Wednesday, May 18, 2016 11:40 pm
Location: VA 621 (686.4 miles)

The predicted rain overnight didn't materialize, nor did the rain that was called for this morning, but it was still foggy and miserable in the morning.

My leg still hurt, especially when going downhill, and a long hike today as planned was not really going to be feasible. But, we couldn't stay where we were, so we left camp around 8:15, and hiked the mile and a half to the next road crossing, the trailhead at VA 621. There, we saw a car parked with a bumper sticker that read "hiker trash". I pointed that out, as we passed the car we had presumed to be empty, and they opened their car door and said, "yeah, that's us".

In the car were Cabana Boy and his wife Dutch Tape, hikers who had previously completed 1600 miles of the Appalachian Trail, who were at that trailhead to hike up to the Audie Murphy monument. (Murphy was the most decorated soldier of World War II.) Beast explained our situation (his shoes were not working for him, and my leg was not working for me), and asked which way along the road we should walk to go in the direction of town. The two of them graciously offered instead to drive us into town, over half an hour away, to the Holiday Inn we expected to be staying at.

We were elated, because Beast's alternate plan was to walk along the road and send Spot messages indicating distress at intervals down the road, hoping his dad would pick up on what we were doing and send someone to pick us up. (Needless to say, this was not a very desirable option for either of us, for any number of reasons, including that it was a pretty lousy road to have to walk along.)

We arrived at the Holiday Inn, and once we had cell service, we finally learned more of what Beast's dad had planned.

Beast's dad showed up at the Holiday Inn I guess 30-45 minutes later to relocate us to a gifted room at the Hampton Inn. Our only hiking 1.5 miles instead of 20ish somewhat threw the slackpacking plan he had in mind into disarray, but that would be resolved later.

The key cards at the Hampton Inn all have different pictures with cliched sayings on them, but there was a nice hiking-related one.

After showers, Beast and I grabbed lunch at Arby's, and then Beast, his dad, and I went to Walkabout Outfitter to pick up the shoes he had purchased and had sent there for safekeeping. I got an extra pair of Smartwool socks and liner socks to replace my torn REI sock and the toe liner socks I have (which work, but I really don't like how they're so tight on my toes).

Afterwards, we dropped Beast off to visit his grandmother, and his dad and I chatted for a while, before we all, and Beast's mom, went to have dinner with her sister and her husband.

Eventually back at the hotel, we worked out a new series of slackpacking plans for the next several days (and also found out we would not be staying at the hotel another night, so we had to pack everything up again so it could be taken with us; this caused us to not get to sleep until near midnight).

The plan for tomorrow is for Beast and I to drive to the trailhead we got off the trail at, and leave the car there (with the stuff we don't actually need for a short day of hiking). We'll then hike about 8 miles to the next road crossing; this'll give Beast a chance to test out one of the two pairs of shoes he bought, and will be a relatively low impact day to test my leg.

Hotel Room Key
Hotel Room Key