Start Milepost: 904.0 Time: 06:10
End Milepost: 927.9 Time: 17:05
Miles hiked: 23.9
Miles to go: 1261.9
Weather: sunny, high humidity
Temps: Low: 60”s°, High 80’s°
Blue Side trails: .4 – Big Meadows Wayside
Map: Click on map pin
For as many miles hiked today, there is little write about. No bears sighted. I did however forget to comment yesterday about my second skunk encounter. It was a small thing occupying the trail ahead of me. I stopped outside startling range and asked it to move right along. The hiker-in-training behind me said he would just pick it up. Not with me near you won’t, was my thinking. As I moved closer it hunkered down so I climbed high on the ridge above it and hoped I was outside its range. I gave it more deliberate consideration than I gave the bear earlier!
I encountered another German hiker who admitted his English was not very good. I replied that my German wasn’t good either. We had a mixed and enjoyable conversation. Unfortunately he was limited in his hiking distance due to the Lab hiking with him; hence his trail name: Lab Man. It was a big, beautiful Hund. I won’t get to talk with him again as much as I wished I could.
I had lunch at noon while sitting on a concrete marker in a roadside parking area. I ate tuna and a tortilla. Nothing like the spread provided yesterday by Two Breaks and T-Last. And I had zero company. Such is life. I might have eaten more but I had a plan. By noon I had covered 15-miles. In another four miles there was a wayside restaurant where I had yearning to have a burger.
I got there at 14:00, cleaned up in the men’s room and then sat at a table in a corner. Had I opted for carry out I would have had to stand in line. The waitress arrived with a menu that I waved off. I requested a burger, a famed blackberry milkshake and a coke. Yes, a Pepsi was OK. And I added, if the burger was good I would order a second one to go. She asked if I wanted fries or a salad as the side order. I said fries because I wanted the carbs. Two Breaks nutrition comments of yesterday made me change my mind; could I please have the salad with ranch dressing. Yes.
The burger was indeed good so I ordered the second. As I was about to pay my bill, a woman at an adjacent table inquired if I was a thru hiker and when I said yes, she invited me to sit with her and a man I presume was her father. I declined, but thanked her greatly for the offer. Imagine that, a hiker in a restaurant being invited to sit with nicely attired guests! I wished she had inquired sooner!
Now then; to call that a restaurant is a real stretch. The flies, the clutter of tables and chairs plus the take out counter would in my mind make the place a snack bar. And in using that term, no hiker need harbor any reservations about taking a seat inside.
I did repackage that second burger in a spare Ziploc bag and intend to have it for supper along with the left over corn chips that T-Last gave me yesterday. I hope the meal meets with nutritional guidelines. I am sure I can find a candy bar for dessert. If not, maybe I will have that heavy banana I bought at the wayside store (along with all manner of breakfast items for tomorrow). Those purchases and the burgers helped fill out a 4-day ration set – I’d entered the Shenandoah park with only three sets of rations.
Tomorrow is going to be a long day: 28 miles. I sure hope it is easy terrain.