I’m busy chipping away at Virginia and will enter the Shenandoah National Park this weekend. I’ve loved Central Virginia for two reasons: spring weather and lots of trail magic. The warmer weather has been great; leaves are on the trees and flowers are blooming everywhere. The trail looks completely different than the dull winter brown it has been for the past two months.
Trail Magic: I recently had one of the most unexpected trail magic occurences two nights ago at Cornelius Creek Shelter. This shelter is in the middle of the woods and I arrived there around 6 PM in the pouring rain with four other thru-hikers. Suddenly this guy appears from behind the shelter (not up the trail where you would expect) and asks “hey, would you guys like some dinner?” We all reply “ummm sure. What do you have?” He replies, “I’ll be right back.”
So he disappears back into the woods and we’re all sitting at the shelter wondering what the heck this guy is doing. He comes back 10 minutes later with a big coleman stove and procedes to, in the middle of the rain, cook us eggs, sausage, and pancakes!! Totally unbelievable and unexpected. Apparently the the shelter was only a 5 minute walk through the woods from the Blue Ridge Parkway and this man John has been cooking dinner for hikers for the past week. Experiences like this really lift the spirit and help keep me going. Thank John!
I also received some great trail magic from Cascade’s parents in Troutville, VA. Cascade is another thru-hiker who completed the whole trail with her parents in 2002. Her parents are huge A.T. enthusiasts and love hikers. They took us in for the night in their home (they live about a mile off the trail), cooked us a great dinner, did our laundry, and slack-packed us the next day. Slack packing means they drive us 20 miles north on the trail and we walk south, back to their house. The benefit is that we get a day of walking in without having to carry our packs, a big break for the feet. Thank Witcher Family!
Right now I’m enjoying the clean feeling of a much-needed shower and warm meal at the Dutch Haus Hiker Hostel in Montebello, VA. Advance North!