We climbed up Brush Mountain and took the SHORT blue blaze to the Audie Murphy monument.
This was a relatively dry section and a hot day. We passed one creek near a dirt road. There was a parking area here and a trash can! I dumped our trash. We sat down on some make shift benches near a fire pit and had a snack. I read later that a trail angel put the trash can there and maintains it for hikers.
I enjoyed the day until I got to the top of the ridge on Cove Mountain. I was hot and tired. I got a negative loop going in my head. I just wasn’t in the mood. The heat really got to me. I probably needed to eat and drink more. I just wanted to be done for the day, but had to slog on.
There were some good views from the ridge and at the end of the ridges walk was Dragon’s Tooth, part of Virginia’s triple crown of hiking. The ridge though was a rocky walk.
What I found interesting was all the sand in the area around the rocky crags of the Dragon’s Tooth. The rocks here were cool. We were totally alone at the Tooth. We did see a few day hikers on the descent.
The descent after Dragon’s Tooth did have a few tricky footing sections, lots of rocks, and one place where I butt slid. It was steep and rocky for about a mile. The terrain, although not super hard, it wasn’t easy either. It was scramble-y with lots of rocks. I just wanted to be done, so it was frustrating to have terrain that I couldn’t be fast on. It was definitely my attitude that made my experience on this section of trail worse. I should’ve tried to break the negativity loop. Luckily, Frosty only had to hike two partial days with me when I was wearing my cranky pants.
When we got to VA Rt. 624, there was a water cache and trail magic! This started to lift my spirits. There were snacks and pop. I took a Coke. Frosty got a Sprite and a pack of peanuts.
We had a resupply box waiting for us at Four Pines hostel which is a short walk up VA Rt. 624. We started to walk up the road, when a truck stopped near us. It was Donna, the hostel owner, who happened to be driving by. She gave us a ride to the hostel.
The Four Pines hostel is a donation based hostel located in a converted garage three car garage. Donna dropped us off at the garage. As we walked through the door, we were welcomed by Leaf Fairy, who was one of the care takers. Leaf Fairy was the softest spoken person I have ever met. I struggled to hear her.
She did tell us that there was one rule. Although she repeated it a couple time, Frosty and I never did know the one rule. Each time her voice trailed off into oblivion. I guess we didn’t break it, since we weren’t asked to leave.
Upon entering and looking around, my first impression was… neo opium den. There were several couches at the front with hikers laying around on them. The smell of pot smoke hung in the air.
There was a bathroom with a set tub, toilet, and shower in one corner. The set tub was the only sink in the building. We staked our claim on a couple of bottom bunks in the back. I scored a spot next to a fan. Then we both showered. Leaf Fairy snuck some towels to us, apparently Joe, Donna’s husband, who was described as a grumpy hippy, doesn’t like hikers using the towels. So maybe that was the rule, don’t let Joe see you with a towel.
There was an area on the counter with a microwave, toaster, a Belgian waffle maker, dishes, and some other kitchen-y type stuff. There was also a refrigerator that you could put stuff.in with the standard Sharpie to mark your belongings.
There was one washer, but no dryer. There was a clothesline next to the garage. There wasn’t enough time to do laundry, plus it started sprinkling soon after we arrived. I was very glad to be done hiking for the day and out of the heat. I enjoyed resting on my plastic encased mattress with the fan blowing on me and doing some puzzles on my phone.
I met K-Bar on the bunk next to me. She was a young thru hiker, who looked to be 19 or 20 years old, who was slack packing the area near the hostel. She was from the New York City area. There were others here, but I didn’t get there names. They were hanging with the partiers.
Frosty went and picked up our package, which they store at the farmhouse on the porch. We started working on prepping our food for the next leg and repacking our food bags. We also charged our devices.
Sprocket, another caretaker, took a group into a convenience store. They made one free shuttle trip to the store, at least during this time of year. They may have to make more trips during the thru hiker NOBO bubble. There was a menu at the hostel. Everyone who was interested called in their order. Frosty went in to pick up our food. We each got a 12″ pizza. Frosty surprised me with sour cream and onion chips, my favorite, and Dr. Pepper. Frosty got beer to go with his pizza.
There were two other care takers, but I didn’t get their names. The excitement of the evening was that someone was trying to mow the lawn in the rain and got the mower stuck. Subsequently, a mission was launched to free it. Lots of interesting conversations were going on here about the various drugs people did at trail days.
Four Pines did have a quiet time. The partiers moved out to the patio area. It was quiet inside. A few lights are left on, so it was dusky, not dark. Light bothers my sleeping, so I tried to sleep with my Buff over my eyes. I had some luck, but woke frequently. A young male hiker came in after the store run. He took the bunk next to Frosty. We would later find out that his name was Bear Trap. He didn’t join the party and tried to sleep, but every time I woke up during night, he was awake.
The party ended at about 2:00 in the morning, at which point people came in and crashed on bunks and couches. Some guy here was coughing up a storm. I kept hoping it was a smoker’s cough. I didn’t want to catch Covid or a cold on trail.
At three in the morning Frosty had to use the bathroom, but it was occupied for half an hour as one of the care takers washed the dishes.
Our hike was 14.3 trail miles. Here’s a link to another hiker’s account of Four Pines Hostel. She stayed there before the bunks were added.