Before I started hiking the Trail I thought that the town stops would be the best. I loved reading all of the silly details in my guide book about opening times and menu options for the country restaurants near the trail heads. I don’t know if it’s because of the virus or not but I’m not really loving the experience in town. It is weird when people jump out of my way at Wal-Mart like I’m radioactive but I’m not sure if that is all it is.
We took a true zero day yesterday in Daleville. The town is fine and the people were nice but I was really anxious to get back in the woods. We’ve become very efficient at knocking out the laundry, store and post office chores and then we are just left with too much screen time. I binge watched Botched and the Leah Rimini Scientology series and flipped between the New York Times and CNN for any glimpse of good news. It all just feels like disturbing noise. Politicized pandemic coverage is exhausting.
I organized and reorganized my bag last night and was up and ready to hit the Trail early. I don’t think there is a tighter pack on the Trail. We were hoofing it pretty fast down to the start this morning when a former thru hiker from 2017 gave us a lift and wished us good luck. He hiked it with his wife and 1 year old daughter! Now that is impressive.
It felt so wonderful to be swallowed up again by the woods. As we got farther away from the trailhead, the traffic noise was replaced by the wind in the pines and the spring birds calling us to come further. I could feel my face, shoulders and back relax. My pack weight felt reassuring and sturdy. Things slowed down again. We stopped for lunch and were joined by a sweet doe that was happy to have the company. Ahhhh. I’m back.
This feels like home to me. As much as I miss Bryan and Chuck, I belong here right now and the Trail is providing what I need when I need it the most. As we came close to camp, we started to zig zag across the upper part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This brings back wonderful and funny memories of when I rode the Parkway from end to end with my buddies Crispin and Lee. We spent 7 days covering the length of this beautiful roadway and visited the famous June Curry a/k/a “The Cookie Lady” just before she passed away. The Cookie Lady spent her life welcoming thru hikers and cyclists doing the Transcontinental cycle route into her home and plying them with legendary chocolate chip cookies. I am so happy I got to meet her. Check out her Wikipedia page:
Maybe this is where I am from. Who says a military brat can’t use “Appalachia” to answer the question I struggle with every time I meet someone new. “Where are you from?” leads into this long and confusing story of all the places that you have lived. Next time I’m going to try this beautifully simple answer and see how that goes.