Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Andando nas montanhas e feliz

Updates on the trail! Taking things slow was the best idea I could have had. My feet were so much happier. They really needed the break. 
After leaving Pearisburg I hiked into The Captain's to camp. The Captain is a trail angel who lives about 30yds off the trail. He offers his yard to camp in and his fridge full of every flavor of soda imaginable. (May I recommend the peach?) To get there you have to cross a river and the Captain so cleverly designed a pulley/zipline thing to bring you across the river with your pack. It was a fun distraction. 
One thing I love about hiking the AT are the wonderful and interesting people you get to meet. One night I camped with a vascular surgeon and another night a marine biologist. Then an anesthesiologist and then some elevator repair men (whom I impressed with my ability to pronounce Thyssen-Krupp correctly.) Quite regularly I was on the same hiking schedule with Rylu and Strider. We ended up sharing a lot of shelters together. Rylu is a thru-hiker and Stider is going to Harper's Ferry. 
I hiked past the Keffer Oak tree which is the biggest (in diameter--almost 18 ft) oak in the southern part of the AT. 

The highlight of this section of the AT for me was McAfee Knob. It's a beautiful rock outcropping that extends off the side of the mountain.
It had been raining all this day. That morning me, Rylu and Strider had all hiked over Dragon's Tooth, which is another cool rock monolith, in the rain. It was quite the experience down-climbing already slippery rock in the rain with a pack on. 
From McAfee Knob, my next big stop was Daleville. Walking into Daleville was so hot with never-ending views of town up on a rolling ridge. I was so frustrated and tired at one point that I just threw my pack down and took a 30 min nap in the shade. Once down, the trail opens right onto the main drag that goes between Daleville and Troutville--about 13 miles from Roanoke. And I checked right into the Howard Johnson motel and into the bath. I soaked and showered for about an hour. 
I traded out my Chacos for my trail runners in Daleville. My feet weren't recovering the way I wanted them to. Had I had more time on the trail, I would have kept hiking in them, but I knew I'd be more comfortable in my broken-in Vasques that I hiked in last year. 
I also had a very tasty resupply at the Kroger. Two words: smoked Gouda.  
Daleville marks 1/3 of the Appalachian Trail. It feels good to have that behind me and to know there's still so much adventure ahead of me. 
One-third of the way thru and happy. 

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