We are finally zero-ing!!! We have been out since Damascus, 150 miles and 10 days ago! Our minds and bodies are SO in need of a break and man, have we found the perfect break for it. Check out the hostel's website at . We got here at about 11am and will not be leaving until sometime Thursday. We are staying in the bunkhouse and will be having community dinners with most of the produce grown in the organic gardens here with meats and other things produced locally. I just took a shower in the outdoor shower with some amazing Amish-made soap (after not showering for ten, yes ten days) and we get an authentic Southern breakfast in the morning. I am sitting in the study listening to folk music and will be once again browsing the book shelved filled with books on yoga, sustainable living, appalachian trail stuff, religions, nutrition, herbs and plans, and anything else any good library needs! So basically we are here for some much needed R&R.
Trail Stuff: Weather is still pretty excellent, we had some crazy rain, but once again, it started around 9pm and tapered off by 7am. YES! Virginia is GORGEOUS. We have walked through more pastures and meadows than I have ever even seen in my life. Encounters with cows are regular. We also walked through Grayson Highlands after leaving Damascus which is littered with wild ponies: bold, people-friendly mini-horses set up there to graze and keep the balds in tact. They also of course provide a whole lot of fun for bored hikers!!! Plenty more pictures in the albums listed above!
Otherwise, we are starting to see why VA is the 'green-tunnel'. Spring has set in and we get great cover from the sun from all of the leaves, but at the cost of views. We are totally OK with it though, because the forest is gorgeous, and when we get views, they are so incredible, the landscape here is very unique with vast farmlands and flat-topped, long-runing ridgelines covered in green.
We also stumbled upon some amazing trail magic a few days ago - the Hillbilly Feast, set out by 2 brothers who are section-hiking the trail. We sat in chairs with other hikers, by a dirt forest road in the middle of nowhere, and stuffed our faces with chili dogs, cole slaw, tater salad, chips, fresh fruit and veggies, homemade desserts, ice cream, and beer. A total win for these two haggard hikers!
I don't want to bore you with every play by play, but we are still having such a great time out here. I feel like an athlete with my fat burning away, replaced by muscle, and a seemingly nearly endless supply of energy in my muscles that keeps me firing up and over hills and mountains. I have also really fallen in love with some parts of the south. The pace of life here and the simplicity of the towns is really endearing. The people just as much so. Not to mention the food is so great - pancakes, ice cream, pies, diners, etc. I can totally see myself living somewhere in VA on a sustainable farm, much like the place I am sitting right now, listening to folk music, tappin my feet and drinking sweet tea. This experience has taught me how to appreciate the little things, as I've said many times on this blog, as well as to knock myself down physically and mentally, only to build myself back up to finish the day strong. We live simply, we persevere, and we grow every day. Every day we laugh, sweat, hike, run out of breath, eat, and eat, and eat, spend time appreciating the beauty of nature and the community around us. If you have ever wanted to try hiking this trail, or even just a section of it, do it. I have seen placed that I could never have imagined. The beauty of a view, the simple pleasure of a meadow, or the cozy, small mountain town charm of the south. The amount of personal time is incredible too. I have never been able to think about my life, what I have done and what I want to do, among everything else, as continuously and as deeply as I can out here.
Time is short on the internet here so I gotta run. We also have yoga here at the Hostel in an hour so I need to ready myself for that!!!