Wednesday, April 30, 2014

682.9 - HOME

It's been a minute since I last posted and so much has happened!

Coming out of Damascus, we walked a bit on the VA Creeper Trail. I hadn't been back there since I biked it with Amanda. The Creeper is fantastic! The next day we hiked into Grayson Highlands. Grayson Highlands is probably my favorite place on earth.

It's full of "wild" ponies and is home to Virginia's highest point - Mt. Rogers. The ponies were brought to the highlands back in the 70s from Assateague Island. Since then, the ponies have taken over the area and they're FAAABULOUS. I named them all Tina Turner.

Me with Tina.

After Grayson Highlands we hit the 500 mile mark! I WOULD WALK 500 MILES...

We pushed to the famous Partnership shelter. You can actually get pizza delivered to the shelter! We decided to just hitch into Marion instead to have dinner at Macados. We were sitting at the bar and our bartender just so happened to be a former thru-hiker, named Rambunny. She's the fist woman to thru-hike the Trail 3 times... in 3 consecutive years. She was an incredible lady. We sat and chatted with her for a few hours and as we were leaving, she gave us all kisses on the forehead and told us we were going to make it. It's the little things like that that keep you going. Rambunny, hope you read this - it was such an honor to meet you! I'll be looking forward to hearing when you hike it again at 80!

The next day after Partnership was our biggest day to date - we ended at 25.5 miles that day. It was a pretty amazing day. We came across the Lindamood school. It was an old schoolhouse from the turn of the century and inside, we met a couple who had set up the best trail magic we've received the whole trip. Their son had hiked a few years ago, and they had a box full of everything a thru-hiker could need/want/dream of.

The wildlife sightings have really picked up. Lots of deer, a bald eagle! AND SNAKES. Andrew forgot to mention that the AT is full of snakes that want nothing but to kill me. I've seen 800 (4) anacondas (garter snakes) that came at me with their fangs (sat innocently as I screamed and sprinted away).

The last 50 miles went by rather quickly. I was feeling good after a quick stop in Pearisburg so I pulled a 27.1 mile day. I really want that 30! Took it out of me the next day though. I was dragging ass. But now, I'm sitting at my mom's house-turned-hiker hostel. We have 9 hikers (Kristo, Ice Party, Wees, Geared Up, Wingin It, Sisyfis, Sassafras, Hype) staying with us right now as the storms pass through.

This little break was just what I needed and I'm having the best time hanging out with everyone here. We've eaten well and spent our time watching movies and singing songs. Mom and Mike have been amazing. I can't thank them enough. Mom definitely needs to open her own hostel. She would be the best.

Hitting Dragons Tooth and the Homeplace tomorrow, McAfee and Tinker on Friday. It's so amazing to be hiking these hikes again and connecting them all. More soon!

Mail drops/packages/letters:

Kristen Bacon
C/O Rockfish Gap Outfitters
1461 E. Main St.
Waynesboro, VA 22980
ETA May 6, 2014

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