A NERO IN MARION, VIRGINIA
AT Day 035: Friday May 12, 2023
Mile 530.5 + 3.5 miles / 5.5 km
Total Distance Hiked: 534 miles /858 km
Camp – Mt Rodgers Recreation Area – Route 16/ Sugar Grove Highway – Marion
A: 275 ft / 85 m D: 240 ft/ 73 m
We both woke early this morning. It was still dark outside. Late last night a couple arrived and asked to camp near us. We had seen them earlier in the afternoon. They camped right alongside us as the site wasn’t very big. I was feeling awful about disturbing them this morning but didn’t want to wake them to apologize so we packed up as quiet as possible and broke camp around 6am, just as the first bird started to sing. It’s getting noticably lighter earlier in the morning.
lt was a beautiful morning, cool not cold just lovely hiking conditions. We had about three and a half miles to get to a road and then hitch a ride into Marion. The first ten minutes I walked by torch light. It was magical to see insect eyes reflecting the light, like blue sparkling diamonds flickering at me in some kind of communication. In the daytime it looks like boring leaf litter carpeting the forest floor. But in the torch light it is transformed into something quite special.
We got to the the shelter at the Mt Rodgers Recreational Area in what felt like a very short time. We were surprised to see lots of tents surrounding it. It was probably one of the most perfect campsite we have come across so far. Clearly the ‘no tenting’ rule is advisory only.
We got to the road and within 10 minutes got a ride into town with a local man, Paul. He was on his way to supervise the building of a roof on a property he owned in town. He has lived in this area all his life working as psychiatric nurse for the past 55 years. He loves this area very much and appreciates the natural beauty on his doorstep. He mentioned that thunderstorms are expected this afternoon and he hoped to get the roof finished before it arrives. The weather prediction helped us to decide to stay in town overnight and head out tomorrow morning. Although checking the weather later, it looks like we will have a few warm but rainy days coming up.
Paul dropped us off at the Econolodge and recommended the nearby Mexican Restaurant for dinner. By 8.30 am we were checked into a room by a super friendly desk clerk. So happy to be able to check in so early.
After another cup of coffee, we walked over to the nearby Walmart and Ingles supermarkets and shopped for resupply. It is great to be able to get this done and be back to our room, showered and laundry done by lunchtime.
We spent the afternoon relaxing and catching up on correspondence from home. Such a lazy day by comparison to the usual on trail day. Although my feet are still buzzing from yesterdays rock pounding.
Late afternoon we walked over to the Mexican and had a very, very filling and delicious feast. Full as a goog we were waddling back to our room when we bumped into three hikers we’ve met over the past two weeks, Jeager, Guru and Tommy. They had a very scary bear encounter at Trimpi Shelter last night. In the middle of the night, the Guru was woken by a bear sniffing around his tent and the bear came only inches away from his face. Hoolly doolly….that sounds like a nightmare. So only Jeager is returning to trail tomorrow, Tommy and the Guru are quitting the trail here. Slowly the numbers are diminishing.
The predicted thunderstorm had not arrived by the time we returned to our room. Looked like a fine hiking day out there. Although I’m sure our feet will thank us for taking a break today.
Hi you all,
I awoke this morning to your new postMy suggestionto your fellow hikers is invest in bear spray. My brother says it works because he is used to being interrupted by a bear. Also put away any smell of food. He would say don’t give up on the hike. I would be out there too If I didn’t have to get infusions every two weeks because I don’t want to go into anaphylaxis shock. Since I can’t come along I will read of your adventures. I appreciate such vivid journals. I hope the next few days you don’t hit any thunder storms or just down pours. Thanks again, Ho Beth DeVore
Hi Jo Beth
Thank you for following along. It is nice to know we are not alone.Sorry to hear that you are not well. Hope the treatment is working for you.
We were surprised that bear spray is not recommended on the AT. Every other place we’ve hiked in the US has asked that you carry bearspray. We’ve heard people say here that back bears are really not that bad just being opportunistic. Doesn’t help us to sleep easy at night at times. We have no intention of quiting, but we are being tested.
Well, that sounds terrifying! Otherwise, a nice town with helpful people, surrounded by beauty.
Yes, it sure does. He had the tent fly open and the bear was sniffing inside the vestibule. This was at a shelter site. I’m so happy we have avoided camping at shelters as much as possible. Marion was a nice town.
YIKES!!! I didn’t realize that he was in the vestibule….
It sounded like a nightmare, especially to wake up to that.
I am so enjoying following you both on this amazing adventure.
How do you do it ? Day after day – stamina is definitely required and enjoying the great outdoors with camping involved.
I’m so glad you have not had a bear encounter and cross my fingers you never have one.
It’s only 5-6 weeks until we leave for our 3 month European holiday and adventure.
Getting very excited now but so much to do before we go.
Maxwell (the dog) has had a bad run of illness so trying to get him sorted before we go.
2 cancerous lumps taken from his back and now a grass ear in the ear that caused a Hematoma on his ear flap.
We are off to Carrickalinga this weekend. Last visit before we leave for Europe. Sarah will come also.
Hooe you can visit us on your return and stay with us in Adelaide and also Carrickalinga.
Think you guys would enjoy it.
Continue to enjoy your adventure.
I will email you Sue