5/16 Damascus (22)

May 16, 2013 at 1:33 pm

We woke up knowing that we would hike to Damascus today. Bob Peoples drove us back up to the road crossing, taking half an hour longer than Saco without any stunt driving. It was exciting to get to meet Bob the legend, who has been doing volunteer trailwork and running the hiker hostel for decades, and who has inspired hundreds of AT themed Chuck Norris style jokes that line the shelter walls and compete for space in the log book (such as, ‘when Bob sleeps in a shelter, the mice guard his food’ or ‘when a zombie bit Bob, he came back to life and started building switchbacks’ or ‘why doesn’t Tennessee have many bridges over water crossings? Because when Bob goes hiking, the waters part before him’. It was a lot of fun to hear his stories as we drove (all of the old time AT hikers seem to have endless stories where something bad happens to Baltimore Jack).

Less than a mile from the AT, though, wecame across a truck that had gone off the road so Bob stopped to pull them out of the ditch and help them change their tire out. After the fiasco was over, we got a later start than we expected. At the beginning of the trail we found a field full of passed out youths – a sure sign that we were headed in the right direction for trail days. It seemed that RiffRaff, which is sort of like an Appalachian Trail Frat, had bestowed some alcoholic trail magic on a lot of hikers heading to Damascus and they were still recovering. As we were passing through the remnants of the RiffRaff run in, Quinoa poked his head out of a sleeping bag where he was cowboy camping next to the fire pit and the three of is proceeded to start our 22 mile trek.

The terrain for the day was pretty flat but the air was heavy and stale, the bugs were bad, and the water sources were nonexistent. After our first 10 miles we were getting a little grumpy and dehydrated when we walked down into a gap and a red pickup truck pulled up with two guys in it. ‘You guys want a drink?’ They asked us as they pulled out 3 huge coolers of beer and soda. They gave us water, pulled pork sandwiches, and several beers each. But the best part might have been the chairs. They had about 10 chairs in the back of their truck and the whole gaggle of hikers that showed up sat contentedly after a month of bad back support.
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After the beer, we were pretty tempted to just camp, but we pushed on to Virginia. At the border, we opened the beers that our benefactors Mitch and Jack had insisted we take and toasted to our 4th state.
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We are now 20% done with the trail, and we power hiked the last 4 miles to Damascus with Chicklette, Coon, and Seabiscuit, who were blasting music as they went. We arrived just as darkness fell and, for the second night in a row, hobbled towards shelter. We saw Smoky and Slider and Fresh and ended up staying in Billville, which was where the Bob Peoples crowd and a lot of the trail angels were. We found it when DocSpice flagged us down as we stumbled along and before we knew it we were sitting by a fire with rum, chili, and bananas in our hands. We made it to Trail Days in time!
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