Mother-effing Damascus, baby! [mile 466]
I was so worried about the HGN rumors that Damascus was full that I got up ridiculously early and hit the trail at 6:30 AM. I figured I wanted to be the first of today’s batch of hikers fighting for the last room in town.
On the way down, I realized: I’m actually in terrific shape. I can’t do anything about the uphills (old age and years of cigarettes have rendered the lungs fairly inelastic), but compared with the shape I was in in February, this is fantastic. Also, for the first time in a few years, I wouldn’t be ashamed to put on a bathing suit.
The Appalachian Trail, where you can eat anything you want and as much of it as you can shovel in… except all of it weighs way too much to carry. We’re all scarecrows—humpbacked scarecrows, what with the backpacks.
I did six miles without eating, and it didn’t even faze me. I figured I’d get into town, find a place, and hit a diner.
The walk down the mountain was beautiful. (Aren’t they all?) But listen… HUGE milestone! Three miles from Damascus, I hit the magical, wonderful, fabulous Virginia border! No more Tennessee! Three down, ten to go!
The trail immediately seemed prettier! Greener, softer, full of white flowers and southern hospitality. Also bugs. I don’t know why they stayed out of Tennessee, but these midge things swarmed my head until I got into town.
Damascus is a trail town like Hot Springs, but so different! I’m moving here when I decide to move. This place has a more suburban feel; more houses, more sprawl. But they still love their hikers! In fact, there’s a huge hiking event coming up—Trail Days, the weekend of the 17th, the biggest annual event on the trail. A lot of hikers will be hitching back for it. I probably won’t; I need to make up the days, and I’m not much of a partier anymore. 🙂
On the menu for today: Laundry. Shopping at the outfitter. Potentially resupply, depending on the time (the market’s a bit of a walk). Tomorrow: Post office. Outfitter to discuss the pack issue, depending on how the pack feels with the new gear and a full resupply. Hrm. It’s a lot to do in not enough hours.
And I think that’s enough posting for one day. I only got one pic before the phone died, but it’s a beauty. 🙂