It surprised us, when the climb down was the worst part! Some of it was so vertical, that the trail creators had put ladder rungs right into the rock to help you climb down it. Unbelievable - especially in the pouring rain! We were very careful coming down, and couldn't wait to reach a regular trail again. This took about a good mile and a half of climbing over a lot of vertical rock before this happened, however. By the time we reached the next road crossing, we were all sloshing in our boots, it had rained so hard. We walked down the road to the Catawba Grocery Store (really a convenience store) and changed in the restrooms into dry clothes, and munched on hot food and hot chocolate. We wait there for our friends, the Kosinsky's, to come and pick us up. We were going to be getting a real treat - going to their home at Smith Mountain Lake, to take a nice break from the trail, and get to visit with them since they retired here 8 years ago. We are going to take notes on how to retire in style!
As we waited, numerous hikers wandered in and out from the hostel down the road. Among them was Craftsman. Like I said, he just keeps popping up! Many of them are making arrangements to get rides back to Damascus for Trail Days this weekend.
We told Swamprat goodbye, and promised to catch up to him soon. We promised we would summit with him at Katahdin. He was going on, hiking with Old Goose, and caught a ride with Old Goose and his wife to Daleville, where they were going to the outfitter for new boots, and to do some slackpacking this week. For sure, we want to make sure we see him on the 25th, when his wife, Dania comes to visit on the trail. We are anxious to meet her!
("Camping" tonight with the Kosinsky's at their lovely home at Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia!!)
One of the nicest surprises - the box Sean sent with our "normal" clothes arrived a day early, so we got to change as soon as we reached the Kosinsky's home!!! Blue jeans!! Shirts that are not a shade of blue!!! Shoes that are not Crocs or hiking boots!