Saturday–June 5, 2021
Location–VA-624, then to Four Pines Hostel, Catawba, Joe & Donna Mitchell, Proprietors, AT Mile 704.5
No problem getting a good night’s sleep at Four Pines. Surprising, though the bunkhouse was nearly full to capacity, not a soul was sawing timber!
I’m up early this morning, so is Sprocket. There are two coffee pots in the bunkhouse kitchen. I get one cranking. Sprocket, the other. Then Carebear comes in and starts mixing up waffle batter. Two dozen eggs cracked and whipped and soon there’s not only steaming hot coffee, but syrup-boated waffles and scrambled eggs for the coffee to wash down. Hey, everybody’s up now!
Breakfast chores done, Carebear loads us and we’re soon back to VA-621 to resume our hikes north. A group selfie with Carebear and we’re off to Dragon’s Tooth (a giant projectile-pointed boulder rising from the southern end of Brushy Mountain.
The mandatory uninterrupted climb, this one to the ridgeline on Brushy Mountain, and we’re soon in the East Brushy Mountain Wilderness. Here the ridge starts getting dicey and we’re soon into another cobbed-up pile of rocks and boulders.
I’m making no time today! There’s simply no way to scamper this jumble without serious risk of busting it.
Today, I’ll be paying my respects once again to Audie Leon Murphy, our most decorated WWII infantryman. There’s a monument placed in his honor on the high ground at Brush Mountain.
We pass 700 miles on the AT today.
Late evening I finally reach the ledges (an outcrop of boulders), then Dragon’s Tooth. Both are memorable AT locations from previous passes thru.
The descent from the heights of the ridge down to the highway is slow and treacherous. I stumble my way down. The Salty Express is waiting at the VA-624 with cold drinks (thank you Lord–and Salty). Salty loads me and we’re soon back to Four Pines Hostel. Donna and Joe have BBQ pork (and all the trimmings) waiting. I grab a plate, and Sprocket shoves an ice cold Sprite in my hand. Best way in the world to end a most memorable (but totally tiring) day. And what a day it’s been…
…through it all I still know quite certainly
that just to be alive is a grand thing.