What a difference a day can make. I woke up early, got packed, and hit the trail by 6:15 am. When I passed the Maupin Field Shelter 30 minutes later, were Scar was camping, not a creature was stirring. So I continued down the trail with visions of burgers and craft beer dancing in my head.
The weather was cooler, and the trail smooth and downhill, so it was pretty much the opposite of yesterday. I soon arrived at Reeds Gap, my intended destination for yesterday, and continued pushing hard to make it to Rockfish Gap. Once again, the trail was running beside the Blue Ridge Parkway, so there were multiple great views along the way. Rather than bore you with the step by step details, I’ll let the pictures provide the thousand words for this section of the trail.
I still believe that the trail designers design the trail to be easier when headed towards a trail town so that hikers will be happy and spend more money. It was certainly easier today. I was moving so fast that I almost stepped on a toad, and he didn’t appear too happy about it. Later in the day, I passed a couple of ladies who were day hiking and told them that I was headed for town. They told me that I only had about an hour to go. I thought to myself that it might take them an hour, but I would be there in 40 minutes. I crushed the last 8.5 hours to Rockfish Gap in under three hours.
At Rockfish Gap, I waited a short time for the Enterprise Car Rental people to pick me up, and in no time I was on the way to Waynesboro, VA. Timing here was critical. Scar was a couple of hours behind me, and Boo Boo was hot on the trail to Reeds Gap with an ETA of 6:15 pm. So after I completed the rental car paperwork, I checked in at the Quality Inn, dropped off my gear, took a shower and changed clothes, sent a text to Scar with the room number, and started driving down the Blue Ridge Parkway towards Reeds Gap.
After arriving at Reeds Gap, within minutes of the appointed time, three hikers came down the trail and asked me if I was OnthegO. They introduced themselves as Switchback, Ounce, and another fellow who’s name I can’t remember, and they said that Boo Boo was just a few minutes behind them. They asked if it would be possible to catch a ride to Devils Backbone Brewpub, which is where Boo Boo and I were headed. Being the Trail Angel that I am, I told them that I would be happy to give them a ride, and we started loading up their gear. A few minutes later, Boo Boo arrived, and with eager anticipation, we set out for Devils Backbone.
Devils Backbone Brewery is a very hiker friendly place with great food and an excellent lineup of high quality craft beers. They have an area on site where they allow hikers to camp for free, and they provide an actual restroom that is open 24/7. The DB Brewery recently sold out to Anheuser Busch – InBev, so they are technically no longer a microbrewery, but they have maintained the rights to their brewing process, so the product quality is still there.
Boo Boo, Switchback, Ounce, the unknown hiker, and I enjoyed fantastic burgers, and tried a couple of beers from their list. It had been a long day however, so we soon called it a night and made our way to the camping area for a good night’s rest.