I am trying so hard to love Virginia, but she is not making it easy. When it hasn’t been raining, I’ve had the aftermath of a muddy, watery, slippery trail. It has been muggy and buggy. The bugs have been terrible! These are ‘deep woods,’ man…real ‘Deep Woods Off’ kinda territory. When I imagine deepest, darkest Appalachia, this would be it. I would not be surprised to hear the strains of ‘Dueling Banjos’ coming from these woods. If you had a once in a lifetime chance of having a ‘Big Foot’ sighting, IT WOULD BE HERE!
(Hikers do some funny things! Notice the jaw bone forming part of the 6 )
Virginia accounts for 1/4 of the trail. When I reach the top of it in Harper’s Ferry, I will have hiked half of the trail. Last time, I got bogged down in Virginia. Virginia is infamous for ‘The Virginia Blues.” A large percentage of people who started in Georgia will have quit by the time they reach Harpers Ferry, VA. I get it! Consequently, I’m trying to boogie through Virginia!
I hiked 18 miles on the day I left the hostel. There were lots off swollen creeks. Usually, you can cross them on stepping stones, but when they are swollen, you have no choice but to wade
Though I know black snakes are non-venomous, they always make me jump. They are always so large! I think I actually scared the snake, too, because it jumped, too, when it saw me.
Hiking all day in wet, soggy shoes and socks all day leaves you with prune-y feet. The wet socks rub places on your feet that don’t normally rub. Callouses get soggy and the rubbing causes blisters to form underneath. You suddenly get blisters after not having any.The bottoms of your feet get really tender. It’s not pleasant.
When I got to the shelter, there were quite a few people there who had traveled back to Damascus for Trail Days, and were just getting back on trail. Thankfully, they must have been all tuckered out, because it was relatively quiet. I had to I descend into hell to get water. It was about half a mile of switchbacks to the source, and then back uphill to camp.
I slept really well that night!
The next day was more of the same. There were lots of places where the trail was narrow with tall weeds on either side. I was really eaten alive with bug bites by the end of the day.
I had planned to stay at a Convenience Store that was listed in my guidebook as having tent spots and showers, as well as hamburgers and pizza. It started raining about 30 minutes before I arrived. I paid for my tent site and was talking to the young girl at the counter. I was telling her I was debating on whether I should set my tent up in the rain, or wait to see if it would stop. She then told me that she hated to send me out in the rain, and said they had a Room in back with a bed, bathroom and stackable washer and dryer. It was $20 for the night! I jumped on it! I was so grateful to not have to set up my tent in the rain, and to get a shower and laundry for free to boot! I also had a hamburger and fries!
I left early the next morning, and would hike 17.5 miles. I set up my tent at the shelter, and it rained all night long.
I packed up my wet tent, grateful I would be going into town. I saw one gorgeous view (few and far between). As I stood there in awe, I said, “thank you, Lord!” I remember learning about murals in Elementary school, and the teacher got a big strip of butcher paper. We all drew something on it and added to the picture. I liked it so much, that I would re-create it at home with crayons and markers. It was sort of my ideal place, and I would imagine what it would be like to actually see it. I have realized that Virginia is that place! …rolling hills with woods and pastures, with barns and cattle dotting the landscape. The drawings were from the vantage point I see from the trail here. It’s also very similar to where I am currently living in Arkansas.
I met a man named Half Slow on my 8 mile hike into town. We talked for a bit. He is from Vietnam Nam, but lives in San Francisco. He asked if he could recite a poem for me. I wish I could remembered it, but it was about hiking the trail. He recited it with such emotion it almost brought me to tears.
I slogged through the mud on the way to town, grateful that I had a new pair of shoes waiting for me. Just in time, too. I noticed a couple of days ago that the sole is starting to separate from the shoe!
I regret that I cannot post more pics. They are not uploading. Got up early so I could try again, but I am just sitting here wasting time watching a whirling icon only to see it fail again and again when I could be on the trail early!
Until next time,