My unplanned zero

April 23

0 miles, 416.3 overall (Black Bear Resort, Hampton)
When I wake up it is warm, but I am in a cabin with a heater. When I venture outside it is very cold. By the time I venture over to the lounge it is snowing. I am afraid we might zero today. I don’t especially like the idea. For one thing, it throws off our plans. For another, it means spending more money. I head to the lounge where I can pick up the wifi signal and get a weather report. It is supposed to clear up some in the afternoon and only be windy. I mention this to the other hikers, suggesting that we could nero out after it warms up. They have already made up their minds. TW also seems like her mind is made up, which surprises me considering she is typically one who likes to get more miles in. Her hamstring must really be worrying her.

I prepare for a zero, still holding out hope we could leave this afternoon. I eat my 2 Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches and watch Hancock with the other hikers. At 11:30 there is supposed to be a shuttle into town for lunch and resupply so, partly out of need for food and partly out of boredom, I sign up to be on it. We leave at 11:30 with 7 hikers and a dog.

First stop is an animal shelter. The hostel owners have been taking care of a stray dog but need to get rid of it. They have found a no-kill shelter and all of the hikers are glad because the dog, other than constantly peeing on things, really seems to be well-behaved. Second stop is the Chinese AYCE buffet where I get 2 full plates of food as well as dessert and ice cream. Finally we hit Walmart for resupply. I haven’t been in a Walmart for several years and am not excited to be back, but I’m able to find what I need and get out quickly, including dinner and breakfast to save some money rather than buying them in the camp store.

This should be all the stops for a typical shuttle. However today we have a hiker who has requested a few more. First he has us stop at a Subway so he can get dinner. Second is the post office to mail some postcards. Finally he needs to go to the clinic. Apparently he is convinced that he has contracted some sort of parasite. He suggests we leave him there but it is a 5 mile walk uphill back to the hostel and the driver isn’t willing to leave him. Instead we have to wait. For almost 30 minutes we wait in the van while he is in the clinic. We pass the time by making jokes about him. We think of trail names for the parasite and consider walking to Dollar General to get him a congratulations banner for when he gets it taken care of. By the time he returns with a prescription we have named his parasite Subway because we figure one of the two foot-long subs he got must be for the parasite.

Since he has a prescription now we need to go to the pharmacy. Luckily it is only across the street, but we find out that the pharmacy no longer carries whatever it is that he has been prescribed. Back to the clinic. After a minute he returns and mentions that a pharmacy in the next town has the prescription. Not going to happen. Back into the clinic. When he returns he says the doctor told him a shot or two of Jack Daniels might work too.

The shuttle ends up taking most of the afternoon, so even if we had thoughts of returning to the trail today it is probably too late to make it any meaningful distance. TW has also decided that her hamstring needs the rest and I can’t disagree. We spend the evening packing up our resupply and then eating dinner in the lounge with other hikers while first “watching” Young Guns (the movie plays but nobody is actually watching) and then actually watching Eurotrip. I leave early to head to bed, no longer able to stay up much past 8:00.

Tomorrow we will see how things go. If TW’s hamstring feels better we can do big miles to set ourselves up for an easy 2 days to Damascus. If not we will have to do 3 medium days instead. Either way we will be there on the third day to meet our spouses and take some time off from the Appalachian Trail.

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Categories: TN | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “My unplanned zero

  1. dave

    when you get to Damascus there is a custard/ice cream place in town next to THE BIKE STATION. Try the peanut butter/chocolate custard milkshake. Our Boy Scout Troop did the Virginia Creeper bike trip in Damascus last weekend and the boys discovered the shake. You might have two of them they’re so good. Or five. Keep on truckin’

  2. I’m not a doctor but I would tell TW to ice that thing like crazy. 20 min on, and then 20 min off, and take some ibuprofen. Hopefully it will loosen up for her soon.

  3. Well, unplanned or not, sounds like the zero day was eventful. Hope you get back on course and make your destination on schedule. Happy Hiking!

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