Saturday, June 10, 2017 (Day 38)
I rose and left the viewpoint by 8 am. I was certainly occupying the space by camping there, and didn’t want to deter any other hikers from enjoying it due to my presence. Shrouded in sleepiness, I stopped at the shelter just under 2 miles out and made myself some coffee.
I was just packing up when a hiker I had met in Damascus stopped in. We decided to get (yes, more) coffee at the gas station that was coming up in 5 miles, in the small town of Atkins, VA. We spoke of identification of wild foods, hiking paces, and pack weight as we hiked.
Soon we came to an old school house built in the 1800s. Other hikers, and trail magic provided by the local church were inside. There were clear plastic boxes of sodas and fruit and crackers and on the wall were odd lists if 19th century school ground punishments that could be purchased for $1.
Now there where four of us that pressed on to Atkins as a group. We ate together at a Mexican food restaurant attached to an Exxon gas station. It was my first dining experience of the trail. It was very good. Then there was the sitting in front of the neighboring gas station. The sitting led to a more extended sitting…and chatting, and repackaging of overly packaged goods. The hiker company was lovely, yet very present and very distracting. Soon it was 10 pm and I had done nothing but sit and chat. The rest of the hiker crowd had cleared out. I stayed the night. I got caught in the “vortex” as hikers often refer to it, in the most unlikey of places. A truck stop in Atkins, VA.