Posted by: athike2011 | April 20, 2011



Damascus, VA

Today was the quickest 10 miles I have walked so far, a little over 2.5 hours, however,  I was quite excited for the prospect of a burger, a cold drink, and a place to relax for the day. However, once I got into town, I found that all the accommodations were full for the night, despite the fact that it was only 10:40am.  There is a free hostel type place in town, but they don’t allow dogs, service or other. I was told about an 80 year old man with cancer hiking with his service dog who stayed there and was thrown out on the street and threatened with trespassing if he came back inside. I chose to just try and camp out rather than deal with anything like that. For most of the day I hung out outside the local gear store, I ended up buying a Monte Bell synthetic jacket to replace my fleece. It’s a little more expensive, but it’s way warmer, smaller and lighter. I sent the fleece home to get returned to help fund the new jacket. I do know it’s spring coming on summer, however, it still gets quite chilly at higher altitudes some nights, and as it’s the only warm thing I have anymore, it seems important. I also got a new pair of shorts so I have two for when one gets soaking wet, or once it’s warm enough to go swimming. Lunch was a delicious foot long subway sandwich followed by the first bit of relaxing for the day. The local bar/restaurant is a pizza place, which is where most of the hikers in town went for a meal, I was still pretty full from my lunch, so I stuck with the 99 cent Pabst until a while later. I had been hoping to get to watch some hockey while I was in town, but it turns out this bar has the cheapest of the cheapest cable package, which does not include the VS. network and left me with no hockey to watch. The only real positive to this place was that they forgot to charge me for half my beers and a huge calzone, which was actually quite tasty, was only $5.95. At the end of the evening a couple of other hikers offered me a spot on the floor of their room, so I was able to stay out of the weather while I was in town.


Damascus, again…

I wasn’t planning on zeroing today, however, I failed to buy food, or do laundry  yesterday and was just overall lazy and procrastinating. I’ll keep trying to convince myself I stayed to let my blisters heal up a little bit and my muscles relax slightly. Once laundry and shopping were done I decided that as I have put 450 miles on the socks I have been wearing, and just now got my first heal blister with my “new” shoes, that a new pair of socks was in order. I found a pair that I liked but they had not packaging, once I figured out which they were I took them up to the counter and asked the guy if he felt like selling them to me for less money as they don’t have the packaging with them. He thought briefly and decided that would be fine. Apparently no packaging gets you 30% off, which is great, seeing as had they had packaging, I would have simply given it to him there to throw away for me.

My food bag weighs way more than it normally does. I have been having trouble figuring out how much to buy, only once have I had just enough to run out of all my food 2 miles before my resupply town, generally I have had way more than I need. Hopefully I will start to get this figured out, but you would think I would have it down a little better by this point. I guess I should probably start making lists.

Tonight will be another calzone and likely a night on the floor and then off tomorrow as early as possible to try and put in a decent size day. After today’s zero day I only have another 9 to take for the whole trip and need to keep averaging at LEAST 16.1 miles to get done when I need to get done. It sounds like a lot, but after a few back to back 20+ mile days, 16 almost seems like a half day.

To everyone who want’s more pictures, I will do my best to accomodate, it a bit tough, as the only way to get them on here is if I take them with my iPhone, which isn’t always handy and I generally need to conserve the battery if possible, but I will do my best!

In the mean time, here is a little video clip of where I was walking the other day. 



  1. I was nice to talk with you today.
    Wow, it sounded windy in that video! Hopefully that was at your back as you walked.
    Hopefully you will hike enough of those 20 mile days that you can add in an extra zero day here or there.
    We will get the stuff you sent back returned and deposit the money for you.

  2. Keep an eye out for the wild ponies when you hike through the Mt. Rogers Recreation Area! A friend of mine hiked that area frequently but only ever saw their tracks.

    Oh, and, welcome to Virginia!

    • Will do! I’ve heard they like our packs because by this point they have basically become salt licks… Where about do you guys live along the trail?

      • i checked out one the AT mileage calculators, which said it was about 400 miles from damascus to this general vicinity. some of the shelters i found listed in this area are: maupin field shelter, paul c. wolfe shelter, calf mountain shelter and blackrock hut…hopefully that gives you a better gauge of where we are. however, once you get to the central VA area, much of the trail is accessible by a short drive.

  3. I’ll keep you updated as much as I can with hockey scores and series progress

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