Friday, August 14, 2015

Day 64: And into Waynesboro!

May 10: It didn't rain during the night nor even in the morning despite the small chance of it in weather reports, but my campsite had been invaded by a dozen or so millipedes during the night along with one stray snail. I flicked them off, packed up camp and headed down the trail.

It didn't rain during the night nor in the morning, but it sure looked like it could have!

Later in the morning, I caught up with a lone woman hiking along with a swing blade. It's a hand tool that's used to chop down vegetation along the sides of the trail and she was doing some trail work. We hiked together and chatted for a bit--her name was Laurie--and I apparently became inattentive towards the trail because I suddenly sprained my ankle and cried out in pain. I limped heavily at first, but mostly I was embarrassed. Here I was, walking from Georgia, and I suddenly sprain my ankle like I was a day-hiker.

Laurie was concerned about my ankle, but I told her it would be fine. I'll walk it off. I'd done worse (and I had done worse!), and the worst of the pain would likely pass quickly. The ankle would be tender for a few days, certainly, but I expected that the limp would stop after 10 or 15 minutes and I'd be fine after that--which is exactly what happened.

While we were walking, we came across another hiker named Little Boy Blue and just walking up to him, I knew that he was a little 'different.' He had tattoos on both cheeks and his forehead, and although I'm not 100% certain, they actually looked pretty permanent. Very bright and cartoonish, though, not unlike the ones I bought for the Four Horsemen earlier in the hike. Plus he had a ponytail--I guess it's a ponytail for lack of a better word--sticking straight up out of the top of his head. All his clothes were camo, but the effect was lost by his wearing shorts that exposed his bright, white legs.

Then he started to talk. I was in shock. I'd never seen anything like this guy. He talked like a young kid. He looked like he could have been 50, but he had a high-pitched voice and a manner of speech that resembled a young boy. He told us a story of a rattlesnake he had once seen, and jumped and rattled a finger in an imitation of a rattlesnake. The guy clearly had some sort of disability, but I couldn't even guess what it was. Watching him and listening to him talk, I was a little worried that maybe he was out of his element and might even be a danger to himself in the backcountry, but he had assured us that he had backpacked this section of trail many times before and eventually I decided that he wasn't a danger to himself--or anyone else for that matter. He was a very friendly guy, but wow--I'd never seen anything like this before. I kind of wish I knew more about what, exactly, his condition was, but it seemed rude to ask. I'm not even sure if he realized that he was "abnormal."

Proudfoot admires the view, or lack thereof.

Laurie's segment of trail work started at the shelter and she went to work whacking down grasses glowing alongside the trail, and I continued onwards to Waynesboro where I intended to spend the night. The rest of the day's hiking was uneventful. The trail crosses at Rockfish Gap, a few miles from the downtown core of Waynesboro, but a food truck was parked nearby--called King's Gourmet Popcorn--where I caught up with Proudfoot and I ordered a hot dog, fries and a Coke.

Tortoise, Hare and Voltron also caught up with me, and Voltron had called a trail angel to pick him up and take him into town. I decided to stay in a hotel about a half mile away and walk, but when his ride arrived to pick him up, he offered to drive me the half mile to the hotel as well so yeah, why not! Thanks, Trail Angel Bob! =)

Bob dropped me off at the Colony House Hotel. Knowing I didn't want to bother with getting a ride into town or a ride back from town, I thoughtfully had mailed myself enough food to the hotel so I could resupply without even leaving the hotel! I picked up my maildrop at the front desk while checking in and was ready to hit the trail again! I didn't, however. I had a hotel room for the night, after all.

Unfortunately, I did not have my laptop to get any real work done--that I had shipped ahead to Front Royal--so for the rest of the night I tried using my smartphone to get as much work done as I could. Which mostly consisted of answering emails and message board posts.

Some of the morning fog has started burning off!

This shelter had a memorial bench, but the thing that was unusual about this one was that it was in honor of someone who died during a Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike ten years earlier. Seemed like it should have been set up on the PCT as a warning to other thru-hikers to not walk into snowstorms unprepared!

Laurie cutting down growth alongside the trail with her swing blade.

Trail magic at Rockfish Gap! =)

The King's Gourmet Popcorn food truck.

Proudfoot got popcorn, but I got the hot dog, fries and Coke. Here Proudfoot is checking his data book about the trail ahead.

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