Thursday, 4/30

AT Miles = 10.3 / 538.3
Other Miles = 0 / 21.2
Total Miles = 10.3 / 559.5

It rained pretty hard last night. I had hung my hammock on the side of the hill and the head end tree was upslope of the foot end tree. It is hard to get a level hang when the trees are not level with one another. I hung the foot end as high up the tree as I could reach, but when I hung the head end so that the hammock was level, it sagged enough with me in it that I touched a downed log under my back. Because of this I had to hang the hammock with the head end a bit higher than the foot end. It is comfortable enough this way, but it meant that I was lying at the fooot end of the hammock, and therefore my feet and the foot of my sleeping bag were up at the peak at that end of the hammock, putting my feet up against the screening and thus exposed to some of the blown in rain. Not a big deal, but the foot of my sleeping bag is a bit damp.

When I got up it looked like it was going to rain some more, but as I walked into the morning the clouds broke up and it proved to be a lovely morning. I am down at a much lower altitude now, and spring is bursting out everywhere. I walked through meadows and over low hills. There is a sweetness in the air this morning and I am not sure where the sweet smell is coming from. I passed a lilac bush or two starting to bloom, and some flowering dogwoods, but not enough to explain the sweet smell. Maybe there is some kind of meadow grass that is so sweet? In any case, it was almost sickeningly sweet. I walked through all that green growing stuff just imagining all the photosynthesis taking place and pumping oxygen into the air for me to breather. Ahh!

I could soon hear the tgraffic on I-81, and then descended into Rural Retreat (part of Atkins, VA). There is an exit from I-81 here, and a motel, a restaurant, and a couple of gas stations. I took a room at the motel — the Relax Inn — and picked up the food drop that Jodi mailed here for me. I just got back from lunch at the restaurant up the road. Serviceable but unexceptional food. Once I finish this email I will go through what food I have left in my food bag and all the great stuff Jodi sent me, and get myself organized for the next section to Bland, VA.

You might remember me writing about my frustration with getting access to my home network from public computers. Well, I have hopefully solved that problem. Yesterday I ordered a new netbook from and am having it sent to me in Pearisburg. I will keep this in my bounce box and mail it up the trail to each of my town stops. I'll be able to set it up the way I want it, and will be able to connect to my home network from any WIFi hot spot. And once I get initial internet access via WiFi I will be able to download the software I need to be able to use my cell phone as a modem for the computer, once Jodi sends me the sync cable for my phone. As I said, hopefully this will alleviate my computer frustrations.

It is clouding up again now, and there is supposed to be more rain tonight. If it's got to rain, I'd just as soon have it happen while I am indoors!

Allen Freeman