My son, Bill, picked me up along with several other 2013 thru hikers that I had met on AT my last several days of hiking this year. Honey, Mooner, (a nice just married couple) and Bear Paw, rode with us to Trail Days from Hot Springs, NC.
On Friday, Bill and I along with a new friend, Brad, that we had met the night before in camp, set out to bike the Virginia Creeper Trail. It was something that I’ve been wanting to do since last year when I noticed that the AT actually overlaps a couple of miles with the Virginia Creeper Trail. After renting bikes, we got on the shuttle to the top of the mountain and rode back down the trail beside the Laurel River to Damascus, VA. We spent about three hours riding down, taking a long lunch stop and enjoying many sight seeing breaks along the way. The rat snakes seemed to be out in force sunning themselves on the many trestles that exist along the way. On one trestle alone, I think we counted three snakes just hanging out…pretty cool!
It’s an unbelievable bike ride and I would recommend it to anyone!
My favorite part of the weekend was seeing and visiting with some of the great folks that were out on the trail with me last year…Video, Grok, Meat, Rummy, Sharkey, Walking Home, Sean (Warrior Hike), Mandela and Terranauta. I also enjoyed visiting tent city, about a mile of out town, where most of the hikers stayed, and strolling through the many areas set up for vendors and equipment representatives that came to Damascus for Trail Days this year. It was a great time for reminiscing!
However, my first Trail Days experience turned out to be a bit tragic. On Saturday afternoon, the parade I was walking in with the hiking class of 2012 had just gotten over the first bridge into town when suddenly a car accident happened less than fifty yards behind me. An elderly man apparently having a medical issue drove into the parade hitting and injuring around 50 to 60 people. The good news is no one was killed, but the accident definitely put a damper on the rest of the festivities for the weekend. Here’s a link if you haven’t already heard about what took place during the hiker parade this year at Trail Days. It was a shocking experience, but everyone quickly rushed to clear the hikers in the parade and help out those who were injured.
I’m pretty excited to say that my next long distance journey, towards summer’s end, will be a 280 mile fourteen day Aqua Blaze. Any guesses where?