Sunday, November 25, 2012

Trail Recap 10 of 27: Buchanan to Waynesboro, VA

Best free unattended shelter on the entire AT - Bryant Ridge Shelter, Natural Bridge AT Club
Bryant Ridge Shelter, gorgeous streamside setting, designed by Architectural Students

Peaks of Otter area to Rockfish Gap, 93.2 miles.

General Impression/Theme:  Point of origin.  On May 22, 2006 I set foot on the Appalachian Trail for the first time (as far as I can recall), coming up from land I owned and hiking about a mile of AT between The Priest and an unused old woods road to the saddle between The Priest and Little Priest, and visiting The Priest Shelter.  The rest, as they say, is history.

People:  Third and last meeting with Harry and Leo, who were completing their thru-hikes by day hikes (only spent a handful of nights on the trail).  I was also in the midst of the SoBo bubble, meeting up to ten southbound hikers per day, including 'Banjo' who I'd met up in Maine on two consecutive days, and Banjo's companion 'Stilts'.

Supply/Overnight:  Daleville 24hr Kroger, Lovingston Food Lion and Village Inn motel, Lynchburg Food Lion (west side of town), the I-81 rest area near Buena Vista, and the Waynesboro Golden Corral restaurant and adjacent Wal-Mart.

Worst Memory:  Had quite a bit of knee pain, a result of overdoing, feeling invincible on this easy trail after transferring from Maine.  For three days I had to hike on medication (Ibuprofen) as I adjusted to mid-Atlantic trail conditions.

The Guillotine, as it appeared on 10-31-2011, not long after I began growing my beard
Best Day Hike:  Cold Mountain - a fairly short day hike up from Hog Camp Gap - with a half mile of broad open ridge-top meadows with panoramic views to the east and west.  Second choice would be the combination of the open summit of Apple Orchard Mountain and the adjacent 'Guillotine' just to the north: a very distinctive rock feature.

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