Due to unforeseen circumstances, I ended up neroing into woods hole. The night before this lone wolf (some wolf pack members are 40 miles ahead, while others are 60 miles behind) had attempted to make 14 miles into the hostel. However, a later start, an hour “wasted” at a waterfall….(waterfall time is never wasted time) and a freaky shelter made me just short of making it here.
Despite just zeroing at trail days, this was a perfect place to come get some peaceful rest for my soul. Trail days was so crazy, everywhere you looked there was either locals or hikers. A second alone in quiet was near impossible, not that I was being antisocial. I went back to see the members of the pack that were behind, and it was well worth it for sure.
After two days off my recent aching knee didn’t feel any better and the hike yesterday didn’t seem to show any signs of improvement. I called it a night after 10 miles. Well, I did. The bear on the mountain didn’t. I woke up around 2 AM to a loud noise, there was crunching in the leaves and a loud screeching sound. The only thing I could equate the noise to was a bear ripping bark off trees, this was verified by a loud thump as a piece of a tree fell to the ground. That continued through the night and it got about 50 yards away.
Needless to say after that, sitting here at woods hole I am in heaven. The shower was amazing, outside on little round pebbles, the water got to be perfectly hot. Neville made the best smoothie served in a mason jar, and I seemed to develop a shadow as one of the hounds started following me around. That was then followed by hammock time just as a storm cloud opened up on the area….thank goodness I wasn’t hiking during that!
I got to help prepare dinner, which was pumpkin lasagna. So incredible. I can’t even get over the freshness of everything.
Neville and Michael are amazing hosts. I cannot thank them enough for a night to forget that I am flying completely solo now. I felt like I was a part of a family again, and for one night, it was just what the doctor ordered.
Trail days was quite the experience. Think hometown fair meets clinic. There were vendors in the park, of all sorts, not just gear. There was fair food, which, oddly enough I didn’t eat and even pony rides. A mile out of downtown Damascus was a place called Tent City. You paid $5 to go there and tent and if you did, sleep was not what you were looking for. There were other gear vendors there offering loads of free stuff.
In town, the church offered free food for most of the days and doctor checkups. I cannot forget to mention the free foot wash and foot massages. I think I am now converted.
There were loads of events including a talent show, contra dancing, AT movie screenings and the famous hiker parade.
Definitely a worthwhile detour, even if it meant that I fell behind my Wolfpack.
I have invented a new sport. It is called Mud-skiing. There are some important standards and rules when it comes to this sport. We shall start with gear.
This is not an ultralighter’s sport. The more weight you carry, the better your ability to slide. 40 plus pound backpacks only. Any lighter weight and you might encounter less sliding.
Trekking poles. These are key and mandatory. Failure to mud-ski without these results in disqualification. Good poles will go in the ground, but release quick enough so the athlete doesn’t fall from a lagging trekking pole.
Boots with no tread. Very important, it makes the slipping and sliding easier.
Professionally, you cannot wear gators, amateurlly, they are allowed.
Track conditions: it is only possible to mud-ski during or after a great deal of rain. Specifically, the best areas are on the Appalachian trail.
Rules: proper gear is required. Failure to use the right gear will result in a disqualification. Falling is not allowed, points will be deducted.
How to win: the athlete that makes it from shelter A to shelter B without falling, with the most slides ( one point per slide ) wins. Extra points with only one foot in contact during slides. Points deducted if there is mud above the kneecaps.
Did my first big mile day yesterday. 19 miles which included a full day of hiking in the wet rain, and going over Virginia’s tallest peak: Mt. Rogers. Basically, I kinda feel like I kicked major hiking butt. My ankle and feet are a little sore, but other than that, I feel great! Hopefully will see some wild ponies in the Grayson Highlands as well as hit 500 miles today. I can’t believe I am hitting that milestone. I have enjoyed every moment of those miles with some amazing people and every solo moment as well. Life couldn’t be better.
I pulled up the weather to check what I was in for and the app on my phone seems to think the location I’m in is dooming….
It’s all downhill from here
You’re almost there
20% chance of rain you’ll be fine
1 more mile
Anything above 20% weather means 100% for hikers
No, you smell great
It’s the cancer
Yeah, I’m hiking to a job, I got money comin’
It’s easy miles my grandma could do it
AWOL’s water sources
Its Just five minutes from town
Water’s just behind the shelter
Hiker friendly rates (rapes)
Hiker midnight at 9
There’s no firewood
At&t is a national phone service
Long term resupply
It gets easier
Its all flat
The smokies have bear issues
The approach trail counts
That won’t burn
The Wolfpack…insert something bad here
Hiked only 14 miles today….BUT, it included a sit and dip by not only two great waterfalls, but, also a swim in the Elk River. Perfect for a day with record high temperatures.
Crossed state number two off my list yesterday. I have now officially hiked all of Georgia and North Carolina. Very soon Tennessee will be added to that list. It’s very exciting to think of what I have done so far. Though I am starting to feel a bit antsy and worried that I might not make my deadline of September. Looking forward to the days when I walk 10 miles before lunch and then do 10 more. Soon enough, I’m sure!
More later, folks 😉
Enjoy the photo, it was in a neat restaurant in Tennessee.