Damascus

Had a great time at Bob’s graduation at Duke in Durham, NC.

Still about 100 miles of hiking planned to reach my goal to Damascus. After a four hour return drive, I started back where I left off. Within a few hours of hiking, I was face to face with wildlife in the middle of the trail. I was going South and he was going North. A game of chicken… He won and I walked around him.

It seemed like it rained at least part of the day, every day for the remainder of the hike. There’s an expression on the trail that goes “No pain, no rain, no gain, no Maine”.

Although it was getting hotter, hiking elevations were also getting higher keeping temps in the 70-80 degree range.

Glade Mountain hike in the rain was actually very pleasant.

Within a few days I reached one of the highlights of the hike at the Grayson Highlands. At elevations of greater than 5000 ft there are several “Balds” on the southern VA mountain tops. These are several acre expanses if grassland and rocks on the mountain tops. Groups of wild ponies roam and live along the trail.

Hiking through Elk Garden was a treat.

Made a push of 5 days of longer hiking (about 15 mile days) at the end. After 5 weeks I seemed to be finally in “hiker shape”. That usually means that although your legs might be aching at the end of the day, when you wake up in the morning, they feel fine and you’re ready to go.

As you may know, I’m currently hiking south. I reached my goal of Damascus VA yesterday. This is the southernmost town on the AT in Virginia. I started this section hike with John in Buena Vista (mile 806) and ended at Damascus (mile 470). Mile 0 is Springer Mountain in Georgia,which will be the”final” destination for the completion of the hike. Still quite a ways, but almost in sight. Another AT truism, that certainly can be taken to many other aspects of our lives is: ” It’s not the destination… It’s the journey”. Hope to continue the journey for a few weeks this Fall. Until then, best wishes to all of you. Thanks for your support. Have a great summer!