Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Grubs With Paprika
I departed the river valley shortly after nine and headed back into the hills. In no time I rose one thousand feet on country roads bereft of human life. There is a reason John Denver sang specifically about West Virginia. For fourteen miles I saw eight cars and three homo sapiens. I'm assuming the automobiles were driving themselves since all evidence points to the fact that no one lives in that area. I did see my first tractor crossing sign - the figure on board the machine was wearing a cowboy hat, as you probably already guessed.
I was able to meet two of the aforementioned humans, Joe and Barb, up close and personal. They are retirees and grandparents and have entertained ADT hikers and bikers before, including Karen and Jerry, whose trail journal I stalked to get a lay of the land back in February. Joe and Barb were supremely gracious towards me, filling my near-empty water bottles and treating me to a fluffy and delicious cinnamon roll.
Three miles later I reached WV 38 and some semblance of civilization. Sometimes I feel like Bear Grylls finishing a survival challenge when I emerge from such an unpopulated place. Unlike Bear, who gets to ride in a chopper at the end of his show, I get to walk more. At least I don't have to eat insects like he does. I was able to dine upon some Vienna Sausages instead. On second thought, what would be a good seasoning for grubs?
Soon after hitting the highway a van flew by me in the opposite lane, slammed on brakes and shot into reverse, stopping beside me. A man leaned out and offered me a ride, but understood when I declined because I was walking for charity. He warned me to stay in a place close to people since there are black bears everywhere around here. No doubt Colin Stewart has offered them a reward for me.
I dutifully obeyed the driver's instructions and halted in Valley Furnace at the United Methodist Church. I met a man named Melvin who lived down the hill from there who promised to make certain it was okay for me to put my tent up there. I sit now under a picnic shelter across from the church gazing at the lush valley below and listening to the thunder in the distance. I'm glad to have a roof over my head tonight even if it has no walls.
Eighteen miles fell by the wayside today for a total of 382.
P.S.: Soon after I originally wrote today's journal entry, the rain came pouring from the sky and the wind whipped around me. The shelter kept me safe and dry until the precipitation ended and a rainbow appeared over the far hills. I guess Disney wanted a better ending.
P.P.S: While I was about to lay down to sleep, Melvin and his wife Renee came up to the church and offered me breakfast. I accepted and they drove off to their home. As I drifted off the lightning bugs zipped around performing a show with their bioluminescence. Even Disney needs a rewrite on occasion.