We decided to try something new, and get started earlier this morning, so we were up, packed, and on the trail by about 7:15. I've been having a problem with the buckle on my hip belt coming undone, and there's an outfitter in the next town, Daleville, so we decided we had better drop in there when we hit town to get a replacement. We also noticed that we would pass right by a Wendy's and Three 'Lil Pigs BBQ, also, so we knew if we started early and hiked 10 miles before lunch, we could have a hot lunch (with ice cold Coke!).
The trail started off really nice, running along the edge of the Tinker Cliffs, and giving us that great view for several miles, before it descended a bit and began following the ridge line of this circle of mountains that surround the Carvin Cove, the reservoir for nearby Roanoke. As we hiked, we came across some couples camped together at a really beautiful spot in a little valley along a creek. We agreed that this was one of the nicest campsites we'd ever seen. I decided to start marking it on the AT Guide when we found really great ones.
Not long after that, we came upon two hikers ahead of us, and to our surprise, when we caught them, it was Mary and her sister, the ladies in their 80's, but this time carrying full backpacks. We visited with them a few minutes, and discovered they were doing a 20-mile section, and so had needed to bring their full packs so they could camp out. We were amazed. I just assumed that they only carried day packs and did short sections at a time. I have no doubt they'll make it to Katahdin.
As we hiked, occasionally we were treated to beautiful views of Carvin Cove, and wished we could be down there in that water, as the day was warming up. As we got closer to the reservoir, we kept hearing what sounded like frogs, but we were amazed at how loud they would get. Keith told me that he once saw a movie where that sound turned out to be aliens, and we had a good laugh over that.
Eventually, we came into Daleville, and discovered what the sound was - cicadas swarming. They were all in the woods, they had dug holes all in the trail, would occasionally fly into us, and there were dead ones all over, as well as their shells (exoskeletons?).
We left the woods, and found ourselves on the main highway into town, with Wendy's in our sight. All of a sudden, a truck pulled up and asked if we needed a ride to Damascus. We told him thanks, but we weren't going to trail Days. His name was the Tin Man, and he was from Baltimore. We walked another few feet, and a man came running over from a gas station, stopped us, and told us he was looking for hikers to take to Trail Days. I'm guessing we must have stumbled out on to the main road to Damascus. He also commented about the cicadas (they were still flying all around us and kept landing on us) and said he saw a movie one time where that same noise turned out to be aliens. I looked at Keith and just laughed. His name was Hans Solo, and he gave us his number in case we needed anything when we got near Washington DC. He also told us that the BBQ place gave extra sides to hikers and a free dessert! Guess where we decided to go?
We walked over to the BBQ place, and ate way too much, followed by our freebie, homemade banana pudding. It was delish! We walked on over to the outfitter, and got my buckle replaced and bought a spare just in case.
We then got back on the trail, passing through a couple of cow pastures (with 2 feet of this one cow, which didn't seem to care), before we began climbing back way up high through the woods. We went through a section where the mountain laurels were blooming on both sides of the trail, and all through the woods. Gorgeous!
We hiked on and ended up going far down a hill and camping right next to Curry Creek and taking a very icy bath. No other hikers were on the trail today except the sisters and a few section hikers. Everyone seems to have gone to Trail Days.
- Steady and F100
(Camped at Curry Creek, mile 131)