06-18-2018. Day 104. 14.0 miles. VA 610 to Chestnut Knob Shelter. (569.2 + 8.8 = 578.0 Miles)

Tina of the Quarter Way Hostel

You couldn’t ask for a more cordial hostess than Tina. She was a 2009 thru hiker and decided that she would like to run a hostel for others. She searched for available property and found one not only just off the trail but near the 1/4 completion marker. It was meant to be. Because she was a hiker she understands their needs and provides accordingly. As in other hostels we found her trusting enough to come and go with a home full of strangers. Her 1910 farmhouse was the perfect setting….especially the rocking chairs on the front porch.

Herman the Cat

Although Tina does all of the work at her hostel the ruling force is Herman the Cat. Belly rubs are mandatory. The entire stay was like being at home making it very difficult to leave. The breakfast was beyond good and I quietly watched the hesitantly of each to leave. Stogie, Hawkeye, and I left at 0820 and it appeared that Tapioca and Goldie had no intention of leaving.

Stogie and Defib About to Depart

Goldie and I had actually walked right by the hostel the night before because we were so fascinated by the tree in the front yard. Mucho old it reminded me of some of the old growth trees in Charleston, S.C.

Tina Points the Way Up to Mt Walker. A Five Mile Climb

This was not scheduled to be an easy day. Projected mileage was 14 and the last 5 plus the first 3 miles were a healthy climb. I didn’t look forward to it. My body seemed to be holding up but the heat was cause fatigue.

Hawkeye and Tina Saying Their Goodbyes.

It’s hard to explain how quickly we become attached to one another out here. Perhaps it is because we have all shared the same goal.

The Sign Missed by Defib and Goldie.

The 14 mile hike had been difficult enough. Yet Goldie and I missed this sign because we were busy checking out the tree. It costs us another mile of hiking before we realized our mistake. I called Tina and she left Hawkeye in charge of the hostel and came to pick us up.

Another Day’s Hike Begins

Stogie and Hawkeye jump back onto the trail. In this case it would begin with a several mile climb. I knew that there was no hope of keeping pace with them.

The Range of Mountains That We Have Traversed

It always fascinates me to see what we have already conquered. At home I feel the same way as I drive into Walhalla on Blue Ridge Boulevard and can view Rabun Bald so clearly. I like knowing that I have climbed to the top of it many times.

Awkward Obstacle Course

My average time with Hawkeye is three miles. Then he kicks into gear or perhaps I just fade. Dang those 53 year old youngsters!!! Don’t they know how lucky they are to be in their 50’s and 60’s? I’ve heard people bemoan the fact that they are in their 50’s! Good grief….. own it! You’re just beginning ! If you quit doing things it’s your own fault. Climb a stile with a 30 pound pack on your back or something.

They Keep Getting Taller

Knot Maul Shelter

By the time I reached Knot Maul Shelter I was alone. I had flushed a deer I thought about the wildlife I had seen. It’s pretty skimpy.

Bear: 0

Deer: 10

Raccoon: 1

Coyote: 1 butt ( complete with tail)

Mice: 2

Turkey: 2

Rabbit: 1

Squirrel: too many to count

Chipmunk: too many to count

Birds: Alfred Hitchcock

Snakes: 1 (non poisonous)

Tortoise: 1

Just my yard has more than that plus bear and fox!

The Bridge Over Lick Creek

By the time I reached here I was exhausted and I had a five mile climb ahead of me. I decided to pull up a log and have lunch.

Two and a half miles Before Chestnut Knob Shelter

At 2 1/2 miles from the old ranger station I came upon tended land. It tended to make it more difficult because you could see how far you had to go.

John and Anita Out on an Overnight Gig

The word was out that water sources had dried up. About 1.8 miles from the next shelter I came upon a piped spring and filled my dirty bag with 2 liters of water. I had to carry it with my hiking sticks and the weight along with the heat was overwhelming. Even a storm did nothing to cool the air or lighten the load. At the spring I met John and Anita. She had hiked in with him and was going back to her vehicle with him spending the night out with us. As I set up my tent they both were gone. I guess he changed his mind.

Room With a View

It doesn’t take but a moment to set up a tent now. That is made easier when you have a view like this. The shelter was nearby but I opted for the cool breeze outside.

My Old Friend From April Hiking Was Back

It had been a long time since I had noticed the moon at night. Tonight it hung above the roof of the shelter. I slept the night away without moving an inch. The climb had been difficult and I had little contact with anyone during the day. But by evening I had reunited with Orlando from way back when I was leaving for Jan’s party, Head Shrinker, Hawkeye, Stogie, Goldie and someone going SOBO on a section hike.

Tomorrow we would begin again on our never ending quest toward Katahdin. Hike on.

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