Pooped Out: Damascus to Pearisburg
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.” 😉
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 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.
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.