VA is apparently a black hole of cell service. So much happens in three days. Let me recap!
Entered Virginia. First night after Damascus.. hiked to a camping spot on the trail that crossed the Virginia creeper bike trail. We were near an old railroad bridge and under a clear sky of stars. We (tom, jack, witch doctor, tail light, ember and myself) laid back on a giant rock on the river and watched for shooting stars as tom read us three chapters from the princess bride. An excellent story indeed. This was at mile 480.3. Next day we got to hike through the Grayson highlands! I’ve been looking forward to this for months. Ponies!!!! We decided that if you ride a pony on the AT its called rainbow blazing. (Blue blaze = side trail, yellow = car, aqua = canoe, black = black bear piggy back, pink = following a crush, etc). The ponies were solo sweet and we instantly became human salt licks. They gave me a thorough bath. The walk was breath taking – view after view. Balds. Side trails to rocks with even better views. It was great. Plus nomad (former hiker now trail magic man) decided to hike it with us. We camped at mile 500 over the river from wise shelter. We were not awoken by ponies in the middle of the night… bummer!
An ongoing joke for the first few hundred miles was that VA was all downhill and there were beautiful women at the shelters that would feed you grapes. While this was false trail rumor, my experience so far has been on par. Ponies, spring weather, flowers, stars, storytime. Life is golden.
We are considering making our AT adventure even more exciting by aqua blazing 168 miles to harpers ferry WV. I’m satisfied with my claim to “thru hike” as long as I get from point A (springer mtn) to point B (katahdin) via myself and not a vehicular mode of transportation. Canoe trip means skipping a section full of road crossings, taking 6 days off my feet for repair, a nice break in the middle of our trip, and camping on the river. Win win.
Last night… lightning storm! Holy crap. No one slept and everyone was wet. It was blinding , we were in the middle of it, and the wind and thunder kept us up alllll night. I felt uncomfortable with a metal pole next to my head. But we survived and I’m currently at a laundry mat drying my sleeping bag. The puddle in my tent was unavoidable. We hiked in the rain all morning to get into Marion VA and it is now sunny and beautiful. We are stocked on 100 miles worth of food. And we are staying at a super nice shelter tonight that has a phone rigged up to order pizza straight to the shelter. Right!??!!!!
The lorax was written in a privy .. yes, the whole thing!