After many conversations with family and friends, I have decided to rejoin the AT with my hiking buddies Captain Dan, Tank, and Camel in Virginia, and a touch north of Damascus.
My original plan was to return to where I left the trail at Hemlock Hollow, and just pick up my hike from there and head north. The purist part of my brain was 100% sold on this, and it just made sense to start where I left off. The only negative about being I’d be ~170 miles behind my friends whom, until my departure, had played such a large part in my own journey; I considered them family.
Plan B was to rejoin the AT at Cap’s current location, which is a little north of Damascus, about 466 miles from Springer. To be honest, I think I’d rather just hike the trail as a normal backpacker than partake in the truck slack packing, but at this point, I’d prefer to just be with my friends again. Familiar faces and the tightness of our bonds, it’s a no brainer.
Virginia it is.
You may be asking yourself what I’m going to do about the ~170 mile gap that I’m leaving out. Those I’ve spoken with of my decision, some wondered if I’d just leave them be and not bother walking those miles. Not at all. My goal is to complete the rest of the hike to Katahdin then return to Hemlock Hollow and complete those miles and my Appalachian Trail thru hike.
I am choosing to drive the 633 miles and a 10 hour road trip to Tri-Cities Regional Airport on Thursday morning; this local airport is the closest rental car drop-off point to Damascus, and it also means that I can spend a day (or two, depending on when I leave to join the boys) with Tie Dye and Obie. I haven’t seen Obie since she left Neels Gap with Turtle on March 21st and it will be great to see her again and catch up in person. It will be the first time all three of us will have been together in around six weeks – crazy.
After my Damascus merriment I’ll take a shuttle to join Danny and the lads on the trail and start hiking the Virginia trail – the longest part of the entire AT, 550 miles of it.