Happy Easter from the A.T.! Back in the day, a “singer” named Jerry Reed recorded a little ditty called “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot.” No, it did not turn into an ear worm, but in terms of hiking, today I was on fire!
After waking up to a gorgeous Easter sunrise, I was packing up when Grey Wolf walked by. I hadn’t seen him since he took a zero at Standing Bear Hostel, so it was a nice reunion. After he went on his way, I finished packing and departed at exactly 8:00 am. Two hours later, I took a break and discovered that I had walked 5.6 miles! Suddenly, I realized that if the trail stayed this easy, there was no reason that I couldn’t make it to Damascus, VA a day early. So I continued down the trail with visions of burgers and beer dancing in my head.
Most of the trail in this section is so flat that it reminded me of my Florida training hikes. There are certainly a few ups and downs but, with the exception of a 500 foot climb to Abington Gap Shelter, the trail maintained a gentle grade of less than five degrees. So I put my head down and kept on truckin’ down the Damascus highway.
By 2:00 pm, I reached the Virginia state line, another major milestone. That is three states down and eleven to go! However, over one-fourth of the A.T. is in Virginia, so I won’t be celebrating another state line crossing for many miles.
Just prior to Damascus, the trail descended through a really nice pine forest (I was very appreciative of the shade). The A.T. runs through the center of Damascus, and at 4:00 pm, I passed under the “Welcome to Damascus” arch, having covered 18.2 miles in eight hours (including two breaks and a 30 minute lunch rest).
I had already reserved a cabin at Woodchuck Hostel for Monday and Tuesday night, but since I was in town early, I headed there to see what might still be available. The cabin was already rented, and it turned out that Rock Hopper and Mandrake were staying there! I elected to simply camp in the backyard, so after sitting up my tent and taking a quick shower, I headed to town.
The entire gang was gathered at Bobo McFarland’s (the only place open Sunday night). I joined Boo Boo, Toodles, Maple, Rock Hopper, Mandrake, and another couple at a big table where we all got current on each other’s adventures. Bypassing the burger, I devoured a huge chefs salad and washed it down with an ice cold IPA (OK, maybe two IPA’s). After spending the day burning up the trail, I’m now ready for a good night’s sleep.