So here I am in the library in Bland, Virginia. Funny name, huh…. actually a nice town, with great breakfasts! Asked for a sausage patty, 1 biscuit n gravy, 2 sausages and 3 slices of bacon…..I got….. 2 biscuits, 2 sausage patties, 3 eggs and 8 pieces of bacon. Lovely old waitress!!! Awesome right?!
So far I’ve walked 587 miles…..only 1597.3 miles to go! Woah! I was averaging lowwww miles in my first 6 weeks and even took a week off to go to Trail Days (the Appalachian Trail festival) which coincided nicely with another injury. Anyway I came out of Erwin after the festival feeling better and more confident that I could cope with the problems my legs and feet were presenting me. I got some great tips from doctors, other hikers and doctor Google and now can keep more or less everything under control (except the beard) and do bigger miles.
I’ve been on trail a little over a week in Virginia and have covered about 140 miles in that time. That took me 14 days at the start of the trail! I’m starting to kick ass. Yesterday I did 20, today I’ll hopefully do the same though I had to get up at 5am today to get into town to resupply food (and 2 tallboy Budweisers!)….did 7 miles before 9am and will be back on the trail in 2 hours max I hope. That’s about 17 miles a day average. Virginia has been very nice n easy at times and rocky and hard as hell at others…..it’s not flat though! Don’t believe the hype!
In order to get into town one has to normally hitch a ride unless the towns right on trail. Had only hitched once before in Spain I remembered yesterday. Hitching is great and I think it’s a genetic thing….I get easy hitches, must be the many hitches my Dad got through Europe in the late 40s errr….early 70s. I got picked up by some southern Baptists today who said “praise the lord for the weather” “God’s blessings are truly….” etc about 8 times in the space of 3 miles driving… “amen to that, brother” was my response each time!
Don’t anyone get me wrong here now, I’m not dissing anyone. The Christian ability to be ridiculously awesome to hikers is truly amazing. I love and respect that and most people don’t try to convert me, which is even better. On el Camino de Santiago ( a Catholic pilgrimmage) no one tried to talk to me about God or religion the whole time. The southern US is a different story! I’m happy to listen and it’s a pretty neat cultural experience and quite an eye opener!
So, recently I’ve been enjoying near perfect weather and near perfect views and places to hike through. The Grayson Highlands with wild(ish) ponies was amazing. The 20 mile day in 8 hours into Partnership Shelter was also a huge highlight. Plus many more. Get out here and do it! I’ve got to get back on the trail as I have about 12-13 miles to do in the next 7 hours or so….then another 20 tomorrow (????!) to get to Wood’s Hole Hostel for a zero day and home grown organic meals and a good rest.
Will be updating my blog more regulary as of now as I’m spending less time on injuries and more time on the hike. Stay tuned! 🙂
I had to upload photos via my phone (below) as the library won’t let me right click, copy, upload or anything!
Apologies for the lack of photos but the Bland County library system has disabled all USB access….grr.