Three years and two weeks ago in 2018 I made an attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail. As most of you know it just didn’t go as planned. 852 miles into the hike I hit the deck …. well actually it was sticks and leaves, with a case of vertigo which still bothers me today. Now three years later and three years younger I’m going to try again.
My very very old and wise daughter Jessie has warned me…….”Dad, you hurt your back on the trail, you got massive vertigo on the trail, there is now a world wide pandemic while you were attempting to get back on the trail….. don’t you think you need to see this as a sign?”
You know? I guess that I maybe should do that but there is this giant burr under my saddle that is gnawing away at my tail and that aggravation extends all the way up to my pea picking brain. “You didn’t make it!”
And so this morning Jan sacrificed a weekend to haul my carcass all the way back to Catawba, Virginia and pushed me out onto VA 624 to pick the hike back up where Rich Reece and I had flipped North in ’18. It was about 11 am and in front of me were three major peaks to get over in order to get by McAffee Knob, a goal I was attempting to reach in ’18. I must say it was more than difficult to hike away from Jan but I was secure in the knowledge that she was then free from my Yankee harassment.
This picture was taken on Saturday but I’m sure that she’s more than happy to have scurried back to the safety of South Carolina.
I soon found myself hiking through beautiful Virginia farmland in valleys. Each farm so well managed, orderly, no litter. The trail meandered through multiple private pastures. The cows must like it…. they dutifully all seem to be hiking the same trail paying close attention to following the white slashes.
My mother liked this picture…. that is in comparison to the next one. This one is serene and mellow and well …. boring kinda like taking a picture of a dumb flower.
This one is more interesting to me. It gave me a whole new awareness for the constant presence of vertigo. Oh yeah… my mother didn’t like it.
But back to the hike…. at three miles I found myself hiking up and out of private lands. Very much UP and out. I had forced Jan at knifepoint to stop at Dunkin Donuts on the way and I ate at least 1,000 maple frosted donuts and washed them down with DD coffee. Everyone of those donuts made that climb with me. It wasn’t pretty!!
At 9.6 miles I made it back to McAffee Knob the site of Jan and my visit the day before. It had been packed on Saturday… today there were five people …. three young men and a women who was being impressed by one of the men doing handstands where I had sat the day before. Speaking of brain death….
There was one other couple there who had no desire to get anywhere near the edge. I offered to take a picture of them together at a location a safe distance from the edge. He said, “No, I’m OK. I liked the hike up. We’ll come back and take a picture “. They were from Delaware. Yup when “pigs fly”.
I did manage to get her to take a picture of me. Notice my left leg is crooked in the direction I wanted to go should Vert T. Go return. Luckily there were no screaming children, loud music, or high pitched voices to set me off.
Anyways a spectacular view North toward Daleville, Virginia… my next destination .
I could only make it 0.7 miles further to find a camp site at Pig Farm Camp Site. No flying pigs in sight. As a matter of fact no pigs of any persuasion on this here mountain.
But what there is here is my warm little Big Agnes cuz with the sun set it’s already at 32 and dropping. I will sleep well tonight and then tomorrow we’ll …………hike on.