4/22 Zero in Damascus
Today was a very lazy zero day, with not much happening. It felt really good to rest my body, but I am definitely ready to get back on the trail tomorrow.
We woke up went to the a nearby cafe, which a local Bevo and I met (Mary) said had the best food in town. It was good, although took awhile.
After breakfast we came back and finalized our food. I was pretty aggressive (possibly under packed food) on what I am bringing since I have always come into town with extra food. We shall see in a few days if I made a mistake.
After that we went to the library where I caught up on some TV shows and other stuff. It was good for a few hours, but after that I got bored and sort of wished I was hiking again.
We had a few beers (Bells two hearted) at the bar and got dinner and headed back to the hostel pretty early.
Yesterday Bevo and I saw Mary working out in her yard and mentioned that we were going to need a ride up the trail to where we slackpacked to. She said she might be able to give us a ride and that we should stop by tomorrow. When we stopped by today no one was home, so we had resigned ourself a to hitching out in the morning. However, when we got back there was a note on Bevo’s bed saying to give her a call. When we did she said she’d be happy to give us a ride in the morning, which we are really appreciative for!
4/22 Beartree Gap to Wise Shelter (21.6 miles)
Last night it poured rain, hailed and thunderstomed. I was really glad that we were in the comfort of a hostel. Bevo and I got breakfast at the local cafe and then headed over to the Mary’s house to get a ride to the trailhead. Not only was she kind enough to give us a ride, she also gave us some bake goods for the road!
The weather was very dreary this morning and there was thick fog that prevented us from seeing the supposedly great views. Given how great the weather has been so far, I can’t really complain about it. By mid morning we caught up with Bright Bags who we have been hiking at about the same speed as, but just recently got to know well and told him that he should start hiking with Bevo and I. We got home on board to hike with us, which was great news.
I hiked with him for most of the morning and got to hear about his two favorite thruhikers (based on journal entries) who he hopes to meet. The first is Super T who writes really funny stories (such as one about accidentally killing a bee in her freeze dried meal), rights songs (Such as “I’ll make a Thru out of you” to the Tune of I’ll make a man out of you from Mulan), and ultralight pro tips (you don’t need your arms). The other is Splendid Monkey King who write all of his journal entries like they are an old English novel. I gained a new appreciation for the log books based off of these stories.
All day we had been hiking with a group of people hiking 30 miles for charity. Lucky for us they had tents set up at several of the road crossing and offered us their lunch and snacks (which included bananas!).
After lunch the weather started to improve and we entered a section of trail that had wild ponies, and it was fun to see them up close and take pictures.
We also decided that we were finally going to catch up with Stitch (who Bright Bags told us was planning to go to the shelter 5 miles passed the one we planned to stop at). She has been 10 miles ahead of us since we stayed with her at Rob’s, so it was exciting to finally catch her.
When we were making dinner Bevo, Bright Bags, and I we discussing our plan for the week. We decided that we were going to stay at a motel on Monday, and we asked Stitch if she wanted to join us. This required her to extent one of her days and only get 1 meal at the shelter with pizza delivery. However, she agreed to join us. I am really excited that we are turning Bevo and my trail couple into a trail family (at least for a few days). I hope we can stay together for longer than that!
4/24 Wise Shelter to Trimpi Shelter (20.1 miles)
Last as I was going to bed several ponies were hanging around outside my tent, I was a little nervous that they would pull out a stake, but thankfully they didn’t.
Last night was very cold and a good reminder that I can’t send home either gear yet. I woke up to a layer of frost covering the inside and outside of my tent. I didn’t even notice until I tried to touch it. I think it was mainly caused by the dew followed by really cold temperatures that froze it. It was the first night in awhile that I felt cold and I definitely regretted not putting on my long underwear bottoms.
The hike overall was pretty boring, but it was great to have our two new hiking partners. Bright Bags and I walk a little faster than Bevo and Stitch, so it was good to have someone to talk to even when I got a little bit ahead.
Today we definitely felt long by the end of it, but I think that we will be able to keep doing days at around 20 miles (at least through VA), particularly because the trail has less elevation change than earlier states. We already picked up a day over our plan, which could be the norm for the next few weeks.
I found a really cool piece of bark on the side of the trail that had 3/4 of a white blaze on it. I think that it must have fallen off a dead tree. I am going to try to mail it home, but it is pretty fragile, so I am not sure it will survive the transit.
I really hope Bright Bags and Stitch keep hiking with us because it’s a lot of fun to talk with them on the trail and at camp.
Today was a great day that started with Stitch talking about the exact order that she planned to place at the Pizza Hut which delivered to the shelter we planned to stop at for lunch. Early in the morning we came across some fruit on the side of the trail from some trail Angels. It was a good start.
We started the morning off with a few good climbs and at the top of one of the hills I called the Pizza Hut to place our order only to discover that they didn’t deliver until 4pm. That put a real dent in our excitement for the day.
When we reached the Vistors Center next to the shelter we discovered there was Pizza Perfect, another place that delivered there. We gave them a call and they delivered for lunch! We were three happy thru hikers, and got 2 large pizzas and a large cheese sticks. While we were waiting, Stitch bought a soda and it got stuck in the machine, but Bright Bags used his ingenuity to rescue it.
The three of ate nearly all of the pizza and gave the rest to two thruhikers, the Spaniard and Bombadill. A few minutes later, Bombadill’s wife, Goldberry, came up and we learned she was getting a ride to the hotel we were planning to stay that night. Bevo in his never ending quest to find a way to slackpack asked if she could take our packs to the hotel. She informed us that she was getting a ride from some section hikers who she just met on the trail, but they would have two cars so she though they would have room. Bevo, Stitch and I left out packs with her, while Bright Bags decided to keep his (a decision he regretted a few miles later). It is amazing how all of these plans and events can happen just by talking to people.
The hike in the afternoon was pretty uneventful, but there were some nice views and there was a pretty cool old school house with some trail magic from the local church. From there we had a short hike to the motel we are staying at and our packs had arrived safely.
We went to the local restaurant which was filled with Hiker Trash, but it was good to see many of the people we had seen on the trail. Bright Bags put down a 1 pound hamburger in less than 3 minutes, which put even my speed eating to shame.
I am loving hiking with Bright Bags and Stitch, along with Bevo. Stitch was really enjoying today (she said it was her best day yet) and her enjoyment and excitement definitely made the hiker better for the rest of us. It also leads to great hiker trash motel rooms as we organize gear.