Virginia

LONG DAYS, LASTING MEMORIES

May 24th - June 3rd

Towards the end of May I started walking longer miles and continued to meet up with friends Adios, Autodraft and Bandit. Our longest day so far was a 26.4 mile day which took us from all the way from Niday Shelter (mile 685.3) to McAfee Knob (mile 7.11.7). Around mid-morning that day we were lucky to hit some trail magic provided by former thru-hikers and made our way to see the Audie Murphy Monument. Audie Murphy was the most decorated WWII soldier and it was especially fitting that we were there on Memorial day weekend.  Around midday we hit Dragon's Tooth and caught back up with Stealth Bomber and Cyborg. A few more miles and a few more calories (eaten and burned) we were excited to make it to the Knob in time for sunset! No camping is allowed on the Knob so we definitely didn't camp there that night and then wake up for an amazing sunrise the next morning :) 

Early the next morning we headed out for Daleville, VA where we took a much needed zero day to recover. 

A few more days and a few more miles, still traveling with Adios and Bandit, we stopped by Glasgow, VA to resupply and see the dinosaur statue we'd heard about from other hikers. In honor of the upcoming Jurassic World premier we shot this amazing video: www.facbook.com/james.cape2/videos/10103531298042273/ 
Mad props to Autodraft for editing and production!

On June 3rd I arrived in Waynesboro, VA ahead of schedule and will wait for my first visitor of the trip, big sis!
I can't wait to hike Shenandoah Valley National Park with Elyse! Wish up luck!

-Outro

NEW PLACES, NEW FACES

May 17th- May 23rd

I'm back on the trail after Trail Days and glad to be hiking again. The time off seemed to shift people around too. Some folks went to Damascus, some continued walking, so now I feel that I'm meeting more new people than ever. 

A routine has definitely formed, wake up, walk north, sleep, repeat, and I've found comfort in the simplicity of the schedule. When in doubt, follow the white blazes and it's pretty interesting how much we've (AT hikers) have all become creatures of habit. We've learned by now that the white blazes are our lifeline. They haven't failed me yet, so I follow them at all cost. So much so sometimes that when the trail comes to a road I've actually been confused as to where to go next (usually the answer is directly across).

Also, here are some rules for never getting lost on the AT: 

1) Always follow the white blazes. If you think the trail should be going a different way than where the white blazes are taking you, you're wrong.

2) If you're on a trail and you see an adjacent mountain that goes higher than the mountain you're about to climb, you're on the wrong trail. 

3) If you come to a fork in the path and one way ascends and the other descends, always choose up.

4) Never be afraid to ask a passerby if they are Nobo or Sobo. It might save you hours of time and miles of travel in the end. 

-Outro

DAMASCUS, SO NICE I WENT TWICE

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.

-Outro

 

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!

-Outro