Sunday, May 13, 2012

Marion, VA to Bland, VA

586 miles in
Here we are in Bland, VA. It is living up to its name. If we had planned better, we probably wouldn't have come here at all because the next town isn't too far away. But it is raining tonight, and we hadn't showered in over a week, so.... I guess it's good we're here. :)
A couple nights ago we had some great trail magic. Trail magic refers to pretty much any help (usually in the form of food) thru hikers get from other people. Sometimes there will be a cooler randomly placed on the trail with snacks and drinks. Less often, but more exciting, is when someone or a group of people prepare a whole meal or various fresh food for hikers. This was the case on Saturday when we got to a road crossing a few miles from where we were going to end our day. Hot dogs, fruit, veggies, baked desserts, etc. Hooray!
I've had some requests for more details of daily stuff on the trail. We typically get up around 6:30am or a little after and change and pack up everything inside the tent. Sometimes we cook oatmeal for breakfast and other times we just have a Cliff bar or something. I've been trying to increase my calorie intake in the morning, so three packets plus some nuts or granola mixed in is good.
We are usually hiking by 7:45. This is a little earlier than the average thru hiker, I think. Then we walk. And eat. And walk a bunch more through the woods and maybe hit up a cow field or something. If there's a shelter or a nice view around lunchtime, we'll eat there. Lunch is usually tuna packets, wheat thins, cheese (usually lasts a few days with no refridgeration), or some peanut butter or nutella on a tortilla. Beau and I are mostly together during the day, but plenty of times one of us pulls ahead and we are more or less alone. We usually leap-frog with a few other hikers during the day, catching up at breaks.
We always have a destination for the night, planned the night before. Usually it's a shelter, but sometimes a shelter isn't the distance we want for the day so we look for a campsite. Our guidebook tells us where all the shelters and water sources are and includes many campsites. It's not too hard to find a place to pitch your tent, but staying at shelters (not necessarily in them, but tenting around them) has a huge draw for social reasons. There are usually at least half a dozen other hikers at shelters, providing for a much more fun evening than being alone.
We usually arrive at our site around 5, pitch our tent or set up in the shelter, pump water if needed, soak feet in the spring, cook dinner, clean up, and in bed around 9.
Exciting? :)
Unfortunately we only took one photo on Beau's phone this time. Next up, Pearisburg!


  1. It's a little crazy that when you explain your day - and you were all "exciting?" my heart was kind of pounding at the excitement of it. It's like a movie, for example Rudy, where you see him working so hard and there is music playing and it's exciting. You forget, out there, in the trenches, doing it in and out every day ..... not as 'exciting'... but I am sure you are filled with self-commitment! At least I hope. I can't believe how awesome it is reading up on your trip. It's seriously my favorite blog right now. Do tell more stories about camp-out gatherings. And I love that you have trail names! When I did outward bound I had a trail name. LOVED it.

  2. You are now more than 25% in, congrats!