Day 70

Mon 18th June

Considering my camp spot  I had slept okay, my alarm went off at 5.30 I snoozed it. Finally emerging at 6 30.
I packed up in a hurry, but it still took me an hour before I stepped onto the trail.
I pushed on as it was already hot too hot far too hot. the forest was so humid that the water. was flowing out of me in minutes …. not a good sign.
As I made my way up towards the summit I was surprised on how little campsites / tent sites there were and thought myself lucky to have found that spot
Eventually I reached the top chemist was just packing up, but he would soon catch me.
After the summit I began to spiral down, but I was melting it was oh so hot. As I continued I saw an opening so went to see if there was a view. Yes, there was, and it was pretty good. I was just leaving when Batty came past hiya snail she said. As I continued down the trail I met a ranger coming up he wanted to see my pass. once he saw it he was happy and very chatty
I pushed on eventually meeting back up with Chemist who was getting water, so I stopped to fill up too.
The rest of the morning was climb and climb some more. I pushed on, but I was melting so finally took a break at 12pm a. hour earlier than I would have liked. I sat on a rock sweating.
I was so HOT and wet but not in a good way. after 30 mins I resumed my hike. but with a new goal.
My plan was now to get to the campground so a 16-mile day.
I was so tired and weary with more climbs to do that I wondered if I could make that.
Several hours later I came to a marker post. I had arrived.
I made my way along the side trail dropping down into the park. I walked not sure where I was going. Eventually I asked someone. Excuse me do you know where the store is.
Up on your left came the answer.
I walked on until I spied several other hikers. and the store.
I dropped my pack and walked inside where I ordered a pint of ice cream. 2 beers and a lemon soda.
I walked over to the other hikers who were sat at a picnic table and attacked my spoils.
the ice cream was delicious, and the lemonade quenched my thirst. I was now ready for beer
Once done I went back into the store brought bug spray, a tube of Pringles, another meal and another box of wine. I also enquired about a shower. A shower cost a buck, so I handed over money and she gave me. back 1/4s
I took off my shoes and socks and walked right in shampooing my clothes before stepping out of them.
I soaped myself again then I was done. I put on fresh dry gear before wringing out my dirty clothes. I was just getting my pack ready when Bumblebee and No-poles appeared.
Good choice on the wine I said
She laughed.
I stood up ready to leave when the heavens opened and so sat back down again. It was a good 20 minutes before the rain stopped, and then the pavements began to steam.
It was so difficult to leave but I must, the next shelter was about 2 miles away which would do me for the day.
I marched out of the camp and back to the trail and began to walk. but then was annoyed as there were other paths to the camp, much shorter than the one I came down arrh.
Okay 2 miles that’s about an hour. I pushed on until I came to the concrete marker post that informs you of landmarks in the Shenandoah park. The shelter or huts as they are called in the Shenandoah’s was down a side trail .1 mile the post said. I headed down and soon saw the hut. there were 4 section hikers there who I had been leapfrogging for most of the day.
They had tried to camp but got hit by the earlier rain. I went and found a tent site before returning to cook my food. I tried a new meal which was really tasty and washed it down with red wine. I cleaned up then put my food in a bear box. makes a changed not to put my food bag in a tree much easier.
miles walked 17

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Day 71

I woke early. retrieved my food from the box, packed up and was on the trail by 7.30 Good effort SNAIL.
I wanted some good Miles today as yesterday was a bit poor I headed up the trail with determination and looking forward to a good breakfast at the next wayside.

It was a good trail, not many climbs and a great surface.
Ping went my watch, wow I was really flying and should arrive much earlier, great I thought. As I came down a hill I could see a field of bee hives, but as I got nearer I could see that they were grave stones in a small cemetery. I was just crossing over the road she. I met 2 hikers coming the other way and they were both British. we chatted for a moment and they gave. e directions to the wayside.
I was soon at the wayside, I dropped my pack and placed it by the wall with my sticks before going inside and to the restaurant and found a seat. I ordered a large lemon soda and the BIG breakfast., I quickly drained my drink and as I put down the empty glass it was immediately swapped for another.
I was staring out of the window when and noticed Bumble Bee arriving. She dropped her pack next to mine and joined me at the table. My breakfast arrived, and I set to work on it.
It was good. I then I ordered another of the amazing BlackBerry Shakes. yummy.
When done I wandered through the store? brought a ham and cheese sub, a fruit salad and another box of wine for later.
I then sat in the sun for five minutes reorganizing my pack.
Omg I have spent almost 2 hours here. Dam lol okay I may not make the second shelter.
I set off leapfrogging Bumblebee for most of the afternoon, I was just starting another climb when I noticed 2 hikers standing in the trail.
Omg one was Squirrel.
“Hey Squirrel, great go sees you. I said
we chatted for a while, then Bumble bee caught us   and we chatted some more before moving on.
I was leading   until the climb started and so stopped for a break. Squirrel passed by and soon vanished up the trail. I followed on still leapfrogging Bumblebee until we arrived at a riding school. There were about a dozen young hikers sat around picnic tables.

