Saturday–May 29, 2021
Location–US-52, then to Lickskillet Hostel, Mongo, Proprietor, Bland, AT Mile 591.8
Mountain Garden Hostel in Burkes Garden is a fine era-furnished old farm house. We enjoyed a relaxing stay.
Fresh coffee and a tank-stoking breakfast prepared by Lemonade and I’m good. It’s a misty morning as Rachel drive me up the winding VA-623 Garden back door road to VA-623. I’m back hiking at nine-thirty.
Crossing VA-623, the trail follows the Garden’s rock-strewn rim a fair distance. More rocks and off-camber boulders to stumble through before finally descending below the mist-laden clouds toward Suiter Road.
There’s a bridge over Hunting Camp Creek now, but 23 years ago, fording was the only way across. It was at this crossing that I took a bad fall, cracking two ribs, breaking my right hand (its still crippled), and bloodying my face. The bridge crossing–much better!
Down from Burkes Garden the trail becomes a cruise–gentle inclines along old wagon roads and easy, gradual ascents and descents.
Rachel hikes in with lunch, which she sets up on a trail-side bench. A very enjoyable time at halfway for the day.
More easy climbing this afternoon as (somewhere along) I pass the 1,000-mile mark for Odyssey 2021–a long and winding way. Then Rachel hikes in again to greet me as I near US-52.
Though it remained cloudy and quite cool, the rain held off and the fog burned away, making for a very enjoyable hiking day.
The jiffy in Bland has a small sit-down deli/cafe in the back. We make it just in time for supper.
From there it’s a short drive to Mongo’s Lickskillet Hostel, an old converted church. Neat place, Mongo. Good to see you again friend!
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.