The Appalachian Trail is marked with one consistent method; a 2″x6″ white paint stripe on the side of a tree and every 100 to 400 yards there is normally a “white blaze” to keep you on track. Blue blazes mark everything from side trails to water sources to shelters to shortcuts. Because they mark shortcuts and ways to skip the true Appalachian Trail, those that take these shortcuts are often condescendingly referred to as “blue blazers” by their strict white blazing purist peers. Worse than blue blazing is the brown blazer, which is when a hiker follows a road to get easier miles rather than taking the trail. Still worse than a brown blazer is the dreaded yellow blazer, referring to the yellow of a taxi cab that they use to skip trail miles from one trail town to the next. Yellow blazers are the worst. Until mile 857 in Waynesboro, VA that is, meet the “aqua-blazer”.
Coming off The Ultimate Trail Magic that you just read about we expected our walk to Waynesboro, Virginia to be filled with thunderstorms every day, trails made from sharpened rocks and a deer every mile to make Hunter run off chasing them. I almost feel like it is bad luck to share this, but our walk from Daleville, VA turned out to be just the opposite and one of our favorite and most memorable sections. Between more unbelievable trail magic, a visit to a brewery for a friend’s birthday and happy toes from a shoe change, we had a blast walking the second half of our leg to Waynesboro.
So there we were, sitting outdoors at a local BBQ joint with our friend Turtle in the Daleville, VA shopping commons, while enjoying a terrific pitcher of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale waiting for our chicken and pork to be delivered after a good 100 mile stretch between towns. Lindsay and I walked across the parking lot to check out the local gear outfitter and stopped to chat with three random locals for just ten minutes and incredibly they gave us $40 for our dinner! Riding a high of good food, good beer and good luck to pay our tab, we spied our trail friends “Sunshine” and “Fern Gully” waving from a passing car. Since neither of their packs are big enough to fit a small SUV, it seemed a bit odd and I jogged over to see what was going on. That is when it happened; lightening struck and all of the good karma that we have been building for a year was set back to zero by spending two days with Rob and Beth.
Looking back, our 100 mile stretch from Pearisburg, Virginia to Daleville, Virginia seemed to be memorable for two reasons: the incredible views and natural wonders we witnessed, and the damage done to our bodies to experience Mother Nature’s beauty. Normally we don’t write about a six day section, but the sights along the way were definitely worthy of a short write-up and a few pictures!
Our pup, Hunter, joined us after Lindsay healed up from her tailbone dislocation to finish off our 2014 Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike team; making us Hunter and The Fat Kids. Hunter is not your average pound dog and therefore not your average trail dog either. What they didn’t tell us when we adopted him from the pound 3+ years ago is that he is 1/3 Chow Chow, 1/3 Alaskan Husky and 1/3 Mountain Goat. He is the perfect companion for a long distance hike; athletic, agile, powerful, durable and possesses a level of endurance that Lindsay and I can’t come close to touching!