After arriving in Daleville, the pain throughout my back and right leg was not getting any better. I decided to schedule a doctor’s appointment which I was avoiding, since I had no health insurance even though I applied for it (which is another story). We ran into a whole rack of old friends and stayed at the Howard Johnson Motel; another great place for people watching.
During our stay, we talked to a local living in the motel who we nicknamed “Blue” (who got completely annihilated on whiskey). We watched a bunch of drunk people by the pool (one of them, a man, who tripped over his flip flops and landed on his face), and we later heard the pool was shut down since two people were caught fornicating in it. Never a dull moment.
The doctor gave me pain pills and muscle relaxers (temporary relief), recommended I stay off my feet for 2 weeks (not an option), and suspected I had piriformis syndrome which is when your piriformis muscle (located around the pelvis) tightens up and rubs against your sciatic nerve. It made sense, but even if it were the case at the time, my problem would develop into a bigger one down the trail.
After a full day of rest and getting a new pair of shoes (as suggested by my husband), we got back on the trail. We stopped at Wilson Creek Shelter where we ran into a bunch of different thru hikers (we were in a completely different bubble now), many who we would later get to know and love.
The next day and several of the days that followed, the trail would pass along and through the Blue Ridge Parkway.
We stopped around Middle Creek Campground where there was trail magic in the form of beer and grilled cheese sandwiches and ran into some old friends. We hiked half tipsy to Bryant Ridge Shelter, a large and beautiful shelter which would be perfect for staying at during a rainy day! However, we were never at shelters like this when the weather sucked. We didn’t really get to explore the shelter until the next day since a bunch of hikers were already sleeping when we arrived.
We passed over Apple Orchard Mountain which had nice views, but no apple orchard (just an FAA tower). After that, we passed under a rock formation properly named “The Guillotine,” and then we got some more beautiful views from Thunder Ridge Overlook by the Blue Ridge Parkway. We pushed on to Harrison Ground Spring for the night which had some tenting areas.
The next day we passed over the James River Foot Bridge and hitched a ride into Glasgow.
This was the start of a few new friendships, most notably with Cheeks from the UK and Redwing from Vancouver. We had hiked around them, but none of us really talked much with each other until then.
First thing first once you get into town, FOOD! There was a place called Scotto’s Pizza and Subs which we ate at with Cautious (aka our trail son who’s named that ironically), Cheeks, Redwing, and another new friend, Casper.
The cool thing about Glasgow is not just the random dinosaur statue found in the center of town, but the free, town-provided shelter which also had tenting areas, showers, electricity, and port-o-pots. Plus, the store across the street has beer! We knew we would end up getting stuck there a night if we didn’t plan appropriately, so we decided to cut ourselves off after so many and leave to hitch back to the trail. We assumed a hangover would suck, and waiting for a ride back to the trail while everyone’s rushing off to work in the morning (while hungover) would suck even worse.
We said our goodbyes, and headed back to the main highway to get back to the trail with a few others. We eventually got a hitch, and hiked about 2 miles more to John Hollow Shelter for the night.
Total AT Mileage: 771.6 miles
Number of Hiking Days: 58
Number of Zero Days: 17
Average Mileage per Day Total: 13.3 miles
Average Mileage this Chapter: 14.6 miles (4 days)
Longest Hiking Day: 26.2 miles (Groundhog Creek Shelter, NC/TN to Hot Springs, NC)
Shortest Hiking Day: 4.3 miles (Erwin, TN to Curly Maple Gap Shelter, TN)