March 31, 2018
Destination: Damascus, VA Today's Miles: 0
Start Location: Damascus, VA Trip Miles: 470
Today I woke up next to my lady. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day in Damascus!
We shuffled (I shuffled and hobbled in my “fashion-forward” green crocs) down to Mojo’s for breakfast. Gillian had the huevos rancheros and I had the breakfast quesadilla. We enjoyed our coffee and had brought a bag of cookies that Gillian made in case we saw any hikers to do some mobile trail magic. Gillian bagged them separately in fours after she made them so hikers could just grab a bag easily and not spread germs. She made two kinds of cookies: mint chocolate chip (my favorite) and oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip. I thought it was awesome and thoughtful that she wanted to do trail magic. We caught two thru hikers in our magic net at Mojo’s, including a guy named Three Mile whom we talked with for a while. He said he had been hanging with Fresh Ground, a famous trail angel I have yet to meet, just north of here. Fresh Ground apparently goes all along the trail doing trail magic, and sometimes people give him donations to help him sustain his practice. I hope to meet him at some point! Three Mile was cool and just hanging out so we chatted for a bit about trail stuff - shoes and miles, etc.
After that Gillian and I stopped at the outfitter next door to look (Sundogs), and then went back to the inn. While she showered I got my resupply list together. I put my existing food in daily bags and figured out what I still needed and we went to Food City down the road. It is a pretty large grocery store so they had everything I needed. Then we went back to the Inn and took a stroll down the main street, Laurel Ave. We stopped in an artist’s shop. He was a woodworker who said he ran a lumber business in Massachusetts near Worcester for 30 years, then moved down here with a tractor trailer full of wood. He said goodbye to harsh winters and to mosquitos. Apparently there aren’t really any mosquitos in Damascus, or if there are, they are much less of an issue than what this gentleman was used to dealing with back in Mass. We ambled along down the street and stopped at Mt. Rogers Outfitters, and then went to the town park and sat in the sun for a bit at a picnic table facing one of the creeks that runs through town. It was a beautiful day to be relaxing outside, and we just enjoyed each other’s company. We walked (s l o w l y...) back to the Inn and I soaked my feet in Epsom salts that we picked up at Dollar General along the way. As an aside, it is really easy to lose time in a Dollar General! There are so many random things there and it is so cheap! I finished up some gear organization and we walked back to Mojo’s for dinner. Hello Mojo’s! It’s us again! Of course I donned my green crocs and my street clothes - we were in our finest :-). I had the fish tacos and Gillian had the turkey reuben. Both were excellent, but we also got a side of brussels sprouts as we had heard from Paul at the Inn that they were amazing. “Amazing” and “brussels sprouts” are not usually in the same sentence, but these were cooked with pieces of bacon and caramelized onions in butter, so of course they were incredible. We both got dessert to go. I chose Boston cream pie and Gillian got carrot cake. We took them back to the Inn and steeped rooibos tea downstairs at the common table. We ate and chatted and then went upstairs to wind down and go to bed.
The day went quickly somehow, even though we just piddled around and chatted a lot. I knew tomorrow would be tough because Gillian would head back to Atlanta around noon, but I was excited that I would be able to have breakfast and the first part of the day with her. My heels are in rough shape. I haven’t mentioned the much, but they are basically open sores as I opened the blisters up to try to get them to dry, since they were already burst anyway. Maybe I cut away too uch of the dead skin. We honestly aren’t sure what the right way to go about it is. At this point, it is what it is and I will just keep them clean and let them dry and heal sufficiently before I get back on the trail. This means I’ll have to take a few zeros after Gillian leaves. I’m not that happy about this as it is hard for me to just sit around, but it is necessary. We have heard too many stories of infections pulling people off the trail. The reality is, Damascus is a great place to hang for a few days and I have everything I need here to recover.
I was so so grateful for my time with Gillian today, the lovely weather we had, and that I am slowly coming to accept that I need to rest. Maybe an old cat can learn new tricks!