Back on the trail with a few more dollars for beer in my bank account earned from working on the river a couple of days while I was home, I think about the possibility of blue blazing (taking a canoe on the river for part of the trail in Shenandoah).
I arrive at Dragons Tooth, a gray rock cropping jutting out of its green spring surroundings, well one might say like a dragons tooth, near Catawab, VA . This is the first truly impressive section of trail that I can recall. It came out of nowhere, here I was hiking along and then bam, this impressive section of trail that just made hiking a little more difficult. It was impressive to me because it was a preview of what the AT in New Hampshire and Maine resembled, with its rock scrambling and exposure. These were my favorite sections because I was above the tree line in the Alpine Zone climbing vertical sections of rock with the aid of rebar that had been attached to the rock to make ladder rungs causing one to use their upper body which is a nice change from my everyday repetition of right foot, left foot for 10 hours. I loved throwing in a right and left hand to the foot pace!
The ticks are starting to come out in full force. I am removing attached ones every few days, luckily they eventually subside. I get in a habit of taking my hiking poles and holding them in front of me in a V shape like a plow spreading apart the tall grass as I hike through it. I do not know if this actually does anything, but it feels proactive in keeping the ticks off.
I arrive at the foot of Shenandoah National Park at dusk. I walk towards I-64 to try to hitch to Waynesboro. I see this old monstrosity of a building on a frontage road that appears to be a motel. I approach it and in fact it is a hotel and conference center that is past its prime. I note a few cars in the parking lot, this is the only thing that leads me to believe that it is actually open. I wander around looking for the office and finally find it just to the right of where I started looking circling the building in a clockwise direction. I enter and ring the bell for assistance. Do-da-do, Do-da-do, Do-da-do, I wait impatiently for help after ringing the bell again. I can’t wait to get a shower and order food. I click my tongue repeatedly against the roof of my mouth waiting for someone to answer and ring it again. Finally someone comes, takes my money, and gives me a room on the other side of the building. I walk as fast as I can to the room while ordering pizza on my phone. The next morning I am on the balcony finishing my leftover pizza enjoying the morning when a car pulls up and a short stocky man steps out and screams up at me, “are you by yourself.” I answer, “yep” thinking he a hotel employee checking to see if I had snuck multiple dirtbag hikers into the room. “so you’re by yourself” “yes”, I replied. “so you’re telling me no one else is around” he states suddenly in a very creepy voice as he approaches the steps to my balcony. I realize at this point that my room is kind of isolated on the other side of the building, as his bald head disappears as he starts up the steps; I decide that he in fact doesn’t work here. I grab my bag that luckily is already packed, shove the last of the pizza in my mouth, throw the room key into the room, slam the door and quickly make my way to the set of steps on the other side of the balcony! As I make it to the road, I notice the guy is in his car slowly creeping behind me. A car comes up behind him causing him to drive past me. I see him coming back towards me on the other side of the road. I manage to hitch a ride into town before the creepy guy turned around and luckily I never saw him again!
For the story on the second time I almost got murdered click link