Thurs, August 1
More real food, my first shower, and another solo stealth camp.
I wake to my alarm at 6 am. maybe I’ll hike 21 miles today, and I want to get an early start. my shorts are a little soggy in the vestibule but I put them on anyway. I pack up, make oatmeal, and drink coffee. A person walks by. I leave camp around 7:30 and quickly catch up to an older man named Camelback Santa. we chat a bit and hike together. I filter water and then catch up to Biscuit, Gravy, Ridge Runner, and Tumbledoor just packing up mid-morning. I walk with them for a bit. Biscuit is getting off trail soon because she’s 6 weeks pregnant! Biscuit and Gravy joke that Virginia is for Lovers, which is where they were 6 weeks ago. Ridge Runner has dubbed the baby-to-be Crummy.
We all hike to the Canobus Lake snack stand, have showers, and eat real food. I dry out my wet things in the sun and eat a veggie burger. Four or five more hikers show up and I don’t catch their names. I take off before the others but after Camelback Santa. I’m moving slow and very full. Filter water at a stream and carry extra because I’m planning to dry camp. So much for my 21-mile day it’ll be more like 15, which is great. I shouldn’t push it too soon anyway. I’m not in stellar shape at the moment, so I should let my body adjust to the trail somewhat slowly.
I hike on, cross the road, and begin an ascent uphill. I let a hiker pass. I’m still moving slow. Listen to podcasts. I get to the spot I was planning to camp – a woodsy patch next to a little view of idyllic farm fields – and chat with Principal (a retired former principal) as he wraps up his dinner.
I set up my tent and Principal hikes on. I make and eat my tuna-ramen on the rock overlooking the view. A SOBO hiker goes by. The mosquitoes here are ravenous and they bite up my ankles and feet. So itchy. When I can’t stand the bloodsuckers any longer, I squeeze into my little tent to write, read, and sleep.