Well, we have made our way into Virginia. We hiked into Damascus yesterday at about 2 in the afternoon. We decided to take to evenings off here in town, mostly because I am just plain tired.
Its really a beautiful experience being immersed in nature on a daily basis, but there are those days that the body just decides it is tired. The last couple of days on the trail were this way for me. Actually Sunday I started out really strong, climbing up a series of hills for several miles, feeling really strong. But then in the afternoon my energy just drifted out of me, and forward movement was not on the top of my bodys list of priorities. But none the less, we hiked 24 miles that day. There is something very valuable in being able to move through those moments of challenge, and know that your body can do some amazing things. When we know that we can accomplish anything we set our minds to, the world opens up in endless possibilities!
Spring keeps coming out with more and more beauty each day for us to enjoy. I am learning more wildflowers each day, and getting familure with ones that might be just a little different than those we have on the west coast. The green of the trees is slowly creaping up the hills, and soon we will be engulfed in the ‘green tunnel’. I really look forward to this, while some people do not like the concept of hiking through the tunnel all day. I think the filtered light that comes down through all the beautiful green leafs is AMAZING! I am celebrating the different feel the hardwood forests have from the evergreen forests back home.
This is such an interesting trail to me in so many ways, because the feel of it is so different. As another hiker put it, the Appalachian trail is very Domesticated. What a perfect term for it! Just about every day now we cross a road that either will take you to a hostel or a town. These are a strong temptation to many people along the trail, and thus being it is quite easy to spend LOTS of money along this journey. We are not enticed into many of the stops that we cross, but try to make our stops count. We try to really enjoy the towns that we do go into.
We have been slowly moving through the ranks of hikers, catching up to people we had been hiking off and on with before we took our three zero days (a term used along the trail, describing a day that you put in no trail miles) with our friends Lyndsay and Jordan. Its great to see some of their faces again! Its such an interesting community that develops out here on the trail. Bernie and I pass many hikers, and most likely will not see them again, but we have caught up to the front wave again. These are people with a rythm quite close to our own, so it will be nice to fall into step with them again, and get to know them even more.
When we started this trail we had decided to ‘take our time’ and move at a pace slower than we typically do on a long distance trail to enjoy the journey. We are really enjoying it, and stopping often along the trail to enjoy views and good company, and still find ourselves moving at a good pace. So it looks like we will most likely be done with this trail before we thought we might. We will most likely find ourselves at the end of the trail sometime around the end of July or begining of August…… It is interesting when you get in ‘hiking shape’ your body just flows along the trail (well most days at least).
There is so much I could say, and sometimes I feel not enough words to express it. Each Long Distance Hike is a unique experience, and this one has all kinds of new lessons and things to explore for me. I hope I convey a little bit of that in my updates for others to have a tiny taste of what we are experiencing out here, but to really get a feel for it, you will have to come out and hike it yourself!
Thank you for sharing in my life everyone! I wish I had the time to catch up with everyone, and respond to each comment. Just know I appreciate each of you, and the beautiful thoughts and feelings you share with me.