Grabbing a quick bite to eat at Kings Gourmet Popcorn in Rockfish Gap before heading into Shenandoah Park!
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Just a quick update - we made it through another section of VA past Roanoke!
There was some swimming and general water fun, despite the name, at Dismal Falls -
Jeremy's turn -
And we were lucky enough to get picked up by my darling Marguerite and taken to Damascus Trail Days to experience true hiker shenanigans and lots of cool gear!
I set my new hammock up! Finally received it from sMr Gear! Really cool design, unfortunately I won't be using it this trip as I can't justify the weight difference from my BA UL-1 at 1 lb. 11 oz. I will try to do a Recife of the shelter - a very unique and engineer approach to fixing a lot of the shortcomings with a hammock and tarp system.
Here are a few pictures of the Nubé set up at Trail Days!
Now we hike on into the Shenandoahs! We will be joined by some of my friends next weekend - Joe and Anne Marie I'm excited to see you guys and share some of our trail experiences with you!!
Over 800 miles down! I can't wait for the day when the 'miles remaining' is the smaller number! "Only" a few hundred to go.
Since leaving Damascus, we have had much excitement, wet weather, and some small interesting Virginia towns. We sadly left several of our friends and hiking companions back in Damascus.
We left Damascus with a heavy load full of six days of food, which paired with a few days of hard climbing on a rocky trail led to all of our feet aching. Chris's feet fairing the worst with signs of Plantar Fasciitis, along with our plans bringing us into town for our next mail drop Saturday after the Post Office closed, and the poor weather, led us to the decision to cut our mileage down going into Bland.
To get into the bustling metropolis of Bland, VA, we got a ride from Bubba!
And were educated that Bland is more flammable before 4pm.
We gorged ourselves at Dairy Queen since that was all that was left open when we got in. The next morning we ate ALL OF THE BREAKFAST at the Bland Corner Grill, in the back of the town gas station, store, and horse feedery.
Then passed out on the lawn outside of the Post Office.
Out of the two of those pant legs lying next to Chris's arm, he only left with one. Luckily three days later, the other leg was still lying on the lawn and the nice postal worker mailed it ahead to him.
Other highlights of the town included the car wash (not for livestock or farm equipment anymore),
and combo ministry and dental services.
Finally, Chris went off to get his foot checked out by a pediotrist. It turned out not to be as bad as we feared. He received a cortisone shot in his foot and some anti-inflammatory medication, and was given the OK to hike on! And so we have.
We made it into Periaberg yesterday afternoon to be picked up by our wonderful collegefriend Fran and her b/f Greg! Whisked away on the highway (WOW-I had forgotten how fast cars move) we arrived in Virginia Tech's college town for showers and dinner!
Also, we slept like kings! (Yes couches, but cushy, no mummy bag, no waking up to bugs, or numb limbs from cramped sleeping conditions.. Etc). It was glorious! Also I was reminded how awesome whole house fans are in nice weather. So peaceful!
The last few days have been great! Let me take a moment to chronicle the high points and then I'll get into some "trail injuries".
Leaving the Highlands, the weather improved (finally!)
We saw cows! (I swear this one was challenging me, I kept my eyes down and hurried on!)
More delicious trail magic!
And here are a few shots of Virginia, as people expect it to be - beautiful and nearly flat (so nothing like the Highlands elevation wise)
Here comes the F-L-A-T!
Following white blazes all day, sometimes can get you in trouble-here is Jeremy contemplating his next step
Some highway blazes -
And the best angry sign from "management" ever! Take particular note of spelling and use of apostrophes on this classy trash bag notification (people were very nice, and food was good! I felt bad for their paint problem)
And now! Spring, every so slowly, is creeping up here and there. Found some beautiful flowers this past week!
Beautiful views from the Davis Farm Campaite... However it has the worst 1/2 mile trail spur from the AT.. Quite a difficult and unmaintained drop to manage at the end of the day!
I skipped Bland and my visit to a Podiatrist in this post (a very anxiety ridden few days for me considering the repercussions of a badly hurt foot on trail). I'll write again soon and fill in those gaps!
The Virginia Highcountry is one of the more beautiful areas of the trail. Vast landscapes, balds, and ponies dot this landscape. Unfortunately, we saw almost none of this because of wind, rain, hail and a tornado warning.
Here are Texty and Pockets enjoying the view from a nice bench -
And here is Jeremy looking out from another great vantage point -
Thomas Knob shelter, at almost 5,500 feet was our safe house for the night -
Who knew we had lakefront property?!!
Through the wind, rain, and hail so loud we could hardly think, our spirits were high. It was a wild ride, but fun. The temperatures have been higher, so frostbite is no longer a fear - it's amazing how that fact alone makes things better. We passed the time playing cards, and yelling over the noise.