Monday, May 4, 2009

Topographic Maps Are the Work of the Devil

-Damascus, VA-

I almost stepped on a rattlesnake the other day. I also hiked 50 miles in two days, hung out with Bob Peoples at Kincora Hostel, got myself a nice...

Oh, you wanna hear more about the snake? The 5-foot poisonous rattlesnake that nearly nabbed me in the leg? That rattlesnake? Besides it being the scariest moment of my life, it was nothing really. Just the AT's way of keeping me on my toes. Nice work AT. Now I'll never be able to look at sticks or any debris on the trail again without thinking that at any moment, that Maraca of Death will pop up anytime it likes. Didn't I say this trip was peaceful?

I don't have that much time, but there have been some notable stories to tell. There is obviously the views we've been able to enjoy over the last stretch, which have been absolutely incredible. Once you haul yourself over the steep, rocky, and unforgiving hump that is Roan Mountain, you are happily rewarded with the best views, terrain, and scenery the trail has to offer in the Southern 500 miles of the trail. Wide landscapes of rolling mountains, 360-degree panoramas of the mountains you've climbed and have yet to climb, all accented with hills of sun-bleached grass. Pretty amazing stuff. You can bet that my finger was on the trigger on my camera to bring those views back home.

There is a shelter in this section that is called Overmountain, which is a barn that was converted to hold AT hikers and give them one of the best views of the valley. To steal a line from my father, it's got a view that will knock your sweaty, bloody socks off. Really, it does. Mine flew off my feet and Foxy and I enjoyed a pleasent afternoon just hanging out, sipping fresh water, and enjoying the day. Since Erwin, it's been a lot of that, and that has been plenty to keep the eyes and mind busy. It's nice to have these kind of stretches to get you through those rainy days.

Like today. Right now Foxy and I are sitting pretty indoors while the rain tumbles down outside. We've been running around taking care of errands before we set out on our hiking blitz before Trail Days on the 15th back here in Damascus. The idea is to bust out as many miles as possible before we enjoy four days off, so the hope is cover 160 miles in 10 days. If there was ever a test to see if my body is healthy, this will be it.

However, Foxy and I may enjoy it at different paces because we have decided to go independent from each other. Now, we'll be able to go at our own paces (mine being slower) and cover the miles we feel like. No more getting in each other's way, messing with each other's stuff, or being around each other 24 hours-a-day for 6 more weeks. We're still friends and we think this move will help us keep it this way.

Before my time runs out, some highlights:
-Intense philosophic discussions with Foxy
-Our stay at Kincora with Bob Peoples (This man is so legendary he has earned himself a flurry of Chuck Norris-like jokes. My favorite is "Paul Bunyan apparently got his axe on loan from Bob Peoples". He's basically Elmer Fudd with a Boston accent and a big heart. Amazing.)
-Covering 50 miles in two was a schlep, but we made it.
-Foxy and I cursing topographic maps for hours with every uphill that was not outlined in detail on our map. They are the work of the Devil!

Saw Pirate again today in town. He says hello.


1 comment:

  1. Ahab - I'll be at trail days this year. It is imperative that I find you to see how you're doing.