Journal 115-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Monday–June 14, 2021
Trail Day–115
Trail Mile–-16.8/1,253.0
Location–VA-56, Tye River, then to Wyndham Resorts Days Inn, Waynesboro, AT Mile 834.4

A grand evening with Scott, Tulie, sons Charlie & Henry, also Gail from Florida!

I’ve nearly a 17-mile hike today, so I need to be on the trail early. T-Bone has gotten really good at driving the winding high mountain gravel roads, so no time is wasted getting me back to Salt Log Gap. I’m on trail right at seven-thirty.

The climb first thing is neither as steep nor as long as usual and I’m soon back on the ridge headed for The Priest. T-Bone is hiking up from the Tye River (southbound on the trail) and we meet just below the Ledges, where we drop our packs and stop for lunch (the rest of the pizza from last night).

From the Ledges it’s a very rocky 3,000 foot bail-off  to VA-56 where Safari is waiting to pick me up–as T-Bone must return to work. Ahh, but it’s not goodbye time yet as he and Tulip will be coming to the Shenandoahs to support me next weekend–and hike with me some there!

A drive north on the delightful Blue Ridge Parkway soon brings us to Rockfish Gap and I-64. Two exits up and we’re at Days Inn, our overnight accommodations for the next three nights. A good soaking in the tub (hottest water I can stand), then a two-minute walk to Wendy’s for supper and this day’s done…

 

There is nothing on this earth more
to be prized than true friendship.
(Thomas Aquinas)

Journal 114-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Sunday–June 13, 2021
Trail Day–114
Trail Mile–-15.3/1,236.2
Location–Salt Log Gap, then to Airbnb, Wintergreen Resort, Nellysford, Guest of Scott T-Bone Walker Baldwin & Tulie Tulip Kaschub, AT Mile 817.6

What a grand evening with T-Bone Walker, Tulip and their sons, Charlie & Henry. T-Bone Walker entertained us (at my request) by playing and singing. Such a happy time!

From the Wintergreen Resort back to Reservoir Road is a fair distance over long and winding roads. So, decision is to get up at five for breakfast. T-Bone prepares coffee and a tank-stoking plate of eggs, sausage and toast for me and we’re on the road by six-thirty. I’m going to have company today. Tulip will be hiking with me–like old times!

Somehow, after what seems at  least ten turns, we’re back at Reservoir Road where I ended the day yesterday. T-Bone gets Tulip and me out and hiking before eight.

We’ve a very long climbing day today, but Tulip is a very strong hiker (as I recall). She’s out and hiking ahead of me. I can’t keep up. So, she must stop from time-to-time and wait for this old hiker. Ahh, we’re having such a grand time–way up the mountain, in the clouds again.

We’ve had close to 5,000 feet of climbing today and we’re both very tired. However, after the long, energy sapping day we’re rewarded with an amazing walk across a high mountain meadow. The clouds part just long enough for a view of the rugged Virginia Blue Ridge. Could not have had a better time!

As we descend, down, down, and more down, I’m surprised as here comes T-Bone hiking up to meet me. More giddy time with another long ago hiking friend!

Evening, it’s back to Wintergreen Resort and the beautiful Airbnb home. Gail Safari Baldwin from Delray Beach, Florida, has driven two days to come support me for this coming week, and she’s made it here this evening. T-Bone & Tulip order in pizza, then T-Bone entertains us by singing and (this time) playing his steel guitar.

A remarkable day on the mountain–a memorable evening with dear longtime friends. Indeed, life is good…

 

In order to write about life
first you must live it.
(Ernest Hemingway)

Journal 113-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Saturday–June 12, 2021
Trail Day–113
Trail Mile–-14.0/1,220.9
Location–Reservoir Road, Lynchburg Reservoir, then to Airbnb, Wintergreen Resort, Nellysford, Guest of Scott T-Bone Walker Baldwin & Tulie Tulip Kaschub, AT Mile 802.3

Charlie has coffee on at six and stacks of blueberry pancakes again right away. Float the pancakes in syrup and you’ve got a hiker high octane breakfast. Thanks again, Charlie!

The trail road crossing at Little Rocky Row Run is easy enough to reach, but not a happy time. Nathan & Kimm are leaving to return home. Pack shouldered, hugs, tears, a final wave goodbye–and they’re gone.

Today is climby-climby day first thing. The high ridges here in Virginia are usually wilderness, and that almost always means steep ascents and descents–and rocky tread. Got all three this morning, especially the ascent, over 2,000 feet of steady up. But on the ridge–surprise! Friendly, delightfully manicured trail!

The day started iffy and never cleared, the peaks and adjoining ridges in the clouds. Vistas are socked in, no views. Such a disappointment as I’d been so looking forward to returning to and enjoying the view from Little Rocky Row–but it was not to be.

Today I cross over Bluff Mountain for the fourth time, and for the fourth time I find myself standing, tears flowing, before the Ottie Cline Powell Memorial.

Read the story of Ottie here!

Ottie was a child of four when he died of exposure, alone, on Bluff Mountain. The story about the sad ending of this little boy’s life just rips your heart out.

Dear thru-hiking friends from Odyssey ’98, Scott T-Bone Walker Baldwin & Tulie Tulip Kaschub, have come from Roanoke to support me for the weekend. They’ve rented a beautiful Airbnb home in the nearby Wintergreen Resort. I’ll be staying with them as their guest tonight and tomorrow night.

At Punchbowl Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, where the trail crosses, I’m resting in the shade having a snack when who hikes up to greet me but Tulip. What a joy seeing this dear friend again after nearly two decades! It’s four miles to Reservoir Road where she’s parked (then hiked in to greet me). It’s a giddy time as she hikes back there with me!

At the Airbnb I once again see my dear friend, T-bone Walker, and he and Tulip’s two boys, Charlie and Henry.

A hot soaking in the tub (in my private quarters), then burgers from the grill (by T-Bone Walker) and this chalks up as one mighty fine day…

 

When you meet with your old friends,
you recollect some of the finest moments of your life
and find yourself in a joy that has no comparison.
(Syed Badiuzzaman)

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