Suddenly whoosh the heavens opened sending the hikers scurrying for shelter. I managed to get under the porch and put on my packs rain. cover on. Bumblebee did the same.
You know what Snail a hotel would be a good idea. “Said Bumble bee
I had to agree with her as the Lodge was .2 miles up the road
We made us to the lodge through the downpour and found the office. I booked a room little pricy but hey.

I then went and found the bar, Sat  inside was fish>
Hey fish   I  thought that you would be long gone
We did a few beers before I decided that I was hungry and  ordered some food Once eaten I explore the shop and brought several t-shirts and bits.
I then retrieved my backpack and went in search of my room. I should have done this much earlier as it was quite a distance away eventually I found if. Once inside I stripped off and had a lovely hot shower. I relaxed on the bed opened my wine and watched a film on the telly.

 

Shenandoah National Park extends along the Blue Ridge Mountains in the U.S. state of Virginia. The Skyline Drive runs its length, and a vast network of trails includes a section of the long-distance Appalachian Trail. Mostly forested, the park features wetlands, waterfalls and rocky peaks like Hawksbill and Old Rag mountains. Shenandoah is home to many bird species, plus deer, squirrels and the elusive black bear.

miles 17

Day 66. Beer Legs

Thursday

It was get to the Brewery day, a mere 18 miles easy right .
I finished my cup of tea and stowed my pot.
Okay snail easy day ,I  should  be there by  3pm I told myself.
I hoisted up my pack. I waved  goodbye to the other hikers as I passed by the shelter and back towards the trail. I hadn’t gone far when Bob appeared heading to the shelter that i had just left.
“Wow what time did you start Bob”.
it was a nice cool morning as  I pushed on, but the trail was not to my liking it was horrid rock.Luckily it  had been recently been cut back so was easier to walk along .
The trail now began to head down and quite dramatically . God it was steep I felt admiration for the trail guys doing down this with their weed whacker.
Every now and then there was a clearing where you could look down into the valley.
But I was in a hurry and so didn’t stop . The trail continued down and would continue for the next 3 miles. I pushed on happy in the fact there would be ale at the end of the day.
Round the next corner sat Jingle,  I stopped and said hi,He’s Japanese and in his 60,s and got his name as he carries bear bells.
I continued on and eventually came to the road, I was just checking my maps when jingle arrived.
Hey Snailtrainer you coming to get breakfast?
It did sound like a great idea but then I had to hike a 6 mile climb and with breakfast in my tummy.
I politely refused. crossed the road and began the climb
It was fairly gentle at first with nice switchbacks . Then it began to go down again . Why are you going down you stupid trail . I was busy muttering to myself when Jingle appeared behind me.
What happened about breakfast ? I asked
“No hitch” he said.
I let him pass , then followed him trying to match his pace , the trail was still decendiong  until  i  eventually arrived at a stream
A hiker named Solo was  there getting water . Jingle stopped to  get water but as i had plenty  I pushed on .
The trail now began to climb   and  steeply as i  passed near to  the next shelter I debated whether  to  visit and  sign the book but  walred on by  The trail became steeper  and rocky . Omg I thought my arrivel at the  Brewery may be delayed. I huffed and puffed as i  slowly  climbed . I heard someone behind and turned to see Solo.  I moved over to let him pass,
“No your okay i like your pace ” he said
He tracked me for some time  until I needed to stop for a break and so at the next clearing I stopped and sat down on a huge granite slab.
“Catch you later Solo” I shouted.

