Friday, April 27, 2012

All Along the Virginia Creeper Trail

We got up, packed, stripped Tony's beds and threw all of the linens in his washing machine, so he wouldn't have too much to do to get ready for the next hikers.  We had told numerous people about this place the night before, so we figured he'd be renting it out again tonight.  We also told him what a hiker box was, and had left quite a few provisions for the next lucky tenants to spend the night.
Tony had grown up in his house his whole life, used it for a while as a rent house, but did not like how it was being lived in, so he was experimenting with the idea of renting it for the night to the thru-hikers as they came through Damascus.  We hoped that we made a good impression on him, and that he would continue this, because it was kind of perfect for us, and knew it would be for others.
This morning we met Biscuits for breakfast before leaving town.  We had spent the evening with him quite a bit, and let him know our breakfast plans, so were not surprised to find him at the restaurant as we hiked out of town.  He was the same age as our kids, had just graduated from college, and you could tell, he felt comfortable around us.  He was not leaving town til later in the day.
The trail out of Damascus starts out by following the Virginia Creeper Trail, and keeps meeting up with it all day.  This was one of my favorite days on the trail.  If I stopped to take a picture of every beautiful mountain stream we passed that day, I'd still be there!  There was beautiful bridges also.  I have not taken time to google the Virginia Creeper Trail, but you should do that and visit here some day to bicycle it.  Damascus had numerous bicycle rental services in town, and from what I could see, the trail is paved, wide, and fairly flat, and it followed a beautiful  river the entire way.  It used to be a railroad bed, but has been converted into this bicycle trail.  It went on for miles and miles and miles!  There were also kayakers going down the river, and that was fun to watch.
Today we were taking off our boots to ford a stream, and we met a couple named Heading Out and Tags Along.  They had hiked the AT when he retired 5 years ago, and now they were hiking it again. That would put them at about 65 years old.  He had gone to the doctor in Damascus, and found out he has a hernia.  I joked to her that we would all have hernias before this was done.  lol.  She said he had the option to either have the surgery now and recover, or keep hiking and wear a truss.  The doctor had been a thru-hiker and had offered his guest cottage for Heading Out to stay in for free - for a month! He opted to keep hiking - with a 50-pound pack!  Yikes!  I think I would have left a few things behind in Damascus, if I were him.  I don't think Tags Along was too thrilled about his decision to keep hiking.
I was so very worn out at the end of this day. My left shin is starting to really hurt at the end of the day, and unfortunately I think I have a (minor) shin splint.  Haven't had that since track in high school, I don't think!  The good news is - I don't seem to be getting blisters anymore.  Yay!  I think it's kind of weird that after hiking this long, new injuries would flare up.  I thought we'd kind of get used to the hiking, and then "poof" no more aches, pains, injures.  WRONG!  Joke's on me!  I have been experimenting though, and of all things, Extra Strength Bayer Aspirin helps the most.  Most hikers swear by Vitamin I - Ibuprofen.  A lot of them also like Aleve.  The thing that seems to bring the most relief though, is taking off my boots and pack, and lying down.
We  camped at mile 484.1, near a stream just north of US 58.

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