This morning, Goodlife was packing up to go as I was leaving, so I scooted down the trail to put some distance between us. As I was making the gentle climb up from Wilson Creek, I heard someone call my name as I came over a rise. Looking around, I saw Scar packing up his tent and walked over to talk to him. His ankle was feeling a bit better, so he had decided to hike out of Daleville yesterday. With his injury, we are about the same speed, so we decided to hike together for a while.
The trail linked up to the Blue Ridge Parkway today, and runs parallel to it for many miles. I can imagine that several thru-hikers are tempted to blue blaze portions of the trail through here because you can see that nice smooth road while you stumble among the rocks below. I was surprised by how little traffic there was on this iconic byway, but I stuck to the trail and was rewarded by a gorgeous display of blooming rhododendron.
The A.T. crosses the B.R.P. many times, and it is usually at an overlook. Even though the weather was dreary and overcast, we were still able to get some decent views at the Taylor Mountain and Harveys Knob Overlooks.
Scar and I had agreed to meet at the Bobblets Gap Shelter for lunch, since it had a nearby spring. No sooner had we started to eat at this picturesque shelter, than Goodlife arrived and sat down with us. Goodlife is not only a possible norovirus carrier, but he is also your typical teenager that, having recently graduated from high school, already knows everything. If you don’t believe me, just ask him. Scar suddenly lost his appetite, and quickly packed to leave. My hunger trumped the possibility of a sudden departure, but I soon excused myself and continued down the trail.
During the afternoon, the trail continued, as it had in the morning, to alternate between walking through the flowers and crossing the B.R.P. at the big overlooks. Having been passed by Scar and Goodlife, I finally crossed Jennings Creek and arrived at the trailhead parking. We were all destined for the Middle Creek Campground, 2.5 miles away, so I managed to get just enough cell signal to call for their free shuttle. A few minutes later, the nice young lady from the campground arrived, and I clambered into the back of her pickup truck to save her from my smell.
The Middle Creek Campground is a very nice place with spaces for RVs and tents. More importantly, they have a camp store with a grill and showers. Scar arrived just before I did, having walked the entire way (no cell signal), and had the idea to split a cabin. Since the rain forecast was looking dismal, I thought this was a great idea, and they actually had a cabin available! The moment we got inside the cabin, the skies opened up and the rain began to pour down.
Once the rain slackened a little bit, we took hot showers and started to feel human again. On to the next pressing issue, we went to the store and ordered double cheeseburgers with fries. Goodlife and Little Cheese were there and looked like they intended to spend the night in the game room. Little Cheese was just recovering from norovirus (which he claimed he got from Goodlife), but his brother Einstein, was really in a bad way, and was tenting down the street to stay away from everyone.
After returning to our cabin, and inhaling our burger and fries, I stepped out on the porch and chatted it up with the couple staying in the cabin next door. They are from Maine, and are headed to south Florida to escape the snow for a few weeks. They have stayed at this campground in the past and usually pull a camping trailer, but he told me that the camping rate where they go in Florida had been jacked up so high that it was cheaper to rent a vacation home. He said that he often gives hikers a ride to Rangley, ME, so I asked him to remember my mug because I would need a ride in a couple of months.
Back in the cabin, the A/C is on, our clothes are spread out to dry, and we are settled in for a nice slumber out of the rain. I hope it stops raining soon.