I was struggling today as  the long decents first thing had taken its toll . These steep decents  kill my  knees and my fuel tank was fairly depleted. I took a quick break  and  wolfed down some snacks , guzzled some water before contining on .
I hadn’t gone too far when I came across Jingle who was also  taking a break .
The trail now began to tease with it roller coaster terrain, that  this went on for the next hour before becoming just a very steep climb . There were switchbacks but I was struggling, it wasnt long until i neded  to stop again and  slumped down on a log .
God this is killing me, I glugged down more water and finished off my snacks .
I just sat there staring at the green canopy above.
Okay let’s go I hoisted my pack and plodded forward, I was still plodding when Rockwall appeared and raced past me . How does he do that, I muttered to myself.
After another hour I thought that i had  reached the summit, but it still climbed but  thankfully not so steep. I  dare not  check my map, in case it was still too far.
I came to the second shelter. which meant  1.5 miles to go, Come on Snail.
The trail continued heading up , Arrhhh  I was l knackerd but I pushed on and soon  began to meet people, clean people ! that’s a good sign.
At last the trail began to decend  and i could soon  hear traffic. the beer legs now began to work and I could now clearly see the road.
When i arrived i could see Jingle who was  sat on the other side of the road.
“There’s no shuttle” he said.
“I know I said you need to hitch.”
At that moment Rockface and Bob appeared so there was now four of us . Which makes hitching harder.
But the third  car stopped and somehow we  all managed to squeeze in, including our packs.
It wasnt long until  we were driving into the Devils Backbone Brewery.  Wow what a complex,  it was huge, camping, a sound stage, the Brewery, restaurants and much more.
We thanked our ride and headed to the bar. leaving all our packs lent against the wall.

I needed lemonade first, then I was ready for beer.
I started low before moving onto a 5% I was now hungry so ordered Ribs and a stout to go with it. Wow the ribs were amazing. The meat falling off of the bone and so tender. A Big thumbs up.

Jingle had drunk 2 pints before deciding to try  the taster which was six beers of his choice. (1/3pints) It was also his downfall .
As soon as he had  finsihed his last glass he slumped to the fllor   and  his day was over .
He had to be taken to his tent, but ended up sleeping on a picnic table over night  Legend !!
Several beers later, I thought I ought to go put up my tent before I can’t!!.
I wandered over to the camp site, and found a suitable spot , i decided to take a  30 min snooze, changed  my clothes before returning back to the bar.
I was not going to be late!

Start 826
Finish
mileage miles
Remaining 13 Miles

Day 67 Heading to Wainsboro

Friday
I quickly packed up as the Brewery do a hiker breakfast for 5bucks.
I wandered over looking for where I had to go until  I spotted other hikers so knew I was at the right place.
I dropped my pack  wiyth  the other packs  and went inside . I paid my 5$ and received coffee, a large bowl of oatmeal followed by a plate with scrambled egg, sausage, 2 biscuits (scones) and fried potatoes, both bowl and plate were soon empty
I was then given a free t-shirt, which i though was very  clever marketing  as  hikers going south and north would soon be wearing them giving the brewet  some great advertising .
I grabbed another coffe and was relaxing , when  Bob   and  then Zippy appeared
I chatted to  several other hikers  befgore  realising that i had  miscalculated my days.
Wainsboro is where my new pack is  and so if  hike the next bit I wouldn’t be able to get my pack until Monday. that wastes me a weekend in Wainsboro and i didnt want to do  that . I was in a dilema

AS  i  sat  pondering what to do a bunch  of  hikers piled into a pick up  for  the  trip  back to the trailhead
Bugger . Okay hitch it is ,I walked back to the road and put out my trusty thumb.
Must be lucky as got a ride quickly . anywhere near Wainsboro post office please.
The journey took 30 mins ..My driver Ron offered to wait and take me to the hostel after.
As i  walked into the post office  i had my fingers crossed that it was here otherwise  this  will be another wasted day
The post office was fait empty so I was served quickly and given a large box great .
Thank god  for  that  , as this was my  pack whoop .I thanked the lady and got ack to the car.
As we drove through the town, Ron pointed out restaurants and the outfitters most of which went straight out my other ear.
We then pulled into the hostel ,  The owner   xxxanimal  showwd  me arround and gave me choices  of  rooms .
I grabbed a bunk and then began to empty my pack and put my gear into my shiny new one. I then put my old pack  into the new box. taped it up and headed back to the post office. It was rather expensive  to send home, but it’s on its way !!
As I was leaving I bumped into some freinds .
We are going for the Chinese Buffet Snail you want to come? Bumble Bee said
Yes why not
The restaurant was a few blocks away . Wow  what  an amazing place there were rows and rows of food and Coy carp swimming inside.
My first plate was spring rolls and other deep fried favourites.
Plate two was lots of different chicken dishes and noodles.
well after my 5th visit I was  stuffed, but I could still manage pudding…. Rude not too.
Afterlunch my friends  wanted to visit the outfitters , so I came along for the ride.
The outfitters had a great section of kit. I grabbed gas, a plastic cup and some energy drink mix.
Once back at the hostel  I updated some videos and cleared down my phone .
I  then decided to go shopping there was Dollar  General  a few blocks away I brought some bits , before  heading to walmart to finish off and buy beer and fruit.
Once back I decanted my food., Typically  i have brought far too much oh well I will eat it.
Once my chores were done  I sat out in the sun, ate an orange and drank a large lemonade  I was now  relaxed and ready for beer.As it began to get dark i came inside . most people were ordering pizza but I was a little tired of pizza so cooked up something from my horde of food. an spent the rest of the evening watching Adam Sandlar in a film on Netflix.

