My loving spouse dropped me off at the Blue Ridge Parkway (not sure of the mile marker, but it's near the Peaks of Otter Lodge) at about 10:30. He's only got just enough time to get back to the Tri-Cities Airport if he speeds the whole way. He'll probably miss his flight.
I hiked 7 miles in lovely sunny but cool weather to Marble Springs Campsite. Along the way, I met some thru-hikers: Pumpkin, Pepperoni (whom we gave a ride to Pearisburg), Caboose and Walkabout (picked them up on the Parkway), Energizer Bunny, and Lounge Lizard. Interestingly, Lounge Lizard was sitting next to a van at a forest service road about halfway through today's hike, with sodas, fruit, cookies, etc. When I asked what he was doing, he said that he had started the trail, but only got a few days into it (in Georgia) when he injured his knee. The interesting thing is that he was doing his dissertation research -- he's working on a degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies -- while hiking the trail. Sound familiar? When I heard this, I immediately took off my pack, sat down, and chatted for a while. I wish him the best -- in fact, it's probably for the best that he was injured. Though it means he won't get to hike the trail, he'll probably do a better job of his dissertation than I did.
As I reached Marble Spring, I thought about going on, but my legs were a bit wobbly -- first day, and all -- so I decided to stay put. Energizer Bunny, a 60-year old woman who is surely high on caffeine at all times, pushed on, planning for a 22-mile day. Better her.