Monday, May 28, 2012

Back North

The last week has been quite amazing. We are back in Virginia and headed north again after a great weekend with Patch's parents. We are lying in our tent on a bald 5200 feet up. The stars and fireflies have been out. There's a decent breeze offsetting the rising temperature of the days. There's 3G service and we couldn't be happier.
Hiking southbound was interesting. There was a surprising amount of us, actually, so we met some new people in the south bubble. We stayed on track with meeting our larger mileage days goal. We even made it into Hampton, TN for some much needed Subway and some free camping behind the only bar in many many miles. It was crazy, really. The owner of the Ice House Saloon told us "free camping anywhere on the premise". The problem was that trucks were parked everywhere and there was nothing but uneven rock aside from that. Nevertheless, we do what hikers do and figure it out. It's only for one night. So we did. We set up tent and hung out a bit in the first real bar we'd been to in months. It was fun. Darts, pool, and foozball. Then we went to bed for an early rise to get to the first waterfall in quite some time. We'd heard a lot about it and were quite excited. It lived up to the hype. It was massive but too cold to swim in. So, we ate and admired. We do a lot of that.
We also finally got to see Caveman again. He was going north and we were headed south and we finally intersected. It was so nice to see him again. It'd really been weeks. He hiked with us a bit back to another amazing waterfall where we met his brother and friend who are hiking a few weeks on the AT. The Human Caterpillar in full effect. At least until we went on South and Caveman North.
We arrived at E19 in Roan, TN where we headed to a local popular hostel to wait for Patch's family to scoop us up to do a weekend of camping at Roan State Park. It was great. Patch's family were very kind and we appreciate everything they did for us. Especially the nonstop much-needed amazing meals throughout the weekend. Very good times.
We then got a ride from Patch's buddies that showed up Sunday. They took us to Walmart which was helpful but a bit overwhelming considering it was midday Sunday before Memorial Day. Got some supplies and headed back to Damascus where we sent back our old backpacks and sleeping bags. It's finally hot enough for another solution than our big bulky sleeping bags. Reverie got a plush blanket and her cocoon and I opted for a snuggie. It's camouflage and just big, light, and cheap enough for me. In Damascus, we ran into the infamous Baltimore Jack who has thruhiked the Trail 9 times; 7 of them back to back. Gnarly. He pumped us up on the section we are now hiking and told us we are on the right track to reaching Mount Katahdin by early October which is what we were shooting for. Excellent.
We got outta town and into the woods for a good start on the Trail. 16 miles today. We are happy with that. That's roughly the average we gotta start pulling. We are now in the state that has the most miles of the AT with over 500 and if we aren't able to make our mountain legs pump out mileage now, we never will. It's time to get down to business. It's getting hot and we've been at it for 2 months now. We know how this thing works and we are in our stride. Filming is going well Chaser's camera is finally fixed. Now all we have to do is watch out for snakes, pray for pretty days, have a good time, and hike.
The next big thing we have planned as far as family or friends is NYC in about a thousand more miles which should be around early August, I think. Fourth of July in Harpers Ferry, WV. That's the next immediate goal in 500 miles.
I must go. We are trying to start waking up earlier to beat the heat. We appreciate all the new followers, especially the ones we've met along the way.
Swimming hole tomorrow.
Mail drops, General Delivery: Coltin Calloway and Lindsay Fasic ETA 5/31
Atkins, VA.
We accept baked goods, things that remind us of home, and anything you want to send us at all.

First glimpse of Watauga Lake

The dam

Shelter dog

Hardcore Cascades

My gaiters on

Icehouse Saloon. We tented on that purple flag.


Hostel life

Pizza Hut, what!?

Buzzard Rock where we watched the sunset this evening

Where we are at this moment

A little closer.

- Spiral, Reverie, and CamDog

Location:Mud Creek Ln,,United States

Scratch that next mail drop

New blog later tonight if the 3G holds out. In the mean time, our next drop will be in Atkins, VA. Not 'Troutville' which was supposed to be Troutdale any way.

