Myth Busters: Virginia Blues
It’s taken us 34 days to cover the 550 miles of AT in Virginia.
What are the Virginia Blues?
For most hikers, the first thoughts that come to mind about Virginia are the “Virginia Blues”; the part of your hike where the honeymoon phase is coming to an end and the novelty of waking up sore and cramped after yet another night sleeping on the ground has begun to wear off. But I’m here to tell you about Virginia purples, reds, ambers, and greens. Even though we’ve spent half of our total time hiking so far in one state, we haven’t tired from taking in all that Virginia has to offer.
How can you avoid them?
Trick question, you can’t. At least, not entirely. But you can definitely ensure you have more good days than bad.
Here are my tips to avoid getting sucked into the “this state is never ending and why did everyone tell me it’s flat” mindset.
- Don’t be fooled by the “Virginia is flat” myth. It covers a quarter of the entire AT so of course it’s going to have its ups and downs.
- Set smaller milestones/goals to look forward to reaching instead of state lines. This helps break up the hundreds of miles that constitute VA.
- If you do start feeling down, don’t fight it but do try and limit it to that day if possible. Embrace that even on the AT there will be good days and bad days. Each day is a fresh start.
Our Virginia AT Bucketlist:
- Grayson Highlands and 500 miles
- Ordering pizza to the Partnership Shelter
- Long Neck Lair Alpaca Farm and 1/4 milestone
- Virginia Triple Crown – Dragon’s tooth, McAfee Knob , and Tinker’s Cliffs have stellar views and McAfee Knob is an iconic AT landmark.
- Finishing FarOut’s southern VA map
- Staying at Devils Backbone Brewery
- All you can eat Chinese buffet, Waynesboro
- Shenandoah – unfortunately our timing didn’t coincide with the opening of the wayside grills but I hear the blackberry milkshakes are incredible
- Front Royal – we treated ourselves to staying at a hostel and going out to dinner
- 1000 miles!!!
We were extremely fortunate to have several friends along the way through this state. They generously picked us up, took us in, fed us (no small feat!), helped us recoup, and let us pretend to be civilized people again.
During these 550 miles, we made time for our 2nd zero and managed to send home some of our bulkier winter accessories around mile marker ~700. It’s pretty common to hear of people sending their cold weather gear home in Damascus but we were glad to have kept them as long as we did. However, we trust our puffies and 20 degree quilts will be enough for the remainder of the hike. Here’s to hoping we don’t get caught in a blizzard on mt. Washington!!
Overall, neither we nor the people we were hiking with fell prey to the Virginia Blues. I hope that this is a common experience and not the exception.
Stay tuned for the next myth we’ll be tackling: Rocksylvania.
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