Friday, May 14, 2010

Almost Heaven, That's Virginia

So, I am WAY behind on my blogging.  But I just wanted to let everyone know that I am still alive and well.  Here's a quick update:

I have been hiking with Day Tripper and a young married couple from Florida- Backwards and Conan.  Snickers zoomed ahead of us for unknown reasons. The group I am with now is awesome and we are doing great together.  We joyously cross the VA state line about 10 days ago!  It's good to be home, and good to be in Virginia because it is a bit easier than earlier terrain.  Or maybe we are just in better shape?  My calf muscles are HUGE- pictures to come this weekend or next.  We passed through one of the prettiest areas on the trail so far- the Grayson Highlands/ Mt Rogers National Recreation Area.  Mount Rogers is the highest point in Virginia, but the trail doesn't go over the summit.  I have been there before, so no big deal.

The highlight of this area was PONIES! There are two herds of wild ponies living in the area.  They are actually related to the wild horses of Chincoteague (sorry if I spelled that wrong).  They are smaller though because of the harsh weather on Mt Rogers.  It is a beautiful area and we had a great time finding the ponies and feeding them peanut butter.  We also found the best spot yet to "cowboy camp".  Cowboy camping is just sleeping outside without a tent.  We found a perfect secluded rock that was just the right shape.  It was very romantic, and Laura Rickard if you are reading this- I have to say it was comparable to all of our accidental romantic camping spots at Mt Rainier.
Virginia has continued to be smooth sailing since Mt Rogers, with some 20+ mile days here and there.  My perfect shoes are wearing out- 500 miles appears to be their limit, so I need a new pair soon!  The rocks on the trail just eat shoes.  I have hiked to mile 626, which is in Pearisburg, VA- about 25 miles west of Blacksburg and 75 hiking miles shy of Roanoke.  This weekend there is a huge hiker festival in Damascus called Trail Days.  We passed Damascus about 10 days ago, so my dad very kindly picked Day Tripper, Conan, Backwards, and me up in Pearisburg so I could get my car and travel back to Damascus for two days.  So now I have two zero days in a row and I have already begun to use them wisely. 

One comment about hiking so far every day- my brain has become tuned to a weird frequency of random things from my past that were all but forgotten.  Old TV shows, songs, and memories that I had not thought about in years pop into my head with no trigger.  I think that this is because my brain is not so focused on things like work, school, TV, celebrity gossip, etc.

Conan remarked that it was nice to feel carpet under his feet for the first time in months.  I enjoyed putting on a shirt that was different than the two I have alternated between for months.  Day Tripper used a loofah (even though I told him not to use my loofah, I'm pretty sure he did).  It's the little things in life that are making us happy these days.  The trail has already done a great job of making us appreciate those things- a plate of spaghetti, two showers in one week, wildflowers, maps with correct mileage, and clean water, just to name a few.  Already I see this transformation in all of us and I am anxious to see what the next 1500 miles hold.

Pictures will be coming soon- either Sunday before I get back on the trail or next weekend when I am back in Roanoke for a night.

Miss you all,


  1. Saw the pics online - calf muscles make me proud... as well as the new beau! Keep up the great job!!

  2. Erin, we'd better find some romantic spots further north when I see you in a few months, or I will be MOST disappointed... and this new significant other of yours will have to understand that we need our special time ;)

  3. EMT, I stumbled across my "How Much Do I Love You" book in packing. =)
    I am beyond happy for you. But I do miss you more than ever. We move this weekend - time for me to get your guest bed set up! I love you!