10-9-09 day 129
start: Troutdale Baptist Church Hostel @ Troudale, VA
end: Thomas Knob Shelter, VA
daily mileage: 21.2
total mileage: 1687.3
We got going pretty slowly today. We packed up from the hostel and walked down the road to Jerry's General Store to see if we could get a ride back to the trail. Jerry was stocking stuff so while we waited we got an Internet fix and finally hit the trail around 11. We are having awesome luck and we had another fantastic day for hiking and ran into severl groups of people out for a day or two.
About 6 miles in we got to a road crossing through one of the gaps and took a look at the sheltered Forrest Service sign erected there. A quick look at the map posted revealed some fantastic short cut opportunities. The next section of the AT shoots way east then doubles back and heads west, resulting in a big 8 mile lobe. We discovered we could jump off the AT and cut straight across the ridge slashing 8 miles into 2 and actually end up further south on the trail than we were planning to be today. Just for fun we pretended to think about it for a minute before deciding on the plan.
The trial took us up on to the Greyson Highlands which was a stunning change of pace from the rest of VA. The woods opened up to a rolling treeless meadow, reminiscent of the Alpine areas way up in Maine. Not to mention the feral pony population! Seriously there's wild ponies up here, we saw 'em. Thomas Knob Shelter is up here on the highlands and its nice and big. We spent a lot of time discussing the likelihood of feral pony attacks and decided it would be a lot better if they were vicious and hungry for human ears. Also its supposed to storm like crazy tonight, sweet.