Day 43 on the Appalachian Trail

Rain fell yesterday evening after I went to bed, but by morning the clouds disappeared.  I ate a sumptuous breakfast of two tortillas, blueberry cream cheese, Colby cheese, and instant breakfast. At 6:15am, I hit the trail at the start of a 2,000-foot climb. Happily, the trail wasn't excessively steep for the most part. I passed by numerous mountain laurel and rhododendron shrouds in full flower. Fallen magenta rhododendron flowers sometimes dotted the trail. I felt OK when the trail topped out at Brush Mountain, 7.2 miles on the day. The ensuing 6-mile descent largely spared my legs. I noticed numerous tulip tree flowers on the trail, presumably clipped and dropped by squirrels. The photo shows their size and color. At mile 13.3, I ate lunch on a bridge with Fresh Breath, a young hiker from Massachusetts. Onward past a reservoir, then along Browns Creek, it's major tributary. Interpretive signs explained that a community of free blacks lived here in the 1800s. I stopped at the Brown Mountain Creek shelter for a brief break then continued for 2 more miles uphill to US Highway 60, my route to Buena Vista to resupply. As soon as I crossed the highway, local fellow Lee gave me a ride into town. I bought groceries at the Family Dollar store and repackaged then in front of the store. As I was finishing, patron Douglas asked me if I wanted a ride back to the trail. It turned out Douglas was a Triple Crown hiker. We had a lively chat. Fifteen minutes later, I was back on the Appalachian Trail.  I hiked a mile up a steep trail and found a camp spot next to a Forest Service road. Hooray! My resupply went better than expected. Today's miles - 21.0. Total miles - 807.0.

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