Then it was zzzz

Miles zero

Day 63 Off to Glasgow

Monday 11th june

I slept through most of the rain, waking only to switch off my alarm. I eventually emerged at 8.30. wow I must have needed that sleep.i walked over to.the shelter Fish was there . Hey man what are you doing here as he’s normally fast.
I then met the ranger. and he’s a talker like me, 2 hours later I was taking my tent down and was on the trail by 10am really late for me.
but I only had two miles untill the road. I pushed on and soon arrived at the longest footbridge on the AT .As i crossed a train appeared on the adjacent bridge once across I crossed the road as advised by the ranger and I got my first ride into Glasgow.
I found the shelter and set up my gear. the shelter has power.lights, loos and hot showers
I went and resupplied and also brought a sympathy card for a friend who had recently lost her husband  a great  friend  of  mine so after writing I visited the Postoffice to post and then back to the shelter to chill.
I drank a few beers emptied a tub of ice cream and as I had Cell service I had another email from Osprey.
fantastic  they will  give me discount on a new pack .
I quickly logged into their website and entered the code, great that took off $150
Bugger , it wouldn’t let me select the UK as my billing address. arrrhhh. I tried several  more times before giving up and ringing the lovely lady at Osprey. after sever more phone calls . Result my new pack is on its way whoop. I was now feeling very smug so opened another beer.

As i was relaxing by the camp fire a man appeared and announced that there was free dinner at the church and that  he would be back at 8 pm to pick up those who wanted to come . Great I thought no cooking.
8pm soon arrived and soon a pickup full of hikers was on route to the church.
when I walked in I was amazed to see so many people who I knew.
There was Guinness, Bumble bee, Bob and Zippy and many more . I had a huge bowl of pasta with meat sauce,  salad bread and then they offered us more before the ice cream appeared. it was so delicious .
As I was eating Poppins and Peanut arrived.
After lunch we had to introduce ourselves and explain  our trail names before we were shuttled back to the shelter . i joined the others sitting around the camp fire drinking and chatting

 

Start 784
Finish 786
mileage 2 miles
Remaining 1404 Miles

 

Day 53 leaving Pearisburg

Again, I was woken by some very loud hikers, but I did have go get up.
I enjoyed my zero. it was what I needed.
I got up visited the bathroom. and grabbed coffee on my return. I am not a big coffee fan, but this coffee tasted good.  I sat on the porch with other hikers watching other hikers pass by

I took   another shower then slowly packed up my gear, Once I was almost ready I moved my pack to the veranda,
Next it was back to the post off to post these 2 resupply boxes up the trail   1 to and the other   to XX

On the way back, I came across Trypad, morning how is you toady and how’s Jess
as we were all a bit squiffy yesterday.
Once back at the hostel I paid my bill then said my goodbyes. I hoisted up my pack and strolls out and down the path crossed over and emerged at the best of the grocery store,
I thought I would   get some lunch as it was getting quite late   now.

