I hiked 18.3 miles today. This turned out to be a long day. I left the last shelter early as usual. There were two options for hiking this day. Either go short at nine miles or long at eighteen miles. Since I reached the first shelter at 12:30 PM, I decided not to stop and continued to the further shelter.
There was one 1,000 foot climb and numerous other ups and downs, but I still made good time. On the way, I passed over the James River on a really long foot bridge. As I approached the shelter, I came across a woman hiker who seemed to be lost and asked where the shelter is. She followed me in and I learned later her female hiking partner had just quit hiking at a road a ways back and was rescued by a couple. The woman was in bad shape and was in total exhaustion.
James River foot bridge
A memorial about a little boy who died after wandering away from school.
When I reached the shelter, I was surprised to see it was almost full. I grabbed a spot next to a young guy who was going for the Jesus look. He had long black hair and beard. This guy was on a farm in northern Virginia, and a friend invited him to Roanoke, so he decided to walk there on the AT. He had no tent, no sleeping bag, wore street shoes and carried a long staff. As I said, he was going for the Jesus look. It takes all kinds.