Tuesday, June 3, 2014

10 YEARS AGO, 2nd May email

Subject: Troutville, VA (Daleville)
Date: Thursday, May 20, 2004, 7:02 PM

McAfee Knob
Hey Everyone! Sorry my last email didn't give much of an update. I am feeling much better and have myself back together to type our happenings. Since i didn't write much of our hike out of Damascus VA, i will start there. As you know our friend Bernie started hiking with us there. It was also the beginning of our hike in Virginia. We can't tell you how excited we were to hit VA. Many hikers dread the length of Va (it is 25% of the entire AT). But we have been thrilled since we have so many friends and family that live here and want to come see us. (starting in Damascus and all the way up to New York where many of my friends are). Bernie got to experience every kind of weather with us: Sunny Hot & humid, Hot and rainy, Collllld and rainy, Cold and windy with ice forming on the trees etc... It was great ;-) We realized how great the club that maintains this portion of the trail is...beautiful shelters and they believe in Privy's :-) (TN did not :-(. We had "traffic jams" on the trail due to the cows. A few spots they would be around and we wouldn't be able to walk any further until they "mooo"ved. We hiked by wild ponies and their babies. Cute as can be. Went over Mt. Rogers, our last big elevation until we get more north. Bernie also got to experience the blisters and muscle aches that we have been for 2 months. (hope you have recovered Glyda). We enjoyed his company tremendously. The energy he brought to us was so helpful to get us to this next stage of the trail. We said good-bye to him in Atkins, VA (where he drove us around some so we can get real food, resupply at the grocery store and do our laundry), then we set off for a few more miles to end the day.

Since then...the cold weather is gone (phew) but spring was skipped and summer is here. Sean is having trouble with the heat and humidity. I am loving it right now. But yes, we are sweating more than ever. We have had thunderstorms every day for 14+ days now. It is really neat to hike in and the rain really cools us off. (funny how the times have changed :-). Listed as a favorite - Town food that became my enemy and listed as a not so favorite - wind and rain which has become a wonderful relief on a hot day now.
We have come across some of the most amazing creeks and waterfalls that we have been able to take long breaks at and actually get in to cool off. We have even bathed in them. At the falls, i sat down under them and let the water just crash down on me....let me tell you....life just doesn't get better than that. As much as we go through the rough and smell and crave....life is so wonderful and beautiful out here.
So, we hit Pearisburg, ended up having to stay in the motel after i couldn't handle normal food and threw up lots of blood. Felt much better the next day. We set off back into the woods. Since then, the hikes have been amazing with views. If you ever get to chance to hike in VA....go south. McAfee Knob was unbelievable. Think of a cliff high up in the sky with a view of the moutain ranges. The great thing about this knob too is that it was at the end of our hike, 1/2 mile before our campsite. So, after the rain during the day, the sky cleared up, we ended up cooking our dinner up on the knob on the rocky top - watching the sunset - then hiking in the dark to get to camp. It was just so wonderful. The next day our first break was as Tinker Cliffs - another amazing spot. We hiked over huge rocks - our hike turned more into bouldering. How fun!!!!! we had a blast.
We have enjoyed picking fresh mint growing in the woods and putting it in our tea or water. We hope to find some ramps again (onions) to spice up our freeze dried food and raman noodles. The wild berries are starting to come out so we will be keeping our eyes out for those to give us some new flavors to enjoy. The wildflowers in the moutains are amazing. The beauty of them just can't be put into words. And of course, on the bad side, the bugs are horrible now....the bug bites are driving us crazy. :-) as well as the stickyness and never having dry clothes or skin for that matter. Sleeping has been rough, feeling damp all night. But we have managed.
Our mood - although beautiful views, since Pearisburg, Sean and I have probably had our most down week. Our motivation was lacking, sluggish and tired and just feeling like the hikes each day were forever. Usually we have the other one to get us out of that mood, but it was rough for us to both be feeling that way. The good news, Troutville - got here on Tuesday May 18th, our friend Mike "Smitty", from Deep Creek Lake, as promised, came down to see us. His family lives near Roanoke, near the trail, and came down and has been spoiling us. He set us up in a hotel the first night, took us to dinner and a movie. It was just the perfect night and the perfect medicine we needed to get our motivation back. The next 2 days he hiked 20 miles with us (day hike) and we are staying with him and his family for 2 nights. We will be back with our large heavy packs on our back tomorrow, Friday. Again,. to see a friendly face from home, Sean and I hiked so fast to get to Troutville to see him as early in the day as possible. Again, as with Bernie, it brings us new energy to get us to the next stage. And again, he also got to experience blisters and foot pain and fatigue.... (we really are not evil, don't fear coming out to hike with us....;-) We will see Sean's family next week in Waynesboro and then we have many of you planning to see us in the days and weeks after that. So, we think we are going to be full of energy for a while.
Most of you have read this already but just in case you haven't, you should read the book "a walk in the woods" by Bill Bryson. It is a great read, and all about what we are doing out here.
That is all for now. Again, we will be starting to hike the Shenandoahs on Friday of Memorial day weekend. For those that are interested, we will be hiking over I-70 in Maryland on Monday June 7th and camping at Greenbrier state park. I know many of you are already planning to come out and camp with us...the more the merrier. Hope to see as many faces as possible.
We will be in D.C. area for a couple zero days. We will get in Tuesday night June 8th and leave Sunday morning June 13th.
So, keep thinking of us out here in the moutains. We are so greatful for this opportunity.
Again, we miss you all. and look forward to hearing from you. Your emails have been great. we have been really enjoying reading your 10 things in life you want to do. Keep them coming. And next week i will have more fun things for you to do....heeheehee!!!!
Sean & Jen

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