Progress is being made! Tom has been putting on so many miles. Today he is doing 17. The weather is beautiful and I have no regrets making the change to not hike the whole trail. I have realized that I was really slowing him down and we would not have a chance to reach the end in time.
Last weekend was Trail Days in Damascus, Va. Oh yes, we are finally out of North Carolina and Tennessee. Trail Days was a great time and we met many new and old hikers. We were able to catch up with some hikers that we haven’t seen in some time. Some are ahead of us and some are behind us on the trail. There were many vendors with hiker products, food, and music.
Tom has hit big mile markers 400 and 500 since we made the change. He is almost doing 100 miles a week now. Some days Stella and I hike with him either when I drop him off or pick him up. He has been able to sleep in the teardrop all but one night. I have been able to continue my Dental Hygiene education and see a lot more of states that we are traveling through. There are so many beautiful old cabins and barns along the way. Often times there will be a steam or river that is along the roads that I travel.
Four days ago, we camped at and hiked through Highland Grayson State Park. There they have wild ponies grazing. To say the least, it has been one of the highlights of the trip. There were two different herds that we saw. One herd had three babies. When I have WiFi service, I would like to learn more about why the ponies are there.
Since the Highland Grayson area, Tom and I have connected with two other through hikers. They have now been traveling with us and slack packing. Their trail names are Long Beard and Harper. Not sure how long they will hang with us, but they sure are enjoying breakfast and dinner each day and not carrying their full pack weight. Harper is from is from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia and Long Beard is from Branson, Missouri.
I have been staying the night with the teardrop in a combination of places. We have stayed in mountain gaps, a hostel (Harvest Host), a Boondockers Welcome, and several campgrounds. The Boondockers Welcome was in Shady Valley, TN and the people were so kind, so we stayed a few more days. So far, I really like the teardrop. I would like it to be more organized though, and I am sure that could not truly happen with the limited space. There are some modifications I would like to make in the future. In the “kitchen” area there is very little storage. I would like to put in drawers, move the cookstove and eventually get a powered cooler. The sleeping area is comfortable. Before we picked up the camper, I ordered a better mattress so we would be more comfortable. Now I am in search of curtains. Unfortunately, these mountain areas don’t have an Amazon drop box so I have to be patient. It would also be nice to add solar at some point.