Dear Herm’s Hikers,
Greetings from Waynesboro, Virginia! 852 miles down and “only” 1,326 to go. Will be meeting my brother Mark who will hike with me along the Skyline Drive from Waynesboro to Front Royal/Linden. It will be nice to have a trail buddy for a week. He’s promised to bring plenty of food. and as long as he’s carrying it, I’m all for it. He’s psyched about Herm’s Hike, and I’m psyched about taking that last big step to Harper’s Ferry, one of my favorite spots on earth.
But before we head to Front Royal, let me take a look over my shoulder to see where I’ve been. Crossed Apple Orchard Mountain (at 4,225 feet, one of the last 4k’s for quite a while.). It was once the site of an Air Force radar station, complete with barracks and service buildings. Now it’s just a moutain top meadow. The next day, I descended the moutain ridge and corssed the James River Foot Bridge, the longest foot bridge on the AT at 623 feet. It runs parallel with a railroad brdge, and it’s quite a site to be standing on the bridge in the middle of the river when a coal train rumbles by. Since I love trains, rivers, and bridges, it was a perfect combination. Hitched a ride into the town of Glasgow to resupply and spend at night at Howard’s Family restaurant and Motel. The good news was the grocery store and Dolllar General were open, but the motel/restaurant closed 3 months ago, too late to be updated in the trail guidebooks. The town did have camping available behind one of the buildings and a park pavillion if it rained (more on that later). Decided to spend the night and spent the afternoon drying out my clothes and belongings on the small wooden bleachers that surrounded the softball field in the center of town. I did notice the billboard sign outside the grocery that announced that night’s game between the town of Glasgow and the Glasgow VFD. At around 4 0’clock some of the players, a town employee nicknamed Hammer, and a young gentleman named Dustin began sprucing up the field for the game. They mowed the outfield grass, raked the infeld, painted foul lines, and painted the bases. When they were done the field looked very similar to the Field of Dreams in the Costner movie. The field was even surrounded by a light poles. Since I was the only spectator in the stands eating my boxed fried chicken dinner, I stuck up a converation with the workers. When Hammer said the he couldn’t make it to the game that night, he asked me if I was interested in taking his place. Of course, I jumped on the chance even though it’s been about 30 years since I played in a league softball game. Oh, I had plently of practice with my daughter Cindy during her softball career at Herefored High, but no real game experience. As fate would have it, the game was ready to begin, and the team wtihout a 10th man was the Glasgow VFD, not the Town of Glasgow. While warming up, my teammates noted that I had a very smooth wing, but that was just swinging at air. So I batted 10th and played right center. Play ball, ineed, my fellow hikers! I could fall out of my sleeping bag any day of the week and line a single to center, and that’s what I did. Not once but twice. I went 2 for 3 (two line drive singles) and a ground out to second. My swing was sweet, but my feet were very rusty. Running in hiking boots after hiking 775 miles was not easy or pretty. I rumbled around the bases like I was pulling a wagon or wearing a backpack which I wan’t But, we won 13 to 11 after being down by 6 runs in the 3rd inning. What a great time! Three cheers for the Glasgow VFD and the Town of Glasgow! After the game, I thanked both teams for allowing me the chane to recapture my youth if only for a couple of hours.
I slept that evening on a picnic table under the centerfield park pavillion as rainstorms raced accross the mountain valley. All in all, it wasn’t that bad. I walled myself with the other picnic tables and kept dry for most of night. The only casualty was my sweatpants which got wet. The next morning they weighed about 10 pounds which meant they were left bheind, and a brand new pair of sweatpants at that.
After Glasgow, it was 2 good hiking days. The section from Buena Vista to Montebello was one of the my best days on the trail with good weather, a good path, great scenery, and a great hiking companion in Snowhead who had cold beer wating for us at the trailhead parking lot to the Dutch Haus B&B. The Dutch Haus,
what a delight! A true oasis in the wilderness of rocks and trees. I had a private room, a home-cooked dinner (stuffed pepers or corned beef and cabage) and a gourment breakast. That will cure dem ole Virginia blues, every time! The long cabin home and adjoining log cabin bunkhouse were the epitome of luxury of any trail in the country. Thank you Earl and Lois for a wonderful stay. The town of Monetebello is a grocery store, a post office, a conference center for 7th Day Adventists, and a campgournd. So if you want to get away from it all, only minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway, visit the Dutch Haus.
Back to the trail. Some very tough hiking was in store for the next 2 days as we hiked The Preist and Chimney Rocks (hand over hand climbing over some very jagged and steep ledges. The 2nd day was smooth sailing as I hiked into Waynesboro with Mother Nature, a 60+ former PE teacher from Maryland (UMCP Class of “66) who hiked me into the ground fro about 20 miles. Needless to say, Mother Nature had a pace just a little a little faster than mine. By the time, we reached the parking lot at Rockfish Gap, my tongue was hanging out like an old hound dog. For the last 5 miles, we, or shoud I say Mother Nature, hiked with Creek Dancer who gave us a ride into Waynesboro and later dined with us. Thank you Creek Dancer for being a trail angel. I don’t know if I could have taken anothet step out of the trailhead parking lot. Spent the ngiht at the Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church. A thank you to Woody and his staff for a wonderful evening. This church hostel had everthing, cots with pillows (at leastd I found one), showers, snacks, and movies. A great place after a very, very long day!
Okay, hikers, that’s it for now! Time to get ready for the push up the Shenanoah National Park to Harper’s Ferry. Lots of deer and bear sightings in the park. It should be a very enjoyable hike, whether or not the weather holds up! Until next time, hike in peace and hike with your angels!