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.
Beauty Beneath the Dirt peeps
Patch caught a fish.
Back to Tennessee!!??
She hauls butt with her new backpack. I gotta get used to this view.
- Spiral, Reverie, and CamDog