May 8th: The day brought about a new personal best, 24.1 miles! I ended the day with old and new friends, Tarp Man, Shimmy, Stealth Bomber and Cyborg. Tomorrow I will nero into Damascus, where a nice warm breakfast awaits!
May 9-10th: I spent the days in Damascus, resupplying on food, fixing up my gear and doing laundry. Damascus is a quiet town but the town had a slight buzz about it as everyone was gearing up for Trail Days next weekend. It's one of the only times I'll be revisiting a town on the trail so I'm excited to see in twice; once as a quaint town (population 800ish) and with the expected 20,000 visitors for Trail Days.
May 11th: I met the ponies today!!!! I'd been hearing about the ponies in Grayson Highlands for some time now but the day finally arrived and was not disappointed.
May 12-13: I used these days to gain as much distance from Damascus as possible. By the 13th, I was able to make it Atkins, VA where I will catch a ride back for Trail Days in the morning. This way, after the weekend, I will hitch a ride back up to Atkins and hopefully miss the bottleneck of hikers all leaving Damascus at the same time.
Trail Days May 14th-16th
Trail Days has been described as the Birthday Party for the Appalachian Trail. It's a big festival in the city of Damascus every year to celebrate current and past hikers. Product vendors come to fix broken gear, famous AT hikers come to speak and run seminars, and it's a few days for everyone to relax and recharge. I think the best part is catching up with old friends, some of which are scattered all over the trail and hitch in specifically for the weekend.
It was amazing to see old friends, some of which I hadn't seen in weeks! So good to see you all again!
I'm excited to get back to the trail and start walking again though!