Front Royal, VA – Mile 498
Nick’s adventure hiking the Virginia portion of the Appalachian Trail is almost over. We met him Saturday near Front Royal where the trail crosses US 522. We got there a little early (cell phones make rendezvous times very easy) so Ron and I embraced the trail and started walking to meet him. After an arduous hike of 1000 yards, Nick appeared and led us back to the parking lot. Nick walked faster carrying a 30 pound backpack than I did carrying only my cell phone.
This was a short visit, for lunch only, because Nick is determined to make it home by Monday. That means hiking over 50 miles in two and ½ days. I insisted he change shirts before going into Front Royal. I handed him a clean shirt and a stick of deodorant. We enjoyed a great lunch at the Apple House Deli. Nick is tired. He admits he should have taken more days off especially after completing 21 miles in one day as he did while in the Shenandoah National Park.
Nick had only rave reviews about Shenandoah National Park. Thanks to the recommendation of Harpers Ferry NHP Superintendent Rebecca Herriot, he indulged in a helping of blackberry ice cream and said it was great. Nick was disappointed at not seeing a single bear although a rattle snake scared the stink off him (HAHA! Nothing can scare the stink off an Appalachian Trail hiker. It takes a hot shower and lots of soap).
He has continued to enjoy episodes of trail magic, including a hiker who was toting a 6-pack of beer and ice and shared it with everyone in the shelter.
Ron and I got to provide a little trail magic ourselves. When we dropped Nick back at the trail, we met Padre, a through hiker going from north to south. He needed a ride to Food Lion in Front Royal so we took him there and I gave him some home-made brownies. Nothing can make you feel more appreciated than giving a hiker home-made baked goods!