Friday, May 20, 2016 11:39 pm
Location: VA 311 (707.7 miles)

After a wonderful homemade breakfast of quiche by Cynthia, her husband Phillip gave us a ride to the trailhead we stopped at yesterday. Today, my leg feels better, and Beast is trying a shoe half a size smaller than yesterday, with the insoles he expects to use, so we're hopeful today's 13 mile slackpack will shake out all the problems, and we'll be in a good position for a 20 mile slackpack tomorrow.

Our hike up the mountain started in fog, which gradually lifted as we ascended. For some reason, our first several miles of the day were slower than expected, for no particular reason we could identify. Ultimately, we decided that while the slackpacking made it easier, with this particular terrain, it didn't actually make us any faster.

Today's first point of interest was the Dragons Tooth rock formation, a large, vaguely tooth-shaped rock jutting out from the ground. Some people climb up to the top, but we took the prudent course of action and didn't even consider doing that.

Dragons Tooth
Dragons Tooth
Flower
Flower
View from Cove Mountain
View from Cove Mountain
View from Dragons Tooth
View from Dragons Tooth

Coming down the other side of the mountain proved to be dangerous enough. That section of the trail goes over a pretty difficult rock scramble that would have been downright treacherous in the rain. This took us awhile, and it was easier than it would have been were we not carrying much lighter packs than usual.

After that rock scramble, the trail became much easier. First, we went through a rhododendron forest where many of the trees were in bloom, then made up for lost time on the rocks going through a pasture, ending with an easy downhill to the parking area.

Rhododendrons in Bloom
Rhododendrons in Bloom

Phillip picked us up from the parking lot, and back at their place, Beast and I got showers, did laundry, and ate dinner while Cynthia, Phillip, and Beast's mom went out for the evening.

After dinner, the two of us went to see Captain America: Civil War, which I've wanted to see the last couple of weeks (but the towns we were in were too small to have a nearby movie theater). I thoroughly enjoyed the movie (and especially that it had a much different feel from the other Marvel superhero movies).

While I was happy to catch the movie, unfortunately, it put us in the position of going to sleep after midnight two days in a row. That doesn't set us up for a great start for tomorrow's 20 mile day, during which we expect to be rained on constantly, but we'll manage.