Reader Rendezvous and Leaving Waynesboro

May 2, 2018

Destination: Calf Mountain Shelter Today's Miles: 7.70

Start Location: Rockfish Gap (Waynesboro) Trip Miles: 870.70

Calf Mountain Shelter sunset, Shenandoah National Park
I had an amazing sleep in my bed at Stanimals! When I woke up, I went downstairs and had first breakfast with Whitewater and Zia.

I had a banana and a smoothie fruit drink, and Whitewater had offered up fruit loops as she had a whole box she couldn’t finish, so I had four bowls of fruit loops. We made coffee at the hostel and I drank about 5 cups while journaling upstairs, desperately trying to catch up. I took another shower (oh luxury!), then got my pack ready to go. Tarzan had expressed interest in going to Weasies and Stanimal was kind enough to drop us off there on his way out. I had the hungry boy again, but this time with sausage links, and instead of regular syrup I had blueberry syrup on my blueberry pancakes. I actually skipped more coffee as I was so jacked up from the pot at the hostel. Tarzan and I had a good time chit chatting. The diner was hopping again! As we exited, a man who had been standing outside on the phone asked if I was a thru hiker. I said yes and then he asked if I was Hungry Cat. I said yes again. Apparently he had been down at the outfitter where Happy Feet was and asked her if she knew me. She had told him I was at the diner. His name was Jim (I believe he said his last name was Leake - sorry Jim if I got that wrong!) and he said he was reading my journal. He said a friend of his, David Sopes, had offered to take me out to dinner in Waynesboro a while back. That jogged my memory and I did remember David’s post in my guest book. Sorry David that I missed you! This town visit was particularly full of hiker chores. I do appreciate your kindness though! Don’t worry - I would have made you proud at Ming’s! 

Jim was really nice and offered to give us a ride back to the hostel. We hopped in his car and chatted. It always surprises me when I meet people who are actually reading this, and it surprises me even more that a few people actually even enjoy it! It’s kind of cool. Thanks Jim for the ride and it was really nice meeting you! It probably would have been a lot easier for folks to track me down if I had been able to get current on my journal. 

After we got back to the hostel I had to explain to Tarzan about the journal, etc., so I did. We then got ready to hit the trail with Whitewater. Stanimal came back and shuttled us up to Rockfish Gap as we said goodbye to Waynesboro. Part of me wanted to stay another day to eat and hang out, and maybe while away some time at a coffee shop I saw (but did not go to) called French Press. The Shenandoahs were calling though, and I only planned to hike to the first shelter so it would be an easy day.

When we got to the trailhead, Happy Feet showed up in John Lowdermilk’s truck with a new pack! I said hi to John, and then the four of us hit the trail. The day was super hot, roughly 85 degrees, and we got off trail at one point and had to double back, but the hiking was largely easy and we made it to the shelter just before 4. Our packs were heavy from resupply, so we were glad to be there to camp. We saw Desert Rose and her husband (Cactus Dan?), section hikers from the hostel, and later Wallace, Bones, Bama Dog and Peewee showed up. We all had fun talking and telling trail stories, and Tarzan made a fire for us. As I sit here in my tent typing this, I am finally finally caught up!! It feels good. Tonight is clear so we all left our rain flys off our tents so we can get more airflow and see the stars. I’m so grateful for such a great experience in Waynesboro and for all of the people who helped make that happen. I’m grateful for the companionship of good hikers tonight, and for a beautiful night to sleep outside. Tomorrow I am just going to aim for the next shelter 13 miles away. It will be a good day!

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