Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Day 39: Virginia!

April 15: Weather forecasts, I’ve quickly been learning, are notoriously inaccurate on the trail, and today was turning out to be no exception. This time, the forecasts from yesterday had predicted no rain today, but by morning, the rain was still going. I didn’t exactly rush out from the shelter hoping it might lift, but I didn’t want to linger too long either because I was due to meet Amanda later in the day in Damascus.


So I was the last person out of the shelter, but I hadn’t actually left very late. The Four Horsemen, rather, were rather anxious to get into town and were on the move remarkably early.

About an hour into my hike, the rain finally stopped and my smartphone started getting a signal, so I called Amanda to update her on my progress. She was already in the area and had staked out a road crossing hoping to intersect me, but alas, I had already passed the last road before Damascus. She had missed me! But we’d still meet up in Damascus like we originally planned.

Signs of spring are starting to show!

And finally, I reached it: the Virginia state line. Tennessee was now behind me. Three states done, eleven more to go.

I took the required photos, lots of selfies since nobody else was around to take photos. It was a good feeling, but not a particularly memorable one. I had done it before, after all! But I did wonder how it went for the Four Horsemen. I had told them about a story I heard that once there were three women hiking the trail together, and they’d cross each border completely topless. Which sounded like a splendid idea to me! But I’d never met the women and never saw any photos as evidence so as far as I know, it’s just wishful thinking by thru-hiking men everywhere. But what a great idea! =)

The Four Horsemen agreed—what a splendid idea!—and to help encourage it, they would start hiking across each border without their shirts on. I don’t have any problem with this idea, but I have my doubts that the idea will cross the gender barrier. But as I stood at the Virginia border, I did wonder if the last four people who passed by were shirtless in the rain and what an odd spectacle it must have been.

I later asked them if they did, in fact, cross the border shirtless, and they said they did—but they never sent me any photos as proof. I’m not sure I’d really want those photos, but if you have any photos of the three girls who allegedly were doing that, by all means, share them with me! I’ll study them closely to make sure they aren’t Photoshoped hacks and if I think they’re real, I’ll let you know!

The rest of the hike into Damascus was uneventful, and I found Amanda walking up the street towards me. She said she’d walked a whole half-mile on the trail through town and it wasn’t nearly as difficult or strenuous as I had made it out to be. Har har har. *shaking head*

Amanda and I decided to drive into Abingdon several miles away rather than stay in Damascus since there were more services available near the Interstate, and off we went.

I didn’t go topless across the Virginia border, but maybe if the weather were warmer I’d give it a whirl!

Colorful mushrooms on a snag


I really liked the mural on these restrooms in Damascus!

What a cute little train! Damascus used to be a railroad town and this is a nod to its past.

Damascus is also sometimes called “Trail Town, USA.” It’s a major trail town on the Appalachian Trail considering that the trail runs right through the middle of downtown Damascus, right up the sidewalks!


Unknown said...

Okay, I'm really curious about the pow chair/memorial..

(No comment on the shirtless hikers. Lol )

Beth said...

This is so crazy! I just came across this post and we just left Damascus and Abingdon yesterday. We're heading to Alabama to search for a letterbox that you planted there. Happy trails!