Last night we had quite the crew loggered up around the Wilson Creek Shelter.
After CC and I retired to the relative privacy of our orange home, TinTin and
the crew were still going strong. They had hauled five pounds of hotdogs and all
the fixins, plus everything they needed for Smores up from town. While roasting
chow 'round the campfire they listened to Winny Pooh being read aloud. Between
the crew of four they carry only the one book and take turns reading aloud to
each other at night. Not sure when they called it a night, but when we got up at
6:30AM they were all still sleeping.
Old Fat Dad and Tenderfeets hit the trail about an hour before CC and I. All
gear was stowed and we were hoofing towards town by 8:00AM. There were a pair of
eyeglasses found in the shelter just as CC and I were about to leave. No one in
the shelter was missing them, so we deduced they must belong to the two men who
departed first. As we were headed in the same direction as them, I said we would
try to catch them. These guys are section hikers out for their second day of a
five day hike. We had out distanced them yesterday by 1 3/4 hr in a 10 mile
stretch, so I beleived we would catch them before we reached town.
CC set a blistering pace. Our packs were light, I promised her a Mexican
dinner for Mother's Day, and we had someone's glasses. After about 3/4 mile,
rounding a switchback I came to a screaching halt. Coiled loosely on the left
edge of the trail was a fat Timber Rattler about four feet long. CC had blown past it with her MP3 player blasting Praise and Worship music
without noticing the viper. I called her name and she started back my way. When
she was about five feet from the tail end of the reptile, calmly but forcefully
I told her to stop and pointed my treking pole at the focal point of intrest.
She gasped and asked what kind he was. After telling her, I was scoulded soundly
for calling her back without prior warning of the danger at hand. The snake had
yet to move a scale or blink an eye. I would guess he was almost three inches in
diameter at his largest point. It appeared as he had eaten some small rodent or frog and was just laying in the cool morning digesting his meal. After a photo we moved on.
Traffic north was light. Mystery Chicken, Yard Stick, Granite, Luna,
Wolverine, Scotty Too Light, Brew and Ross were the "Had a night in town" crew
we met. We caught Fat Dad and Tenderfeets after 2 1/4 hr. The glasses were not
theirs and they were amazed we had caught them at all with an hour headstart.
They were grateful that we had undertaken the task even though it was for
We dropped out of the shelter at 1,830' over some PUDS past Wilson Creek,
Little Wilson Creek and Curry Creek all at 1,700'. Up through Salt Pond Gap
(2,250'), over Fullhardt Knob (2,670'), down to Tollhouse Gap (1,850') down to
VA 652 and then US 11 near 1,500', across Buffalo Creek (1,400'), under I 81 and
into Daleville and the Motel (1,300').
We covered the 11 miles in just under six hours. We did the cleanup thing,
checked out the local shopping area, then ate that Mexican dinner. While
watching a movie on the TV, I got the laundry done as CC got a few surprise
Mother's Day calls. We cleaned all our gear then hit the hay.
Patrick, Deborah Mooney aka OD & CC
All Who Wander Are Not Lost
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