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Dirk's Rambles

Sunday, May 2, 2021, 7:55 pm

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Got an early start this morning, hitting the trail at 7:30 am. Was only doing 12.4 miles today, one of my lesser days lately. Did well for the first hour and a half until I hit Whitetop Mountain. The trail was covered with rocks, both loose and protruding. Plus it was about 2,000 feet of "up." I had to go slow.

There were two trail magics today, my first since I've been back on the trail. One was at Whitetop Mountain. A couple who hiked last year had cookies, fruit, water, and Gaterade. The other was just before Mount Rogers on VA 600 at Elk Garden. A couple gave me their leftover pizza, water and Gatorade. This one was just after I finished lunch. I was stuffed after eating it! Thru Hikers don't turn down food!

The trail the whole way through Elk Gardens and Mount Rogers was the same as Whitetop Mountain- rocky and slow. I had to concentrate on every step.

I crossed into the area where the wild ponies are, near Grayson Highlands, a Virginia State Park. I am sleeping in Thomas Knob Shelter. It is a two story shelter, open on one end with a ladder going up to a second story which is closed in like Roan Shelter was.

There are a number of people here I know- Man Scout, Calves, Savage (the woman, not the man), Fire Goddess, and several people I don't know and don't remember their names at the moment.

Haven't seen any ponies yet. Maybe tomorrow.

I found a cell phone laying near the bear boxes. I asked around and it didn't belong to anyone. Some of the younger hikers began taking selfies with it and having a good time. We will take it to the Rangers' Station tomorrow.

The trees here have not leafed out on the top of the mountains yet. However, the forest floor is coming alive with plants and flowers. In some places the flowers have carpeted the ground. Very beautiful!

There are bear warning signs everywhere here. Someone saw four bears together while they were hiking at night.

Brett's birthdaty was yesterday. Though I sent him a birthday text, I couldn't call him because I didn't have cell service. So I tried calling him tonight but he didn't pick up. I"ll try again tomorrow.
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