Summary: Boiling Springs: 1121.6 Trail Magic Land: 1138.1 Total Miles: 16.5 We slept until about 9, sort of. The roosters, while significantly less obtrusive than the roosters at Four Pines Hostel, woke us up a few times between 4:30 am and when we finally got out of bed. We packed up our things, and Lisa drove us back to Boiling Springs at 10.
We headed straight for Caffe 101 for hands down the best breakfast we've had on the trail (Tyler ordered two breakfasts). We had some blog catching up to do, and Emily had to work, so we hung around the cafe for a while again. Grant and Tyler did some errands. Tyler picked up a new headlamp (yay!) at the outfitters, and a minor resupply for snacks for the next few days. We then got lunch as well and started hiking, albeit slowly to pick blackberries near the trail, at 2:30. The flat continued for nearly the rest of the day. We got some trail magic sodas from some flip flopping hikers who were taking a break, and also heard that there was some grilling trail magic (and pancakes in the morning) a couple of miles down from the shelter. We had only planned on doing about 14 miles today, and we felt that may already be pushing it after our late and slow start. Still, it was flat, and we upped the speed to try and get the 16.5 miles. We hiked over beautiful terrain. For about a mile, we walked next to the Conodoguinet Creek, and almost decided to stop to camp. A fair number of teenagers were tubing and swimming. We were at least a bit jealous.
Still, we trudged on. We kept up a fantastic pace, and hit Darlington Shelter just after 7 and made it to the trail magic by 7:45. It was indeed still happening and indeed grand. Also, to our delight, Monty was there. He had been there since the afternoon, since he had, shall we say, enjoyed quite a few trail magic beers throughout the day which can make it hard to leave. Grant was of course there, drinking a white russian. Fancy and Stitch, two hikers we'd been running into a lot lately, were also there. Pickle, Bullseye, The Kid, thru hikers from the previous year, and the Kid's girlfriend Heather, were putting on the trail magic. There was only one burger left, but never to fear, they started grilling up steak tips and deep frying (that's right, a propane powered deep fryer) fries when we arrived. They had a ton of snacks, chairs, and a big pop up awning. The Kid, who we ran into as we cruised into the trail magic, was still out hiking with Heather, but Pickle and Bullseye had more than enough stories to entertain. They were hilarious and, after their thru hike together, they seemed to be able to finish each others sentences and had a catalog of one liners that seemed endless. Tyler had packed out some morning glories and a small fountain firework, and we had a (very) mini fourth of july celebration.
Stitch and Fancy ended up leaving and hiked a mile or so further down the trail at 9:30 or so, but the rest of us set up camp right in the parking lot. Grant slept in one of the reclining camp chairs, Monty set up his thermarest on the ground, and we set up our tent, in particular since the bugs find Emily oh so tasty. The trees just across the road sparkled with fireflies. As we were heading to sleep, we could hear Bullseye and Pickle quitely cracking jokes to each other in their tentaminium. Just this once, people talking as we went to bed was heartwarming rather than frustrating.
*From the Hiker's Yearbook