Friday–May 28, 2021
Location–VA-623, then to Mountain Garden Hostel, Burkes Garden, AT Mile 576.0
Cereal and milk for breakfast, plus coffee, and I’m out and on trail. A thousand-foot climb right out of the chute. This 17+ mile day is going to be a tough go. And it proves to be just that as the thunderstorms come in and the wind starts whipping in the afternoon–for the 2,200-foot climb to Chestnut Knob. I manage to make it to the old stone shelter on Chestnut just as the storm intensifies to a total deluge. Other hikers are huddled up, but make room for one more.
By 2:30 I’ve managed 11.5 miles, with six to go to reach VA-623 (back door to Burkes Garden) through a jumble of huge, slick, off-camber boulders. And I head back out in it.
Such a blessing, Rachel Lock has flown in from Texas, rented a car, and has come to support me the next few days. She’s waiting for the wore out, bedraggled Nimblewill at the VA-623 road crossing (Rachel is granddaughter of Kate Prater, fire-spotter at Flagg Mountain for 38 years). She’s brought a bright smile, a much-needed solid hug–and a BBQ sandwich!
A short distance down to Mountain Garden Hostel (in the Garden) and this rough me up roughy-toughy day is a done deal…
Give thanks for the rain in your life
which waters the flowers of your soul.
(Jonathan Lockwood Huie)