Finally Into Virginia!

Day 36:  AT Miles 21.6 — Damascus To View

First, if you see where I hiked to, that’s how it’s described in my FarOut app. I can’t disagree as the view from my campsite is incredible.

Tent view

Today’s goal was to get in at least 21 miles which would be 1/3 of the way to Marion, Virginia. I would meet my wife on Tuesday night on her return trip from Charlotte, North Carolina to our home in Columbus, Ohio. So based on that, and the fact that the portions of the Appalachian Trail that run alongside the Virginia Creeper Trail are so scenic, today was a success! That will leave me about 42 miles to do over the next two days which I think is doable though tough. My feet are sore from so many 20 mile days in a row and there are two more to go.

Laurel Creek Falls

Climbing Another Bald

Big day tomorrow through Grayson Highlands. There will be wild ponies and I’ve done the hike before but is so incredible. I can’t wait to do it again. Good night for now friends.

Day 37:  AT Miles 22.5 — The View To Stealth Camp

Today when I woke up, it was an incredible view again from the bald. The campsite was windy, but being so high on a ridge had an awesome sunrise. The goal today would be another 21 or 22 miles to set up a realistic day into Marion Virginia. My wife would be there in in the evening so I was shooting to get in by 4 or 5 PM and most likely hitchhike into town.

The weather is beautiful starting out in the 40s and reaching the 60s. The highlight of the day, of course, was the Grayson Highlands with the wild ponies. It was incredibly scenic, but the hiking was harder than I expected. There were a lot of stones and climbing which I had forgotten about. I  hiked here with my brother about two years ago and my limited brain had blocked out much of the hardship.

Wild ponies


Fat man’s squeeze


500 Miles

I got in camp around 7 PM which was just enough time to set up my tent, have dinner, and get in the tent before dark. I’m exhausted but in a good way and looking forward to seeing my wife again tomorrow.

Day 38:  AT Miles 19.4 — Stealth Camp To Marion Virginia

I laid in bed this morning and listened to the thunderstorms and watched the lightning flashes. It was still storming around 5 AM and I wanted to start getting ready by 6 AM. By that time things quieted down and I was able to have my oatmeal and coffee and pack up for the day. My goal was to get into Marion, Virginia to meet my wife which was just under 20 miles away.

Overall, the day wasn’t too bad, although it was mostly uphill, which is not typical when you’re hiking into a town. Most of the time when you hike into the town it is overall downhill, but today was different. Plus at one point it thunder stormed for about an hour and lucky me had left my rain gear behind at a previous shelter. The day went by pretty quickly, I dried out, and I was able to meet my wife and Marion at the expected time.

Rainy Day

Beautiful Waterfall

Panda Crossing Stream

We had a great dinner at a local restaurant and a few beers. Tomorrow we will explore the town a little bit and have breakfast and lunch. And then say our goodbyes for a couple more weeks. It worked out really well to see her both in Damascus and Marion while she was out of town on business. It was very unexpected but very welcome.

My plan for tomorrow is to resupply, clean up, do laundry, and then hit the ground running the following day. I did a lot of miles in the last week and the old body needs a rest day.

Day 39:  AT Miles 0 — Marion Virginia

Today was a fabulous day. The weather was warm and sunny and my wife and I had a great day catching up. It started with a great breakfast and then I went grocery shopping while she conducted a business video meeting. After a few hours, we were able to enjoy downtown Marion and have a fantastic lunch. Time flew by and 2 PM it was time for her to go back to Columbus and me to start getting ready for another big push over the next week. I hope today’s rest day did be a lot of good. I sure need it after getting in about 140 miles over the last week.

My tolerant wife Brenda

My day ended with good company, good food, and a couple of beers. Here I am with Panda and Rolodex. Two awesome through hikers.

Dinner with Panda and Rolodex

Day 40:  AT Miles 24.2 — Marion To Bear Garden Hostel

Very big day today to avoid as much rain as possible tomorrow. The 24.2 miles was a personal best so far. The weather was perfect and I was fueled by all the food I ate in Marion plus the day off from hiking.

Very beautiful hiking today along various creeks, meadows and mountain top views. Despite all of that, I think the highlight was the amount of food I had to eat today. Maybe my hunger is kicking in. I had a bagel with cream cheese, a blueberry muffin, a pack of pop tarts, four trail bars, two bags of chips, a burrito, a chicken Alfredo hiker dinner, four pieces of toast, a Sprite, a ginger ale, two propel drinks, and an ice cream drumstick. And I can honestly say that I’m not full.

Prodo and Panda

Mexican Food!!!

I suppose crossing the quarter point of the trek was a pretty cool highlight too.

Only 3/4 left

Tomorrow is supposed to be all day rain so when I get up, I will check the weather forecast and figure out when to get in 12 miles to the next hostel.

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Comments 3

  • Leigh Ann Hunker : Apr 30th

    Congratulations on you 1/4 trip milestone! I’m enjoying your posts Jeff. Enjoy!

  • Tiffany S. : May 2nd

    Way to go, Jeff!! Each milestone is one to celebrate! Congrats on 1/4 and cheers to the next 3/4 of the trail. Keep sharing the awesome views!!

  • Erin D. : May 3rd

    Such amazing pictures and progress, Jeff! I love seeing this journey through your blog – keep up the awesome work!


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