Angel’s Rest which was a rocky outcrop overlooking Pearisberg, but I thought the best view was a mile before it where Owl and I stopped for an extended break. After Angel’s rest the trail dropped down into Pearisberg and I’m pretty sure went through one dude’s backyard. It then crossed the bridge at US 460 which was a surprise since I must have driven across that a hundred times back in college and had no clue the AT ran along it. Then we walked along a chemical plant and did the most pointless two miles of the trail yet since if the trail had instead followed the road to the same ending location it would only have been 0.3 miles, (we measured it). What made it worse was the detour took us along a real life toxic waste dump, (or solid chemical waste storage facility), where needless to say we did not drink the water. The fact that I could taste the chemicals in the air freaked me out a bit.
Once Owl and I were picked up by everyone else we headed off to The Cellar to wash the toxic taste out of our mouths with slightly less toxic beer. We lucked out with some live country music playing and people dancing so it turned into a great evening.