When I woke up this morning, it was pouring rain. Knowing there was more rain in the forecast, I decided to stay here another night.
I have been thinking a lot about my game plan. When I planned my mail drop list, I wanted to keep them as close to the trail as I could. I didn’t want to have to walk a mile off trail, nor be dependent upon calling a shuttle, since I don’t have cell service more often than I DO!
5-6 days on the trail without a break (or a shower) is brutal. I’m always worried about expenses and/or ‘time off’ because I don’t want to run out of time before the deadline of October 15 when they close Katahdin. However, it seems I am always wiped out and demoralized after 5-6 days out in the woods without a break.
I have decided to try a new tactic of trying to stay overnight at hostels every 3 days or so, even if I hike a full day to get there. I’m thinking it might help my outlook some, and maybe alleviate the need for Zero Days. We shall see.
Thank you for your patience with my rants and bad days. Sometimes, a girl just needs to vent.
My first day out of Damascus was beautiful. It has definitely warmed up! It was quite a hot day! The trail ran beside or in tandem with the Virginia Creeper trail. At one point, it went by a wide, clear stream. I needed to wash a few things, and decided to wade in. It was so refreshing and I badly wanted to submerge my whole body in it, but the water was as cold as ice! Still, it felt good to soak my feet and was a nice, cool diversion.
At one point, I stepped too close to the edge of the trail, and the edge gave way. It was very steep, and I slid down the embankment. It was soft, and there were lots of trees. I didn’t hurt myself, but had a very difficult time getting back up on the trail with my heavy backpack! It gave me a new appreciation of how Special Ed fell off the trail. Like his experience, it just sort of happened without me knowing exactly how!
The trail in Virginia has been lush and green in places. There is definitely more of a canopy overhead as the trees are leafing out more.
In this section, I have done between 14 and 18 miles. Ever conscious of my deadline, I have bumped my mileage per day up a bit. Add to that, the days are getting longer. I usually leave camp around 7:00 a.m. If I hike 7-8 hours, I’m in camp at around 2 or 3 p.m. That’s a lot of daylight to kill, especially when my feet hurt and I just want to lie down in my tent. Even though I’ve put in a lot of miles, It just feels wrong with to be in my tent so early.
I love the meadows and pastures. I look forward to them. Virginia has been called, ‘The Green Tunnel,’ because you are under cover of trees much of the time. Sometimes, it’s downright jungle-like with tall grasses, weeds and vegetation.
The trail often goes through private property where cattle are grazing, and there will be either stiles or steps over barbed wire fence to climb.
At the shelter, I ate my supper and chatted with Preacher, The General and a couple of section hikers. I set my tent up quite a way from the shelter and had a good night’s sleep!