I put my earbuds in and turned some music on for the first time. That was a real lift. I locked into a brisk pace and made it to Damascus before dark. 27.2 miles. My longest day yet.
I really like Engineer. For all you Hy-Vee people, he reminds me of Tyler Soderberg. He just graduated with his degree in civil engineering. He decided he wanted to do something epic before he goes into the work force.
Damascus is small with a population of 800. The Appalachian Trail goes right through town. It’s definitely a trail town and the biggest boost to their economy is hikers. Cycling is also a big thing here. So there are three outfitters in town.
My legs and feet are tired and so I’m in need of a rest. What was going to be a Nero is now going to be a Zero. On the trail a zero is a day off the trail. A nero is obviously a near zero or short day.
Engineer is taking a zero also. We’re going to start together tomorrow morning. I’ve been doing the same mileage as he for a couple of weeks. The funny thing is we seldom hike together. I’m an early riser, so I’m always on the trail first. Engineer is faster than I so he is usually passing me sometime between noon and mid afternoon.
Crazy Larry includes breakfast and does your laundry as part of the bunk price. This morning he made eggs and bacon pancakes. I’ve already had the equivalent of a full pot of coffee.
I’m not making coffee on the trail. It’s definitely one of my “town treats”.
Today I’m going to do a “shake down”. I’m going to mail some things home that I haven’t needed. The goal will be to lighten my pack. When I blog tonight I’ll list the things I eliminate.
Now that I’ve got in the habit of blogging I’m very happy I’m doing it. It will ultimately be my own personal journal of my trip. I’m surprised how many of you are reading this every day. I am humbled by your interest. This is the experience of a lifetime and I’m still happy I’m doing it.
I do miss home though. I miss Amy. I miss my kids and grandkids. I have said that next year I’m going to cycle across America. I’m rethinking that now. I don’t think I want to be away from Amy and my family this long again.
I have enjoyed meeting people on the trail. Just like at work I meet all kinds. There are some interesting people. I have also enjoyed some of the alone time. I loved starting out with Keith and then hiking with Deb Dop. I very much look forward to hiking with friends and family in the future. I know Ryan and I will cherish our time together. He has been my hiking buddy in the past.
So I was projecting this would take me five months. Today is exactly one month since I began. 20% of my five months. I am 21.5% done with mileage so I’m exactly on schedule.