Day 17 and 22 miles from the James River in Scottsville, VA to Buckingham, VA. We are over 320 miles into our journey with only 180 miles remaining.
Today’s weather started with fog so dense we considered delaying our start time. So glad we started at 7:30am as planned — those first few hours were the coolest part of the day! By noon the sun heated up and afternoon temperatures in mid 80s. We pressed through until 4pm when we arrived at our country Inn. We were hot and oh so tired.
For the first time, google maps re-routed us incorrectly. Our esteemed managers, Holt and Lisa, noticed we were on the wrong road and swept in and picked us up! Felt like we were on a reconnaissance mission when the van pulled up beside us country road walkers and said, “Quick, get in!” After a few miles re-routing us (plus lunch) we were back on the right road. Not sure why google maps changed what we had programmed in, but glad we had watchful eyes looking out for us.
Virginia’s natural history is bountiful and the Shenandoah Mountains to the west captivated us all day. We are loving every day lately because of the still woods, rolling hills, occasional barking dog or the two that decided to join us! We did see a few ambulances today for reasons we never discovered.
The country Inn where we are staying has, not lying, 10 different staircases. That doesn’t include the front porch steps. Strange and very inconvenient for hauling luggage after a 22 mile walk! But so thankful that @presidentsummermcgee surprised us with a hearty gift basket full of chocolate, fruit, cheese, crackers— thanks to her generosity, we made an impromptu cocktail hour in the Inn’s kitchen and it lifted our spirits greatly.
We are starting to count down the days and miles now. The middle of Virginia reminds me of middle Tennessee where I grew up and I have been soaking up these days of picnics and watered many, many trees. No main streets, no strip malls or even country stores! Occasionally we see stop signs. We are going to miss this part of our journey for its peace and simplicity.
– Frances Cronlund C’98
Day 17. 500 mile Journey to Salem. Scottsville, VA to Buckingham, VA. About 22 miles. 62,800 steps. Very foggy start. Overcast to strong sun later. High 81 degrees. Welcome back, Yvonne!!! Really foggy start. Delayed leaving for 15 minutes or so. Then decided to walk out to the main road, hoping more clear as we left the river. We all wore safety vests and were prepared to ride to a clearer spot if necessary. But, all determined good to go, though still very foggy, after reaching the main road. Roads kindly quiet this morning, allowing us to feel safe AND hear the sound of condensation dripping off the leaves in the forest. Sounded just like rain. Entrancing. And, the spider webs – everywhere. All over the ground, in the trees, on the fencing. A cornucopia of nature for the senses! Really quiet walk today, save the dogs that followed us early. They loved us and wanted to join our team, we think. In doing so, though, they put themselves in danger on the road, prompting Holt to call their owners to “rescue” them! They were great companions while they shared our road. We talk while we walk, sing songs, dance, and ideate. Sometimes we are totally quiet, lost in thought, or digging deep for strength to complete. Sometimes we walk alone, sometimes all together, sometimes 2×2, sometimes, other configurations. We’ve solved problems, created business plans, pondered leadership, discussed global cultures, discussed our favorite spices and herbs and foods, discussed childhoods and families, learned a whole lot about each other, and talked a lot about Salem – a whole lot about Salem – both the Academy and the College. We share a common love and appreciation of all that she gave us… Lunch was a delightful picnic at a Baptist church – probably the only picnic spot within a 10 mile radius AND Lisa found it!! The day really heated up after lunch, making those last 9 miles especially challenging. But the roads and scenery, breathtaking- again! We are all rather exhausted tonight. Staying at a B&B in Buckingham (original courthouse designed by Thomas Jefferson!) tonight – Maysville Manor. We were joined late this afternoon by Elizabeth Gulley, C’87! Hooray! We had an incredible gift basket waiting for us here from our Salem President, Dr. Summer McGee. It was wonderful and truly perfect timing!! Dinner at a local Italian restaurant in Dillwyn (Pino), followed by immediate quiet and sleep – again, not a sound in the house. Another long day tomorrow, but we are getting closer and closer. Now only about 170 miles away!! Sleep well all.
– Lucy Rose C’76