That’s the VA 620 Trout Creek footbridge, my starting point. From there, I was about to walk North over Dragon’s Tooth and down to the 4 Pines Hostel. Then “Nature Boy” would shuttle me back to pick up my car. The next morning he would take me to VA Rt 311 and drop me for my 6 mile hike South, back to 4 Pines.
Two short hikes. 7 something and 6 miles. I was really nervous about these two hikes. I didn’t have any idea what the climb to Dragon’s Tooth would be like or what the hostel would turn out to be. As usual, my apprehension was a waste of energy.
All hiking is hard. Some sections of the AT are REALLY hard. At least once in every hike I have the thought that I am crazy to be trying to Section Hike the Appalachian Trail.
I will need at approximately 120 more days to finish. 4 months of days.
Crazy. Then again what else should I be doing in my life now? I can’t seem to be happy without a goal. A difficult goal. I seem to need the stress.
The Next Accomplishment.
I guess that’s ok. Has to be. It’s either that or I sit on the couch and eat and drink.
I choose the former.
Back to the anxiety of it all. What a waste of energy! It is almost always FUN! This hike was way more fun than most.
I met a bunch of great people. I got to help an injured thru hiker, do a bit of Geocaching, and stay at a unique AT Hostel.
I have unfounded social anxiety. Enough already.
Back at Dragon’s Tooth!!!
That’s the first bunch I met. A couple of old friends on the left and a couple and their dog on the right.
The old friends were here for a wedding and decided to do a day hike together. Nurse on the left. Teacher, second from the left. I can’t remember their names or I didn’t ask. They were, as most hikers, wonderful people out in nature being their “Best Selves.”
I like that description. Jess Treat in Massachusetts described her hiker guests that way. People at their “best.” Exactly.
I am way at my best up there.
The couple on the right were lovely as well. I asked them if they had “Trail Names.” The young woman said not yet and her guy said no. Then she said, “I’m going to give myself a trail name right now!” Cool!
She said “Harold.” Harold?
Her dad used to call her that when she was little. They were baseball fans together and Harry Caray was the announcer at the St Louis Cardinals games they went to together. Her dad loves Harry. His given name was Harold Caray. 25 years he did the Cards games. Her dad called her Harry. Maybe she used to mimic the real Harry. Doesn’t matter.
She told me this story, then named herself “Harold.” Touching. I felt honored to be there at that moment.
Another touching AT story that I got to witness. Just because I started up a conversation. Why do I hold onto my social anxiety?
That’s “Cheeseburger,” “Nails,” “Special Ed,” and “Nature Boy.”
Cheeseburger is a SOBO Thru Hiker on her way to Springer Mountain. Nails, another Thru Hiker headed NOBO. Special Ed is a retired Special Ed teacher. Nature Boy works off and on at the 4 Pines.
All, humans at their “best.”
I didn’t get to spend much time with Cheeseburger. She was really nice. Really focused. Taking a Zero ant the Pines, to do some wash and resupply. She had what all the Thruhikers have. Quiet self-confidence. Humility. The Trail does that to them.
“Nails,” had started at Springer and had made the decision to get off the trail the day after this photo. Severe pain. Tendonitis. Achilles. She had battled it for months. She was overcome with grief that morning.
I took her home to Front Royal. We had a great ride. She is a really nice young woman. I could tell she was relieved. We talked about all sorts of things for the entire 2 and a half hours!
That morning, before I took Nails home, Special Ed and I hiked toward each other across a rocky 6 mile section. We flew. I got in a sort of reverie. I was cruising along and there was Ed! I thought I got dropped off at the wrong place! It felt like I had gone a mile, and it was 3! It was amazing! We were both moving fast. 2 miles an hour is a good pace for me over terrain like that.
Special Ed camped somewhere that night. I went back to the hostel and packed up for the ride to Front Royal. We made a plan to meet for dinner in Daleville the next evening.
I went to Liberty University that next day to watch Delaware Tennis and then back to Daleville to meet Ed. He arrived before me. We had dinner at Enzelle’s Diner. Great food always there. Ed and I were instant friends. We are a month apart in age, both retired teachers, and live 45 minutes from each other in PA! How weird is that? Not weird at all. Just Trail stuff.
After dinner we found 3 of Ed’s Geocache whatevers. I don’t know the right terminology. It’s like a world wide scavenger hunt. He kept warning me not to get hooked! I’ll admit. I am interested…
Ed is a really great guy. Easy. We will see each other again soon. We are planning to have lunch soon. His best friend, who Thru hiked the trail, will be joining us. He lives 10 minutes from me!!!
This was one of my favorite hikes ever. The VA Triple Crown is worth every step. Tinker Cliffs, MacAfee Knob, and Dragon’s Tooth. I will do them again one day.
I am still worn out. Can’t seem to get the writing flowing. Feels disjointed. Maybe I just can’t put this one into words. Too much great stuff. I loved the hiking and I loved the tennis.
Here are a few more shots:
What makes a hole in a tree like that???
The whole ridge is covered with huge plates of rock, pushed up in some massive geological event.
Complete with chickens!
Kelly and her team.
Liberty University was stunning!!!
I stopped at the Shenandoah National Park on my way home as always. $10 for Senior camping and amazing sunsets!