Virginia Line to Pearisburg, VA
With time, rain or shine, we were hiking out of Tennessee. Smallz and Otter convinced us to do a 22 mile day so we would be a short hike outside of Damascus the next day. When we woke up that morning, it had been raining all night and didn’t look like it’d be stopping. The four of us packed up to head out into the rain while the rest of the shelter sat unmoving in their sleeping bags with little indication they’d be hiking until the clouds cleared. Farasi and I headed out but met the boys at a shelter and had lunch. From there, Smallz and I hiked together for a few miles. I love being able to have real conversations out here with people. When you first meet someone, typical talk is about as shallow as the outside world. People ask where you’re from, you compare miles and start dates and you may talk about gear. I was getting tired of these conversations and was grateful to have someone to talk about how my faith has been challenged on the hike. We eventually split ways and Farasi and I hiked the remaining miles together. We were beat and 2.5 miles from the shelter when we bumped back into the boys. Otter’s feet were beat up and Smallz was admiring a campsite nearby but it’s funny how encouraged you can be by others when your legs are wanting to stop. We did the final 2.5 miles together and we did them quick. Mambo joined us later that night and we were glad to see her! We woke up the next morning to a beautiful sunrise and thoughts of town food. That day we hiked out of Tennessee and into Virginia and shortly arrived in Damascus, VA — the friendliest town on the trail.
Farasi and I stayed in Damascus for the day and spent most of our time at Mt. Roger Outfitter. The owner, Jeff, might be my favorite person on the trail. He put me in a new pack – one that is actually my size – and is a quality guy. He really knows his stuff and took time to answer any and all my questions. We hiked out with plans of meeting my dad in two days. I was so excited!
We did 15 out of Damascus and got to the shelter that was 1.5 miles from the road after dark. We woke up early to meet my dad at the road crossing. We had plans of meeting him, dropping off our gear and slack packing the 15 miles to the 500 mile mark and then meeting back up with Dad. (Slack packing is hiking with your bag full of just food and water and having someone meet you with the remainder of your gear down the trail. The thought is that you can do bigger and faster miles without a pack). Well, 7 miles into the slack pack, Farasi and I realized we were not going any faster than when our packs are fully loaded. Our bodies were tired. Just then, Mt. Roger’s Outfitter shuttle rolls up and agrees to drive us back to Damascus! The damsels were saved!
We spent the rest of that day and the next at the Lazy Fox Inn with my dad. The bed and breakfast was nice — too nice to be a place we’d typically stay while on trail. Dad also took me, Farasi, Smallz and Otter to a nice dinner where our crocs and unkempt hair did not blend with everyone else on their candlelit Friday night dinner date. It was fun to be treated and we had a good time. Seeing my dad was absolutely awesome. I was glad he could meet some of the trail community and his excitement for my trip really grew.
After Damascus, we really kicked it up a notch. We started averaging around 20 mile days and still doing upper teens even when we resupply. I feel proud of the miles but miss seeing the people we used to hike with. We are now in Pearisburg, VA where we stayed last night. We did our biggest day of 25 miles and then 18 into town. Now, we are celebrating by ordering yet another basket of chips at the Mexican restaurant in town.
Trail life is so good. I’ve been realizing that this trail community is special and I think I haven’t been appreciating it enough. There are those sayings like “everyone is fighting their own battle” to remind you to be gracious when meeting people. But I think that is even more true out here. There is almost always something that drives people out here. I wonder how many people out here are grieving. I wonder how many people I’ve met have big changes to make when they get back to life at home. I have felt more of a burden to pray for the people I meet and be more gracious to the strangers I bump into. I am grateful for an experience that gives me time to evaluate and realize things I usually skip over.
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.