Zero in Damascus Virginia. 470.1 done/1719.7 to go. April 15, 2017

Alright. I have done my shakedown. I reduced my pack weight 4 pounds 2 ounces. That’s pretty good. I will weigh it tomorrow morning after I pack to see where I’m at. The problem is I had to resupply on food because it’s going to be more than five days when I will be able to. So I’m leaving with seven days of food. So I may have put 4 pounds back in. 

Here’s what I got rid of. Spare glasses in glasses case. Jar of Vaseline. I brought it in case of chafing. Haven’t needed it. Trail toes cream for blisters. Stopped using it three weeks ago. Two shirts. One flannel. I still have three shirts left. Roll of duct tape. That was just plain heavy. Bottle of honey. Container of cinnamon. Those were for my oatmeal. I’ve decided I don’t like cooking in the morning so I’m switching to Clif bar for breakfast. Also sent home my fingernail clippers. My friend Alli recommended that I not take them because I have toenail clippers and I can use those for both. She was right of course. I should have listened. This is the flannel shirt. This of course was the cold start. 

Next I went to the outfitters store. I’ve learned from them and other hikers that Leki has a lifetime warranty on their trekking poles. Pretty sure that they will send me new poles. I’m the meantime the owner of the outfitters store told me to bring my broken pole in for him to see. I did and he used spare parts he had in his back room to piece them back together. They don’t match, but they are the same length again. NO CHARGE! Trail magic. 

Then Engineer and I walked the 1.2 miles across town to dine on all you can eat pizza buffet. After stuffing ourselves we went to the grocery store to resupply. Very nice store but very long wait at the checkout and VERY unfriendly cashier. Definitely not Hy-Vee. 

Then we went back to the hostel and reorganized our stuff and relaxed. I got to talk to Amy, my mom and dad and both my girls. I talked to Ryan yesterday and today. So I’ve taken advantage of  the cell service and access to electricity for charging my phone. 

Now I’m at a restaurant sipping a Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA. I believe I’m going to order the sirloin steak. 

Now in my quest to talk about my gear I’m going to mention my next most important item after water purification. That’s footwear. You can’t do this without taking really good care of your feet. 

I felt like when I went into this that my ultra running experience gave me the advantage of having my footwear choice dialed in. I was right. 

First I would tell you that probably 70% of the hikers wear trail runners, not hiking boots anymore. Perfect. I chose Brooks Cascadias for shoes and Features socks. This is my fourth pair of Cascadias. They have always done well for me. Same with Features socks. 

I have only had a couple “nuisance ” blisters. On scale of 1-10 they were about a 2. 

I will say though that my shoes are taking an absolute beating. The rocks are unbelievable. I don’t mean walking on rocks. It’s big rocks and you are constantly stepping between them and the uppers are getting squeezed between and rubbing against. I actually have holes in them already. Here’s a before hike and now. 

I had been thinking that I might be able to do the whole 2200 miles only using two pair of shoes. That’s obviously not going to happen. It’s going to take three or four pair. These shoes have about 520 miles on them when you include my shakedown hike in the Mark Twain National Forest. I’m guessing they have somewhere between 100-300 miles left in them. Trail conditions of course will dictate that. 

I would like to mention that this pair of Cascadias was a very generous gift from my three best training partners. Stacey, Mindy and Rob. THANK YOU. 

7 thoughts on “Zero in Damascus Virginia. 470.1 done/1719.7 to go. April 15, 2017

  1. A zero is never really a zero with all the “town” chores to do. But it is a good opportunity to eat multiple times a day and soothe the hiker hunger. You are making fantastic time! At the rate you are going you WILL finish ahead of schedule. The “easy” part is yet to come. Any plans on coming back for trail days? Enjoy tagging along and thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Not really. I skipped it on my thru hike but went the following year. It is a great time catching up on friends and finding out the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when and why’s) of hikers you have met and hiked with. Another way of staying in touch is to leave notes in the journals at shelters but you already know that. Anyway, keep eating and having fun.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad to hear you got your pack weight down a little (although it doesn’t sound like the heavy pack was slowing you down at all!). You’re blazing right along! Love all your posts and pictures 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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