Trail Daze

This post was hard to write. I’m currently sitting outside the public library in Damascus, VA, where the annual festival Trail Days takes place. And it is distracting. One guy introduced himself to me as “x for the ladies and y for the dudes.” Like what? Are you a public restroom? Why do you have a gendered trail name? Then another man came up holding a sharpie asking if anyone wanted to sign his ass. At the library! Go do that at the public restroom!

Three hours later, here it is:

Wednesday, 5/10

Miss Janet, a famous trail angel, slackpacked us 20 miles back to Erwin. Slackpacking southbound feels like an extravagance because we don’t strictly need another night in town, plus usually towns are downhill so we’re kind of cheating the painful climbs out. But even though we slackpacked it was still a long day. 20s are hard! We might’ve been going faster at first but by the evening we got tired and reverted back to our normal pace.

Thursday-Saturday 5/11-13

Right before entering the Roan Highlands, we got some amazing trail magic ft. homemade burgers.

The Roan Highlands are beautiful. You hike from Roan Mountain, which has ruins of an old hotel on top, over a series of balds. I really like balds because I can see the top and I don’t have to check my map to see how much more uphill there is.

On Friday I got caught in a thunderstorm as I was climbing Little Hump Mountain… not amazing decision making from me since being on a bald with the potential for lighting is a big no-no. I booked it to the bottom and stayed in my tent from 4 pm until the morning. I had beef jerky and Nutella for dinner.

Hump Mountain

Sunday 5/14

Yesterday, we nearo-ed into Mountain Harbor, a hostel in Roan Mountain, TN, to get breakfast and then decided to slackpack back to Mountain Harbor today to get breakfast again tomorrow. This was the best breakfast I’ve ever had. 3 types of quiches, tomato pie, cinnamon rolls, danishes, biscuits and gravy, and the piece de resistance, French toast with pecan honey, all for $15.

This slackpack was very different from the one we did earlier this week. We only did 13 miles and stopped at 3 waterfalls for at least an hour each. Jones Fall had a side side trail trail (a side trail after the side trail) to the top of the falls that was essentially a ropes course. It was really cool. By the time we finished our meandering it was 5 pm and we still had to hike 5.5 miles.

I am very itchy.

Monday & Tuesday 5/15-16

I have poison ivy. It might be infected. I went to urgent care and the nurse took one look at my leg and begged me not to hike for the next few days. Ugh. I hate this.

Wednesday, 5/17

Luckily I wasn’t planning on hiking today anyways since we’re AQUABLAZING Watauga Lake! Aquablazing is when you kayak or canoe from point to point.

I had the best day. The weather was perfect. The water was shimmering and the mountains in the distance looked like they were painted. This was probably my favorite day on trail so far.

Thursday-Sunday 5/18-21

Because of my stupid leg I shuttled straight to Damascus and missed the Tennessee-Virginia border crossing and a pretty flat section of trail. 🙁

There are already a ton of people here for Trail Days. I set up in Tent City, which is just the woods, but with hundreds of other tents. We camped across from this giant floating mushroom where they host a useless gear contest. At night there are bonfires and you can walk around to different canopies.

These very nice church groups offer showers, laundry, and dinners. Also free foot massages? I borrowed a dress and waxed my upper lip and looked like myself again. Consider me converted*.

On Saturday there was a hiker parade where onlookers are encouraged to shoot you with water guns. We spend most of the day going through all the vendors’ booths and eating, obviously.

Oh and my leg is getting better! Yay!

*I actually did take a mini Bible from them. It had all these funny annotations like “Jesus did what? Oh snap” Very entertaining.

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Comments 1

  • Kevin Kopil : May 23rd

    Keep on keeping on . Wish I could join you in the trail.


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