Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Virginia's for lovers

It was back to around freezing temperatures and my body froze - ice blocks for hands and feet.  It had rained and a cold front followed on the 4th, freezing my readjusted-to-warmer-nights body to the core.  Waking up on the 5th was maybe the coldest I've been on the trip thus far.  I packed up my pack with numb hands that hurt from the cold and with no desire to sit around and stay cold, I started hiking.  On cold mornings it reminds me of swimming in an ocean.  The sun comes up through the trees, shining warm spots on the trail in places - you hike from cold to... OOO warm spot!  I wasn't warming up and my gloves, that I was going to send back home the weekend before, seemed to only be trapping the cold in.  I blew hot breath on each finger through the gloves, just to get some feeling in them.  I hiked for a couple miles and came to an opening where the sun shone down - I thawed out for half an hour.  It felt glorious as my blood warmed up and circulated through my fingers and toes.

Virginia has been beautiful.. the open countryside
has been a welcomed change of scenery.  I hiked down to Atkins on the 5th through waist high grass, on rolling hills.  As I reached some train tracks and a river, I startled three deer drinking, and they hopped away quickly, over shrubs and through trees.  One of the deer sprinted across the tracks and jumped over a farm's fence and hop/ran straight up the hill in front of me.  What and amazingly graceful sight it was as he ran away.  It was too cool and too quick of a moment to get my camera out in time.  It reminded me of how Bella runs with her tall, lanky body bounding over open field.  The deer stopped suddenly and looked back at me and then took off. 

I got down to Atkins and stopped at the Barn Restaurant, where I downed a 16 oz. cheese burger dubbed the "Hiker Burger" with Pumpkin and Free.  I sat around lazily for a couple hours, letting the calories digest and letting the bright sun in the cloudless blue sky warm it up to 60 degrees, from the freezing temperatures of a couple hours earlier.  I set back out in the afternoon with a 24 oz beer and hiker Mexican food (steak fajita flavored rice side and fajita chicken tortilla stuffers) planning to do my own little Cinco de Mayo celebration.  I met up to Toaster and Tramp, who had just downed some beers themselves, and started hiking with Toaster, as Tramp went back to Atkins for more beers.  Toaster was obviously feeling good from the beers, and I was just feeling good in general, and we ended up rolling down a huge grass hill, racing like little kids.  I kept hiking when Toaster stopped for the night and the day just kept getting better.

I hiked late and as the sun was setting I came to privately owned farmlands full of cows, pooping and mooing and staring at me right on the trail.  It was such a great view up on an open hill, with cows walking around me and the sun setting, a perfect end to my best day hiking yet.

My mom and Doug picked me up in Bland, VA on Saturday, and the rest of the crew joined us on Sunday for a few days of awesome food, a bed and great company.  I've done shorter hiking days the last three days, so they could join me for them and the terrain has been some of the easiest so far.  My body's feeling incredibly energized and I feel ready to shoot out of a cannon tomorrow when they leave to go back to Atlanta.  The tornado of a week and a half ago is in the past and the beautiful countryside and incredible weather is blessing the present.  I'm loving every second of Virginia and the "Viriginia Blues" I've heard so much about, seem to be an outrageous sentiment of those whose priorities are off, haha.  How could you ever get tired of Virginia??



  1. Virginia is a beautiful place. My aunt has a house that her husband built with his own hands up there in the mountain town of Craigsville, our family has been up there so many times. I remember me and my brothers when we were little would run around in the fields with her dogs and we would lay on the grass at night and look at the millions of stars we could never city. It's still the most beautiful place to me, I would love to retire there.

    The way that cow looked at the camera was so deliberate, it looked like he had a lot to say! ha it made me laugh. Very cool.

    cheers mike, thanks for sharing.

  2. lol.... stars we could never *see in the* city.