Adventures in Daleville
I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Daleville, VA, enjoying a cup of fine java that didn’t come from my cook pot and discussing horse racing with my new mate, Ottman.
Aka, not hiking.
I’m getting rather good at this whole getting-sucked-into-town business. Oh well. Actually, this time I have a semi-good reason for still being here, but not that good. Yesterday got moving at approximately a mosey (and quite frankly, that’s being generous). I was up around 07:00 and finally made it out to lunch around 14:00, a mosey might be an overstatement… Lunch, unfortunately, lasted nearly two hours due to the insane downpour that crashed through Virginia — understandably no one was in much of a hurry to go anywhere for quite awhile. The trouble is, I needed to go somewhere. I have a package sitting at the post office in the adjoining town of Troutville, a bit under a mile off the trail and they close at 17:00. In other words, I had (and still have) about an hour’s walk plus however long it takes to sort out my supplies and ship my tent home (hammock ahoy!), and yesterday I simply ran out of time. I won’t be making the same mistake today, rain or shine (and from the thunderheads I can see in the distance it’s looking like the former). I’m not exactly complaining, I had a blast with The Gang in town but it is time to move.
Rainbow Mama and Captain Planet took off last night so, once again, I’m a bit behind. No trouble, I’ll catch up soon enough. The deficit in mileage is nowhere near what I accumulated in Damascus. The pace they’ve been at isn’t what I need anyways, I was already planning to pass them if they don’t want to or can’t keep up. Hopefully if they read this that last bit doesn’t sound offensive, it certainly isn’t mean to be.
I now have a tentative end date for this hike, depending on a few things. My cousin Brandon is getting hitched on October 8th and I would absolutely love to attend. So, my thought now is to move, really move, and finish this thing in time for the wedding. The thing is, it’s going to be incredibly close and sitting in coffee shops writing blogs isn’t getting me any closer. My deal with myself is if I am within 200 miles of Mt Katahdin (about two weeks of hiking) I won’t go home in time for the wedding and instead complete my thru-hike as planned. If I either make it in time or am further back than that by about October 5th, I’ll go home. I feel this is the only reasonable way to handle this and it gives me a very tangible reason to get my ass in gear.
On the whole, my attitude towards the trail has dramatically improved since leaving Damascus (thank god! I was losing it for awhile there). For one thing, I’ve been hiking more days in a row without zeros than I was, save yesterday and the 5th of July. Being on trail nearly every day for the past week has had a vastly positive impact on my willingness to stay on trail. I seriously wanted to throw in the towel before my mum’s visit and reuniting with my crowd on July 4th. At this point, even if I do leave my friends behind, I’m entirely dedicated to staying out here. I just needed an attitude adjustment and, fortunately, I got it. Mostly, I think this has come from finally getting over the feeling that I’m not at home. Finally, being a transient feels like home. Weird, right? But that’s what it took. I’ve really stopped thinking about home so much this past week, though I’m not exactly sure why. I’m just not homesick anymore all of a sudden. That being said, I do still miss things and look forward to setting foot on home turf again, but it no longer seems better than being here. I’m dedicated to making miles like I was when I started and there’s no place I’d rather be.
On a closing note, I do have a new mission in the form of a side quest (assuming it doesn’t mess up my timeline) — I’m going to land on a racetrack (horses, not cars) before I finish this thing. Oddly enough, second only to disc golf, this is the activity I miss most. I picked up the habit of going semi-regularly last summer and now I’m hooked — beyond hooked — on racing . To all those who know my reading habits, it’s obvious where this love came from, good old Dick Francis and his fascinating wiley world of mysteries revolving around the sport of Kings. Anyways, that’s my new mission, just thought I’d share.
My coffee is nearly gone and so am I now that I finally finished writing these blogs. The trail calls! Cheers.
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I hope your journeys have fared well. It is a grand feeling to know you’re that motivated to come to my wedding. If you can’t make it, we understand, but I really hope to see you at the festivities. Just know your journey and writings are an inspiration. Good vibes and love coming from your northern home.