Scar and I got out of camp early, looking forward to a short day and a hot meal in town. It was a beautiful clear day, but the forecast was for some pretty hot temperatures. The best part though was that we started out hiking down hill, and the trail stayed relatively flat for the entire day.
The trail conditions were wonderful, with lots of pretty mountain laurel blooming along the way. I managed to beat Scar to the Pedlar River Bridge where I stopped for a snack, but he soon caught up about 10 minutes later and joined me. The Pedlar River bridge was another one of those cool suspension bridges. I know bridges like this must take a lot of resources to build, and I’m always really appreciative of the engineering that goes into creating them.
After the bridge, the trail wound around the shores of the Lynchburg Reservoir. This was a really pretty lake, but unfortunately there was never a clear opening to take a nice picture. While hiking this section, I caught up with Solomon, who showed me a video of him wrestling a blacksnake off of the trail. I thanked him for his efforts in keeping the trail clear of snakes for me.
After leaving the banks of the Lynchburg Reservoir, the trail continued up the Brown Mountain Creek Valley. This area was once the site of the Brown Mountain Creek Community, a community of freed slaves who lived here in the early 1900’s and worked as sharecroppers. There are supposedly some remnants of this community in the area, but it was really overgrown and I didn’t see anything.
At the Brown Mountain Creek Shelter, I met up with Solomon, Naps, and C-Biscuit, and joined them for lunch. Just prior to arriving there, I saw a big blacksnake on the trail and took a picture of it to show Solomon that I had returned the favor. It was really hot outside, so a couple of the guys took off their shirts and went down to dip their heads in the stream.
From the shelter, there was an 800 foot climb to get to US 60. Scar does better on climbs, so he beat me to the road by about 10 minutes. We had thought that it would be really easy to get a ride to town on that road, however, there was very little traffic headed in the direction of town. We were only minutes away from giving up on our attempt to hitch a ride and calling for a shuttle, when a car turned into the parking area and a group of hikers started getting out of the car. Scar and I hustled over to the car and discovered that it was a shuttle driver named Ken Hawkins who agreed to give us a ride to town for $10.
Ken and his wife moved to Buena Vista, VA from Louisiana when they purchased a Bed and Breakfast in the area. After three years, they sold the B&B and are now semi-retired. Ken is an active hiker, and a member of the local ATC club where he is responsible for trail maintenance on the section that we will be hiking tomorrow.
The other hikers that Ken had dropped off at the trailhead had warned us against staying at the Budget Inn. So, Ken drove us there so that I could pick up my resupply package, and then he drove us to the Buena Vista Motel where we plan to spend the night. We then arranged with Ken to pick us up at 8:00 am in the morning to drive us back to the trailhead.
Buena Vista would have a lot going for it as a trail town if not for the fact it is so spread out. Scar and I walked well over one mile so that I could go to the post office, and then we continued a little bit further to go to Lewis Grocery, where I had heard that they had a grill and served awesome burgers. The nice lady operating the grill did indeed serve up some awesome burgers, and they also had a lot of homemade items in the store. So in addition to the burger, I also had macaroni salad and deviled eggs. Just as we were finishing up, the lady running the grill came by and asked us if we were thru-hikers. When we said yes, she gave us each a free brownie for dessert.
Scar took off to walk back to the motel while I went to the Family Dollar to see if they had any craft beer. They did not. So on the way back to the motel, I stopped at a little place called Sheltman’s Grocery where they had a great selection. I even picked up a couple of Bud Lites for Scar for which he was very grateful. Now we are getting settled in for the night so that we can get rested for the trail tomorrow.