I  Ordered  up a large sub, and  brought a lemonade and some  fruit  too.
Okay  time to head back to the trail .
I  headed  down the main road   and  It was hot  after about 20 minutes  I  decide  rather than carry  my food and  the trash afterwards  I thought I would stop now  as  it was 12.30.
I  found a grassy verge , dropped my pack and  began to devour  my  lunch.  I then found a bin to leave my trash before walking on. I followed the main road for a while before    re-joining the trail. As I approached the trail I noticed two other hikers    a girl that I came to know as Mary Poppins, who was eventually shorted to Poppins and Her hiking partner peanut, who were both Aussies.
I wished them well and pushed on      there was a small climb before I emerged back out on the freeway.  I then crossed over a large bridge that scanned several railway tracks and the huge river.
Once across the trail then   drop down beneath the bridge before climbing back up and into the forest

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
it was still hot as my watch pinged 5. okay I will do another hour. I pushed on and began to climb again through forest until I emerged again onto the ridge. Here was a huge mast so I put on my phone and yes, a signal. So, I answered a few texts and sent a few more
A little further was the next camp with a spring. I entered I was in two minds to stay or go. I kept going. I will do another hour I said to myself.
Ping. god that was quick. and as I turned a corner. There I front was the perfect site for me
I dropped my pack. spread out my foot print then put up my tent. threw everything inside.
I then went to find a good tree to hang my food bag from. once done I returned to my tent and began to cook dinner.
I made tea. then cooked dinner. Once full I went and hung my food bag. I had just returned to my tent when it began to pour. that was lucky
it was still hot as my watch pinged 5. okay I will do another hour. I pushed on and began to climb again through forest until I emerged again onto the ridge. Here was a huge mast so I put on my phone and yes, a signal. So, I answered a few texts and sent a few more

A little further was the next camp with a spring. As I entered I was in two minds whether to stay or go. I kept going. I will do another hour I said to myself.

Ping. god that was quick. and as I turned a corner. There I front was the perfect site for me.
I dropped my pack. spread out my foot print then put up my tent. threw everything inside.
I then went to find a good tree to hang my food bag from. once done I returned to my tent and began to cook dinner.
I made a brew  then cooked dinner. Once full I went and hung my food bag. I had just returned to my tent when it began to pour. that was lucky

mile 645.4. miles walked 10.1

Start 635
Finish 645
mileage10 miles
Remaining 1545 Miles

 

Day 52 Zero in Pearisburg

31 st May

I was woken by loud voices .typical as I didn’t have to get up. I finally emerged at 8.30 went and took a shower before getting coffee.
My foot still seems swollen so I took more pills and then soaked my feet in a foot spa with Epsom salts. I drank more coffee as my foot soaked .
Then I began to do my chores.
I am still missing a box I sent when I arrived in the US and the tracking number got wrecked in the rain. so I don’t think I will see it again but I havnt yet given up hope, so armed with some info I headed to the P.o the lady in charge was very helpful so fingers crossed.
Whilst I was there I grabbed two postal boxes as I wasn’t sure of what size I needed.
on the way back i called  into  the grocery store.I was doing my best not to spend  too much  , but it did include a big juicy steak for tea.
Once back I decanted my food from their boxes to ziplocks then into my boxs that i had picked up from the postoffice. I was halfway through  this process ,when the heavens opened up.

I grabbed my stuff and ran tothe veranda where I finished my packing.
In the afternoon I soaked my foot again whilst I sat drinking beer, I was miles away when I received a text from Jess she was in town, so I gave her directions to the hostel where I was staying.
At last  Jess came into view, It was so great to see Jess (  now named Blue grass)  again so we had plenty of hugs. Accompaninfg  Jess was tripod, who I haven’t seen for while either .
We drank a few beers before they needed to go back to their hotel for their own chores .
I finished up what i was doing before  heading to their motel to join them.
I took my steak and prepped food and we sat by the pool . There were comunial BBQs  by the pool  so  i lit  one   and cooked my steak as we drank beer.
After we went to the mexican bar for a few more then bed

Start 635
Finish 635
mileage ZERO miles
Remaining 1555 Miles

Day 46 leaving Marion.

Friday 35th

I woke and stepped over all the bodies that we had acquired last night. It’s a hiker tradition to grant the floor to your hiker friends. ha ha .
I had a quick shower a d went down to breakfast. it was continental but I could have scrambled or waffles. I went with the eggs. when I worked I drank two vats of coffee and a few glasses of oranges juice.

several rounds of toast and a yoghurt. The eggs came and that too was scoffed.

I went back to the room the bodies were awake and packed

I put the rest of my gear into my pack. rinsed out my bladder and refilled it with clean water,added some lemonade mix then put that into my bladder. okay Bob see you downstairs .

