Saturday, April 2nd, 2016
Start: US 220/Daleville
End: VA 624/Newport Rd (4 Pines Hostel)
Miles: 25.7 (+0.4 for water, +0.3 for hostel)
I got up at 6am, packed up, and grabbed breakfast at the motel, hitting the trail by 7am.
I climbed Hay Rock (1955′), passed by Lamberts Meadow campsite and Shelter (2000′), went through Scorched Earth Gap (2600′), climbed the Tinker Cliffs (3000′) with views of McAfee Knob, went down to Brickeys Gap (2194′), passed by Campbell Shelter (2636′) and Pig Farm campsite (2682′), climbed up to McAfee Knob (3197′) where some day hikers kindly took pictures of me, passed by Catawba Mountain Shelter (2203′) and Johns Spring Shelter (1957′), and down to VA 311 (1990′). I then went through a trail section with a lot of 200-500 ft shifts in elevation, arriving at VA 785 (1790′), followed by VA 624 (1810′). Between VA 785 and VA 624 there was a climb of ~500 ft.
I arrived at VA 624 around 6:15pm, getting to 4 Pines Hostel by 6:30pm. At 7pm, after a quick shower, they brought me to Homeplace Restaurant, a local AYCE family-style, southern cooking restaurant. The restaurant is only open limited hours and only Thur-Sun so the line is out the door. I’m still waiting on a table; they close at 8pm. I assume that’s when they stop taking people to the list, not when they actually close.
The crew here seems a little odd; it’s owned by Joe but Eddie lives there and does the grunt works. Eddie seems to have an intellectual disability. The hostel is a separate garage with a host of old couches, lazyboys, pool lounge chairs, and 2 real beds, all in one large open room. There are meat hooks for deer hanging from the ceiling and automotive/construction tools clutter the walls and cabinets. There’s soda in the fridge and supplies to make eggs and pancakes in the morning, should hikers want to do so. There’s a single private bathroom with a shower. Laundry is done down the hill at the main house, though it seems like one should arrive earlier than I did to access this benefit. The men here are dirty, loud, and think swearing horribly at each other is a sign of affection. Hiking is the only circumstance under which I would ever occupy such a space and as it is, I’m a bit nervous being here. However, it’s set to get cold tonight (low 30s) and I’d rather be under a 4-sided shelter tonight so it works for me.