Saturday, May 2, 2015

Our adventures through Damascus

This was way back at the start of Virginia, right after we crossed the TN/VA state line. (mile 460)

We were in a hurry the morning we made it in to Damascus, we ran out of food the night before, and were talked out of doing the last 10 miles of what would have been a 32 mile day by our friend Tribute.

Our main goal for the day was breakfast at Cavilers cafe, everything else was secondary, and we would only be delayed by our picture at the TN/VA border.
We rolled in to town at 10:00 am, and made a bee line for Cavilers.
The restaurant was in the old cafe style, with a bars and booths, and old vintage advertisements hanging from the wall. Daniel and I had ordered when Tribute and Headlights came and sat with us, so we felt a little bad when our food came first and they watched us eat, but they were in high spirits and just let us watch them eat a few minutes later.
After breakfast the only natural course of action was to get a milk shake, and we were right at the breakfast/lunch turnover time that ordering one wasn't inconvenient.

We stayed at "The Place" a hostel run by the Methodist Church of Damascus, we met the two night limit there, because we zeroed in town.
It was an old early 1900's building with plain wooden bunks to set up on.

Damascus its self was a really neat sort of town, with no less than four different bicycle shops and two outfitters, it needed the Transcontinental bicycle trail, and the Appalachian trail going through it.
Damascus is well know for the AT. Trail days event, an AT reunion/talent show/parade.

Most of the first day went without much excitement, we did laundry, resupplied, and went to the all you can eat buffet (and then got a milk shake!).

The next morning Daniel and I ate breakfast with Tribute and Headlights again, and then we went to church with Tribute later that morning.
As Daniel and I walked up the steps to the Church, a man greets us and asked me " Are you guys twins?"
"Yes." I answered
During this, Daniel had opened up the flyer he had handed us, the subject this week "The terrible Twins: Bitterness and Grudging"
At this point I'm thanking God that we already have trail names, as Daniel jokes that they're already warning people about us, and discriminating against us before we even come in.
We sat down with Tribute, who had been sitting alone, and people kept coming to Daniel and I asking us questions about the trail, where we started, and where we where from, Tribute told us later that no one had even told him hello before we had walked up.

After the Service, as Daniel and I were leaving, a man and his family came to us and asked if we would like to go out to lunch with them, and like any other thru-hiker, we said "Okay!".
They took us to Abington for Chinese, and then Starbucks, and then their house...
We could hardly believe their kindness.
(Thanks again Mike!)

When we got back to town, another fellow thru-hiker, Penguin, invited us to dinner later that evening because her sister had sent some money with her (Penguin's) husband to do some " Trail magic" for some of the other hikers.
After going by every other restaurant in town, we finally found one that wasn't closed on the far side of town, Pizza plus, which turned out great because they had an all you can eat buffet, and was right next to Food city.

I can't say much about the "Town wide WiFi" as it was not town wide, and it was rather poor.

And much to my surprise, you could not rent a unicycle in a town with four different bike shops, are there that few of unicycle-ers that we can be so discriminated against?

After we left town, about ten miles out, we came upon a sign that warned that a bridge had been washed out 1/4 mile ahead and that we were to follow the Virginia Creeper trail 1/2 mile until we crossed the AT again.
So Daniel and I discussed our options, and decided that that would be too logical, and continued down the AT, after what we thought was 1/4 of a mile, we came upon a stream with all the Rhododendron washed over the trail.
We climbed over them and crossed the stream with little difficulty, and said to our self's "That was easy!"...
Then we come to the river...
The river with the bridge washed out...

I sat down and started taking my shoes off, as the river was not deep and had several points where you could cross most of the way across.
Daniel didn't bother taking his shoes off, and started down the most promising path, but only got halfway before coming back.
Then as he started down the next one, when the unfortunate hiker made a faux pas...

One moment there was a splash, the next, an angry, dripping, and wet hiker was tearing through his pack to pull his sleeping bag out before it got wet*.

"Are you all right?" I ask mildly concerned.
"...Yes, my sleeping bag isn't wet."
Afterwards we laughed about it quite a bit, however, we were quite thankful that no one saw the event.

*Down losses its insulating ability when wet.

Pictures are: Daniel and I at the TN/VA state line, Tribute, a former thru-hiker and some kid that we talked to. And Headlights.

~Sam (Link)

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