I hoisted up my pack and left the room and took the lift. At reception I asked the lady if I could use the computer .
Of course she said that is what it is there for.
I touched the keyboard and it woke up. I signed into Google and printed of the returns from for my socks.
Bob then appeared. hold on Bob there’s a bank across the road I will get you some money.
We crossed the street and I went into the bank to use the Atm. It was rather a clever machine. I paid Bob then we walked and looked at the memorial day tribute.

after we walked down the road together until Bob came across a coffee shop.
See you up the trail Snail he said.
Likewise Bob I replied.
I needed to resupply and so was heading to Wal-Mart 2 miles on the other side of town.
my pack felt good but will shortly be heavier.
It was a long walk  and the path   was roasting .I crossed over the railway lines and just kept going . I crossed the road .something that always makes me nervous out here. as I crossed a police car came by .so I waited, but he then stopped and waved me across.
I huffed and puffed up the road then I spied a grocery store. That will do snail so  I walked up grabbed a basket and began to explore the aiels.
I love how it’s laid out . I  grabbed several Kor side in my basket and then a bag of couscous for a change. salami. cheese.hot chocolate more lemonade mix . sweets . a bottle of soda. some bagels
I think that will do it. I  then I sat outside decanting my food into ziplock.
several people stopped go say hi and to ask if i was through hiking and to wish me luck.
I finally I guzzeld my soda and I was ready.
I crossed back over the 4 lane road and stuck put my trusty thumb.
Instantly a car with a large trailer stopped.
You going back to the trail. said a voice in a thick Southern accent.
Yes please

You can put your pack in the back.
I did then tried to get in the passed her lot was full with “stuff”. but I managed to get in.
He was a gardener and was off to cut grass.
As we drove back we passed by the trout hatchery that the two men I met. putting the trout back in the river.were from.
Then past the razor wire of the local prison.
Then we were here. so thanked him then retrieved my pack and waved him off.
I thought that I would have a quick look at the visitor centre so walked up to the building.
To my surprise sat on a bench outside were Dupont and Phoenix
Bloody hell I said great to see you both. we chatted for a while then I went to look inside. Got my passport stamped and looked at the exhibits.
Dupont and Phoenix had left.
I finished my soda .dropped the bottle in the trash . then I was ready i crossed the road and I was away.
I really didn’t like this part of the trail it was Rocky and hurt my foot .really hurt my foot the pain was beginning to get me down as I limped through it .It wasn’t long till I was on my first climb .what fun. I was miles away when a couple of hikers frightened me as I didn’t hear them.behind me.
The last had a lovely bum, if only I had the speed to keep up ha ha.
Eventually I reached the summit only to see Dupont and Phoenix resting.
Have you only got this far I said or are you trying to make me look good.
They both laughed as I hobbled by. The trail was reasonably flat for a while but still Rocky and crap to hike over .
Then I saw a backpack just on its own… owner possibly pooping in the woods. I don’t know why that makes me smile but it does.
A little further along was the lady with the nice bum. obviously waiting for her chap.
I said my hello and was on my way . but again the trail was steep down and rocky a d it was just killing my foot. and I wasn’t getting any speed.
I shortly came to my next climb and this one went on and one .it wasn’t long until the couple caught me again I couldn’t help but state at her arse in her tight shorts dream.on Snail but the image helped me climb. Once up I was annoyed yo fond that it was straight back down. although I have to say that the axelias are gorgeous .
At the bottom.i crossed the road and took a foot break .
took off my socks and stared at my aching swollen right foot.
I took more meds .gulped down some orange drink stared some more at my foot. then put my socks and shoes back on, hoisted my pack and I was off . The trail still rock and horrid . as I was pounding down the trail I suddenly came to an opening with a view. There was a hiker all ready resting . I stopped took some photos and was just about to leave when the hiker said
There were people doing trail magic st the road.
Thanks I said and took off.
The trail now became nice and u began to follow a small stream as it tumbled over the rocks on it trip down.
Round the next corner I spied DUPONT again they had stopped for water.
I zoomed past them as I had plenty of water.
I must if crossed that stream about a dozen times as I walked down the trail.
Then there was the shelter. so stopped signed the register and was on my way.
The trail was still heading down and I was able to increase my speed a little .
Then more rocks and as I tried to cross them I managed to kick my sore foot in the worst possible place I could see stars and felt sick .The pain rushed through me as if I had been run through with a sword.
The pain was intense .A string of obscenities filled the air. I needed to sit down I shuffled forward in front if me was the stream again .
J dropped my pack took off my shoes and socks and plunged the painfully foot onto the icy water. Oooooo it felt good.
I decided to have lunch while my foot soaked. 4 other hikers including Dupont a d Phoenix. Mac by and asked what I was doing?
after lunch I dried off my feet put on my socks and shoes a d I was away .
In the distance I good hear an airplane. or was it a mower or generator.
But what it actually was , was the vibration of the power lines.
It didn’t sound right to me .and I was a little nervous waking beneath them.
As I continued down the trail I came up a notice saying trail magic at the church.
When i exited on to the road I could see it.
Omg what amazing people.
in the old school-house/ church was several boxes of things a hiker may need
ie meds. bandana. hats. socks . sunscreen, lip balm. razors
Then there was food and a big ice chest filled with sodas and water. Wow. Thanks again
I drank a soda. eats some fruit pots.
Oh and DUPONT and Phoenix were here too and several other hikers.
They wanted to do another 10 miles. I wasn’t sure if I had 10 more in me. but may try.
They then left with another hiker. There were two of us remaining. and I couldn’t help but stare at another set of hiking poles.
I have mine. you have yours I said to the other hiker. So whose ate them poles.

