Arrival in Damascus

Follow the links to watch my newest video footage and read my latest update below:

I arrived in Damascus, Virginia on May 3rd. I decided after a night staying at Woodchuck Hostel that swelling caused by shin splints on my right leg needed some consecutive zeroes.

I rented a car and went home to Ohio for a few days. Today I’m heading back to Virginia! I would like to thank my girlfriend Bryanna, her family, and my family for the hospitality and great visits during my break back home. My body has recovered well during these few days and I’m ready to get back on the trail!

A few brief thoughts and experiences on the trail that have stuck out to me since my last update:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

My time in the Smokies flew by and Clingman’s Dome is obviously a major landmark. However, my favorite moment in the park was reaching the summit of a mountain the morning of my second day in the park and having the entire summit and view to myself.


Gear Issues

The last thing I do before stepping out on the trail each morning is adjust the suspension on the frame of my pack before putting it on. I use the ZPacks Arc Haul, and one fateful morning near Watauga Lake, the frame snapped when I adjusted it.

I emailed ZPacks and they quickly responded, offering to replace the pack. They sent it to Damascus and it is waiting for me at the post office this very moment. ZPacks is an exceptional company with great gear and outstanding customer service.

Pushing Miles

Shin splints are caused by overuse of your legs when they are not yet adequately conditioned for the level of activity you are putting them through. I have found that even if I have the energy to do 20+ miles in a day, my legs will pay the price. Slowing my pace helps to safely travel further without causing injury also. Using trekking poles to reduce the impact on your legs when you catch your weight on the downhills is also a major help.

Inclement Weather

A couple days prior to reaching Damascus, the skies threatened me with thunder and dark clouds. A descent on the trail brought me to a spring where I hydrated and replenished my water supply. As soon as I gripped my trekking poles to push on, the sky broke open and I was immediately drenched. In an almost laughable fashion, I closed my eyes and raised my head to the clouds. Rain pelted my face and I embraced my soggy fate. It was surprisingly refreshing, and I pushed on to Laurel Falls.

The Daily Grind

As I prepared for my hike, I thought each day on the trail would be similar and repetitive. However, I have learned that each day on the trail has unfamiliar terrain, a ranging variety of moods, changing weather, and new hikers from different places and walks of life. Every day on the trail is a new experience.

Final Thought

Shooting video and editing the footage is proving to take a lot of time. I will try not to let my blog evolve into just a vlog. Stay tuned for updates as I tackle the trail in Virginia!

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