Journal 109-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Tuesday–June 8, 2021
Trail Day–109
Trail Mile–-17.3/1,168.2
Location–Peaks of Otter Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway, then to Super 8 Motel, Daleville, AT Mile 749.6

Well, I’ll tell you what: Daleville is a gold star hiker town! Coming in by trail and reaching US-220, looking to the right there’s a Howard Johnson Express and a Motel 8. Only a block or two away there’s a Kroger plus most fast food restaurants. And by golly, hikers are welcome in Daleville. How about that!

This will be our (me, Nathan, Kimm) second night at Motel 8. Highly recommend it; a fine place. We’ve been to Three Li’l Pigs BBQ and Angelle’s Diner. Both are great local establishments. Three Li’l Pigs offers complimentary banana cream dessert to thru-hikers! Yup, just a mighty fine trail town.

Another climb first thing this morning to Fullhardt Knob. Then comes a bunch of ups and downs across spurs and into ravines, with the last climb (before reaching the Blue Ridge Parkway) being in excess of 800 feet.

A few decades ago a bunch of like-minded long distance hikers (mostly retired military fellows) put together a loosely organized group that became known as the “Blue Blazin’ Hobo Hiker Trash from Hell.” I had the great pleasure of joining them back in ’98 (by fulfilling the two main requirements): 1. Claim to be a long distance hiker, and 2. Profess to going some other way than the AT white blazes at some point on your thru-hike. I managed to meet both. I certainly was considered a long distance hiker, and while hiking the trail next to the Blue Ridge Parkway, I veered over to the Parkway to road walk it a fair distance (blue blazing).

Well, today, after over two decades of delinquency I decide to reactivate my membership by hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway again, from Taylor’s Mountain Overlook to Peaks of Otter Overlook, a distance of some five miles. This short section of the AT is little more than a stepchild of the Parkway, following along below it, the views being mostly of the Parkway culvert pipes. And from the parkway there? Glorious vistas–Taylor Mountain, Pine Tree Overlook, and the magnificent and mystifyingly Peaks of Otter (from where can be heard the Pipes of Pan). None of these views can be clearly seen from the trail.

Of course, this whole hiker trash thing came to be in order to add a bit of levity to the (serious) notion that to truly hike from Georgia to Maine, one had to follow the exact AT path and pass every AT white blaze. Well, today there remain a few hard noses who can’t (or who refuse to) wrap their heads around the casual “Blue Blazin’ Hobo Hiker Trash” approach. Ahh, but there are fewer and fewer of them!

"Trail Magic" Ice Cream from Freezy's Creamery
“Trail Magic” Ice Cream-Freezy’s Creamery

What a wonderful day I’ve just spent on the AT. As I arrive the Peaks of Otter Overlook Nathan and Kimm are relaxing, enjoying the view across the Meadows of Dan–to the mystic Peaks of Otter…

 

 

Far o’er the Peaks of Otter,
Across the Meadows of Dan,
Hark, from afar they beckon–
The mysterious Pipes of Pan.
(N. Nomad)

…and the Pipes [of Pan] were playing softly as they always do
when a man has listened to their music and followed it…
 (Sigurd Olson)

Journal 108-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Monday–June 7, 2021
Trail Day–108
Trail Mile–-11.3/1,150.9
Location–VA-652, then to Super 8 Motel, Daleville, AT Mile 732.3

Lambert’s Meadow Shelter is an okay place. The floor slopes off toward the creek and if there ever was a meadow, it’s long been gone, all overgrown now. Sawmill Creek runs good volume and the water is sweet. I was totally dehydrated when I got in last evening, having hiked the dry ridge most of the day. So, having the nearby creek to get rehydrated was a pure blessing.

There’s a moldering privy (modern terminology for old fashioned outhouses) and I stop by this morning on my way back to the trail. I’ve some pleasant (to my feet) trail before the climb back to the boulder strewn ridge. Slow going again, but from the ledges and cliffs along it’s time to slow down–spectacular views to the valley from both sides of the ridge.

Early afternoon, arriving Daleville, awaiting to greet me are dear friends Nathan & Kimm Wright. They’ve come to support me this entire week. What joy seeing them again!

Evening, we’re treated to supper at Texas Roadhouse by Stephanie & Valerie, friends from Alabama who’ve sent a generous gift.

A beautiful day!

 

A friend is one of the nicest
things you can have,
and one of the best things you can be.
(Douglas Pagels)

Journal 107-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Sunday–June 6, 2021
Trail Day–107
Trail Mile–-16.4/1,139.6
Location–Lamberth’s Meadow Shelter, AT Mile 720.9

I’ve had another great night’s rest here at Four Pines. The hostel was packed, bunks full, couches occupied. If there happened to be any snoring, I never heard it. Six o’clock my alarm goes off. I’ve got this coffee thing down–fresh coffee brewing right away. Sprocket is up too. He’s get the second pot going. Waffles and scrambled eggs again this morning. Sprocket cranks them out for everyone. Oh yes!

It’s a short distance down to where the trail crosses the road, no more than two- or three-tenths, but the road is narrow, very busy, no shoulder. So, soon as Sprocket gets breakfast out, he runs us down to the trail. I’m into the first climb of the day by nine.

This section of trail (my memory serves me well, from 38 years ago) is certainly one to remember, what with the trail passing both McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs.

It has been a long day, some tiring climbs, and of course, the ever present rocks. The old axiom “A picture is worth…” Got a few keepers today…

 

The unimaginable always becomes
the unforgettable.
(Geoffrey Beene)

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