Kincora, Ponies, and 500!

Sorry I haven’t had a chance to give y’all an update on my progress. Currently, I am sitting at the library in Marion, Virginia. Since I started on the AT, I have walked 532.2 miles. The quarter way mark is coming up very soon. All totaled, I have now walked 1300 miles. Woot!

After hiking up to Hampton, TN, I decided to stay at the Kincora Hostel – owned by the legendary Bob Peoples. Originally from Medford, Massachusetts, Bob has an accent so New England that every time he talked he reminded me of my late father. It was an uncanny.

I stayed by Bob for a few days. The second day he mentioned that there would be a unique opportunity to help repair a piece of the trail over by Carver’s Gap – in the Roan Highlands. Stryder, who I met around mile 400 and with whom I have been hiking ever since, and I immediately volunteered to take part in the trail maintenance day. We had a blast working on a crew with Joe, Squid, and Lumpy to help divert run-off and help maintain a clear footpath for the trail. Turns out, by the way, that Joe was the very same guy who gave Casey, Feel Good, and I a hitch back to Hot Springs from the middle of nowhere after Trail Days were over. Serendipity continues.

After heading out, we hiked for two days into Damascus, VA – finally crossing the TN/VA state line. Since a whole 1/4 of the trail is in Virginia, I imagine it might be a little while before we cross into West Virginia.

We stayed at a great new hostel in Damascus called The Broken Fiddle. Bonnie, the owner, is really awesome and provides a real home-like atmosphere and allowed me to do work-for-stay in exchange for a room – which included laundry, breakfast, and a much needed shower. Thanks, Bonnie!

Stryder and I decided to hike out of Damascus pretty late in the afternoon and camped just a couple miles north of town. The following day we hiked to Lost Mountain Shelter, where Stryder mentioned he wasn’t feeling particularly well. We met a group of folks out hiking for a section hike, including one fellow called Yogi, from Dallas, Texas. We all hung around and chatted for a bit before all hitting our sleeping bags.

Stryder still wasn’t feeling well the following day, so we only did 13 miles to the next shelter, where we ran into Yogi again and his crew. Virginia has nice shelters, by the way. Like… they seem almost too good to be true. From there we hiked into the Grayson Highlands, the home of the famous Grayson wild ponies.

Onward, stopped at 513.2 to stay at the Hurricane Mountain Shelter. Stryder and I hiked out to the road – about 5 miles – and hitchhiked into the town of Troutdale, VA. We were low on snacks and still had another 14 miles to go that day to meet our 19 mile goal. We got a nice couple in a pick-up truck to stop and they brought us into the Fox Creek General Store. The owner, Sarah Teitelbaum, and her clerk Janet greeted us and announced “we’ve got some hungry hikers!”  Yup. She served me some eggs and a banana and we bought out snacks. Afterward, Sarah offered to drive us herself back to the trail head. She’s great people! Thanks, Sarah!

From there we met up with Powerhouse and Space Panda and hiked on, making it to the Partnership Shelter at about 7pm. 19 miles of hiking in just around 7 hours is pretty good time.

I know there must be so much more to share… but really I just need to update more often.


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