Today’s mileage: 11.6
Total mileage: 478.7
Usually, the first day out of town is tough for me. I get used to “normal” things like taking a shower and sleeping in a bed. And as we head out of town, I have to leave those things behind once again. I re-adapt to trail life however and get used to the dirt and sweat after one day. But this time wasn’t as bad. Don’t get me wrong, I had an awesome time in Damascus and it was still hard for me to roll out of my king-sized bed this morning, but I’m really excited to hike in Virginia. We’re going to be here for awhile, but there’s so much to look forward to: Grayson Highlands, the Shenandoahs, McAfee Knob, DC, and completing almost half of the trail.
We took our time leaving town this morning. We planned to do a shorter day anyways, so we were okay with hanging out in town for a bit longer. We mailed our shoes up to DC where we will meet up with a couple of friends and also be able to exchange our shoes at REI. Then we checked out of the Hiker’s Inn where we said goodbye to Lee and Paul. We really enjoyed our stay there and they were really chill. We stayed in the house rather than the hostel to treat ourselves for making it this far and it was so worth it. We got burgers and milkshakes at Dairy King before hitting the trail around 2 PM.
The hike out of town wasn’t too strenuous and it was a beautiful day. We hiked on, and then near the Creeper Trail for the first part of the hike. The Creeper Trail runs along an old railroad bed that was used to transport logs from what is now the Mt. Rogers Recreational Area. I believe the Creeper part of the name refers to the train that once chugged along the trail. It’s popular to bike the trail and I know of some thru-hikers who hiked a section of it out of town instead of the AT, since the ascent is more gradual.
We got to our campsite around 7 and it was perfect timing since it was getting cooler and the bugs were disappearing. We are camped near a small pond with three other hikers. Tomorrow calls for rain, which is unfortunate since we’ll be climbing Mt. Rogers. At least I get to test out my new raincoat!
And now I must get back to my InTouch magazine crossword puzzle. The 17 Down clue is “Rock’s ____ Zeppelin.” I think this may be the fastest crossword puzzle I ever solve