Day 75: 22 miles
This morning we broke camp at our site by the road nice and early. There was a fairly big climb to start off the morning but I was glad to be doing it at the coolest part of the day. I was pleasantly surprised that the climb wasn’t nearly as tough as I was expecting. And once we reached the top the trail was nice and cruisy for a few miles.
About 5.2 miles into the morning the trail crossed a river and the bridge was washed out. High water levels caused the bridge to literally float down river earlier in the season. Fortunately the water levels were low now and we were able to take off our shoes and cross in only ankle deep water.
On the other side of the river we took a nice long break. There were loads of other hikers there doing the same exact thing too. We ate some snacks and relaxed. Then we continued on to do another 6 miles. The trail was pretty moderate with just a couple short climbs to start. But towards the end of the stretch we had to do a 2000+ foot climb.
At the start of the climb the trail was unbelievably steep. I was huffing and puffing for a while but managed to keep moving. As the climb progressed it got more and more gradual which was lovely. Towards the top of the climb I stopped off to do a quick side trail for a water source. There wasn’t any other water for a little while so I had to make the detour. I usually try to avoid going off trail for water if I can. But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
At the top of the climb there was a beautiful fully enclosed shelter, the Chestnut Knob Shelter. It was easily the nicest shelter and the best location that I’ve come across so far on trail. A few other hikers GG, Gummy Bear, and Stakes were by the shelter taking a break. Boosted and Sweet Pea had arrived just before me as well. I laid out my zlite, got comfortable, and even decided to make a hot meal for lunch.
I wound up making my Bama➡️Baxter 1000 mile mark there at the shelter. The coolest part was that the shelter was exactly at my 1000 mile mark. Not a mile more or less. Usually I wind up making it nearby the mile markers but never exactly where they are. The time has truly flown by on this thru hike. It’s hard to believe that I’m already over 1000 miles in.
After taking a nice long break there at the shelter we decided to continue on. From there we did another 5 or so miles. It was a lot of descent coming down from the shelter which made for some easy miles. Then all of us stopped off to grab some water before getting to our camp site for the night.
We did another handful of miles before finally calling it a day. When we arrived at the The Jenkins Shelter there were a few others hikers there hanging out. But no one was set up inside the shelter! So Boosted and I both wound up setting up inside. Everyone else seems to preferto tent when they can. But I love the convenience and ease of a shelter, especially when it’s entirely empty.
A bunch of hikers sat out at the picnic table and made there dinner. GG, Gummy Bear, Stakes, Breezy, and another hiker Chairman were all there. I had a nice timing hanging out with everyone.
Once I had everything set up inside the shelter I immediately took off my sweaty wet hiking clothes and put on sleep clothes. Today the sweat was making my butt chafe so bad! By the end of the day I was rubbed pretty raw and feeling so damn sore. I slathered myself in aquaphor once I changed and felt a lot better. Hopefully it feels much better tomorrow morning. I’ve never really had problems with chaffing before so this is definitely a new experience for me.
After I ate dinner I got situated inside the shelter and did a bit of writing. Then I called it a night. We only have 11 miles to go tomorrow morning to get into the town of Bland, VA where we’re planning to spend the night. I’m looking forward to showering to help with my chaffing for sure.
Day 76: 11.3miles
This morning we woke up pretty early in the shelter and got moving. Everyone else who tented last night got up around the same time as well which was nice. All of us set out and wound up going for about 4.5 miles before taking our first break. There was a beautiful gushing river and a bunch of hikers were already swimming in the water when I arrived.
From there we only had 6.8 miles to go to get to a road into town. There was a small climb and then the trail leveled out a lot. And we even got to enjoy a bit of back road walking on the final stretch to town as well. Sometimes a road walk can be a nice change of pace.
We got to the road around 11:30am and right there on the corner of the street was a restaurant. The Brushy Mountain Outpost has a small resupply selection as well as a nice long menu of hot food options. I got a burger and fries and a couple of sodas to start. Then went back for ice cream afterwards. I was in Heaven.
While we were sitting outside of the shop talking with everyone Spring Break and Tia told us that they didn’t want to go into Bland, VA. They were able to do their resupply at the general store and didn’t feel the need to go to town. But Boosted, Sweet Pea, Smokey, and I were all really looking forward to a break in town. So the four of us decided to still head in and just do our own thing. We’ll all meet back up tomorrow night at Weary Feet Hostel where we are going to stay down trail.
A few other hikers also wanted to go into Bland so all of us were able to get a shuttle ride into town together. The guys and I split a room and got comfortable. We took showers and then walked down the street to resupply at the dollar general. Then we went back to the room to relax for a while.
Later on we wound up walking down the road again to get subway for an early dinner. I had the most delicious sub that I’ve ever gotten from a subway before. It had steak and a sweet teriyaki sauce and was absolutely killer.
Once we grabbed food we walked back to the room to chill for the rest of the night. On our way back we met a total stranger and chatted him up. He was telling us that he sometimes did trail magic and shuttled hikers around. And in the end he wound up offering to give us a ride back to trail tomorrow morning! Which was absolutely fantastic because the shuttle which brought us into town typically doesn’t drive out to Bland. So we were going to have to hitch back in the morning. An often very time consuming task.
We headed back to the room after that and had a super chill rest of the night. There was a gazebo on the property of the motel so all of us sat out there for a while. It’s funny, even when we’re in town we usually wind up spending most of our time outside. All of us watched TV in the room for a while and then we called it a night. The nice man that we met earlier today is going to pick us up in front of the motel bright and early tomorrow.
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek’s ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.