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Dirk's Rambles

April 30, 2021, 2:47 pm

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I am now in Damascus Branch Library, staying at Crazy Larry's Hostel. Larry has been a good host so far, cooking us a nice breakfast this morning. His prices are higher ($60/night), almost double what I have paid at other hostels. However, a place to sleep in Damascus is hard to find with so many other hikers coming through at the same time. Damascus has a population of about 800 people so there isn't much commerce here except hikers who come through in big number only about a month or two during the year, so their capacity is low.

Had hope to meet Bruce Hartshorn in Damascus. He is a college friend and all around good guy. However, he had a preplanned trip to visit his grandson. Grandchildren always take priority!

I have been back on the trail now since April 25. From that date until April 29th I have covered 75.2 miles. I have crossed several important thresholds. I passed the 400 mile point on April 25. And I crossed into Virginia yesterday. Virginia is the longest state on the trail, covering 542 miles. I expect to be in Virginia for at least 5 weeks, most likely 6 weeks for longer. Had several nice experiences over the course of the last five days.

Met Kilt, a hiker who I camped with the first night back on the trail. As his trail name suggests, he wears a kilt. Great to see. I am considering making that move.

I saw my first black bear yesterday as I was coming into Damascus. It happened around 8:40 am about three miles from the Abingdon Gap Shelter in Tennessee. The bear saw me first and started running from my left to my right. It was big, with a very large hind quarter. It was gone in four seconds, so no time for a picture.

Met a group of guys who were section hikers yesterday who were a ton of fun. Brother Blood, Maverick, Great White, Fargo, and Steve. We just seemed to hit it off. We had lunch together yesterday after we got into town. Much laughter and just exchanging stories about our experiences. They are from all over the country. They get together for trips several times a year. Hope to see them again sometime in the future!

Had dinner in the evening with Mule and Five Pound, who I met somewhere around mile 30 with Brad early in this trek. We had dinner with them several times early in the trip. Also joining us was Fire Goddess, who started her trek on March 8, one day after Brad and I. Theresa called near the end of dinner, who we all did a video chat together. On the chat on Theresa's end was Fred and Susan Shultz, two close friends of ours. It was great seeing them all.

I am taking a zero today (April 30th) and will hit the trail tomorrow.
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