okay, past week sum-up: first day, 7 miles. then i did 25 ,18, 22, 20. lots of miles, real hard and fast. it snowed two days after i sent home my winter gear. shortshorts in the snow? hilarious!
there's a restaurant called "the home place" in catawba, virginia that all the thru-hikers and guidebooks call "the best food in the south." it's price/menu-fixed southern home cookin', served family style, and it's only open four evenings a week. i hit it friday night and was thoroughly disappointed. i'd forgotten just how carnivorous white folks down here are. all i really had to eat were biscuits (delicious) and cole slaw. not worth having to hike hard during the heat of the day to arrive before closing. c'est la vie.
and after it snowed the weather went straight up. it's been in the upper 80's for the past few days, scorching me. shortshorts are awesome, and with my new kicks i should be able to take the heat in stride. instead of slathering myself with sunscreen, i've taken to wearing a ballcap (the hideous yellow one, with newly-affixed Wawa patch) with a bandana edge tucked under it. the bandana covers my ears, face-sides, neck and shoulders and whenever i see my shadow i can't help but hum the theme to "Lawrence of Arabia." ("Nothing is written!")
so yesterday i hiked late into the day. it was hot. i had salt crystals on my chest. and when i got to town, i bought whole chocolate milk. it was delicious. and a family (homer and teresa) put me up for two nights. their daughter, who thru-hiked at 11 years old, is attempting another thru-hike this year at 18. i met these folks thru another couple hikers who happened to be sitting in front of the chocolate milk dispensary (Kroger's).
so yeah, a shower or two, some laundry, pizza for dinner. and instead of leaving out this morning (sunday?) i decided to help homer and teresa with some trailwork. i cut a few dozen yards of fresh trail up about five miles from here. they're doing an appalachian trail re-route. the old trail goes over a rocky, rutted out hump and the new trail cuts along the side of it. less than .2 miles in total, but the re-route should save a few ankles and groans over the life of the trail. and anyway, half a day's work and i feel like i've earned my keep and given a little (very little) back to the trail. also, it felt good to swing a pulaski again and get dirty.
fyi - fine brown dirt works as ersatz sunscreen on the lower legs. green, biodegradable, and cheap too!
so this afternoon i've taken a bath (omfg felt so good) had a couple sodas and enjoyed some pb cookies from laces. relaxin' in style!