Damascus (469.2) to Pink Slipper camp (486.2)
Rain was forecast in the morning, clearing to blue sky in the afternoon. No rush to get on trail. Crazy Larry cooked up a large high calorie breakfast which left me feeling like a beached whale. Very slowly I packed up my gear, but not before taking another luxurious hot shower for no other reason than I could.
I visited the post office to post off my bounce box to my next expected rest day town, some 400 trail miles away or 3 weeks hiking. I stocked up on some alcohol fuel for my stove then then Shogun, Delicate Flower and I made our way to Subway. I love to pack out Subway to eat on trail so I got my sub to go, thanks again Mary Alice. The others thought it a good idea and did the same. Shogun showed me how he used technology to pay for his Subway, just swipe your phone. Some sort of Apple Pay or similar. It was 12pm midday when we started hiking.
Damascus is not only a well known town on the Appalachian Trail it is also a well known cycle touring town. Many cycling tourists stop here as it’s on the Trans Am route that crosses the country and the famed Creeper Trail goes through town, it’s a flat rail trail.
The Appalachian Trail runs parallel to the creeper trail. Many hikers follow the rail trail as its flat rather than hike this section of the Appalachian Trail. We all decided to head into the hills. With my 2 Ultra Marathoners as hiking buddies we made good time, stopping only to pee. The couple of litres of soda at Subway had me well and truely over hydrated.
We chose a campsite at the base of the famed Grayson Highlands at a campsite very near the rare wildflower called Lady Slippers. These rare flowers grow in a patch right near the trail just north of highway 58. Day hikers make the pilgrimage to this site to see the spectacle. We set up camp in the flat grove of pine trees nearby and enjoyed our subs for dinner. I’m looking forward to the hike tomorrow, The Grayson Highlands, if I’m lucky I might see some wild ponies or climb the highest mountain in Virginia or both.
[note: there is a problem with adding captions to photos, sorry]