Appalachian Trail -

Black Horse Gap

After a long day we all crossed James River footbridge, the longest footbridge on the trail, and got back to the Jeep around 6. The boys were exhausted! It wasn’t a very hard day, they said, just a long day. Deciding that we didn’t want to drive around looking for somewhere to camp, we chose to go down into the little town of Glassgow and see what was going on down there. The first place we went was to Scotto’s pizza place and ate till we were all half asleep on the table from a self induced food coma. We were all starving, so the quality didn’t matter, just quantity. After rolling ourselves away from the table, we went to the park pavilion that is set up a few hundred yards from the restaurant for thru hikers. It was a great little shelter that was built as an Eagle Scout project. Dion, having earned his Eagle too, was really impressed with what a great project it was, and the quality of the work. There are 6 bunks, a picnic table and two benches inside a tarp tent. Beside the tent is an outdoor shower, which we skipped due to the lack of hot water, and and a hose to fill up your water bladders. We all got into our sleeping bags, pulled the zippers up to the top, and read our books until we all fell asleep.

In the morning we stopped for pictures with the giant dinosaur, but didn’t get the story of why it’s there, got coffee from the gas station and went on our way. We were going to stop by a local attraction, ‘Foam Henge’, which is exactly what it sounds like, an exact replication of Stone Hedge. But, after asking a few locals for its location they deterred us from wasting our time, and assured us we would see much better things along the trail. So I dropped the boys back off at the top of Orchard Mountain, this time they will go south bound down the other side. We are planning on going a little less than 14 today and scooping up one of the camp sites along Jennings Creek. I met up with them at Bryant Ridge Shelter, and upon arriving wished that I had brought our stuff in too! What an amazing shelter! It’s right on the trail, has a great water source right in front of it and it has two floors! As soon as Buddy arrived he climbed upstairs to investigate. He declared this to the the coolest shelter on the trail! It has windows and a ladder, what more could you need? While hiking Dion and Buddy met a group of 6 men in their mid 50’s who were out for a few days, and couldn’t get over Buddy and his amazing accomplishments so far. They were planning on staying at the shelter that night, so after a long break, we decided to move on, give them space to sprawl out and try to get to camp before dark.

Jennings Creek campsite was great! It’s right next to the parking lot, and we were able to get our tent set up, and dinner made before the nightly VA rain storm came through. We made a big pot of pasta, and toasted some bagels on the grill. We are so lucky to have that little Coleman grill. I am always still so surprised at how well maintained these little sites off the side of the road are. Sorry to say, but if this was NY, there would be Four Loco cans, cigarette packs and food container all over and under every rock. We are so happy to see that their really are still people who care out there.

After waking up late, and leisurely getting ready, I drove down south to the top of Black Horse Gap and dropped the boys off so they could hike north back to Jennings Creek. After being back in the woods for many days, I’ve again forgotten what days of the week mean and that their are holidays that stores and libraries close for. So, imagine my surprise when I pulled the handle to the Buchanan library, only to find it has been closed to honor the fantastic Mr. Columbus. So, instead I dipped into this great little southern diner, charged all our devices, updated all our sites and drank bottomless coffee till I couldn’t sit any longer.

We seem to have fallen behind the big group of SOBO’s ahead of us, and hope to catch them soon. It’s so much fun to stay with other hikers at night and share the experiences of the day. We are going to stay somewhere near Black Horse Gap tonight, and hike into Daleville tomorrow. We received an invitation from Hiker Mom who lives in that town to stay with her and her husband, so we are going to take her up on that offer of hospitality. Although hotels have their advantages, getting to stay with people who are actively part of the trail community can not be beat. Their are no people like trail people!

While driving to find out stealth spot near Black Horse Gap, we ran into the famous Ms. Janet again! She is one of the best trail angels on the AT and can been seen literally anywhere at any time!