- Spiral, Reverie, and CamDog

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Trail Daze

At this moment, we are Southbounding at a camp site with a spring about 30 miles below Damascus, VA and still recovering from far too long 'vacation'. It's muddy, wet, and surprisingly cool. It's Reverie, Patch, Sulley, CamDog and me staying here. We miss Caveman, who enjoyed his stay in Baton Rouge, and should be seeing him tomorrow. Woohoo. Don't know if he'll be going in our direction though.
We both were sick the weekend before this last one. Rev first, then me. We had decided we'd rather get to Trail Days early than late, which is what we woulda been if we tried to hike somewhere and then catch a ride. So, Wednesday we showed up to a very unpopulated forest with a river running through it and was told to find a campsite. Some fellow showed us a spot he said at which he wished he had set up. The spot was tucked in the corner by the river and next to the creek property line with a fire ring and stumps to sit on. It was the perfect site to set up home for a couple days.
Trail Days is a festival that happens the weekend after every Mother's Day in Damascus, VA, the proclaimed "most trail-friendly town on the AT". Booths containing hiker gear and everything else show up, the town shuts down for a hiker parade, and free events go on constantly. It's a bit of a walk, like 3/4 mile, from where we stationed at, Tent City, and the town that everything was happening at. But everyone was gonna be there and fun was to be had.(even though I had absolutely no cellular service to get a hold of anyone)
Wednesday was okay. We just ate food and watched the slow trickle of hikers. Thursday the local baptist church began so many free activities. Free food and free showers and free Internet and free hair cuts. It was amazing. Something like 8 or 9 churches came from all over to help service. That church was the place to be for any need. We ran into Free, whom we haven't seen since before the Smokies, and Pesky, whom we invited to stay in our awesomely secluded and peaceful campsite that somehow no on else had discovered yet.
Friday was when we expected Patch and Sulley to show. We had to tell them over a borrowed phone how to find our site to set up at. Not an easy process because tents, by that point, had started popping up everywhere. Even multiple tents on the pathway to our site. We were excited to see them. It had been about week. Unfortunately, Sulley wasn't feeling well. She possibly came down with what we had. Oh and the baptist were back at it with washing and massaging feet, free health screenings, free bloodwork, and more free food. They rocked.
Friday evening was pretty wild. There was a 'trail wedding' and a massive bonfire drum circle that followed that could be heard throughout the entire Tent City. By Saturday we had seen about everyone. Hammer, Two Pair, Gerber, Pep Talk, hell even Peaches. More good times and then the parade. However, I found it to be more of a march. There was no music or floats. Basically, hundreds of hikers walking through the heart of town while a massive water balloon fight goes down. And went down it did. Some of the funnest 25 minutes of the weekend. We saw the long awaited Beauty Beneath the Dirt, a story about some AT thruhikers of whom were inspirations to shooting this current film. We even finally saw Belch. We had a good hang around the fire. Oh and there was another pretty gigantic bonfire and drum circle again.
Sunday, things died down quickly. Good thing. It had been days since we've hiked and we need to get back in the zone. We went to the outfitters to check out a sell on Osprey backpacks and some how ended up with two new badly needed backpacks with help of family. Thank god. Unfortunately, by the time we were done with all that it was late. We figured should stay in our amazing campsite one more time and get an early start. The plan was to hike southbound 75 miles to Roan Mountain, TN and spend a day with Patch and Sulley's folks, have them bring us back to Damascus and hike north from there. There's a lot of people we saw at Trail Days we will mostly likely never catch up to. It was sad saying goodbye to some.
Monday showed up. We strapped in our new awesome backpacks and off we went the opposite direction we've been traveling the last month and a half. We gotta crank out at least 15 a day to make it by Friday. Pretty intense come back after 10 days not hiking. Gotta wake up early and hike quickly. Oh, and I got service ten minutes outta town. Wtf.
We've been out here for 52 days now. We definitely have been going homesick. We miss everyone. We miss not having to wake up and roll up sleeping bags and tent. Figuring out water and planning so much. I have 53 pounds on my back and Rev has 35. It can be exhausting. It's fun but it has it's slow moments too.
We'll be to Troutville next week if anyone would like to send us anything. We'd appreciate it. Maybe some Zapps or something else Louisiana-y?
We miss you all and I need to try and post this before my battery dies.

A part of our spot.

Hammer volunteering at the church. Trail Days might be the last we see of him for some time. He's hauling butt.

Finally, a trolley back and forth.

Chaser on the trolley.

Too much dog.

Gerber's Rainbow Unicorn face painting.

And knee paintings.

Hammer's cat face. So awesome.

Two Pair

Beauty Beneath the Dirt peeps

Patch caught a fish.

And another

Back to Tennessee!!??

She hauls butt with her new backpack. I gotta get used to this view.

- Spiral, Reverie, and CamDog