Main item on the agenda today...get the heck out of Virginia!
Don't remember much of the morning or even early afternoon, but late afternoon I decided to make a call to a previous (would have been funny if I left the word "precious" from auto correct) co-worker in Merced. I often enjoyed giving this guy crap any chance I could, but it was great because he was a good sport and even throw some back my way most of the time. Heck, I even called the guy Lurch instead of using his real name. Anyway, I decided to call him on a whim and see how he was doing and to tell him about my experiences so far, while hauling myself up the hills in the heat. Before I even told him I was going to hike the AT, he already knew tons about it, which I thought was cool because we would always talk about it and he got me excited for it before I left. Talking to him for the brief time we had helped me a ton. Somehow caller ID at work gave me away, so while I was going to screw with him right off the bat, he got to me first. Classic! Aside from the jokes, our brief chat actually helped me out a lot. It put things into perspective, and made me remember things that I hadn't been thinking about. For all the times I either called you old, used words you've never heard of when talking to you, thrown old banana peels in your trash, and who knows what else, (in the least sappy way possible, cause I can already hear you ripping me apart for that), it was great talking to you man. You really lifted my spirits. Thanks!
As we got closer to Bear's Den Hostel, I ran into a section hiker sitting on a rock when I was climbing uphill towards him. First thing he did was tell me that I needed to at least spare him and make it at least look like it was hard coming up the hill! We got to talking and found out he was from Illinois, but had an idea where I grew up. He even offered to pay for my stay at the hostel when I mentioned I heard it was nice, but was going to pass it up. Definitely appreciated the offer, but I was hiking with Coffee and I knew he wouldn't want to stay there and have to pay, we aimed to hit 21 miles for our day, and most of all, we wanted to get out of Virginia! So, I passed up the offer. If you read this Greg, thanks again for offering that, and I'm glad we took you up on a soda and some food you wanted to give away! Hope you had a great time hiking!
Had such a good time talking to Lurch, that I gave a call to Anna at the same previous job. Now this person does deserve the name precious! It was great to catch up for the short time we did, and I hope we can enjoy some Sour Patch Kids together sometime in the near future when I head back to Merced after the trail!
Headed out of Bear's Den after enjoying a soda, snacking, seeing Gunrunner after not having seen him for a few weeks, and about 3 miles later or so, hit the Virginia/West Virginia border! The sign said 535 miles in Virginia, and boy am I glad to have cleared that! In just shy of half of the trail, we had only crossed 4 states. In the next half, we cross 10! That should make things seem like they're going faster. This point also marked 1000 miles that we have hiked on the AT so far! I thought 900 sounded good, but this sounds way better. Coffee and I celebrated with sodas, then Glasses caught up as we were leaving, so we congratulated him. The three of us headed down the trail for 0.8 left before we would hit a campsite and call it a day. We came to a rocky cliff section and met Taylor and Devon who had hiked up. We told them about our journey on the AT, and at one point, we mentioned a beer sounding good. Taylor said he had his car nearby and would go get us some. We said thanks, but decided to hike on. At the side trail to where his car was, the three of us thought it was stupid to pass up the opportunity. We stood there for a few minutes trying to decide who would go back and potentially break up a date to see if we could have them pick up beer after we had already turned it down. Just then we heard and saw Taylor and Devon running down the trail toward us. We told them we wanted to go back and ask them to help us out, but they one-upped us by telling us they were running to find us because they really wanted to get the beer for us. Taylor said it would take about 15 minutes. When I asked him if he wanted money before picking it up or when he got back, he said neither because they wanted to buy it for us because they were impressed by what we were doing. We anxiously waited for them to return, then had our minds blown when they showed up with a 24 pack, styrofoam cooler, and 2 bags of ice! We were thinking we would have a six pack coming our way, but these two trail angels went above and beyond! We enjoyed a beer with them and talked for a while, then parted ways with beers in hand and smiles on faces. Taylor - I know you're reading this buddy, so thanks again, and best of luck on your new adventure in New Mexico. If at some point you get inspired to thru hike the Appalachian Trail, you need to let me know. By then I'll have a new job and I'd like to help support you however I can on that adventure. Devon - thanks for the offer to take care of us if we needed anything in Harpers Ferry. You seem like a sweetheart! Thanks again to both of you, and thanks for showing so much interest in following our progress.
We parted ways with those two new trail angels who just got their wings, and headed the 0.8 to the campsite. 22 mile day, ending with a cold cooler of beer and a fire.
These are the days I'm going to remember. Cheers!