The morning opened crisp and bright following the best night’s sleep I’ve had on the trail from 8 pm to 4 :30 am nonstop.
The day dawned seven degrees and sunny. With more than 18 miles on my dance card and wobbly trail legs, I wanted an early start. I was off promptly at seven o’clock, as soon as it was light enough to see clearly.
The trail itself was in great condition and the snow soon disappeared. Within an hour I stumbled into one of the most precious chunks of trail candy on the AT.
Lindamood School is part of the Virginia Pioneer museum. The school was built in 1894 and functioned as a one room, one teacher grades 1 thru 7 school until 1937. It has been preserved in its original condition. Best of all, hikers are welcome to enter – the building is unlocked – and sign the hiker register.
Soon after that the trail runs through Atkins, Va. where the AT slides under I-81 to the west. It’s a fading truck stop with a brick factory as its sole economic engine. Magic happens there anyway.
The hiker-friendly and very nostalgic Barn restaurant is right in the trail. The minute you cross the threshold you’re in a small country eatery staffed with friendly waitresses who call everybody “Hon.” The locals wave a friendly greeting and the scrambles eggs and grits are just like mom’s. Not a bad start to the day.
As the day pressed on, a good hiking rhythm developed and the miles clicked by, many of them through pastures dotted with fresh cow pies.
This is country is covered by farms that have seen better days.
The last mountain was hard. Unfortunately I was a bit dehydrated which made it worse. The two-mile climb, though not long or particularly steep featured a ton of steps. In my condition each was a mountain in and of itself. My quads were rubbery as I struggled to lift my body over each one. I made it to Knot Maul Shelter just before dark.
Along the way I’d also managed a 1,500 foot climb just prior to the last mountain. I was feeling good about my performance. Did I mention that tomorrow starts with a 2,000 foot climb. 🙁
All in all a good day, especially before breakfast.