Wednesday, April 16, 2014


I'M IN VIRGINIA! AND I'M SO EXCITED. We crossed the TN/VA border yesterday morning around 11am and then ran the last 3.5 miles to Damascus, VA. Damascus is one of the more popular trail towns you come across. The trail cuts right through the middle of town - on the sidewalk!

 TN/VA Border. Snow in mid-April! 8|

Since Hot Springs, I've made a pretty great group of friends. I spend my days hiking with Geared Up and Wingin' It. Geared Up is actually from Portland! He hiked the PCT last year, doing the AT this year, and doing the CDT in 2016 to complete his Triple Crown. There are a lot of Triple Crowners out here - most notably, Shroomer. Shroomer is a self-proclaimed "old hippie" and probably the coolest man I've ever met in my life. He was telling me that the AT is the hardest of the three, physically. The CDT and PCT were created and graded for stock. They will switchback you up a mountain whereas the AT will run you straight up the side of it.

This made me feel better as I am usually withering away and dragging by mile 17ish every day.


I actually caught up to my people yesterday! I got to see Wees, Ice Party, Listen, Squirrel, Napoleon, Jenna, Hype - just everyone I had been hiking with previously, before my little home break. It was so nice seeing all of them again. They pushed ahead today but I decided to take a day off in Damascus and let my body heal a bit before hitting the trail again. I'll catch them again - have to take Ice to a dance party!

I have been averaging about 18 miles/day. We have really picked it up in the last few weeks. Have done a few 20+ mile days and a little bit of night hiking here and there. I don't like night hiking though. I'm usually scared shitless and just basically running. I like the comforts of my sleeping bag once the sun goes down- where I can enjoy my Snickers bar in peace, please and thank you. P sure there are at least 8 candy wrappers floating around in the bottom of my sleeping bag right now~

Other than a few aches and pains, my body is doing okay! I had a swollen ankle in Erwin, TN but things seem to be healing fine. I stayed in Kincora hostel in Hampton, TN - run by the trail-famous, Bob Peoples. He was the sweetest man and looked exactly like Grandpa Joe from Willy Wonka so of course, I immediately fell in love.


The hiking has been incredible, the people have been fantastic. We have had a lot of "trail magic" recently. We hitched into one town during one of our big days to have dinner and made some small talk with some other people having dinner in the restaurant. As they were leaving, they put $30 on our table and said, "your next meal is on us."

More trail magic. IT'S LIKE FINDING GOLD.

Just good people doing good things. Good good.

 Wingin' It eating the "HOLY COW!" - 5 patties, 3 buns, 6 pieces of bacon, cheese, a scoop of chili, 2 onion rings - all rolled into one heart attack. And he ordered a side salad. Champ.

The trail can be tough, but I am having such a great time. Whenever I have a down moment, something - or someone - will come along and pick me back up again. Finding the silver lining is key out here.
"I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'" - Vonnegut
 Next maildrop - if you'd like to send any letters, postcards, candy, whatever. I love it all.

Kristen Bacon
C/O Woods Hole Hostel
3696 Sugar Run Rd.
Pearisburg, VA 24134
Please hold for AT hiker
ETA April 22, 2014

PS. I am Prom Queen - officially and forever. It's growing on me.


  1. You are about to hike through the epic Grayson Highlands and Wilburn Ridge area. On a recent backpack trip there I met a dozen thru-hikers who were racing through...please, no night hiking there, savor that special place! Woods Hole Hostel is just wonderful. Neville is a tiny young woman filled with so much spirit. More wonderfulness after that: Dragon's Tooth, McAfee Knob, and a place you don't hear about as much but I think is even better, Tinker Cliffs. Here's wishing you much magic in southwest Virginia!

  2. But you knew all that, you're close to home :)

  3. I just found your blog and wish I had found it sooner! It's nice to make your acquaintance.

  4. I'm finally catching up on reading!! Noice Vonnegut quote ;)