6-26-12 Karate Dojo

Mileage: 586.9
AT miles hiked today: 4.7

We are sleeping tonight in Bastion, VA, in a Karate Dojo run by True Brit. I love how this trail is so unpredictable. After getting the message late last night we talked about what to do next. We decided to hitchhike into Bland, VA in order to get online and charge our phones and see about meeting up with Toni and Rockin Robin and going to Connecticut with them. Also, there is a Dairy Queen there. We knew they might have already left Virginia, but we thought we might still have a chance to catch them before they left.

Eagle Eye suggested that I put on my skirt to hitch-hike, and we got a ride with a nice guy after a few minutes of walking. He took us to the Dairy Queen where I plugged in my phone and checked messages. There was a message from Crazy Beard asking where we were and saying he was worried about us. He said they had been at the Dojo for a couple of days and expected us. Were we okay?

I tried calling him back but his phone wouldn't take calls so I called the Dojo number we had written down from yesterday. A guy with a British accent answered and when I said we were two women thruhikers trying to find Crazy Beard, he said "We've been worried about you."

Ummmm...okay. You know who we are and are worried? Then he says "where are you and when shall I come get you?" We hadn't planned to stay in town, just get ice cream and then go to the library and then leave, but he said he had internet so that sounded better. Plus, we had tried to get there the night before and failed, and it was free, so we accepted.

When True Brit saw me he remembered me from Trail Days because I sang Karaoke at the tent he set up there. It turns out that the ladies had stayed at the Dojo a week before and told him we were coming a couple of days behind. So he started asking the other hikers about us as they came in and everybody said, yeah, they are about a day behind. A week later we still hadn't shown up so he was ready to send out a search party. He was in the British special forces, so I'm sure he would have tracked us down even though we had passed by and almost didn't call or go in.

It's a little strange to realize you aren't as anonymous as you might think on the trail, but vastly comforting to think of complete strangers watching out for you and trying to make sure you are okay. That's one of the most amazing things about this trail.

During our ride to the Dojo we got a call from Rockin Robin and she said they were leaving for Connecticut tomorrow. If we could get a ride to Newport by 4pm tomorrow we have a ride. True Brit generously agreed to take us, though it was very much out of his way, and the plans were made.

What just happened? We are going to Connecticut tomorrow and changing from a flip flop thruhike to a leapfrog thruhike. This is serious trail magic in every way. We have hiked nearly the bottom third, now we will go hike the northern third and we will finish with the middle third of the trail. And we will have the best weather in each section.

The drought and heat here are terrible and I'm really struggling. I think I'll hike better in the north, and it's only a couple of weeks earlier than I planned to flip flop anyway, but this is so sudden. I'm having a hard time processing the changes as they come so fast. On to the next trail adventure!