It took a while for my brain to register. But it was the hiker with Dupont. I quickly shouted as the trio were almost out of sight. Then waved my poles in the air.
The other hiker soon realised and began to make his way back. Sorry I said I kept staring at your poles but it took a while to register. No thank you Snail.
Glad it’s not only me who walks off without their poles.
I finished my fruit jelly glugged some cold water then took my trash to the bin.
let’s go snail I said to myself.
I hoisted up my pack and set off after dupont and his team.
Oh my God what a fantastic trail. all smooth and flattish .
Why couldn’t the trail been like this earlier. I was now pushing and nothing was hurting. In the distance I could hear the tooting of a train . I knew I had to cross some tracks later.
I was loving this trail, all smooth and soft. then I emerged out into a meadow.

and I was meandering my way across. z d the. I to the next meadow. I was loving this.

At last I was at the tracks . Looked both ways the. crossed over. I walked along a long platform that kept you out of the marsh. I pushed and pushed I could hear cars then I emerged out onto the road and near to a garage.
I crossed over and walked to the garage. then went in . I brought a cherry Coke and a ice cream . Paid and went and sat down. outside. I savoured my ice cream whilst chugging my cherry coke.
I put the bottle in the trash and made my way back to the trail. zit wasn’t that well-marked but I seemed to be heading in the right direction.
I soon found it and began to pace down, the trail was still lovely.

As I crossed over a creek I noticed another hiker who looked as she had bed. swimming.
Are you clean i asked ?
Cleaner came her reply. I laughed and hiked on
I was now in more meadows .I crossed over a cattle grid and into another meadow. This one had cows in.

I think 2 more hours I said to myself and pushed on through the fields.
I now came to a mother forest and had to climb a style to get in . as I entered I could hear people and so it wasn’t long until I came to about a dozen hikers and their tents.
I recognised a few hikers. There was handstand. her man and a few others.
I said my hello is and pushed on. typically the trail began to climb steeply.
Bugger have I made a mistake?
I pushed on and on puffing and panting. At last I was on. nice flat trail again . my watch pinged 7pm . mm need a spot.
Then around the next corner was a disused shelter or rather the remains of one.
I quickly put up my tent, found a good tree to hang from.then made tea.
It was getting dark as I age it then off to bed.

