Saturday, 7 July
|Destination: Damascus||Today’s Miles: 9.4|
|Start Location: Abingdon Gap Shelter||Trip Miles: 470.3|
To add a little excitement to my last night on the trail, I was awoken at one in the morning. There was some noise and a headlamp shining into the shelter. I was expecting it to be a late hiker looking for room to sleep. Instead, we were asked “Do you know David Cooper?” and told that the the hiker with the headlamp was the advance crew of the fire department and that others would be by. He was followed by a northbound ATV with flashing red lights, two groups heading south and two more ATVs heading south. Since the Abingdon Gap Shelter was ten feet from the trail, this made for a busy trail from one to two am. I finally fell back asleep.
I was awake about five thirty in anticipation of meeting Dolora this morning. Fortunately, Professor, who I was sharing the shelter with, was also up early so I was not disturbing him. I had breakfast and packed before hitting the trail at six thirty. The day dawned cool. bright and clear. I passed many southbound day and section hikers as I got closer to Damascus. I averaged over two and a half miles an hour over the easy mostly downhill terrain. I hit Damascus at ten and called Dolora to see when she expected to arrive. She expected to get there about eleven.
This gave me time to head over to the Woodchuck Hostel. This is where I ended my southbound section last year. I had an ice cream and a soda before taking a much needed shower and changing into some clean clothes. I thought Dolora would be a little more receptive to seeing me, after a shower. I gave her another call to get an update and walked over to the outfitter. I looked around for about ten minutes before getting a text that Dolora was parked across the street. After a hug (See, the shower worked), I changed into some cotton clothes after wearing wool and synthetics for the last six weeks. Then it was off to the Damascus Diner for some lunch. A couple of burritos later and we were on the way home via Charlottesville. This gave us the opportunity to bring home some Bodo’s bagels and stop at the Moo Thru for some ice cream and a milk shake.
Got home and unpacked. First up was laundry for the smelly clothes. Gear was sorted and set out to dry. Tomorrow it is time to clean things and pack them away. Dinner at the local Italian restaurant for an antipasto satisfied for meat, cheese and fresh vegetable cravings. Lots of good homemade baked goods for dessert. I will be spending some time this evening Googling “How to get the stink out of your backpack”.
Spending time with my special Trail Angel, Dolora, who dropped me off, met me in the middle, and picked me up along with mailing packages. This would not be possible without her dedicated support.