Pooped Out: Damascus to Pearisburg

Taking it all in

Leaving Damascus, I cried many tears knowing that I had a very hard decision to make. 

Actually, my body was making the decision for me. What I have not told most of you is that from the very beginning, my trail experience has been a bit shitty. Literally. I was having some digestive-type problems before I left for the trail. With the stress of the trail and most likely the change in diet, my stomach is almost always hurting after I eat. To keep it real—I’ve had diarrhea almost every morning and sometimes I think my guts are going to explode. I don’t feel achy or feverish or anything like that, but I’m down from 128 pounds to 118 pounds in seven weeks. My ass has inverted. Cutting to the chase, I will be coming off of the trail in Roanoke to try to figure out what is going on, and to let my body heal. I have one more week of enjoying the magic, before I officially become a “section hiker.” 😉 

we found an actual bench!

Getting By With a Little Help from My Friends

Knowing that I had two weeks left, and needing a bit of a pick-me-up,  I contacted my friends Slainte (trail name) and Christine to see if I could hang with them, and they graciously accepted me into their trail family. We met at the Long Neck Lair Alpaca Farm where I took a much-needed zero day.  We left with a plan to do 20-mile days to Woods Hole Hostel, and then celebrate Christine’s 50th birthday at the Inn at the Riverbend in Pearisburg, Virginia. If I was going to go out, I was going out in style.  

The week has been challenging, but so fun.

It has helped me to realize how important it is to have people around who love and support you. We take turns pulling each other from the front. One afternoon we sang 80’s songs from my Spotify playlist all afternoon. When their water bladder sprung a leak, we all used my CNOC bag to gather from the slow-flowing streams. We have had nice dinners together, and amazing conversations. I adore both of them and hope that I can perhaps meet them for a few weeks further along on their journey.  


Two parts of this section of the trail have been my favorites.

Grayson HighlandsGrayson Highlands State Park, where the wild ponies could care less that I was walking on their trail. Stunning views made up for the rocky terrain.  Also, I highly recommend Woods Hole Hostel and Bed and Breakfast. Half a mile off of the Appalachian Trail and located on 100 acres of land surrounded by the Jefferson National Forest, we enjoyed communal meals including fresh salad from their garden, and the view of the southern Virginia sunrise from my “glamping” tent is one I will not soon forget. 


My last week on the trail … for now.

As I set off for my last week on this LASH (Long-Ass Section Hike), my intention is to slow down a bit, to really SEE what is around me, and to enjoy every bit of it knowing that I have a wonderful family who are really excited that I am coming home soon.  The trail will call again, but I know that I have to be healthy enough to pick up the phone.  

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Comments 5

  • CtgDave : May 27th

    Pooped out – Fitting heading.

    I have lived in the jungle and many shitty other places, here is what works for me, for 32 years, from my training:

    Poop out – Take 2 Imodium, note the time.
    That nearly always works, if another poop, 1 imodium, each time, note the time.
    No food and only water for 24 hours from the last time noted.
    More water the better to clean things, but wait a while so you don’t dilute the imodium.

    Food, milk, fruit juices etc feeds the virus, hence why only water intake, otherwise VERY hard to stop pooping.

    Maybe helps you, or another person reading this, presuming you haven´t done the above?

  • Lampshade : May 28th

    Hang in there , Luna. We are pulling for you.

  • pearwood : May 28th

    Good for you. Take care of yourself, Luna.

  • Robert D. Hammons : May 29th

    It’s a very hard decision to leave the trail but is part of the test. You made the smart choice. Learning to make the best decisions is part of what the trail teaches us. The trail will be there and you will be stronger when you go back. I can emphasize with you, I’m off trail now myself trying to heal up my right leg and hope to get back as soon my body will let me. You probably don’t remember me but we hiked a little bit together leaving the Smokies. You stopped for lunch at Cosby Knob Shelter and I pushed on. We met again staying at The Trailer hostel the first day in Hot Springs. Any way, wishing you a speedy recovery and the best of luck in all your adventures Luna. I have really enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to more of your perspectives and observations.

  • Keith D Wetzel : May 29th

    I have followed your posts since receiving an invitation from thetrek early on to receive updates by e-mail and you have earned my respect and admiration. I appreciate that you eloquently shared your mindset, both the struggles and revelations that you experienced on the Trail. If you ever decide to return to the Trail and need anything between miles 1185 and 1235 (my neck of the woods, Berks County, Pennsylvania), just say the word. Blessings as you return to your normal life, which will undoubtedly be enhanced by your experiences. Stay well.


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