17 April 2021. Day 20. 10.9 Miles + 230.4 Miles = 241.3 Miles. Skyline Lodge to Pass Mountain Hut. Being Chased by the Cold

07:08. The Room With a View

For some reason I was having trouble sleeping in a real bed. I awoke at 04:00 and could not get back to sleep so I began working on these stories. I finally fell back asleep and by the time I awoke again I walked out of my room to see what kind of day we would be dealing with…….. here is what I found.

09:27. Stone Man Mountain

Action, Adventure and I pretty much lollygagged out of Skyline. A big breakfast in the restaurant made us lazy. A mile in we came to this incredible ridge line.

We spent quite a bit of time on Stone Man including the time that it took me to film the video.

09:46. Families Out for the Day

It turns out that it was some kind of National Park Day so there was free entry to the Skyline Parkway. The result was what you thought it might be. Lots of families taking in the sights. It was good to see. We, of course, got a variety of looks from curiosity, to distancing, to excited interaction and questions.

Most of the time the conversations ended with sincere good lucks and probably more then one there’s no way I’d do that. I’ve said that a few times.

10:28 Oliver from Basel, Switzerland

About 10:00 I came upon a man hiking with his two sons. They looked distraught…. he looked to be in his element. He was wearing a Baltimore Oriole hat. That, of course, initiated a baseball discussion since his Orioles had swept my Red Sox on the first series of the season. In the end we came to the agreement that we would both help one another by rooting for the other’s team when they were playing the New York Yankees. Democrats and Republicans should compromise that way.

After we passed Mary’s Rock we went into a continuous descent and came upon Oliver who had moved to Charlottesville, Virginia from Basel, Switzerland just a week before the pandemic hit. He had barely gotten a phone number. The result has been that after being here a year he has met few people.

10:56. Huey of the Green Gaiters

It’s actually quite humorous to come upon hikers and call out their names as you approach them. They have no clue how you know them. In this case we had been told that we would be seeing Southbound Huey soon and he would be wearing very green gaiters. He wasn’t difficult to spot. “HUEY!!”.

“How did you know my name?”

“You’re famous all up and down the trail because of your green gaiters”

” Well I could t stand the thought of getting black gaiters”

11:32. The View Toward Luray, Virginia.

The weather was cooperating even though we knew that it was going to be another wickedly cold night.

12:09. Top Chef

Top Chef turned out to be a chief entertainer on the trail. Hiking on a financial shoe string his pack was at 59 pounds before he literally took every piece of food that anyone would give him. “Well, I’m down 4 pounds now”. A retired electrical engineer he has a daughter teaching school in Austin, Texas.

16:45. Pass Mountain Shelter

When Action, Adventure and I arrived at the shelter Top Chef was already set up and cooking just about anything edible that he could pull up around the shelter. I wondered how many hikers had only made it that far to relieve themselves in the middle of the night but Top Chef wasn’t concerned. He had plenty of spices so I guess that it just added to the flavor. The three of us found a private quiet place away from the shelter to set up out tents.

16:52. The Kissing Tree

I guess you can all tell why this tree is called that. It deserved a picture. The temperature was dropping so I didn’t hang around to talk. At my first opportunity I made my escape and zipped into my tent closed so that tomorrow I could “hike on”.

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