Jed and I were about to enter into the Jefferson National Park Wilderness area. That would mean for us about six days of hiking with no means of resupplying. Six days of food was loaded making the packs heavier. On top of that it was supposed to rain for the next two days. The morning was cold and damp.
Jed had to mail his guitar to the next place we’d be stopping and, of course, the post office wasn’t open so we returned to Friends and Family for breakfast again. The place was packed and Kelly was again the only waitress with one cook. Everyone was OK with that. Evidently no one needed to be at work on time or they don’t work.
By 10:20 we were hiking and climbing a grade to the Pearis Graveyard. This was the final resting place of the city’s founding father. No one in town must think much of him because as historically minded as they were in town they were negligent within the cemetery. It looked as though the grass hadn’t been mowed in years. Jed and I roamed around the wet over boot high grass reading the markers and resolving to contact the local volunteers about the needs in the plot.
We then moved on snaking our way around a small hill and onto U.S. 460 in order to cross the New River. Once on the other side we skirted the U.S. Celanese Plant before climbing the ridge across the highway.
One more reminder of civilization presented itself to us before entering the Jefferson National Forest Wilderness. Non Potable Water. The reason was clear a moment later….. the county landfill tucked away in the forest out of sight and maintained with a chain link fence. We worked our way beyond it and we were once again in the forest. This time for six days before we reached the next town. (Faster hikers can do it in less time but that’s not us)
The promised rain didn’t take long to arrive. Out came the rain gear and pack covers. The result was few pictures of the dreary surroundings. The top of the mountain view back into Pearisburg did not exist. In the wetness I once again thought of those struggling to get by one more day. Our problem with wet feet and gear seemed to diminish.
We only made it 11.5 miles on that day. The late beginning and wet conditions made sure that our progress would be slow. The lone excitement?……… a pair of clippers left behind by a trail maintenance crew. You know you’ve had a just walk wet day when that’s the highlight.
Perhaps the next day would bring a more positive outcome. A night in the rain would soon let us know what the morning would bring when it was time to hike on.