I've been a backpacker for more than a decade, but my first thru-hike was the Colorado Trail in 2019. It was amazing! Since then I hiked the South Dakota Centennial Trail and attempted the Uinta Highline Trail. This summer I am hiking the Appalachian trail northbound, starting in the first half of April. Excited to spend months in the woods, find a trail family, and explore the eastern United States!
We stopped at the general store for the half gallon challenge, which entails eating that quantity of ice cream in 30 minutes. Come Along, Bumblebee, and I got 1.5 quart containers of Neapolitan ice cream.
An ATC Ridgerunner came by and asked if I was Strider. She had a bag with three small Copperheads and we watched her release them into the wild. Yay, I really wanted to see one!
Serendipity asked how I was feeling and if I’d gotten the Virginia blues. I haven’t, in fact I’ve really enjoyed the state. Mostly due to the amazing people with whom I’ve been hiking and zero’ing.
Late morning found me on a gentle ridge between trees full of bird song. As I hiked I slowly ate a Stinger waffle and felt entirely content with an overwhelming sense that the trail is my home.
The trail climbed from James River, though it went quickly as Mike and I chatted the entire time. We took a lunch break when the trail flattened at Little Rocky Row.
Shortly before noon, Sonic Boom, Hobble-It, Lt. Dingleberry, and High Route arrived in town. Along with a hiker named Three Sticks, we went to brunch at Cracker Barrel.
As I hiked I thought about an ex-boyfriend, Alexis, who passed away on this day four years ago. He would be happy I am walking amongst trees.
I woke with the light and got up, though I was still tired. The plan was to reach our hostel before the late afternoon rain.
Shortly into the day I passed the 1/4 milestone for the entire trail!!
I slept well and got an early start, eager to do a 20 mile day. Nearly five miles in I encountered Wendy slack-packing the opposite way. I hadn’t seen her since Winding Stair Gap, mile 109, but we’ve kept in touch via text.