Monday, May 30, 2011

whoever said virginia was flat is a BIG FAT LIAR

so yeah, this state is NOT FLAT. everyone and their mother told all of us that VA was flat, that we would knock out 30 miles a day, no problemo.....well guess what. it's not flat. there are A LOT OF UPS. haha.  it is kicking our ASS, but after we failed the case challenge, we recuperated in pearisburg, ate some mexican with our new best friends, catalyst and bandit, then actually WALKED out of there.  we pulled some big miles, our longest yet, a 21 mile day, ending during a thunderstorm while we were walking on a ridge.  we got awesome trail magic at "the captains" where we got to zip line across a river, almost falling in since our 50 pound bags were pulling us over.  we walked up a lot of the rain.  we got dumped on for about 3 days...everything was soaking, soggy, nasty, we couldn't tell if it was rain or sweat. it was AWESOME.  finally, we woke up to a semi dry day, and got to hike to dragons tooth, a really sweet rock that was about 40 feet in the air.  we climbed around that for about an hour, then almost died walking down the steepest mountain ever.  that night we got to the HOME PLACE, an amazing all you can eat restaurant with fried chicken, roast beef, potatoes, baked beans, biscuits, apple butter, and gravy. it was amazing. catalyst, bandit, laugh track and i then walked one more mile to the shelter just up the road and had a girls night, talking about boys, movies, life.  it was great.  the next day, catalyst and bandit had to book it into daleville to meet bandit's parents, and we had a leisurely stroll over tinker's cliffs, since we couldn't pick up our mail drops till tuesday, we forgot that it was memorial day..whoops!  when we were on top of tinkers cliffs, we decided that it was too pretty to not camp there, so we picked out a nice part of the cliff, threw down our tarp, and set up our bags.  8-beard decided to hike south to hang out with us, and brought us 9 pounds of water, so we cooked dinner, hung out and watched the sun set on top of the cliffs.  woke up to a 97 degree day, and hiked 11 miles into town, and basically collapsed into an air conditioned Wendy's.  bandit and catalyst sooooo graciously offered to let us use their hotel room to shower...AMAZING.  we are hanging out till we can pick up our mail drops tomorrow!!! loving life. NEVER WANT THIS TRIP TO END.

Friday, May 20, 2011

bland, va...they have an ice cream store, but they only serve vanilla

what's happenin' people.  we got out damascus..slowly.  it's hard to get motivated after a weekend-long party, but we did some miles, stayed in an awesome shelter where we could ordere pizza delivery, met some new hikers, walked in the rain...a lot.  got to knot maul branch shelter after sleeping in a semi-puddle for a few nights, and decided we should really head into town for a dry bed, shower, and warmth.  laugh track had a tiny case of strep throat, so we booked it into bland, got a motel room, cranked the heat up to 85 degrees, got some DQ and lounged around in dry clothes while watching tv.  talk about heaven.  we realized we had not slept in a bed in over 3 weeks, and let me tell you... there is nothing better than diving head first into a dry, clean, comfy bed after weeks and weeks of a damp, cramped, smelly sleeping bag.  hopefully the weather will start being warm and breezy instead of so cold our fingers refuse to work.  sunday is the start of the case challenge, the rules are written on the wall of jenny knob shelter... in a nutshell it is: 1) hitch from 606 into pearisburg (24 miles away), 2) drop off our packs in a hotel, 3) go to the good will and find outrageously heinous 80's style prom dresses to wear, 4) buy a 24 pack of beer, 5) hitch BACK to 606, 6) hike 24 mile, in 24 hours, drinking 24 beers.  our friend yinz's friend, wonderland, made this challenge up last year, and the two of us, yinz, milo, ketchup, and stretch are all taking on the challenge this year.  we may look ridiculous, we may make fools of ourselves, but there was never a challenge we backed down to, and we don't plan on starting now.   SO our next update will probably be from pearisburg, after completing the case challenge.  now, i know a few of you reading this might sigh and roll your eyes, but seriously, hiking can get a little tedious some times, especially in VA where it is mostly flat and sometimes the sameness of everything can make you want to scream.  we need some challenges in our lives..and here's one given to us on a silver platter...or shelter wall.  we'll let you know how it turns out!  hasta la vista baby!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Damascus, take two....TRAIL DAYS

what's happenin' people.  well, we just finished trail days, a weekend in damascus dedicated to hikers.  it was pretty awesome...we set up our tent in tent city, about a half a mile out of town....(the townies didn't want to deal with the crazy hikers), and then the debauchery began.  but first things first.  we SOBO'd from troutdale, va, through the grason highlands, probably the best part of the trip so far! gorgeous mountains, then through the highlands which have herds of wild ponies!!! we spent about 3 hours taking pictures of them and playing with them, they liked to lick the salt off our skin! haha, it was great.  stayed in a cool shelter and met some new people, second shift, frodo, and broadway, we huddled together while a RAGING storm shook the shelter and lightning lit up the sky all night.  after getting into damascus on thursday, we walked around, saw ALL of our friends who have either been way ahead of us or behind, checked out the street vendors, ate some corn dogs, drank some beer, played some darts, watched some movies, met former hikers, hung out with our friends, and just chilled out for three days in a town that is all about hikers on the AT!!  on saturday there was a hiker parade down main street which was a lot of fun, everyone got dressed up in salvation army clothes, and the townies threw water balloon and squirted us with squirt guns...  the weekend was epic, we survived it through and are heading out this morning to really start virginia...all 550 miles of it.  we are loving this trip! we are about a quarter of the way done! 500 miles down, 1600 to go!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Damascus, VA

