It has been a couple weeks since we’ve had a post. Rest assured all is well with Packing It Out. So many amazing things have happened since Erwin, TN that I don’t know where to begin. Some of these happenings include: losing a hiking partner, increased mileage, a birthday celebration, and realities of hiking. I’m currently writing this post from a WiFi café/tent in the middle of Damascus, VA.
Shortly after our stay in Erwin, TN, our good friend and hiking partner since Georgia finished her section hike and got off the trail. Doubleback, like Goose, is witty and hilarious. Many days went by where we discussed the finer details of a properly prepared Reuben sandwhich. We miss not having Doubleback on the trail with us and hope she has a wonderful summer season working in Montucky (Montana).
As the days begin to get longer, we are feeling better and better doing high mileage days. We took a couple easy days out of Irwin into the Roan Highlands. These treeless mountain tops left us with 360 degree panoramic views. After Roan Highlands, we ramped our mileage up to +20 miles days along the trail to Damascus. Still four days from Trail Days, we continued north into the Grayson Highlands. This section of the Appalachian Trail is truly amazing. We agree that it is one of the best sections we’ve hiked yet. Panoramic views, rock exposures, and wild ponies are what the Grayson Highlands are all about! This beautiful section of the trail came in perfect time for a celebration, Spice’s birthday! We did Spice’s birthday properly. A relaxed day of hiking, sunbathing, and climbing Mount Rogers (highest point in Virginia) sums it up well.
At this point you've probably wondered what Trail Days is about. Trail Days is a huge yearly gathering of past/present thru hikers along with other outdoor enthusiast. On May 15-17, the small town of Damascus, VA (pop. 815) becomes a hiker mega hub. After this weekend we will have a better idea of Trail Days happenings.
It goes without saying, but I think it is worth noting that the trail is not always perfect views and feeling great. Our posts generally focus on the many wonderful aspects of hiking the Appalachian Trail. The daily routine of carrying all of your belongings on your back whilst managing heat, cold, bugs, hydration, sore muscles, cuts, and pounds of trash is challenging work. We love it, and the fact that every hiker you meet is managing their own set of challenges really helps develop this strong sense of community and respect among hikers. I speak for many hikers when I say that this truly is the best job I've ever had. A huge thank you to everyone who has and continues to support our dream of cleaning up America’s trails. Whether its words of encouragement or financial support, you all keep us motivated to reach this goal of cleaning the Appalachian Trail. Again, thank you!