Appalachian Trail Mile 720.1

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 (Day 49)

I slept for about an hour last night. Curled up beneath my ground tarp letting my things charge, I woke to a crook in my neck from using my pack as a pillow. I was directly in front of the store. A surveyance of the surrounding grounds proved no other option…just trash and glass and loose rocks. Besides, I desired the electricity I greedily siphoned in to my phone and power bank in the night. Of outlets, I only spotted one. I did not want to be sleeping when the shop opened, however, so I resigned to making tea and waiting. I burned the roof of my mouth and encouraged a spider to leave my personal bubble.

I purchased hot coffee, and enough food to get me through the day. I planned to make it to Daleville, VA that evening. For breakfast I ate canned black beans and spinach while sitting at the store-front bench and watching the people of Southern Virginia get their morning coffee and pastry and gas. Judging by the logos on their large trucks, there were many landscapers and construction workers, or people that worked with lumber. Orange was a very popular color of attire, often layered by kahki coveralls. I saw one man hop in to the passenger seat of a truck, lifting both feet off the ground at once, as did the calf of yesterday.

I was originally planning to hike out and take a nap shortly after getting back on trail…but there was no time for sleep.

I passed berries and brooks and came to another pasture. How blissful I felt! The sun shone radiantly! The solstice, when the sun seems to stand still, the zenith of day-length, was here…and it was marvelous!

It is potential that I live for. The creation of space that invites all possibilities; the uncertainty of excitement.

I crossed VA 311. There was a popular parking area there, as McAfee Knob was only three miles out. The trail became flooded with day hikers. The ones I spoke with were very friendly.  I took my time making my way up to the knob. I stopped in at Johns Spring Shelter to look in the trail register for a note my friend Alex said she left for me when she day hiked the area over a month back. I found it and my heart soared.  It truly made my day!

I finally came to the infamous McAfee Knob. It was, in fact, beautiful.

I was still planning to travel 16 additional miles. My energy was dropping. I took a long break at a water source and continued.

The trail began to climb. I desired another break. I finally came to a spot with a clearing.  I was feeling weak. I longed for orange juice and sleep. Can exhaustion make one nauseous? I decided that I could take one hour. Half of that hour would be dedicated to hydration and dinner, the other half…to sleep.  If I only took an hour I could make it to the shelter and collect water before it was dark. I did just that, and continued.

As much as I tried, I could not shake the feeling of exhaustion. There was no point in fighting it. I had to sleep eventually. I stopped 8 miles shy of Daleville and fell in to a much needed sleep on a relatively flat space just to the left of the trail.

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