6am comes too early, especially when I am cozy in a bed! I got up, grabbed two cheese Danish and a banana, spread mayonnaise on my sandwich and off we went. Papa and I drove for about 45 minutes to the location, then we were faced with trying to find the trail on curvy gravel roads. We went up the mountain and were faced with many gravel logging roads, I never knew there were so many roads up here while I'm in the woods! We went down one, nothing. We went down another, nothing; we 10-point turned about 5 times looking for the trailhead. We asked a guy driving a logging truck but he didn't speak English. "Please show me a blaze." I have been known to say out in the woods when I need a sign, and then I heard Papa say the exact phrase in the car. About 10 minutes later we came to the fork in the road where two roads intersected and the trail ran through! I said my see ya laters and off I went. I felt amazing with my slackpack on my back! I really enjoyed myself today in the woods, I haven't felt this relaxed in awhile. Everyday I put on a pack anywhere from 30-40 pounds; I have to make sure I walk anywhere from 13-17 miles, I need to know where water is to filter, it is all a ticking clock. Today wasn't. I walked with ease through the woods; I saw a couple deer, stopped to take photos of the woods, and felt like I was back home and decided to go for a day hike. I came up to the suspension bridge and even took the time to take an artistic photo-probably my favorite from the day actually. I was making great time and having fun while doing it. Looking down and not realizing at first; I had to double take the wild blueberries! Man today is great, I walked along the trail casually picking blueberries as I passed by. Rounding the reservoir dam the terrain reminded me of Georgia, it was so nice. Before I knew it I was at a sign that read shelter-2 miles, and VA 60 (where Nana and Papa were getting me) 4 miles; making great time. My stomach was thinking about that sandwich I had in my pack, but my mind was wanting to wait for the 800 mile mark to celebrate. And then there was a footbridge in sight, this is it! A great little swimming hole, with a small waterfall, a footbridge, and rocks formed as an 800. I sat down on a rock facing the waterfall and enjoyed my ham sandwich, Gatorade, and Cheetos. I sat and enjoyed my solitude downtime by the water. Even my slackpack looks like my big pack with everything hanging off of it-but it's so cute! I headed on to the shelter since the other pickups Papa was there an hour early waiting for me each time. The walk to the shelter was alongside a creek the whole way, my favorite. My right foot was still rubbing and bothering me but I was dealing with it, my left felt fine. Passing by the deserted shelter I carried on not seeing a single thruhiker all day. Once I passed the shelter I knew I had 1.8 miles to the road, the trail continued along the creek until the last 15-20 minutes when it switched back up to the road. I crossed the main road and saw a couple standing in the parking lot. I also saw what I thought was a dead deer ontop of a picnic table. As I neared the table and couple I realized it was a dog; I asked if it was their dog, they replied no, I asked if it was alive, they said yes. I thought this was odd to see a dog laying on top of a picnic table all alone and then I noticed where the trail reconnected a black fuzzy animal. I asked the couple, is that a bear laying down?! They chuckled and said no, it was another dog they were just hanging out. I asked if they were section or day hikers and the woman replied they were thru-cool me too I replied. I am slackpacking right now, I and waiting for my grandparents to pick me up. Do you need a ride I asked? The woman introduced herself as Cat and her husband Jeff and said a ride would be great. I told them my grandparents would probably be here around 2:00 (it was now about 1:20.) Not even 10 minutes later I see the PT pull in, perfect timing. We loaded our stuff into the car and headed for Buena Vista. Seems Cat is thruhiking and her husband is just here for the week and they are slackpacking as well. We dropped them off at their hotel and headed to Staunton for lunch. We drove to two other restarunts I wanted to try but seems they are only open for dinner. Back to the Byers St Bistro we went and I enjoyed another glass of moscato and a southwest chicken wrap with a side of asparagus, yum! I fell asleep on the car ride back to the campground and woke up when we were pulling in. Papa went in to get my shoes and Nana went in to see what they had in the store. She knows me so well because she came out with an Oreo ice cream sandwich! It was amazing. I opened my shoes and forgot how beautiful they look brand new-before mine were accidentally thrown out, they looked nothing like this. I took my New Balance insoles out of the Solomon and put them in the new Merrells. The support on the Solomon is really ideal with the hard plastic, but until they break in or my hot spot toughens up I can't wear them for long periods of time. I am going to have quite the repertoire of hiking footwear! I emptied out the trash from my pack, took a nice hot shower, and changed into clean clothes. Wow this is nice. My finger seems to be healing up nicely too, I put a bunch of Neosporin on it since yesterday and kept it bandaged up and now I am letting it air out a bit. My sandwich is made for tomorrow, all I have to do is take out the paper towels in the morning and add mayo again-easy! I think I will start a little fire outside in the truck rim, have some berries and fruit and relax until Nana's show is on and then I'll make scrambled eggs for dinner and hit the hay! But not before a mini crumb cake.