Scavenger signing in from the crossroads of trails, Damascus, Virginia. It’s good to be back here so soon, but this time I’m not lingering as I beeline for the Kentucky border and out of my dear Appalachia. It’s been two Springs now of human powered travel across this state and the nostalgia’s been real this time. I’m grateful for the freedom to be out experiencing this wonderful stretch of country.
The vistas along this stretch of trail have been splendid. It’s so cool seeing some of the same mountain lines I walked across from the ground. I don’t have it quite “easy mode” though, the hills and elevation gains have gotten consistently more punishing as I’ve pushed closer to Damascus. The intensity through Kentucky won’t lessen either. It’s a little frustrating to go up these steep hills only to ride the brakes all the way down, but that triviality doesn’t dampen my spirits.
I haven’t struggled with the social life much either. I’ve been in a nice bubble of thru-cyclists, and even seen the occasional AT hiker. There’s been plenty of amiable company on the roads; the Warrior Cyclists, the Adventure Cycling guided group and a few one or two offs like myself. Listed campsites and churches along the route have offered a nice routine of evening socializing.
I’ve stayed in some cool places along this trip so far. In harmony with the wild up in the Blue Ridges was a highlight, and town parks have been a consistent hit as well. The top stay though would have to be Crimper’s Climbing Gym in Christiansburg, VA. They hooked me up with a spot to stay and get out of the rain, and offered me a glimpse into my fitness past (my upper body strength has already atrophied.)
Speaking of rain, consistent stormy weather has been putting a bit of a damper on things. I’ve been dodging or just dealing with storms most of this week. The weather entering Damascus was enough to slap a hypothermic chill on the ill prepared. I’d still take it over the ultra hot scorchers at this journey’s start though.
Next, it’s off to seek deliverance in Kentucky. I’ve been warned about its attack dogs and am packing heat if the hearsay turns out to be true. (That’s a reverse euphemism for pepper spray. ?)