After eating breakfast, I started hiking the half mile back to the Appalachian Trail. The trail descended through forest with large trees (tulip trees, oaks) then through disturbed forest (no large trees, weedy herbs) closer to US Highway 522. As I descended to the highway, I walked along a 6-foot high chain link fence. North of the highway, the fence reappeared with a US Government Keep Out sign. I wondered what merited the big fence. Upward through more fine forest with big trees, some about 3 feet in diameter (see photo). I gained 900 feet of elevation gradually then descended to Virginia Highway 55 at Manassas Gap. I'd arranged to meet my grad school friend Kurt Johnson at that point. He'd been at a workshop near Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, and returning to Fairfax County where he lives. I ate the rest of my peanut butter and crackers while I waited. Kurt arrived and we drove two miles to the Apple House Restaurant for second lunch. We visited for an hour, then Kurt drove me back to the trail. It was great to catch up with each other. I started up a 1200-foot climb with an extra measure of energy. My half-pound burger, coleslaw, and half of Kurt's BLT gave me a major boost. I hiked the 7 miles to Dicks Dome shelter in three hours, which was fast for me. I found fellow hikers, Freckles and Fresh Breath finishing dinner. I cooked my double dinner, rinsed off with creek water, and discussed with Freckles places to see and avoid - she lives near the AT in Pennsylvania. Today's miles - 19.0. Total miles- 984.3.