Day 65 – 71 Hampton TN to Damascus VA on 2017 Appalachian Trail Thru-hike

Wednesday 13 June, Monday 19 June

Distance: 81.6 km
Total Distance:  469.2 miles

Elevation levels according to Guthook app: total ascent 3134.1m, total descent 3306.9m

Mountains climbed: Pond Flats 3693

Well what an adventurous time I have had over the last few days. I am currently sitting outside a restaurant in Damascus access by the internet at 7.00am in the morning. AT&T has no signal here in town, ironically I was able to get a signal at the shelter before town. From here on in reception is suppose to be not so good for people like me with AT&T as a carrier, but we shall see.

Animals everywhere of all sorts it was amazing. Went through a paddock of cows, which gave me pause for Flo and Joe….ahhh cows. Everyday day I set out I never know what terrain I will be dealing with, what the weather will be doing or what wildlife I will be mixing with. It’s really quite cool.

From the paddock into bush land. Wanted to show where I had lunch one day, it was so bright and sunny yet with enough tree cover to avoid direct sunlight. It is heating up quite a bit now and becoming really humid. Sweating while sitting – sound familiar Queenslanders!

The emptier backpack is a treat and a bloody good move should I say so myself. It almost feels like I am carrying a daypack, this is hiking.

There is now less opportunities to get some of the sweeping landscape shots as the trees all have their leave and the shrubs and other foliage block the views.

My foot is feeling a bit better but we shall update on that a bit later.

Hmmm didn’t want to get off the track to pee due to no coverage, however not sure if I want to now because of all the leaf coverage especially now having seen a few snakes. Speaking of which…

Came across this sign which had been here for a day already so I wasn’t sure if the Rattlesnake was still going to be there. But yes it was.

He had moved from the top of a big rock to inside the bushes, I passed a man with a dog prior so I figured the snake didn’t like the dog. I spoke with hikers at camp that night and they said the Rattlesnake had gone back to being cooked on the rock. I did have a bit of a look of course and could see its head and everything, but wasn’t going to try and get a better picture.

Then I was walking along minding my own business when I hear an unusual sound in the brush, I pulled out my earphones and heard these two little guys scampering up the tree. I haven’t backed up so fast, with eyes darting around everywhere, adrenaline pumping and ears scanning like radar for the sound of mama bear rushing me.

As I was backing up I could help but take a couple of pictures…of course. I then went and sat down where I was sort of hidden but could see them to see when I could pass. The tree they were up was right by the trail. I paced and sat for about an hour and a half before I went to go and have another look only to discover they had moved on. The whole time I was going through that area I was like ‘it’s all good just hiker hiking, no threats moving on, nothing to see’, clearly this was for my benefit to help settle the nerves a little.

I thought my run ins with nature ended there, but no, I almost stepped on this guy and we had a bit of a foot/walking pole/snake head and body tête–à–têt. He seemed as freaked out as I was. Needless to say my little jig and retreat twisted my foot and it was painful again after that.

Finally after all of this I crossed over into Virginia. The state with the longest piece of the Appalachian Trail runnning through it. Many hikers talk about getting the Virginia blues as it feels as though you will never pass through it. Be interesting to see. To the side of me are two young fellows who have just started out from Damascus and are doing 400 miles over the next month heading SOBO (Southbound).

Hobbled into Damascus to rest up. I was originally going to pass through, however I picked up my bounced box from the outfitters, saw Imposter, (he had had to wait four days for a parcel, otherwise I never though I would see him again for a while anyway) and headed straight to Bobos for lunch.

I then went to check out a recommended B&B up the road, got into the patio when the thunderstorm hit. Man what a sight and sound. The rain was so heavy you almost couldn’t see the other side of the road. The thunder cracked and boomed. Unfortunately for me though, there was a sign on the door that there were two rooms available but I had to ring to secure one, which was impossible due to no device. So I sat there for an hour while the storm raged on…then watched it peter out.

Damascus isn’t big so I wandered down to find a phone when I came across another B&B and despite no internet and being a bit pricey, my foot was sore, I was tired and just wanted a bath and to relax.

What an eventful few days and am looking forward to more. 😊

One comment

  1. Finally some bears, yee-ha! I’d never spot the snakes until I was on top of them…give me the damn willies they do. If u yellow it through parts of VA, perhaps you’ll escape the blues and hopefully not miss anything to exciting while giving your foot a bit of a break. You still sound determined (stubborn?) and in good spirits despite the setbacks, which is great. Keep it up Serena 👏🏼🐻🦌

    Liked by 1 person

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