Meet Virginia. And get used to her because we will be here for a little bit… Like another 500 miles little bit.
When we were in Damascus about 60 miles ago, we stayed at the Woodchuck Hostel. The owner was a former thru hiker and both him and his hostel were really cool. The hostel offered the usual amenities of a shower, laundry, and snacks other than Ramen and instant potatoes. What was not usual was we had access to lawn games and the grill! We took full advantage of that and grilled ourselves some vegetables and steak.
We also went to an all you can eat pizza buffet where I was convinced we were going to get kicked out for possibly cleaning out their inventory. Snorlax had about ten pieces of pie, and I had about nine-including dessert pizza. We did not get kicked out, but I felt like we were going to have to be rolled out of the place.
The first day leaving town and hitting the trail, we planned on heading to a campsite not too far in which offered water nearby which is always a plus. We made it almost to the spot when about a mile ahead was a sign advising of a detour due to a washed out bridge.
This sign didn’t stop us from heading to the site. We opted out of the detour and decided to take the risk. We scoped out the “washed out” bridge area and decided it wasn’t too bad and camped for the night. The next day before crossing the river we geared up to carry Skye Stalker’s pack so she would not get it wet, and wore our camp shoes to keep our hiking shoes dry. Although the water was cold, it was manageable to get across. Not too far after lacing up our hiking shoes and getting Skye Stalker’s pack back on, we came across a bigger, more rapid river. That one was about up to our knees and again manageable – just a funny, unexpected surprise. There is video of it on our Instagram account so please feel free to check it out.
Part of the trail is near the Virginia Creeper trail and along a river with some awesome campsites. We were recently luckily enough to snag some of that Waterfront real estate. Skye Stalker really enjoyed it.
We have been hiking through some really nice farmlands which has also limited our technology service. While somewhat entertaining, the cows also scare me at times. Our hiking start time has been a little earlier than usual thanks to the help of the wake up calls from our farm friends.
Our favorite part of the most recent section so far has been the Grayson Highlands. Throughout this section there were many balds offering great views, ample water, and the best part-wild ponies. We realized no matter how old you are ponies are a distraction. We arrived to camp later than we wanted to that night because we took some time to interact with the ponies.
Skye Stalker was not sure what to think. She initially went over to play with them and many of them ran away. At times when they got close to her she would then run. She eventually warmed up to them and seemed to enjoy walking with them and watching them.
When Snorlax asked me after I pet the ponies if they were soft, I simply replied “well, they’re a little hoarse”
That same day we made it past the 500 mile marker which is exciting.
One of the nicer features of Virginia is that they seem to know their shit. Unlike Tennessee which had no privies- Virginia has privies, and nice ones too. By nice it means they seem to have doors, some have trash cans, and even toilet paper.
Getting toilet paper on the trail has been much different than at home. The single rolls are usually thin and offer more sheets. With more sheets it is generally more bulky and harder to pack. The packages of the soft toilet paper usually offer too many rolls. You find yourself splitting up the rolls with friends to cut down on weight and help save money. Some hostels will even offer deals with a stay where you get a brownie and a roll of toilet paper. That’s a bold reminder that you aren’t staying at a Hilton Hotel or anything like it.
Now that we are really getting into summer weather, everything is blooming, and the wild life seems to be making more appearances. Skye has been doing some additional off trail exercise by chasing all the chipmunks.
We have seen an increase in deer and snakes as well. Just the other day we had a snake come visit us while we were sitting and enjoying our lunch.
We came across another unexpected surprise (not so wild) recently when we stumbled upon our trail friends Game Warden and Veto. They had left the trail for about a week to go to a wedding and just returned. We were very excited to have them back!
One of the shelters that we stayed at recently was close enough to civilization that we could call for pizza delivery! Everyone who stayed at the shelter that night ordered pizza and we had ourselves a little pizza party. It was the day before Snorlax’s birthday so we got the shelter to sing to him. He was also treated with a s’more with bacon and an oatmeal pie with a match as a candle (we live in the woods remember).
With the pizza, we also indulged in some hacky sack playing and shooting some sling shots-because that happened to be some stuff people carried around. The next morning we were treated with a little trail magic from Mike and Mary who are also known as M&M.
Recently Skye Stalker developed some chaffing from her pack. We have taken some days off to rest her, and treat the chaffing. I also added some fleece to her straps to help soften them and hopefully prevent chaffing. Prior to the days off we did keep her pack off and divide the weight between the two of us to carry. We will likely be still carrying her stuff until we see major improvement. Luckily she has shown improvement and she has remained in good spirits the whole time.
When in Marion, a group of us went out to celebrate Snorlax’s birthday. We went to a Mexican restaurant where they decided to feed him dessert and also cover his whole head with whip cream. It was quite amusing and he didn’t seem to mind too much.
I had no clue when I told them it was his birthday and they said they’d take care of him this is what they meant. I made up to him by helping clean it up and we got a round of shots for the group. Happy birthday to my awesome husband and trail partner! I couldn’t imagine doing this adventure without him.
You may see Snorlax on the trail with his new toy-the lightweight yo yo.
A shout out to my friend Megan who sent me some heavy duty cream for my poison ivy! She literally saved my butt. I am happy to report it is healing. However I still have the tendency to scratch my butt in public if I don’t remember to reapply my treatment. I’m sure there are some people out there who probably think I’m homeless based on that behavior and my clothing.
It has been over two months and we are still loving this adventure. With the warmer weather approaching we are looking forward to sending more gear home, more swimming to cool off but dreading hiking in this heat. The temperature this week is expected to be over 80 degrees. Thankfully, where everything is blooming the trees will help keep us a little covered from the sun.
Meet Virginia. We have walked 500 miles and we are ready to walk 500(or 1600 +) more.