Monday, July 27, 2015

Day 56: Bumming around Daleville

May 2: Early in the morning, I headed to the continental breakfast and was stunned at the sheer number of hikers who were already eating. There must have been 20 hikers in that room, far outnumbering the non-hikers. Was everyone in this hotel a hiker?! And these were just the hikers who were currently eating breakfast. Some had undoubtedly already eaten and left, and others were probably still waking up and hadn't yet arrived. It was nice catching up with several of the people, though, such as Little Red and Chuckles. I recognized about half of the hikers, although when introduced to some of the unknown ones, I recognized many of their names either from the shelter registers or from talk I had heard about them.

I walked the better part of a mile just to pick up a postcard that Amanda had sent to the post office! But it was just as well... I picked up a priority mail flat rate envelope while I was there. =)

I ate breakfast, then headed back to my room to get some work done. So much work to do, so little time to do it. I was surprised when I saw Blueberry's bed was empty of gear. He had gone to breakfast, but apparently he didn't intend to come back to the room before he hit the trail again. I'd have made a point of saying goodbye to him when I left breakfast if I realized he hadn't planned on returning to the room, but I was sure I'd catch up with him again later.

Naturally, when I first arrived in Daleville, I called Amanda to let her know about my arrival and she told me that she mailed a postcard to me general delivery knowing that I forwarded my laptop to Daleville as my next big stop on the trail.

What I had failed to tell her was that I mailed my laptop directly to the hotel so I didn't have to make the nearly 1-mile walk to the post office, and that's where she sent the postcard. "You mean I have to walk a mile off trail just to pick up a postcard?!"

As it turns out, though, it wasn't really that big of deal. Amanda said it was just a postcard and no big deal if I didn't get, but I really did have to go to the post office anyhow to pick up a box to mail my laptop later to its next destination. It was nice not having to do that the day before when it was pouring rain. The postcard could wait a day, though.

And even though I intended to take a zero day, I still have this itch to walk at least 10,000 steps each day. It's a habit I formed when I started using a pedometer for Walking 4 Fun and I've walked a minimum of 10,000 steps every single day for nearly three years now. Well, except one time when I flew to Europe, lost a lot of hours in the day, and wound up about 500 steps short. ARGH! But still, I wanted to keep my streak going, so I needed some places to walk even on my off days. May as well hit the post office!

I pretty much walked a giant circle around Daleville, and I declare this the most interesting-looking building I found! =)

So I hit the post office, picked up the postcard and a couple of medium flat-rate boxes and walked back to my hotel room to deposit them. Then I walked the other direction down Hwy 220, crossing under I-81 near a somewhat terrifying intersection to walk with no sidewalks or shoulder, to Hardees for lunch. Daleville, let me tell you, was not designed for people traveling on foot!

After lunch, I studied my map and figured I'd take a more scenic route back to my hotel by walking up Highway 11 to where the AT intersected it, then hike south on the AT back to Highway 220 next to which my hotel was located. Although I considered today a zero day, I'd actually be hiking 1.5 miles of AT that I hadn't yet done. But I was walking in the wrong direction for my photos to be in the correct sequential order on Walking 4 Fun and I planned to walk out of my hotel and just start hiking north, so I'd be covering this section of trail anyhow. As such, I considered today a zero day, even though some people might have called it a "nero" (a near-zero).

Anyhow.... when I arrived where the AT intersected Highway 11, I met a young hiker with a huge pack being dropped off by a woman who I guessed was his mom, and it was. The hiker was named Spencer and I had assumed he was going out for a few days or a week or something, but as it turned out, he was planning to thru-hike the entire trail. He lived in nearby Roanoke and rather than start at Springer Mountain, he decided to start at Daleville hiking north then, after reaching Katahdin, flip down and finish the section south of Daleville. I happened to catch him as he was about to take his very first steps of his thru-hike.

His mom was bubbling with pride asking me all sorts of questions about the trail and advice I would have for her son. I didn't really have much to offer. Just take things one day at a time. I also mentioned that his pack looked rather heavy for a thru-hiker, but not to worry too much about that. He'll figure out how to lighten his load along the way and there were plenty of hikers around to give him suggestions if he wanted them.

His mom wanted a photo of us together, which seemed a little weird to me since I had just met the guy. It's not like we were good friends or had hiked together or anything, but I guess her son meeting his first thru-hiker was a moment she wanted to capture for posterity and I didn't mind. Snap away!

Eventually we parted ways. I told them I was taking a day off today and maybe tomorrow (I still hadn't decided yet), but I was generally hiking 20 mile days at this point and would likely catch up in a couple of days.

Then I started hiking south on the AT while Spencer started his hike northbound.

The rest of the hike back to my room was uneventful. I got my 10K steps for the day done, and I locked myself in my room to get more work done. For dinner, I had the leftover pizza in the mini-fridge. By late afternoon, I knew I'd take one more zero day in Daleville. I still had too much work that needed to get done.

A wonderful little mural!

But just in case you somehow missed the giant animals and mural, they kindly put up this sign to let you know. =)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

10,000 steps is always the goal set on my tracker.. i almost always fall short, unless I'm at the beach.. we walk everywhere at the beach (it's a pay to park island) haha