Good morning! Daystar here in Damascus, VA. I had visions of being clean & rested & typing up this blog post after some thoughtful reflection time, but the public library closes at 1pm and doesn't open again until Monday morning. I'm in a bit of a zombie state right now so I'm going to go ahead and apologize for any ramblings or nonsensical thoughts.. ha.
This morning, Tatertot & I left Abingdon Shelter at 5:30am (after waking at 5) to hike the last 10 miles into Damascus. We crossed the TN/VA state line about 8am which was really exciting - 3 states done. Although they say, don't get too excited about checking states off your list, because Virgina will bum you out - it's about one fourth of the entire trail. We were racing in to be here before the P.O. closed at 11 but ended up arriving around 9, which was perfect because we'd only had 2 granola bars & a few sips of gatorade all day - we were thrilled to have time to eat some greasy, southern breakfast. Yesterday we did our biggest day yet of 22.7 miles. The boys went for the full marathon - 26.2, but both Tater & I hit a wall yesterday around mile 18 and decided 22.7 was plenty for the day. We also realized we'd be able to hike faster in the morning than trudging on last night. The timing worked out though - we caught up with the boys and all had breakfast together.
In general, this has been a good but tough week. I was off the trail for three nights in Boone/Banner Elk and you kind of lose your "trail legs" and it takes some adjusting getting back in the groove of walking every day. Everyone else was pretty exhausted from surviving the blizzard. Overall, I feel like the fatigue really set in this week. We're still laughing & smiling a lot, but a lot of the extra goofy energy is waning. Damascus, VA is the symbolic 1/4 done mark. I'm not sure why, the physical mark is more like 560 or so. But as Gribley put it, making it to Damascus is like finishing up freshman year. We've walked 467 miles at this point, up and over big mountains. We've survived rain, heat, cold, and humidity. I missed the big blizzard, but all my buddies made it out alive & that much stronger.
Ok I feel like I'm struggling to write complete thoughts.. I'm going to ahead and click "publish" and try to write more later. Off to shower!
In the meantime, check out Tatertot's photos here!
PS - this is right after I dropped my phone in the waterfall: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lostandlovingit/7121540745/in/photostream