Damascus – Finishing Virginia

We’ve made it to Damascus. We entered Virginia on September 22nd, and will be in Tennessee tomorrow, November 2nd. We’ve covered 554 miles, a quarter of the trail over the past 42 days. 

This last stretch has been really interesting. We haven’t had any more interesting animal companions at our campsites, but we’ve seen some of the most spectacular terrain in Virginia, the Grayson Highlands. 

The day after we left Trent’s, We found an interesting entry in the shelter register. Another hiker who stopped at Trent’s Grocery was asked by a hunter to help lug his kill -a black bear – over to the scale at the weigh station. He did so and then the hunter gave him a ride back to the trailhead – in the back of his pickup with the dead bear. The hiker has coined a new expression to describe this – “bear blazing”.

We ran into some wet weather, and it started getting cold at night, sometimes down to the high 30’s. We are using Damascus as a chance to swap out gear. We got a care package from home with my winter sleeping bag and some foul weather pants. Our packs are going to be a little heavier, but we’ll be warm at night. 

The highlands were absolutely beautiful. None of our pictures do justice to to magnificent views across the open pastureland. It was hard to realize that we were above 5,000 feet in elevation. Up north this means an alpine environment. Down here it is open pastureland and a slow transition toward boreal forest. 


Grayson Highlands


View from Thom’s Knob


Sunset at Thom’s Knob Shelter


Buzzard’s Rocks


The ponies were cool, but were secondary in interest to the scenery. Apparently the Forest Service maintains the pony herd to help keep the pastureland open. 


Damascus is a great town. I expect we are seeing it at one of its quietest periods. But we were here on Halloween and got to walk among all the trick or treaters. On the trail on our way into town, we came across Desolation Row and his daughter, Baby Blue. They were dressed in Halloween Costumes ( a golfer dressed like Payne Stewart and a cheetah). And handing out candy. Ian got Snickers and I got Junior Mints. It was a nice surprise. 

On our way into Damascus

In Damascus, we ran into Hobo. He had gotten off the trail in Harper’s Ferry for an extended period due to shin splints. It was good to see him back on the trail. 

We are staying at Crazy Larry’s Hostel. It is a great place and Larry is a wonderful host. Good conversation and comfortable surroundings. 

Tomorrow it’s back on the trail once we mail our box home. Only about 450 miles left. That less than Virginia!  

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Comments 2

  • Brian (The Chief) : Nov 2nd

    When do you guys think you will hit Max Patch?

  • Treasure Hunter : Nov 5th

    Did you give up the skirts? I traded mine for pants two days after we where reunited just south of Glasgow, when the bookie “mom” was heading back to Ga.. Artemis and myself finally met someone “No Hurry” who started before us, May 12th! If anyone deserves that name it is him. We may catch up soon, left Damascus on the 5th. Happy trails gentlemen!


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