WOOOOEEEEE!!!! we made it to damascus, va....4 states down, 10 to go!!! we had some awesome times out of elizabethton, hiking by a 16 mile lake, up and over mountains, hanging out with our friends and getting some awesome trail magic!  we got out to a shelter the night out of town, played some guitar, sang some songs, built up a fire, the norm pretty much....then the next night, made it to iron mt shelter, where laugh track and i decided to stay.  all our friends were heading another 8 miles to the next shelter, and we just didn't feel like walking anymore, and it turned into our best decision yet.  old crow and grandma showed up, and decided they were going to stay, then tuck, bandit and catalyst came by and decided they were going to stay too.  truckin' and biscuit saw they were outnumbered by the ladies, so they hauled ass to get out of there before "we started plucking their eyebrows and painting their nails." so the 7 of us had a  much needed "girls night."  like, omg.  we did indeed pluck our eyebrows, talked about boys, and giggled to the wee hours of the morning.  milk man and peter showed up around dinner time, but we banished them to "man-camp" so we could continue our girl talk.  the next morning, laugh track and i headed out into the mist, only to be stopped by trail magic of soda and cookies about 4 miles down the trail. after a pepsi and some packing tape, we walked another half mile before being called back by a thru-hiker from last year, the professor, who had just pulled up with our friends cope and meltdown. (cope knew him from the year before) and they grilled up some dogs, burgers, had some candy, cookies, chips, soda, and chocolate milk.  we ended up staying in the parking lot with them from 10am to 2pm, listening to wisdom and the must-see places along the trail from the professor, getting some sun, and just chilling out.  we finally got motivated to move, and made it to damascus but dinner time, getting DELICIOUS pizza and some local beer, meeting up with our friends, and staying at The Place, a cool little hostel in the center of town.  we are heading out tomorrow with the professor, up to troutdale, to hike south into damascus on thursday for the start of TRAIL DAYS.  a celebration damascus hosts every year for thru hikers, with bbq's, beer, music, parades and a lot more.  we are getting so excited for it! we will get to see our friends who are ahead and behind us, and have a few days of rest and relaxation before really starting VA...the longest state in the trail....550 miles of good ol' virginia.  we are getting geared up to go on! almost 25% done, and we don't ever want this to end!!!!!  hope everyone called their mothers yesterday!!!! happy mom day, momma raccoon! the best mom in the world!!!!  

Friday, May 6, 2011

Elizabethton, TN

well, it has been a crazy few days since erwin....we are a little more than 400 miles into the trail, and about 3 days away from Damascus, VA.  we left erwin around dinner time, and got to a shelter about 4 miles up the trail, ran into some of our friends, pixel, 6:30, gravity, and phlem. after that, the trail kicked our asses for a few more days...whew..this doesn't really get any easier.  BUT we hiked up some AMAZING mountains, little hump, and hump mountain were some of our favorites.  after a INSANELY hard mountain, called roan mountain, we camped at the highest (elevation wise) shelter, a converted fire warden's cabin with our friends, and made a delicious dinner of velveeta and ramps that we picked ourselves.  before we hiked up that mountain though, we met some bikers who were scouting a route through the mountains for a charity ride, and i met a meathead named BRUTUS...definitely took a picture with him.  then when i mentioned how much i loved the south, one of the bikers said, "well move on down here and i'll buy you a doublewide!"  they sure know how to make the ladies feel special down here.  haha.  the next day we stopped to have lunch at a shelter that used to be a barn, with a gorgeous view into a beautiful valley.  we spent about 3 hours lounging in the grass and eating a long lunch, then hiked up the humps, fantasitc balds with 360 degree felt like we were in lord of the rings.  we camped at doll flats on the NC-TN boarder, and nero'd into elk park to get our mail drops! thank you everyone who sent fun goodies for us!!  we met some, ahem, interesting seemed to be the day of crazies, after a shower fiasco, we headed to mountain harbour hostel, a farm with tent sites, showers, resupply, goats, was idyllic.  after showering for the first time in 12 days, we got some pizza with middlebury, then had an awesome night playing technology wars with vittles and jesus, two 'hikers' we have nicknamed douchebag one and douchebag two...fortunately their reputation spread like wildfire and they were kicked out around 10:30, so we got to watch pretty woman in peace.  the next morning we had possibly the BEST breakfast up at the farmhouse, homemade everything from biscuits and gravy, pancakes (with real syrup!!), ham, cinnimon rolls, eggs, fresh fruit, coffee...anything you could think of.  while digesting, we lounged on the couch and watched the news and read the paper...comparing different stories about osama (you think they heard that?? are we still stealth??)  while packing up we watched top gun (can our life get any better?) then hiked out 10 miles through beautiful farmland.  we then arrived at kincora hostel near hampton, and had a great night listening to gravity play guitar and playing charades after a group spaghetti dinner.  (girls against boys...girls won...duh).  we came into hampton the next morning to pick up our ipods that the best boyfriend in the world programmed for us...with our ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE playlist...just some songs that will give us the extra push to get over the next mountain.  we then came into elizabethton to run some errands and met the NICEST cafe/theatre owner, Thor, who gave us a free breakfast and is letting us see the 2pm showing of Fast Five...sweet!  life seriously couldn't get any better for the two of us...we are having the time of our lives.  trail days is next weekend! i'm sure there will be a CRAZY update after that is over!!!  don't forget to holler at your mom's this sunday!! love you momma raccoon! you are the best!!!  laugh track and i love life!!!!!!!!!!  cool guys don't look at explosions!!!  peace out, a-town down.