Goodbye Virginia. It was lovely.

I crossed the TN-VA border a week before Trail Days. My plan was to get to Damascus, take a zero, hike for three or four days and get back to the event. And that was what I did. However, just after leaving Damascus I dropped my phone in the Whitetop Laurel Creek. Gone. A brand new iPhone 7 Plus. In a few years a fisherman will find it in the stomach of a trout. I will visit my phone at the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum.

Because of that incident I decided to take a zero. Zero week, not day, I have to say. That’s how my Virginia hike started. Looking back it seems to be ages ago. A lot happened on the last 33 days – the time I spent in the fourth state of the AT.

I’ve fallen in love with Virginia. By far the best section so far. And it’s not because it’s flat. It’s not flat. I will say again, and LOUD: VIRGINIA IS NOT FLAT. People have to stop saying that. If you still insist, I have two words for you: Roller Coaster. Do you want me to draw? Here: 

(Artwork by Rosa Pessoa)

Virginia is the best state because of the ponies. The pizza at the Partnership Shelter. McAfee Knob. The Guillotine. Trail Days in Damascus. Trail Days in Troutville. Grayson Highlands. Shenandoah National Park. Not because it’s flat…

I’m in Harpers Ferry today. I had my picture taken at the ATC and people asked me if I will do the 4-State Challenge. I won’t. Why? West Virginia and Maryland are probably my last chance to relax and enjoy the Trail. In my mind, this first half of the AT that I’ll finish soon is just a warm up for the hardest part. I know Pennsylvania will be painful. I’m sure that every state afterwards will be even worse. Bring it on. I’m ready.

Before I forget: I also got my trail name in Virginia. To be precise, at the Partnership Shelter. I’m Speedy Gonzáles now. ¡Ándale! ¡Ándale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba! 

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