I made record time today covering 25 miles in nine hours – including breaks. The day started out a bit cold at Iron Mountain Shelter. My tent and my hiking poles had ice on them this morning. It took me over an hour to get warmed up and in my hiking zone. Some well timed trail magic by a rural church in Tennessee really got me going. Little Debbies are better than any energy bars!
The terrain was very moderate and that accounts for my fast pace, plus I was really motivated to get to Damascus – the best trail town on the AT. I stopped at Mount Rogers Outfitters to get a new pack and a sleeping pad. I had run out of room on the hip belt of my old pack and couldn’t tighten it anymore. I don’t know how much weight I’ve lost but my waist has shrunk over two inches. That middle-age middle is almost all gone! The new sleeping pad is a thick one that weighs the same as my old thinner one and hopefully I can sleep better on it.
I’m staying at the Hikers Inn and have enjoyed talking to the owner, Paul, and his friends Dave and Jeff, who were hanging out at the inn this afternoon. Paul is from Belgium, thru-hiked in 2010 and liked Damascus so much that he decided to move here and open the inn. Damascus really is a beautiful little town!
I had pizza and beer for dinner at the Blue Blaze Cafe with Staff, Bigfoot, and a few others. I also saw some other hikers I’ve met along the way including Navigator, who I first met in Georgia in my third night on the trail, and Whiskers and Rocket, who I met at the Aquone Hostel near the Nantahala Outdoor Center. Whiskers gets his trail name from his great beard. Rocket is from Minnesota and most recently was the coach of the Harvard Women’s Cross Country Ski Team. She’s super fit, cute as a button and gets her trail name from her ability to blow her nose (both nostrils at the same time) without using her hand. (Pretty gross, I know, but I want to share it all with you!) i guess that’s an important skill to have if you’re a top cross country skier.
Tomorrow I’m going to get a late start and only cover ten miles. I can feel that my legs need a break after three long hiking days.
I’m really happy to be in Virginia



About The Man in My Shoes

Since retiring in 2012 I am enjoying the freedom of being able to make my own decisions about how I spend my time and am taking advantage of the opportunities that I have to spend more time with my family, explore, learn, and pursue my dreams and goals. I look forward to writing about these pursuits and hope you enjoy reading about them.
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9 Responses to Virginia!

  1. Annette says:

    I enjoyed hearing about the hikers you meet along the AT. Great story, Tim. You have hiked in three states, now in your fourth. Yayyyy.

  2. Lisa says:

    Welcome “home”!

  3. Derek Vreeland says:

    Hey Tim! Congrats on making it to VA. I have enjoyed following your blog. It has been a good way for us to live vicariously through you. Keep the updates coming!

  4. Chip Donahue says:

    Glad you made it to beautiful Virginia! Please contact us when you get near Roanoke. Happy to offer a ride, snacks or dinner. I’m a school teacher, father of three and a member of the ATC’s Trails to Every Classroom Advisory Council… and maker of trail magic!

    Chip Donahue

  5. What I would do to lose two inches off my waist….. Meant to tell you Claire’s parents place in North Carolina is Yellow Mt. Guess they own the whole damn mountain. Wished I hold mentioned it earlier so you could look to see if you saw their barn and horses. She said they can see the trail from the house.

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