For my second day of joining Travis, I anticipated a much easier hike than previously. In truth, that’s what I got, though not as easy as expected. The first 7 miles or so were pretty good, but then my left knee started to bother me again. I downed some Vitamin I and proceeded gingerly for a while until it kicked in and the trail descent lessened. Not too bad.
About 11 miles in, we reached the shelter where we planned to eat lunch. There were other hikers there and we happened to discover that our planned pick-up point with Marci was on a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway that was closed
for bridge maintainence. This presented a definite problem as the next road intersection after that was also on the closed section. Yikes!
The next reachable road crossing was about 10 miles down the trail, much further than I felt capable of doing. Going backward wasn’t a great option either, though I don’t know how far. Luckily, we figured out that there was an additional 2.2 mile trail from my planned stopping point to another road. As we approached my original stopping point, there was a pretty significant climb, so I worried that there would be an equally significant descent to where I would meet Marci. As it turned out, the descent was very gradual over the entire 2.2 miles, so my knee didn’t balk too much.
The rest of the group didn’t want to stop this early, particularly not with having to do the extra 2.2 miles both today and tomorrow. Instead, they chose to continue to the remaining 8 miles to the next crossing mentioned above, where Marci and I would meet them to pick them up and drive them back to Daleville.
Prior to the road closure issue, the plan had been for the rest of the group to hike a couple of additional miles after my stopping point and then I would join them there tomorrow for another 14.4 miles. At that point, Marci would pick me up and deliver their packs to the other hikers, who would continue on some before camping for the night. However, with my knee situation, I was hoping for something shorter — closer to 5 miles. The new starting point does offer the possibility of a 6.6 mile hike for me, but it includes a large amount of downhill hiking and I just don’t think my knee will be up for it. Thus, today was my last day of hiking.
Instead of hiking tomorrow, I will deliver the other hikers to their starting point and then meet them at the 6.6 mile point with some cookies and sodas. Then, I will meet them again several hours later near their ending point for the day (over 20 miles) with some Rudy’s BBQ we brought to Virginia from Texas, along with their packs.