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Day 29: Helveys Mill Shelter to Sugar Run Gap-Wood’s Hole (30.2 miles)

Updated: May 10, 2019

June 10, 2004 - Wow, what a day. Had a great night’s sleep in my tent, there were too many bugs in the shelter. I got an early start, left camp before 7 am. Hiked all the way to the shelter I wanted to stay at last night in about 2.5 hours (10 miles away). So I made great time in the morning and made it to my ½ mark for the day at 11:45am (16 miles from the start). There was a small grocery store and I got some candy bars and a coke to help fill my stomach. Then I was off for what I thought another 16 miles. I made it to the next shelter, 8 miles away and took a break. Oh, I got stung by a bee; that was fun. Then at the shelter I took a break and talked with the people there. They told me about a free hostel 6 miles down the trail. I didn’t think I would stop there because it’s a ½ mile off the trail and it’s only 2 miles to the next shelter where I had planned on staying. I knew it was going to be a gamble to the last shelter because it had been raining on and off most of the afternoon with a little thunder off in the background. It didn’t take long for the thunder and lightning to get close. It started coming down real hard as I was making my way down a mountain. I was 3.5 miles away from the shelter and it was storming pretty good. I knew the hostel was only 1.5 miles away so I made a dash for it. As I was coming to the road crossing, the rain was coming down the trail like a river. It was a little uphill to the road. I heard a good sized blast of thunder and was off and running to the hostel ½ mile down the road. As soon as I got to the bunk house the storm hit even harder. I didn’t care because I was now all dry and fixing dinner. I was planning on just staying long enough for the storm to pass. But I’m all dry and don’t want to mess with the mud. This hostel is run by a very nice lady whose husband used to run it before he died a few years back. She never liked the hikers until after her husband died. Now she just loves all the hikers that stop by. This house, called Woods Hole, is really out in the country with not much around. I’m glad the bad weather brought me here. I hadn’t planned on stopping by since Pearisburg is so close. There is another guy here who I had a nice chat with during dinner. This is his 3rd thru hike. He gave me some cooking fuel since I spilt all of mine out the other day. This is a really nice place to be. I plan an early leave tomorrow so I can be in Pearisburg before lunch, all you can eat pizza buffet. Also I’ll wash clothes since they really stink now after putting in lots of 30+ mile days. I’ll restock on goods at the supermarket; lots of food for very little money. Then it’s off a few more miles down the trail. It’s best not to stay in towns long because you’ll spend all your money on food. I got in 30.2 miles for the day. Had it not been for the storm I could have gone 40. So now I know that 40 can be done, at least in Virginia. I move into central Virginia tomorrow which is supposed to be even flatter than southwest Virginia, which is where I am now. Who knows, maybe a 50 miler is possible.


Helveys Mill Shelter

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