We got over to the Dollar General at around 11 for resupply. It's not our favorite place to resupply since brands are often pretty limited and it means we often lose out on nutrition (and tastiness, cous cous is one of our favorite backpacking meals and it's certainly never there). We all (Bambi and Turbo too) got resupplied and began the solemn task of removing unnecessary packaging. A guy from the nearby Nationwide let us know we could use their water and benches for whatever we wanted. Bland people have really been seriously nice and helpful. And, after some morning clouds, the sun was drying us out big time. Not sure if we mentioned this, but Tyler discovered that his boots were growing moss. It has been seriously soggy.
We carried on down the road to the Bland post office so Turbo and Bambi could send some gear home. Then we all grabbed sandwiches at a deli attached to a gas station. They were delicious. After trying to hitch for a minute or two, a guy with a truck full of hikers and said he would swing back for us, so we stopped trying to hitch and are our sandwiches.
Back at trail we found Dean! We last saw him back in the Grayson Highlands when the parents were still around. We almost didn't recognize him since he was wearing glasses and had shaved. Tater Tot, Bags, Barefoot, and Furiosa (formerly Rocket Power) were also hanging out under a shelter that the little outfitters. It's probably been used a lot in the recent rain. Anyway, Dean has been hiking twenty mile days for three consecutive days in order to catch Peregrine. He's slightly quiet at first, but kind, interesting, and incredibly funny (which is priority number one for the super best friends). I think we mentioned this before but Dean was a counselor at an asylum associated with the prison system in Colorado. Not the maximum security super place, but the step down one. Everyone inside had been court ordered to be there. He worked on the all male ward. We heard a few stories and it sounded about as exhausting and difficult as one would expect. He's hoping to go back to school after the trail to get into physical therapy.
We also got news from Bambi that Spike believes he may have made a mistake and is possibly coming back to the trail with his dog. It was probably good that he missed all the rain though, but we, of course, would be stoked to see him. Bambi is beyond excited and has begun figuring out the logistics to get him and his dog back down from New Hampshire.
Finally, we got hiking at around 2:30 with Turbo, Dean, Bambi, and the two of us. We wanted to get around thirteen today and twenty tomorrow to put us at Woods Hole Hostel, an iconic hostel on the trail, started way back in 1986. They are known for their homegrown food (meat and veggies) that they feed to the hikers.
We kept up a strong pace, everyone's fast now. Turbo and Bambi were a bit behind and Dean hiked with the two of us. We chatted about our pasts and shared stories. Dean told us a bit more about his trip back to Damascus. We all passed the 600 mile mark together!
We made it to a campsite about thirteen miles down the road at 7:30. The campsite was extremely picturesque. A running stream wrapped around a large, flat space for at least 8 tents. A bit dead tree off to one side, a steep hill just beyond, and of course a nice fire ring.
ate the chips and salsa we had picked up in town (first night out from a resupply means real tasty treats), a bag of delicious freezedried chili, and a ton of Oreos. We also made pine needle tea for everyone (including Steam, a new arrival who joined our family for the night. We all sat around the fire trying to figure out Turbos riddles and laughing so hard at each others jokes that we wondered if the stream water had been spiked. It was without a doubt, one of the best nights we've had on the trail so far.