Trail Days is a yearly festival and arguably the biggest social event of the season for hikers. Many people get off the trail and find their way to Damascus for the weekend, regardless of where they are in their thru-hike. Initially we had planned to walk into Damascus just as Trail Days started, but throw in a few unexpected zeros (it's just so fun in towns!) and we are a little off schedule. But that's the beauty of the trail... there is no schedule. Thanks to a very sweet and generous friend (we love you, JT!) we will be getting picked up in Hampton later this week and driving in with him for the weekend. All of our trail friends will be in town and we will get to see all of our Damascus friends that we have been missing so very much. Giant WIN.
After Trail Days we are going to try to do big miles (and perhaps some slack-packing to aid in said miles) to meet up with Serial's parents the following weekend. They are living full time in an RV and traveling the country so we are going to stay with them for a night or two and catch up. Basically we have some really awesome weekends in our immediate future.
But let's back up a minute and fill you in on the past few weeks. We're just shy of our 400th mile on the trail and we are still loving it. Our month-long streak of sunshine was finally broken and we got our first (and second, third, fourth...) taste of hiking in heavy rain. It's crazy how quickly you can become a soggy, muddy mess. Hiking in the rain isn't so bad, but waking up the next morning to put the wet clothes back on again... that's the real kicker. Such is life though and as long as we have dry camp clothes to sleep in, life is good.
We also had a few amazing trail magic experiences. Trail magic is anything unexpected along the trail that brings a smile to a hiker's face. It can be food or drinks waiting for us at a road crossing, donated by a kind stranger. Or it can be someone who offers to take your trash for you (when you are carrying 3-4 days worth of wrappers this is a nice surprise). The trail magic we had though... man, it was good. Prepare to be jealous.
First we got a visit from our friends The Letter People. JT, L and E (get it?) are the sweetest family you can imagine and they drove up to a fire tower with a massive amount of food and drinks to join us for a night. We had amazing views from the tower and had such a great night chatting and eating. JT & L made us all veggie burritos and guacamole for dinner and egg burritos from their farm-raised free-range chickens the next morning. They also brought in endless fresh fruit and margaritas to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. It was amazing. Our friend Piedmont put it best the next morning when he muttered "did that just really happen??" in a dazed voice. Trail magic at it's finest. Thank you, Letter People!!
Then a few days later we got another visit from a Damascus friend, Dennett! He was traveling back from work and passing by us so he decided to run the trail to meet us then hike back out with us. He ended up running about 7 miles in and then hiking 7 back out... and they were not flat miles! He's a machine. He brought a bunch of pop, beer and snacks for us and ended up sharing it with a group of hikers who were all dodging the rain that day. It was such a fun surprise and awesome to see him. Thank you, DD!
And as if those two weren't magic enough... we had our first trail magic from a complete stranger. Two former thru-hikers had set up on top of Beauty Spot, which is where had planned to camp that night. They brought curry vegetables and rice, homemade cookies and a massage chair. Yep, you heard me. A MASSAGE CHAIR. One kind stranger was studying to be a massage therapist and needed to complete his community service hours so he thought, who better to practice on than hikers. We are sore pretty much everyday so to say we were excited was a giant understatement. Thank you, Tim and Andrea!!
So now you are all caught up. As always, thanks for the love and support. We miss you all!!