Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dia quatorze e contando...

I've been out here for 14 days now. Hard to believe how fast the time goes. I hiked though Pearisburg, VA (which is the town you see in the picture above) two days ago and in the next couple of days I'll be in Daleville, VA. 
I'm sitting in a small shelter approximately 661.8 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia. It's raining a little bit. There are four others with me: two SOBOs and two other NOBOs like me. (Southbound and northbound.) It's a little magical sitting in a shelter while it rains. Part of it I'm sure is the knowledge that you're not hiking in it, I'm sure. 
I've slowed down a whole lot. My feet have been hurting, so I pulled my mileage way down from 15-20 mpd to about 11-15 mpd. I decided it was better to not be miserable and not go as far than to go further and hate myself for it. It's amazing how important your head is when your hiking. If your head's not in it then you may as well be somewhere else. The other day I had a moment where I was done. I was ready to go home. That's when I decided it was time to chill out and smell the freaking mountain laurel.  
Look how swollen my feet look in this picture (this was a week ago when my feet weren't doing very well): 
My feet are doing much better; they have shrunk back almost to their normal size:
The tape around my ankles is protecting some healing blisters. 
I had my first "zero" day (in which you go zero miles). I zeroed out at Woods Hole Hostel. Like my guidebook says, it really is a little piece of heaven. It's a small, self-sustaining organic farm and hostel. It's run by a lady named Neville and her husband Michael. They make amazing home-cooked meals... I got to hang out with the goats and the chickens and the ducks and the cows and the geese and the dogs and the annoying guinea hens for a day. It was a very wonderful stay. 
A nice panoramic of the bunkhouse and the main house. 
Neville doing the dishes. Notice the custom stained glass window with the Woods Hole owl. 
She keeps all her spices in labeled mason jars on the shelf. She made fresh baked bread daily and we ate meals around the table. 
After walking through Pearisburg I stayed at the Rice Field shelter. It was full of trash and the privy wasn't much to write home about, but the view! I sat out in the field at sunset and watched the sun say goodnight and simultaneously watched the huge super moon rise. It was amazing. 

I'll leave you with a little bit of trail magic: some knock-off Crocs someone left at the hostel which I picked up and a beautiful view. 
It's hiker midnight (9pm) and I'm signing out. This girl has got to sleep. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Até dia quatro

Day four on the trail: my feet are fairing...fair on the Chaco experiment. I have blisters in places that I wasn't ever expecting blisters. Like on the tips of my toes? What do you even do for that? It doesn't bother me too badly. As long as I have a long uphill to distract me. Yes, long uphills are a welcomed sight in my eyes. They are challenging; your feet never hurt while ascending; and they make you twenty times more grateful for a downhill when it comes. (And it always comes.)
I almost stepped on a snake today. (As per usual...) It was a blackish type snake with diamond like designs on the sides. It acted like it was going to get aggressive and rattled its tail like it was a rattler minus the rattles. The head was not in a noticeable triangular shape. Any guesses? 
I hiked through the Grayson Highlands this week. I think that might be the highlight of my hike this time around. Such beautiful open balds. Rocky-tops everywhere. And PONIES. Yes, wild herds of ponies. I ran into three different herds or packs or whatever you would call them. So cute--it was ridiculous. 

I just picked up my drop box in Atkins, VA, so if you wish to find me on map, there you go. 
I ran into some real trail magic. There was a wooden lockbox all decorated on the outside and filled with everything a hiker could need on the inside: soap, snacks, band aids, tortillas, hand sanitizer, etc... Pictured below are some of the people that have been more or less on the same pace as me: Fat Toodles, Etc, and L Dog. 

It's amazing that even cow pastures like this can just take your breath away. 
Wilderness treks on...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ontem 'tava em Colorado, hoje 'tou em Tennessee e amanha estará em Virgínia

So I hike, and I enjoy it. I love it. I makes me happy. And I love people who hike as well. They're my people. 
I went on my first backpacking trip up in the Uinta mountains with my family when I was twelve and it was there I fell in love with long-distance walking. Six years ago I walked the last hundred miles of the Appalachian Trail in Maine with my mom and sister and it was then I fell in love with the AT. Two years ago I read the book A Walk In The Woods and it was then that I determined that I too must walk the AT. One year ago I started with my first section of the trail, walking over 450 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Damascus, Virginia in 29 days. This year, as in tomorrow, I will start the second section of my walk through Appalachia. I plan to walk from Virginia, where I left off, to West Virginia. 
Stay tuned for updates, pictures, stories and details about my ongoing love affair with the Appalachian Trail. It promises to be a grand adventure, as per usual.