Twig Adventures

AT Day 70: James River

Saturday Oct 2nd 2021, 1200-1910
Rt 60 to James River, SOBO AT mm 1407
23.1 miles
4620 gain, 6000 loss

Open had suggested I take a zero to attend a concert he was working Saturday night. This sounded fun but I woke feeling the pull of the trail. The weather was supposed to be nice for 2 more days, then rain much of the next week. I just couldn’t waste a good weather day. Plus, I just like being on trail.

Tasha let me borrow her computer in the morning, so I was able to get a lot of blog work done. I worked from 0500 until 0830 am. Yes, this blog takes a lot of effort. I ate some bars for breakfast along with some farm-fresh eggs from my chicken friends. I joked about taking a chicken with me. She could eat all the bugs around and in my tent, turning them into eggs for me to eat. She would be the perfect animal companion…until she poops on my pack or in my tent. I would not like that aspect. Also, I might not be able to protect her from getting eaten by owls.

Open had to start setting up for the concert by noon, so we drove around town in a hurry getting my chores done. I bounced a box of excess food ahead once again and still went to the grocery to buy more food. I know, doesn’t make sense but I had too many bars but not enough dinners.

Back at the pass, I said goodby to Open but was sure we’d cross paths down trail at another point in time. For once, the trail descended from the parking lot, then remained fairly flat for miles. It skirted along Lynchburg reservoir then finally began a big climb over Bluff mtn, 3350′. I had no objective for where to finish the day but my lack of planning forced me to go farther. I had entered a 9 mile waterless stretch with only half a liter of water. It was enough to get me through but I needed to tank up on the other side.

While walking the ridgeline, I spotted what looked like a large house cat walking the trail in front of me. It was definitely a bobcat but I was surprised by how small it was…just a kitten seemingly. The last one I’d seen on the Arizona Trail was the size of a medium dog. I happened to be holding my phone at the time and managed to get a blurry picture. Pretty cool. The second it heard or smelled me, it darted off into the forest without a sound. A creature much stealthier than me yet still I managed to creep up on it. I love that I got a shot of a white blaze in the picture too!

Bobcat…see the bobbed tail?

I found some nice creeks at the end of the day, good for collecting water and even taking a refreshing dip. It had been a pretty hot day, with the humidity creeping up yet again. Then I crossed the huge James River on a large foot bridge that looked to be an old railroad way. But maybe it was purpose built for the AT? The sun was just setting and the area had a nice ambiance, despite a busy highway and train track. I found a stealth camp just as I was needing my headlamp and settled in for the night.

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