June 16, 1983 Thursday (1593.9 mtg) From
Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal
part of the sunrise this morning, but the sun came up before I knew it. Chestnut
knob is a place for sunsets, but not sunrises. Too much of the eastern sky is
obscured by the adjacent hillside.
day consisted of a lot of ridgewalking. As a result, this section of trail is
quite dry. Springs rarely emerge from the top of a mountain, they are usually
somewhere down the side. Had lunch at Jenkins Shelter, and I signed the register
(page 12) with a very intelligent thought, and while we rested we thought about
where to spend the night. The decision seemed to be hinging on the availability
of water. We could go another ten miles and camp, with the last five miles carrying
water for the evening and next morning, or we could dry camp. Dry camping was
not a very popular idea. I suddenly came up with the idea of going all the way
to Bland, Virginia, where I was sure that we could get some water from some resident,
and a place to plop could be found somewhere. We set out with that in mind and
soon found ourselves walking along some nice cliffs with views off to the left
into an area known as Burckes' Gardens Valley. We passed through an interesting
section of tall ferns that were somewhere in the neighborhood of waist height.
We crossed the same stream over ten times, but the stream was not in the right
location for us to stop and camp, we needed more miles. Water in just one area
is not helpful over a long distance. Part of the trail once again went along
the ridge of Brushy Mountain. We finally emerged from the woods at the road crossing
of US 21 & 52 and began our walk to the right to the town of Bland, Virginia.
We eventually secured a ride down the mountain after walking about a mile. A local
named Ron was nice enough to pick us up in his black pickup and transport us to
the town where he proceeded to show us the location of the post office as well
as a possible place to camp near the town park. He suggested we also inquire at
the local grocery store about a place to stay. We had reached the town at about
5 pm. The Post office had closed, but luckily the store stayed open later.
Someone at the store suggested we could possibly stay nearby in the park.
We took our gear down to an area next to the baseball diamonds that seemed somewhat
"concealed" by bushes. The vegetation surrounded a couple of picnic
tables where we stashed our gear while we went to see the town. We basically ended
up back at the store, where we were allowed to fill up our water bottles, and
I bought myself a pint of chocolate chip ice cream for $.89 and began to eat.
Jim got angry because he thought we were buying a half gallon. His reaction made
me upset so I gave him some money and said "go buy one!" I helped him
eat part of that too. To cap off the evening, I bought a Dr. Pepper and headed
down to the baseball fields, where all the locals were involved in a hot game
of softball. I only watched part of the game before returning to our secluded
hideaway nearby in the bushes. Rather than set up our tent, we chose to sleep
on the top of the picnic tables that were provided. This was the second night
in a row that we slept on an elevated wooden platform provided by a picnic table.
We seemed sure it would not rain. I did not get to sleep until after the activities
at the ballpark came to an end, along with the noise associated with it.
Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983