Sunday, May 17, 2009

And Then There Were Nine...

Toenails that is. And there's probably one more on the way. Oh, happy days.

With a little over a week of hiking before heading back to Damascus for Trail Days, Rainman and I looked to take down some big miles. The terrain looked good. The weather looked alright. We felt good after a day of rest. We were ready to go. And then we ran into wild ponies.

I heard rumor that the Grayson Highlands had wild ponies, but I didn't think they would travel in packs and be interested in hanging out with people. Well, they do and they are. Our shelter was overrun by about 10-12 ponies our first morning in Grayson, and after about a half-hour of freaking out because of this unexpected equestrian swarm, it actually was pretty cool. We fed them, kicked them, and tried to ride them, but they were unphased all the while. I got some funny videos of it all, so just wait and you will enjoy.

The person - well, more the animal - that enjoyed the wildlife the most of the past ten days, was Winston, the greatest chocolate lab to ever live. Like a kid running after a group of pidgeons, Winston would charge ponies full tilt and send them into a frenzy, only to strut back into line with the biggest smirk on his face. And he's not prejudice - he'll go after cows too. He got into a staredown with a sow the size of a Ford Escape who was trying to protect her young and was loving every minute of it. He snapped, ran circles, and toyed with this cow, seemingly laughing all the while. I got this on film too so you can all see for yourself. Hilarious.

So the plan of long miles quickly became a plan to enjoy the sweet group we had formed and make our way North at our own easy pace. The rain kept coming which kept us cooped up in shelters for days, but we finally got a clear day to set up our hammocks for the first time. I'll admit I was a little nervous of making the full transition to a hammock for a good nights sleep, but boy, are they comfortable. It lives up to the hype, so if you're thinking about it, definitely give it a try. And if you buy a Hammock, go Hennessey. More on my renewed alligence to Hennessey later.

We managed to trudge 150 miles into Wood's Hole, where we snagged a ride back to Damascus for the Trail Days festivites. This event is hailed as the party of all parties for hikers, with free food, gear, and entertainment for 4 days straight. What we thought was going to be a time to relax became the hardest four days of work I've had thus far.

I'm in the car pulling away from Wi-Fi so you'll have to wait for that later!

Rock on.


1 comment:

  1. Ponies?! So how did Rainman handle those mini-equines, given that he thinks that riding atop one is a piece of cake. At least, that's what he's told his sister and Mom. Bah, hum-bug!!!! Try it someday, when a 4-legged Rachel Alexander (who just won the Preakness) is bolting 30 pmh, and you are trying not only to stay astride but to look semi-graceful in the process. Eager to hear about Hikers' Days in Damascus when you next write... Love ya, Momma Foxy