Killed nearly 2 days bumming around and drinking local beer in Damascus. Awesome little hiking town.
Dad came in again to resupply me and then hike out and camp with me the first day. I took him to the local hiker bar which was having Taco Tuesday, $1.50 tacos and 1/2 price draughts. No brainier.
It rained that night, but we thought the worst was over. Wrong. We hiked out of Damascus in the pouring rain. Rained most of the day, but luckily stopped by the time we got to camp. Found an awesome spot by the river, used for trout fishing when it's warmer.
Said goodbye to dad and headed straight up Mt. Rogers, the last 5k peak for a while...I think anyways. Decent enough day, but it was supposed to bad again on Friday so I wanted to get up and over it before that happened. Ended up hiking further than I planned and went through Grayson Highlands State Park which is famous for it's roaming wild ponies. One in particular took quite an interest in me, wouldn't stop licking me, even followed me down the trail for a minute. I named her Maggie. If I get better signal soon, I'll try and post a video to YouTube. Walked most of the day and logged 25 miles. Rained that night and then continued raining most of the day, and then it got cold. Decided only a shelter would do so I ended up waking another 25 to get there. I've always heard rumors of a shelter on the AT that has a shower and that you can order pizza from because of its proximity to the nearest town's Pizza Hut. Well, needless to say I was more than a little thrilled to realize I had walked to that very shelter. Took a shower (notice the absence of the word "hot") but I didn't care, and put on dry clothes. Ate a full normal dinner and then set to order pizza with another thru hiker and a few southbound section hikers. Easily polished off a full medium even after all my normal food.
I had been hiking those two days with another thru hiker named "Yonder" from Munich, Germany. Since his communication lines are obviously worse than mine, he asked for my blog address to send home so they could keep track of roughly where he was. So...if you live in Germany and are reading this, Yonder is an awesome dude and a very fast hiker..it's all I can do to keep up with "The Flying German".
I don't know if Virginia got easy after that or if I got my real hiking legs, but I did another 25 each day for the next 2...knocking out 100 in 4 days.
Hit up Fresh Ground again this morning. Stuffed my face and then he drove me into town for a quick resupply. The man, the myth, and the legend is pictured below. (Also, my pancake record was beaten, but only by 1/2 a cake. He wasn't doing them this time, but said I'd have another stab at it next spot.
Hit the 600 mile mark today. My plan is to get up early, probably before the sun, and haul the 20 miles to an awesome, highly talked about hiker hostel. Will post an update from there.