Transitions and Contrasts

Trent’s Grocery, Bland (indeed), Va. March 10 — The seasonal change is about to burst forth. The signs are everywhere. We’ve been seeing fresh bear scat all week. They are around and about. Nearly every plant is preparing to bud. Today I saw a butterfly and a water doodle. Could mosquitos be far behind?

What a day of contrasts. The sides of mountains facing away from the sun – generally the north sides – we’re freezing while the southern exposures cooked. Our high temp on the trail today ladies and gents was a big 72F. Let’s hear it for the weather service.

So there I was wearing a Columbia Omni Heat shirt. For the uninitiated, this winter clothing line features Mylar micro dots that reflect heat back toward your body. I can testify that this technology is a working miracle. Only it over achieves at high ambient temps. Not wearing any tomorrow. Nope. I am not. Tomorrow’s forecast is the same as today’s.

Of course, this early in March, way too early to count our weather chickens. Sleet and snow rear their ugly heads again Wednesday and Thursday.

We’re tenting on the back lot of Trent’s Grocery – grill, off sale beer and hardware emporium. In our honor, the proprietor hasn’t opened the shower or laundry facilities. He’s waiting for the last freeze. He did let us clean up in the store restroom. That’s the one with the out of order sign on the door, except it’s in perfect working order. What a guy. Their hamburgers = A+. Just know before you go.

Earlier in the day we passed a place where seven deer carcasses had been dumped along the road. Just after that the forest floor had been burned. The trash and liquor bottles around the deer and the fire suggest a correlation of deviant behaviors, but I am not so certain. Appalachia is so poor that many families have to poach deer in order to eat. It does not necessarily follow that they engage in other irresponsible activities. It’s a hard life here.

We also saw an interesting suspension bridge.

Tomorrow it’s the famous yoga enshrined, organic and granola encrusted Woods Hole Hostel. There’s only 16 miles and a healthy climb between us.





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