06-21-2018. Day 107. 13.2 miles. U.S. 52 Bland to VA 608 Lick Skillet Hostel. (604.4 + 8.8 = 613.1 Miles)

I Think That It’s Going to Rain

I’m just not too enthused about hiking wet and we were about to move into a time of multiple wet days. There’s something about being a soggy lump that just isn’t too appealing and yet……. there was this big ugly cloud coming my way. For a moment I considered extending my stay…. but…… I didn’t want a Zero Day. I would move on. In a moment Bubba was there. He was a little more conversational this time. Once at the Outpost he pointed out the way and I was once again hiking.

A Southbound Tortoise

I came upon Tortoise as he was hiking Southbound. 67 years old he had spent the previous evening with Hawkeye.

By 08:45 I came upon Laurie who was now hiking Southbound. She was the third recipient of the “How to Walk” class by Stan the Unusual Man. She had made it this far but her back had “gone out”….and her pack was a monster! “I’ve got a bad back. My doctor said not to do this hike. But it could go out sitting on my couch or hiking. I choose to have it happen out here.” I called Bubba for her. Rescue was on its way. Bubba to the rescue.

One Mighty Fine Pile of Trail Magic

My mind was on fruit. I needed fruit. I needed vegetables. I had to eat at Dairy Queen twice in Bland and my stomach was grease heavy. Sweets and grease. What a lousy combination. Suddenly I came upon a Forest Service road. Across the road were two black cases. It was difficult to make out because of the rain. Once upon it I saw that I had hit the Mother load! The case on the right was all sorts of drinks. The one on the left was filled with bananas, apples, oranges, cheese and trail mix. I threw my pack to the ground and dove in. When I couldn’t eat any more I borrowed an apple, cheese and a couple of oranges for my pack. Rejuvenation was upon me. Bless trail magic from some unknown soul.

Yabba Dabba Do

Well I’ll be darned…. I’ve done made it to another milestone. Slap my jaw and call me happy……. and wet. My celebration was a bit subdued ….. I had no one to fist bump with. I took a picture. Yay!

The Fruits of our Labors

600 mile marker behind me and trail magic in front of me. This was like winning the lottery.

It was time to hike….. but now without the feeling of grease. I was instantaneously healthy… two bananas, an apple and two oranges had done it! I was once again going to live to 120.

I moved on but with company. There was a persistent mosquito around both my left and right ear. The left ear was high pitched and the right ear had a low base buzz. I figured he must have been the guy. I wonder if mosquitoes have distinct voices where they can tell one another apart. Do they have accents? Can you tell a Yankee mosquito from a Southern mosquito by their buzz? Most importantly were these the same two mosquitoes who had been following me for the last ten miles. Surely I had been successful at least once in squashing the life out of one of the little buzzing pests. Let it not be said that I was in any way guilty of slamming my head more on the female side of my head than the male side. I was an equal opportunity head slammer. ……. and the buzzing continued.

Speaking of Seeing Hikers From The Past: I Found Getalong.

Well I’ll be I walked upon Getalong’s first cousin. He’s come a long way. Let it be known that with this sighting the tortoises have moved ahead of the hares 2 to 1 on the wildlife sightings. It was bound to happen.

Mongo and The Lick Skillet Presbyterian Church

The day was coming to a close. Actually I had made great time. I moved along 1.2 miles further than my plan to the Lick Skillet Hostel due to the threat of rain. When I hit the road Mongo was there waiting to give me a ride. “Hop in Defib”

I liked this place already. The hostel was an abandoned Presbyterian Church built in 1911. The members had built a new church when they were told they needed a new septic system. Since then it had been a thrift store and then a furniture refinishing shop. Mongo found it on Craig’s List and bought it to use as a hostel. A 2014 thru hiker he knew what it would take. He had provided every thing including ICE CREAM!!!!

I’m in Charge

The place was great and I was the lone occupant. Mongo informed me that he wanted to go out with friends and asked me if I would run the place until tomorrow. Sure…..why not. I was now in charge of the ice cream.

An hour later Goldie appeared and we then continued to have the place to ourselves. I slept the sleep of fatigue. I would be blessed with rest when it came time to hike on.

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