The Virginia Beast
I now have a whole knew appreciation for Virginia. It is a State filled with amazing people, cool little towns, though the trail seems to never end. The trail consists of 550 miles of rocks, up and downs, and breathtaking views. Virginia left me with what is known as it’s roller coaster. There was even a sign strategically placed at the foot of the first mountain that welcomed me and suggested that I buckle up for the ride. So that is what I did.
After completing 300 miles of Virginia, I started this inner self talk. It went like this. “ Are you kidding, I still have 250 miles in order to get out of the state.” I quickly, once again, realized I could not hurry this task at hand. Instead of trying to get the state behind me, I started to look around and try to remember all the beauty from the trail.
Rain seemed to be my friend for approximately 250 miles. Often it was accompanied by a cold snap. It was not as cold as months before, but it was miserable enough to make the trek challenging. I have learned that when I’m cold, I need to eat more, therefore I would often run short on food.
This day, Queen Diva made my day. She has dedicated her time for years to help thru hikers, and that is what she did for me this day. She offered me homemade Mac and cheese, hot dogs and grape soda, and best of all a real lawn-chair. There is nothing nicer than a chair! Thank you Queen Diva you are a true blessing.
Smells and more smells
The different smells that the trail brings are beautiful and of course, some not so beautiful. Everything is in full bloom and the trail often smells as though I am hiking in natural perfume, often even my own “ natural perfume.” This perfume comes from lilacs, azaleas, and so many other blossoming flowers. My Father-in-law who passed away May 19 would have loved this trail. He spent many years of his life landscaping in neighbors yards so they could enjoy the beauty of flowering shrubs. It has been a treat to hike with these shrubs, flowers, and smells for miles and miles.
I have also noticed that I can smell a town when it is about two to three miles away. When this first happened, I was completing a 25 mile day, when all of a sudden I could smell hamburgers. I thought to myself, “You’re hallucinating” keep hiking. The next time this happened a week later, I asked one of my “tramily friends if he smelled hamburgers. Thankfully he said, “Yes”. I looked on my map and I was 2.9 miles from a store. Since then this has happened repeatedly which always gives me a little encouragement to keep going. I have read that when we are removed from business our senses come alive, I guess my senses have come alive.
It’s not all fun and game
In a sense, I think physically my body has become accustomed to moving to the point of exhaustion day after day. Personally, for me I am struggling with the constant rain and then humidity that prohibits items from drying. Every morning, I self talk. “Ok Laughingloon put your wet stinky clothes on and then the forbidden wet socks.” Once I’m in then it’s a battle to try to move fast to get warm and pack up wet gear. I end my self talk by saying, “God promised us with His colorful rainbow that it will never rain forever.” With that I leave with my wet gear and hit the trail.
Good bye Virginia
I have learned so much in this 550 miles. I can’t write about all of them, but I will share a few.
First while on trail, I missed my sons college graduation. That was so hard for me because I’ve always been able to go to both of our kids activities. I learned it’s ok, life went on. He lived and I lived, but I did want to give him a big shout out from the AT. Great job Cod!
I missed celebrating my birthday with my family and friends. For some, this may not be a big deal, but where I live we will do anything to have a party. Again, I lived.
All this to say, I believe I have learned that it’s ok to miss a few things, life goes on. Maybe we are not meant to run crazy and book our schedules so tight that we can’t sleep or think straight. Thank you to the long rolling miles Virginia, you taught me patience and that it’s ok, it’s just all ok!
Virginia has taught me to place my feet carefully. It has sharp rocks, roots, a lot of mud, and slithering snakes basking in the sun.
As I was trekking, I had my first encounter with a copperhead. Yup, I screamed and jumped. I realized this critter didn’t want to eat me, he just wanted to cross the trail. My next encounter was with a rattlesnake. My eyes will continue to be peeled and focused on the trail for hours upon hours, all the while giving thanks to Jesus for protecting me.
Good bye Virginia, thank you for the miles, the smiles, the beauty and the awesome rollercoaster ride. The peacefulness and challenges will never be forgotten! I can’t wait to meet West Virginia and Maryland!
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Traci, you have passed through my home state and outdoor gym. It’s never flat for very long, always beautiful and unforgetable. Best of trail luck as you trek north.
Met you at Blackrock Hut in May. WVa and MD will be done in a heartbeat compared to VA. I hope to finish VA in Oct after 3 yrs of sections. Hike on.
Tracy, I will always treasure our visit on the trail yesterday. Several times today my mind jumped to thoughts of you guys hiking through areas that I know. Maryland is just a blink compared to your grand adventure and our short meeting has motivated me to pray more frequently for you as you journey on. ( Insert muscle emoji )