Monday, May 11, 2015

A27 Marion Zero Day

April 27,

I guess I'm developing a habit of bouncing from one zero day to another. To poorly quote Miss Janet, hiking's an experience separated by long walks in the woods. Maybe its like Pink Floyd or music that's slow and steady, where you have moments to reflect in the pauses between the notes. Really, I'm just trying to justify the growing absence of hiking in my "hike."

Having not slept, I wanted to go straight to town and drown in coffee. I went to the road and tried hitching for over an hour, surely I looked disheveled, no luck. I waited for the shuttle to take me to town.

In town I met up with hikers of course, some that I had been hiking with for the past few days, some I hadn't seen in a week, some I had never met before.

I went to pick up a mail drop. It was 18lbs, and I needed a moment to debate what to do as I already had significant food weight. Then, we I came back to post office to bounce my package, the clerk told me a second package just came in. I was rolling in food stuffs, literally bathing in oatmeal, thanks to Steph and her mom. Thank you very much to the both of them.

I spent the evening at the Partnership watching people eat pizza. I lingered too close to be respectful. I had to break a food trance, and realized I need to make a dinner. I cooked rice upon the fire. And was later offered a slice of pizza.

Early bedtime.

A26 Tribute to the Death March

In 2013, I hiked my section with this awesome group of hikers that came together on trail. From Mt. Rogers to the Partnership shelter, roughly 35 miles, we did a death march that year.

In tribute, I did it over again, and because I had spent over 40 hrs at Thomas Knob Shelter and I felt guilty for going slow. Pyro and I spent day hiking together, we got ahead with TG, Taser and Peck, and then left them at sunset. Pyro and I walked another 7 miles after dark. Then we stopped and a had a fire, cooked a meal. Pyro then camped, as I pushed on for another 14.

I walked all through the night, and reached Partnership just after 6am.

A25 Epic Beer Run

April 25th,

Together with Turtle, 45, Peck, Taser, TG, Pyro, Forest, and the new pup Vortex, we all dragged our feet in the morning. Turtle worked everyone up about a bad weather forecast for the evening. We heard severe thunderstorms were rolling in that day. We were reluctant to hike in bad weather.

So as they talked about shuttles and staying at a hostel for the night, I could visualize all of the money adding up, and I thought and said, "You guys should just throw me some beer money, I'll walk the 4.5 miles back to the road, and we can all stay at the shelter on top of the mountain for the night."

And so it happened that TG and I walked back to the road with Forest, who had left his car at the road to hike Mt. Rogers. I felt nimble without any weight in my pack. The miles went by easily.

Forest gave us a quick ride to the store, where we loaded up on snacks and beverages. Forest even resupplied on food and snacks out of his trunk. By the time we got back to the trail, we were weighed down heavy, back to hiking.

On the way back, there's a field in the toward the top of Mt. Rogers. TG and I cut through it and had this fun adventure for a couple hours. We walked the fields, until they started taking us too far down the hill, so we cut into the woods. We ended up on a horse trail, that had this amazing part to it where several streams flowed out onto the trail in cascades and flowed over the trail and continued in ribbons downhill.

We spent the rest of the day hanging around the shelter, with a couple other hikers that came in. It turned out to be a beautiful day for hiking, but we had an awesome day without hiking.

The storm hit after dark.

It slammed the shelter with high winds and rain. It woke us up, but we all stayed dry. The people camped out did not.

Friday, May 8, 2015

A24 Mountaintop Vista

I pushed some miles this morning to get to Thomas Knob Shelter at the top of Mt. Rogers. Along the way, I bumped into Pyro and a section hiker named Forest. I walked their hike for a few miles, splitting up so they could do a meadow walk through the Grayson Highlands while I kept the white blaze.

I admired their freedom in finding their own path while I stuck to the one marked out for me. Im hopelessly committed to the white blaze at this point, I don't know why, it just feels right for me.

I took the .5 sidetrail to the top of Mt. Rogers, tallest peak in Virginia, but there wasn't a view. When I came back down, Pyro and Forest had just made it up the mountain.

We walked to the shelter together and were vortexed into a view of the Appalachian Mts. That view would last for the next 40hrs. We didn't stress doing more miles, letting the day unfold. I also wanted to wait up for 45, Peck, Taser, Thundergod and Turtle.

I spent the day eating meal after meal. Taking advantage of good weather and a fire, I ate five huge meals before I felt I was full. Pyro and I talked about night hiking, but as they day came to an end, and all of my friends caught up, I didn't want to do anything but sleep.

A23 Vortex

I don't know haw many miles we did, 10-12. I can't remember what shelter we stayed at, something knob or mountain. Doesnt really matter.

I dragged my feet today. In the morning, I met the new addition to the group. 45 walked in with a dog freshly adopted and new to the trail.

I stopped at a shelter, to play the guitar, to take a nap, to do whatever without feeling the urge to hike or push miles. My head just was not in hiking mode.

A22 Shuffling my Feet

I wasnt in a hurry to leave Damascus.

Whenever I have a doubt, the trail reassures me. And I will admit, when I rolled into Damascus the first time, I was desperate. My food bag was running low. I gorged myself upon my resupply. I had no success busking. And I didn't think I could leave town comfortably and keep hiking the trail. I didn't have enough food.

By the time I first got back on the trail, I had enough food to feel comfortable. Then I walked 50 miles back into Damascus for a 2nd time. After rolling out of Damascus again, I had an abundance of food and I felt refreshed.

I wanted Subway so badly when I first got to Damascus. I wanted a cheap, huge sandwich that I could pig out on. As I finally left town, a had a few bucks in my pocket after a surprise bit of magic from some wonderful trail angels. I finally manifested that sandwich, and didn't even actually pay for it thanks to Thundergod.

I enetered Damascus feeling like I didn't belong, desperate for food, and feeling like I'd only connect to the town commercially. But by the time I left I was dragging my feet, having found a place I could have easily stopped in and stayed forever.

I set out to hike the trail, so ultimately I moved along. I'm sure there will be other towns I connect with but Damascus, and some people in it, have a special meaning to me. And I will never forget that feeling.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Site Maintenance

Just a quick blurb about this whole process of blogging while on trail.

#1 Multiple Posts are uploaded on the same day. I'm trying to put date stamps, but they may out of order as they appear.

#2 Missing Posts are stupid. I've been getting very frustrated with the blogger platform losing some of my posts. I may go back someday and rewrite them based on memory.

#3 Its tough to keep this going some days. I apologize for shorter posts somedays, or the lack of pictures sometimes. I try my best to take at least one photo per day, and to write something even if its really short. This may not always work out, but im trying my best to be consistent.

#4 If there are typos, misspelled words, grammatical errors, or combinations of words that make absolutely no sense, I apologize for nothing. Feel free to point it out in the comments section to help me out. I'm sure you can figure out what I'm trying to say.

#5 Sorry for the inconsistencies in the site, pictures overhanging, or not completely filling up the element. I don't have the time right now to polish things up.

#6 I love everyone of you out there. Thanks for reading.

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