Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Day 335 - October 1st

The rain found me on the first day of October. A displeasing amount painted the bottom of my tent and the rain shell was rightly soaked but no sun greeted me. There would be no drying off this morning. I packed everything wet because you can't always wait for perfect conditions to get somewhere. Already I miss the Shenandoah.

A produce stand appeared roadside and it was the most beautiful thing ever; I desperately needed veggies. Like many of the people living near or in the Shenandoah, the owners have their own farm and sell their fruits directly from there. For $1.27, I bought two apples, two sweet peppers and an ear of white corn. Taking shelter from a drizzle under a tree, I munched on an apple and the corn. This is where I should have been paying more attention. After I finished eating, I set off down what I thought was the correct direction. I didn't realize until a mile later I'd walked back in the direction I started! So much for internal mapping. The roads all look the same now.

To make up for time, I hoofed it to the next town Amissville without stopping. I asked around for a coffee place and was directed to Hackley's, a quirky locale with all manner of knick-knacks and snackables for sale. Bonanza was on and two cowboy toughs wrestled out their grievances. I dropped my pack, got coffee and asked if I could eat the food I brought with me. David, an older guy with a mullet, said I could and that the coffee was on him. I paired the sweet peppers with the last of my summer sausage and cheese, warmed my stomach and brightened my eyes with the gifted coffee. It was good to be warm and drying off. I stayed in Hackley's for some time and got to know David and his employee Betsy a bit. David and his wife Tony, with whom I interacted later, regularly act as trail angels for thru-hikers, handing out food and offering rides into nearby towns. I love the relationship between civilians and hikers in this area! I succumbed to the smell of pizza and ordered one myself. David gave me a free scoop of ice cream and I settled down before the television to watch Bonanza. I left an hour later, taking an apple David tossed to me as I exited.

I walked to the next town Warrenton. It took several hours. In need of new food, I sought out a grocery store. Luckily a food lion was nearby and I stocked up on everything I'd been needing for some time now. It was dark by the time I left the grocery store but there were woods nearby and I was not worried. I hardly ever think about what to do about finding a home for the night anymore. That is one skill I know I have acquired on this trip. I bedded down beneath pines after hacking my way through some incorrigible grasses and tall bushes. Pines manage their undergrowth much better than other trees and they guarantee a clear, flat campsite. My tent was still wet (the sun never really showed up at all today) but I put out my plastic sheet and piled in anyways.

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