Start 504.5
Finish 524
mileage 20 miles
Remaining 1666 Miles

Day 41 3rd Zero at Damascus

Sunday 20th May

I slept really well and wss in no hurry  to leave  so  dozed . Eventually I got up  and went downstairs. grabbed a coffee then scuttled back to my bed to drink it in between dozing.
One person had all ready gone , but the others were still sleeping.
At 8.30.I decided to make move and emerged from my bunk. I wanted to visit the pharmacy and grab a few bits.
As I walked down the road a hiker named white rice joined me.
Where are you going snail?
I’m pottering, but need to walk to the out of town store.
I’ll come too he said !!!.
I visited the local shop  first as I wanted some cherries or similar as they may help my toe .(Gout) Inside was Blue grass (Jess) and Danimal.
I said to them both of them that I was hiding from white Rice. They both laughed.
As I came out of the shop WR joined me .
Okay, I want a quick walk through the festival to see if there were any bargains.” I said  As we were walking we met Big Red and Magic. who were heading to get breakfast .
“Oh I will come join you”. White-Rice said and headed off with them.
I gave a big sigh, promptly turned around and headed out-of-town.
It was about 3/4 a mile to the shops. on the way I passed Handstand, Dupont and Phoenix. how goes it guys ?
At last I was at the shops, i walked in and made my way to the pharmacy counter only to find that it was shut. Bollocks I said to myself
I stood in disbelief for a while, before deciding to grab some shopping. I brought a salad for lunch ,some fruit, cranberries and cherries and some more painkillers
I did think about visiting the brewery  that was just a little  further , but it wasn’t open for a while, so I headed back to the park . Most of the vendors were slowly packing up and some had gone all ready.
I got a new titanium pot for $30 they were $70 yesterday. Bargain……
As I walked along I heard some great music so sat down to listen it was only when the Pastor  waled on did i realise that I was in a church service .  I  didnt want  to  just stand up and  walk  out    branded a unbeliever  or  something  so sat there for a fair while.
At last I could escape and made my way back to the Hostel where I sat in the shade and made my salad, added sauce and tuna fish then devoured it. I followed  this with  an orange and apple .
I then sorted out my food bag and relaxed before taking a shower.
Once clean I thought that I would take another wander around town. I grabbed 2 t-shirts for $20 then visited the library to try and use the Wi-Fi.
But after 10 mins I gave up as the signal was rubish so wandered back to the hostel. where I spent the afternoon catching up on my chores.
By  now i was hungry again  so went in search of somehere to eat , and now  trail days was over  the  choice was very limited

I found a small pizza place. it was tasty but I believe all frozen and came with plastic cutlery and plastic glasses. I  enjoyed a few  beers    before wandering  back to my  hostel  and  decided on an early night

Start 469
Finish 469
mileage ZERO
Remaining 1723 Miles

Day 39 zero in Damascus

friday 18th May

I slept so well on the sofa waking at 8.30 and dozing. Tank was in the armchair and whitey was on the other sofa. Beth was making coffee so I grabbed a cup.
Dan began to make breakfast, scrambled egg, hash and bacon  we  all dug  in  and  wow  so  tasty.
Once I had eaten I wandered down to the post office.
Sadly no sign of my bounce box , but new shoes whoop and another box which I then bounced to my friend in Texas.
I walked back to the house and tried to find the post office number. Beth lent me her phone to try and contact them .but after being on hold for ages I gave up I will retry tomorrow.
Every one else had walked down to the festival but as it was nice i quite  I began to edit some video  and  then uploaded,once  down i too headed off to  the festival.

I walked  through   mingling  with  the hundreds  of  other hikers . I  entered several competitions, looked at the kit, tents, hammocks. Osprey  the pack manufactures  should be  here but I couldn’t see them  as i wanted some  help  and  advice on my  pack  or  if  i could swap it out .
I kept meeting my hiker family which was great but now I was hungry so went and grabbed lunch and a soft drink as an Alcohol is banned from the town!!
Hundreds of  hikers and No beer     Great  idea

Whilst I ate lunch I listened to several bands that were playing.. As I sat there a hiker I met several days ago joined me and then so did Dan.
The other hiker was saying that Osprey and Big Agnes and several other venders were set up by the campsite.
I made my way back to the house , found my pack and began to empty every thing out.
I was going to walk to tent city when Beth offered to drive me.
Beth  drove  me  up to tent city    it was awash  with  hikers and  the smell of  food, Again there several competitions going  on and  there were  hordes of  hikers  surrounding  them.
I wandered through the vender part and found Osprey. I haggled on a pack for a while and got a 20% discount on a pack but I had to buy it  from town. But whilst  here I managed to get  my Hip belt replaced .
I wandered around looking at the other stalls  before getting a ride back to town. I found the outfitter , but unfortunately the store didn’t have either of the bags that I wanted . Oh well at least I  have a new hip belt.

I wandered back to the house and was pleased to see big Red had arrived. I gave him big hug then put my now dry tent away before joining the guys on the porch for a beer I am just about to sit  when Magic and Tentless arrive and it’s like a party .
We spent the whole evening sat  on the porch chatting and drinking beer untill the Pizza that we ordered earlier arrives . Its bloody  good pizza and we are soon all stuffed  but  can still manage more beer

But Omg it’s midnight

Start 469
Finish 469
mileage  ZERO
Remaining 1723 Miles