Virginia Part II

10 Nov

Day 133, Mile 1715

Hello from Damascus, VA, “The Friendliest Town on the Trail.” Or so they say. So far, I have found Damascus to be just about as friendly as every other town. But we’re planning to zero here tomorrow, so there is a still a chance for the town to amaze me. More importantly though, I am less than 5 miles from the Tennessee border, and after 530 long miles, I am almost out of Virginia!

This last stretch through Virginia has been very nice. We had a thumping good rain storm on Halloween which knocked all the leaves from the trees in one fell swoop. I felt like I woke up one day in September and it was all-of-a-sudden autumn, and then I woke up on November 1 and it was just as quickly winter! Although it’s been nice to be able to see the landscape through the bare trees, I do miss all the spectacular colors we had last month.

Lightweight and I have been hiking together since my last post, which has been really nice. We’ve both been in good spirits since we left Woodshole, I have felt very recharged and ready to take on this last stretch. A few days back G-Fog finally caught up to us as well! Since it was also his birthday, his mom and girlfriend were up to visit him, and so we ended up spending a night in their motel room and slackpacking the next day. His mom also took us to Waffle House one morning for breakfast–and it was absolutely delicious.

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Owl near Old Orchard Shelter

Our last 70 miles was through the Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area, home to the highest point in Virginia. It was a really significant spot for us, being our first time over 5000 ft. since New Hampshire, hitting the less than 500 mile mark, and the chance to enjoy its unique “wildlife.”

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Foal with its Mare

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Surveying the Damage

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Friendliest Pack Animal on the Trail

As you can see, the Highlands are populated by a herd of very friendly wild ponies! They came right up to us, nipped at our pockets, and dug through our bags. Fortunately, they didn’t get any of our food. Apparently, the Forest Service put the ponies there in the late 60s to help keep the “bald” areas on top of the mountain from being reforested. Whatever their purpose, they provided for a fun afternoon of photography!

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Sunset from Rhododendron Gap

As I mentioned above, G-Fog finally caught up to us again and I am a firm believer in “the more the merrier.” I feel very conflicted about finishing, now that I am so close. Part of me is so anxious to be done and at home, enjoying the holidays with my friends and family. But an equally strong half of me doesn’t want to finish, because I just don’t know what I’ll do with myself if I am not walking 20 miles every day! I’m already in the job application process though, looking ahead to my next adventure. And so all I can say is “onward.”

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9 Responses to “Virginia Part II”

  1. uncle Craig November 18, 2009 at 5:40 pm #

    Since there have been no tweets since last week, I have to guess Robert is in no phone zone if he has ATT Wireless aka worthless in too many areas.

  2. uncle Craig November 17, 2009 at 1:49 pm #

    Noontime in La. Figured you would have made the state line by now. Trail map shows going into N.C. and then back to the stateline where you can probably do the two-state two-step.

  3. uncle Craig November 16, 2009 at 8:07 am #

    looks like good weather for several days. Will you cross into N.C. today or tomorrow.

  4. uncle Craig November 14, 2009 at 1:36 pm #

    held off commenting yesterday about delay. you must have found Damascus to be very friendly. Or perhaps the women were friendlier, hence the delay.

  5. Julia November 11, 2009 at 10:05 pm #

    Grandpa, I want a pony for Christmas!

    I can’t believe you are almost to Tennessee!

  6. uncle Craig November 11, 2009 at 5:58 pm #

    last comment fore heading home. little less than 50miles to N.C. That’l take 3 days. Keep us posted on daily progress. Can you do 26 more days?

  7. uncle Craig November 11, 2009 at 1:55 pm #

    Love the pony in the pack. Thursday promises to be good day for hiking. You should make it to Holiday Inn by nightfall. 4 days to N.C. border then back & forth for another 3 or 4. Keep it up. Missing T-day might be hard but you can do it. My 1st time to miss, I was in El Paso and it snowed.

  8. Molly November 10, 2009 at 11:54 pm #

    wild ponies! every 6-year-old-girls dream!

  9. Rachael November 10, 2009 at 7:48 pm #

    i love it love it love it. all of it.

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