Cut your losses

Buena Vista, Va., AT NOBO mile 802.6, Thursday March 27, 2014 — Yesterday’s wind storm did a number on the trail.

This morning Butch, who co-owns Bluedogart with his wife Susan, shuttled me to the trailhead parking lot located a mile downhill from AT NOBO mile 818.9 so I could scamper back toward Buena Vista for a 5 pm pickup.

The one mile uphill trek was moderately steep, taking 40 minutes slowed slightly by the six inches of snow clogging the old dirt logging road.

Once up top everything changed. Yesterday’s stiff winds mounded the snow into an endless series of deep drifts, some to midthigh, but most just above the knee. A genuine posthole experience for those who know about these things.

Since the trail started on an exposed ridge line, I thought I would walk out of it. Not so. After almost two trail miles I realized the drifting was for keeps.

The sun sparkled and drifted snow drastically slowed my pace. When I reached a definable land mark on my trail guide, I realized that at my blistering pace, arrival at the pick up point would be after midnight rather than 5 pm. Time to reverse course and try another day, especially since I wasn’t carrying a tent or sleeping bag.

With rain in the forecast starting late tomorrow, lasting into Saturday, I don’t expect the snow to clear until Sunday morning. Being only two hours from home is tempting with three nights to kill. I have a call in to my wife to see if she can swoop in and rescue me tonight. If so, I’ll be home for our anniversary Saturday!

I’ll drive back Monday to hike the section to Waynesboro in three days, then recover my car.

Decision made with no phone signal, I reversed my footprints and retraced my course down the old logging road.

As luck would have it, there’s a Virginia Fish and Game fish hatchery at the bottom of the hill equipped with a phone and a really nice manager named Tim. You’re a gem big guy.

I arranged a shuttle only to arrive at the hostel (built in the 1890s) to find an overheated electrical socket. Butch and I pulled it out of the wall and disconnected it.

Upon reflection, today deep snow was a lucky break. Aside from the obvious reasons, I had $1,500 worth of gear stored on the other side of that wall!

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5 thoughts on “Cut your losses

  1. That was quite a day for you. Hard work hiking and not getting anywhere. You deserve the break. In a few days the snows ought to be cleared. Hiking might be easier.

    Now about that anniversary…probably important that you attend. Have a good one, sir.

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