At the one hour point, I met a young trio who told me that they had left VA 43 at 4 am -- so, let's see, they have been hiking for four hours? Uh, oh, I only have three hours left before the shuttle arrives ... can't be right, they must be including a long breakfast stop. Hopefully.
At 8:30, I was very relieved to pass by a sign pointing toward Bearwallow Gap, only two miles ahead. Arrived at 9:30 am, plenty of time to spare. Good thing, I need a break from the trail.
Shuttle driver and I exchanged trail talk on the way back to pick up my Ion at the Troutville trailhead. He mentioned hiking in the Smokies and looking forward to some great scenery, but he and his buddy ran into fog. Got lost a couple of times, too.
That sounds like fun! Mental note, check dew point forecast before heading into that challenging mountain area next year.
While I was waiting at the Bearwallow Gap trailhead, a couple of kindergartners came down the road with their mother in the rear. We greeted each other, and she explained that they were going to walk a few yards on the Trail, just to say they had been on it in Virginia ...
That's what parents and teachers should do, I think. Lead our charges out to the trailheads, make sure they get as much useful advice as we can offer them, and wave good-bye.
Next planned post is on Sunday, April 16.