Dalesville to Peaks of Otter Overlook campsite - 19.6 miles hiked today - 749.6 total AT miles hiked to date.
Got an early start this morning, leaving the motel before 7 am. Initially the trail paralleled I-81 for about a mile and a half, in a park like setting, before crossing under the Interstate at an underpass. In that section I passed yet another milestone, the 1/3 completed trail marker at mile 731.0. Shortly after passing under the interstate I came to a railroad crossing on the trail. I got there just minutes too late to get across before a train went through. It had to be 200 cars long, and it took almost 20 minutes for it to go by. So much for an early start.
Once past the railroad tracks, the trail resumed it’s pre-town meandering up and around several long inclines and downhills. The terrain was forgiving, with lots of switchbacks, and few rocks, making the hike very pleasant all morning. I spotted half a dozen deer on or near the trail, a perk of being on the trail early. By lunch time I’d covered over 11 miles already, so stopped at Wilson Creek Shelter for lunch. PBJ on sourdough bread, Fritos, and a mini Moon Pie made for a very satisfying lunch. A fortuitous discovery recently allowed me to pack 8 mini Moon Pies into a Pringles container, keeping them intact during the hike.
Right after lunch, I spotted the first of 3 large black snakes that I spotted that afternoon. They varied in length from 3 to 5 feet long. The first one was very hesitant to move from the trail, but finally moved along.
Shortly thereafter, I made the first of several crossings of the Blue Ridge Parkway, as the AT runs parallel to the BRP for about 7 miles. Each time I crossed the highway, there was an overlook with scenic views in both directions. I pressed on until about 7pm when I pitched my tent, ate dinner and slipped into my bag for the night. It’s supposed to rain tonight so may wake up to a wet tent. We’ll see.
Until next time…