town time: days 48-51

Day 48: Big Rocky Row to US Route 60, 17.1 miles
Day 49: Lexington, 0 miles
Day 50: Lexington to The Priest Mountain Shelter, 20.7 miles
Day 51: The Priest Mountain Shelter to Wintergreen View, 22.3 miles
Total AT miles hiked: 849.6 miles

We normally don’t keep a schedule when we hike, but on our 48th trail day we were heading into Lexington, which sits 15 miles west of the AT and can be a hard hitch to get. We had called 502 Main Street B&B in town the night before to reserve the thru-hiker special that included laundry, breakfast, and a free pick-up as long as we could get to the trailhead by 330pm. We were aiming to get there by 2:30pm, but practically flew down the mountain and made it there just after 1pm. A few miles before, feeling confident we’d make it, we called to arrange a ride for 1:15pm. Mary Stuart was right on time, and before we knew it we were in the most luxurious B&B room we’d ever seen, sitting in white robes while our clothes were being laundered, drinking hot chocolate and eating homemade cookie. Needless to say, it was quite the treat!

eastern bluebird

Things only got better, as my parents and brother made it into town for lunch the next day. We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Lexington, eating, enjoying each other’s company, and generally being merry!

The visit went quickly, and we were back at the trailhead by 9AM the next morning starting our long march up to The Priest, a prominent mountain in the area. It was unseasonably chilly all day, and I was worried that I’d be cold, as I’d traded my winter bag for a lighter sleeping bag in Lexington, but found I was plenty warm enough in the shelter tucked into the corner.

The next day we headed down the mountain, only to go right back up another one in the Three Ridge Wilderness. Garrett had remembered this climb to be particularly long and arduous from his last thru-hike when he did it in the afternoon sun, but this day it was a rewarding challenge. The cool temperature worked to our advantage, and being earlier in the day we had fresh legs to make it to the top by lunch time.

scarlet tanager


The rest of the day was spent rolling through the Virginia mountain sides and cross-crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway. Along the way we ran into a man hiking the opposite direction as us, and he told Garrett not to let me out hike him. Comments like this annoy me greatly, even though they may be said with no malice, they still seem rooted in the antiquated belief that women are unequal to men. I figured crossing a road speaking to a strange man was not the best time for a remark on my part, but when is it a “good time?” I thought about this as we hiked the last few miles of the day, without coming up with an answer. We found a camping spot atop of a nice viewpoint of the Priest, and settled in for the evening.