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.