It’s well past hiker midnight, and it’s actually well past real midnight too, so I’m wondering how in the world I’m still awake. Must be all that practice I’ve had over the years of being up late in Brooklyn or something…NYC represent, represent-zent! Maybe I’m up late because I just want to savor every second of real life that I can. (Or maybe because I don’t want the bottle of wine I bought tonight to go to waste). Either way, don’t get me wrong, I’m lovin’ the trail life, but I think what comes along with day and night after day and night of being exposed to the elements is a true appreciation of the little things that regular, modern life has to offer.
Take for example, this motel we’re staying at in lovely Buena Vista, VA. (That’s Buena pronounced like “tuna” by the way, go figure). Anyway, there’s laundry facilities, wi-fi, our room has a kitchenette where we were able to spread out and clean up and the owners are super-friendly folks who are in touch with what hikers need — a clean, dry room with space enough for all of our gear, HBO on the tv and food right nearby (they also run the Subway restaurant next door). Trust me when I say I’m not being facetious here, I really do appreciate all of this stuff in one location! I don’t have to go and filter my water, I don’t have to re-hydrate my food and I don’t smell like a mildewy goat! It’s pretty refreshing.
Out on the trail over the last 10 days, we’ve had a lot of damp, a lot of rain and not a lot of cell service. It’s kind of been a mix of cold San Francisco fog and muggy tropical rainforest, but with less rainbows and no monkeys. I did actually see a rainbow through the trees a few nights ago and it was fantastic! But as far as scenic vistas go, we’ll just have to come back to this section someday since we couldn’t make them out below the layer of cloud we were walking in. And our socks — yeeuuck! Ever accidentally leave your sweaty gym clothes in a plastic bag for a few days? That’s about what we’ve smelled like.
Some good things about the last 100+ miles though have been a.) the rhododendrons have finally come out to bloom, they’re beautiful and are out in full force, b.) we are continuing to up our average daily hiking mileage, and c.) the people just continue to be super awesome – both hikers and locals alike. We even got to stay at our hiker friend Sprout’s home in Catawba, VA! Special thanks go out to Papa Sprout for the delicious breakfast and all the hospitality.
So we continue to rack up the miles, we continue to take lots of photos (when it’s not too wet out), and we continue to learn about ourselves, our strengths and our limitations on a daily basis. There’s really a lot to be done out here when you think about it like that. All I really have to do is keep reminding myself that rain equals water sources and water is the key to life out here. (That and the lovely addition of tetra-pak organic malbec which I’ll be carrying out with me in the a.m.!)
As always, thanks for the support, the comments and the well wishes. And check out the latest page of my photos under the “Click’s Galleries” heading.
~Mel, Melissa, Click