Sunday, June 2, 2013

Knobs and Cliffs

We woke around 6 and started getting ready.  The motel had breakfast included and we took advantage of that before heading to the parking lot about 16 miles away.  We got to the lot and started hiking around 0800.  The going wasn't too bad and the weather was nice.  Lisa was taking it slow, but we had plenty of time and if her ankle wasn't working we could always bail and come back to the truck.  

Everything was going fine and within about two hours we were at McAfee Knob.  It is a really cool place where the rock overhangs and there is a convenient place to take a photo that shows the overhand and a nice backdrop of the mountains.  There were only four other people up there when we arrived and two of them left quickly.  We took the required pictures and rested for a while.  Lisa was doing fine, so we continued on.  Our goal would be Lamber Meadows Shelter.  A 10.4 mile day.  

Us on the knob

The next interesting place was Tinker Cliffs.  The trail ran right along the cliffs for a half of a mile.  We had basically circled around the ridgeline and were now looking back at McAfee Knob.  I thought it was pretty cool being able to see how far we had walked during the day.  Lisa didn't like being that close to instant death. 

Looking back along the ridge we had just walked
McAfee Knob
After the cliffs, we headed down the ridgeside and before long we were at Lamberts Meadow Shelter.  Just before we got there a hiker came running by.  Actually running.  Shortly after that we found a flip flop in the middle of the trail.  I picked it up just in case it was the runners shoe.

There were three hikers at the shelter taking a break.  Sure enough the hiker who had ran by was the owner of the flip flop.  We checked out the area and found some good trees to put up our hammocks.  As we were putting them up, the wind started kicking up and just as we finished the rain started.  We headed back up to the shelter to wait out the rain.  As we hung out at the shelter, three other hikers showed up in various conditions of wetness.  We had some nice conversation and made our dinners as the rain did its thing and moved on.  Before long it was time for bed.

Our hammocks had gotten a little wet, but we made some adjustments and settled in for the night.  It rained off and on throughout the night, but nothing too bad.  

Before long dawn was coming to the valley.

We got up around 07 or so and were on the trail just before 0830.  The three hikers had already left just ahead of us.  Breaking down a wet camp can take a while if you want to do it right.

Hay Rock
This hike looked to be pretty level and easy according to the guide, but there were a couple rock scrambles in there that lent some challenge to the day.  We flushed a huge turkey up on the ridge.  As we circled around the ridge, we were able to look into a different valley this day.  We had great views of the Carvins Cove Reservoir and after a while Daleville itself, our destination for the day.  
Carvins Cove Reservoir
Daleville, VA in the distance
We finished the 9.4 miles in around four and a half hours.  I had a number for a local couple that do shuttles and I gave Homer a call once we got to the Howard Johnsons where we would blend in with the other hikers.  Homer said he could be there around 1600 and I was craving pizza again and lo and behold, there was a Pizza Hut right across the street.  We went over and got seated after putting our stinky packs in the other room and had some nice personal pan pizza.  My Steeler tattoo caught the attention of a hiker who was getting off the trail.  He had gone to Carnegie Mellon back in the day.  He was getting off because he wanted to start writing about his travels.  He was pretty soft spoken and I didn't catch all he said, but he was nice.

We hung out in the nice soft grass by the HJ and dried out our gear.  After a while a squall rolled in and we moved under the overhang.  We met a woman who was getting off the trail.  A taxi was coming to get her and we had a short conversation with her before she headed out.  This was her second attempt at a thru hike.  Daleville is 700 miles up the trail.  She said the last time she got this far and fell and hurt her arm and had to get off.  This time she got one shelter past her last accident and was crossing a stream when she fell in and got wedged between two rocks with her pack on.  She had to self rescue and make her way back to Daleville.  The amazing thing about all of this was this incredible woman was 70 years old.  I hope I can still hike 7 miles when I'm 70, let alone 700.   You meet the most interesting people out on the trail.  

Right on time Homer arrived and we put our gear in his trunk and headed to the parking lot.  Homer was very interesting.  An older gent who had thru hiked with his wife and two children about 10 years ago.  His kids were rather young at the time 11 and 8.  Homer now spends his days doing trail maintenance and giving rides to needy hikers.  

We got back to the parking lot and I got to meet one of the Warrior Hikers, Rob who is part of a group of Veterans who are being sponsored by VFWs and others to help them "Walk off the war".  He is the frontrunner of the group for now.  

We loaded up and hit the road for home.  

The Memorial Day weekend was coming and instead of fighting the crowds, we decided to head home and rest up over the weekend.  We had one more hike to do, but we would wait until early next week to attempt it.  

We were heading back to our home state of PA...

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