AT 2016 Flashbacks Pt. 8: Damascus to Marion, VA

So we finally escaped the clutches of Damascus after staying there 6 nights (I know; bad, bad, bad)! After some beers at “Camp Wok,” we hiked out with Waterbug and made it to Saunders Shelter.

img_8898

There were some amazing views over the next couple days. Parts of the trail collaborated with the Virginia Creeper Trail, which is popular with bikers.

thumb_img_7390_1024

The day started sunny and then it started getting foggy and rainy, which made the trail super soupy. The views were still enchanting.

thumb_img_7395_1024

img_8900

thumb_img_7401_1024

We were hoping to squeeze into Thomas Knob Shelter, which fits 16 people, to avoid setting up in the rain, but it was unfortunately filled to the brim with hikers. I was bummed out, but it’s first come first serve. Given that that’s generally how it works, I was irritated by a fussy section hiker who thought it was okay to hike without a tent or hammock since he, “didn’t need one when he hiked in the off-season.” Pretty stupid to do when you’re hiking in high season right outside of Damascus and right after Trail Days no less. Fortunately for him, the hikers in the shelter were nice enough to let him in.

The next day, we hit our 500-mile mark (well, unofficially given the 14.4 miles lost to the wildfires in Hot Springs).

thumb_img_7404_1024
“Fat Man Squeeze”

img_8901

We also got to pass through Grayson Highlands State Park, known for its feral ponies. We didn’t see many of them, but one was quite curious of us and walked up to see if we had any food. We didn’t have any pony-friendly snacks, but we hand-fed it some grass.

After staying the night and drying out our gear at Hurricane Mountain Shelter, we passed over a couple footbridges and pushed 19 miles to Mount Rogers Visitor Center to get a ride into Marion.

thumb_img_7441_1024

A huge rainstorm was brewing up for the next couple days, so we tried to get a hotel room, but everything was booked. A couple hikers we knew had a room at the Travel Inn Hotel and said we could stay on their floor if the hotel owner was cool with it. We asked the owner, and given that all the rooms in town were booked, he said it was fine with him. We stayed an extra night to dodge the storm (I know; bad, bad, bad), and spent our time running hiker errands, eating bad food, drinking good beer, and watching cheesy movies.

After two nights there, we passed the skunk “napping” outside of our hotel to head to the shopping center to hitch a ride back to the trail.

Total AT Mileage: 518.0 miles

Number of Hiking Days: 41

Number of Zero Days: 14

Average Mileage per Day Total: 12.6 miles

Average Mileage this Chapter: 15.9 miles (4 days)

Longest Hiking Day: 26.2 miles (Groundhog Creek Shelter, NC/TN to Hot Springs, NC)

Shortest Hiking Day: 4.3 miles (Erwin, TN to Curly Maple Gap Shelter, TN)

Jump Back to Part 7 or Jump Ahead to Part 9

arrow-backarrow-forward

One thought on “AT 2016 Flashbacks Pt. 8: Damascus to Marion, VA

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s