Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Wapiti Shelter to Pearisburg, VA

Tuesday, 5/5

AT Miles = 16.6 / 625.9
Other Miles = 0.8 /25.5
Total Miles = 17.4 / 651.4

Just before sunset last night the sky actually cleared up, and we were
treated to a bit of a view of the sunset. It was a sucker punch,
though, as during the night the wet weather rolled back in and it
rained all night, sometimes quite heavily. I was up at 6:45, and true
to form it took almost exactly one hour to eat breakfast, pack up, and
be ready to leave.

For most of today's hike I had only showers and that penetrating fog
to deal with. I was moving a bit slower than usual because my left
foot is pretty beat up. Blisters and sire spots make it painful pretty
much with every step. I reached Doc's Knob Shelter about a quarter
after eleven and stopped for half an hour to eat lunch, then pressed
on towards my goal of Pearisburg.

There is supposed to be wonderful views of the valley Pearisburg is in
from a spot named Angels Rest atop Pearis Mountain. All I saw when I
got there was the inside of the cloud. On top of that, it started
raining very heavily and I was a sodden mess even with my rain gear

The trail descends steeply from here along a long series of
switchbacks, and by now my foot was hurting badly enough that I gave
up all pretext of toughness and exclaimed out loud every once in a
while. Finally, finally, I reached Pearisburg. The trail goes through
the edge of town and in order to get into the center of town where all
the businesses are I had to walk almost a mile along Main Street,
which out here at the fringe of town is a four lane road with no
shoulders and a 50 mph speed limit. Walking along the gutter in the
rain getting splashed with filthy water by every passing vehicle
pretty much capped the day for me.

I'vwe got a room in the cheapest motel in town, and it is just exactly
what you'd think the cheapest room in town would look like. Still,
even though it hasn't been redecorated since apparently the 70s, it's
clean and it provides me everything I need to get dried out and regain
my enthusiasm for the trail.

Wow, I looked at myself in the mirror when I got out of the shower
this afternoon. I am skinny! I think I need to do some serious eating
while I am here. I am going to take at least one zero day here.
Hopefully that will be enough to let my feet heal up. If not I may
have to take an extra day off before I get back out on the trail.
Without healthy feet this hike would be impossible.

Allen F. Freeman

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