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My style of doing The Trail -- about which I have spoken several times -- inevitably leads to a few gaps in the miles I have hiked over. Specifically, I have missed about thirty miles of the A.T. just north of Damascus. Fortunately, my "Free Shuttle, With Benefits"
had a few days off during her university's fall semester break. Thus, we went down to that area for R&R, and completion of my miles.

I can hardly call it backpacking when I spend my nights in sleeping quarters like these:
Or start the day with breakfast buffets that have food like this:
Or enjoy evening meals like this:

But I DID walk the miles. This included several over which the A.T. is parallel to -- and, for a couple miles, co-linear with -- the Virginia Creeper Trail. The latter is a bicycle trail that is JAMMED on long weekends during fall foliage season -- like the weekend I chose to hike! I saw about five hikers during my first day of hiking (about twelve miles), and about 500 bicyclists.
One of them, unfortunately, was bleeding from her forehead after she fell off her bike. If, like me, you also like to bike on trails designated for that, please WEAR A HELMET! My Red Cross training kicked in as I tried to find some type of gauze pad for her -- someone else was already holding a cloth to the bleeding -- and was glad when a nurse and, later, and E.R. physician came by to provide medically trained support. As I noted, I could provide first aid, while the nurse & doctor could provide second & third aid.

I could hardly blame the hundreds of cyclists for being out there -- conditions were close to perfect for enjoying the foliage.

The remnants of Hurricane Nate came through the area on Sunday & Monday, but when did a little rain stop a White-Blazer from adding to miles? With a mere eight more miles for completion of my gap, I just hit the trail, ready for any kind of downpour. Amazingly, I didn't get a single drop of rain of me. Two miles north of Damascus, however, I did see a bear wander along the trail for a few seconds. Just like my previous six bear sighting while walking along the A.T., this one was gone before I could get my camera out of its pack. The only difference was that this one didn't run away at full speed, it just looked at me for a couple seconds and then meandered on into the woods. It was as if it was saying, "What's that? Oh, a human -- whatever."

No surprise that I got passed by a few real backpackers. But I also PASSED a few day-hikers! Like I said earlier this year, maybe I'm not getting too old for this stuff.

This completes my trail miles for this calendar year, and I've now completed 1425 of them -- just short of two-thirds done. I'll pick up as soon as I can next year.

Updated 10-13-2017 at 16:49 by GoldenBear (Better photo)