Day 60: Matts Creek Shelter to Punchbowl Shelter

May 13, 2013

Today’s mileage: 12.7
Total mileage: 790.8

We had an easy two miles hiking along the James River to start our day. It was a clear, but chilly morning as we prepared to head into Glasgow for resupply. We crossed over the James River Foot Bridge, the longest foot-use only bridge on the AT. I write footbridge as two words since it is named after a trail enthusiast and thru-hiker with the last name, Foot.

We tried to hitch for less than five minutes before Ken pulled up in his AT bumper sticker-adorned car to offer us a ride into town. He says he started giving rides to hikers going to towns in the area because he saw how hard it was for them to find rides. It’s people like Ken that make the AT such a unique and welcoming trail experience.

Glasgow is about 6 miles from the AT and is one of the ATC-designated trail towns. A small place, but a great town to hang out in for a few hours. Unfortunately, the sub shop was closed today, so we ended up resupplying and then spending a few hours at the library. I was even able to donate my book since I had finished reading it. There is also a shelter and a hot shower right in town. We didn’t take advantage of the shower, but it is a nice place.

We set out to get a ride back to the trail around 2:30 and had no luck for about fifteen minutes. About 90% of the cars weren’t going the way that we needed to go. One older couple from another state gawked at us as we held out our thumbs trying to look like a nice pair of hikers looking for a small favor. I can’t get that image out of head, it makes me laugh. I wish I could have freeze-framed their faces when they saw us. We finally did get a ride from a nice woman and her four year-old son who was sleeping in the back. Apparently, he was having a bad day and was in much need of a nap.

The hike out of town wasn’t an easy one. We had lots of uphill as we ascended Little Rocky Row, Big Rocky Row, Bluff Mountain, and Punchbowl Mountain. On top of Bluff there was a monument to Ottie Cline Powell, a four year-old boy who died on the mountain in November of 1891. He had wandered off seven miles from his schoolhouse and ended up there. They didn’t find his body until April of the next year. Very sad story.

I was tired by the time we reached the shelter, but we still ended up staying up late because there was a fire going. It’s very chilly tonight, around 35 degrees, so we all stayed up late to sit around the fire. We met father and son hikers, Medicine Man and Kudo and Moxie from Colorado. It’s Boots’ last night out here, a section hiker we met at Four Pines Hostel. We roasted marshmallows and shared stories from our hikes with one another. The cold night got us all talking about our first weeks on the trail with all of the snow and cold. Like we knew at the time when we suffered through the cold, these moments will make good stories in the future. And they most certainly do.

One thought on “Day 60: Matts Creek Shelter to Punchbowl Shelter

  1. Hey guys, you do know that Punchbowl Shelter is haunted!!???…….I heard very disturbing noises behind the shelter in ’03! Probably only deer and not the……oh we’ll, we all lived to tell about it!……off to Trail Days tomorrow!………Sherpa

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