I’m 3 days in on TransAmerica, writing on trail from the tiny, rustic community of Greenwood, Virginia on the periphery of the Shenandoah Valley. I took a break from TransAmerica as I compose this article to attend Damascus’ Trail Days festivity as an Appalachian Trail alumni. My friend Thorny from last year’s AT hike picked me up here on his way down.
I averaged about 70 miles each of my first three days headed Northwest from Yorktown on Virginia’s coastline. The terrain has been comparatively easy, especially my first day with the wide roads of the Colonial Parkway and the protected bike path of the Virginia Capital Trail. Farmland, suburbia, and historical monuments have been my surroundings thus far.
My anxiety on being alone on the trail has abated a little as my first two days I’ve met a handful of thru-cyclists each evening, as well as folks very interested in my journey. I also now feel re-acclimated to the backpacking mindset and feel much more confident about mindfully accepting those nights alone as they come. I know this will be different from the social atmosphere than in Appalachia. In serious business, I’m still debating whether or not to re-adopt my trail name of Scavenger out here!
Photography on Trans America with my DSLR is going well. I was very fortunate to have been gifted a wide angle lens (thank you, Erik!) just before setting out, which has enabled a lot of the landscape photos I’ve taken. My experiments with portraiture have so far been an excellent challenge. I’ve taken some I’m proud of, salvaged others to a passable level, flubbed a few and overall, I’m psyched to continue working on it. Approaching strangers to take their photos and composing a shot is a skill that must be mastered through practice.
The hills get real from here on as I enter the Blue Ridge Parkway. The swamping 90+ heat that assailed me my first few days has broken, so I’m hoping to hit the more mountainous elevations here with ease. I’m feeling optimistic on the journey overall now, and as I depart Trail Days back to the road, I look forward to visiting Damascus soon again, next time by bicycle (T-minus one week?)