Virginia, finally

Made it to Damascus, Virginia after a 24 miles (38 km) hike yesterday, zero day nr 4 today. Totally we have done 469 (478) miles/ 765 km in 34 days. 

Resuming what was most non-expected during the first month on the trail:

1) Rhododendron: we’ve seen 1000x more Rhododendron bushes than so far in our lives. Had no idea that the Southern Appalachians are that full of Rhododendron.

2) No trail magic: have’nt seen any trail magic for more than 3 weeks. Yesterday there was a sign which announced a box provided by a Baptiste church but inside there was only scrap and empty cans.

3) Ups and downs: was aware that it’s a lot of climbs and descents but reality is even harder. Long climbs are fine, this is a fair deal you prepare for, but all these 10-20 minor ups and downs every day are really hard.

4) Changing weather: snow, hail and icy rain on Roan Mt, sun and almost 30 C 3 days later.

  

    

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Erwin, TN – Roan Mountain, day 28-30

Mile 394 (403), km 649. Hiker hell and heaven within 3 days time. Started after our 3rd zero day in Erwin with sunny weather which in the afternoon turned to really harsh conditions. Heavy rainfall, several hail showers, icy  wind and temperatures down to 0 (C). A very cold night at 1250m, the next day up to over 1900m including snow on Roan Mt. No idea to spend an even colder night on the highest shelter of the AT so we continued and got by chance a shuttle back to Erwin we had not hoped for. After a WARM motel night back to the trail with a section hiker couple. Then the best day so far on Hump Mt, great views, clear blue sky and a lot of sun!