Day 26: Finally, shorts weather

Saturday April 6, 22.3mi/35.9km

Route 603 (511.7) to Partnership shelter (534.0) (VA)

Sleeping indoors is fun, you can wake up after the sunrise! The Sufi lodge was a quiet relaxing hostel, and Suzanne and James are wonderful hosts – they even made us a hot breakfast! After we finished our eggs, bacon, toast, and tea, Michele patched my damaged food bag.

Good as new! Take that, mice.

I was back on trail at 9am, and for the first time on this trail, I was wearing shorts! It started at 60F/16C, and warmed up to 72F/22C in the sun. I hiked an hour, and stopped at the first shelter for a snack break. I met Little One & Walden, who had hiked the AT in 2017, and were out hiking a 4-day section. They were fun to talk to, and they were thinking about hiking the Te Araroa next year, I hope I convinced them further.

I left the shelter and had a nice gradual downhill walk for a few miles. The trail passed right under Comers Creek Falls, a refreshing sight on a warm day.

The trail was mostly the same terrain today, gradual descents and climbs, on tread cut into the hillside.

At the next road crossing, there was some unattended trail magic! Someone hid sodas inside the trail register box, where hikers sign in/out of each forest section. Sweet!

Some of these wilderness areas have ridiculous names.

There was a short one mile section where the trail traversed a cow pasture. But sadly, no cows. 😦

It might be too early for cows, but spring is coming. Flowers are blooming!

At the next road crossing, there was more trail magic! Jerry is with the local church, and he was out today in his cool vehicle, helping out hikers! He said there were 10 other hikers before me, so I’m not alone out here. I think we are all just traveling the same pace, so we don’t see each other.I hiked on a couple more hours, and arrived to Partnership shelter at 5:30pm. Bob, Bill, and Turbo were there, along with some other thru’s I hadn’t met yet. And Michele showed up an hour later, after her day if hiking up Mt Rogers and Greyson Highlands. Cool! It was great to see her (and Lola, dog) one more time before they head west to the PCT.It was a warm evening, so we were able to hang out and socialize, which was great. We went to bed early, to start early tomorrow morning, and make it to a brunch place!

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