Day 52

Day 52 -April 28 2017 – 9.9 miles – Abingdon Shelter to Damascus V.A.

It was a beautiful morning.  The sun was shinning and the temperature was just right.  We were excited to get moving.  We would be crossing into Virginia very soon.

Wolfey hiked with us on and off the whole way into Damascus.  At one point Stoat and I started the trivia game that we would play once and a while.  One person would name a topic and then ask a question relating to that topic. The other person would then try to guess the answer.

Wolfey had overheard us playing the trivia game and asked a question.  The topic was history.  “What Polish born military leader was instrumental in the Revolutionary War?”  Simultaneously Stoat and I shouted, “Thaddeus Kosciuszko!”  Wolfie stopped dead in his tracks.  “How the heck did you guys know that?”

As children our family would go on vacation in New York state.  One of the bridges we would cross to get there was called the Thaddeus Kosciuszko Bridge.  For some reason every time we went over it our family would shout, “Thaddeus Kosciuszko!”  Over the course of time we learned more about the man the bridge was named after.  It was pretty humorous that the very first question, an obscure one at that, was one that was steeped in our families tradition.

The promise of town food made the miles fly by.  In no time we found ourselves at the Virginia border.


Left to right – Wolfey Bizzerk, Stoat, Straps


Soon we could see the town below us.  Left Eye came speeding up behind us.  He said,”  My wife is down there but I have to try not to run.  I tried to run before and fell.  I can’t wait to see her!”

The trail gave us views of town but it felt like it took forever to get there.  The trail eventually brought us onto a random side street and we were a little unsure of where to go, but we figured it out.




The trail followed the main road through town.  As the road curved to the right, we made a left to go to Woodchucks Hostel.

Woodchucks Hostel

We talked to the owner of the hostel for a little bit.  His name was Woodchuck and he set us up with the last two beds in the house.

A few minutes later Piper showed up to claim his reserved bed.  When he found out that he was relegated to the bunkhouse he got pretty upset.  He asked Woodchuck why we got beds in the house when he made reservations before us.  Woodchuck got a little flustered.  He had been so busy he had simply written down the names in the wrong order.  We offered to switch with Piper but he refused.  He said he didn’t want to kick us out he just wanted to know what happened.  Woodchuck wound up giving him a free stay in the bunkhouse.

Piper apologized later in the day for making an awkward scene and we apologized for unknowingly taking his bed.

Woodchucks had a great setup.  There was a big backyard that had several amenities.

There was a bunkhouse, an bathhouse, a pavilion, a hammocking stand for four hammocks, a teepee, several lawn games, and a basketball hoop with ball return.

View from the back porch of Woodchucks
A big teepee

He also had a big Tomcat that was very friendly.  He would walk right up to us to get some affection.


Woodchuck had a old butchers scale that was in perfect working order.


I sat down on the scale a had a shock.  It said I weighed 158 pounds.  When we started the trail I was between 175 and 180 pounds.  Stoat lost a similar amount of weight.

It was a little concerning that we had lost so much weight not even a quarter way into the trail.  I had to remind myself that during the time we were off trail with the flu we barely ate anything.  While still recovering from the flu we hiked through the Smoky Mountains.  The weight loss began to make a little more sense, but I made a mental note to add a few more items to my food shopping list when we went to resupply.

Mary Poppens was staying at the hostel with her dog Arty.  So that meant we got to hang out with a dog!

Arty and Me.  I’m on the right.

We got lunch at the local bar / restaurant and took a tour of the town. The town was a lot more spread out than we expected and didn’t explore around as much as we though we were going to.

I got a text from Zeus letting us know that he, Flashfire, Godzilla,Turkey, and others were going swimming in the river that ran through town.  By the time we got to where they had been swimming they were gone and it started to rain.  We headed back to the hostel for a bit.

We went out again a little later and the sun had come back out.  Stoat, Wolfey, a hiker named Orange crush, and me went to the river and waded in.  The cold water felt great on my feet.  A toe nail on one of my big toes was broken and turning black.  Other than that, my feet were okay.  A little sore maybe, but no blisters to speak of.

We went over to the bar / restaurant again for dinner.  It was really cool to recognize almost everyone there.  It’s not often you go into a new restaurant and know most of the people there.  They were either thru hikers or the family of a thru hikers.  Before we left the crew that was hanging out with Zeus came in.  We talked to them for a little bit and then decided to call it a day.

We would be zeroing the next day.  We decided that after 20 days and 264.2 miles, it was okay to take a day off.


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